April 30, 2011

Growing up, our big day to clean the house was Saturday mornings.  My mom would give each of us a job (myself, my sister and my two brothers).  She would play upbeat music and, away we would go: vacuuming, dusting and cleaning the bathrooms.  For this reason, Saturday tends to get me in my “cleaning house” mode.  I have been a fan of HELOISE for many years.  On everything from stain removal to methods of cleaning, I truly hope you will glean ideas from her.

BELOW:  She lists cleaning solutions for her most frequently asked questions. (Picture Credit and Article:  HELOISE)

Prevention is better than curative. Let antiperspirant or deodorant dry completely before putting on your garment. Pre-treat the underarm area of the garment with liquid laundry detergent, so the buildup can be washed away. If the stain is old, treat the area with white or apple cider vinegar to help dissolve the perspiration. Wash in hot water at least every third or fourth time to get rid of the buildup.
Generally, lipstick can be removed from washable clothing with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Use two hand towels; put one down and place the lipstick stain face down on it. Dab the back of the stain with the other towel, which has been dipped into the alcohol. Repeat until stain is gone. If there’s any residue, use a pre-spotter or stain remover before laundering and let air dry to be sure the stain is gone. Lipsticks today have newer formulas, such as long-lasting or those with a lot of gloss. Several treatments may be needed to remove these stains.

For clothes that you launder, soaking the bloodstained garment in cold water for about 30 minutes will usually remove it. However, if stains are visible, mix a bit of water with unseasoned meat tenderizer (which breaks down the protein in the blood) and apply to the area. If the garment can’t be laundered at home, take it to the dry cleaner right away and identify the stain. Let the professionals save the clothing.
Crayon on Walls
If your artistic child has shown his talent on painted walls or wallpaper, here’s how to get it off: Dry cleaning solvent, available at drug or shoe stores. Pour a bit on a terry cloth towel to safely remove crayon from almost any (except antique wallpaper) surface.
Suddenly you notice a stain, but it really isn’t a mystery because it probably was there when the garment was put away or actually laundered, but did not come out totally. These stains frequently are from a light-colored liquid, such as a clear soft drink or white wine that contains sugar. If you’ve tried all of the normal spot-and-stain removers without success, give this a try: If the garment is white or light colored, use three-percent hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab to dab at the stain. Allow it to set for several hours because it acts as a milder, slower bleaching agent. 

Use cheap hair shampoo and a scrub brush. (If you don’t like bending over, use a long-handled brush.) Commercial cleaners do an excellent job and so will vinegar, but do not use it on marble.

Newer-model toilets with a shiny finish are easy to maintain by scrubbing with the toilet brush several times a week (for a minute) rather than only once a week. This will prevent a hard-water buildup. For regular cleaning, use a disinfecting cleaner, and don’t forget to clean under the seat, the lid and around the base.
Shower Curtains
Put plastic shower curtain and liners into the washing machine to eliminate grime. Toss in a bath towel or two for scrubbing action, along with the usual amount of detergent. Then place in the dryer for a couple of minutes or hang to dry. Here’s hint from my mother: To stop mildew buildup, use pinking shears to cut off the bottom seam of a liner or a non-decorative plastic curtain, so the water drips off.

Sterling Silver 
Sterling silver and stainless steel can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher. If you put them in the dishwasher, don’t place the utensils in the same basket with stainless steel because this could damage the sterling. If you put sterling or silver-plate (no hollow-handled knives) in the dishwasher, stop the machine before the drying cycle and take them out to hand dry. For regular care, a good quality silver cream or polish will have excellent results.

FLAIR TIP:  *Take the time to study up on the subject of cleaning and keeping house.  Your research will inspire you.  Adopt house keeping as one of your hobbies and, something that you take pride in, and ENJOY.  The idea of it as a ‘hobby’ will infuse a NEW passion for your daily chores.  Keep me posted on any house cleaning tips that you can share.

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