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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Preparing Your Home for Christmas Guests

Happy Husband, Wife and Two Sons Will be Visiting for the Holidays.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the lights, the smells and especially the holiday music. One of my favorite Christmas songs is Perry Como’s “There’s No Place like Home for the Holidays”.

Christmas is also a time when family and friends are gathered around the kitchen counters eating and chatting happily together. I love these days, the festivities, and the crowd of loving people around me.

For many of us, the holidays also mean we’ll be sharing our home with guests. I enjoy my guests and I like making them feel special when they’re here.

Here are some quick and fun ideas that will make your guests feel at home. 

Make Welcome Baskets for Your Guests

One way to make your holiday guest(s) feel special is to make a welcome basket. These are fun to create and so helpful to guests.  Here are a few tips for putting your welcome basket together.

Bedroom Guest Baskets

For the bedroom where your guests will be staying, have a nice basket that holds towels, , bath products, lotion, a toothbrush and toothpaste, aspirin, disinfecting wipes, a nice pair of comfy thick socks to keep their feet warm, and reading materials.

If your guests have little kids, you can add a new coloring book, a set of crayons, children’s books and movies. For older tweens and teens you can add crossword puzzles, a Sudoku book, movies, and popular magazines for their age.

If you know your guests personal likes such as Nivea Lip Balm or Ponds Facial Cream or a favorite lotion add these to the basket. Your guests will appreciate the thoughtfulness.

Kitchen Guest Baskets

In the kitchen make up a snack and drink basket and set aside a section of the refrigerator for cold items.  Be mindful of any allergies or health restrictions your guest may have.

If you’ve already made some goodies for the holidays, package several smaller servings into individual festive bags and put your guests name on each bag. You can leave a box of crackers in the basket, instant oatmeal, small boxed cereals, and juice boxes for kids, soda, flavored water, energy drinks for teens and a nice assortment of tea or flavored coffee for adults.

Again, customize the basket if you know your guests favorite coffee and make sure you add it in. 

Preparing the Guest Area

If you don’t have a designated guest room, here are some tips to make your guest space feel special.
If one of the kids is giving up their room, make sure the bed has clean sheets. If the guest space happens to be in the office and your guest will be sleeping on a sofa bed, be sure to open and air it out and vacuum it thoroughly before you put on fresh sheets.

1.    It’s also a nice touch to use new pillows and leave out a new blanket. These items don’t cost much and I don’t want my guest cuddling in a blanket my dog sleeps on or laying their head on a pillow my cat sleeps on.
2.    Keep a nice tray on the bedside table where it’s a safe place for guests to place their phone or glasses as they go to sleep and a few coasters for drinks. If you don’t have a bedside table, maybe you have a small ottoman that will work just as well.
3.    Don’t forget about lighting, a small table lamp or taller reading lamp that can be reached from the bed is nice.  I usually add a nightlight to the hallway or bathroom to help guest from stumbling around if they need to get up in the middle of the night.

If you have a room dedicated as a guest room then you probably have closet space where your guests can hang clothes and hide the luggage.

If you don’t have a dedicated guest room, be sure to clear a small section of a closet (even if it’s a hall closet) and maybe a drawer for their clothes. You can also add over the door hooks where they could hang clothes.

Keep a Guest Book

Having a guest book for your visitors to sign is a fun way for them to write down their memories of the visit and leave you some kind words.  If they are frequent visitors, they will also enjoy looking back at the other times they’ve been to your house and what they had to say.

This does not have to be an actual book either; I have a vintage 45 record holder where my guests leave me notes.

Using these simple tips, before your guest arrive will help them feel right at home and you’ll get to spend time enjoying their company. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to Clean Light Scratches From a CD or DVD

Reflective Image of a DVD Disk.

First let me say you may not be able to reverse the damage done to the disk, but the method below might help the disc be readable again. If this does work, I would suggest, if possible, you consider making a copy of the disc.

If the CD or DVD contains software, contact the company and they may send you a new disk or send you a link where you can download the program.

Cleaning the CD or DVD

Prior to taking the steps to reduce the scratch, make sure the surface of the DVD is clean.

Don’t clean the surface of your DVDs or CDs by wiping them on your clothing. Our clothing can be rough or the disk can rub against a button or a heavy seem on jeans which can cause more scratches on the surface of the disk. You also should not use a paper towel or anything similar as these are too abrasive.

Start by using a bulb air duster (not a can of air, the blast of air is too strong) and carefully blow the surface. I use the bulb duster I bought for my camera. If you don’t have one of these then blow a few puffs of air from your mouth.

Then take a microfiber cloth (or if you wear glasses the cloth you use for cleaning them) and wipe the surface of the disk starting at the center of the disk and work your way towards the edge of the disk.

Reducing the Scratch on Your CD or DVD Using Toothpaste

Once the disk is clean dab a very small amount of non-gel toothpaste (like Crest) on a cotton swab and gently rub in a circular motion over the scratch. You don’t need to use much force, a light rubbing will work.

It will be hard but try and not extend much beyond the scratch as the toothpaste will “sand” the scratched area.

When you’ve finished, gently rinse with cool water until the toothpaste has been rinsed away and dry with a microfiber cloth.

You should notice the scratch has been reduced and/or possible gone. You will also notice the surface where you used the toothpaste is slightly dulled.

If this is your first time trying to reduce a scratch on a disk, you might be super careful when using the toothpaste and not rubbing enough. If after cleaning you see the scratch pretty much looks the same, try using the toothpaste again.

Now try and use your CD or DVD again and see if it works.

Has this method worked for you? Do you have any other tips for removing scratches from a CD or DVD? If so, share with us and our readers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5 Tips for Removing and Preventing Stinky Garbage Disposal Smells

Disposal Odors and How to Rid of Them

Cleaning the kitchen is one thing but how many of us forget about the disposal? I’ll admit, I sometimes forget until I get some phantom smell in the kitchen that isn’t coming from the garbage can.

The garbage disposal is a powerhouse when it comes to grinding up particles of food and when you think about it, some of the things that go in may cause some funky odors to come out.

Below are some things you can do to remove and prevent odors in your garbage disposal.

  1. Run cold water when using the garbage disposal. After rinsing pots, pans and dishes, grease and oils can run off into the disposal area. Using cold water will help solidify any grease and oil so it can be chopped up before reaching the trap where it could otherwise sit and accumulate.
  2. Freeze white vinegar in ice cube trays. I use the silicone trays because popping them out is so easy and it really doesn’t matter if you use large or small square trays. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer that can help eliminate odor causing bacteria. This will also help keep the blades of the garbage disposal sharp.
  3. I always have a box of Borax sitting on my shelf. There are so many things you can use Borax for around the house. For a stinky drain, pour 3 or 4 tablespoons in the drain. Let sit 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the smell, turn on the hot water and disposal to flush away. Borax is an effective odor eliminator and sanitizer.
  4. When you’ve finished washing dishes, pour in 1 cup baking soda and let this sit for 3 hours or overnight. Rinse completely.
  5. Many people don’t run the disposal long enough and turn it off when it sounds like everything has finished grinding. Instead, let it run a little bit longer (5 to 10 seconds) to ensure all particles of food have been flushed through the drain. Be sure to leave the water running as well.

After using one of the methods above I will periodically toss in the garbage disposal (when I have them on hand) citrus peels and some of the fruit as well. This will naturally clean the inside of the garbage disposal and leave a long lasting scent.

In order to keep your disposal clean and help prevent odors:

  • Run your disposal on a regular basis and remember to run it a few seconds longer after you think food has finished grinding.
  • Keep your disposal clean by pouring in a squirt or two of dish soap. Run the cold water and turn the disposal on for a minute or two.
  • Don't pour grease or fatty stuffs down the disposal. 

It’s important to remember that only biodegradable food stuffs be put in the disposal. A garbage disposal is not your trash can.

You can find more odor removal tips HERE.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Using Your Old Toothbrush to Clean Tight Places in the Bathroom

Old tooth brush for cleaning in tight spaces.

If you’re like me, you save a few old toothbrushes instead of throwing them in the trash. They come in handy for cleaning in tight places.

One of the reasons I like using an old toothbrush is they are already worn down and it's lost the stiffness, then I don’t have to worry about scratches – not to mention I don’t want to waste a new toothbrush for cleaning gunk.

So, if you have an old toothbrush, don’t throw it out, not yet anyway. Get more use out of it before tossing it in the trash.

Cleaning Hard to Get Places in the Shower

One of the places I use my old toothbrush is cleaning the bottom of sliding glass shower doors. If you have this kind of shower door you know how soapy water can run down the glass and into the tracks where water pools.

If this is left you end up with soap scum in the tracks and on the bottom of the glass which can be hard to get at with just a sponge or cleaning rag.

This is where the old toothbrush comes in handy to scrub the shower tracks, the rubber seal strip, the bottoms of the glass door and other areas like around the drain, shower lever, and around the faucet.

If you have a shower caddy, a toothbrush works great in corners, the little drain holes, and around the rubber base.

Cleaning Tight Places on the Toilet

Another place, when cleaning in the bathroom, that old toothbrush is good for is around the toilet.

I use it to scrub around the toilet seat hinges, in the space between the tank and toilet seat, and I also use it when I clean inside the toilet tank.

Cleaning Inside the Toilet Tank

Cleaning the Sink and Countertop

I use my old toothbrush to clean around the drain and inside the drain as far as I can get. I use it to clean the overflow hole, and around the faucets.

I have a mirror that is so close to the backsplash that it's hard to clean with just a sponge so out comes the toothbrush yet again and it works to clean all corners and edges.

Cleaning the Cabinets

Using the toothbrush also works really well for cleaning the outside of cabinet doors, inside drawers and under the sink area.

Another great tip for your old toothbrush - use a permanent marker to label it as a cleaning brush so no one accidentally picks it up and uses it!

More bathroom cleaning tips:

Cleaning Soap Scum

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to Spring Clean the Inside of the House

Beautiful Light Pink Spring Blooms
Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I work from my home and I love it when I can open my office window, let the fresh air in, listen to the birds and watch them as they eat from the bird feeders (yes, I do manage to get work done).

Spring is also one of the larger cleanings we do around our house. I want my house as fresh on the inside as it is smells on the outside.

Spring Cleaning 101

Here are some of the basics of any large cleaning. These will help you keep track of all you are doing, what’s already been done, and so forth. 1.    Make a list of all the areas in the house you want to tackle and what you hope to accomplish. I type everything on the computer in columns with checkmarks. This makes it so much easier to cross things off the list, and I have a copy for my next spring cleaning that I can easily add to if needed. Here’s a sample of what a section of your list could consist of, let’s use the kitchen as our example:

Cleaning the Kitchen

  • Dust and wipe down the walls: Dust then wipe down all walls and baseboards. Be sure to get behind the refrigerator and stove. Take down pictures and dust. Don’t forget to clean light fixtures.
  • Clean windows: Clean all glass, windowsills and tracks. Wash curtains.
  • Clean cabinets: Remove all items and wipe down shelves and doors. Throw away old, expired, and stale items. Remove chipped plates and bowls and throw away. Don’t put back kitchen electronics that are unused or broken. Reorganize when replacing items.
  • Clean drawers: Remove all items and wipe down the inside of drawers. Replace and reorganize. Pay special attention to junk drawers so nothing gets tossed that shouldn’t be tossed.
  • Clean light fixtures: Dust and (if necessary) wash light covers.
  • Clean appliances: Wipe down inside and outside of appliances. Remove everything from refrigerator and toss old foods before cleaning. Wash drawers.
  • Clean the sink: Give sink a good cleaning and clean under the sink.
  • Clean the garbage can: Scrub inside of garbage can, and replace the can if necessary.
  • Clean floors: Sweep and mop floors.
You would create a list like this for each room in the house you plan on cleaning. 2.    Get the whole family involved. It’s best to give everyone some advanced warning so they can get their grumblings out. On the day before you plan to start your spring cleaning session, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a quick family meeting. Give everyone the list of the things that need to be done in the area you’ve assigned them (I always have my kids start in their bedrooms and then assign the older kids the upstairs bathrooms). This way they can ask questions and you can clarify instructions where needed. 3.    Be prepared to take a break and order pizza for lunch. This is called bribery--I mean, a reward for a good job. When you’ve finished for the day, a trip to the ice cream parlor might be called for.

Have the Supplies you Need before you Start

Don’t be unprepared, have all the supplies handy beforehand.

Boxes and Garbage Bags

When it comes to these bigger cleaning jobs, there are sure to be some items found that are garbage, unwanted, not touched, etc. that do not need to go back in closets or shelves after cleaning. Of course the garbage bags are for trash, but the boxes can be used for the following:
  1. A box for unused things and outgrown clothing that can be donated or make a little money on by having a garage sale.
  2. A box for things you’re not sure about.


Bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, glass cleaners, all purpose cleaners, etc.: Have enough of each of these cleaning supplies so that you can leave a tote upstairs and downstairs.

Cleaning Tools

Cleaning rags, dusters, mops, and vacuum cleaners – Keep enough cleaning rags available and in each room so you don’t run out and if you have a couple of vacuum cleaners, leave one upstairs and one downstairs.

On the Day of the Big Clean

On the day of the big clean, eat a good breakfast and get ready to go. Pick a channel on the radio that has some good upbeat music. Most cable companies have channels dedicated to music with a variety of styles and genres. Get everyone started in the rooms you’ve assigned to them and get going.

Filling the Boxes

Everyone has their own cleaning style and knows what works best for them. You might want to have each person assigned to a room go through closets, under the beds, cabinets and cupboards first and start filling those boxes and throwing away the trash. Set those aside in the garage.

Work from Top to Bottom and Back to Front

Start at the top and work your way down through a room. Dusting and cleaning light fixtures up high, dusting the pictures frames as you work your way down, cleaning walls and baseboards where necessary. Vacuum last, starting in the back of the room towards the door. When you’ve finished a room, close the door so you know a room has been finished.

When the Spring Cleaning is Finished

When all is said and done and you’re left with the boxes of stuff you filled before you started cleaning, you can either donate these items or have a garage sale. Spring cleaning is not something that only takes an hour or two. I won’t sugar coat it, it’s going to take up the day but in the end it will definitely be worth the time you spent cleaning the house. Here are more cleaning tips that might help you out. House Cleaning Tips Homemade Cleaning Products

Friday, April 3, 2015

How to Clean and Maintain Hardwood Floors

How to Clean and Maintain Hardwood Flooring.

Hardwood floors are gorgeous when they’re clean. I love it when either natural light or ambient light shows just how stylish they are.

Hardwood floors add a touch of elegance to a home, don’t you think? Hardwoods are a great option as they are durable, they come in different colors and a variety of styles, and they are easy to clean and maintain.

Sweeping the Floors

Cleaning hardwood floors is a pretty basic task when done on a regular basis. If you use something like a Swiffer sweeper to sweep your floors, this simple task will keep the floors shiny and dust free.

I particularly like microfiber sweepers like the Swiffer. They are lightweight and the materials are designed to attract and trap dust particles, which is so much nicer than in the old days of brooms which just pushed the dirt around.

Sweeping the floors is also an easy task to put on the kids chore list, especially the younger ones. They’ll get a kick out of watching the dust bunnies stick to the Swiffer.

For large messes on the floor that can’t be easily cleaned by sweeping, you can use a vacuum or a shop vac. If you vacuum you can use an attachment hose or a vacuum where the rollers can be turned off so you don’t scratch the floor.

General Cleaning

When it comes to general cleaning, which is pretty much all you’ll need to do if you keep spills wiped up and sweep the floors regularly, plain water is all you need. All you need is a damp mop and off you go.

I say damp mop, make sure you don’t use too much water or you can damage hardwood floors. Dry the floor when you’re finished mopping.

Don’t forget to sweep the floors before washing them.

Deep Cleaning

Every now and then you may need to do more than just sweeping and a general clean. Especially in the summer months when everyone seems to walk through the house in their bare toots and we tend to have more social gatherings. If you have pets, they can add to the grim that can lead to dirty floors.

For most wood floors: Swedish finish, pergo floors, and old wood floors, you can safely clean with white vinegar and water. Simply add 1/ 4 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon warm water. Again, only use a damp mop, rinse the mop often and dry the floor when you’re finished.

If you are unsure of the type of floor you have, take a picture and go to a local flooring shop or a Home store and ask a professional.

Maintaining Hardwood Floors

  • Use felt pads for legs of chairs and tables to keep them from scratching the floor.
  • Use throw rugs at entrances.
  • Take shoes off when entering the home especially high heels, cleats, etc.
  • Clean up spills as soon as they happen.

Enjoy your clean hardwood floors, Wipe up spills, sweep regularly, damp mop and dry, and they’ll last you years.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mrs. Cleans Efficient House Cleaning Tips

We all know that cleaning the house is a chore we wish we could skip. But how many of us can stand to look at or sit in a home where dust is accumulating in thick layers, carpets look dingy, clothes are piling up, or use a bathroom with dirty sinks, showers and toilets? Yuck!

If you're anything like me then I know you won't stand for all the dirtiness! Make an easier time of cleaning by following our suggestions listed below.

These house cleaning tips will make your cleaning day more effective and more efficient.

Have all Cleaning Supplies Together

Before you start to clean, make sure you have all your supplies together. This really does help in the amount of time it takes to clean when you don’t have to go back and forth fetching cleaning supplies.

My cleaning tote has everything in it I’ll need so I won’t have to stop and possibly get sidetracked.

Your cleaning supplies should consist of things like:

  • Cleaning cloths (for wet and dry)
  • Cleaners
  • Window cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop
  • Dusters
  • Scrubbies

If you’re interested, here is a list of the items Mrs. Cleans House cleaners keep in their cleaning totes.

Work from the Top, Down to the Bottom

I always start cleaning upstairs and clean my way downstairs. This also applies to the rooms I’m cleaning.

Cleaning Bedrooms and Living Areas

When cleaning these areas, I start at the top and start with dusting to remove dust, cobwebs, cleaning light fixtures, moving down to dust the tops of picture frames and mirrors, door jambs, tabletops, lamps, and baseboards.

When I’m done dusting, I’ll go through and clean mirrors, windows (if necessary) wall mount lights, switch plates, TV remotes, door handles, phones, and baseboards – anything that requires a cleaning solution.

Cleaning the Kitchen

When cleaning the kitchen, clean the outside of the upper cabinets, moving down to the walls, countertops, microwave, stove, fridge, drawer exteriors, lower cabinet doors, and baseboards.
I then move on to cleaning windows if needed.

Cleaning the Bathroom

When cleaning the bathrooms, I’ll dust first (top to bottom) mirror, shelves, doorjamb, and wipe off the counters then spray tubs, shower, sink, and toilet. I’ll then clean the mirrors, wipe down the door, and towel racks and return to scrub the toilet, tub, shower, sink, cabinets and wipe down the baseboards.

Clean in a Single Direction

It doesn’t matter if you work from left to right or right to left. If you work in a single direction, it’s actually more efficient and you’re less likely to miss something by hopping around and going here and there.

Don’t Forget to Wipe the Surface Dry

When you’re finished cleaning, don’t forget to wipe down surfaces with a clean, dry cloth. This will help prevent water spots on faucets, towel racks, counters, floors, etc. I gives a nice finished look.

Work from the Back of the Room to the Front

When vacuuming a room, work from the back corner (farthest from the door) towards the front of the room. Take your time and do a good, thorough job.

Slowly vacuum and let the suction, suck up all the dirt and debris on the carpet. Overlap your vacuum strokes to make sure you get everything. Vacuum the hallway and stairs last.

This also applies to mopping. Start at the back and work your way out of the room.

Complete One Room before Moving on to the Next

Cleaning one room at a time is a good strategy for completion; it’s just easier to concentrate on one room versus going in and out of rooms and getting sidetracked or distracted. When you lose focus, it adds to the amount of time it takes to clean.

Clean and Pick up as you Move through the House

If you clean and pick up items as you move through the house, it saves time on cleaning days. I know in the beginning it seems like you’re doing nothing but cleaning and picking things up and putting them away – but – after a short time, its second nature and you don’t even realize you’re doing it.

I’ve trained my husband and kids to do the same thing so I’m not alone.

Here are a few examples how we clean as we go:

  1. Keep a squeegee in the shower and wipe down walls and shower doors.
  2. I use a separate towel for my hair and before I wrap my hair up, I wipe down any chrome in the shower.
  3. Wipe down counters as soon as you’ve finished with meals, putting dishes away, etc.

We all have our own cleaning routines, what works best, how often we clean, etc. What makes your routine more efficient?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Uses for Cornstarch – Other than Baking

Container of Cornstarch and Powder.

I used to only use cornstarch when I was making a gravy, desserts, or sauces. But just like white vinegar and baking soda, cornstarch has many uses around the house other than baking.

So, how can you use cornstarch? Follow me on down the page and let's take a look.

Help Athletes Foot by using a little Cornstarch

Put corn starch on your feet between the toes, and sprinkle it inside your shoes prior to wearing them. This will help keep feet dry.

Cornstarch can also be used to absorb and remove odors in shoes.

Cornstarch can be used to help Sunburns

Make a paste of cornstarch and water. Apply to the skin, let dry about 20–30 minutes, then rinse.
You can also add 1 cup cornstarch to the bath and soak for 20 to 30 minutes.

Treating Blackheads with Cornstarch and White Vinegar

Make a paste by adding white vinegar to 1/2 cup cornstarch until a paste forms. The paste should be just thick enough for it to stay on your face and not slide off, but not so thick that it just clumps and can’t be applied to your face. Apply this to the blackheads and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

The mix will harden as it sits and may start to flake off if you move around, so maybe take this time to read a book or play a card game.

Use Cornstarch in the Bath for Itchy or Irritated Skin

Psoriasis. For a natural cure to help ease the itching and redness associated with psoriasis, add 1 cup cornstarch to your bath and soak for 30 minutes.

Itchy Skin. To treat a plain old itch that just won’t go away, add corn starch directly to the skin or add 1 cup to the bath and soak.

Poison Ivy. Make a thin paste of corn starch and water. Apply to the skin until it dries.

Chafing. One way to avoid chafing is to stay dry. To avoid sweating or friction that can happen between body parts and/or body and clothing items, lightly apply cornstarch after you have completely dried off from a shower or bath, then dress. Although this will work, some prefer to use an ointment instead.

A Home Remedy for Diaper Rash using Cornstarch

Nobody wants to see their child have a case of diaper rash. How uncomfortable. To use cornstarch for diaper rash, make sure baby’s bottom is dry first, then sprinkle a little in your hand and pat on baby’s bottom.

You can also use 1/4 cup cornstarch to every gallon of bath water.

Absorbing Grease Stains from Clothing using Cornstarch

Absorbing grease from washable items, sprinkle cornstarch on the greasy area and rub it in with your finger or use your fingernail to work it in. Rub until the cornstarch has absorbed the grease. Dump the dirty cornstarch in the garbage and repeat until you have lifted as much of the grease as possible. Wash the item as you normally would and pre-treat if necessary.

To absorb grease from leather items, sprinkle corn starch over the grease stain and then rub it in with your finger and let sit to absorb. When absorbed, discard used cornstarch and repeat until the grease has been lifted. This can be left to sit on the grease stain overnight, but make sure to brush it off in the morning.

Making your own Laundry Starch using Cornstarch

Take 2 tablespoons corn starch and mix with 2 cups cold water in a spray bottle. Shake well to completely mix the ingredients together. Use as you would any store bought laundry starch.

These are just some of the uses for cornstarch. Tell us and others how you use cornstarch.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Post Holiday Carpet Stain Removal Methods

Removing Stains from Carpets After the Holidays.

The holidays are over and you’ve taken down and put away all the holiday decorations (or most of you have). Now it’s time to take a good hard look at your carpet and any spills and stains you may not have had the time to get to as they happened.

Even though they may have remained on the carpet a little longer than you’d like, it shouldn’t be much of a problem to get these stains out.

Before we get into cleaning stains, let me mention some of the cleaning ingredients I use and many of you may already have in the house.

Some of the Ingredients I Use

Here’s a short list of some of my go-to cleaning products:

Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

When I refer to a dishwashing liquid, for the most part I use Dawn dish soap. It’s always been what we buy. Dawn contains enzymes that will break up grease and proteins and is pretty effective in eliminating many kinds of messes. It’s cleaned up many of our messes around the house!

A tip when using dishwashing liquids: You only need to add a small amount to any recipe you’re using as a cleaning solution. If you use too much, it will leave a residue (in this case on the carpet fibers) that can be hard to remove if not rinsed completely, and even when dry it will attract dirt, eventually creating a new stain to clean.

If you don’t have a liquid dishwashing detergent on hand, you can use a liquid (non-bleach) laundry detergent or another mild non-bleach dishwashing liquid in its place.

White Vinegar

In my home and our business, we use white vinegar quite a bit. Vinegar is great at killing germs and removing odors. It’s a disinfectant and deodorizer and works quite well on many different types of stains.

Although vinegar may be good for many cleaning projects around the home, do not use it on natural stone tiles, as it can damage them.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another great product with so many uses. I keep many boxes of this in my pantry. Among other things, baking soda is a natural deodorizer that is very effective. Baking soda does not simply mask odors—it absorbs and eliminates them!

Oops, I Dumped Too Much Water on the Stain

Well, this has certainly been something I have done a time or two. When cleaning, you want to be careful not to get the carpet so wet the liquid is saturating into the padding underneath. If it does happen, though, you can use a shop vac to help suck out the excess liquid.

I also have the Little Bissell Portable Carpet Cleaner that does a great job removing tough stains and spills. This is definitely a handy little tool to have in your arsenal of cleaning supplies.

When dealing with stains, I also try to use the mildest approach first.

Removing Gravy Stains

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth and blot the stain. Repeat as needed.
  2. inse with clean water and blot liquids until dry.

If there is still a little stain remaining:

  1. Mix 1/4 teaspoon dishwashing detergent with 1 cup lukewarm water. Apply to the stain, then gently blot. Repeat as needed.
  2. Rinse with water, then blot to dry.

Removing Old Coffee, Tea and Red Wine Stains from Carpet

There are a few different things you can do to remove coffee, tea, and red wine stains from carpet:

Method 1:

  1. Take 1/4 scoop OxiClean and mix it with 2 cups of warm water. Mix until it is completely dissolved.
  2. Saturate the stain and let it sit for at least 5 minutes (it may require a few more minutes to sit, just don’t let it sit too long, and don’t let it dry on the carpet).
  3. With a clean towel, blot up as much of the liquid as you can.
  4. Rinse with clean water, blot again, and cover until completely dry.

Method 2:

  1. Reactivate the stain with some club soda. Do not over wet it; use just enough to cover the stain.
  2. Make a paste of baking soda and water, about the consistency of creamy peanut butter.
  3. Cover the stain liberally with the paste, then take a clean towel and gently blot or push the paste into the carpet and stain. Allow it to sit about 5 minutes.
  4. Take a clean section of the towel and start removing the paste by gently dabbing from the outside edges, working in towards the middle of the stain, lifting the paste up as you go.
  5. Mix a 50/50 solution of cold water and white vinegar. Pour some over the area, then gently blot (to avoid damaging the carpet fibers, do not rub or agitate the carpet). Repeat until you’ve removed as much of the paste as possible.
  6. With a clean, dry section of the towel, blot to remove as much remaining liquid as you can.
  7. Cover until dry, then vacuum.

Removing a Pumpkin Pie Stain or Sweet Potato Stain from the Carpet

  1. Make a solution of 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 2 cups warm water.
  2. Apply to the stained area and blot using a clean cloth. Repeat as needed until the pumpkin pie stain is gone.
  3. Rinse with clean water and blot up liquid until it’s as dry as you can get it.

If any stain remains, mix 1 tablespoon ammonia in 2 cups of warm water. Blot the stain. Repeat if necessary. Rinse and blot dry.

Note: Do not use ammonia on wool carpeting. It can damage the wool fibers. If you are not sure what kind of carpet you have, stick to using detergent. Ammonia can also have a strong smell, so if using it, open a window or door to ventilate the smell from the room.

Removing an Older Milk Stain from Carpeting

If the spilled milk is a little crusty, first use a dull knife or something like the edge of a credit card to carefully get as much off as you can.

Using Dish Detergent and Water to Remove a Milk Stain

  1. Make a solution of 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid to about 2 cups of warm water.
  2. Pour a little on the stain (don’t over soak it) and blot up with a clean towel. Change to a clean section of the cloth when needed. Repeat as needed.
  3. Rinse the area of the carpet with clean water and blot up as much liquid as you can, getting it as dry as you can.
  4. Place a towel over the stain (so nothing dirty gets on it) until it is completely dry, then vacuum.

Using Rubbing Alcohol to Remove a Milk Stain

  1. Apply enough rubbing alcohol to the stain to rewet it.
  2. Use a clean cloth to blot up the milk stain. Repeat as needed, using a clean section of cloth each time.
  3. Follow steps 3 and 4 of the detergent and water method above.

Removing Any Lingering Milk Odors

If you notice a slight sour milk smell, you can remove the smell with a little baking soda applied to the stain.

  1. If the carpet is dry, give it a little spritz of water.
  2. Liberally sprinkle the baking soda over the area and work it gently into the carpet.
  3. Cover and let sit overnight.
  4. Carefully loosen and lift up as much of the dried baking soda as you can, then vacuum.

Removing an Old Soda Pop Stain from the Carpet

  1. Make a solution of 1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid to 2 cups white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.
  2. Pour a small amount of the water over the soda pop stain until it is thoroughly wet (but not soaking wet).
  3. Blot up the liquid with a clean cloth. Repeat as needed.
  4. Rinse with clean water, blot to dry as well as you can, then cover until completely dry. Once the carpet is completely dry, vacuum the area.
  5. If there is still a small amount of stain remaining, pour rubbing alcohol over the area, blot and repeat as needed. Rinse with clean water and cover until dry.

Removing Chocolate Stains

Prior to cleaning the stain, carefully lift any chunks of chocolate that may be on the carpet. Vacuum to remove any flakes that may remain.

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon mild detergent with 1 cup lukewarm water.
  2. Apply to the chocolate stain and blot, working from the outer edges in towards the center of the stain. You may need to repeat this step a couple of times. Use a clean area of the cloth each time.
  3. Rinse with a clean damp cloth to remove any residue from the detergent. Let dry.

If any stain remains, mix 1 tablespoon household ammonia with 1 cup water. Follow steps 2 and 3 above.

Note: Do not use ammonia on wool carpets, as it can damage the wool. If you are not sure what type of carpeting you have, stick to using a mild detergent. Ammonia can also have a strong smell; if possible, open a door or window to vent the area you’re working in.

If there is a slight stain remaining, you can also try using regular-strength (3%) hydrogen peroxide (test in inconspicuous spot first). Pour some over the stain. Cover with plastic wrap then put a towel on top of that. Check the progress after 1 hour. Repeat if necessary.

Now that we’ve gone over some stains and how to deal with them, here are a couple other articles that may help you with your holiday clean-up.

Cleaning Up After the Holidays
Organizing Holiday Decorations

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