Tag Archives: Cleaning

Here Are Jeep’s Official 1979 Recommendations For Cleaning ‘Vomitus,’ Urine And Other Stains

While enjoying a typical, romantic Friday evening with a bottle of automatic transmission fluid, a few lit MAP torches and my 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle’s owner’s manual, I discovered something amazing: a stain-removal table, which includes information on how to clean various fluids including “vomitus,” blood,…

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Remove Berry Stains From Clothing With a Boiling Water Flush

Remove Berry Stains From Clothing With a Boiling Water Flush

A handful of berries is a great snack, but one dropped berry or thoughtless wipe of your juice-covered hands can leave your clothing stained. If you act quickly, a little bowling water can keep the red stain from setting in your favorite garments, even whites.

A good stain remover will take out a stubborn stain once it sets, but it’s better to address the stain as soon as it happens, and Jo First at The Kitchn recommends a boiling water flush. Fill a teakettle with water and get it boiling on the stovetop. Blot the stain with a clean cloth to try and absorb some of the juice, but don’t rub or press too hard. Now turn the garment inside out, pull it taut over a large bowl, and pour the boiling water on the stain. Doing it inside out makes the stain go out of the fabric, not deeper into it. If you can’t hold the garment taut by yourself, use a rubber band around the edge of the bowl. Once the stain is out, hang the garment to dry in the sunlight. After a few hours, it should be good as new.

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The Best Way to Remove Berry Stains | The Kitchn

Photo by saphoto co.

The Essential Supplies You Need In a Basic Home Cleaning Kit

There’s an endless number of cleaning products out there, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to keep a home looking nice. These are the only essentials you need.

In this video from the Clean My Space YouTube channel, host Melissa Maker shares her tips for building a basic cleaning kit. To put your own kit together you need some obvious basics like all-purpose cleaner, glass and mirror cleaner, and disinfectant. You also need some dish soap for battling grease stains, baking soda for deodorizing, rubbing alcohol for dealing with sticky spills and stickers, and hydrogen peroxide for hard-surface stains. In terms of tools, you should have a hand squeegee for mirrors and windows, a toothbrush for tile and hard to reach spots, and even a measuring cup for whipping up a one off cleaning solution. Maker even shares some of her favorite DIY cleaning solutions for you to try.

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Cheap & Effective Cleaning Kit! | YouTube

Speed Up Your Cleaning Routine by Picking a Room and Staying In It

Speed Up Your Cleaning Routine by Picking a Room and Staying In It

It’s easy to get frazzled cleaning your home, especially when you’re short on time. If you want to streamline your cleaning process, you need to pick a room and stay in it until it’s done.

As you clean and pick up clutter, you may feel the urge to leave the room and put things back where they came from. But as Taryn Williford at Apartment Therapy explains, you’re better off quarantining yourself in the disaster area:

…don’t put it away. It seems counter-intuitive, but if you head into the bedroom to put the thing away, you might begin to straighten up upstairs. Instead, leave the things at the bottom of the stairs (or the entrance to the hallway, or wherever), and continue on your task.

If you have guests on the way, focus on getting the living room and kitchen clean. Don’t let yourself leave those rooms until you’ve done everything you can do without leaving, then go put everything away at once. You’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Cleaning Your Whole Apartment in Half the Time: 3 Rules to Clean By | Apartment Therapy

Photo by Erik Ogan.

Why Your Home Stinks and How to Fix It

Why Your Home Stinks and How to Fix It

From fried fish to a filthy litterbox, most smells in your home are fairly easy to pinpoint. There are, however, more insidious aromas that linger and seem impossible to eliminate, no matter how many bottles of Febreeze you unleash. To keep these odors from taking over your home, first, you have to identify them.

There’s Hidden Mold

Maybe you’ve noticed a “musty” or “wet cardboard” smell in your home. Or perhaps you’ve referred to it as “old home smell.” Either way, one of the most common causes of lingering, musty smells, especially in older homes, is hidden mold, usually in the walls.

As you probably know, some types of mold can be toxic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most household mold problems under 10 square feet are safe enough to clean on your own and don’t need a professional, but to be safe, you should read up on the different types of mold at the EPA’s website here.

Then, the first real order of business? Figure out where that mold might be hiding. Here are some common culprits:

  • Leaky plumbing
  • Gutter issues
  • Poor ventilation in kitchen and bathrooms
  • Window frames where condensation builds up

For small, non-toxic mold problems, like the mold that accumulates on windowsills and frames, simply clean the mold with a soap and water solution, as instructed in the video. Vinegar or diluted bleach are also useful. Add it to water, then spray directly on the mold and clean up. For larger mold problems, you should call a professional.

Prevention is key with mold, and the University of Missouri Extension offers some easy tips for keeping that nasty stuff at bay:

Keep closets, dresser drawers, basements — any place where mildew is likely to grow — as clean as possible. Soil on dirty articles can supply enough food for mildew to start growing when moisture and temperature are right. Greasy films, such as those that form on kitchen walls, also contain many nutrients for mildew-causing molds.

Spread a layer of moisture-barrier material over the soil in crawl spaces under houses. You can use heavy roofing paper or polyethylene plastic film. Good ventilation is important. If possible, do not enclose the crawl space. In extreme cases, a fan or blower may be needed to move the humid air from under the building.

In rooms that are not air-conditioned — especially the basement — mechanical dehumidifiers are useful. A humidistat can be attached to the unit to control the humidity. Mechanical dehumidifiers, however, can add heat to a room.

Take extra care in laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, where moisture and humidity run amok.

Your Carpet and Walls Have Absorbed Years of Stink

Carpets and paint can absorb bad smells over time: smoke, pet urine, spilled milk. I always splash a fresh coat of paint on the walls when I move, and it typically gets rid of most lingering smells. If you’re renting, you might not be able to paint without getting your deposit back, so always check with your landlord first. At the very least, deep clean the walls, ceilings, and baseboards to get rid of as much of the stink as possible. Home Guides offers a couple of different solutions for getting rid of stubborn smells:

The White Vinegar Solution: …Start by adding warmed vinegar to a spray bottle for tough stains. Dilute using a one-to-one ratio with warm water for less noticeable stains. Apply the warmed vinegar or mixture directly to the walls. Because tar and nicotine develop a sticky and hardened surface, the warmth of the vinegar helps to soften these substances. Vinegar removes both smells and stains.

The Ammonia Method: Ammonia can also remove cigarette tar and nicotine from walls when mixed with water. Combine a tablespoon of ammonia for every cup of water, or roughly 1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of warm water. For painted walls, reduce the mixture to 1/4 cup to a gallon of water. For a stronger solution, increase the ammonia to a full cup. Apply the cleaning agent directly to the wall and let it sit for about five minutes before wiping it off. Follow with a clean rinse of warm water.

For stains, we’ve also suggested a bleach and water mixture. Don’t forget to replace the air filters in your home, too. They can also be stink traps.

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Replacing your carpets is obviously the best solution for removing the odor they’ve absorbed over time, but that’s not realistic for most of us. It’s an expensive project, and if you’re a renter, your landlord might not comply. To remedy stinky carpets, sprinkle baking soda on them and let it sit for a while—perhaps even overnight. Then, thoroughly vacuum the carpet and the baking soda along with it. If that doesn’t get the job done, you might need a deeper clean. Rent a carpet cleaning machine or steam cleaner. Typically, you fill it with cleaning solution (or white vinegar and water for a cheaper solution) then run the machine up and down your carpets, as you can see in the video above.

Your Dishwasher Is Filthy

Your dishwasher needs a simple cleaning every month or so, and it’s as easy as running the dishwasher empty with a cup of vinegar. Alternatively, you could sprinkle some baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher and run it. The video above will show you how it’s done.

Beyond the basics, however, every dishwasher needs an occasional deep cleaning, and if yours smells like gross, old food, it’s probably high time for a scrub down. Focus on two areas: the seals and the dishwasher trap.

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Find the trap (or filter) under your dishwasher’s sprayer. If you haven’t cleaned it in a while, you might find scraps of food and other gunk. Sometimes the tray comes out so you can just rinse it in the sink. If not, you’ll need a towel to remove the gunk build-up.

Second, wipe down the rubber seal around the dishwasher door. Use a vinegar and water solution to get rid of any mold or buildup around the area.

A Dead Animal Is Decomposing Somewhere In Your Home

I’ve never (knock on wood) dealt with the reportedly pungent, sickly smell of a dead critter in my walls or ceilings, but from what I understand, it’s tough to ignore.

Most likely, the smell will be knock-you-out strong in one particular area, and that should be able to help you identify the source, whether it’s in the attic, basement, or some specific wall. Wildlife Removal points to some common areas:

  • The Attic: It can be tricky to find the culprit in the attic because it might be buried under the insulation. They explain that when an animal dies in the attic, it’s common for the smell to permeate the whole house.
  • The Wall: Yep, sometimes animals live in your walls or fall down in them and get stuck and die. Experts sniff out the spot, cut a hole, remove the carcass, and patch it up.
  • The Chimney: It’s rare, but it can happen, particularly if you have a metal chimney flue that the animals can’t climb out of.
  • Under the House: Animals of all kinds—raccoons, opossums, and even cats—often live under elevated houses and die in the crawl space.

They add that people often think there’s a dead animal in their ductwork, but that’s actually very rare. Usually, it’s just the airflow stirring up the smell. As we’ve pointed out before, if you’re going to remove the carcass yourself, some cities have guidelines they want you to follow, so check with your city’s sanitation department.

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Speaking of cleaning up, removing the carcass might not be enough. Clean the area thoroughly to get rid of any remains or smell left behind. Do My Own Pest Control recommends the following:

If you are able to remove the animal carcass you will be able to eliminate the odor quickly by using products like Bac-A-Zap or Odor Hunter that utilize enzymes to break down the offending odor-carrying molecules. These products should be sprayed onto the area (or as close to the area as possible) where the odor originated from to be effective. You may also use the Earth Care Odor Remover Bags. These bags are simply hung up in smelly rooms and as the air in the room passes through the bag, the odor is removed.

If the carcass is in an inaccessible area, bring in a pro. Call your local pest control or wildlife removal company to help you identify the location and remove the source and clean up the area. If you have the DIY skills, you could try it on your own, though. In the above video, wildlife control specialist Shinya Coulter removes sheetrock from inside of a closet to get to a dead rodent (thankfully, Coulter doesn’t show it), then he simply patches up the hole, which we’ve shown you how to do here.

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You Have Electrical Problems

I fried fish a few weeks ago, and the smell lingered so long, I thought something was amiss. Turns out the fish just really stuck, but in my research, I learned that malfunctioning electrical wires often emit a stinky fish smell.

Maintenance company Boulden Brothers explains:

Electrical shielding, wires, and other plastic components emit a “fish” or “urine” smell when exposed to high heat. If you smell something fishy, go around your home and look for outlets and other electrical equipment that looks burnt or melting. Also, make sure that plastic and anything else that could burn is far away from any heat source, including light fixtures.

Electrical problems can be dangerous, so if you suspect your home’s wiring is faulty or its electrical components are overheating, call a licensed electrician. Many professionals aren’t familiar with the “fishy smell” problem, but any good one should have an infrared camera to help pinpoint heat sources.

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Sewage Gas Is Seeping Into Your Home

Sewage and rotten eggs share a similar putrid aroma, and a rotten egg smell might indicate a gas leak, which is a lot more dangerous. If you smell rotten eggs and you suspect it might be a gas leak, exit the area, make sure not to turn on any lights or use anything ignitable, then call your gas company. Pacific Gas & Electric offers a more detailed gas safety guide here.

Other than that, if one part of your home—typically the bathroom—just smells like sewage, it might just be a dried up P-trap.

P-traps are designed to trap water in the pipe, creating a seal that prevents sewer gas from leaking up through the sink or bathtub. If you haven’t used your sink in a while, the water in the P-trap evaporates, eliminating that barrier. In other words, sewage gas passes right on through, stinking up your bathroom. Similarly, gasses can escape when the water level in your toilet bowl drops. The remedy? Simply flush your toilet or run your sink or bathtub for a bit to clear the pipe.

In some cases, though, you might have a more serious problem in your sewer, drainage, or venting pipes. As Home Guides explains, your toilet could be cracked or your vent pipe could be clogged. In those cases, you’ll probably want to call a plumber, although Home Guides does offer steps for fixing the problem if you’re a DIY-er.

Your Water Heater Needs Maintenance

While you’re checking your P-traps, you may also want to check your hot water heater. As Water Tech Online explains, In places where there’s a lot of sulfur in the water, the agent used to reduce the sulfur often reacts with the anode rod in the water heater.

Replacing the standard anode with an aluminum/zinc anode, provided that no water softener is being used, often works in this situation because the reduced current of the anode will significantly reduce the amount of H2 gas generated in the tank.

Run your hot water and see if the smell is more prevalent. If so, you may need a new anode rod, which experts suggest you replace every five years, anyway. Just make sure to read your water heater’s warranty, because some of them require specific types of rods, otherwise the warranty could be voided.

You can call a plumber or appliance repair specialist to replace the rod, or give a go yourself. The above video shows you how it’s done. Again, there’s a big difference between a faint smell coming out of your sink and the strong odor of a gas leak (which might be accompanied by a hissing sound), so be sure to take the necessary precautions if you suspect a natural gas leak.

http://lifehacker.com/home-plumbing-…

Home odors can be subtle and tricky. Sometimes they’re faint and they creep up on you over time, making them hard to pinpoint. These common household issues are often culprits, so watch out for them and you’ll be on your way to a stink-free home.

Illustration by Fruzsina Kuhári.

Clean Your Couch with Baking Soda to Remove Grime

Clean Your Couch with Baking Soda to Remove Grime

Baking soda is useful for cleaning everything from electric stove burners to sneakers, and your natural-fiber couch is no exception. Harness the power of baking soda to remove the grime in just a few minutes.

You just need a few supplies: baking soda, two clean white cleaning cloths, and a vacuum with brush attachment.

  1. Wipe down your couch with a dry, clean cloth or clean stiff brush to get any dust or dried on gunk off.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda on your couch and let sit for at least twenty minutes. If you want to deep clean it, mix in a dry carpet cleaner.
  3. Vacuum the baking soda up with the brush attachment.
  4. Spot clean any tough stains that remain with a clean cloth and cleaning solution that is suitable for your couch’s fabric.

Before you clean the whole couch, spot test the cleaners on a hidden portion of your couch to make sure they don’t damage the fabric. Hit the link below for cleaner recommendations and a guide to the treatment tag on your couch (if you can use water to clean it, etc.).

Deep Clean Your Natural-Fiber Couch for Better Snuggling | PopSugar

Image from apreche.

Clean Every Nook and Cranny With This Discounted Hand Vac

Cordless hand vacs are ideal for cleaning shelves, keyboards, your car, and other places where a standard vacuum can’t reach, and this popular Black & Decker model is marked down to just $40 on eBay today. For comparison’s sake, that’s $10 less than Amazon, where it has a fantastic review average.

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Anker Now Sells a $200 Robotic Vacuum, Because of Course They Do

Continuing its quest to produce (and perfect) every conceivable battery-operated product, Anker now sells a freaking robotic vacuum, and you can score one for just $200 (down from $260) for a limited time as part of a Mother’s Day promotion.

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Anker Now Sells a $200 Robotic Vacuum, Because of Course It Does

Continuing its quest to produce (and perfect) every conceivable battery-operated product, Anker now sells a freaking robotic vacuum, and you can score one for just $200 (down from $260) for a limited time as part of a Mother’s Day promotion.

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It’s Okay to Cook Acidic Dishes in Cast Iron (and Other Cast Iron Myths, Debunked)

It's Okay to Cook Acidic Dishes in Cast Iron (and Other Cast Iron Myths, Debunked)

You’ve probably heard it’s not a good idea to cook acidic foods like tomato sauces, wine sauces, or chilis in cast iron because the iron could leach into the food and add a bitter, metallic taste. Well, America’s Test Kitchen put that theory (and some others) to the test, and the bottom line? It’s fine.

First of all, it’s absolutely true that when you cook acidic ingredients in cast iron for extended periods of time, trace amounts of iron molecules from the metal can get into your food. The good news though is that first, it’s not bad for you at all, and second, you won’t taste it. In fact, America’s Test Kitchen says that it won’t even be noticeable unless you’re cooking for a long time. To test the theory, they simmered a highly acidic tomato sauce over medium heat in a cast iron skillet and checked every 15 minutes for off flavors and any damage the sauce may have caused to the pan:

In the end, our tasters could detect metallic flavors in the tomato sauce only after it had simmered for a full 30 minutes. So, while you can definitely cook with acidic ingredients in your cast-iron skillet, you have to be careful. First, make sure your pan is well seasoned; seasoning keeps the acid from interacting with the iron—to a point. An acidic sauce can afford a brief stay in a well-seasoned pan with no dire consequences. You should also be careful to remove acidic dishes from the skillet after they finish cooking; don’t let them sit too long in the warm skillet and transfer any leftovers to an airtight container. (These rules do not apply to enameled cast-iron skillets; the enameled coating makes it safe to cook acidic ingredients for any length of time.)

So it’s okay—you just need to be careful about how long you cook your sauce, and how long you let the sauce stay in the pan. For less acidic sauces than the test tomato sauce, you could get away with longer simmers without noticing any odd flavors or impact to the pan itself, which is great news if you want to make something like Shakshouka, which traditionally uses cast iron (and is delicious.)

ATK also tested out some other cast iron cooking myths, like the notion that a rusted cast iron skillet is a ruined one (spoiler: It’s not, but it may take some work to bring back to life,) and the old adage that cast iron cooks evenly, which is why it’s so great (actually, cast iron is a poor conductor and can heat very unevenly, so a pre-heat in the oven is necessary if you want a quick, even sear on something before adding other ingredients.) Hit the link below to read the whole piece.

Six Stubborn Cast Iron Myths Debunked | America’s Test Kitchen

Photo by America’s Test Kitchen.