Archive for the ‘Household’ Category
Candles are nice to have around, and they come in handy during storms and other times when there is no power, but dripped candle wax is a pain to try to remove. It hardens and sets into fabrics, carpets, tables, tablecloths and dishes. If the candles are colored, the coloring (dye) stains. But with time and patience, candle wax can be removed.
Is there a way to prevent candle wax problems? Yes – a few preventative measures will help to avoid these problems:
Cheap candles always have different additives in them. These additives causes stains that are worse than if you bought better candles. The best candles should be nothing but paraffin wax, scent, color, and steric acid. Steric acid helps the candle burn away so that there is little to no candle wax dripping.
There are candles that are called “dripless” candles. But if they are placed near a draft (heater, vents, fans, open windows) – they will drip.
Always use a candle holder for your candles. Be sure to use one that is large enough to hold any dripped wax that may spillover. And don’t move a candle if you have just put it out – wait until the wax has solidified again to prevent any mishaps.
But things happen and candles do drip. Once the hot wax drips from the candle, it often dries quite suddenly upon hitting another surface.
If the hot wax has landed on clothing – you won’t get the wax out by laundering. As a matter of fact, if you do try to remove it by laundering you will find that the wax will break up and end up all over the inside of your washer! And picking at the wax can often damage the fabric. There are those that believe that if they stick the article of clothing in the freezer to freeze the wax it will be easier. But you will still need to use a butter knife to pick at the frozen wax – and that can damage the fibers.
The best way to remove wax without making a bigger mess and still doing it safely and easily would be to use heat to remove the wax and the stain. Place several paper towels on the ironing board and turn your iron on a low/warm setting. While the iron is heating, place the stained fabric on the paper towels; top with another paper towel (over the stained area) and gently glide the iron over the surface of the stain (and over the paper towel of course!). You should only have to pass the iron two to three times for the heat to melt the wax. The melted wax transfers onto the paper towel and when lifted off the fabric the wax is on the paper towel instead of the fabric.
This will work regardless of the size of the wax stain. Just be sure to use the lowest possible heat setting if your fabric is delicate – you don’t want to damage the material. But this is a good hassle-free way of removing wax from fabrics and clothing and also good for removing the stains from your cloth tablecloths. Some tablecloths that have candle wax stains will hold up to the use of mineral spirits. Just test a small spot on the material to make sure it won’t damage the fibers. Place on the stain and let sit for 15 minutes, launder as usual using bleach.
If you have a problem with candle wax that has dripped on your carpeting, you cannot use the method with the paper towels and the iron. If you have Berber rugs you will end up with burn marks. Also if your carpeting is nylon, the heat will melt the fibers. You can try using cloth or a paper bag over the stain and ironing very lightly, being careful because the bag will catch on fire. You will need to keep the iron moving. Brown paper bags work well. You can use the steam from your iron as well without letting the iron touch the carpeting at all. Place a paper towel over the stain so that it transfers onto the paper towel.
If you happen to spill wax on your countertops, place ice cubes on the wax and let it freeze – it will chip right off.
You can clean candle wax out of your glass votive containers. Just place the votive containers in the freezer and allow to freeze. Use a butter knife and pop the wax right out; wash in hot soapy water and re-use again and again. You can also do it with heat – place the glass votive containers in your microwave to melt the wax – place the containers upside down on a paper plate or paper towels to allow the melted wax to drain out – be sure to melt the wax slowly. Another hint – spray your glass votive containers with a vegetable cooking spray or pour a small amount of water in the bottom before inserting a fresh votive candle and the melted candles will slide out easily. You will also get good results if you place a little liquid dish detergent in the bottom of the glass.
Removing wax from dishes and glass is the same as removing from your glass votive candle holders. Heat the area using your blow dryer to melt the wax and wipe it away. Even your fabric dryer sheets can be used.
If you have candle wax on your wooden tables, heat with a hair dryer and wipe off.
Do you have hard water? Those that have hard water are plagued with film and lime deposits, as well as scum, on many of your household surfaces. These deposits appear on glass surfaces, china, porcelain, enamel, stainless steel, tiles, fiberglass and chrome surfaces and are caused by the films left by hard water, the stains from soaps, minerals and other deposits. The fixtures in your kitchen and bath, as well as your dishes need more frequent cleaning. The calcium and magnesium that are present in hard water leave hard deposits that are known as lime scales.
Regardless of the cleaning products used, they seem to have no effect on these stains and build up. Lime needs to be removed with a cleaning products with sequestrants that capture and deactivate minerals in water. An excellent product for this is Calgon. Deactivated minerals cannot react with other materials to form the build up of scum, film, or lime scale.
Acid can help to clear away hard water stains on any surface.
Clean stains on a regular basis so that they don’t have a chance to penetrate the surface and become more difficult to remove.
Before removing this build up, scrub the entire area with warm tap water and wipe dry. This will make removing the stains much easier. It’s like cleaning layer by layer for guaranteed results. Using vinegar or lemon juice on the stain will help to dissolve it. Vinegar has been used for years to clean coffee pots, coffee makers, automatic dishwashers, and even garbage disposals. White distilled vinegar is effective. A soft bristled brush that has been soaked in vinegar will work.
Lemon juice will have the same effect as vinegar. If you have a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge that has expired, use it for cleaning. You’ll find that both the lemon juice and vinegar will cut right through soap scum and assist in dissolving the organic compounds left in the grime in your bathroom. Always rinse thoroughly. Once the stains are gone, continue to use vinegar and/or lemon juice to keep the stains from coming back.
For those extra-stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and vinegar and using a soft brush or a sponge, gently scrub and rinse well. You never want to use anything abrasive like scouring pads or steel wool that will scratch the surface.
Bleach can whiten by oxidation. It is excellent to use on water build up in the bathroom, sinks and also on your pots and pans.
Believe it or not – rhubarb is a great way to remove lime build up in your pots. Boil some in your pot and the ascorbic acid in the rhubarb will soak up the stains. When done, toss the rhubarb and wash your pots as usual.
If you want to use ammonia, be sure that you do not mix it with bleach because of the toxic fumes caused when both are mixed together.
For removing rust, oxalic acid is effective. Phosphoric acid is often found in cleaning products that remove hard water stains. Toilet bowl cleaners usually contain hydrochloric and sulfuric acids.
You can also purchase Lime-A-Way which is found in most stores. It is effective in cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom, and in many other applications. Apply and leave on for 15 minutes, wipe and rinse off. Go over the faucets for a nice shine.
A cleanser-type cleaner called Bar Keepers Friend works best on pots and pans (not on non-stick surfaces). Just wet the surface of the pot and sprinkle with the cleanser and scrub off with a sponge. Rinse well and your pots will look like new.
Add one teaspoon of Calgon to a gallon of water and use it for your rinse water.
Rust stains can appear just about anywhere. On your clothing, on your carpets, on your tools, on your cookware, and even in your driveway.
Iron is used primarily as a construction material and is also used as a decorative material. Wrought iron furniture is popular on many lawns. Houses have iron grills around or over windows and walls. There are even iron dividers used in the interior of homes. It lasts for years and it needs to be treated or it will rust.
Rust is a kind of oxide; an oxide is the result of the iron chemically reacting with oxygen in the presence of moisture in the air or water. This rusting corrodes the iron. If left to rust, in time the iron will eventually disintegrate.
Depending on the kind of iron, will result in the speed of rusting. Steel rusts the fastest while aluminum rusts extremely slow due to the aluminum rust itself forms a protective passive coating. Rust will destroy the original beauty of the structure.
Rust is the red-orange chemical produced. Rust will rise up from the surface of the metal it is corroding, flake off and rub onto fabrics, or get picked up by fluids and transferred to driveways and cement walkways. Driveways and sidewalks are porous and rust particles lodge themselves in the pores.
To clean rust off concrete or bricks, oxalic acid is commonly used. Oxalic acid is a strong organic acid that is found in wood bleaches (powder), certain household cleaning products (such as Zud), and other products that are specially formulated for rust. Since oxalic acid is toxic, keep pets and people away from the area you are cleaning and wear rubber gloves and protective goggles. Be sure to have your garden hose handy to wash the acid off anyone or anything that accidentally gets exposed to it.
Saturate the area to be cleaned with the oxalic acid solution. If the product you are using is a powder, wet the area, apply the powder, and then saturate it with water without rinsing away the powder. Allow this to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Scrub well with a deck brush to get into the pores. If needed, apply more oxalic acid, allow to sit another 5 to 10 minutes, and scrub again with a deck brush. Continue this process until the rust stains are gone, rinse well.
Rust will also stain clothing and fabrics. These can be quite difficult to get rid of because they permeate the fabric. As with any article of clothing, always read the care instructions to make sure you can do the process here. If it doesn’t or if you are not sure, then take the article to the dry cleaners to be cleaned. You can always test on an inconspicuous area of the fabric for damage or discoloration.
Place a good thickness of paper towels behind the rust stain and saturate the stain with lemon juice. If you have any bottled lemon juice that has expired always use it for cleaning. Place the saturated clothing in direct sunlight or in a warm spot and allow the lemon juice to dry. Launder as you normally would. If the stain still remains and the article of clothing is white, you can boil the fabric in a solution of cream of tartar and water – using one tablespoon of cream of tartar per one cup of water. The stain will be gone but the residue from the cream of tartar will remain, so the fabric must be laundered again; launder as you normally would.
If after doing this, the stain still remains, saturate the stain with a household cleaning agent that contains oxalic acid; then launder normally. Try using Bar Keeper’s Friend on the fabric. This can cause damage to the fabric and it can also discolor the fabric – be warned.
Never use chlorine bleach to remove rust. The chlorine reacts strongly to rust and will intensify the discoloration of the fabric.
For rust stains that are on carpeting you will need to vacuum up as much of the rust as possible. Saturate the stain with lemon juice and allow this to sit for 5 minutes. Using a clean, white towel or a handful of paper towels, blot the rust stain, removing as much of the lemon juice as possible. Then combine liquid dishwashing detergent and water and saturate the stain once again. Gently scrub with a toothbrush or a small brush. Only scrub within the borders of the stain. You want to loosen the rust from the carpet so it can be removed. Blot dry. Repeat this process until the stain is removed.
For rust stains on tools or on your cookware, place in a container large enough to hold the item and submerge under water. You can use a large pot or your sink. Fill with ¼ cup of lemon juice for every 4 cups of water. Or you can use 1 cup of white vinegar for every 4 cups of water. Allow to soak overnight. If needed, scrub with steel wool or an abrasive pad. If the rust stains are stubborn, increase the strength of the solution and let it soak another 6 to 12 hours before scrubbing again. This works best for items that are lightly rusted. For items with severe rust and pitting you should use a commercial rust remover or just replace the tool.
We’ve all done it. Whether it is at home or at work – we’ve had to change the ink cartridges (toner) in copiers and printers.
Easy as 1-2-3! So they say. But many times something goes wrong and the ink or toner spills onto the carpet, or an upholstered piece of furniture, or your clothing and gets on your hands.
The hand washing part is the easy part! It’s removing the stains from everything else that is not so nice. Wash hands using an abrasive (gritty) soap.
To begin with – you need to get to the stain as soon as possible and the cleaning method will depend on the type of ink used.
Let’s start with the carpeting. You don’t want to step in it and track it elsewhere making a bigger mess. If it is a powdery ink/toner cartridge you will need to vacuum immediately. But you can’t let the nozzle touch the carpeting. By touching the carpet fibers with the vacuum you can easily grind the ink powder further into the fibers making it worse. You need to hold the nozzle above the stain. After you have vacuumed up as much as possible, apply a spot cleaner to the stain. You can also use one of those rug cleaners that has the foaming action to lift particles in a carpet. Blot using a clean rag and repeat this process until the stain is removed. Finally, rinse with clean cool water and blot dry with a clean rag. You don’t want to see any detergent or cleaning agent residue left on the rug.
If it is a liquid ink/toner that is on the carpet, blot as much as possible with a dry towel working from the edge of the spill to the middle so that you do not spread it any further. Using another clean cloth, dampen the cloth with isopropyl alcohol and blot the stain. Do not pour the alcohol directly on the carpet. Repeat this process until the ink is no longer being transferred onto the towel. Each time you blot, use a different part of the towel so that you are not transferring it back into the carpet. If the stain is still noticeable, blot with a white cotton towel dampened with hydrogen peroxide. Once again do not apply the peroxide directly to the carpet. Rinse thoroughly with clean cool water and allow to dry overnight.
If it spills on an upholstered office chair, vacuum without letting the nozzle touch and use a foaming spray rug cleaner. Blot using a clean rag and repeat this process until the stain is removed. Finally, rinse with clean cool water and blot dry with a clean rag. You don’t want to see any detergent or cleaning agent residue left on the chair.
As far as getting any ink/toner on your clothing – well that is just as difficult as trying to get any other type of ink stain out. Have no fear – there are a few sure-fire methods that will work. And if it happens at work – you can still get the stain out and not worry about carrying the stain with you all day.
Using a clean, damp towel or sponge, dab the stain in short motions. You do not want to push it into the fibers of the fabric any further. Allow the stain to dry. When dry, spray with hair spray or dab it with alcohol – either will work. Spray both sides of the fabric where the stain is and then place clean paper towels on both sides of the fabric and dab forcing the stain onto the paper towels. Remember to move the paper towel around so that the stain does not transfer back into the fabric. Once the stain is lifted – you’re done. To launder – follow up by applying a laundry pre-treatment (stain remover) and let sit for 15 minutes; launder as usual. Secret tip – if you haven’t got any laundry pre-treatment you can always use liquid dish detergent.
Have you got a printer ink stain in an article of clothing that has been dried and set for some time? Dab with liquid dishwashing detergent and gently scrub with a tooth brush or an abrasive towel. The stain will begin to lift. No luck? Try mixing 1 part bleach and 1 part water in a cup. Grab the tooth brush and gently brush the stain. This should really lift the stain right out of the fabric. Immediately launder the garment – do not let it dry between the stain lifting process and the wash cycle or the ink you have lifted will settle right back into the fabric.
If you stain your clothing at work and there is no where to clean the stain without getting undressed and you cannot place the garment in water – try using a stain stick. These sticks are small and will fit in your purse or pocket and can be kept in your desk. Purchase at your local grocers – it can really come in handy. Once you get home you will have to follow the instructions for a fresh printer ink stain (not a dry one), but at least the stain stick will keep the stain from setting terribly and should also lighten it considerably.
If you get a printer ink stain on a white garment, use chlorine bleach and cold water to remove it. Using hot or warm water will only make the stain set into the fabric.
If your garment is colored fabric, use sudsy ammonia which is a mixture of liquid dish detergent and ammonia – and use cold water. You need to act quickly to remove the stain.
Never combine bleach with ammonia! That combination can be fatal.
Can you prevent ink/toner spills? Yes – very easily. Place the new ink/toner cartridge in a plastic bag before removing the covering strip and use the bag to insert the cartridge in the printer/copier and also use it to remove the cartridge from the printer/copier.
A dust mite is a microscopic four-legged bug that lives primarily on dead skin cells regularly shed from humans as well as pets. Dust mites are harmless to most people; they don’t carry diseases but they can cause allergic reactions in asthmatics and others that are allergic to their feces.
Dust mites live in house dust. House dust is not just dirt; it also contains tiny particles of both plant and animal material including these tiny spider-like creatures which feed on these materials. Dust mites leave droppings which contain a protein that can trigger allergy symptoms and asthma symptoms in sensitive people. The most common cause for indoor allergens are dust mites.
Dust mites love to live in the comforts of your mattress. A typical mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites insides. Beds are warm and dust mites can eat our dander – perfect conditions. They are so tiny that you cannot see them – but yet their feces can cause allergic reactions to some people.
Symptoms of dust mite allergies would include, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, sneezing, stuffy ears, and respiratory problems.
Alleviate these symptoms with a little preventative maintenance.
Dust all wood and appliances in your home once a week.
Lower the humidity level in your home to help control the dust mite population in your home. Air conditioned homes have fewer dust mites than homes without air conditioning.
Purchase dust mite covers to encase your pillows and mattresses. These will provide a border between the dust mites and their source of food (dead skin cells). (Just the thought of burying your face in dust mites every night!)
Wash your pillows in very hot water every two weeks. If you cannot wash your pillows because their fabric cannot be washed, place in the freezer for 24 to 48 hours to kill the dust mites. Instead of washing or freezing pillows, you can place them in plastic bags, then cover with pillows with pillow covers and then your pillow cases. Never try to sleep on plastic covering.
Wash your bedding at least once a week in hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry them in a hot dryer. Remember that if you dry them outdoors they can collect pollen and mold spores which does not help anyone with allergies. Remember to wash mattress covers and comforters as well.
Feather and down pillows are a haven for dust mites and hard to wash. Foam or synthetic-filled pillows are better. Wool blankets are impossible to wash; nylon or cotton blankets are better and much easier to wash.
For severe cases of allergic reactions swap your curtains for plastic shades.
By vacuuming your floors and carpets you will dramatically reduce the amount of dust mites in your home. You should vacuum at least once a week – and be sure to empty your vacuum after you use it. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is best. Also vacuum all upholstered furniture.
Babies love to crawl all over carpets – and carpets are full of dust mites. Wooden floors are a better option.
Dust mites love to live in stuffed things – like stuffed toys where human and pet dander accumulates. They will also nest on knickknacks, collectibles and even plant leaves. When doing a child’s bedding, make sure you wash their stuffed toys as well. If they cannot be washed, place in a plastic bag and freeze overnight to kill the mites.
Because dust mites love to live in humidity it would be wise to air out your beds before making them. Open the windows or let a fan circulate the air in the room. Flip the pillows as well.
Lowering the thermostat if you live in a humid area will help as well.
Dust mites travel from house to house on your clothing. Be sure to keep your clothes clean and launder your things at least once a week.
Don’t smoke in the house. Dust mites are attracted to cigarette ashes. If you use an ash tray, the ashes and dust from the cigarette are airborne and can spread to other areas of your home.
Dogs and cats are transportation for dust mites. If pets play outside, they collect dust mites. You pet them and the dust mites are transferred to your clothes. Pets should be bathed twice a month to control the dust mites they transport into your home. If you pet sleeps in the house, clean their sleeping area/bed daily.
It is important to kill dust mites. Those that have asthma need to have an environment as allergen-free as possible. You will never be able to eliminate all dust mites; they will always find a way to settle in under the bed or on top of your ceiling fan blades.
Cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and keeping up with laundry will help to keep your dust mite population to a minimum.
Mold thrives in places where there is a lot of moisture.
Most likely, the first place you will find mold is in your bathroom.
There are thousands of different types of molds and mildews – but they all have the same thing in common – to digest the organic world around them and they need moisture so their digestive enzymes can go to work.
Mold needs a damp environment to establish itself and to thrive. If the roof or foundation leaks – there is mold. Mold will attach itself to drywall backing, wallpaper, insulation, carpet backing, household dust and wood products. It will even attach itself to your draperies. Overflowing washing machines as well as more severe flooding are also common sources of moisture. Where there is high interior humidity – there is mold.
Molds are neither plants or animals; they are microscopic organisms containing enzymes (responsible for digesting and decomposing) and spores (in charge of reproduction). Molds are from the fungi kingdom – like mushrooms, yeast and other unsavory characters.
Many are also allergic to mold and spores. Some varieties of mold can cause respiratory problems, headaches, insomnia, digestive disorders, memory loss, coughs, and skin problems.
It is best to get rid of mold as soon as you detect it.
Your bathrooms environment is conducive to mold growth. And you can rid yourself of the mold in your bathroom by using white vinegar. Just spray the vinegar in the places where you see mold as well as in places where there aren’t any. You don’t want the mold to spread any further.
Check where liquids spill in your home such as the couch, rugs and under beds. Keep these areas dry and you will prevent mold from growing or returning to the area. Wipe down the shower after using (or use a squeegee) and if your bathroom is humid (or your basement), consider getting a dehumidifier.
Although bleach will kill mold, it won’t always remove it. Simply using soap and hot water will do the trick.
Once you get rid of the mold, keep things dry.
Open windows to circulate the air and keep it dry.
Clean often to ensure that mold does not have a chance to grow back.
NOTE: If you have a newer home, it may be better at holding the heat, but it is also more likely to trap moisture and spores. This can be remedied by mechanical ventilation, like an air-to-air heat exchanger.
If mold is covering an area larger than 10 square feet it should be cleaned or removed by professionals.
Remember to wear a surgical mask while cleaning mold to prevent allergic reactions. If you need to dispose of moldy items or materials use caution. Rough handling of damaged materials will not only stir up spores and spread them even farther around your home, but will also launch millions and millions of spores in the air for you to inhale. One square foot of moldy drywall can harbor 300 million mold spores. Even dried out spores are irritating to inhale and if they find a moist environment they will come back to life and make new colonies.
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Are your clean bath and hand towels permeated with a terrible odor? Possibly smelling like mildew?
Go sniff the inside of your washing machine. (see How to get rid of washing machine odors)
If you have a front loader – there is a good chance it is from there. Front loaders are notorious for harboring mildew. Front loading washing machines do not completely empty all the water out of the machine when the load is done.
If your washing machine is not to source of the odor problem, then there is something else that is wrong. Hang up all towels after using them; if they stay wet for a period of time it’s an open invitation for mildew to find a comfortable home.
If it’s not the washing machine, and the towels are being hung up, then it’s time to take a closer look at the towels. Often the underlying cause of towel odor is the overuse of laundry detergent. Deposits can build up on the towels and odor molecules love to cling to these sticky spots.
Try washing your towels in very hot water with baking soda, Borax, or washing soda and add white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Observe the rinse water draining out of the washer – look for sudsing. If the towels are creating sudsy bubbles then you need to repeat the process. After my towels have finished their complete cycle (I use hot water, bleach and liquid laundry detergent) I re-start the complete wash cycle using cold water and that is when I add my fabric softener. This way I am certain that there is no leftover soap in my towels. If your rinse cycle is clear and not sudsy, dry immediately and thoroughly.
Fabric softeners can also build up on towels making them less absorbent. Add ¼ to ½ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to naturally soften towels and help retard the growth of mildew. Never use balsamic or cider vinegars.
NOTE: You don’t have to follow the manufacturer’s directions of how much laundry detergent to use per load. Remember – they make their money by selling their product. Experiment and find the least amount necessary to clean your clothes with desired results.
Do this for all your laundry – not just your towels. All laundry can get a detergent build up so cut back on your detergent and liquid fabric softener. You’ll be surprised to see that you can get a clean laundry using a fraction of what the manufacturer states on the label!
If you have a water softener in your home, use no more than one tablespoon of detergent unless washing extremely soiled items, diapers, etc.
You can switch from a liquid fabric softener to the dry fabric sheets. Dryer sheets can also be overused and cause your towels to be less absorbent and retain odors.
And also, using mainly cold water for your laundry is another culprit. Hot water will dissolve detergent residue much better. If you wash in cold water it will be necessary to do a hot soak at least once a week.
Dish towels and dish cloths are always washed together – separate from other laundry – in hot soapy water with bleach; when the cycle has completed I run the towels through a complete cold cycle to make sure they are free of detergent.
NOTE: If using chlorine bleach in your towels, whites, or any laundry be sure to double rinse to help remove the smell of the chlorine bleach.
Dog hair stuck to a carpet is not a pleasant sight for anyone! Not only do you not want to see it, but it is an embarrassing sight for company to see. For easy removal, use the brush attachment on your vacuum and vacuum vigorously.
They make special sponges that are geared to lift up hair from carpeting – just dampen and apply. These can be found in your pet-supply store.
Since hair sticks to rubber, rub the soles of your sneakers over the hair to make it adhere to the rubber.
Masking tape or cellophane tape can be used for small amounts of dog hair.
For short-haired breeds it’s harder to remove their hairs by vacuuming. You would need a rubber broom. The rubber bristles work with static electricity and the dog hairs come up very easily. You can also sweep the carpet with a stiff bristle brush before vacuuming.
Combine a bit of fabric softener with water and mist your carpet using a spray bottle. You don’t want to saturate the carpet – you need just a fine mist. Allow to dry and then vacuum.
If you have dog hair in the upholstery in your car or home your best bet is to use a rubber glove. If the gloves have a raised grip that is even better. Just run the glove under tap water, shake off the excess water and run your gloved hands over the upholstery. Short strokes with your fingers will lift the hairs right up. Remember to get down under the cushions around the sides and back of the furniture and car seats.
A dampened sponge will also work on upholstery. Brush the sponge in downward strokes to remove hair from upholstered backs and cushions.
Your pet store will also sell specially made tools that will remove dog hair which include hair removal sponges, pet hair magnets and little rubber rakes. A pet hair roller works well and the disposable sticky perforated sheets make clean up simple. Just roll over the areas and the dog hair will stick to the adhesive on the sheet.
And don’t forget duct tape! Just wrap around your hand with the sticky side out and pat over affected areas.
A fabric softener clothes dryer sheet will also make picking up pet hair easier if you rub the sheet over the hair.
When you have dog hair on your clothing your lint brush can do the trick. Just remember to rub in one direction.
Any of the above methods for removing dog hair will work for removing dog hair from your clothing. You can even place your clothing in the clothes dryer and give it a spin for 20 minutes. Your lint filter will collect the hair.
You can also solve the problem by vacuuming your dog! Use the little brush attachment and just work it carefully all over the dog’s body. A nice vacuum “massage” will be appreciated by your pet.
There are also some vacuums that have been specially designed for pet hair removal.
What’s clogged? Kitchen drain, shower, bath or toilet? If more than on fixture is clogging up, the blockage could be the main drain.
Most clogs collect around the strainer or stopper in your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, stationary tubs, or bathtub. Removing the strainer and cleaning it may be the solution. Remove any screws that are holding the strainer in place and pry the strainer up using your screwdriver. Remove whatever has collected around the strainer and clean around the top of the drain. Hair will twist around the stoppers, so cleaning the stoppers on a regular basis will help to avoid a clog later. Remove the stopper with pliers, clean and wipe out the base of the drain opening.A favorite tool for unclogging drains is the plunger.
If the blockage is not too far into the main drain, a plunger will do the job.
To effectively plunge, block any overflow holes or any other openings by stuffing wet rags into the holes. (These holes are usually located opposite the faucet.) If you don’t have any standing water in the basin, run 2 to 3 inches of water over the drain hole. This water will help to force the obstruction out of the way. You’ll also know when you have succeeded with the plunger. If you place a thick layer of petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger, you will have a tighter seal which produces more suction. Plunge for a minute or two and wait to see if the water is going down. If sluggish, plunge again. When clear, run hot water to flush away any remaining particles from the clog.
If a plunger will not give you results, you’re clog is stubborn and you’ll have to get much more aggressive. You’ll need to clean the trap under the sink. The trap is the U-shaped section of pipe under the sink. Have a bucket handy to catch any waste water. If the trap has a clean-out plug there will be a square or hexagon-shaped plug in the base of the bend. If so, remove the plug. Use a wire hanger or an old bottle brush pushed through the trap to remove debris.
If the trap does not have a clean-out plug, remove the trap by using a pipe wrench to loosen the nuts at both ends of the trap that hold it in place. For chrome pipe fittings, you’ll need to pad the plump pliers to protect the finish. Penetrating oil will help to loosen a stubborn trap joint. Hold the trap over a bucket and insert a straightened wire hanger or old bottle brush to push out debris. Wash the trap with hot soapy water. Check the trap for wear or corrosion. If it has begun to thin it will start to leak. You may also need to reseal the threads with pipe joint compound or Teflon tape.
If the trap is clear and the drain still clogs, the blockage is further into the sink’s drain pipe or main drain. To clean these drains you will need a plumber’s auger – commonly known as a sewer snake. These can be rented from just about any home center. It’s basically a long cable of coiled wire that will grab onto any clogs and allow you to remove them. Just remove the trap, insert the snake into the sink drain and push until you meet the obstruction. Once the tip of the snake is against the clog, twist the snake clockwise and try to hook the clog. Once solidly hooked, twist and push the clog back and forth until you break the clog. Flush the pipe with cold water. When free of debris, reassemble the sink’s trap. You may need to reseal the threads with pipe joint compound or Teflon tape. Run water through again to make sure the clog is completely flushed and the trap is not leaking.
If you need to snake your tub, remove the plate that is over the overflow drain and feed the snake down there. For a shower stall, remove the cover over the floor drain and feed the snake down that way. Push your way through with the snake. You need to push through the P-trap that is located under the tub. That is where most clogs end up.
When all else fails there are always chemical drain cleaners. The fast-acting chemical drain cleaners usually contain lye or sulfuric acid to burn through all sorts of tough clogs thoroughly and quickly. Follow the directions and read all the warnings on the bottle/container before using. After using a chemical cleaner, be sure to flush your pipes thoroughly with plenty of water.
When more than one drain is clogged, the main drain line or the sewer will need to be cleaned. Find the clean-out plugs located on the large drain pipes (the vertical pipes in your basement or crawl space – or in the garage or pantry – depending on how your house was built.) They may also be outdoors along the foundations of your house. Although these pipes are usually vertical, you may have a plug that is located on a horizontal pipe. Find the steel or plastic cap for the pipes with a square fitting at the top and remove using a wrench. Have your waste bucket handy when opening the drain. Using a snake, break up any clogs. Insert the auger in both directions of the pipe. You may be able to use a powerful jet of water from your garden hose to break up the debris. Replace the cap on the drain pipe.
If your toilet is clogged it can usually be fixed very easily using a plunger. Don’t push to clear the clog, use a pulling motion to free the clog. Pushing will force the clog further down the line and will make a bigger job for you. Pulling will free the clog easier. Place the plunger over the drain hole, press down firmly and give a quick pull up. You want to bring the whatever is causing the clog back into the toilet bowl where it can be broken up a bit and flushed away.
If plunging doesn’t work you will need to use a closet auger for the toilet. These can be easily rented from a home improvement center. If you have to buy one – it is much cheaper than calling a plumber. This type of auger gets through the curves and angles of the toilet trap; a regular snake could not do the job.
With a little preventive maintenance you can avoid clogged drains.
In your kitchen, don’t pour grease down the drain. Pour into cans and place in the trash. Grease collects along the inside of the pipes and food particles stick to the grease causing a clog. If too much grease is poured into a drain it can block the sewers.If you have a garbage disposal that you use for grinding up food, run plenty of cold water to flush the food particles down the pipe. If you don’t use enough water, the particles will collect along the sides of the pipes.
Never dump coffee grounds in the sink.
At least once a week, pour a pot of boiling water down your drain to melt away any grease or fats that have collected.In your bathroom, clean the pop-up stoppers in your sinks frequently. Hair is the biggest contributor to bathroom sink clogs.Also, never flush heavy paper products down the drain. Excess paper will clog the toilet and/or the entire sewer system.
Once a month, clean and deodorize your drains with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Shake some baking soda down the drain, follow with a bit of vinegar. No measurements are needed. The baking soda/vinegar mix will start to foam up. Let this work for about five minutes, then follow with boiling water.
Don’t use your drain for dumping any chemicals, paints, paint thinners, etc.
Never dump hot wax down the drain.
If you have a septic system, have the professionals check it out every 2 to 3 years. It will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Twice a year use a non-caustic drain cleaner to keep your drains running clear.
Mildew is a type of fungus that can be quite difficult to control. It collects anywhere moisture is present and temperature levels are high – especially bathrooms and can be present in basements, etc. Not only does it damage your property, but it can also pose a health risk, especially for those that have an allergy to mold. It eats away at your home and it eats away at your health.
It is distinguishable from other types of fungi by its thin, sheet-like appearance that often coats entire surfaces. It can be black or white in color and as it grows it leaves behind a musty, sour-like odor. Most mildews are caused by the overgrowth of its cousin – mold.
Mildew can grown on most types of fabrics, leather, woods, paper, cement, linoleum, paint, sheet rock, etc. Mildew needs a damp, moist environment and organic material to thrive. Roof and foundation leaks, high interior humidity, overflowing washing machines and severe forms of flooding are common sources of moisture. The organic materials mildew attacks – drywall backing, wallpaper, carpet backing, household dust and wood products.
Tightly-sealed newer houses may be better at holding the heat, but they are also more likely to trap moisture and spores. Mechanical ventilation, like an air-to-air heat exchanger is critical for healthy air quality in tightly sealed new homes.
The most common causes of mildew are:
Poor air circulation
Low or non-existent lighting
Warm, humid temperatures
Grease or body oils left on materials (shower walls, doors)
Damp or wet conditions
The bathroom is most often the dirtiest room in the house with the highest concentration of bacteria infested there. The bathroom is usually small and generates tremendous amounts of moisture and humidity making it a natural breeding ground for all types of bacteria and mildew. White and/or black mildew will show itself in bath areas, clinging to walls and ceilings, growing on shower doors and shower curtains and spreading between grout and tile.
You can control the humidity in the air to help keep mildew from growing. Turn on the bathroom fan. This will pull the moisture out of the air and prevent the growth of mildew altogether. If you don’t have a fan, use a dehumidifier, air conditioner or simply open the bathroom window to circulate the air. During the winter months – turn on the heat. Heat will dry out the bathroom faster and remove excess moisture from the air.
Turn on your bathroom lights. Mildew doesn’t grow well in well-lit areas.
Keep your bathroom clean. Mildew thrives on body oils and soap scum trapped on painted surfaces, grout, shower doors, shower curtains and tiling. Scrub down your bathroom shower walls and doors with a stiff brush and a solution of bleach and water using the ratio of 1 cup chlorine bleach to 5 cups hot water. This will kill bacteria as well as mold and mildew.
Wash shower curtains in hot water, adding 1 cup of bleach to the washer. Mildew loves to grow on them as well.
There are chemical mildew removers on the market, but those can be highly toxic. You will need to use rubber gloves and ventilate the bathroom the entire time you are cleaning it.
You can prevent mildew by wiping down the shower after bathing to remove moisture. Use a squeegee to handle shower walls and tiles and soap water from shower curtains with a sponge.
Hang your towels and washcloths – they are hot spots for mildew to grow. Hang anything that can collect moisture.
Clean your kitchen counters and tiles the same way.
The installation of fans and vents will keep moisture levels down giving mildew a less chance of growing. Be sure to vent outside and not into the attic or crawlspace of your home.
You can use a mildew proof paint in the kitchen and bathrooms. These paints are designed for high moisture areas.
Some swear that after cleaning their grout, tile and shower stalls, an application of a small amount of car wax used in the bath and polished in will keep your room moisture and mildew proof for up to a year.
Squirting dishwashing gel into a bucket of hot water will help to clean tubs and sinks of soap scum and common bacteria. Rinse and dry well.
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar. After each shower, spray shower walls, tiles, curtains and doors. Vinegar will kill the mold bacteria before mildew has a chance to set in. It also removes body oils and soap scum. It is also an effective mildew and odor remover.
You can remove the musty odor of mildew by scrubbing bathroom grout and tiling with a brush a paste mixture made from equal parts baking soda, water and salt. Rinse thoroughly.
A daily spray of a disinfectant (Lysol for instance) kills germs that cause odors. After showering, spray the shower and sink area.
You can also dilute lemon juice in water to help remove odors and stop the buildup of body oils and soap scum that contribute to mildew growth.
For a build up of mildew in the corners, soak cotton balls in bleach and let them sit directly over the mildewed area for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove the cotton balls and rinse.
To remove mildew from the shower track door, pour vinegar into the track and let soak 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse.
To prevent future mildew growth on shower curtains, soak them (after washing with bleach as stated above) in salt water. Hang and allow to dry. To remove stubborn mildew stains and odors, rub the shower curtain with lemon juice.
Pre-wash laundry sprays can be sprayed on shower curtains to remove mildew and mold stains.
You can also soak shower curtains in steaming hot water and fabric softener. Rinse and dry as usual.
Getting rid of a little mildew is easy. If the entire room has been taken over that’s a different story. If the mold problem is extreme, call in the professionals – you could be putting your health at risk.
If mildew is on wallpaper, using bleach may remove the color/print. It may be necessary to replace the wallpaper entirely. Be sure to wear goggles and a face mask for the job.
If the mildew has grown into drywall just a little, cleaning fluids maybe enough. If it is deep-set, then it may be necessary to replace it. Consult the professionals. Never paint or wallpaper over damaged areas unless you get rid of the mildew first or it will still be there contaminating everything and spreading.