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Friday, December 28, 2012

Storing Your Holiday Decorations

We had a great Christmas holiday. I hope you all did too.

Some of you may keep your decorations up until after the New Year and some of you might jump right in – right after the holiday. (Hmm, I’ve heard of that.)

This may not be one of the most exciting times, but you’ll feel relieved and refreshed for the beginning of a new year with a clutter free home.

Ideas for Storing Holiday Decorations

Christmas Lights

Recycle a piece of recycled cardboard out of the recycle bin. The size will depend on the amount of lights you have. If you have many, you may want to use a couple.

Carefully take the lights down and wrap around the cardboard to keep them from getting tangled. Store in storage container until next year.

If you use tons of lights, you might want to think about purchasing Christmas light storage reels.

Storing Small Extension Cords

Use old toilet paper tubes to store your extension cords. Bundle the cord and slide it in the paper roll. This works for one extension cord each.

Storing large Extension Cords

We had a hose reel that got cracked. After buying a new one, we recycled the old as the new extension cord reel. Keeps those larger cords nice and tidey.

Artificial Garland

Use same method as Christmas light storage.

If you have lots of lights, use a storage container and carefully coil inside.

Storing Artificial Christmas Wreaths

First, if there is left over room in the garland container, store large wreaths inside.

Hat boxes work great for wreaths. They come in various sizes that can work great for most artificial wreaths.

Ornament Storage

Ornaments should be wrapped prior to storing. You can use tissue, bubble wrap, newspaper, a soft cloth, etc.

They can be stored in: an original box, holiday ornament storage containers, storage box, etc.

Putting away the Artificial Christmas Tree

When taking the different sections apart, carefully wrap each piece with twine or cloth. When all pieces are down, wrap it all in an old bed sheet before storing.

Store in original box or buy a storage bag. Storage bags are also nice if you have a large tree you don’t want to take apart and have the space to store it somewhere.

Storing Wrapping Paper

Unused wrapping papers can be stored in a nice plastic storage container meant just for wrapping papers. These hold more than paper too. Although there aren’t different compartments, there is enough room for bows and ribbons, as well as a place on the lid for tape and scissors.

They also have gift wrapping storage units that hang in a closet. They hold papers, bows, tape, ribbons, etc.

Well, again, I hope you all had a very Happy Holiday and Wishing you the Best New Year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Having An Organized Closet

I love clothes. What girl doesn’t? I have clothes that have never seen the light of day with the tags still on. Maybe that’s a sign I should find the receipt, take them back, and buy something new?

It’s not that I shop frivolously but there are times when I just can’t pass up a good deal. You know when they have stores like TJ Maxx and Ross just about everywhere, it’s easy to do.

As another point of fact – I will most often return the clothes; new, still in the bag, price tags still on, because I need to clean the closet and get some serious organizing go on.

If you’re like me, read on and see if our suggestions help you out of a pile of clothes or two.

Ready, Set, Time to Go

Alright then, one of the first things is to have a go time. Pick a day when you don’t have anything going on. A not so perfect day always works best for me, this help me from getting side tracked.

Plan on the afternoon or possibly longer, depending how badly in need of organizing and cleaning needs to be done.

Take Everything Out of the Closet

Now take everything out of the closet. Clothes, shoes, boxes, purses, whatever it is you keep in your closet.

Try Them On

Try on anything that looks like it might not fit or that you may not want anymore (because it’s no longer in style), including the shoes. Take a good look in the mirror: Do they fit? Are they still in style? Do you really like it? These are just some of the things to ask yourself.

You can do this part before or after. I personally like it while I’m taking stuff out because I’m doing so one at a time. So why not just try them on now instead of later and make your piles.

Give the Closet a Good Cleaning and Make it Smell Good

While everything is out of the closet, wipe down the shelves, walls, and vacuum good. Then take a little time to put something together to make your closet smell good. Depending on your likes, here’s a few suggestions.

•    In a nylon or mesh bag, add some cedar chips and hang it in the back of the closet. I love this woodsy scent.
•    Dryer sheets come in a variety of smells, pick what you like and put them on a wall hook or hangers before adding clothes, accessories, etc.
•    Essential oils are also a great way to keep your closet smelling fresh and clean. In a small glass jar; like one of the larger baby food jars, a pickle or olive jar, whatever you have handy.

Poke holes in the lid, soak cotton balls in your favorite scent, add them to the jar, and put the lid back on. Change every two to three weeks.

Some fragrances you may be interested in trying are Lavender, Sweet Orange, Rose, Cedar/Pine, Vanilla and the list is longer. Some are stronger than others, so it may take a few try’s before you get the exact strength you’re looking for.
•    If you’re looking to remove bad smells add a box of baking soda, put cat litter in a nylon stocking, when the smell is gone try one of the other suggestions above to keep it smelling good.

You keep a little, you give a little

After you have tried on whatever needed to be tried on, put the keep pile in one area of the room and the giveaway pile in another part of the room. No commingling allowed. We’re organizing remember?

If there are any clothing items that are not in good shape, not good enough for the thrift store; toss them out.

Or if you’re like me, recycle what you can, like cutting the pockets out of a pair of jeans for a craft project.
This goes for both shoes and your clothes.

Be Serious and Honest with your Decisions

If you’re like me, it’s hard to let go. If you haven’t worn something in more than six months or if you’re hanging on to a pair of bell bottomed pants that haven’t been worn in over a decade; what are the chances you might wear them anytime soon?

Putting Things Back

Everyone has their own way of organizing a closet that works for them. You ask one friend and it will be different from another friend. It really boils down to what works best for you. Here are some of the things that others do:

•    Sort your things by color.
•    Organize your clothes by color coordinating or matched outfits on a hanger. This can work well for those that may be color-blind.
•    Sort clothes by work clothes, play clothes, party clothes, holiday clothes, etc.
•    You can sort by sweaters, dresses, pants, blouses, every day wear, etc.
•    Shoes can be organized much in the same way as your clothes. They can be stored in the boxes they came in at the back of the closet, on a shoe rack, or behind the door storage.

Store Away when Needed

If your closet space is limited, store off season clothes in space saver bags. You can pack a bunch in them; they are bug free, and will protect items until you open them up. Store them under the bed to create more room.

Closet Organizers

Closet organizers are great for creating a nice, clean space. There are many available to suit your needs. Other options are wall hooks or under shelf hooks, behind the door shoe storage, hangers that hold multiple pairs of clothes. The options are only limited by your imagination.

Revisit Organizing your Closet

I like to buy new things with each new season. We all have our favorite things we like to wear. I can wear down my favorite summer tank tops easily. So, yeah, I gotta go shopping - right?

At a minimum, you should give your closet a good cleaning at least twice a year. I do a little with each season when I do my new clothes shopping. I give to charity what is in good shape and toss the rest.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Organizing Small Spaces

Some of the small spaces I’m thinking of are studio apartments, small condos, small eco-friendly homes – those kind of small spaces.

Spaces where you might need to get a little creative in how you think about what you buy and how it can be used.

Here is a list of items you may find useful in your small space. The more creative you get, the more original and unique your space will be.

Storage Ideas

Shelving Units

Shelves can be bought with three, six, nine, and twelve cubbies. Storage can be used for shoes, books, photos, knick knacks (if you must), dishware, clothes, purses, keys, food, and you can even add small hooks and use one for jewelry.

Re-purposing Items for Shelves

If you are someone, like me, that likes to recycle and re-purpose items, look to apple crates. I love these especially if you can find the old ones in good condition. Stack them as high as you need them and connect them with brackets.

These can be used anywhere in the home and are great for getting your things looking neat and organized.


An ottoman with storage is great for an extra place to put things. Many come with flip tops with a tray on one side, these are great when entertaining. These come in all shapes, sizes, and colors to suit your needs.

Old Suitcases

I like old suitcases because they have a character all their own. If they could tell us stories, I’m sure we’d be captivated. I use old suitcases to store linens, blankets, sweaters, shoes and so on.

Then you can stack the suitcases and use them as a side table or night stand.

Small Jars with Lids

If your shelf space is limited, get creative. Baby food jars or other small jars with lids can be affixed to the underside of shelves for storing herbs, candies, craft items, makeup, etc.


Coat Racks, Wall Hooks

If you don’t have a closet or you have a small closet and need more room for hanging clothes, look for wall hooks or a coat rack. You can hang hats, coats, umbrellas, scarves, etc.

An antique hall tree might work for you. They have hooks for hanging your hangables, a seat, and some have storage and a mirror. You could even put a little table in front of the seat for eating - if you are really limited on space.

You can also make your own by using old door knobs and hooks on an old piece of barn wood or something.

Hanging Organizers

There are hanging organizers for shoes and clothes. These can hang in closets when there is no room for a dresser or behind a door for storing shoes.

Hanging organizers also work great for your personal paperwork, crafts, office supplies, and so many other things when you’re limited on space.

Sleeping Arrangements

Loft Bunks

If you are truly limited on space, one option is to think about loft bunks. With these you have a top bunk for sleeping and space below for a couch, dresser, table and chairs, or even a closet area.

Transforming Sofas

There are sofas made that transform in seconds into bunk beds with ladder and guard rail. The downfall with these is they can be a bit spendy, but definitely a great idea!

Sleeper Sofa/Futon

Futons fold out in seconds from sofa to bed, same with the sleeper sofa. What’s nice about the sleeper sofa is you can get them with storage for extra bedding materials.

These are just some ideas for you to run with. Take a look in thrift stores and don't be afraid to re-purpose items to make them your own. 

Image courtesy of Michael Coghlan

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cleaning Shower Doors

How many of you have glass shower doors? And how many of you have looked at those shower doors thinking – how can I get them sparkling clean again?

Well don’t think you have to put the rubber gloves on and use some over powering cleaners because you don’t have to.

There’s no need to use chemicals that stay in your hair and nose follicles. In a weird sort of way that last sentence kind of reminds me a little of the My Favorite Things song from the Sound of Music. Weird, I know.

Anyway there are easy ways of cleaning chemical free. Keep reading to find a better way to clean your shower doors.

News Flash! Fabric Softeners Are Not Just for the Dryer

Go to the laundry room and get one of the dryer sheets. When you’re back in the bathroom, moisten it a little and start swiping away those hard water stains.

When you’ve finished, use a paper towel to wipe the door down and you’ll be amazed that you can see through the shower door again. Yippee!!


White vinegar is non-toxic and can also be used to clean the glass on shower doors. In a spray bottle use equal amounts of water to vinegar, then spray and wipe clean.

Vinegar is slightly acidic so make sure you are not spraying around marble, granite, and natural stones as it can etch the surface and ruin the shine.

The Power of Baking Soda

Alright, for this method you might want to wear gloves but only because you will also be using hot water.

Not only does baking soda work great for cooking and scrubbing dirty pots and pans but it’s also a great cleaning agent for removing soap scum.

Get something that you can pour hot water in. Then get a sponge, dip it in the hot water, then sprinkle a fair amount of baking soda on the sponge. Using some elbow grease the baking soda will wipe right through that hard to remove soap scum.

Keep the sponge wet and use more baking soda as needed.

Magic Erasers Are Really Quite Magic

The magic eraser is used with the same idea as the fabric softener. Dampen the magic eraser and clean the door for a sparkling clean! Follow up with a wet sponge or cloth then dry.

So you see. You can use items you already have in the house to clean the shower. No chemicals, no harsh smells.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Clean, Sanitize, and Disinfect

Time fly’s, doesn’t it? Where I live summer came late, it almost seems like fall never left. And now it’s here again. It’s also the beginning of the flu season.

Our kids will go off to school and some will bring the flu home with them. We go off to work and bring the germs home with us. It’s a cycle that happens no matter how healthy you try and keep your family.

There are things you can do in an effort to keep the germs at bay and your home or office clean and sanitized.

Wash Your Hands

This is something we learn at a young age. Wash your hands regularly. This is especially true when you come in contact with someone who is not feeling well, or you are coughing and sneezing.

If you are not somewhere where you can wash your hands, keep hand sanitizer handy. My daughter keeps a small container in her sons backpack as well as some sani-hand wipes.

Wipe Down Surfaces

Whether you are at home or at the office, keep those high traffic surface areas wiped down.

• Light switches
• Doorknobs and handles (doors, refrigerator, microwave, etc.)
• Faucets and sink handles
• Computer keyboard and mouse
• Printer and faxes
• Desktops
• Countertops

Here are a few disinfectant/sanitizing wipes:

• Purell
• Lysol
• Good and Clean

Here is a homemade recipe for sanitizing kitchen and bathroom surfaces. You may not see the germs and bacteria, but they’re still there.

• In a large bowl or container, combine 1 gallon cold water and 1 tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach.

Dip a clean cloth into the solution and wipe down all surfaces. Allow the solution to stay on the surface for a minimum of one minute to get the best disinfecting action. Wipe dry with a clean, cotton cloth.

Don’t Share

I don’t know about you but when I’m heavy in thought, I chew on the end of my pen (well the pen cap). So it’s probably a good idea you don’t share things like that, not to mention those that wipe their nose with the backs of their hand – yuk! – germs!! and you’re using their pen, gross.

Other things you should consider not sharing are cups, kisses, toothbrush, bites of food, etc.

Remember, it’s the little things you do that can help prevent germs and bacteria from spreading, keeping you, your family, and friends healthy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Removing Ink Stains

Caligraphy pen. These pens can easily leave ink stains.

I literally have bad luck with pens. Seriously, I can put a pen down, come back later, pick it up, and the darn thing has exploded, leaked, whatever they do when this happens.

Sometimes it’s minor and I don’t notice until I see the stain on my clothes, face, or fingers. Maybe it’s Murphy’s Law, maybe it’s the brand I buy?

If this happens to you, don’t replace the item that’s ink stained, try removing it first, there should be a cleaning solution below that will work for you.

Remove an Ink Stain from Washable Clothing

Here is a list of materials that can be cleaned with this method. And remember to check the tag and make sure it’s washable.

• Acrylic
• Cotton
• Linen
• Nylon
• Olefin
• Polyester

Back in the 80s, I had “big hair” (remember your big hair days!) and I used a lot of hairspray. Well, hairspray is good for more than just your hair; it can help to get rid of an ink stain too.

Spray the ink stain with hairspray and then set it aside to sit for a few minutes while you gather up and mix the following ingredients.

• 1 quart warm water
• 1 tablespoon vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon liquid dish detergent

Now that you have your soaking solution, put the ink stained area in the mix and let it soak for about 30 minutes.

Rinse with clean water and let air dry. This should remove the stain. But, if there is any remaining you can repeat the process. If you repeat the process with the recipe above, on the second pass, I have used a soft bristled toothbrush and very gently brushed the stained area while in the solution. I also make another batch just in case the water has cooled.

Or you can do the following to help remove the remaining ink stain.

Rubbing Alcohol

To remove the remaining ink stain with rubbing alcohol, place a clean towel under the stained area. So if it’s a shirt, place the towel in between the front and back to keep from transferring.

Pour a little rubbing alcohol on the stain then blot with a cotton towel that is clean. Keep the stained area moist until you have removed the stain.

Flush with alcohol and let air dry. When you are sure the stain is gone then you can wash as usual.

Remove an Ink Stain from Non-Washable Items:

Here is a list of items that shouldn’t be washed and will most likely state it on the manufacturers tag (if there is a tag).

• Acetate (do not use rubbing alcohol)
• Burlap
• Carpeting
• Fiberglass
• Rayon (do not use rubbing alcohol)
• Silk
• Triacetate (do not use rubbing alcohol)
• Wool

Mix the following ingredients together:

• 1 tablespoon vinegar
• One part glycerin (you should be able to find this at most drug stores)
• One part dishwashing liquid
• Eight parts water

First spray a little hairspray on the stain to loosen the ink. Then dampen a sponge in the mix and blot the area. You don’t want to spread it so don’t rub, just blot.

Continue to dampen the sponge and wet the area to remove the stain.

When you’ve finished, use plain old clean water to remove any residue from the mixture. I take an extra step and cover the area with a clean dry towel (if on carpeting) so no one walks on it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

10 Great Uses for Baking Soda

So you’re tired of washing your money down the drain with all those expensive cleaning supplies.

And maybe you have become more environmentally conscious along the way and you want to incorporate a better way to clean into your daily or weekly cleaning.

I don’t blame you; I encourage you to make the change. Among other things, we use baking soda. It's a natural deodorizer, slightly abrasive and can be used for cleaning many surfaces – including your skin, and can be added to the laundry to kick your detergent up a notch.

Here are 10 great uses for baking soda. I know you’re going to like them as much as we do. And for those of you that already use baking soda, maybe there is something here you haven’t tried.

1. Laundry

We do a couple of loads of laundry each day. I add 1/ 2 cup baking soda to each load of laundry to help clean and whiten clothes. At least once every two months, I also add a couple of cups to a hot water wash cycle (no cloths) for deodorizing.

2. Quartz Countertops

I really like quartz and its natural beauty, durability, and how easy it is to clean. Most often all you need is a little soap and water and you’re good-to-go.

But, if you have a stubborn stain try a little baking soda and water, make a thin paste, apply it to the stain. Scrub with a soft scrubby. I use the little green plastic scrubbers.

3. Clean Pots and Pans

For extra cleaning power, sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons baking soda into the bottom of the pan. Add just enough water to make a slightly thick paste. Scrub the bottom and sides of the pan for a sparkling clean pan.

4. Brushing Your Teeth

Baking soda is a great thing to have around the house, it can clean clothes, stains, and it can be used for personal hygiene as well.

Wet your toothbrush and dip the bristles in baking soda. You may not care for the way it tastes but it isn’t bad, its bearable! And when you’ve finished brushing, you’ll have a clean smile and fresh breath.

If you really can’t stand the taste, you can also add the baking soda to your regular toothpaste then brush.

5. Exfoliant

This works for face and body. Make just what you think you will need. Mix a 3:1 ratio baking soda and water. Use circular motions to gently exfoliate the skin.

6. Upset Stomach

If in a pinch, you need to soothe your stomach (after eating a wonderful dinner your husband cooked), add 1 /2 teaspoon baking soda to 4 ounces of warm water.

Stir and mix completely and drink. If you keep a box of Arm and Hammer baking soda in the house, this recipe is on the back. Read the back of the box for safety instructions.

7. Cleaning Toys

To clean the kids toys, mix a quart of warm water with 1/ 4 cup baking soda. Wipe down and rinse with clean water.

8. Hand Cleaner

This is a great scrub for removing dirt and grime and a gentle exfoliator for hands. Mix a 3:1 solution of baking soda to water. Clean and rinse.

9. Clean Your Sponge

I use my kitchen sponge a lot throughout the day and over just a short amount of time, it smells, but the sponge is still good. I don’t want to throw it out because it I can still get a lot of use out of it. So instead of throwing it out, soak it and freshen it up.

Mix 4 to 5 tablespoons in a quart of water, stir to dissolve and let your sponges soak. I let them soak overnight and rinse in the morning.

10. Remove Grease Stains

If you have a little spilled grease on the driveway, sprinkle baking soda on the spot. Let it sit a while then scrub with a wet brush.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How to Organize Your Electronic Files

Monitor with picture of a yellow flower.

My daughter was the worst when it came to keeping her electronic files organized. She was always looking, never finding, and completely redoing letters, resumes, and other documents.

I tried for the longest time to get her to use an electronic filing system, but for some reason - it took her forever to do it. I think when she lost some of her kids pictures, she finally realized she needed a better way of putting and finding things.

There are a couple of issues with not having an organized electronic filing system. When you redo a document time and again, you may leave out something important, if you are running a business you can’t afford to have multiples of the same documents floating around with different information.

Many documents won’t take up a lot of hard drive space and with hard drives getting larger and larger you may not need to worry about it, but I like to keep things organized and know right where to go to get what I need and get the right information the first time.

Organizing Electronic Documents

Many documents are now stored electronically rather than in printed form. When we refinanced our house the final paperwork came electronically and we signed them electronically. If your kids are in school, most reports are done on the computer and filed on the computer. Many bills can be accessed and paid online, etc.

Not only do we store documents but pictures too! I’m a photobug and I have literally thousands of photos, I miss film, but with digital cameras today it does make it easier and quicker to view and store them on the computer.

Organizing your electronic computer files gives you a systematic way of finding the files you need, when you need them instead of them going into the black hole of lost media.

Give Everything A Place

Who hasn't heard, "A place for everything and everything in its place." That’s what you will do electronically.

One other reason to organize your documents - if you change computers, you know right where to go to copy all your files to the new computer. And you won’t have to worry if you copied all files or not.


Before you start creating your files, map out a plan. By that I mean what kind of documents do you store on your computer? Business, Personal, Kids, School, Finances, Calendar for appointments, Contact Names and Phone numbers, etc.

On a PC, your documents will be stored in Windows Explorer under the Documents section of the computer. Give your folders memorable names.

For example, create a folder for everyone in the family that uses the computer, if you have kids that use the computer for school work, create a folder for each of them to save their work into.

Under your folder maybe you have subfolders called Resume, Recipes, Kids Chore List, etc.

If you have a business, your main folder would be the business name then have subfolders for Employees, Management, Clients, etc.

If you need to have subfolders under subfolders, this is OK as it helps define the structure a little better.


If you’re like me and take a lot of pictures – you need a place to find them all and keep those precious memories safe.

Again, on a PC, your pictures will be saved to the Pictures folder. I create a folder for each year. Under that I create other subfolders for Christmas, Easter, (someones) Birthday or Wedding, etc.

This way I know right where to go when we want to set up a family slide show for the holiday dinner.

Backing Up Your Files

Never trust the reliability of your computer because things can and do happen. Computers have hiccups that can cause a hard drive to fail, a motherboard to go bad, maybe you spilled your coffee, or lightening caused a surge and damaged something.

So make a plan to backup your files, it really is an important step. I have an external drive that backs up all our files once a week. I also back up to CD or DVD a couple of times a year.

You can also use Cloud Computing and store your documents and pictures up in the Cloud. Whatever you choose, you won’t regret it. Most options are relatively inexpensive.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cleaning Your Gold Jewelry

I love a new piece of jewelry. Especially gold jewelry. I’m a handy kind of gal and the rings I wear on my fingers and bracelets on my wrists has to be tough and fairly scratch resistant.

Plus I think gold jewelry is more striking and stands out better than silver jewelry. And I like the way gems sparkle against the gold!

Over time the everyday wearing of jewelry; handy kind of person or not, can leave your jewelry dull, dirty, and looking like it needs a pick me up. Cleaning your gold jewelry isn’t hard, but some of you may still opt to take it to the jewelry store where you purchased it.

For those of you do it yourselfers – below are a few cleaning methods. Keeping your jewelry clean will enhance its longevity and protect the value and you’ll be proud to pass it down through the generations.

I will typically clean my pieces at the same time to save time. So gather up what gold jewelry you need to clean and place them on a clean, soft cloth, I use a microfiber cloth.

Pick the Cleaning Method that Works for You

Soap and Warm Water

I use a regular sized cereal bowl to clean my jewelry.

• First I add three drops of mild dish soap then add some warm water (about 1 cup or so).

• I use the tap so I can get the soap suds from the dish soap. If you use a measuring cup, stir the water with your hands until you get some suds going.

• Put your jewelry in the bowl and let it sit for about 10 – 15 minutes.

• Now take a soft bristled toothbrush and gently go over a piece of jewelry, getting in the cracks and crevices. This is where I use the soap subs. I put a little on the toothbrush before scrubbing.

• When you’ve finished, rinse with cool water and dry and buff to a nice shine with your clean, lint free cloth.

Dipping Kit

A dipping kit can be purchased at most grocery stores, drug stores, and a retail store like Target, and of course jewelry stores.

Follow the instructions for cleaning your gold jewelry pieces.

Keeping Your Jewelry Clean

Taking your jewelry off before chores is just one of the things you can do that will help keep it from getting grimy and damaged.

I know this is sometimes easier said than done. I don’t always take mine off, I forget sometimes, or a natural disaster strikes in my home and I don’t have the time to even give it a thought.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Removing Cat Vomit from Carpets

What pet owner doesn’t have pet stains? If you don’t – I envy you! What Do you do?

I have two Ragdoll cats, sweet as can be; one wants to over indulge herself and would vomit quite a bit, the other likes to watch her girlish figure. For the most part, we solved the overeating issue by putting a golf ball in their food bowls.

And no matter what we do, they both cough up occasional hairballs. I love my cats and a cleanin’ up after them I will do. What else can you do?

To remove vomit stains follow these simple tips. We’ve given you a few options to try.


Oxyclean works great to remove vomit stains.

1. First you want to remove as much of the vomit as you can.

2. Then mix 2 tablespoons Oxyclean with 16 ounces of water.

3. Apply just enough of the solution to saturate the stained area. Let sit for 5 minutes. You don’t want the mix to dry.

4. Use a clean, white cloth and blot the stain, working from the outside in.

5. Rinse the area with clean water and blot with another clean cloth until dry.

6. You may need to repeat the process to completely remove the stain.

Hydrogen Peroxide

I keep bottles of hydrogen peroxide in my house. When it’s on sale, I stock up. It can be used for so many things. To clean up vomit, follow the instructions below. This method can be used on many carpet stains as well.

1. After you’ve cleaned up as much of the vomit as possible, saturate the stain with hydrogen peroxide. I take an old toothbrush and lightly rub into the stain, again working from the outside in.

2. Cover the area with plastic wrap. This is so the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t soak into the towel.

3. Now place a towel over the hydrogen peroxide and plastic wrap. This is done because hydrogen peroxide turns to water when exposed to light.

4. Let sit for at least an hour before you check the stain. It could take longer. I believe I read somewhere that it takes at least 45 minutes for the chemical reaction to start working.

5. Repeat the process if necessary.


You can also try using salt to remove some of the stain. Clean up as much of the vomit as you can. Sprinkle salt onto the stained area and cover with a damp cloth.

Let this sit for two to three hours and when you remove the cloth, the stain should have lightened quite a bit.

This tip actually works well on yellow bile stains.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blood Stains Be Gone

A red blood splatter.

Summer and warm weather, you gotta love it. I know I do. I was a tomboy when I was growing up. Riding the mini-bike, horses, climbing, you name it, and we were doing it better than the boys were.

Of course, doing these things also left my Mom with quite a lot of dirty laundry, sometimes I’d scrap or seriously scratch an arm or leg leaving my clothes a bloody mess. My mother was none too happy.

Now I know how my Mother felt. After having 3 children (2 daughters and 1 boy), I've removed my share of blood stains and I'd say that qualifies me as a stain removal expert. Keep reading and you’ll be one too!

The old fashioned, tried and true methods remove blood stains on clothing, sheets, blankets, and furniture.

Remember Time is of the Essence

If you can, get to the stain before it dries and has a chance to set in the fabric. A fresh blood stain is easier to remove.

Use Cold Water

Always use COLD water. If you use hot water on a blood stain, you will literally cook the blood binding it to the fabric fibers.

Work Gently

When using a cleaning solution to remove a blood stain, there is no need to be harsh with the garment and possibly damage the fabric. Treat it gently when working with it.

Don’t Put it in The Dryer

After using a treatment for removing blood and washing as you normally would, don’t put the item in the dryer until you are sure the blood stain is gone.

Homemade Blood Stain Remover

Ice Cubes, Shampoo, and Salt

This will work on blood stains that are old and new.
• 2 tablespoon regular table salt
• 1 tablespoon shampoo

Removing a Blood Stain from Regular Fabric

First turn the item inside out. This will help flush the stain out of the fabric and not deeper into it.

Now run really cold water over the stain and remove as much of the blood as you can. Don’t get impatient; it may take a few minutes.

After you have rinsed out as much as you can, put the stopper in the sink and fill it with enough cold water to cover the blood stained item then let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove it from the sink and wring out as much water as you can.

Take 1 tablespoon salt and gently use a circular motion and rub over the stain.

Without rinsing, add the shampoo to the salt and work it in. When it lathers, add the rest of the salt and continue to work into the fabric.

Rinse the item completely with cold water and wash as you normally would. Remember not to dry in the dryer until you are sure the stain is out.

In a Hurry and Need to Remove a Blood Stain?

Use two heavy duty paper towels and place them on either side of the blood stain.

Wet the top paper towel in water then dab and apply pressure to the blood stained area so the blood will pass through onto the dry paper towel.

Additional Tips

Here are a few more additional tips you can try when removing a blood stain.

• Spray Windex on the stain before you put it in the laundry. Scrub lightly with an clean toothbrush. Launder as usual, the process may need to be repeated.
• I think we all know about using hydrogen peroxide with a blood stain. Just pour it directly on or over the stain until gone, you may need to repeat the process, wash and check before drying.
• Here’s a good method for jeans and khakis. Lava Soap is works by rubbing it on the stain under cold running water. Do this until you can’t remove any more of the stain. Now apply a stain remover, let it sit about 30 minutes. Wash as usual.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cleaning Hard Water Stains

A clean faucet after removing hard water stains.

Hard water stains are tough, no doubt about it. Hard water contains minerals like lime and calcium and magnesium that can stain the bathroom surfaces, faucets, the coffee pot, and cultured marble surfaces.

Cleaning hard water stains is something we come up against in our client’s homes time and again. Below are a few things you can do to remove hard water stains from the surfaces in your home.

Removing Mineral Deposits from the Inside of the Toilet Tank

Water sits in the inside of the toilet tank so it’s not a surprise that this will be one place hard water deposits will form.

Empty the water from the toilet and add only white vinegar to the top of the overflow tube. I know it’s a lot of vinegar but it’s worth it. When you’ve added all the vinegar you need, put the cover back on the tank and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. And don’t let anyone use it!

After letting the vinegar sit the allowed time, scrub the tank clean, flush, and voila! This same method can be used to clean the inside of the bowl as well and at the same time as cleaning the tank if necessary.

Using a Pumice Stone for Extra Tough Stains

The vinegar and scrubbing method above most likely worked for you but if the hard water stains in your toilet are so bad it didn’t quite get it all, try a pumice stone.

Just make sure when you’re using the pumice stone you keep the stone and the surface wet to avoid scratching the surface. Scrub the stains with a light consistent pressure until the stain is gone.

Cleaning Hard Water Stains from Cultured Marble

Cultured marble is not as porous or as delicate as regular marble. Cultured marble is 75 percent marble dust and 25 percent resin. It has a resin finish, it is not porous, and is pretty much stain resistant. That being said it doesn’t mean you can clean it with any ol’ thing, it can scratch if not careful.

Non-Coated Culture Marble Surfaces

Not all cultured marble surfaces have a gel coating either. So know what you have before you clean.

Avoid using strong acidic products or alkaline based cleaners on surfaces that aren’t coated. And don’t use abrasive cleaners, steel wool, scouring pads, etc. that could scratch the surface.

Coated Culture Marble

To clean hard water stains on your cultured marble surface, mix in a spray bottle a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. Let this mixture dry for 30 minutes. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the area that has the hard water staining. Repeat if necessary, just don’t use abrasives.

To help prevent hard water staining in your shower area, wipe down the surface when you’re done bathing or showering.

Getting Hard Water Stains out of the Coffee Maker

If you have noticed white spots inside the coffee pot, you may have hard water - which again is a high mineral content found naturally in water.

You can do one of two things. Vinegar; what else? And/or denture tabs.

First clean all removable parts with warm soapy water. If residue in the coffee pot is pretty bad, give an extra squirt of detergent inside the pot first, scrub, then clean again in the soapy water. You can use a soft nylon brush if you have one or the scrubby side of a sponge. Rinse well when done.

Either one of these will clean the coffee maker nicely and give you a nice fresh cup of coffee again.

Cleaning the Coffee Pot with Vinegar

Now fill the coffee pot with 2 cups white vinegar and 6 cups water for a 8 cup coffee maker or 1/ 4 full of white vinegar and the rest water for smaller sizes.

Pour the vinegar and water solution into the water reservoir in the coffee maker and run a cycle. When the cycle is complete pour the used vinegar/water solution down the drain. You can run one more cycle of vinegar/water if you think it’s needed.

After the vinegar and water, rinse the coffee pot really good with cold water. Fill the coffee makers water reservoir with plain water and run another cycle. If you’re worried about any lingering vinegar, you can run an additional plain water cycle.

Cleaning the Coffee Pot with Denture Tabs

Drop two denture tablets in the coffee pot then fill with water. Let the tabs fizzle until there is no more fizzie, then pour into the reservoir section of the coffee maker.

Put a filter in the basket and run a cycle through the coffee maker. Run two more cycles using plain water.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kids and Stains and How to Get Them Out

Removing stains doesn’t have to be rocket science or become a scene where you’re shouting expletives. If it’s summer and you have kids, you have stains.
Maybe Dad’s out in the back practicing baseball with junior and he slides for home base or the kids are riding bikes or skateboards and one falls and scrapes themselves up. These things happen all too often, leaving you to clean up.

Below are some easy, non-toxic ways to get some of the most common kids stains out!

Blood Stain Removal

First off, don’t use hot or warm water. This can lock in the stain and make it a permanent stain.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This handy multi-tasker works great on blood stains. Put a piece of plastic wrap under the stain, then pour the hydrogen peroxide right on the stain. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap then a towel (hp turns to water when exposed to light). Check the progress after a few minutes, repeat as necessary. Rinse with cool water.


This can be used on most fabrics and it won’t damage the fabric the way that bleach can. Use the plastic wrap under the stain, then pour the ammonia on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes then rinse with cold water.

I use plastic wrap because it doesn’t absorb the liquid, but a towel can be used if you choose to.

Acrylic Paint Stains

Hairspray, pine cleaner or alcohol works really well at removing acrylic paint from clothing. Test a small spot first, then spray on the hairspray (or alcohol or pine cleaner) and rub gently to remove the paint stain. You may have to wash the garment twice. Soak, scrub, repeat.

Removing Berry Stains and Red Fruit Juice

When my kids were growing up I saw a lot of these stains in the summer. It didn’t matter if it was picking fresh berries or if it was drinking fruit juice. One or both eventually ended up on their clothes.

You can do one of two things:

• Blot the stain and remove as much liquid as possible then rinse under cold water to remove more of the stain. Rub the stain with a cut lemon or pure lemon juice, let sit for about 30 minutes then rinse, and air dry. If necessary, use a pre-wash treatment for stain removal then launder as usual.

• You can also pour boiling hot water on the stain until it disappears. It will remove berry and red juice stains right away, even the white ones.

Try to keep clean fabric from the stained area so you don’t transfer more of the stain elsewhere.

Removing Bubble Gum

Place your clothing in the freezer. Wait 2 hours before removing. You can gently scrape off the frozen gum and then blot the rest with dry cleaning solvent to remove any residue.

Removing Crayon Stains from Clothes and the Wall

Use a dry-cleaning solvent if the stain is on clothing. You can also wash the clothes on the hottest setting and add 1/2 cup of washing soda along with the detergent. Use the pre soak cycle, then wash normally.

If the crayon is on the wall use a Mr. Clean Magic eraser. Follow the package instructions for use, rub gently until gone.

Ketchup Stains

Part of summertime fun is playing yard games and having a barbeque. Barbequing and eating hot dogs and hamburgers means not only will the kids slop – the adults will too.
Pour some Mr. Clean on the stain and let sit for about 30 minutes. The stain should be gone, if not just soak a few minutes longer. Just rinse and wash as usual.

Hopefully you have found a new cleaning method that you can use on stains.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Removing Carpet Stains

No one ever really likes to hear the word “Oops!” It typically leads to something having to be fixed or cleaned and time taken away from whatever it was you were doing.

In this case we’re talking about carpet stains. Maybe someone spilled on the carpet or a stain was brought into the house from the bottom of dirty shoes, or a nice little mess one of the animals made.

Removing carpet stains is essential, especially if you have little ones crawling around.

A Few Tips to Keep in Mind Before Starting

• Blot stains don’t rub or scrub hard. You don’t want to spread the stain further into the carpet or damage carpet fibers.
• In most cases you will work from the outside of the stain towards the center.
• Don’t use an excessive amount of water or cleaning solution. You want to get the liquid out of the carpet and not have it soaking through the carpet pad.
• Test new cleaning methods in an inconspicuous spot first.
• Use clean terry towels or white paper towels to blot up stains.
• Use pressure to blot. You can stand on the towel or paper towel if it helps.
• It can’t hurt to cover a cleaned area with a clean towel until dry so foot traffic doesn’t create another mess.

Removing Coffee, Red Juice, Wine, and Tea Stains

Below are a few different methods you can try depending on the stain and how fresh or old it is. Remember, blot up all liquid as soon as possible and make sure to get up as much of the stain as possible.

Method #1

• Use club soda by applying to the area stained area. Allow to sit for a minute then blot it up again. Keep repeating this method until the stain is fully removed. When the stain is gone, rinse using some clean water and blot that up as well.

Method #2

• Mix 1/4 teaspoon dishwashing soap with a quart of water. Apply to the stain and blot up to remove the liquid and stain.
• Rinse using clean water and blotting up when done.

Method #3

• If not all of the stain came up, then use hydrogen peroxide. Pour onto the stain and allow it set for several hours. The hydrogen peroxide will chemically react with it and release the stain.
• Cover the area with a layer of plastic wrap then a towel. Hydrogen peroxide turns to water when exposed to light.
• Blot dry.

Chocolate Stains on Carpet

• Get rid of the chocolate by scraping up and removing any excess chocolate you can.
• Use one teaspoon dishwashing liquid and one cup of water then apply to the stain.
• Blot the stain out using a terry towel. Repeat if necessary.
• Rinse with clean water and blot as dry as possible.

Removing Candle Wax

• Scrape off as much as you can of the wax with a dull knife.
• Cover with a clean white paper towel then apply a warm iron to it. This will help to transfer the wax stain from the carpet to the paper towel.
• Keep moving the iron around until it is totally absorbed. Change paper towel as needed.
• If greasy spots are left, apply baking soda and let it sit a while then vacuum up.

Cleaning Cat Vomit off Carpets

Cats. We love ‘em but not the vomit messes on carpets they can make.

Cleaning Cat Hairballs

If your cat has vomited up a hairball, simply remove it gently as soon as you can, hopefully sooner than later.

Pick it up with a paper towel and clean using Method #2 above.

Getting Cat Vomit Out of Carpet

• First remove as much of the solid stuff using paper towels then blot up what you can of the remaining vomit again using paper towels.
• Mix together 1 cup white vinegar and 1 quart warm water to clean the stain.
• Pour this solution on the stain (be careful not to pour too much and flood the area). Let sit for a few minutes while you go get more paper towels.
• Blot until you’ve gotten the liquid up, let dry, repeat if necessary.

If the vomit stain is persistent, sprinkle a little baking soda over the stain then pour a little white vinegar over the top of the baking soda.

Let this set for a couple of minutes, the foaming action should help to remove the stain up and out.

Blot up liquid, rinse with clean water, let dry then vacuum.

Now Freshen Up with Spray Air Freshener

To make everything more fresh and clean, make yourself this simple air freshener.

Get a spray bottle and add some distilled water and your favorite essential oil(s). This recipe is based on the size of the bottle you use.

• Fill the container with the distilled water.
• Add essential oil to the water and shake.

The amount of essential oil to use will depend on the scent you are using. Some are stronger than others. Start with about 8 drops and do a test spray. Add more or less depending on what you like.

Some essential oils you might like to use are orange, lemon, cinnamon, grapefruit, rosemary, coconut oil, and lavender.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cleaning and Sanitizing the Kitchen

Most of us do a pretty good job cleaning the kitchen and some of us might just be diligent about sanitizing surfaces and saying good-bye to germs.

The kitchen is one of those places in the house where germs like to hang out. Think about it; food left lying out on countertops, chopping vegetables, getting uncooked meats and other food items for the evening meal ready, the sink gets used a lot and can breed bacteria due to the moisture, and the foods we touch then get transferred to cupboard doors, counters, handles, etc.

You may have heard this before but most kitchen sinks have more germs than a toilet seat. I don’t know about you but I find that a bit unnerving!

Homemade Kitchen Sanitizer

Here is a pretty basic cleaning and sanitizing recipe that can be used throughout the kitchen to kill bacteria and germs.

In a large bowl or container, combine:

• One gallon of cold water
• One tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach

Get your cleaning cloth, dip it in, and wipe down your surfaces. Work in sections allowing this sanitizer to sit for about a minute then go back over the surface with a dry cloth.
Wear an old pair of clothes as the bleach can permanently damage your clothes.

Sanitizing the Outside and the Inside

Not only do the outer surfaces of the kitchen need to be cleaned and sanitized but the inside of cupboards and drawers need some love to. It may seem like a lot to do but it’s worth it.

How Often?

How often you do a good sanitizing really depends on your personal living situation. Are you a large family? Do you have a number of small children in the home? Maybe you have elderly family members that have a hard time cleaning?

These are just a few questions to think about when deciding how often you should clean and sanitize the kitchen then make a schedule and do the best you can to stick to it!

How to Keep the Sink a Healthier Place

I mentioned above how the kitchen sink is a nastier place than your toilet seat. So how and what can you do to keep it not so icky?

1. After doing the dishes, rinse any remaining food particles out of the sink.
2. Stop up the sink and fill it to the top with hot water (boiling hot, preferably).
3. For every gallon of water your sink holds, pour a half a cup of bleach in.
4. Swish it around and let sit for a minimum of five minutes.
5. Let the solution run down the drain, as this will kill any remaining germs that are hiding down there.
6. Allow the sink to air dry.

What Else Can you Do?

• Keep the sponge clean and stop spreading germs around. I wash my sponge in a hot dishwashing cycle about once a week (depending on the job I’ve put it through) and change them when their looking tired and worn out.
• If you are working with raw meats, taking out excessively dirty garbage, cleaning a dirty garbage can – wear a pair of disposable gloves.
• In between sanitizing, use disinfectant wipes.
• If you don’t have disposable gloves, keep your hands washed with antibacterial soap after taking out the garbage, handling raw foods and don’t forget to get under your fingernails.
• Don’t forget those out of the way places like the cutting board.
• You can also help the sink be a cleaner place by grinding lemon rinds in the garbage disposal as needed.

Room Deodorizer

Here is a great room deodorizer using essential oils. Just put it in a spray bottle and enjoy your clean and sanitized kitchen.

• 4 – 8 drops essential oil
• 1 cup distilled water
• Give the bottle a shake and spray.

Some essential oils you might like are cinnamon, clove, lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cleaning Glass Tile Surfaces

Glass tile surfaces are beautiful, durable, and easy to clean and care for. Many people use them as a backsplash in the kitchen and bathrooms and others use them to line the wall of their shower.

Glass tiles will dazzle you with their beauty for years after you’ve had them installed.

Cleaning Glass Tiles in the Shower

Glass tiles are very easy to care for and because they don’t absorb water, they are resistant to bacteria and mold and mildew.

But – just because they are so easy to care for doesn’t mean they don’t need cleaning. Like any other surface in your home, glass tiles do need to be cleaned on a regular basis.

Clean with Vinegar and Water

You shouldn’t have any problem using your regular bathroom cleaner on glass tiles surfaces. You can also clean them just as easily by taking a more natural approach – make a mixture of a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar. Mix this in a spray bottle, spray the glass tiles, wipe down the surface, rinse well with clean water and dry.

Heavy Duty Cleaning

Your shower is one of those places that can get a buildup of soap scum and hard water mineral deposits. If your glass tiles have a buildup of these you can do one of two things, it’s up to you and how severe you think the problem is.

1.    Use the 50/50 mix above, spray the surface and let sit about 10 minutes. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub the area. (Be careful not to scrub the grout so hard you scratch it.) When you are done cleaning the glass tiles, rinse well with water and wipe them dry.

2.    Use the same method as in the first option only use the white vinegar full strength.

Cleaning Glass Tiles in the Kitchen

A kitchen backsplash made of glass tiles is a great choice. The tiles won’t absorb 3s and offers protection against oil spatters, flying food, and are pretty much stain resistant with regular cleanings, keeping them vibrant and shiny looking for many years to come.

The same cleaning methods can be used for cleaning a kitchen backsplash as you use for cleaning the bathroom shower.

In the kitchen you can also use a mix of water and a gentle dishwashing liquid. Add 1/2 teaspoon dish soap to a spray bottle then fill with warm to hot water. Spray the backsplash and wipe down with a sponge or soft bristled brush. Rinse well with cool water and dry when done.

Textured Glass Tiles

Some glass tiles have a flat surface, and some have a textured surface. When cleaning textured surfaces; make sure to clean the crevices and grooves gently.

Cleaning the Grout

You shouldn’t have any grout cleaning problems when using any standard grout cleaner as glass is an impervious material. You can also mix together in a spray bottle, 1/4 cup bleach to 3/4 cup water, spray the grout and use a soft bristled toothbrush to clean the grout. Rinse thoroughly with water. When you are done cleaning, dry the tiles.

Grout Cleaning Precautions

Just remember when cleaning grout harder is not better. You can damage the grout if not careful. As we mention, use a soft bristled brush or toothbrush, don’t use a wire brush.

Sometimes a stain will wipe away, try this first before using a brush.

Test in an inconspicuous spot first if you are unsure of any new cleaning method.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to Remove Barbecue Stains

A pile of barbecued spare ribs and what a mess they can make if spilled.

Summer Gatherings and Barbecue Stains

It’s that time of year, my favorite time – Summer. Longer days, talking walks, working in the yard, and being outdoors playing croquet and having a barbecue with friends and family.

Having a barbecue is part of summer fun, eating wonderful foods, and ultimately getting barbecue stains somewhere. When this happens we’ll help you with the tools to get those stains out.

As is true with most stains, getting to it early is key for the best chance at getting the stain removed completely. I’m not saying if you get to it later (because you didn’t notice it) it won’t come out, it can, but it’s always easier on a fresh stain.

Removing Barbecue from Fabric

  • Use a dull knife or other product to scrape away as much of the barbecue as possible. You want to be careful not to rub it into the fabric more than it already is.
  • Run the back of the stain under cold water. This will force it back out.
  • Use a mild liquid detergent. Blot onto the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  • For white clothing, you can use bleach on the garment, but only if it has been tested.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • If the stain has not been removed completely, use a stain removing product and allow it to set as directed by the product.
  • Launder the item as you would any other time, but do not place it in the dryer. Allow to air dry.
  • This allows you to go back and determine if the stain is completely gone before the dryer sets that stain permanently.

If the stain doesn’t come out and it’s one of your favorite tops, you can use a professional and they will most likely try a dry cleaning solvent to remove the stain. If you want the stain removed and don’t want to head to a professional dry cleaner, another option you can try is soaking the stained section in a solution of warm water and mild laundry detergent over night.

It may prove to be a bit difficult to remove the barbecue stain from the clothing completely though as some of the ingredients can cause it to be permanent.

Removing Barbecue from Carpet

  • Remove as much as possible with the dull knife.
  • Use a clean, dry terry towel to blot the stain and remove as much as you can. Do not rub, it will only make the stain go deeper into the carpet and you can make the stained area larger than it already is.
  • Blot on a mild laundry detergent.
  • Follow this with a clean, dry terry towel then blot to remove more of the stain.
  • Repeat as needed.
Because barbecue sauce can also be oily, you want to consider placing baking soda on the stain once it is fully removed. This will help to absorb the oils that may still be in the carpet. Allow the baking soda to sit several hours or overnight then vacuum it up.

Barbecue stains can come out successfully if you take the time to work on it. In most cases, the stain will come out easily enough. The goal is to remove the stain without damaging the item stained.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Removing Stains and Spills From Furniture

Wicker table and chairs and how to clean stains.

You spend a lot of time looking on line and walking through stores to get a piece of furniture you think will look best in your living room, family room, outdoor patio space, etc. When you buy a piece of furniture to expect it to last years, unfortunately spills will happen and furniture left outside will need cleaning.

Wicker Furniture

Wicker furniture is very attractive, making your space feel calm and special. It can be used in the home or outside on a patio.

If you're thinking of purchasing wicker furniture, don’t deprive yourself just because you think it’s going to be hard to clean. It isn't that bad.

If you have purchased some wicker furniture and it needs cleaning, here are a few tools you will need for getting the job done.

* Toothbrush.
* A paint brush with short bristles or you can take a regular paint brush and cut the bristles about half way.
* Cleaning rag.
* A medium stiff bristle brush.

Cleaning Wicker

Remove the dust and/or debris by vacuuming it first.
In a bucket mix 2 tablespoons ammonia to each gallon of water.
Use the medium stiff bristle brush or the cleaning rag to clean the furniture. The bristle brush can be used for heavier duty cleaning and you don’t want to use a lot of pressure just enough to get the job done.
Keep the amount of water you use to a minimum so you don’t drench the wicker as this could possibly damage it; making it limp.
Use the toothbrush or paint brush to get in the nooks and crannies.
Rinse with clean water when you are done and dry with absorbent towels.

Here is another article for removing mold and mildew from outdoor wicker furniture.

Removing Water Stains from Wood Furniture

Water stains or ring spots are caused by minerals that are naturally present in the water and when left on the surface and allowed to air dry, a stain happens. So remember these spots can be eliminated completely by wiping surfaces dry.

Using a Dry Iron

The heat from the iron will soften the minerals in the water enough so you can then wipe them away.
Set the iron to medium high and don’t use the steam setting. Get a clean, lint free rag and place it over the water stain. When the iron has heated up, run it over the cloth that is covering the stain for just a few seconds.
Pick up the rag and check the water stain. Repeat as necessary. Polish or wax furniture when finished.

Removing White Water Marks

You can use regular white toothpaste (not the gel kind) to remove white water marks on your furniture. Toothpaste has very fine abrasives and is an effective way to clean these spots.
Slightly dampen a clean rag and apply a small amount of white toothpaste then gently rub into the water mark. Dampen a clean section of the rag with water to remove the stain and any of the toothpaste that is remaining. Polish as you normally would.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cleaning your Curtains

Let’s face it, this is something most of us neglect to do and is probably not high on the list of chores to be done. Some of you probably don’t even think about cleaning your curtains, it just doesn’t cross your mind.

Curtains accumulate a lot of dust; they may even harbor a spider or two, dead bugs, and they can get pretty dingy looking when not cleaned.

When you take this, and the fact it isn’t good for anyone with allergies, into consideration you see why it’s important to clean your curtains on a regular basis.

Cleaning your Curtains Weekly

Weekly cleaning can help you get a lot of the dirt and dust off your curtains. When you’re vacuuming the house, take a little time to do the curtains as well. It’s best to vacuum first then dust.

• Start at the top and work your way down.

• Get the hems and folds as most of the dust will accumulate in these areas.

• It’s easier to leave your curtains hanging when you clean them. Hold the curtains taught to vacuum them.

• Be sure to vacuum both sides. Dust and debris collects on the sides facing windows as well, especially when we leave our windows open.

For a more thorough cleaning, read the label to see whether they require dry cleaning or if they can be washed in the washing machine.

Washing your Curtains

Here are a few things to keep in mind when washing is an acceptable method.

• Wash your curtains on a delicate cycle even if the label states it can withstand a heavier cycle. Over time the sun will not only fade the fabric but weaken the fibers.

• Wash in cold water to keep fading and shrinking to a minimum. If drapes are heavily soiled check the label to see if warm water is recommended or not.

• Use a product like Woolite that is designed for delicate fabrics.

• Dry the curtains on a gentle cycle with low to no heat until they are just slightly damp then hang them back on the curtain rod. This will help them hang better than if they were dried completely. Don’t use a hot cycle as this could fade the colors, shrink the curtains, and possibly set in stains.

• Hang dry if label recommends but don’t hang them back on the rod until they have just about completely dried. Dripping water on your carpet could possibly cause mildew.

• Keep windows closed until curtains are dry and don’t vacuum until they’ve dried either.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Make Vacuuming Easier

Before I drag out the vacuum and start vacuuming, I do a quick walk through and pick up toys, throw rugs, blankets, office supplies, anything noticeable on the floor that needs to be picked up and moved.

This way I’m not going to have to worry about damaging my vacuum cleaner when it sucks up a paperclip or some other small object.

Vacuuming is the last thing I do. Not only do I want to pick up stray items, I also dust, shake out and air out floor rugs then put them back when I'm done.

Before you start, also check the bag and make sure it isn’t full. A full bag is not helpful to efficient cleaning. It just doesn't suck enough dirt out of the carpet.

Not all vacuums will butt up to the edge of the wall to pick up dust bunnies, little pieces of paper, etc. Here are a few things you can do:

• Before you vacuum a room, use the wand and get the edges first.
• For carpeted areas you can also use a stiff broom to run along the edges then vacuum the mess.
• For hard surface areas, you can use the wand tool; you can use a damp rag to run along the baseboards, or a dust mop to clean first.

Vacuum rooms first, then do the halls and stairs. Start vacuuming in the back of a room, working your way out.

In bathrooms, start behind the commode, close the door so you can get behind it. In the kitchen don’t forget to get behind and on the sides of the fridge and under the stove.

No matter the kind of carpet you have, regular vacuuming is a must to keep it looking its best.

Benefits of a Regularly Vacuuming

Below are a few vacuum cleaning tips to get the most out of your carpet.

  1. Keeping the carpets cleaned and vacuumed regularly will help to extend the life of the carpet and cut down on the amount of dust and allergens. Ground in dirt can also wear down the carpet fibers and the resilience of the carpets nap.
  2. For the most part, you should vacuum at least once a week, more depending on family size, pets, your job, etc. This is also important if you have young ones in the home.
  3. Don't be in a hurry and use overlapping strokes.

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