Archive for the ‘natural cleaning’ tag
We all get stains on your clothing – many times they do not wash out in the laundry either. And it seems that most of the stains are in very noticeable areas.
There are laundry sticks, pre-washes, pre-treatments, you name it. Many times they just don’t work.
First of all, if you want your clothes to come out of the wash smelling fresh, add about ½ cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Save money all those cleaners, treatments, and spot removers. Here’s a few laundry aids straight from your kitchen cupboards:
LEMON JUICE – whether diluted or straight, it’s a safe stain remover for fruit juice stains and rust stains. Use as you would a commercial presoak and wash as usual. NOTE: Never throw out those bottles of reconstituted lemon juice when they are past their expiration date – they are great for the laundry room.
BAKING SODA – Using ½ cup in a load of laundry will not only eliminate odors but will also soften your clothes. And it is gentle enough for diapers.
WHITE VINEGAR – this will eliminate odors and will also soften hard water. Just add a cup to the rinse cycle.
MEAT TENDERIZER – Milk, blood, chocolate, and other protein-based stains can be broken down by the special enzyme that is in meat tenderizer. To treat a fresh stain , sprinkle the stain with enough meat tenderizer to cover the entire stain and let sit for an hour. Brush off the dried tenderizer and wash as usual. For stains that have been set in – make a paste of 2 to 3 drops of water and 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer. Work into the stain and let sit for an hour; launder as usual.
SOUR MILK – Sour milk is slightly acidic and has bleaching qualities as well. Soak your shoelaces in about ½ cup sour milk, rinse and launder as usual.
SALT – A great way to treat fresh grease stains! Sprinkle enough salt on the entire stain and allow to dry. Brush off and you’ll be brushing off most of the grease as well. For old grease stains, rub the salt into the stain before washing as usual. Because it is abrasive you can also use salt on rust stains. Just combine with s bit of white vinegar to make a paste and rub into the stain; launder as usual.
GUM – Place ice in a plastic bag, and working from the inside of the garment, hold the ice pack against the spot where the gum is for about 10 to 15 minutes so that the gum hardens. When the gums hardens, peel it off.
GRASS STAINS – Glycerin to the rescue! Just rub the stains with glycerin. Where to find glycerin? Check the ingredients in your constipation suppository or skin-softening lotion. You need to use pure glycerin – other ingredients may add to the stain. Glycerin hand lotion can easily be applied to the stains; for a suppository – just rub into the stain. Let the garment sit for an hour and then launder as usual.
RUST STAINS – Yellow and brown stains on a shirt can be the rust that develops from iron deposits in your water supply. Using bleach will only bleed the stains into more of the garment making them larger. Try combining equal amounts of lemon juice and water, apply to stains. Let sit 15 minutes, launder as usual.
If the rust stains are caused by coming into contact with rusty metals, apply full strength lemon juice to the stains, let sit 15 minutes and lauder as usual.
If the rust stain is already set, soak the stain in lemon juice and hold over a steaming teakettle until the stain is thoroughly steamed. Launder a usual.
TEA STAINS – Rub glycerin into the stain – pure glycerine as stated above. Let sit for 15 minutes and launder as usual.
COFFEE AND TEA (WTHOUT THE CREAM/MILK AND SUGAR) because there is no milk – or protein involved) just make a solution of 1 quart of warm water, 1//2 teaspoon dishwashing detergent and 1 tablespoon white vinegar and soak your garment for 15 to 20 minutes; rinse in cold water, sponge the stained area with alcohol, and launder as usual.
COFFEE AND TEA (WITH CREAM/MILK AND SUGAR) requires a different strategy. Act as fast as you can to prevent a permanent stain. Immediately flush the stain with cold water to prevent it from setting. Combine a solution of 1 quart warm water, ½ teaspoon dishwashing detergent, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Scrub the stains with a bit of the solution before letting it soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water, sponge the stain with alcohol, and launder as usual. You may need to use bleach to remove any remaining spots.
If you like a lot of milk or cream in your coffee or tea – make a paste of 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer and a few drops of water and work into the stain.
BEER – Combine 1/3 cup white vinegar and 2/3 cup water; soak in the solution and blot dry with a clean towel. Launder as usual.
WINE – Pour a little club soda or seltzer over the stain and blot with a clean paper towel or napkin. Launder as soon as possible.
HOT FUDGE SUNDAE – Rub the stains with glycerin as stated above; let sit a few minutes; launder as usual.
FRUIT STAINS – Rinse the affected area with cold water immediately and dab with a solution of one part white vinegar and two parts water; rinse again with cold water and air dry.
FRUIT JUICE – If not treated immediately it can be a problem. Pre-treat the area with white vinegar; let sit 15 minutes; rub in a little laundry detergent and launder as usual.
SOFT DRINKS – Soak in cold water, apply alcohol to the stain and rub in; launder as usual.
GREASE STAINS – Rub with baking soda to absorb the grease. You can also use cornstarch or cornmeal. Apply and allow to dry; brush off; launder as usual.
SALAD OIL – Immediately rub white chalk on the stain. (Many restaurants have chalk that they use for writing their daily specials on a chalk board!) Launder as usual.
BLUEBERRY OR FRUIT PIES – Use a container large enough to hold the garment and warm water. Drop in a couple denture cleaning tablets and soak until the stain is dissolved. Launder as usual. Great for table cloths and cloth napkins as well.
MECHANIC’S GREASE/OIL – Apply a little mechanic’s water-free hand cleaner (like Goop) to the stain; launder as usual.
BLOOD – For a drop of blood from a paper cut – just dab with a bit of saliva on a napkin or tissue. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that will break down the protein in the blood. Launder as usual.
For a splotch of blood on white fabric, rinse and blot with hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball. Launder as usual.
Bloodstains need to be treated immediately. Soak in a solution of water and salt.
You can also add a generous splash of ammonia to a sinkful of cold water to remove the redness of a blood stain. Soak for 30 minutes; rinse in cold water; if needed, scrub with a bit of dishwashing detergent on the stain; launder as usual.
Soak a blood-stained article of clothing in milk; launder as usual.
NAIL POLISH – For natural fiber materials – dab the stain from behind with nail polish remover; blot with a clean cloth. Launder as usual. THIS WILL NOT WORK ON SYNTHETIC FIBERS.
LIPSTICK – Coat the stain with hairspray; let sit for a few minutes; wipe off excess spray – and the lipstick; launder as usual.
PENCIL MARKS – Use an old, clean toothbrush to apply a little diluted window cleaner to the stain; launder as usual. Or treat with a solution of ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon alcohol, and 2 to 3 drops of dishwashing detergent; apply with a clean toothbrush; rinse; launder as usual.
INK – If you hairspray has alcohol as a main ingredient – you’re in business. Apply to the stains; launder as usual.
CRAYON – Lay stained garments stain-side down on a paper towel; spray from the back using WD-40. Let sit a few minutes; turn over and spray the stain itself. Apply a mild dishwashing detergent and work into the stain; use a clean toothbrush to gently scrub the stain out. Blot between clean paper towels to absorb the stain. Launder SEPARATELY from other laundry. Wash in the hottest water allowed for that garment.
If a crayon ends up in the wash don’t panic. You will first need to remove the crayon from the washing machine drum. Spray a clean cloth with WD-40 (do NOT spray directly to the drum) and rub out the crayon. Ditto with your clothes dryer. Then run a few clean cloths through a drying cycle to pick up any leftover particles before trying to dry another load of clothes.
PERSPIRATION STAINS – Dampen stains and sprinkle with meat tenderizer; launder as usual. Or add a handful of salt to a quart of water and soak sweaty clothes for an hour; rinse and launder as usual.
RING-AROUND-THE-COLLAR – Rub white chalk into the stain and let sit overnight; launder as usual.
Here lies the body of………….
Died while cleaning her home……………..
Now do you want that on your headstone?
Is it possible – YES!
Any time you are using a cleaner (even if you have used it for years – companies change things and change ingredients) be sure to read the label entirely. If you see the word CAUSTIC, that means it can burn your skin. You will need to wear rubber gloves when handling such products.
If you are using harsh cleaners, be sure that the area you are working in is well-ventilated and avoid any gas or flames of any kind. You don’t need to blow up!
Vinegar is a great cleaner around the house – it can do so much. But did you know that vinegar should ONLY be store in GLASS bottles? WHEN VINEGAR COMES IN CONTACT WITH LEAD OR COPPER, IT CAN CREATE A DEADLY POISON. (did I shout it loud enough for you to hear?)
When cleaning your toilet bowl (for instance), never mix chlorine bleach with toilet bowl cleaners or ammonia. When combined, these chemicals can create chlorine gas – a potentially lethal substance.
Anytime you are using cleaners, be sure to seal the containers tight and store them in a well-ventilated area. Keep well out of the way of children and pets!
You can clean, disinfect and deodorize, remove stains, have clean, shiny surfaces, etc. all without the use of harsh cleaners.
Let’s take a look at natural cleaning products that you can easily use or make in your own home – saving time, money and energy and how to use these products to clean your home -
Summer time – we all use air conditioners. And they need to be cleaned. Turn off the air conditioner and pull the plug (always better safe than sorry!) Vacuum entirely and wash the filter with vinegar and water using ¼ cup white vinegar to 1 quart water.
For cleaning fans, dust, brush or vacuum; combine ¼ cup of vinegar in a quart of water and wipe with a soft cloth. Don’t let the liquid get into the fan.
Vacuum filters regularly to remove hair, dust, and mold from your heating and air conditioning systems. Hose down filters with water and allow to dry in the sunlight; dry thoroughly. If the filters become too dusty and moldy to clean – replace them.
Use a vacuum to clean your heating ducts. Remove the grates and vacuum away. If you home is too large, have a professional do the job. They will inspect for mold, leaves, debris and dust mites.
Humidifiers – Clean with equal parts of white vinegar and water.
Cooking with onions? How about a home-made air freshener? Dissolve ½ cup baking soda in 2 cups hot water and add ¼ cup of lemon juice. You can spray this into the air. You can also leave a cup of vinegar in a room to absorb odors.
Clean your barbecue stoves and grills by washing with a paste made from baking powder and water; follow with a vinegar and water rinse.
Clean the inside of your oven with ¼ cup baking soda mixed into a pint of water; follow with a white vinegar/water rinse using ¼ cup white vinegar to 1 quart of water.
Clean your range using your own homemade orange oil cleaner or lemon cleaner: boil orange or lemon peels in water for 45 minutes. Let cool and stand for a few days. Strain the liquid from the peel. Rub the liquid on your range, oven, or stove top. For a tough stain, rub the orange or lemon peel directly on the stain to dislodge it. Baking soda and water on a cloth also will do the job – as will white vinegar and water or borax and water on a cloth or sponge.
Make a paste of baking soda and water to clean your fridge; rinse with white vinegar mixed with water (equal amounts). Dry. Wash vegetable bins in the refrigerator with a paste of baking soda and water as well; rinse with a white vinegar/water solution (equal amounts). Dry.
Clean your washing machine by first rinsing the empty machine with a cup of white vinegar. Add baking soda to your laundry load and add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the final rinse. If your machine is stained, use white vinegar and salt to wipe around the inside. Milk or rubbing alcohol will remove ball point pen ink from your washer and dryer.
Use rubbing alcohol to clean stainless steel sinks, countertops, and many of your gadgets. Wipe dry – water destroys stainless steel and countertops – water spots metal. Keep drying up spills and wet spots. A bit of olive oil or other vegetable/mineral oil will shine up your stainless steel sink – wipe off excess oil. Keep the surface dry.
Clean your shower stall with a solution of white vinegar and salt. This will clean shower stalls and shower curtains. It will eat up mildew. Rinse with water and let dry in a well-aired room. Salt and white vinegar will also clean tile and grout; rinse off and let dry. Get rid of excess moisture in your bathroom by turning on a fan, opening a window or installing bathroom vents. Dry a wet shower curtain with a blow dryer – be careful – never stand in water with any electrical appliance.
White vinegar will clean your toilet. For tough stains, pour 1/2 cup baking powder in the toilet and brush stains; rinse with white vinegar. White vinegar and salt will remove tough mineral stains; flush quickly because the salt will eat into your pipes. Strong acids eat up porcelain. Never use a mixture of cleaning products, especially commercial cleaning products. The gas created by mixing them can be deadly. Use natural food products to dissolve calcium deposits. A teaspoon of cream of tartar mixed with a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide will remove mineral stains from metal surfaces. Since cream of tartar is expensive – stick to the white vinegar.
Clean indoor and outdoor trash cans as well as recycling bins with a mixture of baking soda and water; rinse with vinegar and water – all of equal measurements.
All glass items in your home can be washed in hot soapy water using dish detergent and rinsed with a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar to 1 quart of water. Any stains? Remove with baking soda.
Got some “well-used” baking pans that need cleaning? Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply and scour with a plastic scouring pad. Rinse and spray with a solution of vinegar and water. Cleans baked-on messes very easy.
Coffee and tea-stained cups and mugs? Keep a shaker jar of baking soda near your bottle of dish soap. Sprinkle in the cup or mug, rubs right out with your dish cloth.
Use baking soda on your pots and pans as well. Make a paste of baking soda and water and allow to set. Using a scouring pad, just rub off burnt-on foods. Plastic pads are fine – they won’t scratch your cookware (much better than steel wool pads).
Enamel teapots and coffee pots can be cleaned with a paste made of baking soda and water; apply inside and out; rinse with vinegar and water; wash in soapy water.
Baking soda and water cleans tea pots inside and out – vinegar and salt gets out mineral deposits – ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar mixed with ½ teaspoon hydrogen peroxide will remove mineral stains out of porcelain tea pots. Do a patch test first to how it affects metal or porcelain. The baking soda/water paste works well on stained metal tea pots.
Wooden cutting boards should be washed in hot soapy water after scrubbing with salt, or baking soda and vinegar. For tough stains, make a paste out of salt/baking soda and vinegar, apply and let sit for 30 minutes. Wash and rinse well; dry thoroughly.
To clean wood plates and salad sets, wipe out all food particles with a cloth or plastic pad dipped in a mixture of mild dish soap and water. Rinse out with a clean soft cloth. Dry right away. A bit of vegetable oil will protect the wooden plates and utensils.
Remember that is you put a damp wooden bowl or utensil away, it will soon turn black with mold and mildew. Never leave wooden bowls or utensils in the sun. Treat any dry, splintering, flaking or rough wood with vegetable oil or olive oil to “season or temper.” Blot out excess oil.
Baking soda and vinegar are great for cleaning your drains in your sinks. You can use salt and vinegar – but it needs to be flushed well with water – you never let salt sit in a drain – it will eat your pipes.
Clean your granite countertops and floors using a damp cloth soaked in mild dishwashing liquid and water. Rinse with a damp clean cloth.
Linoleum floors and vinyl floors don’t get along too well with water either. Always damp mop applying a small amount of water – never soak the floor. Never use alkalis such as ammonia or chlorine to clean your floors. This will crack the flooring and dissolve the flooring as well. Clean scuff marks or heavy dirt using a small amount of citrus-based cleaner such as orange oil on a cloth. You can also use a bit of baking soda on a sponge to remove heel and scuff marks.
Clean your wooden kitchen cabinets in your kitchen by polishing with linseed or jojoba oil. Newer kitchens may have cabinets that needs to be cleaned according to manufacturer’s directions. Follow the instructions.
Do you have blinds in your house? Dust your blinds and clean with a solution of ½ cup white vinegar mixed with 1 quart of water. If you need to use a mild dishwashing detergent and water, be sure to rinse with a solution of ¼ cup of white vinegar to 1 quart of water.
Use a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and water to clean your radiators. First dust and use a paint brush to get the dust out of the crevices and corners. Soak a cloth in the vinegar/water solution and clean.
Anytime of the year is the time to clean your beds. I’m not talking about changing your bed linens – I’m talking about cleaning your beds! Remove your box spring and mattress and vacuum your bed frame and all around your bed boards. Wipe down your bed frames with a water and white vinegar mixture. Clean wooden bed boards with linseed. This will even ward off mold. Vacuum your box spring and mattresses and make your bed. If it’s a nice day – just open the windows wide and let everything air out for a couple hours before re-assembling.
Wash your blankets before putting away for the season or for just washing, with mild soap and water, adding a little baking soda or borax to the water – usually about ¼ cup per load.
Vacuum pillows to remove dust mites, place in the clothes dryer and tumble on air without heating the pillow and stuffing. If you try to wash a pillow, the stuffing will clump make hard lumps. Foam pillows are the only ones you can wash. Dry thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew. Occasionally feather pillows can be washed, they will still clump and if not dried thoroughly will have mildew and mold growing inside. Always keep pillows dry and use pillow covers. Washing pillow covers is much easier.
For quilts, always check the washing instructions on the label. Many times a patchwork quilt will tear or the colors will bleed. Wash cotton quilts in warm water with ½ cup baking soda in a washing machine with a tub full of water. Add eight ounces of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Hand wash quilts whenever possible to prevent ripping, shrinking, curling, or color bleeding.
When was the last time you cleaned your dryer – and I don’t mean just the lint trap! Use your vacuum to pick up all lint and wash the screen in the lint trap with a soapy cloth; rinse with a damp rag. Do not let any water get into the lint filter slot. Clean often to reduce the risk of having a dryer fire. When lint traps get clogged and overheated or the vent gets stuffed up with dust and dirt – fires start. And speaking of the vent to the outside (another fire starter) will also need to be cleaned.
Your iron will accumulate minerals inside. You can easily dissolve these mineral deposits using equal parts of water and white vinegar. Use distilled water, not tap water in your iron.
Candle sticks are really easy to clean! Melt the was using a hairdryer set on the HOT setting (not on wooden candlestick holders – the wood will crack – use the WARM setting for those)
and remove the wax. For sterling/silver candlesticks – place them in the freezer to freeze the wax – pick off. You can also melt the wax in a microwave if your candleholders are glass. (See HOW TO GET RID OF CANDLE WAX)
For your glass coffee pots (coffee maker) you can combine ice cubes, salt and lemon wedges (never place ice cubes in a hot glass pot) and swish to remove coffee or tea stains. You can also use baking soda, salt and water. This method will also clean glass-lined carafes and glass thermos bottles.
Perculators (coffee pots) should be cleaned with baking soda, salt and white vinegar made into a paste; rinse well.
Dishes can be washed with baking soda, white vinegar and salt, rinse well. Plastic scouring pads do not scratch and will easily remove stuck-on foods.
Use baking soda to wash dishes in your dishwasher and add ½ cup white vinegar to the rinse water.
Ceramic countertops need to be wiped of any crumbs and food particles. Wash with hot soapy water, rinse and dry.
Clean laminated counters with white vinegar to remove most stains. Wipe with a damp cloth and rinse with plain water. A mild dishwashing detergent diluted with water will get rid of the acidity of the vinegar. NEVER allow full strength vinegar to dry or remain too long on a laminated surface.
Knives should be washed in a mixture of half white vinegar and half water or use mild dishwashing detergent. Never put vinegar on plastic handles. Dishwasher detergent will sometimes pit and rust blades. Oil knives with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel or soft cloth.
Cleaning ceramic floors is a bit trickier. Always vacuum or sweep to pick up dust, dirt, crumbs, and food particles. Mop your floor with a tablespoon of borax and two tablespoons ammonia to a bucket of water. NEVER use vinegar, salt, tea, lemon, olive oil, or baking powder to clean ceramic floor tiles or vinyl floors.
Wood flooring can be cleaned using ¼ cup white vinegar to one gallon of warm water. Mop and rinse with a dampened mop. Dry immediately. Polish with a bit of linseed oil on a cloth and buff to polish.
Dark hardwood floors must be vacuumed completely and can be damp mopped with a small amount of water and black tea (soak 3 tea bags in hot water and let cool). Use a very small amount of water on the floor and dry thoroughly. Rub a small amount of linseed or jojoba oil on the hardwood floor until it shines. Remove excess oil from floor, and dry the floor.
Never use black tea on light hardwood floors. Use a weaker tea (green tea or chamomile with a bit of water). Soak 3 tea bags in hot water and let cool. Use a very small amount of water on a hardwood floor. Dry thoroughly. Rub a small amount of linseed, Tung, or jojoba oil with a small cloth over the floor; remove any excess oil; dry well.
For polishing your hardwood floors – use linseed oil. Always allow washed wood floors to dry completely to prevent mildew. Then only use a little bit of linseed oil and polish twice.
Vinyl floors should be washed with a bucket of water with one tablespoon of borax added to it. Mop and allow to dry. Using soaps on vinyl floors can remove the shine coating that came with the new vinyl. You can even use plain water if your floors are cleaned regularly.
Let’s go back to the wooden floors for a moment – wooden floors can scratch easily. Remedy this by finding a crayon with the same hue as the floor color and fill in the scratches. Turn on your hairdryer (HIGH heat) and hold it on the floor until the crayon melts a bit from the warmth. Then buff with a clean soft cloth.
Furniture should be vacuumed, brushed and washed lightly without wetting too much using a damp cloth.
Upholstery needs to be vacuumed frequently and can be gently sponged down with unsweetened plain club soda. Lemon juice will also remove sweat and grease, or use ¼ cup white vinegar to 1 quart of water – sponge down using a sponge or clean cloth.
Upholstery that is heavily soiled, smelly or stained needs a professional upholstery cleaner. Upholstery that has been covered by fabric may only need a dusting/vacuuming. Using soap on upholstery only leaves white residue, lint, or dried powder stains. You can try a tablespoon of dry baking soda sprinkled on the fabric, then vacuumed off to get rid of odors.
For wooden furniture mix two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice. Do NOT use extra virgin olive oil. Dip a soft cloth into the mixture and rub in the direction of the grain of the wood. A toothbrush can get into narrow crevices. Rub with another clean (fresh) cloth until the wood shines.
Polish wooden furniture with linseed or jojoba oil (linseed oil is cheaper.) Teak oil can also be used for wooden furniture. Never use lemon oil on oak furniture. Always remove excess oil after leaving a thin coating of oil on for a few hours.
Polish teak with teak oil or a combination of Tung and linseed oil. Danish oil may also be used.
For metal furniture that may have rust stains – use a mixture of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide.
For furniture sealed with polyurethane, dust and wipe with a damp cloth using hot soapy water (dishwashing liquid).
For leather furniture, wipe with a damp cloth. If there are oil stains (or oil-based stains) on your leather furniture, dampen a soft cloth with a bit of milk and don’t rub too much. You can make your own leather conditioner by rubbing olive oil into worn leather; allow to sit for 30 minutes and wipe off with a soft polishing cloth. You can also condition leather furniture with lanolin and a dampened cloth; apply and let sit for a while; wipe off.
Plastic destroys leather - do not cover leather furniture with plastic covers. While you’re at it – never store leather jackets in plastic bags. Never pour oil on leather – use a soft rag. Never clean leather with alcohol.
If your futons’ material is washable, use ¼ cup baking soda and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Wood panels should be dusted and cleaned with oil soap or vegetable oil (Danish oil can be substituted) on a cloth. Don’t use furniture polish on wood panels. Wipe dry to avoid an oily residue that will leave more fingerprints and marks.
Naugahyde (vinyl-coated fabric) should be cleaned with a bit of linseed oil or olive oil on a soft cloth.
Wicker baskets can be gently washed with mild dish detergent and water; allow to air dry completely.
Wrought iron should be waxed to prevent rusting. Wash with hot water and use a rust-inhibiting paint.
For Oriental rugs you’ll need to know what the backing is made from and what the fibers are in the rug. Also, if you rub a damp cloth over the rug does it bleed? You will need to know also if it is colorfast before dry cleaning or washing. You need to be careful – you want your rug to shrink, bleed and curl up on you.
Some rugs need special attention and a professional cleaner; some can be steam-cleaned using water. Others can be vacuumed after sprinkling baking soda on them to get rid of odors.
Hand-made rugs can be moistened with a little water and brushed with a cloth. Don’t wash if the colors bleed.
For sheepskin rugs, cover the nozzle of your vacuum with an old knee high or light weight fabric to clean. Rub the backing of the rug with cornmeal (do this outdoors) and brush well. Keep water away from sheepskin rugs. If after doing a patch test, the fibers react well, you can use a wool cleaner. Sheepskin rugs can be cleaned with powders, meals, baking soda, or other dry means. Never put the rug in the dryer or use heat. Hang over a clothesline to air out; brush carefully – do not pull out the hairs.
Clean your silver with a solution of ½ cup baking soda to a gallon of water. For smaller jobs use two tablespoons baking soda to two quarts of water. You can line your sink or a baking dish with aluminum foil and fill with hot water; add one teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of baking powder to the hot water. Place silver in water and soak for 5 minutes. The tarnish will disappear. Rinse and dry; buff with a soft cloth.
For items that are silver or gold plated, dust using a soft cloth and also use a soft-bristled paint brush to get into crevices. Wash with a bit or warm water; dry and shine with a jewelry polishing cloth.
Wash pewter in plain water using a mixture of salt and white vinegar (equal parts) to remove mineral stains. White vinegar and salt mixtures also remove mineral stains from bathroom tile, grout, tile walls or floors, sinks, and toilets. Never leave a salt/vinegar solution on any surface for any length of time or remain in your toilet. On pewter, it’s applied and immediately removed. Keep pewter dry.
If you have ivory frames or other items made of ivory, dust the ivory so you don’t remove the patina. Keep ivory away from cleaners and any liquids.
Art objects made of turtle and tortoise shell can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth. Polish with a bit of mineral oil or olive oil. Dry borax on a clean cloth will also polish this.
Mother of pearl should be cleaned with a paste made from calcium and water or powdered chalk and water; clean gently with a soft cloth; dry thoroughly.
Dust or vacuum rubber items and wash in plain water; dry quickly. Rubber is destroyed by acidic solutions, dried soap, and rubbing with am op to get out stains.
Wash terra cotta with plain water; dry with a soft cloth.
Paper-based sculptures need to be vacuumed first; polish gently with a bit of linseed, jojoba, or olive oil.
Plastic toys can be wiped with a white vinegar/salt solution and rinsed with white vinegar and water. You can also make a paste with baking soda and water.
Wooden toys can be washed with soap and water – but must be dry immediately. Oil the wood to prevent mold and mildew. Wipe off excess oil and dry completely before storing.
Sea shells found on the beach need to be boiled for a few minutes; clean out any seaweed or “meat” on them. Dry on a cloth in the sunlight. Disinfect them with rubbing alcohol – soak for 5 minutes. Do a patch test first to make sure the alcohol doesn’t harm the shell. Seashells that have been purchased in a store is most likely coated with seals, colors, and lacquers. Dust them off. If cleaning is needed and they are stained – use a soft cloth or a small brush dipped in water to see if the colors bleed.
Dust lampshades using a clean paint brush with soft bristles or blow the dust off with a hair dryer on COOL.
Marble should be cleaned with a paste made from baking soda and water. You can also use dry cornmeal and wipe off. Marble is porous and is ruined by moisture. Use a dry dust cloth or mop. (Stone sealers sometimes wear off). If you need to use water – damped an soft cloth and dry quickly. Use a hairdryer to dry the marble. Soap on marble will leave a film and leaves permanent streaks – ruining it. If you have a marble floor in your bath – use a non-skid bath mat to keep the floor dry and check under the mat for water damage. BLOT dry – do not wipe. Wiping spreads the water streaks. You can test a very small spot of the marble with hydrogen peroxide to see if it removes the stain or makes it worse.
Window frames can be vacuumed; polish window frames with linseed oil on a cloth.
Wash windows and mirrors with a vinegar/water solution. Some will use rubbing alcohol – but rubbing alcohol is highly flammable. NEVER mix alcohol with vinegar – it’s one or the other. If using white vinegar and water – one part white vinegar to eight parts water. Back in the “old” days it was a mixture of half and half. Experiment to find the right strength for your use. NOTE: Never use vinegar on frames surrounding mirrors or windows.
Cleaning vases with narrow necks with bottle brushes is a good idea. Use a solution of white vinegar and water (equal parts). Or you can use denture-cleaning tablets in water to soak narrow-necked bottles, jars, and vases.
White vinegar or a small amount of baking powder dissolved in water will clean the inside of vases that are stained.
Dirty zippers? Oil the zipper with a dab of olive, sesame, linseed, jojoba, or any other vegetable, or mineral oil to make them slide smoother (do this after washing the garment or before sewing a new zipper into clothing.)
Use your garden hose to hose down your umbrellas; dry to prevent mold and mildew from forming and prevent rust on the spokes. Brush to remove dust. Wash with a solution of mild dishwashing detergent and water or white vinegar and water; rinse well. Oil spokes with a bit of mineral oil to ward off rust. Wipe off excess oil and dry.
Mildewed or moldy tiles can be washed with white vinegar and salt. Rinse with plain water and dry. Mildew in the grout can be cleaned with white vinegar and salt. If your tiles are painted with various paints – wash with plain water and dry.
Latex paint on walls should be washed with plain water. Alcohol will remove latex paint from the walls. Gentle dishwashing detergent and water is also safe. Do a test first if using dishwashing liquid to see if the paint is being removed.
Most wallpaper is coated with vinyl to keep soil from being absorbed. Wipe clean with a cloth moistened in a bit of warm water. Greasy areas can be blotted with cornstarch to absorb the grease. Allow the cornstarch to do its job; then brush away the cornstarch. Rubbing alcohol will remove crayon marks or ball point pen ink. Test a small area to be sure it doesn’t stain.
Most walls can be washed with a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar to a gallon of water.
Vacuum cleaners do the cleaning for us but they also have to be cleaned as well. Mop strings, rug fibers, hair – it all gets caught up in the rollers. Wet carpets cause damage and so do metal objects that get caught in the vacuum. And there are dust clogs. First pull the plug of the vacuum (better safe than sorry) and gently snake a mop handle into the hose without tearing to push out the dust clogs. Use a pair of scissors to cut the mop strings, hairs, etc. that have wrapped around the rollers and the rotating brush of uprights. Use large plastic bags to empty dirt from the vacuum cleaner bin or bag.
Lawn mowers need to be cleaned as well. Grass clippings build-up under the mower. Tip the mower on its side and scrape the bottom using a trowel or putty knife. This will make the airflow easily. NEVER hose down your mower – clean with a moist cloth. Don’t spill and highly flammable and toxic gasoline or oil onto your lawn!
Do you have pets?
Cat litter boxes can be washed with baking soda and water. Rinse with white vinegar and salt; rinse with water; wipe dry. Never use chlorine bleach to clean a cat litter box. Between the fumes from the bleach and the fumes from the ammonia in the cat urine you will have a deadly gas that can be fatal.
For pet dishes use stainless steel bowls and wash in hot soapy water; rinse with equal parts of white vinegar and water. For stains, make a paste of baking soda and water; rinse thoroughly.