Mrs. Clean's established in Redmond, WA. in 1975, Mrs. Clean is a house cleaning company dedicated to your satisfaction with a fresh clean home.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Making Your Own Weed Killer


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may already know that vinegar has a ton of uses around the house. Maybe you’re like me and keep loads of it around. Even our cleaning crews use it when cleaning houses, so we keep gallons on the shelves at work, while I keep gallons at home.

Besides all the proven uses of vinegar in the home, did you know that regular old vinegar is also an effective weed killer?

I have a patch of garden where I haven’t planted anything for quite some time, and the weeds get totally out of control. I thought I’d save myself some backbreaking work and use a vinegar solution (recipe below) to kill the weeds.

It works really well and when the weeds are brown, dried, and dead, I’m a happy camper—it makes cleaning them up a bit easier!

Vinegar Weed Killer Recipe

  • 1 gallon white vinegar (regular household strength)
  • 2 tablespoons Dawn liquid dish detergent
  • 1 cup salt

Add the salt and vinegar to an empty sprayer, the garden variety kind. If you don’t have one you can use a watering can. Swish the container around until the salt is dissolved, then add the dish detergent and swish again to mix it in.

The vinegar alone will do the job, but because I had quite a bit of weeds, I added the dish detergent, so the mixture will stick to the weeds and hold a little better. I also added the salt to help dry out and kill the weeds faster.

You don’t have to use the salt if you’re just going after a few sparse weeds here and there.

If you have some of this weed killer left when you’re done spraying, it will keep nicely. Just swish it around before you use it the next time. When I store it, I tie a label around the lid, so that others in the house will know what’s in the container.

If you finish what’s in the container, just rinse it out good when you’re done to remove all traces of the vinegar/salt/soap mixture.

Using Your Homemade Weed Killer


The best time to use this type of weed killer is when the sun is out on a warm day. You also want to make sure you do this on a day that isn’t windy.

For those that live in a place with an abundance of sunshine, warmer climate, and a little less rain than where I live, it can be used just about any time of the year.

Spray directly on the weeds, drenching all parts of the weed. That’s it! You’re done. If you notice within a few days some of the weeds haven’t died off, repeat the application.

Nothing is a cure-all. This is not a long-term solution to keep weeds out of the garden; your weeds will return. If you don’t want to use a weed killer all the time, this will at least get you caught up and make the weeding easier and more manageable—if you keep up on it, that is.


Precautions


As it is with commercial weed killers, this mixture can harm any surrounding foliage and the lawn, so do be careful where you spray. That being said, it most likely won’t kill a plant if a small amount does get on it, but it may cause some discoloration.

Help Keeping Weeds out of the Garden


As I stated above, nothing is a cure-all for killing weeds. You can, however, help keep them at bay by using mulch. Applying at least 2 to 4 inches of mulch can help retain moisture in the soil as well as help keep weeds away.

Mulch will naturally decay over time, so maintain your layers of mulch on a regular basis and enjoy your beautiful garden space.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How a Cleaning Service Can Make Your Life Easier


Are you one of those people stuck in the house on Saturday morning cleaning before you can get out and enjoy the day?

Maybe its summer and you want to take a trip to the zoo, farmers market, or the movies, but first you feel compelled to get the house picked up and cleaned.
I can’t say I blame you—I absolutely hate coming home to a dirty house. On the other hand, who wants to clean their house first thing in the morning?

There have been times when we’ve left a messy house to go enjoy our day, then walked back into that same messy house hours later. Then, it’s like all that great adrenaline and giddiness from all the fun we just had has been taken away in one fell swoop!

Darn. We have to clean!

When I come home from an outing, all I want to do is kick back, relax and talk about what we did.

But no, if I didn’t get the house clean earlier - I gotta get it clean or the mess will drive me nuts.

Is this the way you feel too?

Why not consider hiring a house cleaning service? It can definitely make your life easier. If you’re a busy, on-the-go kind of person, then you know how important your spare time is. Hiring a professional to do your chores frees up that spare time, and gives you the relief that only a clean house can provide. It makes life just a little bit simpler!

How Maids Can Help You Out – Literally!


Maybe you have a self-imposed barrier against hiring someone to help with the household chores when you know you’re perfectly capable of doing them yourself.

Maybe you feel guilty and think it’s an indulgence or a luxury to have someone else cleaning your toilets.

But why should you feel guilty about hiring a maid service? By hiring a professional cleaner, you’re actually providing a job for someone else which, in turn, allows them to take care of their family.

Hiring a maid service allows you to have a little free time to get out of the house and have fun with your family.

How can a cleaning service help make your life easier?


1. You’ll be able to get out of the house to focus on other activities, like playing with children, running errands, or pursuing sports and hobbies.

2. If you have a busy schedule, paying someone else to clean your house takes one more thing off your to-do list.

3. You can prepare a holiday meal without the worry of having to get all the cleaning done too.

4. You can use the extra time you’ll have to relax and unwind.

5. When you come home from work or play, your house is clean.

6. A clean home is a more comfortable home.

A professional cleaning service makes it easier to keep your home in better shape, too:


1. You get a professional, high standard of cleaning from experienced house cleaners.

2. You can get a routine cleaning schedule at a time that works for you, meaning your home is cleaner more often.

Most cleaning service companies offer a 100% guaranteed cleaning. If something was missed or not done to your standards, they will come back out at no charge to you.

3. Your cleaning service can be customized to take care of all your needs.

Inviting a cleaning service into your home and your life is a blessing in disguise, allowing you to enjoy being at home and to get out for some fun time, rather than stressing out about cleaning it.

Now, instead of cleaning the bathtub when you get home, you can slip in for a much-needed soak.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Washing Picture Windows


New homes or old, picture windows can add such a dramatic statement and just scream look at me! I love them and the varying degrees of light that comes streaming through.

If you’re a home owner who has beautiful picture windows, I know how proud you are of them. If you’re a home owner remodeling your home, thinking about getting picture windows, what a great option.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer looking to clean the windows, all you need is a few supplies and you’ll be cleaning like the professionals. A professional window washer can cost up to $200 plus dollars depending on how many panes of glass you have.

Windows should be cleaned at least twice a year; it could be more depending on weather conditions and how clean you like your windows.

With the initial cost of purchasing window supplies – you are saving money already!

Supply List


This is a suggested supply list:

•    Bucket
•    Squeegee. If all you have are large panes of glass, a regular squeegee should be all you need. If you have divided windows, you’ll need a smaller squeegee as well.
•    Extension Pole
•    Scrubbers
•    Cleaning Solution (recipe below)
•    Rags for wiping squeegee blade
•    Lint free cloth for wiping along edges
•    Green Scrubby to remove debris
•    Step Ladder

When should you Wash the Windows?


The best time to wash windows is on a cloudy/overcast day. I know you might like to work on your tan but washing windows on a sunny day will only cause streaking and the possibility of cleaning them again.

Cleaning Solution


The cleaning solution is Dawn dishwashing liquid and water. I know, super easy. Fill the bucket with warm water then add in 1 teaspoon Dawn liquid. Swish to mix the Dawn throughout the water. That’s all.

Oops! I added too much dish soap. If you added a little bit more dish soap than the recipe calls for, don’t worry about it. You can safely add up to 2 teaspoons without the worry of having too many suds. Too much sudsiness can cause your windows to be streaky and leave a residue so try to use just the one teaspoon.

Remake the cleaning solution as the water gets dirty.

Cleaning the Glass


We clean the inside and outside windows at the same time. This way we are really looking out a clean window.

When cleaning the inside windows, lay down a towel(s) to catch drips.

  1. Prior to washing, wet the window and use the green scrubby or scrapper of your choice, to remove any debris.
  2. Dip the scrubber into the cleaning solution then squeeze off the excess water and wash the window. Overlap your strokes to be sure you are covering all the glass.
  3. Squeegee off the water and wipe the blade after each stroke. Slightly overlap your strokes.
  4. Dry any remaining water from around the edges, corners and windowsill.

You can either squeegee in a reverse “S” motion, across, or down. Do what works best for you.

Tips


  1. Place a part of the dry rag in your pants pocket then when it’s time to wipe the squeegee blade after each stroke.
  2. If not using the reverse “S” motion with the squeegee, angle the squeegee slightly while pulling across or down the window in order to direct the excess water down the glass.
  3. If you can’t find a small enough squeegee for your divided window panes, cut a large squeegee and smooth the edges. You should be able to find a small enough size somewhere like Amazon.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Conquering the Laundry


What is it about laundry that makes it one of our least favorite chores? I mean, it’s fairly easy to put the clothes in the washer and then transfer those clothes to the dryer, right? We can pretty much walk off and do other things while they are washing and drying but—what is it?

Is it because doing the laundry is boring and takes up too much time? Is it because of all the sorting, pre-treating, too many products to choose from, ironing and folding?

Could it be there are articles of clothing someone in the family doesn’t want to go in the dryer because their yoga outfit or favorite sweater could shrink?

What if you don’t remove them from the dryer right away or you completely forget they are in the dryer in the first place? You turn the dryer on again to fluff the wrinkles out before folding—then hopefully it doesn’t get forgotten about again.

And what if you forget they are even in the washing machine until you go to do another load of laundry? You have to rewash the forgotten load. Who hasn’t done this a time or two?

I know that with a large family, the laundry pile is enormous. It can feel like I’m swimming in a sea of dirty clothes, and with kids still in school, I want them to look their best, so it does take time. I can conquer the laundry, though—and so can you!


Gathering Dirty Laundry


If you don’t already have some kind of system in place, create one. This will turn mountains into mole hills. You will be able to organize the laundry chaos and everyone will be working together to eliminate your laundry stress.

Here’s what we do in our house. You can use this as a guide to create your own system:

  • In our house, each bedroom and bathroom used for showering has a laundry basket or hamper for dirty clothes.
  • In our laundry room, we have laundry baskets for jeans, whites, darks, white socks, and clothes that require a gentle wash cycle. It might sound like these baskets in the laundry room take up a bit of space, but we’ve raised the shelves in the closet so the baskets fit nicely under them. We are able to use the shelves above those for additional sorting baskets.
  • When the dirty clothes baskets from the bedrooms and bathrooms are full, we are each responsible for bringing our dirty clothes into the laundry room and sorting them into the appropriate baskets.
  • If an item of clothing needs to be treated for stains, this is typically taken care of right away. It is the responsibility of the wearer to bring stains to my attention so I can treat the stain and, if necessary, wash the item.
  • We typically stay away from dry-clean-only clothing, but they do creep in on occasion. Because we don’t have much, it’s only taken out once a month.

So far, this system has been working great for us. Granted, it took some family members longer than others to figure out that I wasn’t going to be coming around collecting their laundry, as I did when they were younger, but we’ve worked it out and it runs smoothly now.

Washing Dirty Clothes


Washing schedules vary from home to home. What’s really best? Well, that depends on your family’s needs. For instance, the Duggar family may need to wash every day, but we only have a few wash days a week.

  • Beds are stripped and clean sheets put on every Saturday. So, Saturday is the day we wash bedding, towels, and white cotton socks.
  • Sunday is the day we wash other whites and gentle items.
  • Jeans and other dark items are usually done Tuesdays, with an additional load or two on Friday if needed.

We try to break it up on the days that work best for us and to spread it out a little so we are not spending one full day in and out of the laundry room. I mean, we do want to have some fun on the weekends.

If my son is on a school sport team, I’ll usually treat for stains and wash the same night. This way he won’t show up to the next game in a not-so-clean uniform.

Washing White Cotton Socks


We wash our cotton socks separately because my whole family wears them, they are soft and comfy and we want them clean. They can get dingy at times though, so we wash them in a single load all at once.

Select your load size and fill the washing machine with hot water, 1 cup Oxi-Clean and your regular detergent. Let the socks soak for 45 minutes, then continue with the regular wash cycle.

We use Oxi-Clean because it does the same job as bleach but does not destroy cotton.

Washing Tips


  • Some new items should be washed separately the first few times because they can bleed and stain other clothing. This is especially true of red items.
  • Don’t overload the washer—your clothes will be cleaner.
  • At the beginning of each month, I run a hot water cycle with no clothes, addng in a quart-sized bottle of white vinegar. This will disinfect and remove any musty odors from the washing machine.

Stain Removal

There are so many stains that can happen on any given day and we can help you out. Below are a few articles that can help with your stain removal questions.

  1. How to Remove Grass Stains
  2. Removing Sweat / Perspiration / Deodorant & Antiperspirant Stains
  3. How to Remove Lipstick Stains
  4. Removing Blood Stains

Drying Clothes and Other Items


This should really be a no-brainer, but I have left clothes in the dryer for days before realizing I forgot about them. Ah, the busy life.

Don’t overload the dryer, and remove clothes as soon as possible after the cycle is finished. This prevents wrinkling and having to heat them up again to get rid of wrinkles. Additionally, over-drying can damage some fibers, destroying the integrity of the item.

Another reason for not overloading the dryer: if you put too many clothes in and forget about them for a day or two, you may have to rewash them because no matter how long you fluff, the wrinkles just won’t come out.

Dryer Tips


  • Clean the lint trap after you take the clothes out of the dryer. A full lint trap can be a fire hazard and reduces the efficiency of the dryer.
  • Don’t just throw a clump of clothes in the dryer. Shake them out before tossing them in, it can help prevent wrinkling and dry your clothes faster.
  • If you don’t use a liquid fabric softener in the wash cycle, add one to the dryer. It will reduce static cling and make your clothes softer and smell fresher.
  • Choose the correct setting for your clothes and other items. Some people will forget to change to Gentle or Air Dry for delicate items.

Folding and Ironing Clothes


No fun I know, but if you bring the clothes into the family room, fold and iron while you’re watching TV, and have the kids help out, it will go much faster.

We put the clothes in piles by person, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Everybody is responsible for putting their own stuff away.

Laundry Tips


  • Keep a supply of hangers in the laundry room. For us this is a must-have, since a lot of our clothes are put on hangers to air dry. Some clothes are laid flat to dry as well.
  • Put up a clothesline outside. On clear days you can hang bedspreads, jeans, and anything else you want.

Related Articles:

Making Your Own Laundry Detergent
Washing Laundry Tips


We'd like to hear from you. What works best and how do you conquer your mounds of dirty laundry. Do you have helpful tips to share with others, let us and others know your laundry secrets.

Monday, August 25, 2014

How to Deal with a Sloppy Roommate

Girl with a Pile of Books on her Head Yelling.

No matter where you are in life—college, the business world, divorced, just getting out on your own, etc.—you may have reason to share your living space with a roommate or two.

A roommate offers many benefits. Aside from the financial freedom you can gain, having a roommate means that you don’t have to come home to an empty house, someone will be there if you go out of town on business or for a vacation, and there is someone to share the household chores.
But what happens if you’ve got a roommate that’s sloppy? You didn’t see that coming: she said she was a doer, liked it neat, and was willing to pitch in.

When the relationship was new, the place was clean, dishes and food were put away, and her room and bathroom were tidy!

Then one day, you start to notice you’re doing more than your fair share of the chores.

It started with a dish or two and a few towels in the hallway. Then it progressed to food not put away, fruit flies, and—What is that smell? Ewww.

Well, maybe it’s not that bad. But what do you do when your roommate stops cleaning up after themselves? It’s time to have a heart-to-heart, roommate-to-roommate conversation.

Effective Communications

A good conversation will have no accusations and no rudeness. By effectively communicating with one another, you will better understand each other:

  1. Did something happen between the two of you to cause a rift? Maybe it’s something you did that you’re not even aware of.
  2. Is your idea of “clean” different from their idea, and you’ve automatically started picking things up before your roommate has had a chance to do so?
  3. Is your roommate depressed or having a hard time dealing with a situation you’re not aware of?
  4. Did you bring a roommate in without effectively setting boundaries and discussing rules and expectations?

Whatever it is, I’m sure your roomy is not intentionally trying to annoy you.

Talk about it before you get a chip on your shoulder (which will only cause small issues to become big issues), listen when it’s your turn, no eyebrow rising, and work on solutions together.

Possible Solutions for Common Issues

Here are a few common issues roommates have and ideas for resolving them.

Leaving Dirty Dishes Out

Do you feel uncomfortable with dirty dishes left in the sink and on the counters? I can’t say I blame you. I just don’t like looking at this kind of mess – period.

Maybe you have allergies or there are getting to be too many fruit flies flying around. Don’t bang your head and give up on the roomy just yet.

Easy tips to stop the war on dirty dishes:

  • Keep one side of the sink filled with a little water, so dirty dishes can easily be slipped in and any food stuck on has a chance to pre-soak.
  • If you don’t have a sink that is divided, you can fill a Tupperware container with a little soapy water and leave it next to the sink for pre-soaking the dishes.
  • Of course, the easiest solution would be to rinse and put dishes away right after using them.
  • Now when either of you go to put dishes in the dishwasher, you will only have to give them a quick rinse and clean the sink out when you’re done.

Where Has My Food Gone?


Another problem many roommates face is the unintentional sharing of food. One of the main reasons this tends to happen is that no boundaries are set, or no space was set aside for each person’s food.

For refrigerator and freezer, you can divvy up the shelf space. For instance, the top two shelves in the freezer, fridge, and refrigerator door go to you, while those underneath go to your roomy.

Another convenient and easy way to see what food belongs to which person is to label clear containers with the person’s name and what is in the container, such as lunch meat, cheese, vegetables, etc.

This wouldn’t need to be done with all food items, but it can sure help with the little things.

There are many stackable Tupperware containers that come in a variety of sizes that are perfect for these types of situations.

The same thing applies to dry foods and cupboard space. Divide and conquer.


Use of Personal Items

You’re running late for work one day, brushing your hair on the way to the front door, and you set your hair brush down on the counter as you leave. You would expect to find it there when you get home, but your roomy picked it up and used it, and now it’s in her bathroom. Maybe she even used your tube of lipstick!

I’m a firm believer that these types of things just shouldn’t be shared. My girls each have their own hair care items, makeup, etc., and I have mine.

Sharing make-up, make-up brushes, hair brushes, or other personal products can lead to the possibility of spreading infection. If your roommate did use your hair brush, clean it well. If it’s something like lipstick, wipe off a layer. If it’s an eyeliner pencil, I’d just get a new one.


Having a roommate shouldn’t mean that you have to leave all your personal stuff locked up behind closed doors.

So what can you do to stop the sharing?

  • Discuss the risk of sharing. Either one of you could unknowingly have a viral infection which can be passed on to another person.
  • Carrying items around and setting them down randomly is something we all do. To make it easier in a roommate situation, you could use decorative baskets for each person, maybe in two pretty colors. You can have one in the living area and maybe one in the front hall or near the kitchen.

These are just a few of the common issues people with roommates may face. I hope we have given you some helpful options that you can build on and use in your own situation.

Learning to communicate your boundaries and needs more effectively will make it easier to overcome challenging situations, allowing you to build better relationships with the people you share your home with.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Home Maintenance Checklist


For most of us, we just can’t wait until the warmer weather gets here. I know how much I look forward to the warmer months.

There are many things to look forward to: the green grass, the warm sun and blue skies, picnics, concerts in the park, enjoying the night sky, and so much more.
Most often many of us will do summer cleaning in the spring, but sometimes – time gets away from us. So if spring rushed by you, no problem, you can still get your maintenance checks and repairs done this summer and wrap up the end of winter.

Inspecting Outside Areas

It’s a good idea to take a walk around the exterior of the house and check exterior walls, patio, deck, sidewalks, windows, gutters, etc.

A good time for these inspections are mornings before the sun comes up (it’s easier to spot areas of concern before the bright summer sun comes up) or later in the afternoon.

You’ll be looking for trouble spots. Here’s a list of things to keep an eye out for:

Checking the Exterior of the House

  • Check the caulking and weather stripping on windows. Replace where needed. Wash windows, screens, window tracks and shutters. This includes sliding doors if you have them.
    Don’t wash windows in the heat of the afternoon, you'll just end up with streaky windows.
  • Check for any cracking to the foundation, sidewalks, chimney, patio, any masonry work, etc.
  • Look for staining near downspouts. If there is any staining, your gutters could be clogged and in need of a good cleaning for proper drainage.
  • If the winter months were overly stormy and windy, you may want to consider having your roof checked for damage.
  • Inspect the locks on all doors. Make sure your keys slide in and out smoothly to both the main doorknob and the deadbolt. Repaint the front door if necessary.
    After all, this is where you greet your guests and a shabby front door won’t do at all.
  • Check exterior walls for any trouble spots such as: peeling or bubbling paint, missing patches of stucco, mortar or masonry cement between bricks, and an overgrowth of shrubbery too close to the house that can damage siding.
  • If you have air conditioning, make sure all units are working properly.
  • If you have a deck, check for any slime or algae that could cause someone to slip. Check for loose boards, rotting, nails that are poking up, or boards that have splinters (that’s an accident waiting to happen if you walk around in your bare feet!).
  • Check exterior lights on the property and change bulbs where needed.
  • If you have a security system, run a diagnostic test and check and clean cameras.
  • Check exterior dryer vent and make sure it isn’t full of debris or clogged.

 Take a Fresh Look at the Grounds around the House

  • Is your grass looking a little worse for wear? Do you have a lot of weeds, crabgrass or moss growing? If so, take a trip to your local home improvement store and get the appropriate fertilizers, herbicides, or lawn food you may need. Talk to store employees to see what is best for your lawn and don’t forget to make sure your lawn mower is in good working order.
  • Trim and deadhead plants and thin out some areas of overgrowth, give your gardens a little curb appeal. Applying mulch will help keep weeds at bay. 
  • If you use decorative pots, give them a good cleaning, especially the ones by the entrance to the home and on the deck or patio where you might entertain guests.
  • If you have sprinklers that run on a timer, make sure they’re all working as expected and fix or replace sprinkler heads as needed.
    No need to water the cement or the neighbor’s yard!
  • Check for leaky outdoor faucets and replace hoses.
  • Clean and repair any of the kids outdoor play areas and equipment.
  • Clean outdoor patio/deck furniture.
  • Clean the grill so you’re ready for backyard barbecues. 
  • If you have a pool, sauna, jacuzzi, etc. you most likely already have a maintenance plan in place so just make sure decking is clean and slip free and surrounding areas are in tip top shape.
  • Does your fence need repainting or re-stained? Not only will painting or staining a fence make your yard look better, it will help protect the longevity of the fence too.

Maintenance Checklist -  Inspecting the Inside of the House

Below is a list of interior home maintenance items that may need your attention. I don't know about you, but I save all the manufacturer's paperwork on the products used in our home. This way I can easily refer to them for the recommended methods of cleaning, maintenance, and what replacement parts I may need in the future.
  • Check the interior windows. Clean out the tracks as the weep holes can sometimes get clogged. Check the caulking and clean the windows as you go along and let your rooms shine with the summer sun.
  • Clean and inspect ceiling fans.
  • Consider cleaning the carpets and upholstered furniture to get rid of the blah musty smell.
  • Change filters to the furnace and the main air conditioning vent. If necessary, vacuum away accumulations of dust on the vents.
  • If you have a crawl space under your home, a below grade or daylight basement, they can sometimes be prone to dampness. Check the walls for possible moisture damage, peeling paint, mold on walls, or a musty odor. If you notice any of these, have a professional contractor come out and take a look.
  • Go through the house and check for leaky faucets. Check under sinks and make sure all connections are secure.
  • Check the sinks themselves as well.
    I just recently noticed water under my kitchen sink, turns out the caulking was actually missing in places and I just hadn’t noticed. I had to re-caulk around the sink to fix the problem - now we're good to go.
  • Look for any dampness around the dishwasher and washing machine. Check the hoses for potential problems.
  • If it hasn’t been done in a while, you may need to flush the hot water heater. Over time they can accumulate small amounts of sediment, preventing them from working properly and possibly affecting the efficiency of it. Also, if your hot water heater uses an anode rod, check it as well.
    Manufacturer's recommend yearly maintenance to hot water heaters. It helps keep the internal components rust free and clean. Yearly maintenance will also help extend the life of your hot water heater.
  • Check all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to make sure they are working properly. Don’t forget to check and make sure the battery connectors are not corroded.
  • Check your first aid kit. Now that you and the kids will be outside more often, there might be some minor mishaps and scrapes that will need to be taken care of. Make sure medications are up-to-date and you have enough lotions and potions for bug bites.

Once you’ve finished checking areas in and around the house and made any necessary repairs, you’ll have more time to spend on trips to the beach!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Remove Ink Stains


If you're the unlucky recipient of an ink stain don't toss the garment or cover the chair until you've given our cleaning methods a try.

You just might find some success trying one of the techniques below. Before cleaning ink stains, you’ll want to keep the stain from spreading to a larger area. This will make your task much easier and if you've ever tried to clean an ink stain before - you know how it can spread.

Make a Mixture to Contain the Stain

For this step mix together a 50/50 mix of regular non-scented ammonia and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Depending on the size of the ink stain you can start with 1 teaspoon each to 1 tablespoon each or more depending on your needs.

Ammonia is strong, use in a well ventilated area and don’t mix with chlorine bleach.

Containing the Stain and Creating a Barrier

To contain the stain, use a dropper or a spoon and start with just enough to wet around and into the ink stain. Don’t get rid of the extra because you will want to keep the ink stain wet with this mixture to push the ink back to the middle and keep it from spreading.

I add a little after each time I apply a cleaning solvent.

Don’t use ammonia on silk or wool – just use the hydrogen peroxide to create the barrier.

Always test in an inconspicuous spot first.

Place Something between the Stained Fabric

If possible, place something like paper towels or a clean cleaning rag between the stain and the rest of the fabric to keep the ink stain from transferring to another spot.

Change this as the ink transfers and soaks into it. I typically move the paper towel to a clean spot after each time I apply a cleaning agent, replacing with new as needed.

Water-Based Ink

Water based inks will pretty much wash away with plain ol’ water. If you rinse with water and some staining remains, try applying your regular laundry detergent to the stain.

Never rub at the stain, dab or tamp!

Let the laundry detergent sit on the stain a few minutes then rinse or wash on the warmest water possible (the warmest water the item can take, check the tag).

Let air dry and check for any remaining stain before drying.

Permanent Ink

Ballpoint pens use permanent ink – which means the ink is non-water based ink. These ink stains can be hard to remove – but not altogether impossible.

With permanent ink stains you will need to use some kind of solvent to help get the stain out.

Cleaning solvents can be:
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hairspray
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • OxiClean
  • Goop
Only apply one solvent at a time. If you try one and move on to another, let them evaporate or rinse clean before using another solvent.

Removing Permanent Ink from Clothing

  1. Surround the ink stain with the containment mixture you made above.
  2. Apply the cleaning solvent.
  3. Dab or tamp the ink stain with a clean, wet paper towel or rag.
Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.

If you have repeated these steps and there is still a small amount of staining left, try an OxiClean type pre-treatment stain remover and wash as you normally would.

Do not place in dryer until you know the stain is gone.

Removing Permanent Ink from Silk or Wool

Place absorbent material under the ink stain. Saturate the stain with hairspray, blot, dab, or tamp the stain with another absorbent piece of cloth, paper towel, etc. Repeat until the ink stain is gone.

If you are not comfortable with removing an ink stain on your own, you can always take the item in to the dry cleaner.

Removing Ink from Carpets and Upholstery

  1.  Apply the mixture to create a barrier and contain the stain.
  2. Saturate the ink stained area with any kind of hairspray.
  3. Dab, tamp, blot using a clean, damp paper towel or clean rag.
  4. Repeat all steps as needed until stain has been removed.
Remember that stain removal involves removing a little of the stain with each application applied.  Repeating the process may need to be done a few times before you see successful results.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Five of the Most Common Carpet Stains and How to Clean Them


Maybe you're thinking - Hmmm? What are some of the most common carpet stains? Well for me and others in my household they happen to be:
  1. Blood Stains
  2. Ketchup Stains
  3. Chocolate Stains
  4. Mud Stains
  5. Throw Up
I know I'm guilty of at least two of these stains. Kids - quite a few and my husband, well he's no innocent guy either.

What to Do Or Not to Do

  1. Before removing a stain, (if necessary) clean the bulk of it up first with a spoon, dull knife, old toothbrush, etc. Whatever you have handy that won't damage the carpet.
  2. Never rub the stain. Blot or dab so the stain doesn't get any bigger than it already is.
  3. Work from the outside of the stain towards the center. No need to unnecessarily create a bigger stain.
  4. Only use enough water or cleaner to get the job done.
  5. Test first in an inconspicuous place to make sure the cleaning method is safe for your carpets.
  6. When you're done and the stain is gone and dry, vacuum the area completely.

Getting Rid of a Ketchup Stain

In our house the culprits are hamburgers and hot dogs. Some members of my family like piling the ketchup on (some put it on everything, even their bacon and eggs!)
  1. Clean as much of the stain as you can with a spoon or a dull knife.
  2. Use a little water to dilute the ketchup, blot up with paper towels. You may need to repeat this step.
  3. Mix together 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid (like Dawn - one of my favorites) and 2 cups water.
  4. Dampen the remaining ketchup stain and let sit 5 minutes.
  5. Blot up excess liquid with a clean towel. Repeat step 4 and 5 as needed.
  6. Cover until dry.
If you didn't happen to catch the stain until later and it's dried on, wet it with a little warm water first before you clean.

Chocolate Stain Removal

Oh the guilty pleasure. This is one of my guilty stains.
  1. Mix 1 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon clear liquid detergent.
  2. Pour a little of the solution on the stain and use the tip of a finger or old toothbrush to work on the stain.
  3. Blot until you've gotten up most of the liquid and repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed.
  4. When finished, rinse with clean water and blot.
  5. Cover until dry.

Blood Stains

  1. Use cold tap water to clean up as much of the stain as possible.
  2. Pour hydrogen peroxide over the stain (just the 3% household kind) and make sure to cover it as hydrogen peroxide turns to water when exposed to light.
  3. After about an hour, check the progress of the blood stain.
  4. Repeat if needed and cover until dry.
If the blood stain has dried, remove as much of the dried blood as possible before applying hydrogen peroxide.

Vomit Stains

Not pleasant but who hasn't felt good and didn't make it to the bathroom? This can be all so true for kids - poor kiddoes!

  1. Mix together 2 cups warm water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon liquid dish washing detergent.
  2. Dab or blot the stain until it's clean. Absorb as much of the liquid as you can each time you use the solution.
  3. Rinse with clean water and blot excess up.
  4. Cover until dry.

Mud Stains

Dogs, cats, kids, me, husbands - we're all guilty of this one.
  1. Let the mud dry before cleaning.
  2. When dry, brush the mud loose from the carpet fibers.
  3. Vacuum.
This may be all you need to do. But if it did leave a stain:
  1. Mix 4 cups warm water, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 teaspoon mild detergent.
  2. Apply to the mud stain, blot, repeat as necessary.
  3. Let dry then vacuum.
It really isn't a big job to clean up carpet stains, it may just take a little of your time.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances


Stainless steel, sleek and beautiful but hardly ever stain-less or fingerprint proof. Right?

How many of you have followed right behind the kids with a kitchen towel wiping off the fingerprints?

I know I’ve been guilty of that and my kids look at me and say “Mom – It’s just a refrigerator.”

Well, maybe it is just a refrigerator, but keeping it clean really adds a pop of shine to the room, don’t you think? That’s why I clean mine on a regular basis.

Regular Cleanings

For regular cleaning, all you need to do is take a damp cloth, wet it with warm water, wipe down the appliance then dry and polish with a clean dry lint free rag.

Personally, I like to use white vinegar. I’m disinfecting as I’m cleaning and when I dry whatever appliance I’m cleaning, it dries faster. I put the white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray my cleaning rag rather than the appliance. Then I wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.

Here’s a little tip for larger appliances:
Work in sections. Clean and dry a section then move on to another section. Then when you’re done; give it a quick and final buffing. Now you have a nice shiny finish.

Cleaning Fingerprints

Even if you follow members of the house around wiping off fingerprints – you can’t get them all! Oh those little buggers – the fingerprints I mean.

Again I my favorite things to use is plain white vinegar. But when you use it like me, you might run out so what can you use?

Liquid Dishwashing Detergent

I use Dawn dish soap. So I put just a couple of drops in a small bowl of warm water. Swish it around with your fingers to mix it in. Dip in your cleaning rag, wring it out good, and clean those grimy fingerprints.

When you’re done cleaning, run a damp cloth with just water on it then buff and shine.

Heavy Duty Cleaning

If you have burnt on food, take a little of your Dawn dishwashing detergent and rub some on the spot. Let it sit a while to soften the caked on food then wipe it off. You may have to repeat this a time or two depending on how badly caked on the food is.

Just don’t use anything abrasive as you could scratch your appliance. That goes for cleaners and scouring pads.

When you’re done cleaning, rinse the area with clean water and dry.

Polishing Stainless Steel

To top off your cleaning and make your stainless steel shine, polish it with a little mineral oil.

Simply apply a small amount to a clean, dry cloth (one that is lint-free) and buff out with a microfiber cloth when you’re done.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Coffee Stains Aren’t Impossible, You Can Conquer Them!


Want to know a secret? I’m not perfect. Just because I clean for a living doesn’t mean I’m immune to something getting dirty.

I’ve been known to spill a little coffee, and my laundry basket isn’t full of clean clothes – I have a few kids, a husband that loves to barbecue, and a large family that comes over to gather around the holidays.
Stains do exist in my house just like they exist in yours and I’m here to tell you, you can conquer the stain!
I love my coffee and stain here and there isn't going to make me stop drinking it. So let’s get to removing a coffee since we all have slopped a little over the years.

One of My Coffee Stain Stories

I' sure this story is a familiar one to many of you.

I was out meeting a friend of mine for lunch one day and when she got to the table and I reached over to take her hand, I bumped my latte, it spilled a little, and I got a little coffee on the end of my shirt sleeve.

I knew I was going to be out for a few hours, so instead of getting upset with myself, I excused myself and went to the restroom to wet the stain in some cold water. I rinsed it until I got most of it out and then put paper towels on either side of the stain to soak up as much of the water as I could.

Yeah, it’s a little annoying having a wet cuff, but oh well, at least now I could go sit and continue visiting with my friend. I’ll take care of the stain when I get home.

When I did get home, I changed my shirt and brought it to the laundry room sink for treatment because there was a small stain left. I got the white vinegar out of the cupboard and poured some over the coffee stain and let it sit about 30 minutes while I went off and did something else.

When I came back, there was still a hint of the stain left so this time I got out the hydrogen peroxide.

I buy hydrogen peroxide by bulk, just like white vinegar, it has so many uses.

Anyway, back to stain removal. I put the area of the shirt on a towel and poured some hydrogen peroxide over the stain. I then covered it up with another towel and let it sit for another 30 minutes or so.

Hydrogen peroxide will turn to water if left exposed to light so that is why I covered the stain after applying the hydrogen peroxide.

When I came back to check on it later, the stain was gone. If you have an older coffee stain, you may have to apply the hydrogen peroxide more than once.

Viola!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to Clean the Attic


Many newer homes today don’t have the kind of attic spaces as the homes our grandparents or great-grandparents had. Maybe you're thinking of making your attic space into a bedroom? Cool!

If you have a home with an attic, and you know you have to get up there and clean, why not clean with the intention of making a little money too?

While you’re cleaning, think about the stuff laying around you don’t want. Wouldn’t you like to make some extra money off your old junk?

I would! And if you’re like me and like to make an extra buck or two, here are some ideas for you to make some easy cash!

Cleaning out the Attic

We’ve all been to that place where we have been in need of a little extra cash. Having a garage sale is one such place to bring in the cash.

Have a Garage Sale

While you’re cleaning the attic, take a look with a critical eye as you go at what you might be able to contribute to a garage sale. Your attic could very well contain a treasure trove of old junk, but it could also hold some valuable treasures as well.

If you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease and time, you could very well make some good money with some of the stuff you find. You might find old clothes, jewelry, furnishings, and old pictures.

Price things you want gone cheap and watch as people take your unwanted junk with them. It’s that easy; like they say, one person’s trash is another ones treasure.

Having a garage sale is one of the most effective ways to clean out your house and attic - and you’re making some fast cash at the same time.

Clothes

Many people that have attics will find it full of clothes. There might be vintage clothes in there from your past family member and you might store the close you don’t wear anymore in there. If there are no reasons for you to hang on to them, why not make some cash.

Most communities have second hand stores where you can bring lightly used clothes that will pay you cash for your unwanted clothes. These types of stores will evaluate what you bring in, then based on brand, style, and condition, they will make you an offer on the spot – and pay you cash!

Some second hand clothes stores are also looking for vintage clothes to buy. If you can’t find a store to buy your older clothing items and they didn’t sell at your garage sale, try to sell them online on EBay or Craigslist. There are actually many people looking for vintage clothes that will buy them from you.

Jewelry

Almost everybody knows there are stores where you can take your gold and silver and make some quick cash. Maybe you found some old pieces while cleaning out the attic that aren’t your style - why not sell them? Save the jewelry that does hold special value to you.

Here is some jewelry cleaning methods to get your finds clean before bringing them in to sell.

Cleaning Silver

To remove tarnish, combine the ingredients below:

  • 2 teaspoons liquid dish washing soap
  • 1 teaspoon household ammonia
  • 1/4 cup of water

Completely mix ingredients together. Use a cotton swab to dip and gently scrub until the silver tarnish has been removed.

Buff with a soft cloth to shine.

Hard to Remove Tarnish

If the tarnish is hard to remove, you can let your silver jewelry soak for 30 minutes. Rinse the piece immediately after soaking then buff.

Cleaning Gold

If the gold jewelry you find is dirty and in need of cleaning, give it a bath.

In a small bowl, add a few drops of mild liquid dish soap to warm water. Swish around with your fingers to mix.

Set the jewelry in the bowl and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes then rinse under cool water.

If the jewelry shows signs of dirt particles that didn’t come off, hold it in the mixture and use an old soft toothbrush and lightly clean.

Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth and polish to a nice shine.

Electronics

Did you know you can find gold in old electronics? You can. There are plenty of videos online that show you how to take apart old computers, VCR’s and other electronics, to extract the precious metals from them.

You might have to take apart a few of them to make some real money, but in the end, you have that extra cash you’re looking for.

Sports Memorabilia

Maybe your Uncle Bob or your Mom’s cousin Fred collected sports cards. One of them just might be a diamond in the ruff. There are some old sports cards that are collectible - and if they are in good condition - can be very valuable.

Locate a store in your neighborhood that can take a look at them. Have someone evaluate the worth and maybe at the same time send you in the right direction for selling them.

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