How to clean Hand Lotion
How to Clean Mascar from carpet
How to Clean Hair Oil from carpet
How to Clean Hair Spray from carpet
How to Clean Ice Cream from carpet
How to Clean Ink Permanent from carpet
How to Clean Ink Ball-point from carpet
How to Clean Ink Fountain pen from carpet
How to Clean Ink Felt tip from carpet
How to Clean Ketchup from carpet
How to Clean Lard from carpet
How to Clean Linseed Oil from carpet
How to Clean Machine Oil from carpet
How to Clean Margarine from carpet
How to Clean Mayonnaise from carpet
How to clean Milk from carpet
How to Clean Nail Varnish from carpet
How to Clean Paint Latex from carpet
How to Clean Mixed Drinks from carpet
How to Clean Rust from carpet
How to Clean Salad Dressing from carpet
How to Clean Shoe Polish Liquid from carpet
How to clean Soft Drinks from carpet
How to Clean Soil from carpet
How to Clean Soot from carpet
How to Clean Soya Sauce from carpet
How to Clean Starch from carpet
How to Clean Tee from carpet
How to Clean Tooth Paste from carpet
How to Clean Urine Dry from carpet
How to Clean Urine Wet from carpet
How to Clean Vomit Wax Candle from carpet
How to Clean Wax Paste from carpet
How to Clean Wine from carpet
How to Clean White Glue from carpet
Fast Cleaners Ltd- clean properties and happy clients
Fast Cleaners Ltd Limited was established in 2001 and has become the largest cleaning company in London. Our clients’ satisfactions and the quality of our services are the main reason for our growth and fast development. We proud ourselves for providing the fastest and best service anyone could ever imagine- with our highly trained staff, professional customer service, responsibility and accuracy. Our professional system helps us maintain and regulate all cleaning services at a time and we are just a telephone call away from our clients who can be in touch with us 7 days a week.How we vet our cleaners and who works for us
Most of our cleaners come from Eastern Europe- Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Czech Republic etc.
First of all we check carefully all relevant paperwork and make sure every new cleaner has the legal right to live and work in UK. Our company policy requires details of specific cleaners’ documentation, proof of address and tax registration to be kept and stored safely for any future reference. Before starting work with us they are being trained and tested for the particular service they will provide for our clients. E.g. if the cleaner will be providing domestic cleaning she will be trained for the following- vacuum cleaning, dusting, polishing, ironing, scrubbing, cleaning materials and specific surfaces, health and safety, customer relations, time-keeping, key-storing, rights and obligations etc. All our cleaners are insured against damages in clients’ properties
Our customers choose from a wide range of services accordingly to their needs:
Booking a cleaner
Whether you have a question regarding our services or would like to book a cleaner, you can do so either using our website or over the phone. It is fast and easy. Any additional information or quotation will be provided from our professional and kind customer service. We work online 7 days a week and we would always be happy to be of any help- even though just contacting your cleaner with specific requirements on your behalf. If you book a cleaner on regular basis, our professional cleaner search system will help us send you one of our cleaners who answers your criteria best, lives locally and you have the right to choose whether to have meeting with her in advance or if she should start working for you immediately.
Why people prefer using our service:
Remember:We can only help if you contact us directly.
Cleaning TipsMiscellaneous Cleaning Tips
Ring around the collar
Dirty neck rings around shirt or blouse collars can be removed by putting shampoo on them. Rub the shampoo in like you were washing your hair. Shampoo is specifically made to remove body oils. A cheap bottle of shampoo kept by the washing machine is handy for all kinds of stains in clothing. Don't forget this trick when you are traveling.
Cleaning Scuff Marks
Use 3 tbsp. Of TSP (trisodium phosphate) to a gallon of water to clean scuff marks or crayon marks off walls. TSP can be found in the paint department of a hardware store. Wear gloves and do not use on semi-gloss or gloss paint or wood surfaces.
Removing Blood from Furniture
Use hydrogen peroxide to remove blood from clothing or furniture. Rub gently.
Use paint brushes to dust cracks and hard to reach places in telephones, stereos, etc.
Make a Schedule
Set aside a regular short period of time each week for the family to straighten up the house. It teaches good habits to the kids and gives the family a project to do together. Everyone will feel better when the job is done, and might just look forward to the day when they know things are going to be neat and organized.
Listen to Books On Tape to Help You Clean
Having trouble finding time to read these days? You can rent great books on tape from the library to listen to while you're cleaning and doing chores. It helps to pass the time, keeps you working a little longer and lets you catch up on those mysteries you've been wanting to read. SOURCE: www.allabouthome.comRemoving Candle Wax from Walls
Candle wax can be removed from walls or other surfaces with an iron and facial tissue. Set the tissue over the wax and gently iron. When the wax seeps through or the tissue begins to brown, apply a new tissue. SOURCE: www.allabouthome.comCleaning Chrome
Club soda or seltzer water will clean chrome. SOURCE: www.allabouthome.comRemoving Blood Stains
Corn starch can remove blood stains. Rinse the stain in cold water, then rub in moistened cornstarch. Place the item in the sun. SOURCE: www.allabouthome.com
How to clean beer
Beer stains are fairly easy to remove. If the stain is still wet, blot up as much as you can with a clean white cloth or paper towels. Never rub a stain. Mix a teaspoon of a good dishwashing detergent, such as Dawn, with a cup of warm water. Spoon some of this detergent mixture onto the stain, and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Rinse the stain with a little warm water, and carefully blot dry. If the stain is stubborn, mix one part of white vinegar to two parts water, and repeat the previous steps. If the stain is on clothing, always rinse the stain in cool running water from the back of the stain, and treat the stain as you would carpet. Vinegar will bleach clothing, so be sure to rinse right away, and wash according to care label instructions. Remember, the dark beers such as Guinness Lager will cause the worst stain due to its dark coloring.
Note: Always test an inconspicuous area for colorfastness, etc. before treating the exposed area. Also note that certain stains are permanent.
How to clean carpet
If You Plan to Shampoo Your Carpet, First Try Pre-Cleaning: Sweep the carpet, which will make the nap stand up and loosen the imbedded dirt. Next vacuum. With this work alone, the rug should show a noticeable improvement, so much in fact that you may decide to delay shampooing.
To Neutralize Odors: Use Borax and cornmeal. Sprinkle the carpet with a mixture of 1 cup Borax and 2 cups cornmeal. Let this mixture stand for an hour before vacuuming.
Carpet Freshener: Combine 3/4 cup baking soda, 2 tbs. corn starch, and 1/4 cup perfumed talcum powder. Sprinkle on dry carpet, let stand 5 to 15 minutes, then vacuum.
Stain Removal: Clean up spills as fast as you can. Blot or scrape up as much of the spill as possible, blotting from the outside toward the center.
Dents and Depressions (from furniture or heavy objects): Shift the location of furniture from time to time. Brush the dented area, or use a grooming tool to loosen and stand-up the mashed tufts. Using a steam iron, steam the dented area lightly and brush up the tufts with your fingertips. Do not let iron touch the carpet. Hold the iron 2-3 inches above the carpet. For carpets containing acrylic or mod-acrylic, use the warm setting on a hair dryer, as steam may melt the fibers. To avoid further crushing, use casters under furniture legs.
Source :This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension.
How to clean Sand Blast
Dry sandblast cleaning is a relatively new method of cleaning newly built masonry, although the system has been used for many years in masonry restoration work.
Many architect/engineers prefer sandblast cleaning over conventional wet (acid) cleaning because of possible adverse acid reactions with certain types of brick. Other designers are reluctant to permit sandblast cleaning from fear the blasting will erode the face of the brick and mortar joints.
Sandblast operators can be compared with other construction tradesmen: some are artisans and others are incompetent. However, with a qualified operator, proper specifications and good job inspection, sandblast cleaning is as good as any other system and is sometimes superior in many ways.
Basically, sandblast cleaning involves the following equipment: Portable air compressor, blasting tank, blasting nozzle, operators' protective clothing and hood.
Air pressure delivered by compressor to blasting tank may range from 40 lbs. to 100 lbs. per square inch. Blasting tank is charged with the specified abrasive material and pressurized to force the mixture of abrasive material and air into blasting hose and to nozzle.
Blasting pattern is determined by nozzle size, type and air pressure. Speed of cleaning is determined by type of abrasive used, nozzle size, type, air pressure, nozzle-to-wall distance and of course, condition of surface to be cleaned.
Abrasive material used in brick cleaning is usually sand, quartz, or granite and must be clean and finely graded.
Sandblast cleaning material should conform to one of two particle size graduations outlined in the specifications below.
Type "A" gradation is to be used when the masonry is very lightly soiled or when only a very light or fine texturing of the brickwork is permitted.
Type "B" gradation is used for cleaning heavy mortar stains from brickwork and where medium texturing of the masonry is permitted.
Sandblast cleaning may be used for cleaning all hard burned, non-glazed, smooth or textured brick. Included in this category are reds, buffs, whites, grays, chocolates, etc.
Lightly sanded, coated, slurry, or sandbox brick should not be cleaned by sandblasting, unless cleaning cannot be accomplished by any other method, as the brick face can be permanently damaged.
Handmade or reclaimed brick may also be permanently disfigured by sandblasting.
As a further precaution, approval of the brick manufacturer must be obtained before permitting sandblast cleaning.
The following procedure is recommended for Sandblast Cleaning:
Operator should clean a small area with the nozzle first close to wall, and then at varying distances from the wall, trying to select a working distance that will give the best cleaning job with the least damage to brick and mortar work.
Job superintendent and architectural inspector should be present at this time to confirm acceptable practice. Approved areas should be marked and identified as acceptable standard for the entire job.
Specifications for Sandblast Cleaning
This section includes cleaning of newly constructed clay masonry with dry abrasive material forced by compressed air from tank through hose and nozzle.
Cleaning material must be dust-free and abrasive. Hardness should be approximately 6 on Mohs' Scale. Material size shall conform to one of the two categories listed below according to acceptable finish of masonry surface.
Type "A" (Fine Texturing)
Typical Screen Analysis
U.S. Sieve Size
The following material is acceptable for "fine texture" sandblasting: Blast Sand Size No. 120 furnished by KMG Minerals, Inc., Kings Mountain, NC.
Type "B" (Medium texturing) For concrete work and extremely difficult masonry cleaning jobs.
Typical Screen Analysis
U.S. Sieve Size
The following material is acceptable for "medium texturing" sandblasting: Blast Sand No. 55 furnished by KMG Minerals, Inc., Kings Mountain, NC. Local materials may be used when dried and screened to meet required size and hardness and when determined to be free of grease or other impurities.
Air compressor must be capable of producing pressure between 60 pounds and 100 pounds per square inch at the machine and should have a minimum air flow capacity of 125 cu. ft. per minute.
Nozzle inside orifice or bore size may vary from 3/16" diameter to 5/16" diameter.
Sandblast machine (or tank) must be equipped with controls to regulate flow of abrasive materials to nozzle, and shall be capable of supplying sand at a minimum rate of 300 pounds per hour.
Operator must wear O.S.H.A.- approved hood and protective clothing.
How to manage with bleach
Bleaches can oxidize and remove stains from surfaces and fabrics. Bleaches may also be used to lighten stains in wood as well as remove the color naturally in woods such as mahogany.
Mild Bleaches - Sodium Perborate (an ingredient in commercial all purpose bleaches) and Hydrogen Peroxide. A solution will help lighten stains on surfaces such as plastic laminate, etc.
Strong Bleaches - Chlorine Bleach (Sodium hypochlorite). Removes stains. Disinfects toilet bowls, trash cans, other surfaces.
Wood Bleaches - Oxalic Acid, 2 part component wood bleaches from Albino® and Kleen-Strip ® . Removes color and stain from wood. Opens pores of wood to help accept new stain.
How to mop a floor
Have you been living in an apartment for six months and never cleaned the floor? Do your feet stick to the floor when you walk around barefooted? Is your floor now a darker shade than it was originally? You need to mop your floor! Sweeping and vacuuming will do for awhile, but soap and water is required to get the real dirt off your floor.
What supplies do you need to mop a floor? The basic requirements are a mop, water, some type of cleaning solution, and a bucket. You can begin with very simple, inexpensive equipment or you can purchase more elaborate and thus more expensive supplies. If you have a very small area to mop and don’t mind getting down on your hands and knees, you can even use a simple sponge to mop your floor.
There are many different types of mops and they come in different types of materials. Probably the most familiar is the cotton string mop with a wooden handle. This traditional mop is still used by many households and by janitorial services. It is very good for cleaning large areas, since the head covers a larger area than many other types of mops; however, many people do not know what to do with this type of mop when they’re finished mopping. It does remain drippy for quite awhile even if properly wrung out, and can become smelly if not promptly dried. If you have a large area to mop and have a place to properly dry a wet mop, this would be a good choice for you.
Other types of mops include the cloth mop, similar to the string mop, but with wider strips made of thin fabric or durable paper, and the sponge mop. Sponge mops usually have rectangular-shaped sponges, or rounded sponge rollers, and the handles often have attachments designed to wring water from the mops. More recent additions to mopping are rectangular-based mops to which you add wet disposable pads that are already treated with cleaning solutions, and similar mops with disposable bottles for cleaning solution and spray mechanisms in their handles; with these mops you use dry pads and spray the solution on the floor. There are also rectangular-based mops with terry cloth pads that you use for wood laminate floors; a special cleaning solution is used with these mops.
What types of floors can you mop? Obviously, carpet of any kind is not a good choice for mopping. Some of the wood laminates are also not designed to be mopped with a wet mop because the seams could buckle. Any type of vinyl flooring, tile, wood, polished concrete, or other hard flooring can usually be mopped. If you have new flooring put down, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning; special mops are recommended for some new types of flooring.
What supplies will you need to begin mopping an average floor? You will first need to choose a mop. If you have a small area to mop, an inexpensive mop from a discount store will probably work fine. You will also need a cleanser. Do not use liquid dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, or dishwasher powder. These will produce a lot of bubbles and will leave your floors sticky unless you do a lot of rinsing. Get an all-purpose cleanser in the household cleaning products section of a discount store or grocery store, or get a product that is especially for mopping. Some products have antibacterial or disinfecting properties and most are scented, so find one that is right for you. You will next need to get a bucket; you can get a cheap plastic bucket or you can get a two-section bucket with wheels if you want to spend more. In a pinch, you can even use your sink, tub or other water-holding container you might have around the house.
The first thing you want to do before mopping is to sweep or vacuum the floors that you plan to mop. This will remove larger particles of dirt and debris and will make it much easier to mop. If you do not do this before mopping, your mop water will become dirty very quickly and the mop may not pick up some of the larger pieces on your floor. Pick up things on the floor that you don’t want to get wet, and move objects that would hinder your mopping. For instance, if you want to clean around the baseboards, move your furniture that is pushed against the wall out some so this will be possible.
To begin mopping with a string, fabric or sponge mop, first fill the bucket, or whatever container you’ve decided to use, with water. Two-section units are superior in that one section holds clean water and one is used to wring out the dirty water from the mop. If you are using a plain bucket, you will need to change the water frequently if your floor is very dirty, or you could use two buckets, one for clean water and one for the dirty water.
Check the label on the cleanser you have selected and pour the recommended amount into your bucket; this is usually a small amount such as ¼ cup. If you are using a shine product especially for mopping, you will squirt it directly on the floor instead of pouring it in the bucket. Dip your mop into the bucket and then wring out the excess water. With a cotton string mop or fabric mop, you will have to do this with your hands if you don’t have one with a wringing attachment. With a sponge mop, you can pull the wringing lever and squeeze the sponge to remove excess water.
Start mopping around the edges of the room farthest from you. Make sure you know where you want to be when you’re finished mopping so you don’t mop yourself into a corner and have to step on the wet floor. (If this becomes necessary, you can just mop over your footprints.) Continue mopping until your mop is dirty or dry, then dip it into the water and swish it around to rinse. If you are using two buckets or a two-section bucket, wring the dirty mop into one section and rewet it in the other section.
Continue mopping until you have finished a room, and then repeat the process with each additional room you have to mop. For tough stains on your floor you may have to rub the mop over the spot several times, or use a scrubber of some type. If you have a lot of visible patches of grime, you may want to spray these with cleanser before you start mopping. Some sponge mops have a small scrubber on the end, so you can just turn the mop a bit to scrub dirty spots. You can also purchase separate scrubbers on long handles or smaller ones that fit over your hand.
If your floor was very dirty and you had to use a lot of cleanser for spots, you may have to rinse your floor so it won’t feel sticky when it dries. To do this, rinse your mop in clean water until all the cleanser is rinsed out, then re mop, using only water. Make sure you wring the mop and rinse it frequently as you mop up the excess cleanser off the floor. The shine-type products do not have to be rinsed from your floor.
If you are in a hurry for your floors to be dry, you can dry them with towels, but ordinarily, normal air drying will work fine. If you have fans, turn them on to help with drying. Mopping on a sunny day is best for rapid drying; if you mop on a humid or rainy day it will take longer for your floors to dry.
If you want to mop with a rectangular-shaped mop with disposable pads, just follow the directions on its packaging. These mops will not make your floor as wet as cotton or sponge mops and are convenient to use when you need to touch-up a small area, such as a spill. If you have a large, dirty area to mop, you will need to have several pads so make sure you have a refill box in reserve when you begin. Refill bottles are also available for the spray mops. This type of mop is good to keep around even if you have a more traditional type of mop since it’s very convenient and easy to use.
Frequent mopping will make your floors cleaner and more attractive. Using a disinfectant or antibacterial cleanser can make your floors more sanitary and is important if you have small children toddling around. Learning to mop is an important part of housecleaning, but is very simple if you have the right supplies. Even though some would consider mopping an unpleasant task, the reward of having a sparkling floor makes it a worthwhile endeavor.
How to clean a shower head
Shower heads can become clogged by mineral deposits left by hard water. When this happens, the shower head often spits water out in different directions instead of spraying. If the shower head is severely clogged, you might only get a dribble of water. If this is the case with your shower head, it might be time to clean it.
To begin cleaning your shower head, you first must remove the head. Before you start using the pliers to loosen the head, wrap the chrome parts in a towel or something of that nature. Wrapping the parts in a towel will keep the pliers from scratching the chrome.
In order to clean the shower head once it has been removed, heat vinegar (do not boil) and pour it into a container. Place the shower head in the vinegar and let it soak for 10 to 12 hours. Check the holes on the shower head. If you see that some of the holes are still clogged, use a very thin wire and poke each hole before rinsing. Once you have cleared all of the holes, rinse the shower head vigorously with hot water. For those stubborn mineral deposits, try scrubbing the shower head with a small brush such as a toothbrush.
Gold or brass finished shower heads are coated to protect them from oxidation. If you use anything abrasive, you can ruin the finish on your fixture. To clean these shower heads, aim the shower arm down and rotate the head so the holes face the ceiling. Spray a commercial cleaner or vinegar on the shower head. You will need to let this stand for 15 minutes in order to remove the mineral deposits. Repeat this step if the shower head did not come completely clean. Do not let your fixture soak for more than 30 minutes at a time. If you soak the shower head any longer, the finish on your fixture could be damaged.
If you do not want to take your shower head apart to clean it, you can pour two to three inches of vinegar into a small sandwich bag. You then place the bag over the shower head, tape it in place, and let it soak overnight. Be sure and check the holes to make sure that all are clear from mineral deposits.
There are commercial cleaning products on the market that are also very effective at cleaning the mineral deposits from your shower head. However, these can be quite costly. Vinegar is very cost effective and gets the job done. White vinegar is probably your best choice, but any vinegar will work just as well.
There is one last thing to look for when cleaning your shower head. Look at the parts of the shower head after you have taken them apart. If you notice that the parts are worn looking, it might be time to replace them.
As you can see, cleaning a shower head is not difficult. It does not require expensive equipment or a deep knowledge of plumbing. It can be accomplished while you are sleeping. When you wake up, you have a clean shower head and great water flow for your morning shower.
How to make your home healthier
There's something about a clean, fresh home environment that makes us feel comfortable and healthy. The problem is that it is difficult to sanitize our living quarters adequately enough to stamp out all the billions of germs that live there alongside us.
Microbes, or bacteria, have been on this planet as long as humans have. Invisible to the naked eye, these small life forms have become quite crafty in creeping into the well-kept household. But if you're serious about keeping your house or apartment healthy and safe from our insidious enemy, the following suggestions might prove useful.
1. Buy antibacterial soap. Kids like using the dispenser kind with a pump, so place one in each bathroom of your house. The liquid or gel is great for washing kids' toys, too, as long as you rinse them thoroughly afterward.
2. Wipe counters and cooking areas daily. In the bathroom keep paper towels or use a quick swipe of toilet tissue to keep the sink basin, tub, or shower free of visible grime. Wipe counters free of hair, make-up, drips, or spills to avoid bacterial build-up. In the kitchen, wipe the counter, stove, microwave, and refrigerator quickly after dinner, then place the scrub cloth in the laundry rather or use a paper towel. Consider using antibacterial soap or a non-toxic cleaning compound. Many people use bleach water, but check the container for a safe mixture of this substance.
3. Replace contaminated cleaning materials. Scrub cloths should be washed in hot (not warm or cold) laundry water after each use. Rinse the mop in hot water after scrubbing the floors, replacing the mop head after three months or so. Kitchen sponges can be washed clean after each use for about a month before discarding them. Continuing to use these materials over a longer period of time allows them to become a breeding ground for germs.
4. Protect personal hygiene items. Keep toothbrushes in a container or a drawer. Leaving them on the counter exposes them to the toilet germs that explode into the air after flushing, along with attracting dust and insects. Wash cloths and towels should be replaced after two or three uses. Unused cosmetics should be discarded after a year and replaced with new products. Soak hairbrushes and combs in hot water with shampoo.
5. Clean furnishings and floors regularly. Mop uncarpeted floors weekly and vacuum rugs twice weekly if possible. Wipe or vacuum furniture and draperies monthly. Plan a semi-annual thorough cleaning that lets you wipe down cupboards, closets, bookshelves, walls, garage, and basement, as well as other areas of your home that require routine maintenance.
6. Bathe indoor pets or have them professionally groomed each month. Routinely wash their bedding, food dishes, and grooming supplies.
7. Get rid of toxic chemicals, substances, or cleaners that you no longer need. Opt for environment-friendly products that you can buy or make yourself. Clean out the medicine cabinet to eliminate outdated medicines or prescriptions.
8. Air out your home frequently. Open windows with screens daily for a few minutes, at least, to let the dank air out and the fresh air in. (Supervise children around windows to be sure they don't push through the screens and fall out.) Even in the winter it is a good idea to crack the window a few inches for air flow. Consider a HEPA air filtering system that traps allergens and cleans the air in your home. Research shows that modern insulation materials inhibit good air exchange, so it should be done manually. Children who do not receive access to clean, healthy air but are forced to breathe household air contaminated by cigarette smoke, cooking by-products, toxic cleaners or strong fumes, and animal dander often develop allergies that may eventually lead to asthma.
9. Do laundry weekly. Clean clothes not only make us look and smell better, they keep us healthier, too. Let the kids help sort, wash, and fold clothes to keep laundry from becoming an overwhelming chore.
10. Store food and wash dishes promptly. Food left sitting out for two hours or more can become a harbor for air-borne bacteria. Put leftovers away immediately after eating. Put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher or stack them in the sink after rinsing. Dirty dishes attract insects, which in turn can leave waste that literally can make you sick.
Taking advantage of natural elements like air and water can go a long way in getting rid of unwanted germs. In a few easy steps you can make your home a healthy place for the family's comfort and enjoyment.
How to do family laundry more efficiently
Doing laundry is one of those repetitious chores that seldom seem to get or stay caught up. The multiple tasks associated with washing the family's clothes often get interrupted before the entire process can be concluded.
If you are having trouble getting the laundry done, here are a few tips for organizing the work to get it done on a timely basis.
1. Install a laundry chute in bedrooms or bathrooms. That way everyone can throw dirty clothing down the chute whenever needed and it will all end up together in the basement, where many people have laundry facilities.
2. If a laundry chute is impractical, set laundry hampers in bathrooms or bedrooms. If family members are prone to leaving used clothing lying on the floor, charge them a quarter for each item that doesn't make it into the hamper. Or simply leave that piece of clothing unwashed and when needed, your spouse or child will accept your terms for the next time you wash clothes.
3. On laundry day, tell each person to bring his or her hamper and the bathroom baskets as well to the laundry area. They should also be instructed to place all dirty clothes in the hampers, such as towels currently in use or things that may be laying on dressers or tables, etc.
4. In your laundry area tries to find space for a sorting and folding table. If not, use the tops of the washer and dryer or the floor. Sort soiled clothing by color:
-whites, such as underwear and socks
(Some people include a "bights" pile.)
In addition, start a "delicate" pile for things that should be gently washed. These may include lightweight fabrics or hand washable items.
5. Using the appropriate temperature water, add the right amount of detergent. Don't overdo it as laundry soap can be harsh and may damage fabrics. When the washer begins to fill with sudsy water, add your first load, evenly distributing them around the agitator in the center.
6. Close the lid and do something else. Check your load or listen for the sound of the washer coming to a stop. Switch those items to the dryer and start your next load of laundry.
7. Go through each pile of clothes in the same way. When the first load come out of the dryer folds it immediately to prevent wrinkling and to save ironing time. Place in stacks for each family member and place in a well traveled area so they can pick them up on the way to their rooms and put them away promptly.
Alternatively, you may want to train kids from age twelve or so to handle their own laundry. Show them how to do it the first time or two, and supervise them the next few times, helping as needed. Soon they will be able to complete their own laundry, contributing to a sense of maturity and self-responsibility.
Laundry need not be an overwhelming and dreaded task. Sort the task much as you would the clothing and it will get done promptly.
Removing contact paper from wood
If you have old wooden drawers or cabinets with contact paper in them and have tried to remove the old paper for a new style, or simply because it has become worn with time, then you are probably already aware that getting the old paper off is not an easy task. With a few tips and tricks, however, it can be made simple.
Begin by preparing a work surface for your object. If your drawer bottoms can be removed from the frame of the drawer, it is easier to work with the single piece of wood so that you can really get to the corners. Likewise with a cabinet shelf – if you can remove it, it will make your work immensely easier to handle. Once you have removed the drawer bottom or shelf, clear a large space on the kitchen table or other flat work surface. Be sure that the surface is clean and has been dusted so that you do not end up with any bits of debris or dust sticking to your wood. Cover the surface with newspaper or plain white butcher paper, if available.
Depending on what materials you have available and what you wish to use, you will need some or all of the following materials:
- A razor blade or utility knife
- A few cans of Coca-Cola
- Stiff brush or rough, lint-free cloth
- A hair dryer
- A spray bottle filled with plain water
There are a few easy methods for removing contact paper from these wooden surfaces. We will start with the cleanest: a hair dryer and a spray bottle of water. Though this is the cleanest method for removing contact paper, it is not always the best choice, as it will not remove all of the adhesive backing from the contact paper. However, if the wood has been treated, or if it is visible to the eye when it is placed back in the drawer/cabinet, then this may be the best choice.
Begin this method by heating the contact paper with the highest setting on the hair dryer. Start at a corner of the wood and spray the water onto the piece generously. Carefully peel while heating, and continue until the paper has been pulled back completely. Repeat with water and heat, using a stiff brush to clean the remaining adhesive and sticky residue from the surface of the wood. Allow drying completely without heat to avoid warping, and re-assemble or re-cover the piece.
Coca-Cola and other similar, highly acidic colas can work wonders on removing contact paper adhesive. You may want to use this method if you want to be sure that the entire adhesive is removed, and if you are not overly worried about staining the wood. Although the cola will be rinsed from the piece, there is the potential that the caramel coloring in the soda will soak into and stain the wood.
Using the cola method, we begin by scoring the contact paper generously with the razor or utility knife. Do not cut too deeply; all we need to do is to cut through the paper and into the adhesive. When you are finished scoring the paper, you should have a series of one-inch marks spaced about one-inch apart, covering the entire surface. Next, take your rough cloth (such as a shop towel) and soak it generously in the cola. Do not wring it out. If you do not have a rough cloth, a stiff brush will work. In the case of a brush, pour the cola directly onto the paper. Rub with the soaked cloth, or work the stiff brush over the scores in the paper. Be sure to use a motion that runs perpendicular to the scores in the paper, and it will begin to easily peel back from the wood. Repeat until all of the adhesive has been removed, and then clean thoroughly with plain water until the cola has been removed from the wood. Allow to dry before replacing the piece into the drawer or cabinet.
With just a little bit of thought and planning, even the most difficult tasks can be accomplished easily, including getting that old contact paper out of the way.
Household hazardous waste disposal
The average household is riddled with products that, while easily handled with safety within everyday use, can pose a drastic threat to the ecosystem should it be disposed of improperly. With care, a conscientious person can make a difference in the state of our environment and general health by properly disposing of hazardous wastes from the home through proper methods. Not only are a risk to the world at large, these products often legally mandated to a certain set of disposal regulations which, if not followed, could result in a fine or even incarceration.
Several products found in most homes are hazardous and require proper disposal. Paint, chemical cleaners, pesticides, and several automobile products including degreasers are all among the most often found hazardous products. In truth, anything that is toxic, reactive, flammable, or corrosive should be disposed of properly. The reality of a product's hazards can always, by law, be found on its label.
The easiest way to dispose of a product is simply to use it completely over time. This is not always possible, but when it is, this is a much more economic solution. Not only is there a boon to the environment by doing so, but also to the pocketbook. If, however, this is not an option, there are other ways to deal with a hazardous household good. Giving it away to someone else to use, be it an individual or a non-profit organization, is an excellent way to recycle these wastes, particularly in the case of cleaning supplies and paint.
There are some hazardous items that are easily able to be disposed of with ordinary refuse, such as common batteries. For others, there are alternatives granted by the EPA, should the disposal of these wastes be necessary. Some types of waste always have places to safely accommodate for their disposal, such as automobile fluids and batteries. Even without such sites, there are several guidelines which, if followed, allow for the disposal of hazardous wastes with normal household garbage. Provided there are no specific disposal guidelines on the label of a liquid product, it can be added to sawdust or clay cat litter until there is no standing liquid, resulting in a paste or solid which should then be sealed to ensure no leakage can occur. Typically, it is requested that this disposal be spread out into several collection dates with other household garbage over an extended period of time.
Baring this method, the majority of these items should be kept as they have been, following the directions on the label for safe storage. The only universally appropriate method of disposal is to wait for a community disposal date, usually held annually or biannually in most areas, and deliver the waste to a designated location where it can be properly handled. The dates in which an individual community may be holding such collections are always publicized in local periodicals and released as public service announcements. They can also be found in contacting the city offices.
Given the number of products that are hazardous to us and our environment, it is likely most wise to simply buy what is needed and no more. When the need arises, however, there are plenty of safe, legal options for disposal which require only a little planning and forethought. When in doubt, it is best to contact the local department of environmental protection with any questions related to specific circumstances.
How to clean out the refrigerator quickly
You know it's time to clean out the refrigerator when the odors inside reach you before opening the door. Or perhaps you pull the handle and last night's roast falls out. It may be that you peer in the freezer for several minutes, unable to locate the entree you had planned to thaw for tonight's dinner.
Whatever prompt you may receive, cleaning the refrigerator is one of the least favorite household chores for many people. If you want to get it over with as quickly as possible, try these tips:
1. Set aside a thirty-minute chunk of time when the kitchen will be deserted so no one will get in your way as you scurry between refrigerator and sink or trash can. Get your cleaning materials ready before you start. A sponge or soft cloth, mild soap or detergent, and a gentle mixture of bleach water (read the bottle for directions) should do it. Grab paper towels in case of a spill.
2. Clear the sink area so you can rinse and wash detachable refrigerator parts. Also clear a counter area or stove top near the icebox so you can temporarily set refrigerator containers there as you move things around.
3. Starting with the top rack, quickly sort each item to check its expiration date, size, fill level, and frequency of use. Larger items like gallon-size milk jugs typically should go in the back of the shelf so shorter items can be placed in front for easy viewing. If a milk jug is nearly empty and you can use that space, pour the residue into a cup and drink it or save it for the kids.
4. Remove all items from the top shelf and set on the nearby counter. Wipe the shelf clean with the soft cloth. Then re-wipe with the bleach water, rinsing it off after a moment or two. Do the sides and back of that area next, using the same steps.
5. Discard expired items or leftovers that are unlikely to be eaten. Replace usable items, largest in the back, smaller in the front.
6. Move to the middle shelf and repeat the process. You may need to place condiments in the door shelving or decide to freeze leftovers that are ready to spoil.
7. Do the bottom shelf next. Remove produce drawers and wash thoroughly in the sink. Wipe the exposed area beneath them and apply the bleach water, rinsing it afterward. Replace items in similar order as other shelves. Toss out produce that is turning moldy or wilting.
8. Clean the door shelves after removing condiments and smaller items. Wipe the doors inside and edging before replacing items, discarding dated or unused foods.
9. Closing the door, wipe down the outside of the refrigerator on all sides. Unplug it briefly and vacuum the coils if they are exposed or the back of the unit, if not. If moveable, pull it out and sweep or vacuum beneath.
10. Clear items off the top and wipe that, too. Rinse cloth and empty used water--voila! You're ready to enjoy fresh food from a fresh storage area.
In a matter of minutes you will be able to complete an unwelcome task that will free up more time to do things you enjoy.
How to clean marble and granite tile
Marble is a beautiful stone that is popular in counter tops and flooring. Marble is an alkaline-based stone composed of calcite and calcium carbonate that contains swirls of veining that can absorb stains. It is vulnerable to scratches and dulling by common foot traffic. If using a commercial cleaner, read the ingredients carefully. Acids such as lemon juice and white vinegar can remove the polish from the marble floor or marble counter top if left over an extended period of time. "No-Streak" cleansers that contain high alkaline can dull or damage the finish of the tile. Marble should only be cleaned with neutral pH detergents. Sweep and/or vacuum the marble tile prior to proceeding to make sure it is clean of all surface dirt. Before trying any cleaning solution on your marble tiled floor or counter top, be sure and check an inconspicuous area to determine effectiveness and to make sure you are not going to dull the finish. If you experience a dulled finish to your test spot, the cleanser is too acidic and could etch the marble.
Granite is one of the most popular counter top stones due to its resistance to stain, scratches and cracks. The only thing that will scratch granite is a diamond or another piece of granite. Granite is an igneous rock formed from liquid magma with a chemical composition similar to that of lava. Granite is a very solid and non-porous rock. It carries a very dense grain and is the hardest of all building stones. It is impervious to stain and will carry a high gloss finish when polished. A neutral pH cleanser along with a semi-annual application of a non-yellowing paste wax is recommended for cleaning of granite tile.
To clean a rust stain from your marble or granite tile, you will need to make a paste of a commercial rust remover (CLR is one choice) and powdered whiting, which is available at your local hardware or paint store. Cover the rust stain with a thick coat of the paste. Cover the paste with plastic wrap sealed with masking tape to keep it damp. Let the poultice sit on the rust stain for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse with clean water, rub dry with a clean towel. Repeat if necessary
Organic stains such as tea, coffee or tobacco can be removed from your marble or granite tile by soaking in a 20-percent solution of hydrogen peroxide. Using the same poultice method as the one used in rust removal make your paste with hydrogen peroxide and whiting. Let the covered paste sit on the stain for 24-48 hours before rinsing. If the peroxide is ineffective, substitute mild powdered detergent and begin the process again.
As granite is the hardest building stone available, scratches are not something to worry about. You cannot scratch the surface of granite unless you use something like tungsten and diamond tools; however, marble is prone to scratches. To remove scratches from your marble tile, begin with coarse-grit sandpaper working up to about 320-grit sandpaper. Work the sandpaper back and forth with moderate pressure sprinkling with water to help reduce friction. After removing the scratches, smooth the surface with 400 to 600 grit sandpaper. Apply a mixture of rottenstone and water using a felt pad. After application, use a sponge and clean water to remove the rottenstone and water mixture. Polish the marble with a soft cloth.
Marble: Use only warm water and mild detergent to clean your marble tiled floor. Wring out your mop completely to keep excess moisture from the marble. Completely rub the marble tile dry after cleaning as marble is prone to water spots. Remove your shoes to avoid grinding sand and dirt into the porous surface and damaging the surface of the tile. Wear socks or slippers to keep the oils from the bottom of your feet off the tile. The use of a good marble polish can freshen the marble and may help remove small scratches. The use of a commercial floor machine, polishing pad and polishing compound can restore the floor to a natural high polish. Do not use an acrylic or polyurethane finish as it will not allow the marble to breathe, will show scuff marks, peels and scratches easily. Use only a nylon brush to avoid scratching the marble.
Granite: A mixture of non-siding ammonia or a mild neutral powdered detergent and water are recommended for daily cleaning.
Note of caution: Both marble and granite tile are extremely slippery when cleaned and polished so extra precautions are necessary to eliminate the possibility of accidents.
How to prevent bad smells
In order to keep a swamp cooler maintained properly, it’s best to know its parts and how it works. The cooler is basically a big box, with four vented, removable panels. Each panel holds a pad that absorbs moisture from a water line and a pump that resides near the bottom of the box. There is also a motor and a fan, which serves to push the air inside the box, which has been cooled as much as 20 degrees by the pads, into the house. This is the basic concept of evaporative cooling. It is a very cost-effective way to keep a home cool in low humidity climates, such as New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and parts of southern California.
The first step to keeping evaporative cooled air fresh is to keep the panels clean. The water in the southwestern US tend to be very hard and full of minerals. This causes the panels on the cooler to become encrusted and plugged with calcium deposits as they are exposed to the constant moisture of the pads. At the beginning of the cooling season, clean each panel inside and out with a long-handled, stiff wire brush. These brushes can be purchased at any home improvement store and are often found amongst swamp cooler parts and accessories. Make sure each vent is completely clear of deposits, as this will allow for better air draw.
The next step is cooler pads. There are two basic types: straw pads and synthetic pads (often referred to as “green” pads). They can come pre-cut or in rolls. The rolled type is better because cooler panels can vary in size and rolled pads can be cut to an exact size to fit. Better-fitting pads will allow the cooler to work more efficiently. Straw pads are less expensive, but they have their drawbacks. They are more prone to mold and mildew and therefore odors, and must often be changed two to three times during the cooling season. Straw pads can also contribute to allergy symptoms in sensitive individuals. Green pads, although more costly, are a better option as they last through a whole season, do not promote mildew or odors and are hypoallergenic. One thing to note: if the cooler is turned off for maintenance or because it is not needed, the pads will dry out and will create an unpleasant odor once the cooler is operating again. This is temporary and will go away once the pads are completely moistened. Also, the pads should be removed at the end of the cooling season, or they will dry out and attach themselves firmly to the panels, making them very hard to remove the following year.
While the above-mentioned maintenance is the key, there are products on the market that can be added to the sump water at the bottom of the cooler to prevent bad odors. Some people even add ordinary fabric softener to combat odor, but this is not a good idea, as it tends to clog the pads and water pump, and can lead to a very strong, cloying fragrance in the home that is difficult to eradicate.
With a little time and basic maintenance, a swamp cooler will run smoothly and odor-free.
How to clean leather furniture
Leather furniture is a luxury that many people enjoy. Leather lasts 4 to 5 times longer than upholstered fabric which makes it the most durable, long lasting furniture covering available. It is not easy to burn or melt leather and it is extremely difficult to puncture. Leather is a natural material that breathes which makes it comfortable all year long. It is important that proper care is taken to maintain the beauty and luxury of your leather furniture.
Leather furniture really benefits from a good weekly dusting. The soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner makes a handy leather duster or just run a clean cotton cloth over the furniture. For general cleaning use a gentle, moisturizing soap and a soft cloth, being careful not to saturate the leather. It is not necessary to rinse the soap from the leather after cleaning, just buff it dry with a soft cloth.
Furniture in high traffic areas benefits from a good thorough cleaning at least once every season. This helps remove body oils, perspiration and general soiling. Stay away from solvents not created specifically to clean leather to avoid irreparable damage. Use a soft cotton cloth dampened with good leather cleaner. Run the cloth all over the piece of furniture paying special attention to the skin contact areas like the arm rests and inside backs. Follow with a good leather conditioner made especially for finished leather furniture.
Ink stains may be removed from leather with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Rub the swab over the ink stain and dry with a blow dryer. If this doesn’t completely remove the ink, apply a thick layer of non-oily, non-gel cuticle remover. Leave it on for several hours and wipe off with a damp cloth.
Dark stains from light colored leather can be removed with a paste of 1 part cream of tartar to 1 part lemon juice. Rub the paste onto the stain and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Add another layer of the paste and work it into the first layer. Remove the paste with a damp sponge and moisturizing soap. Buff the leather dry with a soft cloth.
Grease stains can be simply wiped from the leather using a dry cloth. Do not apply water to the grease stain. The spot should dissipate in a short period of time.
Liquid spills should be cleaned from the leather immediately with a clean cloth or sponge. Liquid that is allowed to sit on the leather for an extended period of time will eventually be absorbed.
To protect your leather furniture and keep it from fading, drying out, and cracking, avoids placing it in direct sunlight. Keep your leather furniture at least 2 feet away from any heat source such as a radiator or fire place. To replenish the leather, mix 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts linseed oil. Shake well to mix and apply to the leather in circular motions, covering the entire surface. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes and then buff with a soft cloth. A second buffing may be necessary.
It is important to avoid the use of saddle soap, furniture polish oil, varnish, abrasive cleanser or ammonia water on your leather furniture. And always check for color changes in an inconspicuous part of the furniture before applying any product to the leather
Tips for cleaning ceramic tiles and grout
Ceramic tile are manufactured from refined clay and other materials. Ceramic tiles are normally glazed with a coating of glass to give them a high gloss. Grout is a porous sealant used to fill the spaces between the ceramic tiles that should be treated with a sealer to simplify maintenance and cleaning.
Ceramic floor tile cleaning tips
Daily maintenance of your glazed ceramic floor tiles can be as simple as using a damp mop and warm water. Mop it with a solution of mild detergent and water for heavier cleaning jobs. Rinse the tile thoroughly to remove any detergent residue. Unglazed tiles can be cleaned with a mildly abrasive scouring powder but glazed tiles may be scratched if cleaned with any abrasive cleanser.
If your ceramic floor tile is in the bathroom you may be dealing with a buildup of soap scum. Mix ½ c. packaged water softener with 2 tablespoons rottenstone and 1 cup of hot water. Sponge the solution onto the soap scum and it should come right off. If not, try a solution of 1-2 tablespoons of tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) mixed into 1 gallon of hot water. Rinse the tile thoroughly after cleaning.
A build-up of various stains may cause your ceramic floor tile to look dark. Cover the stain with a full strength liquid laundry detergent and let it soak on the stain for two to three hours. Sponge the detergent off with warm water. If this doesn’t completely remove the stain, scrub the stain with a scrub brush. Rinse thoroughly.
Mildew can be removed from ceramic tile with a solution of chlorine bleach and water. Use a soft bristled brush to agitate the bleach water solution into the grout joints. Rinse the tile thoroughly and treat it with a mildew retardant household spray to prevent further growth.
Chlorine bleach will also remove such stains as ink, blood, mustard, fruit juice and coffee. Apply a solution of bleach and water and let it stand on the stain for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse with clean water. A solution of 10 percent sodium carbonate and water will remove grease from ceramic tile. Rust stains from unglazed ceramic floor tiles may be removed with a solution of 5 percent hydrochloric acid and water. Soak a paper towel with nail polish remover (acetone) and lay it on a nail polish spill. Let the soaked paper towel sit on the spill for a few minutes and then scrape off the softened polish. Steel wool can scour off a minor cigarette burn.
Felt pads on the feet of wooden table legs will help you avoid scratching the tile and will help to maintain the look and beauty of your ceramic floor. If you vacuum the ceramic tile, be careful of any metal or plastic attachments that could scratch the surface.
Grout cleaning tips
White grout can be cleaned with a solution of half hydrogen peroxide and half water. Put the mixture into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the grout. Let the solution sit on the grout for 15 minutes and then spray again. Avoid using this solution on colored grout as peroxide is bleach and will remove the color. Heavier grout stains may require a stronger concentration of straight peroxide applied to the stain. Cover the treated stain with plastic wrap to keep the peroxide from drying out too quickly. If the stain persists, try a mixture of peroxide and baking soda. This mixture will bubble greatly. Once the bubbling has subsided, apply it to the stain and let it sit for several minutes. Spray with more peroxide as it dries out.
Colored grout may be cleaned with shaving cream. Test an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn’t affect the color before applying to the entire surface. After removing the stains from the grout, re-apply a coat of sealer.
Supply and tool comparison
Window washing is an unpopular but necessary chore. Finding the right supplies and tools for your needs can make this an easier and faster task. There are many window and glass cleaners available so it can be hard to choose when you to the store. Below is a comparison of supplies and tools for washing your windows to help you make a more informed decision.
The standard store bought ammonia based window cleaner is one option. This will clean your windows quite well without excessive wiping to remove dirt and smudges. However the ammonia produces a strong odor and studies have been done to suggest these odors are harmful to your lungs with prolonged use.
An alternative to ammonia based cleaners are vinegar based cleaning solutions. Vinegar is a great cleaning agent. It works especially well on any type of greasy build up such as kitchen windows or bathroom windows and mirrors where hairsprays are used. You can easily make your own vinegar cleaning solution. It is made from ingredients probably already in your kitchen and does not have a strong or harmful odor. Home made solutions have the added benefit of being less expensive than store bought cleaners. You will need a clean, average size spray bottle, vinegar, and alcohol. Place one-third cup of vinegar and one-third cup of alcohol in the spray bottle. Fill the remainder of the bottle with water and shake gently to mix. The downside to homemade cleaners is they have a tendency not to evaporate as quickly as store bought ones. It can take longer to wipe the window to a shine with a homemade cleaner. If this is a problem for you, add slightly more alcohol to your spray bottle. If you like the idea of using natural ingredients but do not want to bother with mixing your own there are vinegar based window cleaners on the market. They do not contain ammonia and clean quite well without excessive wiping to clean the window.
Also available are prepackaged window wipes. They are single use cloths saturated in window cleaning solution. They will clean your windows in one quick and easy step. Just wipe the window with the cloth. They are great when you need a fast clean up. The disadvantage is they tend to be more expensive than the other store bought products.
There are several choices in the tools you can use to wipe your windows clean after applying cleaning solution. Most people use paper towels to wipe the window clean. This will work but there are some disadvantages. Cost is one disadvantage because you can use many paper towels to clean all your windows. This is especially true for tough problems like fingerprints and nose prints from pets. Also the fibers can stick to your window leaving you with a fuzzy or streaky window.
Newspaper is a great alternative to paper towels. It is cost effective because you are recycling newspaper that would be thrown out anyway. The newspaper will not leave streaks or fuzzy residue on your windows. Be sure to use only black and white newspaper, the colored paper can leave ink stains on the window.
Another great tool for cleaning windows is a squeegee. You can find these where any cleaning tools and supplies are sold. Just spray the window with solution then run the squeegee over the window in one direction. It will wipe away the solution and dirt and leave a clean dry window without any wiping. This method is less labor intensive especially for very large windows. Also you do not have a pile of paper towels or newspaper to dispose of when you are done. The squeegees also come in different sizes to you can clean large and small windows without a problem. The disadvantage is any tough or built up stains can be harder to remove with a squeegee. These stains may require going back and wiping with the paper towel or newspaper.
You do not have to choose only one method to clean all your windows. A combination of the supplies and tools described above can be used to fit your needs. Bathroom and kitchen windows may need more wiping with paper towels or newspaper to remove tough dirt, while one swipe with a squeegee is all that is required for windows that are not exposed to fingerprints or pets. The prepackaged wipes can work well when all you want is a quick and easy clean up. Cleaning windows becomes less of a chore when you pick the right methods to suit your preferences and budget.
How to clean office silk plants
Silk plants are an attractive office accessory, but only if they are kept clean and dust-free. Silk plant maintenance is simple since they do not need the sun, water and fertilizers real plants require, but cleaning must be done regularly to keep the plants crisp and pretty.
Basic dusting is the most important part of silk plant care. Use either a feather duster or a lamb’s wool duster to brush the loose dust and dirt off of your plant’s stems and leaves on a regular basis. Periodically, use a soft brush attachment with your vacuum to collect heavier deposits of dirt or cobwebs.
Once or twice a year, your plants may require heavier cleaning to maintain their beauty. Before you clean them, you should still remove the dust first so the application of water or cleaner will not turn the layer of dust to mud.
Remember that each silk plant is unique since different types of silk and dyes may be used, and you should test your cleaning solutions on each plant in a hidden area. Always check the care label on your plants since some silks should not ever get wet.
Several manufacturers sell silk plant cleaning sprays, and these generally do a good job when carefully applied to your plant. However, several less expensive cleaning methods work just as well. The first thing to try is plain tap water. Isolate one leaf or petal and run tap water over it gently. Shake it out. If the surface looks glossy and clean, you should be able to use water to clean the whole plant.
Place the plant in a sink, outdoors or on any water-friendly surface. Gently spray water from a faucet or pour water from a large cup, washing each part of the plant without saturating it. Make sure whatever the plant is resting in is water resistant as well. Spanish moss will dry if it is washed along with the plant, but crumpled paper should be removed before you clean the plant. Once you are done washing the plant, shake it gently to remove any excess water and fluff and arrange the leaves. Set it in a sunny spot to dry more quickly. When it is completely dry, it should be as good as new.
If you do not have a place you can pour water over the plant, spray water gently on the leaves and wipe them dry with a soft towel or cloth.
For extremely dirty plants or plants with stains, add either a small amount of dishwashing liquid or white vinegar to your water solution. Spray the plant with this solution, then gently wipe with a soft cloth. Follow up with a spray of clean rinse water. Soap residue will attract dust and dirt quickly, so make sure the plant is well-rinsed. For a stain or problem area, apply the dishwashing or vinegar solution with a soft toothbrush, gently agitating the spot. Stronger cleaners are likely to damage the silk, so simply spend more time with the gentle cleansers on stubborn stains
Ideas for cleaning marble floors tile and counter tops
The beauty of a marble floor, imported tile and marble countertop is unsurpassed by anything. Ancients used marble in building temples and castles. Modern millionaires lined their hallways with it. Marble is a stone which, throughout the ages, has been noted not only for its strength and durability, but also for its beauty and character. Nothing invokes exclamations of appreciation like marble or granite, unless of course, it is not maintained, in which case you may find yourself with nothing but a heavy burden.
The main thing to understand about marble is that it, like granite, is a natural substance, which is porous.
Porous materials act like a sponge, soaking up any liquid poured on it. This is why one of the first things to do when selecting marble or granite as a building material is to ask if it will be sealed before installation. It is well worth the additional cost, if any, to protect your surface. Even though you may think marble is indestructible, it is not immune to stains and chips.
When cleaning a marble surface, first use either a soft bristle broom or a cleaning cloth based mop to remove any loose dirt or dust from the surface. Never use lemon, vinegar, or other acids, regardless of their strength. These can damage your surface irreparably. This includes orange or lemon-based soaps. Plain mild dish detergent is best-and rinses easiest. Ammonia and ammonia based products, while doing a good job at getting your marble clean, can dull the surface over time. Pay special attention to spills, especially oil-based spills, such as olive oil on a countertop. Try and clean these immediately with mild soap and water.
After the surface has been cleaned of all loose dust and dirt, use a soft, lint free cloth to wipe any prominent spots, taking extra care with oil-based spills. Use a sponge mop for floors. Use a large sponge or squeegee for countertops and tile. Rinse often. Clean surfaces with soap and water, making sure to rinse thoroughly. Do not leave soap residue on surface, as it will dry and cloud the luster of the surface.
Do not become alarmed if dark wet spots appear on the floor or countertop. As we mentioned earlier, marble is porous, and this is common, especially in surfaces which have not been professionally sealed. The spots will dry, usually in twenty minutes to an hour.
After your surface has been thoroughly cleaned and rinsed of any soap residue, you may want to use a commercial product to shine your surface. These products are easily available in most hardware stores. Check the label to make certain that the cleaner is for your type of surface, and ask the store clerk for assistance. Remember, it is preferable to ask a question than to damage your surface. Always use a clean cotton cloth to shine your surface, and remember, oil spills should always be cleaned immediately.
With care, marble is one of the most beautiful ways to complement your home. Keep it clean, and the compliments will keep coming
The benefits of cast iron cookware are many. Unlike nonstick or aluminum cookware, cast iron will last forever when properly cared for. It provides even heat distribution, and it is oven and broiler safe. Cast iron can even be used on an outdoor grill for high temperature deep fat frying.
Cast iron cookware is available in many sizes and shapes; there are skillets of every size, stockpots, saucepans, Dutch ovens, and molds for making corn bread sticks.
Although cast iron is sturdy, it does require special care. A brand new cast iron skillet or other cookware item must be prepared and properly “seasoned” before using it for the first time. This is a very important process that must be done before using your new cookware. Begin by washing the item to be seasoned in hot soapy water. Dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Next coat the entire cast iron item with a thin glaze of vegetable shortening. Place the item on a sheet of aluminum foil in a 350-degree oven for approximately one hour. Seasoning new cast iron cookware provides a tough nonstick surface. This surface not only keeps foods from sticking, it helps protect the item from moisture that can cause rust.
When frying food in a cast iron skillet, always heat the oil first to prevent food from sticking. Doing so will also help prevent foods from absorbing too much oil during preparation. To check if cooking oil is hot enough for frying foods, add a drop or two of water. If the water sizzles and evaporates on contact, it is ready for use.
Do not prepare acidic foods such as tomato-based sauces in cast iron cookware. The naturally occurring acid will remove the nonstick surface.
If the nonstick surface of your cast iron cookware is removed, season the item using the same method you did when it was new. A cast iron item that is well seasoned will have a smooth black finish. The longer it has been used, the darker it will become. If your cookware is well cared for it will become more and more nonstick as you use it.
Clean your cast iron cookware by wiping off excess food and oils using paper towels. Wash them using plain hot water and a dishrag. Stuck on foods can be gently removed using a scratch pad and hot water. Never use soap to clean cast iron cookware. It will damage the nonstick surface, and it will absorb the soap and cause the foods you cook to taste like soap.
Thoroughly dry cast iron cookware after washing it. Even minute amounts of moisture will cause it to rust. Make sure your cookware is completely dry by setting it on a hot burner for 5 minutes or until all traces of water have evaporated.
Before storing cast iron skillets, apply a thin layer of shortening to the inside surface. Cover the interior of each skillet with a paper towel, and stack them accordingly. Never store cast iron cookware with lids on. They require air in order to stay free of moisture and rust.
Rusty cast iron skillets can be salvaged. Begin by scrubbing them with fine-grade steel wool. Wash and rinse the item, and dry it completely. Apply an even coating of shortening to the entire item, and season it as instructed previously. If necessary, repeat this process.
Cast iron skillets are great for broiling foods such as chicken, steaks, fish, and other meats. They are also great for melting cheese on omelets, and for browning the tops of deep-dish pizzas. Cornbread is excellent when baked in a cast iron skillet. The edges are crisp, while the inside is moist and tender.
You’ll find that you love your cast iron kitchen items. Fried foods are crispier and full of flavor. You’ll also love saving money. You’ll never again have to spend money to replace worn out nonstick cookware.
How to take care for granite counter top
So you’ve agonized over the decision to go with natural stone or solid surface and finally decided on granite for its variations and natural beauty. You’ve pondered whether to use a light or dark color, subtle variations or more noticeable ones. The granite counter tops are finally cut and installed and they are everything you hope they would be. They enhance your kitchen, making it the preparation, dining and entertaining room of your dreams. So how do you care for your new counter top?
A granite counter top is a significant investment in your home, so it is only right that you should protect and care for it in the proper manner. Granite is a beautiful stone that will last for a very long time, perhaps even a lifetime, if taken care of effectively.
After the granite counter tops are installed in your kitchen, it is very important to do several things. The first thing is to clean the granite thoroughly with a neutral ph cleanser made for stone. Your cabinet installer or contractor should be able to recommend a good brand of stone cleanser; if not, go to your local Home Depot or other home center, and they can recommend one to purchase for your granite counter tops.
When you have cleaned the installation dust and debris from your new counter tops, the next step is the most important to do before using your new counter tops. You must seal the granite. A sealer can be recommended by your contractor or picked up at the same place you get your cleanser. Sealing provides a protective barrier against surface staining and etching. Another advantage of the sealant is that it enhances your color and adds to the shine and beauty of your new counter tops. Sealing should be done at least every six months, although your contractor may suggest doing it more or less often. It is a good idea to make sure that you seal the areas in which you use a lot of water, such as by the sink, and areas where there is a lot of grease, such as by the stove, more often. The sealant is very durable, but you don’t want to take chances with natural granite counter tops that probably cost you a significant amount of money.
Another tip about granite counter top care is to clean up spills right away. You do not want to let spills sit on the granite and perhaps leave a stain. It is fairly unlikely that a stain will occur if you are using your sealer often enough, but it is still a good idea to wipe up any food or grease stains immediately.
All in all, granite counter tops are one of the easiest counter top surfaces to take care of. They only need cleaning and the occasional sealing to make them beautiful and to make them last. So take care of your counter tops and they will be an investment you are proud to have in your home and a major selling point if you ever decide to move.
30 spots to clean every 5 years
Everybody has spots in their home that just never seem to get clean. They’re not a high enough priority to clean regularly, so they just become neglected and then forgotten. And then they get so gross and disgusting you don’t want to think about cleaning them.
The solution to this quandary is to remember them often enough that they don’t get out of control. Many of these spots can go for several years without much attention. So here they are: 30 spots to clean every five years.
1. Box springs. You probably never think about your box springs, but they can get dusty and collect things that have been thrown into the air from the vacuum cleaner. Take the top mattress off and using a brush attachment, vacuum the top, sides, and underside of your box spring. You just might sleep a little better knowing it’s clean.
2. Refrigerator coils. Your refrigerator will run more efficiently if its working parts are not quite so dusty. Pull the refrigerator out from the wall and then, using your brush attachment again, vacuum the dust from every crevice you can find. Detach the vent from the front and vacuum there, too.
3. Floor beneath refrigerator. While you have the refrigerator pulled out, vacuum the floor underneath it and collect all the magnets that have fallen under there. Then wash and dry the floor before you push it back to the wall.
4. Floor vents. Floor vents collect a lot of dust. Pull them up from the floor and wash them in warm, soapy water. Make sure you dry them thoroughly before putting them back.
5. Window screens. Take the window screens out of the window frames and hose them down on a sunny day. Make sure you wipe the window frames before you put them back.
6. Down spouts and rain gutters. This job should probably be done seasonally. Brush all the leaves and gunk out of the gutters and flush the down spouts. You could end up with a leak somewhere in the house if these get too stopped up.
7. Clothes dryer. Take the lint screen out and vacuum the area beneath (or behind) it. Give the entire outside of the dryer a good scrub. Also, disconnect the tube that leads from the dryer to outside and give that a good vacuum, too.
8. Washing machine. Minerals from your water can build up in a washing machine just like they do on your bathroom fixtures. Use a vinegar solution to wipe down the inside of the washing machine, and don’t forget the receptacles that hold the detergent at the beginning of the load.
9. Laundry room floor. Move your washer and dryer and thoroughly clean the floor underneath.
10. Attic. Take a broom up with you and get rid of cobwebs and dust. Throw out anything you have stored up there that really should go.
11. Books. Books should be cleaned from time to time. The dust can make the paper deteriorate faster, and they collect a musty smell. Using your ever-handy vacuum attachment, vacuum the tops and sides of the books.
12. Polish/wax bookshelves. While you have the books off, give your bookshelves some TLC. Polish or wax the wood and give the shelves a little breather (and time to thoroughly dry) before replacing the books.
13. Range. Hopefully, you’re cleaning your stove and oven more than every five years. But pull that thing out from the wall and give the back and underside a good scrub.
14. Floor beneath the range. Vacuum and wash and dry the floor before replacing the range.
15. Air ducts. You’ll probably need to call in a professional for this job. Get someone to clean all the air ducts in your house, especially if you have allergies.
16. Furnace. A routine furnace inspection can save you a lot on your heating bill. While the furnace technician is making sure everything is okay, he’ll clean up the furnace as well.
17. Chimney. If you use the fireplace often, you’ll have to do this job more often than every five years to avoid creosote fires. If you use it only occasionally, though, you can go for much longer.
18. Linen closet. Take everything out of the linen closet, throw out unused linens, and give those shelves a good scrub. Make sure the shelves are dry before you put the linens back.
19. Fence. Check all of the joints of your fences. If there has been settling in the posts, correct any strange angles. If your fence is stained or painted, re-stain and re-paint as needed.
20. Deck. Check deck for splintering wood or nails that stick out. Send as necessary. Pressure washes the wood and then re-stains.
21. Broom. Brooms do an awful lot of dirty work. Once in a while, wash your brooms with soap and water to keep things under control.
22. Silver. Pull out the silver and give it a good polish. If you use it regularly, silver won’t need as much maintenance.
23. Entertainment center. All those cords back there get pretty dusty. Pull everything out from the wall, vacuum up the dust, wash the cords (after you’ve unplugged them), wash the baseboards, and arrange the cords so they’re not a tangled mess. Then push the unit back to the wall.
24. Fire extinguisher. Check your fire extinguisher to make sure it works and replace it if it doesn’t.
25. Ceilings. Lay down drop cloths as if you were going to paint. Mix a mild detergent with water in a bucket and have another bucket filled with water close by. Wash a couple square yards at a time and then rinse that area before moving on. If your paint can’t tolerate such treatment, just paint the ceiling.
26. Walls. Use the same technique for washing walls as you did for the ceilings.
27. Wallpaper. Vacuum wallpaper. If it’s really dirty, test an inconspicuous place before you wash with soap and water as water can make the wallpaper peel off in some cases.
28. Curtain rods. Take down the curtains during one of their regular cleanings and then wash the rods.
29. Shower curtain. If it’s a vinyl curtain, wash with a cleaner that kills mold and mildew, such as bleach. Most cloth curtains can be washed in the washing machine.
30. Toilet brushes. If you’ve had your toilet brush for five years, yuck, just throw it away and get a new one
How to get rid of fleas in carpet
If you have a dog or cat, chances are that you will have a flea problem at some point. Because the little critters multiply so rapidly, getting rid of them can be extremely difficult. Luckily, there are steps you can take to minimize your misery. Read on to find out how to free your carpets of fleas…for good.
The single most effective way to battle fleas in your home is to vacuum frequently, including all of the carpet (that includes under the furniture), upholstered furniture and long curtains or drapes. In the early stages of infestation, you should vacuum almost constantly. (This means every day!) Once the problem is under control, once or twice a week should be enough.
There are a few things you can do to maximize your vacuuming time. First of all, it helps to place a flea collar in the vacuum bag before you begin. Additionally, you should spend extra time working over areas in which your pet spends a lot of time. Finally, throw away the vacuum bag every time you vacuum. This may seem extreme, but fleas can easily escape from the bag. Seal it carefully and dispose of it somewhere outside of your house.
You should also regularly clean all of your rugs and/or mats. Wash them in warm water, and dry them thoroughly. (Fleas thrive in moist areas.) If your rug requires professional cleaning, you may want to wait until the problem is under control before returning the rug to its place.
There are also a number of products available that will help rid your carpet of fleas. Such products are widely available over the counter, but you can visit your vet for something even more potent. Foggers or misters work by spraying a flea-killing product into the air. Sprays, on the other hand, offer a little more control, and can get those hard-to-reach places (under the couch, for example). Whatever product you use should contain both pesticide and insect growth regulator. The first takes care of the fleas themselves, while the latter prevents eggs from hatching.
If you aren’t interested in buying specialty products, Borax, an all-purpose cleaning powder, is an effective household remedy. To begin, sprinkle the powder on the carpet. Next, you should brush the powder into the carpet; use a mop or a broom to really work it into the fibers. Wait a day or so before you vacuum. Don’t worry—the powder will not harm your pet.
Of course, treating the carpets is only one aspect of a complete flea control plan. You should also address the fleas in your yard and, most importantly, in your pet. There are a number of products available for dealing with both; consult your vet or someone at your local pet supply store.
Still can’t get your flea problem under control? You may have to turn to a professional. Exterminators are generally very effective, especially when combined with the techniques listed above. Have your exterminator visit regularly if it is within your budget; otherwise, a one-time visit followed by your vigilance should do the trick.
10 essential laundry tips for college freshman
For some of us, laundry was something that we never had to do until we went away to college. While living at home, it was easy to let someone else, rather it was a parent, sibling, relative or friend perform those not so popular duties for us. Now that college is a new experience, laundry is generally the last thing that comes to mind. After attending classes all week, most students want to relax on the weekend and have fun with their friends so who has time for laundry right? Well, fitting time into your schedule for laundry is not as hard as it seems. The latter statement also applies to those who dread laundry because they don’t know how to do it. Laundry can be made easy with these ten essential steps.
1. Wash during non-peak hours. This is recommended for students who live in traditional dorms. Usually, a traditional dorm consists of a small laundry facility to accommodate over 200 students. If you wash late at night or during the week as opposed to Sundays or in the midst of the day, it might be easier to get it done quickly.
2. Use off-campus laundry mats if necessary. Although on-campus laundry facilities are cheaper than public laundry mats, sometimes no matter what time of day, all the machines may be in use with other students standing around waiting to wash. This is unlikely, but if it happens, you could wait and wash another time or use a public laundry mat. The advantage to a public laundry mat is that they have larger facilities and clothing seems to dry faster with the large size industrial dryers.
3. Save plenty of quarters throughout the week for washing. It is helpful to already have change available to do laundry because it could be easier to put it off if change is not readily available. In addition, if there is a change machine near the laundry room, don’t rely on it to have change or work effectively.
4. Never leave clothes unattended. Some students may find it easier to place their clothes into the machines and come back later. However, if this method is followed, it is likely that your clothes won’t be there upon your return. Also, unattended clothing can get removed from the machines by other students and placed aside especially if there is a lack of availability.
5. Bring something to do while you wait. Since it is highly recommended not to leave clothes unattended while washing, find something else to do to keep occupied while waiting helps reduce boredom.
6. Wash once a week if possible. Students should try to bring enough clothing with them when going away to college. This way, they don’t have to worry about washing more than once a week just to have something presentable to wear.
7. Be sure to separate colors. This step is essential because if it is not followed, dark colored clothing will bleed and ruin light colored clothing.
8. Remember to change the water temperature. All white clothes should be washed in hot water and you can add bleach if desired. Clothing with color should generally be washed in warm water, however, be sure to read the tag for washing directions because it varies.
9. Don’t overload the dryer. Overloading can result in overspending because clothes simply will not dry quickly if the dryer is too full.
10. For large loads of laundry, get a sizeable duffle bag. A duffle bag is helpful for students who live in traditional dorms, depending on the college; because often the laundry rooms are centrally located that means a lot of walking may take place. If a large bag is handy, it will prevent extra visits to the laundry room to bring clothes that couldn’t be carried in one trip.
These 10 easy steps mentioned are from personal experience and they are not exclusive. Students should try different methods and stick with what works best for them and their current situations.
How to make a home dust collector
One hazard of woodworking is the dust, not to mention the mess! Once the dust is in the air it’s virtually impossible to clear the air, your lungs, your eyes, and even your mouth completely. There are many places that have classified all wood as potentially carcinogenic, meaning that it could possibly cause cancer. In addition to serious health problems wood particles in the air can also cause less serious health issues such as irritated eyes, skin irritation, nausea, and many other illnesses. It is a good idea to know what kind of wood you are working with so you can be sure to take all the appropriate precautions since some woods tend to cause more issues than others. In addition to a dust collector it may be wise to invest in a respirator if you rely on woodworking for a living, or do a lot of sanding.
There are numerous costly fixes for the problem of dust in the air, but many people who are just starting up or who just don’t have the extra funds cannot afford such luxuries and must revert to homemade remedies. There are some more high tech home remedies that will run you a few hundred dollars when all is said and done, although they may not run as effectively as you hope. Even those who can afford more expensive retail dust collectors could benefit from something homemade to help clear the air further. Some may find simple homemade projects remove the dust just as effectively as those that are sold in retail stores, or that they work quite well in conjunction with what they have already purchased.
A simple and quite inexpensive way to make your own dust collector is to take an ordinary box fan found at your local super center, generally for twenty dollars or less, and fit a standard furnace filter to the back of the fan. You can secure the filter to the fan with straps, bungee cords, large rubber bands, or a home made frame assembled from some scrap wood and nails fit to the size of the fan and filter.
Simply placing this dust collector behind your work piece or workstation will keep much of the dust from getting in the air before it is ever airborne, obviously eliminating a lot of the problem. The dust will simply collect on the filter and this can be dumped into a bag and tossed out as needed. Placing more than one dust collector in your environment will help collect even more of the very fine dust that is most hazardous to your health, and subsequently clean the air further. This set-up is very effective and will help remove much of the dust from the air, but again, if you intend to be in the dust all day every day or you do a lot of sanding it is advisable to invest in a respirator and something that will take even the smallest fragments of wood out of the air, as those are the ones that carry the most risk to your health. This simple, yet cost effective dust collector should help take the mess out of your woodworking experience! Enjoy and breathe easier!
If you have white spots on your wooden furniture, you should work hard to remove the white, cloudy film or your wood can be permanently damaged.
*Rub the surface of the wood with a soft cloth that has been dipped in one half cup of ammonia and water.
*Wipe the furniture dry immediately and polish.
*If the white spots are still visible, use 3/0 steel wool and olive oil and rub lightly with the grain of the wood, then wax.
*For very deep spots, rub cigarette ashes into the wood.
*If the white spots still remain, you will have to strip off the old finish.
Some ways to remove odors from wood furniture are: filling the drawers with ground coffee and leaving it over night, using baking soda and leaving it in for several days, using cat litter and leaving it in for several days or placing the item outside in a shady spot on a breezy day.
Recipe for homemade wood furniture cleaner: In a pump spray bottle, place 1 teaspoon of light olive oil and half a cup of white vinegar. Shake well. This is as effective as any store bought product, yet is far more economical.
If possible, remove water rings from wood furniture while they’re fresh by rubbing with a soft cloth. If water rings are set, you can apply an oil-based furniture polish. There are several other techniques you can try. You can apply mayonnaise liberally over the water ring and leave overnight, then wipe off with a soft dry cloth the next day. You can also try applying a small amount of non-gel toothpaste and baking soda to a damp cloth, then rub the stain lightly. Another technique is to apply a paste of cooking oil and salt, wait 15 minutes, then wipe off and polish as usual.
To remove paint from leather furniture, try wiping the area with rubbing alcohol or turpentine. Try both of these in a non-visible area on the leather first, to ensure that they will not remove the dyes or harm the leather. You can also try cleaning the area with saddle soap, which will not harm the leather, or spray the stains with Armor All, which is also safe on leather.
Raw pine is soft and if it has not been sealed, it will get dirty very fast. If you have dirt and stains on your raw pine, you can use most any liquid cleanser to rid the wood of the dirty buildup. However, you should use the liquid cleaners sparingly. They can soak into the raw wood and stain it.
Another outlet is to purchase something known as a crumbly cleaner. This is a dry cleanser that feels much like putty. You can rub it on your raw pine without harming the color or condition of the wood.
The only other outlet you have to remove stains from raw pine is to sand it.
Since the smell of smoke lingers in carpets, upholstery and curtains, you will need to tackle these areas to eliminate the smell of cigarette smoke. You will need to either wash these items, or if you would like a quicker fix, you can try a commercial odor remover. Once the odor is removed, you can try leaving a small container of vinegar in each room to keep it smelling fresh. If you have smokers in your house, you can keep several candles burning while they are smoking, and covering the bottom of ashtrays with baking soda also helps. Nothing replaces fresh air, so whenever possible, open up the windows.
To remove odors from a drawer or cabinet, you can fill the drawer with ground coffee and leave it overnight, use baking soda and leaving it in for several days, use cat litter and leave it in for several days or place the drawer outside in a shady spot on a breezy day. If the odor persists, you can carefully place a bowl of bleach in the empty drawer or cabinet, close the drawer or cabinet and let it sit for a few days, then carefully remove the bowl of bleach.
If we're not careful with our beverages, we can cause damage to those things that mean the most to us. Before you put a beverage down on an antique table, be sure to use a coaster or you risk leaving a water mark behind on the wood. If this has happened to you, cleaning antique furniture of these marks if you act quickly. You have several options for removing water marks from wood. Mayonnaise left on the stain over night is usually enough to remove the stain as is white, non-gel toothpaste. If you can get to the mark immediately, try to dry it with a hair dryer first. If you're unsure about using any of these products on your wood, test it on a hidden area before you go about this type of house cleaning.
For a cigarette burn that hasn’t penetrated the wood finish, make a thin paste of pumice and boiled linseed oil and apply it to the burned area. Wax or polish, working with the grain of the wood.
To remove dirt and grime from wicker furniture washes with a solution of 2 tablespoons of ammonia in 1 gallon of water. Use a toothbrush in hard to reach places. Rinse well. Air dry.
To prevent yellowing, wash wicker furniture with a warm salt water solution.
To add shine to wooden furniture, rub it with vinegar before polishing.
Condensation from a glass can easily be treated with clean water. In this case, a stain results because water has dried in the middle of a piece of leather, leaving a clear line of separation. Wet the entire area out to a seam or edge. Soak a new sponge in a bowl of room temperature water. Wring it as dry as possible. Start at the spot of the water stain, dampening the leather until you reach the edges of the cushion. Wet the leather less and less as you get further from the water spot. Do not scrub, just wipe. Condition the leather after it has dried. Other liquid stains can be treated in the same manner, but may require professional treatment.
Sofa cushions are very absorbent so you will most likely not be able to remove all of the perspiration from inside the sofa. However, assuming your sofa can be cleaned with water (check the tag), you can try to remove the outer stain using white vinegar and a clean, dry, white cloth. Blot (do not rub) the stain, working from the outside of the stain to the center, so as not to spread the stain. Follow the vinegar with either upholstery cleaner or mix 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent in a quart of warm water. Beat with a mixer, and clean the furniture using only the suds. Work on a small area at a time, overlapping areas to avoid spotting. Change the rinse water frequently to keep it clean. Use a fan to thoroughly dry the furniture.
Alcohol has a tendency to dissolve most finishes, so blot the spot immediately, then put a few drops of ammonia on a damp cloth and wipe the area. If the spot still remains, make a thin paste of boiled linseed oil and rottenstone, and rub it into the stain with your finger. Wax or polish.
To remove heat rings from wood furniture, massage mayonnaise into the marks and leave it on overnight. The next morning, wipe off the mayo and the marks should be gone. You can also use petroleum jelly, butter or margarine. If you have a really stubborn spot, mix cigarette ashes or rottenstone (available at the hardware store) with the mayo and repeat the above procedure.
There are a few things to try when attempting to remove crayon marks from woos furniture. First, try cleaning with Murphy’s Oil Soap. This should remove the crayon without harming the finish. If not, try mineral spirits, which should also be safe on the finish. WD-40 or Avon Skin-So-Soft should also work, but test on a non-visible area first. Non-gel toothpaste should also be a safe alternative. If all else fails, try applying a little heat from a hair dryer to soften the crayon, then blot with paper towels.
To conceal scratches in your wooden furniture, try using your child’s crayons. Select the right color and melt a small amount. Work the melted wax into the scratch or nick until concealed. Or break the meat of a brazil nut, black walnut, or pecan in half and rub it into the scratch.
You can vacuum your velour furniture regularly with upholstery attachment tools, but other than that, I would recommend that you get your chair professionally cleaned if it requires more than that. Velour will change its appearance and shape if you wet it down with washing, and the dye may leach. Most professionals will either steam-clean, dry-clean or foam-clean it - be sure to ask them what they recommend. I would also recommend that you get them to apply a stain-resistant guard on the chair after it is cleaned.
To remove polish build-up, mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Rub furniture with a soft cloth that has been moistened with the solution. Dry immediately with a clean cloth.
To remove urine stains and odor from leather, use a mild dish detergent and water. If you can, first remove the cushion and the stuffing. Using a clean, absorbent cloth, blot up any excess urine. Mix 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish detergent in a quart of warm water. Beat with a mixer. Clean the furniture using only the suds. Do not over wet the leather. Using a new sponge, soak the sponge and wring it out as much as you can. Then using only the suds, wash the entire area. Wipe, do not scrub. If you were able to remove the stuffing, you can scrub the underside of the leather and then use a towel to help dry the area. Using another new sponge and clean water, wipe the entire surface of the leather while it is still damp to remove as much of the detergent as possible. Wash the stuffing if you can, then place it back in the cushion, leaving a dry towel between the stuffing and the leather until it is all thoroughly dry.
How to clean a toilet
Cleaning a toilet is one of the jobs in our home that all of us would rather avoid, but it is also the one that can be least avoided. Known as one of the potentially dirtiest appliances in the home, the toilet must be cleaned weekly, if not more often. If small children live in the home, especially small boys, the toilet may need a brush up cleaning every day, or even several times per day. Sometimes having a box of handy wipes or baby wipes nearby can help with daily accidents or mistakes, but in the end, the toilet must be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week. This will keep it looking clean, smelling fresh, and it will prevent any build up from forming.
The tools needed to clean a toilet are a toilet brush with a long handle, a toothbrush, an abrasive cleaner like Ajax or Comet, a porcelain cleaner (a countertop or sink cleaner, such as Fantastic or 409 will do), and some paper towels or cleaning rags.
Begin by removing any extra items on the toilet: the seat cover, the tank cover, the rug around the base, and any miscellaneous items that may sit on the tank for decoration. Once the toilet is free and clear of all accessories, flush the toilet once, and then begin by opening the lid and raising the seat. Shake some of your abrasive cleaner into the bowl. With the toilet brush, scrub the inside of the bowl, covering every nook and cranny: all around the bowl, up under the rim, and down into the drainage hole. When you’ve finished scrubbing, do not flush, but let it sit. Put the abrasive cleaner away but leave your toilet brush in the sink for later use.
Next take your spray cleaner and spray all around the rim. Then, with the seat still raised, spray all over the underside of the seat, and then quickly close the seat. Do not wipe anything yet. Next spray the top of the seat and the underside of the lid in the same way, quickly closing the lid after spraying. Once the lid is closed, spray the top of the lid and then the sides of the tank, the lid of the tank, and all around the sides of the bowl and the base. This entire process will only take a minute or two. When you are finished spraying, the entire toilet, inside and out, will be wet and probably dripping a bit, with spray cleaner.
Next you will start wiping. Paper towels are ideal because they can be thrown away, but many people prefer cleaning rags. Whichever you choose, begin at the top and work your way down, but only do the outside; you’ll move to the inside of the bowl momentarily. Wipe down the top and sides of the tank, the lid over the seat, the sides of the bowl, the base, and any area of the floor that might have gotten wet during the spraying. If you find it difficult to clean around the knobs at the base, the base rim, or the hinges where the seat is attached, uses the toothbrush to loosen any dirt or debris, and then simply wipe it with your paper towel.
Once the outside is sparkling clean, open the lid and wipe the underside first. Then move to the seat, wiping it thoroughly, and then raise the seat and wipe its underside. Again, for cleaning the hinges or knobs, use the toothbrush, if necessary. Wipe the rim and then check the entire toilet to make sure you’ve covered everything. At this point, take your toilet brush and give the inside of the bowl another once-over. The abrasive cleaner will have had time to do its work and the bowl should now be completely clean. Put all your tools away and put accessories back where they belong.
If this is done at least once weekly, there should rarely, if ever, be a problem with odors or build up. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it!
How to clean good china
Formal occasions and holiday dinners are special times that warrant breaking out the good China. Nothing makes an occasion more special than elegant place settings, especially if they’re treasured heirlooms or wedding china.
There are many people who never move their china from inside the dining room cabinet because they’re afraid of breaking or chipping a piece while cleaning. This shouldn’t be the case. What’s the use of having beautiful china if you can’t share it with friends and relatives?
With proper care, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to use your good china on a regular basis. Read on for tips on caring for and cleaning fine china:
- China scratches easily. To protect your china when stacking, place a coffee filter, paper towel or piece of felt between each piece.
- When placing china pieces next to each other, always allow about a half inch or so between the pieces to prevent chipping and breakage. If placing plates in a standing position, use plate holders to help prop them up. Otherwise, you run the risk of their rolling over and breaking.
- Hang cups on hooks rather than storing them inside of each other, which can cause damage.
- If you will be storing your china, place each piece in a zip lock bag.
- To prevent scratches, use only a rubber spatula to scrape food from china into the trash. Never use metal utensils or spatulas to clean china.
- Before placing china in the sink for cleaning, place a dishtowel or other form of padding on the bottom of the sink.
- Some china can be washed in the dishwasher. Use a mild detergent and set the dishwasher to the “china” or “fragile” setting.
- Before removing china from the dishwasher, let it cool completely. China becomes very hot in the dishwasher.
- When loading china into the dishwasher, make sure none of the dishes touch, and there’s no way for them to roll around and break.
- Never place china with gold leaf or other gold adornments in the dishwasher or microwave. The heat can soften or melt the metal.
- Never wash china with any type of abrasive, brush, or scouring pad. Use a sponge or a cloth.
- Use lukewarm water for washing and avoid detergents with any type of bleaching agent, including lemon.
- China should be stored in a cool dry setting. Never store any place where it will be exposed to extreme heat.
When it comes to caring for good china, common sense should prevail. You don’t have to treat it too gingerly. China is pretty durable after all, but compared to your basic table ware, it’s a bit more fragile. Don’t bang your china on the table; place it gently. Don’t slide plates on tope of each other; place them softly. Keep a good grip on your china pieces when washing the dishes as soap can cause them to be slippery.
This isn’t to scare you away from your china. By all means, use it. China is meant to be enjoyed, not collect dust in a cabinet.
Removing grass stains from clothing
If your children love to play outside, there’s a good chance you’ve had to contend with grass stains. Green and unsightly, grass stains can be difficult to remove if you don’t act quickly. In most cases, the grass acts as a dye, permeating into the fabric and pretty much ruining it if it’s not cleaned properly or tended to in a timely manner.
So, what’s the best way to contend with grass stains? Quickly! As soon as possible, remove the offending item of clothing. It’s important to pre-treat the stain prior to machine washing. First, use a sponge and blot the stain with water for a minute or two to soften. Soak the stain with a commercial laundry pre-treating agent, rubbing alcohol or vinegar. There’s a chance the stain might not totally be removed by any of these products, but at the very least, it will fade so it’s barely noticeable. Let the pre-treating agent sit on the stain for a few hours. Overnight is ideal. It’s important to note, however, that rubbing alcohol should never be used on wool or silk garments. Take care to read the label to be sure the item of clothing doesn’t contain either of these materials.
When pre-treating time is up, rinse the pre-treating agent from the garment by running it under a cool faucet. When you’re sure the pre-treating agent is removed, ring out the wet spot, apply and rub in your regular laundry detergent. At this point, you can either toss the grass-stained item of clothing into the washing machine with a full load of laundry or continue to wash it by hand.
Whatever method you use to launder the grass-stained garment, make sure no heat is applied until the stain is removed. Heat will set a stain into an item of clothing permanently. Types of heat to avoid include hot water, the clothes dryer or an iron. If the item is still stained, you can repeat the process.
If the stain remains, you can try blotting with one of these remedies:
-Hydrogen Peroxide (Test on a hidden area first to make sure there is no bleaching.)
- Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Massage this into the stain and let sit.
- Spray window and glass cleaner onto the stain and let sit for at least an hour.
- Apply ammonia to the stain with a toothbrush. (You may need to open the windows for this one.)
-Chlorine or non-chlorine bleach. As with peroxide, it’s best to test bleaching agents on a hidden area first to make sure no discoloration will occur.
If none of this works, there’s a good chance the stain is permanent. You can try bringing the garment into your dry cleaner to see what she recommends. She may have a chemical or procedure that can remove the stain for you.
If you act quickly or if the stain isn’t ground in too deeply, there’s no reason why the grass stain shouldn’t be easily removed. No matter what the outcome, don’t let it keep you or your children from enjoying the great outdoors.
How to clean Venetian blinds
Venetian blinds are fabulous . . . until they get dirty. Then you’re looking at fifty or more blades all connected with string and covered or coated with airborne grime. Little wonder that blind cleaning is one of those jobs shoved to the end of the to-do list month after month.
Ideally Venetian blinds would be dusted once or twice per week. Tilt blinds up and dust quickly and lightly with a duster. Tilt down and dust. This will prevent serious dirt build up and will reduce the number of heavy duty washings required. Blinds will last longer if they are dusted and cleaned regularly rather than sporadically and with more serious wiping sessions.
Dusting can also be accomplished with the home vacuum cleaner using a small brush attachment. Clip on the vacuum attachment according to manufacturer instructions. Test a spot near the center where the blinds are sturdier to make sure that the suction is not too strong. Some vacuums have too much pulling power for cleaning blinds.
When dusting (by hand or with the vacuum), note any trouble spots. Splashes and residue from air fresheners or other household sprays can leave patches where dirt sticks and builds up. Kitchen blinds are especially prone to gather sticky residue, since most spills take place in the kitchen and since particles of cooking grease can linger in the air and settle on window treatments.
Spot clean any dirty areas with a household window spray cleaner. Wipe dry with paper towels. If you leave blinds to dry naturally, dirt may stick and then provide a platform for additional build up.
If you miss a week or two and have more dust accumulate, then individually wipe each blade. This can be done most easily by slipping on a pair of clean, cotton gloves. Put blinds in the open position. Grasp one end of the slat between thumb and forefinger. Use the other gloved hand to slide from side to side in center section of blind with fingers on top and thumb on bottom of each individual slat. Clean the small ends wiping from the string outward. Use a firm but easy touch. Do not bend or crimp blinds, or they may not fit together correctly.
Even if you dust and spot clean religiously, Venetian blinds will occasionally require deep cleaning. Once or twice per year should suffice, unless you live in an area with lots of dust.
Indoor Deep Cleaning
Fully extend blinds, close panels and take blinds down. In most cases, this is a simple process. Review your user manual for directions. Typically blinds are held in place by small slide in top panels. Once these are removed, the blinds simply lift out. Do note how the pieces come apart (and go back together) and make sure not to lose the slide panels.
Place blind in bathtub. Most are too long to fit flat. Fold over and back like a paper fan. Although multiple blinds can be stacked, it’s much easier to clean one blind at a time.
Fill tub with water and with cleaning solution. A little bleach will help if the blinds are extremely dirty. Let sit for twenty minutes and then use a soft scrub brush to rub. Be sure to rub both front and back. Blinds can be left soaking overnight in cases where the build up is heavy.
Use a bucket and rinse blinds with clean water, or turn on shower and let run about 5 minutes. Check and make sure all soaps are rinsed off, or dirt will stick to the soapy areas and will defeat the purpose of deep cleaning the blinds. Be sure to turn the blinds over at least once during rinsing and tilt slightly to make sure that soap is not pooling around the stringed area.
When blinds are clean and rinsed well, set them sideways in the bathtub so that the water drains off. Turn at least once to ensure that water is not caught in crevices. During cooler weather or when humidity is high, a portable hair dryer will speed up the process. Do not hold dryer too close to thin, plastic parts.
Deep Cleaning Outdoors
If the weather is nice, or if you have seriously dirty blinds, then move the cleaning job outdoors.
Place a clean tarp on the ground and spread the blinds out with slats closed.
Wet blinds with a hose. Add cleaning solution. This is most easily done by putting cleaning solution in a bucket and then adding water. Pour bucket of cleaning solution over wet blinds. Repeat until blinds are well covered with soapy water.
Both car wash liquid and vinyl cleaning products work well for cleaning blinds outdoors, but most general purpose household cleaning products are fine.
A scrub brush can be used to rub blinds, but if the blinds are fairly large, a mop with a soft, sponge head is easier on the back. Go back and forth with the blades and use light pressure.
Once blinds are clean, you can use a water hose to rinse. Turn blinds and make sure that all soap is rinsed off.
Tilt blinds and allow the bulk of the water to drain off. Shake lightly. Take blinds indoors for complete drying, since wet blinds sitting outdoors will almost certainly attract both dirt and bugs.
A Final Helpful Tip
Once blinds are clean (or when you purchase new Venetian blinds), take a clothes dryer sheet and rub each slat. This will cut down on the static electricity in the blinds and will help prevent dirt build up. Both dusting and cleaning will be easier when blinds are wiped with dryer sheets.
Stuffed animal care and cleaning
Whether you win them as prizes at the county fair or receive them as baby shower gifts, stuffed animals make welcome additions to the children's playroom or an adult's bedroom. Fluffy, snuggly, and cute, fabric bears, puppies, or fish can serve as great travel toys or home decor accents, as well as toy box additions.
But even these adorable little creatures can get dirty or become odorous with time. Sticky fingers, dusty vents, or rough handling can leave your family’s cuddly playthings looking bedraggled and unhygienic. Here are a few easy tips to restore your fabric favorites to health:
1. Wipe away stains immediately. If your toddler spills grape juice on his stuffed spotted pup, blot it promptly with a paper towel, napkin, or washcloth. Then follow cleaning directions located on the toy’s tag to treat and remove the stain. Do the same for any substance that ends up on a plush animal, from mud to blood or anything in between. Check the instructions before applying chemical spot removers like bleach.
2. Vacuum them periodically. The next time you're running the sweeper in a room with stuffed toys, use the furniture attachment to run it over them for surface dust. Be careful not to inadvertently pull off small pieces, like buttons, eyes, or ribbons with the sweeper’s suction action. Vacuum the surrounding area where the toy normally sits to make it dust-free as well.
3. Mend small rips and tears. Check the toys on a regular basis for minor injuries. A loosened ear or tail, as well as hair that is falling out, can be repaired sometimes with the help of needle and thread. If the toy has sentimental or economic value, take it to a seamstress for professional help. Replace lost buttons or find similar parts for missing pieces or parts. A craft or fabric store may have just what you're looking for.
4. Remove sharp pieces or edges. A broken collar, partial tag or tab, or obtruding pin or staple should be broken off or cut out to keep it from harming your child. Sew any resulting tears or gaps before they get bigger. Significantly damaged toys such as those with loose stuffing that can pose a choking hazard, or with a broken glass eye that can scratch someone, should be discarded or mended professionally.
5. Wash those that can tolerate machine-washing every six months or so. Tie them into a pillowcase and use the delicate setting on both washer and dryer, with warm rather than hot water or air to avoid shrinkage. If the toy isn't machine-washable, use a damp cloth to wipe it off by hand instead. If you plan to store rather than display stuffed animals, place them in plastic bags or airtight storage containers until you are ready to use them. Don’t apply mothballs or other chemicals, as they may leave a toxic residue that could hurt your children later.
Properly caring for plush toys will help them look better and last longer. Start working on yours today
How to clean bricks
There are many different ways to clean brick. Further, there are both indoor and outdoor bricks. You may want to clean these differently since they are probably composed of varied substances and include different finishes.
When shopping for a cleaning solution, keep in mind there are some you don’t want to use because they are highly toxic. Other types, like phosphoric acid or shower wall cleaner (with brand names like Tiles), may be preferable, along with any good tub and tile cleaner. You also can use a power washer, a stiff brush, sandpaper, or occasionally add bleach to your cleaning solution. But make sure you read the labels of each cleaning chemical, because if they are not compatible, a mixture could cause a bad reaction.
On the exterior of your home, brick is often used for the bottom part of the house. You could use a power washer to clean these, which will get the job done fast. Rather than going to the expense of purchasing one, you can rent one from any tool rental store. However, if they are all loaned out, you can take a stiff brush or broom and sweep all the brickwork. You may need to remove moss, mildew, and mineral deposits. Then you can start cleaning the brick wall if you have one. Use a stiff brush and cleaning solution to start scrubbing. Next, wash it down with a garden hose. You may still have stains to remove from the brick, so you will have to use chemicals to attack the dirt and stains deep in the pores, or you can use sandpaper. If the spots are resistant, you may have to hire professional sand blasters to strip the wall. Don't try this yourself. Then take your garden hose and wash the wall again.
When the brick is clean, you might want to put a sealer on it or you can paint the bricks instead, using paint that is waterproof. Be sure the brick is dry before applying either paint or sealer. Your outdoor patio, wall, and foundation should look clean and colorful.
Inside your home, the first thing to do is clean the bricks as well as you can before you start working on stains. Thoroughly dust the brick portions of the walls or hearth area, along with other rooms where brick has been laid. Use a shop vacuum if you can get one, as it is powerful enough to clean between the grooves of the bricks as well.
Since you will be using water, put down paper towels or newspaper and rags below the chimney or walls. If you have a wet vacuum, keep it close to where you are working. Inside brick is going to have soot, sand, black marks, and stains. Get the stiff brush and apply cleaning solution to these areas. Let it stay on about ten minutes so it will have time to penetrate. Now scrub each area and take clean water and a sponge to remove the solution. After you get done and if you still have stains, try to use a piece of sandpaper to eliminate them. You can also try using a different degreaser, which might work better.
When you are done, wash off the bricks one last time. Clean up your supplies and vacuum any dust from the floor. Your brick sections should look great for months to come.
How to clean the kitchen counter
Your kitchen counter space is an important area where, in all likelihood, a fair amount of family work is done. From peeling potatoes to making sandwiches and signing homework slips to opening mail, you may depend on your kitchen counter for work space that accommodates a variety of daily chores.
But like the rest of the house, the countertop occasionally becomes dirty, spotted, or greasy. Despite regular wiping and brush-offs, you will need to perform a detailed cleaning once a month or so. If your counter is made of a washable surface and can be bleached for stain removal, here are a few tips to help you do a thorough job:
1. Clear the countertop of everything that is movable. If the microwave oven sits there and you prefer not to move it, unplug the unit and push it to one side and then the other when cleaning the counter area. This is a good time to empty the toaster of crumbs, wipe out the microwave, empty the dish drainer, and put away superfluous pens, rubber bands, and twist ties that may have collected on the countertop. Put away clean dishes, place dirty ones in the dishwasher, and throw used dish towels in the laundry. Now all you need to focus on is the bare counter space.
2. With a damp cloth, wipe the entire area to make it moist. Then sprinkle a light coating of any brand of baking soda. Make sure it covers the counter evenly, except where stains or spots are located. Place a little extra on those areas, but not so much that it accumulates in small piles. You may want to dribble a few drops of water across the counter to help dampen the baking soda for better absorption.
3. Wait 15 to 30 minutes. Dampen a clean scrub cloth and use small circles to rub the baking soda into the countertop. Let the circles overlap slightly for maximum concentration. Spend several extra seconds on the stained areas, rubbing in continuous circles to ensure the powder gets rubbed in deeply. If the counter is deeply stained, leave the rubbed-in baking soda for another 15 minutes or so to allow complete absorption.
4. Rinse your cleaning cloth and begin wiping the counter with larger circles to remove the baking soda paste created by the first set of circles. Do a thorough job of wiping away all the pasty grit created by the baking soda mix. You can even drip a half glass of water around the counter to dampen the area, which will help to soften the cleaning paste for easier removal.
5. Rinse out your cleaning cloth again and repeat the process. Check with your finger to detect any residual baking soda. When you are sure the entire counter surface is wiped clean and free of soda, use a paper towel or dish towel to dry it. If you find remaining stains treat them with small amounts of baking soda, wiping it up after thirty minutes or so. Rinse the counter again.
Now you are ready to replace appliances and other items that normally sit on your counter. The baking soda may continue to bleach the countertop area over the next day or so. If you find stubborn stains the following day, shop for spot-resistant cleaner at the supermarket
Tips for cleaning cashmere
Cashmere is a luxurious fabric that needs special care to maintain its soft, luxurious texture. It is a common belief that cashmere must always be dry-cleaned, but this is not the case. In fact, over time, dry cleaning chemicals can damage these natural fibers.
There are appropriate reasons to dry-clean cashmere garments: they contain sequins, beads, or other delicate trim; they are multi-colored but not colorfast; they have serious stains. Also, woven cashmere items should be dry-cleaned (and it will state this on their labels), however, cashmere knits can be gently hand washed. Rubbing changes the texture of cashmere, so you will not want to spot clean your garment. If you do, there will always be a noticeable worn area on your piece. If you have a stain, either wash the entire garment or allow a dry cleaner to handle it.
To hand wash cashmere, dissolve mild detergent or baby shampoo in lukewarm water. Never use bleach. Place the garment in the water and then gently swish it around for a few minutes, allowing the suds to soak in. Be sure to wash dyed garments separately in case the colors bleed. Rinse your garment in cool water (and a little hair conditioner, if you like, to maintain softness), being careful not to stretch the fabric. When you are finished, instead of wringing out the garment, place it on a clean, un-dyed towel and roll them up together to blot away excess water. For large garments, you may want to do this several times. Finally, place your garment on a fresh towel or sweater rack. Flatten and reshape the piece, and place it away from heat or direct sunlight to dry. You may want to turn the piece over occasionally so that it will dry faster.
Although hand washing is inexpensive and not very difficult, you don’t want to over wash your cashmere garments. With normal use, you should be able to wear a cashmere sweater at least half-a-dozen times before it needs washing. If you must iron your cashmere, turn it inside out, place a slightly damp cloth over the piece, and press with a cool iron. Never apply an iron directly to cashmere.
Because friction damages cashmere garments and causes pilling, when wearing a cashmere sweater, avoid jewelry, pocketbook straps, or even a coat that may have a rough lining. To accessorize, consider wearing a scarf and carrying a clutch style pocketbook. If your cashmere happens to develop pills, do not brush at them with any sort of lint remover. This just causes further pilling. Instead, wash the sweater to remove the worst of the pills and then gently remove the rest by hand.
Finally, when storing cashmere in the off-season, make sure it is clean. Body odor and stains are virtually impossible to remove once they have set for a few months. Protect your cashmere from moths by storing it with cedar chips or mothballs and keeping it in airtight plastic. If you follow these guidelines when caring for your fine cashmere items, they should bring you many years of enjoyment
How to clean window blinds
One of the hardest household chores to get around to is cleaning the window blinds. You can close and dust them with a feather duster or a soft clean cloth, or you can vacuum them once a month--but sooner or latter they get so dirty that they need to be taken down and cleaned well.
To clean blinds quickly and completely you can buy special tools to make the job easier. There are many different kinds of blinds, so it is a good idea to learn how to care for each one. Be sure to watch for sales and stock up on the right kind of cleaning products to ensure good results with your blinds.
Don't try to wash the blinds in the bathtub or kitchen sink, as some homeowners have done over the years. For a long time this was considered conventional wisdom. But it works better if you take the blinds outside on a nice, sunny day and find a slanted surface to lay them on if possible, like a cellar door or a sloping lawn. But first put down a drop cloth or old rug for them to lie on. Even an old sheet will do. Try to keep the bugs and pets away along with playful children to keep the blinds intact.
Extend the blinds all the way out, making sure that the louvers are flat. Lay the blind on the padding and mix up a bucket of all-purpose cleaner with water. Or you can use ammonia and water; find safe directions for the correct mixture. Scrub the blinds with a soft brush parallel to the slats. Make sure you get under the twine ties. Then turn the blind over and do the same with other side. Putting the cloth down will keep the blinds from getting scratched.
Now lay the blind up on the clothesline or anywhere you can so that you can use a garden hose to rinse off the soap. Then let the air circulate to dry them. You might want to shake off the extra water so they will dry faster. The best way to clean a cloth cover is to vacuum or dust it. If they are real bad, use a damp cloth with a mild cleaner on the cloth. You can't do much more than that short of having them dry-cleaned.
To clean vertical blinds you need to buy a tool call the tricked, a tong-like device with squeegees that lets you clean both sides of the blind at the same time. You can buy it at a janitorial supply store. This is a great device, and it makes the job easier and saves time. Mini-blinds can be done in the same way as outlined above.
If you don't have time to clean them yourself or prefer to leave this job to the professionals, check the yellow pages under “blinds” and you can find companies that will come out and clean them for you. This can be costly, however so think about trying it yourself with the help of a few suitable cleaning tools
How to clean grout without using expensive cleaners
Tile walls and floors can transform a bathroom or kitchen into a real show place. Not only does tile come in many styles and colors making it easy to find patterns and shades to match all décor, but it’s easy to maintain as well. When it comes to cleaning tile, the biggest challenge isn’t the tile itself, but the grout found in-between the tiles. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to brighten grout without the use of harsh chemicals or expensive cleaners. In fact, you can probably locate an assortment of thrifty, yet effective, grout cleaners in your own pantry. If you’re ready to take on the challenge of cleaning grout in your home, perhaps one of these tips or remedies can help.
- Cleaning the grout on floors may require the use of elbow grease and a toothbrush or heavy wire brush instead of a sponge or cloth. Many of the same products can be used to clean grout no matter where it’s located. No matter where you’re cleaning, be sure to wear eye protection to protect against splashing and rubber gloves to protect your skin.
- Dampen walls or floors with a sponge or mop and sprinkle some baking soda onto the grout. Let this sit for about an hour and scrub with a toothbrush or other scrubbing tool such as a scouring pad or wire bristle brush. If the area to be cleaned isn’t too dirty, you may be able to remove the dirt using just a sponge. Rinse with water.
- Sprinkle some baking soda onto the grout and spirits a little undiluted vinegar on top of that. Let this solution fizz for a while. After about 30 minutes, wipe clean, or scrub with a toothbrush if necessary. Your grout should look much cleaner and brighter. Rinse with water.
- Make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Apply paste to grout, let sit for at least 30 minutes and scrub with a toothbrush if necessary. Rinse with water.
- Make a paste with 3 cups of baking soda and one cup of water. Apply to the grout and let sit. Sponge away and rinse clean with water.
- If your bathroom is well ventilated, try this solution: Mix one cup of bleach to one cup of baking soda, this should make a paste. Apply the paste to the offending grout and scrub with a toothbrush or other scrubbing tool. Wearing rubber gloves is a good idea for this project. Once the grout is cleaned, rinse with water.
- Mix 1 gallon of water with ¾ cup of bleach. Dip a toothbrush or scrub brush into the bleach solution and scrub. Let sit for a few minutes and rinse with water.
- If your grout is in good condition but just needs a little freshening in certain areas, rub a freshly cut lemon half over the area. Squeezing some fresh cut lemon juice into a cup of water and scrubbing with a toothbrush will also whiten the grout.
- Pour vinegar over dirty grout and let sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. This works best for colored grout. Rinse with water.
- Pour hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle onto the grout. Let it sit for ten minutes and scrub. Rinse with water.
- Use a pencil eraser to erase dirt from between tile.
Dull, dirty grout can dull a stunning tile display. Why not try one of these safe and inexpensive tips to keep your tile looking bright and fresh?
How to clean wood blinds
Wood blinds make beautiful window treatments if they are well maintained. Wood blinds, like other wood furniture and accessories, need special care.
The following tips will help you maintain your wood blinds and keep them looking great:
Before cleaning your blinds, you may want to lay an old sheet down under them to catch any dust or dirt that falls. When finished, take the sheet outside, shake it out, and move on to the next set of blinds. Clean wood blinds frequently to avoid dirty build up. If you don’t have time for a thorough cleaning you can only dust them. Even closing the blinds and running a duster over them weekly will make a difference. Feather dusters tend to scatter dust, so use cloth, wool, or “magnet” dusters. These tools will pull the dust away from the blinds, but it will collect on the surface of the duster instead of flying around the room. Take the duster outside and shake it, or brush off the surface, before attempting to use it on another set of blinds.
To keep wood blinds in excellent condition vacuum on a regular basis. Using the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, gently vacuum each slat, front and back. How often you should vacuum will be determined by how dusty your blinds get. A good rule of thumb, is to vacuum them at least once per month. It will be obvious if it needs to be done more frequently. Blinds can also be cleaned with a soft cloth. Do not use a wax based furniture polish for cleaning. Wax will simply seal in the dirt. Once the blinds are clean, a polish or wax may be used sparingly. There are also specially treated dusting cloths you can purchase. Just throw in the washer when finished, and use the same cloth over and over.
A pair of cotton mitts or gloves can also be used to clean wood blinds. Put the mitts on and rub a fabric softener sheet between your hands. This will help limit static and will help the dust stick to the gloves instead of scattering. Next, gently run your hands over each slat until clean. Never soak wood blinds. In fact, it is not a good idea to use water to clean them, or to get them wet at all. Once wet, wood can loose its shape and warp easily.
For extra dirty blinds, a soft paintbrush the width of your slats makes a great cleaning tool (make sure you lay something down underneath the blinds when using this technique). You may want to dip the end of the brush in a bit of fabric softener to help keep dust from scattering. Dip the brush then rub it on a clean cloth to remove excess. Stop and clean the paintbrush off as needed. A small amount of oil soap may also be used for really dirty blinds. Wipe until the blinds look clean then grab a clean cloth and gently rub any remaining oil into the wood. Oil soap is also a good choice if your blinds appear to be dry.
While it is always best to clean each slat one at a time front and back, don’t forget to close the blinds and gently wipe the whole set afterwards. This will help insure that you haven’t missed a spot. After cleaning, to prevent build up and to keep wood blinds dust free longer, wipe them with a bit of fabric softener. This will help limit static electricity. Static attracts more dust. You can gently rub the blinds with a dryer sheet, or you can dip a soft cloth in a bit of liquid softener. Wring the cloth well, and make sure it is just barely damp with softener. As noted, it is never good to get wood blinds wet.
How to clean curtains
If you walk past your window and brush up against the curtains do millions of dust particles appear? How do you clean curtains without ruining their shape and appearance? Dust bunnies hide in things we don’t think about. What can we do with our dingy draperies? Are they worth saving? Drapes and curtains add character to your windows.
They are extremely versatile whether you put a valance over your kitchen window to bring some color and vibrancy to the room or you put some bright colored curtains in the kids’ rooms, you want the fabric to look fabulous.
There are several tricks to keeping your curtains looking great and smelling fresh. Some people spray them with a freshener once a week. Make sure you use something without harsh chemicals that might weaken or discolor the fabric. Keep sensitive fabrics away from the sun as much as possible you might want to put a liner behind them to protect the material from sun rot. Another way to protect your drapes is to have blinds on the windows. You can put curtains over other window coverings to bring out the essence of your room’s interior. Draping colored material over the top of the window can add height and dimension to the room. When picking out curtains make sure to choose material that is easy to care for and clean. If your curtains are dirty or look discolored it can ruin the whole image of your décor.
Here are some steps you can take to clean your curtains and fight this endless battle:
1. Inspect the back of the curtains for sun rotting by feeling and stretching the fabric. If they show signs of rotting they are not worth saving, it is time to buy new curtains.
2. Unlined curtains can be washed according to the care instructions.
3. Lined curtains need to be professionally dry cleaned in order to preserve the quality and shape of the draperies.
4. If you have large curtains wash them in the bathtub or take them to the laundry mat so you have something large enough to hold them. Doing this will prevent possible damage.
5. You can dry your curtains on air dry in the dryer for about a half and hour with a fabric softener sheet to quickly remove wrinkles and keep them smelling fresh.
6. If the rings are rusty and dirty boil them in water with vinegar to remove the rust and restore shine. You can also use soap to polish the curtain rods and remove dirt or dust build-up.
7. To keep the dust from building up vacuums your curtains frequently with a vacuum attachment. In order to prevent the vacuum from swallowing your curtains make sure you use the lowest setting and put a hard piece of plastic behind the curtain so it is easy to run the vacuum over the material. Or if you have a soft brush attachment you can use that as long as the material permits.
Spotless curtains and draperies in your home will add elegance to any room. Keep your house smelling fresh and looking its best by following the simple steps listed above and making sure your curtains look their best.
How to clean grout
Grout is a material used to fill voids or seal joints between tiles. After time this grout becomes stained or starts to grow mold and mildew and can be very difficult to clean. Here are some tips to aid in the cleaning and sealing of grout.
When first putting tile down, it is a good idea to use an off-white or gray colorant in your silicone or water-based grout sealer. These colors are less likely to show stains than would white or black. Mold and mildew love to grow in areas, such as bathrooms, that have poor air circulation, are damp and wet, and have poor or no lighting. To prevent mold and mildew from growing try heating the bathroom or running a fan after you take a shower. Mold and mildew will not grow in lighted conditions. Leave a light on for about 15-20 minutes after you shower.
There are two basic types of grout that are commonly used in homes. Cement grout consists of burned lime and clay. It is very porous and is easily penetrated by stains, mold, and mildew.
Lime is an alkaline so it can be cleaned with acetic acid, or vinegar. Create a mixture of 5 parts water to 1 part vinegar and apply to the tile with a stiff brush. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes but don’t let it dry or it can burn the grout. It is better to do small areas at a time. Rinse well when finished. Epoxy grout consists of a resin, hardener, and filler. When it cures, or ‘sets, it forms a hard plastic compound. Sand is added as a filler to give it strength and to give it a nice appearance. Epoxy grout is used mainly in kitchens because it is not porous like cement grout and prevents the harboring of bacteria that causes Salmonella, Staph, or E. coli.
Epoxy grout can be cleaned with a spray bottle mixture of 50% bleach and 50% warm water. Spray the grout, saturating the area to be cleaned, and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. In hard to get to areas, like corners, soak a rag in the solution and pack into the area. Rinse and repeat if needed. When using bleach always wear gloves and have an open window for air circulation.
If bleach is too strong a chemical for you there are plenty of other ‘on hand’ materials you can use. Make a thick paste with baking soda, water, and vinegar. Apply and lightly scrub with a toothbrush. Baking soda acts as a whitener and will keep your grout cleaner, longer. A vinegar and water solution can be applied after each shower. This will kill bacteria and mildew as well as remove body oils and soap scum. Vinegar is also a great odor remover.
Hydrogen peroxide is a great solution for areas that aren’t too badly stained. It is used to keep an area clean on a regular basis. It can be applied in any way. It can be sponged on, mopped on, or sprayed on. Be sure to rinse after about 10 minutes. Hydrogen peroxide even works as a disinfectant. Peroxide will stain fabric so be sure to keep those shower curtains out of the way. If you don’t have children rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle will kill mildew on a regular basis. Many people have found that a simple liquid car wax, applied to tile and shower stalls will keep the area moisture and mildew proof for 6 months to a year.
Warning: Vinegar can burn cement grout and can damage some tile glazes if left on for too long: make sure you rinse it well. Always test a small area before doing an entire project to check for damage. Be sure to re-seal grout after heavy cleaning. This will keep it resistant to stains, mold, and mildew for a longer period of time
Ideas for deodorizing the home
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes keeping your home smelling fresh can fall to the bottom of your to-do list. However, there are many cheap and highly effective ways to make your home smell great. One of the first things that a guest in your home will notice if your house smells of animal and food odors is the foul smell, and conversely, one of the first things they will notice if it smells like vanilla or floral blossoms is the inviting and comforting aroma. Some of the ways to eliminate odors from your home and replace them with an appealing fragrance include using incense, candles, air freshening spray, carpet deodorizer, and baking soda.
Sometimes you need to make a quick move to eliminate a particular odor in your home. Maybe your cat just used the litter box and your dinner guests knocked on the door (any cat owner out there knows that sometimes just one of Fluff’s trips to the box can send an unruly scent throughout the entire surrounding area, even if you just cleaned the litter box). Or maybe you cooked fish for dinner and the dining room smells like a fisherman’s wharf. Whatever the reason for the untimely odor, you just want to eliminate it. Keep incense cones or sticks on hand for situations like this. Burning a stick of incense at the source of the stink will cover up the odor. Incense is very intense, so it is great for hiding emergency smells. Always burn incense in an incense holder -- don’t just prop up a stick in a cup, because that presents a fire hazard.
Perhaps you live in a very moist climate or in a basement apartment where musty odors are often problematic. A dehumidifier can really help to eliminate musty odors that linger in moist homes. You will be amazed at the difference that this makes. Also, an air purifier can help, and there are many models on the market today that allow you to add fragrance oils to the purification system so that the scent of your choice is consistently dispersed. These purification systems can also be very helpful to pet owners who battle lingering odors, such as the all-too-common “wet dog” smell.
Often, the culprit for the odor in your home is right under your feet… it’s the carpet. If you have old carpets and rugs, then you have been tracking smells onto your carpets for a long time. Vacuuming isn’t enough to kill carpet odors. You need to shampoo your carpets and rugs at least once a month, especially if you have kids or pets or if you or someone on your home smokes. After shampooing, sprinkle baking soda on the carpets and rugs, and vacuum up.
If you have a favorite scent, you may want to have your home smell subtly like that scent preference. While you don’t want your home to smell too intensely – even if the smell is a “good” one – a soft fragrance theme is a nice idea. Many people love the smell of roses, for example, and other very popular scents are vanilla, cinnamon, orange and freesia. A medley of scented supplies can help you achieve your desired lingering scent. Get candles, air freshening spray, potpourri, and wall plug-in fragrances in the scent that you want. Using different a line-up of same-smelling products will give you wonderfully aromatic results.
How to clean and protect outdoor work shirts
Clothing can be a big part of any budget, and for outdoor gear, the price crunch can be even bigger. Different fabric finishes, and fabric combinations, such as waterproof features, and fabric designed to help prevent moisture buildup to keep you warm on cold days, and let cool air in on hot days, etc. can drive the prices higher yet! True stain resistant fabrics are also popular in work clothes. For pocketbook reasons alone, extending the life of your outdoor work clothes is necessary. Through proper cleaning and some extra care, this can be accomplished.
Know What Special Features the Shirt Has
If the work shirt was manufactured with a special finish, such as a waterproof fiber woven right into the fabric, it may require special cleaning. Read the tags before washing, and follow all recommendations. With the wide array of fabrics and features, gone are the days of just tossing all your work wear together into one quick load of wash!
Adding a Sealant Yourself
If you are going to be wearing your shirt outdoors on rainy, damp days, and the shirt’s fabric is not already water resistant, there are products that can be applied directly to the surface of the shirt. Silicone Water-Guard by SNO-SEAL is one such product. Suitable for many different types of fabric, such as leather and nylon, it is often thought of more as a water sealant for products such as boots and tents. However, as it works just as well on cotton and other fabrics, still allowing the fabrics to breathe, and leaving behind no scent once it has dried, it works just as well on clothing. While spot testing the aerosol spray on the fabric beforehand is necessary to make sure it will not stain the fabric, it is very easy to apply. Clean and thoroughly dry all the work shirts that you wish to apply it too. Hang shirts outdoors, in a well-ventilated area. Spray each shirt, totally covering each shirt’s exterior, until it appears wet. Pay special attention to any seams on the shirts, making sure to spray these areas just as well as the rest of the shirt. Air-dry for at least twenty-four hours. One application such as this will last for some time. If you notice after repeated washings that its effectiveness is wearing off, reapply.
The temptation when washing work clothes is to toss all of it in the washing machine together, shirts, pants, socks, etc. Avoid this temptation and you will prolong your work shirt’s lives. Why? Tossing shirts in with the pants will lower the life span, as the pants, usually dirtier, need to be on a longer wash cycle. Another temptation, to ‘not’ wash a shirt after each wearing, should also be avoided. A good rule to follow is, if you wore it long enough to work up a sweat, wash it! The fabric of a shirt that has sweat and dirt within its fibers will start to deteriorate.
A bit of a contradiction to the rule above, is to ‘air out’ your shirts instead of washing each time you wear them. This applies more to a shirt that is ‘outerwear’ than just a regular work shirt. Often these types of shirts are made of fabrics that do not hold up to repeated washings, or are even dry clean only fabrics. If this is the case, a good shaking out at the end of the day, or if covered in debris such as sawdust, a good brushing off with a soft bristled brush, then placing then on the line or a hangar outside to air, will definitely prolong the useful life of the shirt.
Cleaning a dirty bath mat
Most Americans spend an average of 12 minutes washing themselves in the shower daily, but few of them scrub the soles of their feet. As a result, what's underfoot--in the tub and just outside of it--needs regular cleaning.
Many households use a tub mat made of rubber to prevent slips and falls in the bath or shower. Because the mat is textured, dirt--and sometimes mildew--can accumulate in its grooves as well as underneath it. Regular cleaning is important.
One simple way to remove embedded dirt from tub mats is to use a pressure washer. This is a special attachment for your garden hose that concentrates the force of the water on a small area. You may already use a pressure washer for your deck, patio furniture, whitewall tires, or the outside of your home.
If you have a pressure washer, use it to clean both sides of your bathtub mat. Most stains should vanish on contact.
Be sure to use the pressure washer outside. The force of the water is very strong. Indoors, water can bounce off the bath mat and soak the surrounding room.
Some families prefer to use a scrub brush on the bathtub mat when they're cleaning other bathroom fixtures. Be sure to remove the mat and clean underneath it, too. That's a common hiding place for mildew.
You can also wash most bathtub mats in the laundry. Put your mat into the clothes washer with a small amount of laundry detergent and a bath towel. The towel will rub against the mat during the wash cycle, and help to scrub it clean.
Never dry any rubber or plastic product in the dryer. Hang it up in a well-ventilated area instead.
In between washings, you can reduce the stains on your tub mat with a rinse of diluted hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach. Be sure to check the instructions that came with your bathtub mat first; some rubber and plastic products can be damaged by chlorine bleach. (Be careful not to mix chlorine bleach with other cleaning products. Read product labels for warnings.)
Oxygen stain removers can work well on many stains. If you're using a powdered cleaner, mix a paste with water and apply it to the darkest stains. Wait about 20 minutes, and then rinse. Repeat as necessary.
The harsher the chemicals that you use on any rubber product--including the tub mat--the sooner the rubber will start to wear out. So, start with the gentlest approach to stains first.
If stains won't lift with routine cleaning and they look unattractive, it may be time to replace the mat.
In a household where stains are common, choose a darker bathtub mat so that dirt and stains are less obvious. Popular stain-hiding colors include moss, eggplant and indigo blue. Or, look for stain resistant tub mats made for hotel use. These cost more, but can last years longer and remain stain and mildew free.
BATHROOM FLOOR MATS AND RUGS
Bathroom floor mats may also need special attention, especially if your household includes small children or an adult who works with grease, oil, or dirt.
Most families launder terrycloth bath mats weekly with the bathroom towels. This is a good way to prevent stains from setting into the fibers. Add a laundry booster or an oxygen stain remover for extra cleaning power.
To remove heavy stains such as tar, oil, or grease, pre-treat the mat with a degreaser. Some cleaning products are specially designed for grease and related stains. Orange oil products have been especially popular for this in recent years. But, dishwashing liquid is also designed to cut grease and can work nearly as well.
Wash your bathroom floor mat in hot water to lift difficult stains. If any stains remain after laundering, presoaking or repeated washings may help. In some cases, you may need to cover permanent stains with other decorations such as embroidered appliqués.
After washing, line dries your bath mat if it has a rubber backing; never put it into the clothes dryer. The rubber can melt and damage both the mat and the dryer.
If your bath mat is heavy terry cloth or doesn't have a special backing, it should be fine in your household dryer. Use a carpet rake to raise the pile if the mat looks too flat after drying.
Some companies make extra durable bath floor mats for hotels, too. If you're shopping online, look for manufacturers that supply the hospitality industry.
Bathtub mats and floor mats are an important part of your home decor. By keeping ahead of dirt and stains, your bathroom will look fresh and clean every day.
How to clean a stove
Every person that has cooked in their own kitchen has faced the obstacle of cleaning their stove at least once. With so many cleaners on the market, this job should be easy, but many of us face it with trepidation. Here are some tips to break down the job and hopefully help take the fear away.
Before cleaning the surface of your stove or the interior of your oven, make sure it has completed cooled from prior use. Good spray cleaner, as Formula 409 or Fantastic, removes the surface grime. Remove the burner plates and liberally spray down the top side of the stove being careful to avoid the gas jets. Wipe away the cleaner using a clean, damp sponge followed by a good rinse. If the stove has pilot lights, check to make sure you haven’t accidentally blown them out with the spray. The burner plates can be washed separately in hot soapy water and should be rinsed well. Check the gas jets to make sure each one lights properly. If you find some of them clogged with grease, use a thin piece of wire such as a safety pin or paperclip to clean the holes. Don’t use a toothpick or you may run the risk of it breaking off in the hole which will cause a much larger problem than a grease-clogged jet.
The oven to your gas stove is not that hard to clean, but before using a commercial oven cleaner you must first turn the gas off. This will prevent any excess fumes from the cleaner causing a flash fire or explosion. Once the gas has been turned off to the oven, remove the oven racks and set them aside. Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin and liberally spray the inside of the oven with the oven cleaner being careful to avoid the light fixture or any wires or components inside the oven. The oven cleaner should be safe to use on the door of the oven, but if you have a glass window, avoid spraying the glass with the cleaner. Allow the cleaner to sit undisturbed on the surface of the oven for a few hours or overnight. Use a damp sponge and remove the cleaner from the surface, rinsing your sponge often. Use a window cleaner to clean the glass window in the oven door.
Clean the oven racks with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Most oven racks can be safely scoured with a scouring pad or steel wool, then rinse and dry. Replace the racks in the clean oven.
The directions to clean the top and outside of an electric stove are much the same as a gas stove. The major difference is in the burners. Some electric stove burners will simply lift up to allow you to remove the burner trays for easy cleaning. Clean the trays in hot soapy water and rinse and dry thoroughly. Use a spray cleaner that is safe for stoves on the top and outside again being careful to avoid spraying any of the electrical components. Wipe the cleaner with a damp sponge and then rinse thoroughly.
If your stove has a self-cleaning oven, carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions. Some self-cleaning ovens will let you leave the racks in place during the cleaning process. If you choose to leave the racks in place and then notice them sticking instead of sliding easily, rough up the sides of the racks with steel wool, then take a paper towel moistened with some solid shortening and rub the sides of the racks. This should allow the racks to once again slide smoothly.
If the oven is not self-cleaning, a commercial spray cleaner will make this job much easier. Remove the oven racks, spray the inside liberally with cleaner being careful to avoid any electrical components and after several hours, wipe away the cleaner with a damp sponge followed by a thorough rinse. Wash the racks separately in hot soapy water and rinse and dry thoroughly before returning them to the oven. Some stoves have a storage drawer in the bottom. Remove all the contents from this drawer and clean it with the same spray cleaner used on the top of the stove. Rinse and dry before returning the contents.
Tips and Tricks:
Never clean a hot stove top or oven. Allow the appliance to cool completely before cleaning. Read all label directions on the commercial stove cleaner chosen. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the harsh chemicals found in the cleaners. Rinse the surface of the stove and the inside of the oven after cleaning to remove any residue left from the cleaning agent. Open the window or run your exhaust fan while using a commercial cleaner to keep any fumes at bay. If your oven has tough grease or food stained spots that refuse to come off with the wipe of a sponge, use a nylon brush or nylon scrubber on the spot. Avoid using harsh abrasive cleansers or steel wool on a stove top or oven as they may scratch or damage the surfaces.
How to clean organza dress
Organza is transparent woven material, made of either silk or polyester and often used for special-occasion outfits. Silk organza needs special handling, while the polyester ones are machine washable on gentle setting or hand washable with mild detergent. Avoid harsh bleach. (Note: The following has been culled from reliable sources but the author does not guarantee its efficacy and assumes no liability for any damage that may incur.)
Most silk organza items are labeled for dry cleaning, but sometimes, they can be laundered. Washed silk may appear better than dry-cleaned, as the latter process has been known to dull the fabric's sheen. If crispness is desired, then dry clean it, as washing can soften the material's texture.
If the organza outfit wasn't preshrunk, it might shrink a bit with cleaning, especially if its weave is loose or it is highly sized (the starchy substance used in processing yardage). Silk's protein fibers by themselves don't shrink, but when they are twisted together and wetted, the fibers bunch up. Machine drying can reduce its size as well, so if using a dryer, remove the item while still damp. Finish air drying on a hanger.
Experts recommend testing an inconspicuous spot before plunging the entire garment into either a basin for hand washing or into a washing machine. Inside a hem or a seam are possible places.
To hand wash, select a mild detergent or even a gentle shampoo and dissolve it in lukewarm water in a basin. Immerse the garment, and then gently rub it in the soapy solution. Rinse it with clear, cool water until all the soap is gone. Do not wring the item.
To neutralize any remaining soap in the item, add a quarter cup of white vinegar to the final rinse tub. Some experts recommend another rinse to remove the vinegar from the garment.
Once it is rinsed thoroughly, lay the garment flat on a large towel, roll the towel up and allow it to sit overnight. The following day, iron the garment with medium low heat while it's still slightly damp.
Stains are discouraging, but can be remedied by various means. Different types of stains need specific methods for removal. For those not mentioned, consult with a professional dry cleaner.
Ballpoint ink: After placing a paper towel or rag under it, saturate the spot with an alcohol-based hair spray. Blot the stain with a separate towel. Repeat until the stain is gone, and then launder.
Blood: If the stain is fresh, combine one teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and sponge this mixture on it. If the stain has set, experts say meat tenderizer will break down the blood proteins. An enzyme presoak or time in a solution with sodium per carbonate (diaper wash) can be tried. Follow label directions.
How to remove a shirt stain
If you get a spot on a nice shirt, or other item of clothing, you may not be sure how to clean it. These tips may help anyone who needs to clean a fabric when there is no tag on it with cleaning or laundering instructions. You have to be very careful because the shirt can be damaged easily if you wash it with the wrong temperature water or you use a cleaning product that is too strong for the fabric. Here is a list of materials with their common names and how to clean them as well as what not to use on them.
1 – Nylon, Cordura, Celanese, Anso, Antron, Qiana, etc. This is a very popular fiber used in shirts or blouses, carpet, sporting goods, and hosiery. It washes and dries easily. Use fabric softener and wash colors separately so you don’t transfer any dye. Do not hang whites in the sunlight because they will yellow. Watch for static cling. Use a medium dryer setting.
2 – Polyester, Avlin, Dacron, Fortrel, Shanton. This fabric is blended with cotton, rayon, and wool for use in all types of clothing like jackets, sleeping bags, shirts, and especially permanent press items. Wash in warm water and use medium heat for drying. If you iron it, set your iron on permanent press. Watch out for oily stains and static cling with these as well.
3 – Silk is used for dress shirts, sheets, pillow covers, scarves, and handkerchiefs. In many cases garment tag will say “Dry clean only” on these items. But some types can be washed by hand or in your washing machine as delicates. To iron, press on the wrong side and use a warm iron. Silk is sensitive to chlorine bleach, acids, and enzyme digesters. Perspiration and exposure to sunlight can weaken it. Silk also can get water spots and colors can run.
4 – Linen is used for a few types of shirts or other clothing items, drapes, household linens, and summer clothes like dresses and suits. It washes well but is easy to wrinkle. The more you wash it, the softer it will become. To wash a spot from a linen shirt, retreat it with a spot remover and use hot water on the whites. The way to iron it is while the fabric is still damp, with a hot iron. Be careful of acids.
5 – Cotton is one of the best fabrics because it is comfortable and lasts a long time. Manufacturers use cotton for many kinds of shirts, as well as curtains and slipcovers. It also can be blended with polyester to make permanent press items. Untreated cotton can stain very easily, and in sunlight it can deteriorate. For deep or dark stains, retreat with a spot remover, taking care to blot the stain before laundering. Wash items in hot water and use bleach if desired. Read the label first. Iron cotton items while they are damp. Corduroy is a form of cotton that has to be washed differently. Turn corduroy inside out before washing in warm water so it won’t shrink. Only dry halfway and hang on a line to dry. That way you won’t have to iron it.
Providing attentive care to fresh stains in shirts or other clothing can help these items last longer and look better. Get the supplies you need to launder spots appropriately and effectively
How to remove furniture and floor spots
Often after getting a new puppy or kitten, and while trying to train the pet to go outside or in a litter box, we may have to clean furniture or floor stains a couple times a day. If you have children, you don’t want them to touch or step in the area until it is cleaned and disinfected. Toddlers, too, have a knack for spilling juice or food on the household rugs. That is why it is important to stock useful cleaning supplies.
Keep on hand different kinds of spot removers. A major one is an all-purpose spotter for water-based stains like blood and food. The second spot remover should be a solvent spotter for tar, oil, and grease. Don’t forget something anti-bacterial for stains from a pet or small child. You will need to keep brushes, cloths and sponges in supply as well. You might want to get a chemical spot remover if nothing else works. Test it on a small part of the carpet that no one can see in case it turns the fabric a different color. If the stain is darker than the color, you should be able to remove it. But if the stain has turned the carpet lighter, you may have to plug it with another piece of carpet.
Try never to bleach a stain unless everything else fails. Remember to first test the bleach on a piece of the carpet no one else can see. Follow the instructions on the container for best results.
When you’re ready to clean the stain, smell it after trying to soak up as much as you can while it is fresh. If you catch the stain early, you will have a better chance of removing it. Then get the right stain remover. Blot or scrape the area as well as you can. If it is large, use a shop vacuum to suck up excess fluid. Work the spot remover from the outside to the inside so you don’t make the blot larger. Next, blot up the moisture and rinse the stain with warm water. Blot it again and dry with a terry cloth. Brush it after drying so that the nap of the carpet is standing. If it still feels as though it is too damp, lay a white towel over the spot. Set a bucket or heavy object on top to help it dry for six hours. Then brush out the nap so it is standing up when it is completely dried.
Use the same technique for furniture stains. Catch them as soon as you find them to prevent the stain from setting or spreading. Blot excess spillage, apply appropriate cleaner, and let stand for the allotted amount of time. Blot up residual moisture, taking care to daub the edges of the stain and work your way into the center. Repeat the process if necessary.
Keep your cleaning supplies neatly arranged so you can find them when needed.
Remember to keep all your spot removers out of the reach of children. Try to clean up the spill as soon as you can. This will make a big difference in how effective your efforts will be.
Ways to clean curtains and drapes
Cleaning curtains and draperies is an important part of home maintenance, as the build-up of dirt and pollutants can exacerbate allergies and damage the fabric. Window treatments should at the very least be vacuumed every six months, and more frequently for people with allergies. However, cleaning your draperies need not be an expensive undertaking. Before you use any method, look at the tag on your window treatments to see what cleaning method is recommended. Then see which home-based method is right for you.
Consider what type of fabric your curtains are made of. If your curtains or draperies are made out of a shiny fabric, such as a glossy cotton or silk, then dust will come right off of them. You can give them a gentle shaking, or vacuum them with your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment. When vacuuming curtains, always work from the top down and then do the inside of the folds, and finally the outside edges.
Some fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and many synthetics, are very easy to work with. The best way to clean these curtains is to put them in the washing machine with a gentle cleanser, and wash in cold water on the hand-wash cycle. Of course, hand washing is also an option if you do not have a gentle cycle on your washer. You do not want to agitate the fabric too much in the machine, as this can cause pilling or tearing of delicate fabrics. Once the curtains have been cleaned, hang dry. Do not put them in the dryer, as you may very well experience shrinkage and warping. Once your curtains have been hung out to dry, if they are outdoors, make sure that you bring them in as soon as they are dry. You do not want to bring outdoor allergens into your house, and items that have been left on a clothesline to dry for too long often take on an unpleasant smell, especially if you live in a city with pollutants from cars, etc.
When ironing draperies, be very careful. Check to make sure that the draperies do not have a lining that is made of a synthetic that could be damaged by heat, such as the thin foams often used in blackout curtains. Ironing easily damages gauzy nylon curtains. Start out with a low setting, and if all is well, then set your iron to the setting recommended for the fabric type. It is always smart to test iron a spot near the bottom to make sure that your draperies can handle ironing.
There are professional grade systems and tools that you can purchase if your draperies require a dry cleaning solution. This will essentially enable you to dry clean your curtains in your own home, without removing them from the rod, which is very convenient. Rotovac makes this equipment, with the curtain cleaning attachment starting at $119.00. If you use this method, it is also a good idea to test it in an unobtrusive area, as the heat from this process can occasionally cause streaking of the fabric.
There is another method you can use using a common clothes steamer. First of all, shake the curtains or draperies to remove as much dust as you can. Then go over the fabric with your clothes steamer. As with the above method, does a test spot first? The advantage of this method is that the heat from the clothes steamer will kill any dust mites that are in the curtains, helping to relieve allergies.
It is always a good feeling to save money by cleaning your own window treatments. Commercial cleaning can be quite costly. Just remember the physicians’ creed, and “first do no harm.” Be gentle with your methods, and you are sure to be pleased with your outcome.
Cleaning bathtub and shower tile grout
There are numerous of ways to clean your shower and bathtub grout and a variety of supplies to choose from to do so. Some people prefer industrial or chemical cleaning products while others prefer natural or organic items that are non-toxic but effective cleansers.
The most common natural products used for home and bathroom cleaning are vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. These may be used at full strength for tough stains or mixed with equal parts of water for normal cleaning jobs. Never use vinegar on marble however as it may cause damage to the surface.
One way to clean grout is to sprinkle baking soda onto an area and then pour white vinegar over it. This will produce a fizzing action that will release dirt and mildew from the grout that can then be further cleaned and removed with a large toothbrush or other scrubbing brush or tool. A paste can also be made from the vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice to scrub the grout with. Some people prefer to mix vinegar and water in equal parts and spray onto the area to be cleaned then wipe up with a wet sponge while others like to sprinkle baking soda on a lemon half and then scrub the grout that way. Lemon juice seems to be very effective when removing soap scum and water deposits. Running a hot shower to steam up the bathroom before cleaning it may loosen dirt and grime from grout and tile before you attempt to scrub it clean.
Commercial cleaning products with disinfectants can be found in most grocery, discount and other retail stores and they contain a variety of other chemical ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, and alcohol. Some of these products are more effective than others. Some people choose to create their own cleaning solutions with their own mixtures. Two popular formulas include mixing equal parts of vinegar and water or combining ¼ cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Bleach and rubbing alcohol seem to work well on removing stains from caulk that is around the grout at the seams of showers and tubs. Hardware and Home stores carry a wide array of tools and accessories that may make the clean-up of your bathroom and grout more easily. Many of these items are shaped and designed for a specific cleaning purpose.
A new and revolutionary idea that is becoming more popular is the use of steam pressure cleaners to remove dirt and mildew from bathroom floors. They are similar in concept to carpet steam cleaners and work very much the same way. There are commercial companies that offer this service or you can do it yourself with equipment available and hardware, home or discount stores. The premise behind this method is that the use of heat, water and pressure will loosen and remove the dirt, mildew and germs and the vacuum suction will remove the debris quickly and effortlessly. With no fumes, minimal time involved, and no chemicals to worry about it appears to be safe and efficient. This is especially popular among people with small children, pets or someone with extreme allergies. It seems to be a safe, effective and potentially healthier way to clean grout since there are no toxic products used and no dust or dander that is stirred up that may be inhaled. However, this way is much more expensive than using natural or Commercial Office Cleaning products that are commonly used by most people. It may be an option to consider if you are purchasing an older home, have an infant in the household, have a severe allergy problem, or want to deep clean the bathroom grout.
Regardless of how you choose to clean your grout, here is one last thing you may want to consider in order to keep it looking nice longer. Many experts recommend that grout be sealed every 2-3 years after a thorough cleaning since it is a porous material that will absorb moisture and dirt, which will increase mold and mildew growth. These sealers can be professional applied or you can do it yourself with product from a local home or hardware store.
Caring for the Vinyl Floor
A new vinyl floor is a wonderful investment in any home. Vinyl flooring is durable and long-lasting and can take much more of a beating than most other flooring choices. But that does not mean that you do not have to perform some maintenance on it. If you don’t, even the hardiest of vinyl floors can start to show wear. Even though cleaning is a big chore, caring for your vinyl floor does not take much effort on your part. With just a few good choices in accessories and cleaners, you can easily keep your vinyl flooring looking just as good as the day that it was installed
Cleaners- Depending on the manufacturer of your floor, there may be a specific floor polish that they recommend you use. Though it is always best to use this brand, it is not always readily available. Any non-abrasive floor cleanser will suffice, as long as it has no paste wax or solvents in it. If you use cleaners with any of these in it, you risk scratching or dulling your floor, perhaps irreparably. Also avoid cleansers with soap, since these do not dry well and can cause the floors to be slippery even after they dry. After awhile, no matter what cleanser you use, your floors may show some dulling. If this is the case, warm water mixed with ammonia (use measurement directions on the ammonia bottle) will usually strip the floors of the dulling cleanser residue without damaging them.
Mop- A soft cotton or cloth mop is best, since these will not scratch or scrape the floors. When mopping, be sure that if your mop has a metal or sharp edge of any kind that you do not let this scrape the flooring. If it does, it may cause large indentations that can eventually crack and lead to a larger tear. A dust mop is also good if you do not own a vacuum or prefer not to use it. A dust mop is similar to a regular mop in look, but functions more like a broom. It is soft and will not scratch, making it an excellent tool for maintaining your floor.
Vacuum- You should vacuum your vinyl floor often. But not all vacuums are appropriate for this type of flooring. If your vacuum happens to have a beater bar on it, you can do lots of damage to your floors. Never use a beater bar when vacuuming your vinyl floor.
Scrubbing tools- Never ever use abrasive tools on your vinyl floors, because this can scratch them up permanently. Also, anything made of wire or with wiring in it (including copper scrubs or SOS pads) are bad for vinyl surfaces. The best thing to do if you need to scrub a spot on your floors is to use mineral oil (or turpentine for paints or dyes) and a soft cotton cloth. With a little elbow grease you can clean up any stain quickly without damaging the tiles.
Metal Casters- Many tables and chairs have metal casters or rollers on the bottoms. Though these are not advisable, sometimes it is unavoidable and you must use them. If so, check to make sure they are in good condition so they won’t damage the vinyl. If you must use them, the double-wheel types of rollers are best for this type of tile.
Mats- Many people use mats at door or entryways into rooms with vinyl flooring. This is a great idea, because they keep dirt and abrasives like sand or other debris from causing damage. However, beware of mats with color. If there is dye in the cloth or rubber bottoms to these mats, they can start to stain your vinyl floor over time. Always check mats before you buy to ensure that they are colorfast. It should say so on the label. If they are colorfast, then they will not bleed and permanently stain your floor.
With the right types of accessories, your vinyl floor will last many years. If it is new, you can use these products to keep it looking new. If it is older, these products will help you maintain it, and prevent any old damage from getting worse. The most important thing is to read the labels and know what you are buying before you use it on your floors. This will prevent costly mistakes that will shorten the life of your new (or old) investment.
How to clean hardwood floors
Wood floors are some of the most versatile floor coverings in homes, apartments, and condos. Available in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes and styles, a hardwood floor fits nearly any décor from rustic western log homes to elegant villas full of antiques and priceless treasures. Wood floors flow nicely from kitchens to living rooms to bedrooms, and are pretty with or without area rugs. Hardwood floors are expensive and challenging to install, but they bring lasting charm and warmth to a home if they are protected and cared for properly.
To protect your wood floors, install small rugs or door mats before each outside entrance to trap dirt and debris brought in by shoes or pets. In fact, it helps to have a rug outside the door as well, for double protection. Shake out these rugs often, so the dirt won’t build up. All furniture sitting on the hardwood floor should have felt pads installed under the legs, and should be checked occasionally for wear or for dirt and debris. Never drag furniture across the floor; instead, if the furniture can’t be completely lifted up, clean the floor thoroughly and then use sliding furniture pads underneath to slide it smoothly. Sweep the wood floors often with a fine bristle broom, and dust mop frequently; dirt and grit are abrasive on your wood floor’s shiny, polyurethane finish.
Area rugs add to the coziness and charm of hardwood floors, and they can be very helpful in the protection of high traffic areas. Vacuum the rugs often so dirt won’t work its way down, acting like sandpaper on the floor under the rug. Wood floors can be vacuumed as well, just make sure to use a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner without beater bars.
Using water on wood floors is a subject of debate, but experts agree that standing water is the floor’s worst enemy. Never allow water to stand on your hardwood floor: wipe spills immediately and then dry the area thoroughly. If sweeping and vacuuming just don’t seem to be enough for you, use a damp mop, but see that it is merely damp, and not wet. After sweeping thoroughly, slightly dampen the mop and run it lightly over your floors. If the finish is in good condition, this won’t hurt the wood, but if the finish has been compromised, it is better to avoid water altogether.
In efforts to protect their hardwood floors, many homeowners insist that both family members and visitors remove their shoes at the door. High heels and heavy winter boots can dent or damage the floor, and even people with the best intentions of wiping their feet clean, will find tiny amounts of grit on the bottoms of their shoes. If you feel uncomfortable with this rule, keep a shelf or basket of socks and slippers available for your guests to wear.
If a hardwood floor is dented, scratched, or damaged, follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for repairs or treatment. Some wood floors may require occasional buffing or waxing, and again, check with the manufacturer for your wood floor to find out the correct method to use. Every floor is different and the proper care means a long life.
In caring for your wood floors, simply remember to sweep often, use a dust mop, wipe spills immediately, and install pads under all your furniture. Following these simple tips will ensure a lasting, beautiful hardwood floor for years to come.
Cleaning the exterior of your home
There are a couple of reasons for cleaning the exterior of your home. One is appearance. A dirty house just doesn’t look good; especially if you are trying to sell the house. Perhaps you are getting ready to paint the house. Dirt should always be removed before painting.
Your first task is to pick a rainless day. You want the house’s covering to be as dry as possible. You also don’t want to work in the rain. If you are using a hose to clean your house you will get as wet as you want without the rain. Pick a nice, sunny, hot day for the water hose approach. You also want to make certain what covers your house – stucco, brick, and fiberglass/aluminum siding or wood. Each cover has a different means of cleaning.
If your house is stucco, first repair or cover any cracks or holes in the stucco. You don’t want any cleaning material getting in behind the stucco. If it does it will probably remain damp and thus turn to mold. Wall mold can eventually be very dangerous to your health.
Perhaps the best way to clean a stucco house is a simple water hose and brush. You do not want the water to be under too much pressure because high pressure may disturb or damage the stucco. A good low pressure hose, a bucket of soapy water and a good size bristle brush will do the job. This may take a while, depending on the size of your house, so plan accordingly. Another method is to connect to the end of your hose a container that can hold liquid soap. Thus when the water flows it travels through the container and the container’s soap is mixed in with the water as the water is sprayed. These hose attachments are often used for spreading liquid fertilizer. Most lawn and garden stores sell them.
If you have a brink house, first seal or cover any cracks or holes. If the dirt lightly covers the brick any of the water styles mentioned for the stucco house will work. Brick is sturdy though and can stand up to high pressure water. Most rental stores now offer such items – pump and hose. Be careful with this tool. It is a great cleaner, but if the pressure is too high the water jet can cause damage to the house or even you. Be especially cautious around windows not to break the window glass or let the high pressured spray force water in around the windows. Remember the warning about mold. Wear eye protection when you use high pressure wands.
In very severe cases you can sandblast a brick house. This style sprays some harsh material under high pressure onto the wall. This can be extremely dangerous for amateurs as it projects a hard material at high speeds. Some rental stores will rent this equipment but I suggest you hire a professional for this task. The high pressure and hard material makes it very easy to force the material into cracks or holes. It also makes it easy to break windows and can even destroy the brick or its mortar.
Siding now comes in many materials – aluminum, fiberglass, particle, etc. In general the same rules follow for this type as others. Cover or repair holes and cracks. Avoid getting wet material behind the siding. Any of the above mentioned cleaning approaches will work for siding. Some siding, over time, especially older aluminum siding, may become stained. Special cleaners are available at hardware stores for this type of siding. Be careful though. Many of these cleaners are very caustic. Before you use them on your siding make certain you try them on a small hidden area of the siding to make certain they don’t damage the siding. You should also wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Be careful about high pressure blasting. Beyond the cautions already mentioned, this high pressure blasting can pit, ding or dent metal siding.
Last is wood siding. Same rules apply about holes, cracks, dampness and mold. Same rules apply for low pressure water, high pressure water and sandblasting. In fact sandblasting is seldom used for wood. It is just too strong for wood. It can destroy or damage the wood pitting it or even cracking the wood. High pressure water cleaning and sandblasting will almost certainly remove any paint from the wood.
A few general tips to remember. Good dish detergent often works best as a cleaner and is mild enough that it won’t damage the exterior of your house. However, if the dirt is too strong for dish detergent you will want to explore stronger cleaners. Be certain to first try the cleaner on a small and hidden part of the exterior to make certain it won’t damage the siding. Next, keep in mind that harsh cleansers are often caustic and environmentally unfriendly.
Reaching the eaves of your house will require some help, usually in the form of a step ladder or an extension ladder. Follow all the rules for safe ladder use. Make certain the ladder is in good shape, it is secured, you don’t stand on the top rung and you don’t lean out so far from the ladder that you lose your balance. If you have a large building to clean you may want to explore a scaffolding system. It is not only safer, but it makes the work easier. Rather than having to move the ladder every couple of feet you can work off a scaffolding platform covering a number of feet at once. Scaffolding can be rented at most tool rental stores.
Removing ink stains from clothes
Our wardrobe says a lot about who we are and can be an expensive investment. Although ink stains are unsightly, they are not as hard to remove as you may think. So, before you donate or trash the stained garment, try removing the stain.
Before you start, make sure you will have everything you need to get the job done properly. You will need plenty of water, dishwashing detergent, vinegar, alcohol, bleach, and some clean, lightly colored cloths. Light colored cloths will help you to see how much of your stain is actually coming out. You will also need a bleach pen, q-tips, or a dropper.
The first thing you need to do is mix your cleaning solution. One teaspoon of dishwashing detergent mixed with a cup of water should do the trick.
Once you have your solution mixed, rinse your stain with water. Apply your cleaning solution to the stain along with two to three drops of vinegar. Leave the garment for at least thirty minutes, blotting occasionally with a clean cloth. Rinse thoroughly.
Next, apply rubbing alcohol to the stain. Using one of your clean cloths, firmly blot at the stain. Make sure you are always using a clean section of the cloth. Remember, the cloth will show you how much of the stain is coming out. Rinse out the alcohol and allow the garment to dry.
After the stain has dried, add water to the stain. Also, add more detergent. This time, add two to three drops of ammonia with the detergent. Again, let the garment set for at least thirty minutes, blotting occasionally. Rinse the garment again, with water.
On the remainder of the stain, you will use bleach. Using a bleach pen, q-tip, or dropper is a good idea. This will help keep the bleach only on the stain. Once you have applied the bleach, remove it by rinsing within a few minutes. Use water to rinse. Do not leave bleach on your garment.
If your ink stain happened to come from a ballpoint pen, your steps change slightly. For your first step, rinse with glycerin instead of water. This can be purchased at a store. Skip the vinegar and next apply the detergent and ammonia following the same steps. You should only apply bleach following the steps above if there is still some of the stain remaining. Rinse thoroughly after applying the bleach.
Your final steps are going to be to rinse with vinegar and then again with water. At this point, your stain, hopefully, will be gone.
Cautions: Do not use bleach on silk, spandex, or wool. Bleach can permanently damage these fabrics. Do not smoke while treating your garment. You are using flammable materials. Do not use near open flames. If bleach touches your skin, immediately wash with soap and water. Only treat garments in well ventilated areas. Keep all materials away from your eyes. Remember to spot test the garment before treating whole stain.
It may seem like there are a lot of steps involved to remove ink stains. If it’s one of your favorite pieces of clothing, it may be worth trying. If the garment that is stained is expensive, you may want to consider having it treated by a professional. Cleaning professionals have special chemicals that they can use on different kinds of stains. Remember, just because we call it a stain, it does mean it won't come out.
Removing candle wax from carpet
Wax is one of the hardest substances to remove from any fabric; you can’t wash it out, and because it soaks into the fibers and then hardens, you can’t scrape all of it off. But with some work, you can get remove most of the wax when you spill it on a carpet.
Wax is easier to get out of loop carpet than pile. Here’s how to do it:
1. Put ice or a bag of frozen vegetables inside a tightly-sealing Ziploc baggie. Place the ice over the wax to freeze it. You want the wax as cold as possible before you start working with it.
2. While your wax is chilling, get a butter knife and a firm-bristle brush (something with about the consistency of an extra-firm toothbrush). A Dust buster or other small hand-held vacuum cleaner will be handy, but not necessary. You also want to get some paper towels, a dry washcloth, and an iron without steam (or with the steam reservoir emptied). Plug the iron in near the wax you’re removing, and turn it on the lowest setting.
3. Remove the ice; you should have very cold and dry wax. Scrape off what you can with the butter knife, and suck it up in the Dust buster as you scrape. If you don’t have a Dust buster, sweep the residue away with your hand so that you have a clear working area.
4. When you’ve removed as much surface wax as you can, scrub the area lightly with the firm-bristle brush until no more wax particles come away; scrub a little harder but not hard enough to damage the fibers. You’ve done all you can when your brush is starting to catch on fibers, and nothing appears to be coming off the carpet.
Now for the trick:
5. Lay paper towels over the wax stain. Over the paper towels, put a dry washcloth. Put your iron on top of the dry washcloth and press firmly, wiggling the iron, for about ten seconds. Lift the paper towels. If there is a grease stain on the paper towel, your iron is hot enough; if not, make it a little warmer. Repeat until a grease stain shows up on your paper towel.
6. Discard stained paper towel and replace with a new one, cover with the washcloth, and repeat ironing. Check the paper towel; if it has a grease stain, repeat all of this step until the paper towel comes back twice without grease.
7. If your carpet looks okay now, great! You’re done. But if there is noticeable discoloration, you will need to clean it with a carpet cleaner. While the wax stain is still very warm from the iron, put undiluted carpet cleaner or a gentle colorfast laundry stain remover directly on the stain, and scrub gently with a damp washcloth. Let sit for about ten minutes; then go over the stain with a carpet cleaner filled with plain water until the stain is gone and you don’t see any soapy residue.
Cut pile carpet
Cut pile carpet is a little trickier, particularly if you have a dark-colored wax on a light-colored pile. Your steps, though, are very similar to the ones for a loop carpet, except you are going to need to make allowances for the pile.
1. As with the loop carpeting, put ice or a bag of frozen vegetables inside a tightly-sealing Ziploc baggie. Place the ice over the wax to freeze it. You want the wax as cold as possible before you start working with it.
2. While your wax is chilling, get butter knife and a SOFT-bristle brush (something with about the consistency of a soft toothbrush); unlike loop carpeting, pile carpeting can be badly damaged by harsh bristles. Continue with the Dust buster, paper towels, dry washcloth, and an iron that will not steam. Pile carpeting, though, is more delicate than loop; before using the iron on your wax stain, test it on an unobtrusive section of carpet, like the area behind your television, to make sure it isn’t going to burn or melt the fibers. If it does, skip all the steps concerning irons and go straight to the stain remover section.
3. Remove the ice; you should have very cold and dry wax. Gently scrape off what you can with the blunt side of your butter knife, and suck it up in the Dust buster as you scrape. If you don’t have a Dust buster, sweep the residue away with your hand so that you have a clear working area. When you think all the wax is gone, “crumble” the carpet over the wax area – like scrunching your hair – and continue sucking up the residue until no more is coming off.
4. When you’ve removed as much surface wax as you can, brush the area gently with the soft-bristle brush until no more wax particles come away; scrub a little harder but not hard enough to damage the fibers. If your brush starts to catch on the fibers, stop and go to the next step.
5. Flatten the pile around and in the wax stain so that it all slants in one direction. Lay paper towels over the wax stain. Over the paper towels, put a dry washcloth. Put your iron on top of the dry washcloth and press firmly, wiggling the iron, for about ten seconds. Lift the paper towels. If there is a grease stain on the paper towel, your iron is hot enough; if not, make it a little warmer. Repeat until a grease stain shows up on your paper towel.
6. Discard stained paper towel and replace with a new one, cover with the washcloth, and repeat ironing. Check the paper towel; if it has a grease stain, repeat all of this step until the paper towel comes back twice without grease.
7. Flatten the pile in the opposite direction, and repeat the remainder of steps 5 and 6. You should do this in four directions: up, down, right, and left. Finally, flatten the pile in a burst away from the center of the wax stain, so that the heaviest part of the stain is in the center of the flattened pile. Repeat steps 5 and 6 one more time.
7. If your carpet looks okay now, you’re done. But if there is noticeable discoloration, you will need to clean it with a carpet cleaner. While the wax stain is still very warm from the iron, put undiluted carpet cleaner or a gentle colorfast laundry stain remover directly on the stain, and scrub gently with a damp washcloth, squeezing the ends of the pile so that the cleanser permeates the fibers. Let sit for about ten minutes; then go over the stain with a carpet cleaner filled with plain water until the stain is gone and you don’t see any soapy residue.
You should have a beautiful carpet by the time you’re done. Congratulations! (and move those candles, will you?
Cleaning the water heater
Regularly cleaning out your water heater is a good way to deal with water heater problems, but even in the most ideal conditions, it is a lot of work. Before starting the process, you should carefully read through all the steps and think about the effort involved. Once you pour cleaner into your hot water heater, you must be committed to flushing it completely as you’ll have soapy water for a long time to come if you don’t!
Mineral deposits in the tank, or problems caused by them, are the most common reasons to clean a tank. If you have gas water heater the deposits form on the bottom of the tank and are usually stuck to the tank itself. Cleaning out the water heater will only remove a fraction of the deposits in there, if that’s what you are attempting to do. Electric water heaters collect any mineral deposits on the heating elements and they usually fall to the bottom of the tank over time. Some of the deposits from an electric tank will flush in the cleaning process; however, many are too large to flush through the drain valve.
If there are a lot of deposits in the tank, you might have to go through the cleaning process more than once to achieve the desired results. In water heaters that are over seven years old this process may cause the water heater to leak so much you will have to replace it, consider this before starting.
Cleaning the tank:
1. Turn the water heater off.
2. Turn the cold water supply to the water heater off.
3. Hook a high quality garden hose to the drain valve.
4. Place the other end of the hose where hot water will not cause damage. The hose should be as straight as possible and all turns should be gradual.
5. Open the drain valve.
6. Disconnect the cold water inlet pipe on the top of the water heater. This step will let air into the water heater so it will drain.
7. When the water heater is empty, close the drain.
8. Pour a gallon of acidic tub and tile cleaner into the coldwater inlet pipe one cup at a time. CLR works best and can usually be found in an economical gallon size. Pause a few seconds after each cup of cleaner is poured into the tank, failing to do so will cause the tank to spew cleaner all over you.
9. Three to five hours later drain the cleaner out of the tank. By this time the cleaner will have either dissolved all of the mineral deposits or have been neutralized. To check if the cleaner is still working, gather the open end of a small plastic bag tightly around the open coldwater inlet pipe. If the bag gradually inflates, the cleaner is still working. If the bag does not inflate, the cleaner has stopped working.
10. Reconnect the cold water inlet pipe and turn the supply back on.
11. Open the cold water inlet valve and let the water heater flush for several minutes.
12. Close the drain valve and open the hot water faucet nearest to the tank and let the water heater fill.
13. When water starts to come out of that faucet, reopen the drain and let the water heater continue to rinse.
14. When the water seems clean and is free of bubbles, close the drain. Open all the hot water faucets in the house to remove all air from the water heater and hot water pipes.
15. After all the air is out of the water heater, turn it back on.
You may get a slight amount of soapsuds from the hot water faucets for a day or two after cleaning your water heater. By this time, the cleaner is so diluted that there is no harm in the small amount remaining. After all of this you may still have problems with your water heater such as rumbling, which means there is sentiment left in the tank. As stated before, this whole process is quite complicated. If you’re still having troubles, it’s back to step one!
If you did solve your problems, it’s time to consider prevention so you don’t have to go through this mess again. Every two to three months you should flush your water heater, as this is much less complicated than cleaning the tank. All you need to do is hook up a garden hose to the drain valve. The hose should be placed so it is as straight as possible with only the most gradual turns. Open the drain valve and let the water flush through the heater; the incoming water will agitate the deposits and some of it will flush out.
Also, installing a water softener is a good idea if you live in an area with hard water. A water softener will break down the minerals that accumulate and cause problems in your tank. Or, you can always replace your current water heater with a self-cleaning version made by State Industries. It’s costly, but may be worth it if you’re constantly battling with mineral deposits
How to eliminate the smell of cigarettes
Eliminating the odor of stale cigarette smoke is an ongoing job. There is no "set-it-and-forget-it" magic to eliminating the odor. It permeates everything—walls, flooring, carpets and rugs, bedspreads, furniture, curtains, lampshades, clothing, even hair, skin and nails—any porous material. The tar and nicotine leave a film that binds the smoke to the material, not only allowing the odor to last forever, but also discoloring light-colored surfaces and fabrics. Some ordinary cleaning products leave a film that actually attracts tar and nicotine.
If you are a smoker, or you know that you're going to have guests in your home who smoke, it's best to attack the problem aggressively and from multiple angles: prevention, cleaning, neutralizing, and even masking.
Prevent Smoke Buildup
Obviously, the very best preventative tactic is to smoke outdoors. Since this is not going to appeal to some smokers, the next best way to combat cigarette smoke is to allow as little smoke as possible into a confined area.
• Fresh air - There is no substitute for fresh air! Even in the dead of winter, it's possible to open a window to allow some air exchange while smoking.
• Mechanical Air Exchange – There is no shortage of air filters on the market that do a fair job of circulating stale air through a variety of filters, usually including a charcoal filter, and returning cleaned air to the room. Over the years, the size of these machines has shrunk from furniture-sized appliances to desktop eyesores. Most are noisy, and all require frequent and usually expensive filter changes.
• Negative ion generators – These machines have no moving parts and no filters to replace. They emit electrically charged negative ions into the air. Think about the fresh look, feel and smell after a thunderstorm. The thunderstorm leaves behind an atmosphere full of negative ions. The beach is another example of an environment rich in negative ions. In both instances, negative ions are not only responsible for the fresh air, but also for the accompanying sense of wellbeing. Anywhere you find pollution, including stale smoke; you will find air full of positively charged ions. Negative ion generators are small and unobtrusive. You must clean the inner chamber of the machine frequently, and if you place the machine close to a wall, you will need to wash the wall frequently, because the stale smoke matter concentrates and some of it escapes from the filter chamber.
• Smokeless ashtrays – Battery-powered smokeless ashtrays are available for approximately $5. They use a small fan to draw the smoke into an inner chamber that houses a filter, usually a charcoal filter. The smoke you exhale still circulates around the room until it finds its final resting place on the walls, ceiling, carpet, etc., but residual smoke from the burning cigarette is trapped in the ashtray filter.
Emergency Quick Room Fresheners
If, for example, you receive a phone call from a non-smoking friend, informing you of an imminent visit, you have to act quickly. In this case, you don't have time for a thorough cleaning. You will have to settle for removing as much of the odor as possible and masking the rest. Keep a stock of supplies on hand for this type of emergency.
• Air and fabric neutralizer (not freshener) spray, such as Febreze
• Baking soda
• Pine-scented cleaner, such as Pine Sol
• Scented candles, preferably scented with essential oils
You will have to work fast. Complete as many of the following steps in order as time permits.
1. Start with public rooms: kitchen, foyer, den, living room, etc. Spray the room, furniture, curtains and carpets with an air and fabric neutralizer. Stand under the mist to allow a little of the mist to fall onto your hair and clothing. Do not spray directly on furniture, drapes or carpet unless you have tested ahead of time. Just let a little mist fall from the air if you have not tested.
2. If it's winter and you have a fireplace, light a fire. If you have some dried lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit rinds, throw them on the fire.
3. Place fresh potpourri in each room. Add some water and potpourri to a large pot and simmer on the stove.
4. Light scented candles.
5. Soak a washcloth with vinegar, wring excess liquid, and wave the washcloth around the room to neutralize the odor.
6. Sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet before vacuuming.
7. Wipe kitchen surfaces with a vinegar and water solution.
8. Mop the kitchen floor with a pine-scented floor cleaner.
Once the smoke has done its damage, the earlier you can attack the problem, the better your chances of eliminating the lingering odor and discoloration.
• Walls – Wash the walls, baseboards, ceilings and doors once or twice a year with water, baking soda and vinegar. You'll notice that the smoke stains get darker as the smoke travels up the wall, eventually landing on the ceiling. Pay special attention to corners and crevices.
• Curtains – Wash or dry clean once a year and spruce up in between cleanings by spraying with an air and fabric neutralizer. If you have expensive draperies, professionally clean as necessary.
• Carpets – Vacuum with baking soda once a week, and clean the carpet once or twice a year. If you want to add fragrance without the expense of a commercial product, mix a drop or two of your favorite essential oil into the baking soda before sprinkling. For stubborn odors, leave the baking soda on the carpet overnight before vacuuming.
• Furniture – If you use your living room and dining room infrequently, the best course of action is to cover the furniture with old sheets, blankets, and duvets. Close off the room if possible, and close air vents when the room is not in use to prevent smoke from circulating into the room. If your good furniture is exposed, it is best to have it professionally cleaned as needed. Don't take any chances with fine fabrics unless you know what you're doing and you have tested the fabric.
• Floors – Most floors respond well to mopping with a vinegar and water solution. Apply wax after the floor completely dries if your floor requires wax. Most modern finishes no longer require regular waxing.
• Central air systems – Change filters at least once a month. Otherwise, you're circulating the very contaminant that you want to eliminate.
• Allow fresh air into the house every day. Completely sealing your house in the winter seals the smoke in the house. Ventilating a little in the winter is healthy, and it will help you keep the smoke odor to a minimum.
• Place odor absorbing materials around the house in hidden locations: small bowls of vinegar, baking soda, charcoal, even kitty litter. Be sure to place the bowls out of the reach of children and pets.
• Place a drop or two of essential oils on a cold light bulb. When you turn the light on, the heat will mix with the essential oil, and you'll have a continuous, long-term source of fragrance.
• Store clothes in plastic bags, and add cedar chips to the closet. Close the closet doors. Remove any residual smoke from clothes in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet.
• Keep a supply of scented candles on hand. You can purchase candles formulated specifically for removing smoke odors. Light the candles before you smoke.
• Spray air neutralizers to get rid of the smoke odor, and follow with an air freshener after the smoke odor is gone.
• Simmer potpourri in water on the stove. If you don't have any potpourri, simmer a pot with water, citrus rinds, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove.
• Fill the bottom of your ashtrays with charcoal, baking soda or kitty litter.
The object is to stay ahead of the smoke odors, and clean the residual film early and often. If you do those two things, you can still smoke and live in a fresh, sweet-smelling atmosphere.
How to remove grease from kitchen cabinets
Who has time to scrub their kitchen cabinets every day? Or even every weekend? Most of us are too busy to do anything more than the most basic household chores. If we don’t care for our cabinets, however, grease and food can build up, giving them a dull appearance and a gummy texture. Don’t be intimidated if your cabinets have grease or food build up. Removing this residue isn’t that difficult and shouldn’t take up too much of your time
When it comes to cleaning, sometimes the most effective products are those found in our kitchen pantries. For instance, baking soda doubles as a wonderful household cleaner and is very effective at removing grease and food spatters from your cabinets. Just use two or three tablespoons of baking soda per cup of warm water and wipe using a sponge. Be sure to wring out your sponge before applying to the cabinet, as water can drip everywhere if you don’t. Rinse off the baking soda solution by sponging clean with cool, clean water. Use a paper towel or clean cloth to dry.
Another excellent home remedy is vinegar. Straight vinegar rubbed on from a cloth or sponge can clean away the grease and food build-up in no time. Keep in mind, however, that the smell may linger for a day or two, but it won’t last much longer than that. If your cabinets aren’t too dirty, you can dilute the vinegar in a little warm water.
A mild dishwashing liquid also works well for cleaning the front of cabinets. A tablespoon or so in a cup of warm water should do the job just fine. For trickier bits of food that may be stuck, use a sponge with the green scrubbing pad. Try not to use a scrub brush, steel wool pad or any type of abrasives as these will only scratch the surface of your cabinet. Scouring powder is damaging to cabinets as well. If you have a mild, all purpose household detergent, this will work as well as the dishwashing liquid. A capful or two in a couple of cups of warm water is all you need. Before drying, sponge with cool, clear water to rinse.
If food is really stuck on, try scraping with a butter or putty knife, but be gentle. You don’t want to scratch your cabinet. If you have heavy dirt and grime that can’t be removed with ordinary household cleaners, you can try using paint thinner. Test a hidden part of the cabinet first to make sure you won’t incur any damage. Pour the paint thinner onto a clean cloth or rag and rub until no more dirt can be removed. Common sense should prevail when using chemicals. Make sure the kitchen is well ventilated and never use around an open flame or even a pilot light.
For shiny wooden cabinets, an all purpose wood polish, such as those found in the supermarket, will polish the wood and bring out its natural beauty. Always check the label to make sure the spray is compatible with the wood finish of your cabinet and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
As you can see, cleaning your kitchen cabinets really isn’t a difficult job. In fact, if you go over them quickly once-a-month or so with mild detergent and some warm water, it should save your cabinets from the dirt and grease build up that happens with months of neglect. A little basic maintenance will keep your kitchen cabinets looking new and will keep you from doing a lot of scrubbing.
How to remove ink from furniture
It happens to the best of us. You’re sitting on the couch enjoying a crossword and you accidentally write on the couch, or you’re writing a letter and ink leaks from your pen. Don’t despair; there are many simple solutions for removing ink stains from the furniture.
No matter what the staining agent, or where the stain has occurred, the most important thing you can do to fight any stain is to act quickly. The sooner you act, the less time the stain has to set. Always start with some cool water and a cloth. Blot to lift as much of the stain as you can. It’s important not to rub at the stain as this can make it spread. Rubbing can also weaken the fibers of the fabric causing wear and tear and shortening the life span of that particular piece. If blotting with water doesn’t work, there are other methods you can use. Before trying one of them, you should be aware of a couple of things. Never apply heat to any type of stain. Heat causes stains to set, making them almost impossible to remove. Also, if you’re unsure of any of the stain removal methods mentioned here, test first on a hidden area of your furniture. You don’t want to damage the piece further.
Hairspray is supposed to be an important tool in the ink stain removal arsenal. There are several ways in which it can be applied. If it’s a light stain, spray the hairspray directly on the stain and blot until no more ink can be lifted. If the stain requires more than this, pour the hairspray directly onto the ink stain to saturate and blot until the ink is gone. If need be, you can use a toothbrush to gently scrub, but you want do this as little as possible since you don’t want to spread the stain or weaken the fibers. You can also saturate the stain with hairspray and gently rub with a bar of soap. To rinse, blot with a clean, damp cloth.
You can also try either denatured or rubbing alcohol. Pour it onto the stain and blot with a piece of cotton or cotton swab until no more ink can be lifted. Another solution is to make a paste of lemon juice and salt, gently rub this paste into the stain and blot until the stain is gone. Rinse by blotting with a damp cloth.
Here are a couple of other home remedies for removing ink stains from furniture. Try soaking the stain with milk and after letting it sit for a while; blot with a clean, damp cloth until the stain is lifted. You can also cut a tomato in half and rub the stain gently with the tomato half. Be careful using this method on light-colored furniture. While you may lift the ink stain, you can add a tomato stain to the mix. This method works best when the couch’s upholstery can be removed and thrown in the wash. It’s probably best to test first on a hidden area.
If you get ink on a piece of leather or vinyl furniture, it may not be as easy to remove. You can try blotting with rubbing alcohol, hair spray or nail polish remover, but be sure to test in a hidden area of the furniture first to make sure there’s no discoloration. You can rub the stain a little harder with leather and vinyl furniture since it’s + not as likely to spread. It may even be a good idea to contact the manufacturer to see what the recommended course of action might be. When dealing with these materials, however, it’s good to avoid detergents as they can cause discoloration.
If the ink is on a piece of wood furniture, try rubbing a little lemon juice into the stain with steel wool. Be gentle so as not to scar the wood. After the stain is removed, polish with your favorite furniture spray.
Accidents happen, but some people mistakenly believe that ink on the furniture means it’s time to carry those pieces to the curb. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just try some of the stain removal methods above; one of them is sure to work wonders restoring your furniture back to its original state.
12. Source: http://www.essortment.com/home/petstainscarpe_sckp.htm
How to remove pet stains from carpet
As well behaved as most of our pets are, accidents happen. Even with the best of training, every dog or cat makes a mess on the rug at least once in its lifetime. Thankfully, these messes can be cleaned up in no time with minimal or even no staining. If you’re thinking about tossing out your carpet because Fifi had herself a little accident, read on. Hopefully, some of the tips mentioned here will help you remove any unwanted pet stains.
If you happen to catch the accident just after it happens, act immediately. The first line of defense for stain fighting is to take steps to remedy the situation as soon as possible. Clean up any solid material with a paper towel and blot at the stain with clean paper towel or rag until no more of the stain can be lifted. After that, there are several remedies that might work. Vinegar is a wonderful all-purpose cleaner. It can be used full strength for heavy stains or for a lighter surface stain, it can be diluted in some warm water – one part vinegar to two parts of water. Pour the vinegar directly on the stain and blot until no more of the stain can be lifted. Always blot stains, don’t ever rub. Not only can rubbing cause the stain to spread, it can also weaken the fibers of your carpet, which can lead to tearing and bald spots. The room, and carpet in particular, may smell like vinegar for a day or two, but this will pass. Besides, compared to what the room might have smelled like soon after the accident, vinegar may be the preferable scent.
Hydrogen peroxide diluted with some warm water is another option. Like vinegar, this solution can be poured directly on the stain and blotted until the stain is lifted. Because this is bleach, however, you may want to test on a hidden area of your carpet to make sure there will be no discoloration.
Something else to try is a solution of a quarter cup of mild dishwashing liquid (one with no bleaches or alkalis) to one cup of warm water. Blot with a sponge or cloth until the stain is lifted. Rinse by blotting with cool water and dry with a towel.
Baking soda is also a good remover of pet stains. Pour the baking soda straight from the box onto the stain and coat the stain entirely. Let this sit for a couple of hours or two, it should draw the stain right out. When time is up, you should vacuum the baking soda, and the stain, out of the carpet.
For pet vomit stains, remove any solid matter and then+ cover the remaining stain with salt. Cover the salt with a towel and let sit for a couple of hours. This should absorb the stain right out of your carpet. You should vacuum after a couple of hours. If none of these solutions work, your local pet emporium should have some products that will do the trick or you can call in a professional carpet cleaner. Pet accidents shouldn’t be the death of your carpet and, in most cases, can be cleaned with items found in your kitchen pantry. With luck, the above-mentioned tips will help prolong the life of your carpet.
How to remove red wine stains from clothes
You’re at a party and someone accidentally bumps into you, spilling your glass of red wine all over the front of your shirt. What do you do? Don’t cry over your spilled wine and don’t panic. You won’t have to throw the blouse away. Red wine stains are usually easy to remove with items found around the house. If you’re interested in saving your favorite item of clothing from spending eternity in the rag bin, read on.
No matter where you are, act quickly. The key to efficiently removing any stain is to act immediately. Go to the nearest rest room or kitchen sink and blot the stain with a clean, damp cloth until no more of the red wine can be lifted. Don’t frantically rub on the stain to get it out, this will only cause it to spread, making your problems worse. Rubbing can also weaken the fibers of your garment causing tears and frays. Dampen the cloth and continue to blot until you remove as much of the stain as possible.
If there’s a glass of white wine handy, immediately pour that over the red wine stain. White wine neutralizes the red wine and will make the stain vanish. With the stain neutralized, you can throw the item of clothing in with your next load of laundry, but a word of warning, don’t throw any piece of stained clothing into the dryer unless the stain is completely gone. The heat of the dryer will cause the stain to set making it a permanent part of the garment. The same goes for the iron. Never iron a stain.
If a glass of white wine isn’t immediately available, you have plenty of other options. Try vinegar, one of the greatest all-purpose cleaners of all time. Pour the vinegar onto a damp cloth and blot the stain until the wine is completely lifted. If needed, you can even pour the vinegar directly onto the stain to saturate before blotting. Once the stain is removed, blot with a damp cloth. Your clothes might smell for the rest of the evening, but the scent is easily removed in the washing machine.
Here’s another home remedy, mix a solution of one part mild dishwashing liquid (one that contains no bleaches or alkalis) and two parts hydrogen peroxide. Saturate the stain with this solution and let it presoak until you do the laundry. It may take two applications and two washings so be sure not to throw the item of clothing into the dryer until the stain is completely removed. Another bubbly idea is to pour club soda directly on the stain and let it go to work. With luck, the stain will lift before your eyes. If not, a little gentle blotting is all that’s needed. Once the stain is lifted, blot with a clean, damp cloth and launder as usual.
Sprinkling salt on the spot is said to lift the liquid from the stain. Coarse salts such as Kosher salt works best. Leave on for a few minutes and wipe salt away. Blot with a damp cloth until the stain is removed. Baking soda can be used in much the same manner. Sprinkle it over the stain and let sit until the wine is absorbed, wipe away, and blot with a cool, damp cloth. Launder as usual.
A paste of cream of tartar and water will also work to remove the stain. Gently rub the paste into the stain and let sit. Remove the paste and blot with a damp cloth. Launder as usual as soon as you can get to a washing machine. As you can see, a spilled glass of wine doesn’t make a ruined blouse. All you need is some quick thinking and a well-stocked kitchen.
How to remove wax from carpet
Nothing can spoil the mood at a candlelit dinner or evening party like an accident involving spilled wax. Once wax hardens, it can be quite difficult to remove. There are ways to remedy this situation, however, so don’t let a messy accident, such as this, spoil a good time.
The first thing you should do is gently scrape away as much wax as possible using a butter knife or similar object. Do your best not to pull up the fibers and threads of the carpet as this can lead to a bald spot, or at the very least, a weakening of the fibers, which causes earlier wear and tear on your carpet. Once you’ve removed as much wax as you can this way, cover the spot with a piece of brown paper bag. Run a warm iron over the brown paper bag. This should soften the wax, which will, in turn, adhere to the paper bag. When the bag is lifted, the wax will lift from the carpet as well. You may need to go over the spot more than once to remove all the wax. Make sure you use a warm iron, as you don’t want to burn the fibers of the carpet. If you’d like, you can place a towel over the paper bag to be extra safe. Never place the iron directly on the carpet as this can cause scorch marks. It can also leave you with a messy, wax covered iron.
In lieu of an iron and paper bag, you can also use a warm hair dyer and some newspaper or even paper towels. Place the newspaper over the wax and hold the hair dryer over it, using the highest setting. The wax should adhere to the newspaper in much the same way it adhered to the paper bag by using a warm iron. Hot water has also been recommended. Pour hot water slowly over the wax until it softens and then use a butter knife or similar object to scrape away.
Sometimes, just the opposite works. Try placing an icepack over the wax. This will freeze the wax, causing it to harden. Once it’s completely solid, it should be easier to pick off your carpet.
If there is dye from the candle left behind, dab with a bit of denatured alcohol or rubbing alcohol to remove the stain. Always dab or blot, as rubbing will cause the stain to spread, making it set deeper into the carpet. There are other methods for removing spots from the carpet. Blot using one of the following: vinegar, club soda, lemon juice, a mild dish detergent (one with no alkalis or bleaches) or even a bit of nail polish remover. At this point, make sure no more heat is being applied to the carpet as heat causes stains to set deeper into the carpet. In fact, this is why it’s a good idea to use a warm iron or hair dryer for wax removal, rather than one set to the highest setting. After the stain is lifted, blot with a cool damp cloth.
As you can see, removing wax from the carpet isn’t too difficult and can be done with a few items most people have handy in their homes. Now you can enjoy candle-lit events worry free.
How to remove burn marks from the carpet
Every now and then, even the most careful smoker gets a little careless and drops a lit cigarette or burning ash on the carpet, creating a hole. Sometimes, a candle accidentally tips over, also harming the rug. No matter how it happened, this type of accident could be devastating for your carpet, causing irreparable damage. Before you roll up your carpet and place it on the curb, read on to see if your rug can be salvaged.
It’s really not difficult to repair your carpet. It just takes a steady hand and a spare bit of carpet. First, take a piece of low grade sandpaper or a steel wool scouring pad and rub the burn mark until the melted fibers are no longer visible. You can also try scraping with a blade to remove the singed fibers. Brush using a whiskbroom or similar floor brush to remove any ashes. You can use the hose attachment on the vacuum cleaner for this as well. Hopefully, this will have removed the burn mark from your carpet. If this is not the case, you’ll need to perform a little emergency surgery.
With an X-acto type knife, cut around the burn mark on the carpet. Make the cut a little bigger than the actual burn. Also, take care to cut out the damaged carpet only and not the padding or floor underneath. Using the cutout as a template, cut a new piece of carpet from either a remnant you may have around the house, or a hidden piece of carpet no one will notice, such as from inside a closet or under a piece of furniture.
Take your piece of new carpet, and using a hot glue gun, glue the bit of carpet into the spot where the burn mark originally stood, taking care not to get glue on the rest of the carpet. Make sure the sides are covered with glue. You don’t want the piece of carpet to come up during routine vacuuming. Use a kitchen rolling pin or similar device to blend the seams together. Try not to let anyone walk on the carpet until it’s completely dry. The last thing you want is for the piece of new carpet to end up on the bottom of someone’s shoe.
If you’re not comfortable trying this bit of carpet repair yourself; you may want to call an expert. First, try the carpet’s manufacturer to see if they have a different recommendation for burn removal. Otherwise, you might need to call in a professional carpet cleaner to clean or repair the burned spot.
As a last resort, you may consider rearranging your furniture, or buying a new potted plant or other room accessory to brighten up the space and cover the spot. It’ll probably be cheaper to do a quick room makeover this way than to totally replace your carpet. As you can see, a carelessly dropped cigarette or knocked over candle doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your carpet. You may have to do a little minor repair work, but it’s for a good cause. Besides, why throw out your carpet if you don’t have to?
How to remove fruit stains from carpet
Everyone loves a party, especially if good food is involved. Sometimes, however, people aren’t very careful when carrying a plate full of goodies away from the dinner buffet. Accidents do happen, and while they’re never intentional, (that’s why they’re called accidents, after all) they can sometimes leave a big mess behind. If you think a messy carpet can mean hours of scrubbing, or even worse, the end of your carpet, you couldn’t be more wrong. Below are some great tips for cleaning food stains from the carpet.
The first thing you should know about cleaning any stain is that you must act quickly. The sooner you act, the less time the stain has to set into the carpet. First, pick up and discard any solid matter. If the stain is fresh, it should lift quickly and easily. Take a clean, damp cloth or sponge and blot at the stain until all the food disappears. Just dab, don’t rub the stain because this will cause it to spread, and the last thing you need is a bigger stain. When you rub, you’re also weakening the carpet fibers and this can cause a worn spot in the carpet. Also, never apply any type of heat to a stained spot. Heat will lock in the stain, causing it to set in permanently and making it almost impossible to remove. Always test a hidden area of the carpet, such as inside a closet or under a piece of furniture, to make sure your stain removal agent won’t cause further damage.
Some of the best stain fighting remedies can be found in most people’s kitchens. Vinegar is one of the best all-purpose cleaners around. Depending on the stain, it can be used diluted in warm water or poured straight onto the stain if it’s set in deeper. Saturate the stain with the vinegar and blot using a cloth or sponge. When no more of the stain can be lifted, blot with a clean damp sponge to rinse. The smell of vinegar should leave the carpet in a day or two.
Another great stain fighter is baking soda. A paste of baking soda and water can be made and applied directly to the stain. After about twenty minutes, remove the paste and blot with a damp sponge or cloth. Also, if the stain is from a liquid, baking soda or a coarse table salt, such as kosher salt, can be sprinkled directly onto the stain. After about ten minutes, the liquid should be completely absorbed. Blot with a damp cloth or sponge after all the baking soda or salt is removed.
A mild dishwashing liquid or household detergent, one without bleaches or alkalis, also works well for minor stains. Mix a tablespoon or two of the soap with a cup of warm water and blot using a cloth or sponge. Once the stain is completely lifted, rinse by dabbing with a clean damp sponge or cloth.
Hydrogen peroxide is another good household stain lifter. Saturate a cotton ball with the peroxide and dab at the stain until it’s lifted. Since this is also a bleaching agent, it’s a good idea to test first if you have a dark colored carpet. Rubbing or denatured alcohol is another excellent household stain fighter. Saturate a cloth or cotton ball with the alcohol and blot until the stain is removed. Rinse by blotting with a clean damp towel.
Club soda also removes stains. It can be poured onto a cloth for blotting or poured directly onto the stain prior to blotting. The bubbles go to work before your eyes to remove the stain. When the stain is lifted, blot with a clean damp towel.
“Wicking” is when a stain reappears after the carpet is spot cleaned using a household cleaning product such as the ones mentioned here. Because most of us clean only the surface fibers of the carpet, not deep down into the backing or the padding, the fibers absorb the liquid left in the backing and the stain comes back. After using one of the above stain-fighting methods to clean your carpet, place a thick towel over the stain and weigh down with a couple of heavy books. This should absorb any excess liquid and prevent the stain from making a repeat performance.
If the stain is stubborn, you can try one of many commercial products on the market. Be sure to read the back of the can to make sure the product removes the type of food stain embedded in your carpet and follow the directions accordingly. If you’re not confident of your stain fighting ability, or if you can’t remove the stain using any of the methods listed here, contact the carpet’s manufacturer to see what’s recommended for the stain. If worse comes to worse, you can hire a professional carpet cleaner and have your whole rug looking like new in a matter of hours. Don’t let careless dinner guests spoil your party. With a little elbow grease and some items found around the house, you’re sure to get the stain out in no time.
How to wash window curtains
Washing curtains requires special attention and skill apart from routine laundry chores. Since most of us take down window curtains for cleaning perhaps once or twice a year, take care to do it correctly to avoid problems with tears, wrinkling, or fading. The following tips might be helpful for those with limited experience in this area:
1. Don't try to wash all curtains together. Most homes have window coverings of different fabrics, colors, and sizes, so stuffing them all into the washer simultaneously are not a good idea. Instead, plan to wash the window curtains from one or two rooms at a time, if they match. Otherwise, clean one set at a time.
2. If the curtains are too heavy or too large for your home washing machine, take them to the Laundromat’s commercial washers. These high-power, large-size machines can handle heavier washable fabrics or more sets of curtains, so they're worth the cost you'll have to pay. If your windows are covered by drapes, you may need to take them to the dry cleaner's for an appropriate cleaning. Even if instructions are printed on the label, or you think the dry cleaning associates should know how to clean this type of fabric, tell them anyway, just to be sure. In fact, it may be helpful to write out instructions.
3. When you wash them yourself, use the right temperature to prevent damaging fabric. Check the label or original packaging, if you have it. If not, you can call the store where you purchased the drapes to ask about laundering guidelines. Using water that is too hot may shrink or fade the fabric, while cold water could fail to get out all grime or stains. A combination that is often safe for such chores is to use warm water for the wash and cool water for the rinse cycle.
4. Follow instructions for using the right amount of detergent. If your curtain fabric is delicate, too much detergent can cause the material to fray or show signs of wear. Be sure that the soap label indicates whether it can be safely used on fabric of which your curtains is made. Be careful with bleach as well. Read directions carefully to see if it is suitable for your curtains' color and texture.
5. Dry your curtains with caution. If you hang them outdoors on a clothes line, be sure to wipe the line clean with a cloth first to avoid smudges on your curtains. Check them afterward for signs of bird visitors or insects. When using a dryer, don't set the temperature on high if it will hurt the fabric or cause wrinkling. Some fabrics should be air-dried, so check laundering instructions for these guidelines as well.
You may want to remove the curtains from your dryer while they're still a bit damp, and them so any potential wrinkles will naturally "fall out." Arrange the curtains on their rods in a graceful way to accommodate pleats, ruffles, and valances. Wipe around windows and patio doors first to remove cobwebs and dust, and consider washing your windows for an overall clear and clean effect. Then enjoy your new window view
How to clean lamp shades
Cleaning lamp shades is one of those housekeeping chores that many of us prefer to avoid. While the work involved in removing dust or grime is not particularly difficult, it can be time-consuming to select the best cleaning products and supplies, remove and clean each shade, and replace it once more. To save time and money, here are a few tips:
1. Remove all lamp shades for cleaning at the same time. Floor lamps or table lamps can function while their shades are being cleaned, so use them without shades as needed. Cleaning the lamp covers should not take long, so you can replace them in a fairly short time. Set aside a work area, such as a laundry table or kitchen counter, and cover it with an old sheet or drop cloth. Line up the shades according to their type of cover, from fabric to glass or plastic. Check cleaning instructions on the labels to be sure you do it correctly.
2. Select cleaning supplies and products carefully. Use the right kind of detergent or glass cleaner for lamp covers made of glass, plastic, or ceramic material. Avoid toxic products if possible, and do not mix cleaning ingredients. Use the right amount based on instructions posted on the container. Choose cleaning cloths that are soft and supple for fabric covers, or firm enough to wipe clingy dirt from glass covers. Use one cloth with the detergent, and another for glass cleaner.
3. Soak your scrub cloth in the soapy mixture for the fabric covers. Wring it out, and if too soapy, rinse and wring again. When you have a slight soapy residue, wipe the fabric lamp shades carefully, avoiding harsh movements to prevent dents, scratches, or wrinkles. Use another cloth dipped in clear water to wipe all residues from the covers. They should now look clean and be set aside to air dry.
4. Next, lightly moisten another scrub cloth with window cleaner. Wipe each glass, ceramic, or related cover gently but firmly to remove grime, smudges, or dust. You may have to repeat this action a couple of times to get rid of all traces of dirt. Then use another rinse cloth to remove cleaner residue; wipe each cover dry with a paper towel. These should appear clean and grime-free.
5. Allow the covers adequate time to dry completely. You don't want to risk electric shock by replacing and using them too quickly, while they're still damp. Flush used cleaning water down the toilet after rinsing the scrub cloths and hanging them up to dry. Your shades should not appear clean and tidy for the next several months.
Clean lamp shades give the impression of a clean room, since the cover is the first thing people see when they glance at your light fixtures. Take this opportunity to wipe the base of each lamp as well, removing dust and fingerprints for an overall pristine effect for visitors. Remember to unplug lamps before cleaning them, and then plug them in once more when each fixture is dry. You will enjoy the brighter light now diffused from each clean lamp!
Managing household trashcans
Perhaps one of the most overlooked outdoor tasks is managing trashcans. While it doesn't require much effort to prepare them for weekly trash pickup, it's a good idea to give some thought to keeping them clean and odor-free. Here are some ideas for managing these outdoor bins.
1. When buying a trashcan in which to store outdoor garbage for weekly collection, keep size in mind. Don't get bins that are too small or you may soon find no room for end-of-week trash from the house, and have to pile boxes and bags on top of the bins. There the smell can draw neighbors' pets and outdoor rats, squirrels, and birds, who while feasting, will strew garbage all over the lawn. To prevent such problems, get a bin that is large enough to hold a typical week's worth of garbage. If you do end up with extra at certain times, like around the holidays or when company comes to stay, double-bag extra trash and place it in a carton or box to discourage predators.
2. Choose bins that coordinate with your homes outside appearance. Bright red trashcans may clash with a quiet gray exterior. Dark woodland green or black is probably neutral enough to blend in with any house design. Check to be sure the lids fit tightly and can be secured if desired. Look for snugly-attached handles that will help you maneuver the bins to your curb for pickup. Keep in mind the placement of outdoor bins so that they won't get knocked over or blown away by weather or animals.
3. When you take out indoor trash that includes garbage composed of food remains or chemicals, be sure to double-bag these items or wrap them in newspaper to prevent leakage of liquids and odors. Don't simply take out full waste cans and dump them into the trashcans, or the loose contents will blow away when the lid is opened for the next load. Wrap all trash securely before depositing it in the bins.
4. If you experience trouble with animals sniffing around, gnawing at the trashcan, or trying to knock it over, shop for an odor repellent that will keep animals away. There are natural scents that other creatures don't like. Find one that is non-toxic so your family will be safe around the trashcans, and use it to discourage other animals from dining at your bin.
5. Clean the trash bins every couple of months, weather permitting. On pick-up day after collections have been made, pour a little detergent into each bin and use the water hose to add water. Get a long-handled brush to swish the soapy water up around the sides, cleaning the lid separately. Pour out the water and rinse with fresh water from the hose. Then turn the bin and its lid upside down on the grass to air dry. After a while, turn it right side up again without the lid so the sunlight can help to clean and deodorize the interior. You may wish to spray with a disinfectant before reusing it.
6. Consider recycling. Aluminum cans and products, bottles and glassware, and certain kids of plastics can be dropped off at recycle collection centers. Find out if there is one in your community to help protect the environment in this way.
Trashcans may seem like a small part of overall property management, but they play a key role. Don't overlook their care so you can avoid problems later.
How to change a furnace filter
Maintaining home appliances need not be time-consuming or expensive. A few simple steps can provide dependability and safety. Caring for your furnace filter is a good example of how easily this can be done.
It is very important to replace the furnace filter during the winter once a month, on average. This will save money, and help your furnace last longer. When you need to buy a replacement, it is important to know that all filters are not the same size. Find out from your service repairperson which type or size is recommended for your furnace. Those with a lifetime warranty cover the frame, not the filter screen. Double-check by asking the clerk to make sure you get the right one.
At home, begin by removing the old filter. If you have a gas furnace, locate the emergency power switch. The plate is red and should say “Emergency Power Switch.” It will be found on the furnace, or somewhere close to it. Turn off this switch. If you have an electric furnace, you will need to turn it off at the thermostat. Some filters are located in a slot between the furnace and the large return, large air duct; it can be removed by pulling out the slot where the filter is housed. Filters can also be found at the front panel of the furnace.
Once the panel is removed, you will find a large metal clip, which keeps the filter in place. The clip has to be snapped out before the filter can be removed. Some furnaces have two slots for filters; a filter is needed for each slot. Most filters are disposable, but if you have one you can clean, take it outside and wash it with a garden hose. If it is too cold outdoors, you will have to clean it in the bathtub or in the basement, using soapy water and a brush with stiff bristles. Hold the filter up to the light to see if you have missed any spots. This will save you money, because allowing the furnace to accumulate dirt and grime will cause it to wear out sooner and require a replacement.
Let the filter sit in a well-ventilated area until it is completely dry. Before you replace it, vacuum the dust that was loosened when the filter came out, as well as the area around the furnace. You can use an old towel or clean rags, if that is all you have. Place the new or clean filter in the fitted furnace slot, or put it behind the clip and replace the front panel. It is important to refer to the arrow on the filter when you put it back in the furnace; the arrow should point away from the return air duct and towards the blower. If the filter is put in backwards, it will not work efficiently, and you will not save as much money. Now you can turn the power back on. Most furnace filters only cost a few dollars, and you won’t believe how much money a clean one can save. Look for your brand at any hardware store or locations such as Ace hardware, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Builders Square. And don’t forget to have your furnace serviced by a certified professional once every year, as basic maintenance will prolong the life of your unit.
Changing your furnace filter is the first step to making sure that your appliances continue to operate smoothly and correctly.