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How to remove permanent marker from clothes

By | July 14, 2016

Removing permanent marker stains

Permanent markers has special ink that is formulated to stick strongly on whatever surface it is applied on. Even on clothes, they create a very strong and persistent mark that is generally impossible to remove with regular detergent or soap.

Regular detergents contain alkaline substances, enzymes and surfactants, all of which have no effect on permanent marker stains.

But surprisingly they are not that permanent as they appear to be. Special chemicals can lift off the stain almost instantly. Its about chemical science.

Things that can clean permanent markers include paint thinners like turpentine, alcohol, organic solvents like acetone (nail polish remover) etc.

1. Rubbing alcohol

The first thing to try is rubbing alcohol. Alcohol can dissolve the chemicals present in permanent marker, lifting out the stain.

Spray rubbing alcohol on the stain and sponge it. The stain should loosen out and absorb into the sponge. Keep doing till all of the stain has been removed.

Once the stain has been completely lifted, rinse with water and launder as usual with detergent.

2. Hair Spray

Hair Spray contains a lot of alcohol and works same way as rubbing alcohol. Spray it on the stain and dab with wet sponge or cotton balls.

Try keeping a wet towel below the stained clothe and press against it. This will cause the stain to be absorbed into the towel and away from the fabric.

Apart from hair spray, aftershave lotion also contains a lot of alcohol and you can try that too.
After the stain has been removed, launder as usual.

3. Nail Polish remover

Try a non-acetone nail polish remover. Apply a little on the stain and gently dab with a cotton ball, or rub very gently with finger in a circular motion. Keep doing till the stain is completely removed.

Acetone based nail polish remover can also do the trick. In fact acetone works better in removing permanent marker stains, but there is a downside. Before applying acetone, make sure the fabric does not contain any acetate or triacetate. Acetone will melt fabrics made of acetate. Read the fabric label very carefully. If you are not sure, then better skip nail polish remover.

4. Commercial stain cleaners

There are plenty of commercial stain removers that can lift permanent markers from fabrics. Products like Oxi Clean can get rid of almost any kind of stain including markers.

Extra tips and advice

Permanent marker can also be dissolved using petroleum based thinners or lubricants like WD-40 or heavy oils like turpentine. You can try applying very little of it on the stain and see how it work.

Before using any of the cleaning agents on the stain, you should first try it on some hidden part of the fabric to ensure that it will not cause damage to the fabric or its color. Only after that should you use it on the stain.

The ultimate A-Z list of useful stain removers

By | July 14, 2016

Useful Stain Removers

Whenever its time to fix a stain, the first thing that comes to mind is soap or detergent. But did you know that some of the most common household items that you use everyday can also be used as powerful stain removers. And those do not include soap or detergent.

They are readily available at your fingertips, are very cheap and many of them are natural and non-toxic too. Sure, many of us want to use our favorite commercial spot removers but if you are looking for something that is green and safe, then try out one of these.

1. Absorbent Powder

Absorbent powders help you absorb the “liquid” or wetness of a stain to either dry it up or remove it entirely. These include corn-starch, baby talcum powder, fuller’s earth, baking soda, bran etc.

Such powders are very useful in absorbing greasy stains on leather for example. They absorb the grease or oil very easily without affecting the underlying surface much. In a previous article here we talked about removing oil stains from leather.

2. Acetone

Acetone is one of the many chemical compounds that can dissolve stains and lift them out of a fabric easily. Acetone is available in pure form, or non-oily nail polish remover also contain acetone.

Acetone can be used to remove stains caused by synthetic chemicals like permanent markers, nail polish, paint etc.

However, keep in mind to never use acetone on fabrics made of acetate/triacetate. Acetone will “dissolve” those fabrics or in other words melt them. Also avoid it on other delicate fabrics like silk and wool. Also remember that acetone is an inflammable liquid, so use it in a ventilated place away from any fire or heat

3. Alcohol (isopropyl)

Rubbing alcohol is a powerful solvent that can dissolve a variety of stains like ink, permanent marker, blood, tea, coffee, acrylic paint and many others. Can be used on clothings, leather, carpets any many other places. Dilute it with water when using on special fabrics like silk or wool.

Rubbing alcohol should be used in a ventilated area with caution, as it is inflammable and also gives out fumes that should not be inhaled.

4. Ammonia

Ammonia solution is strongly alkaline, hence it can be used to remove stains that contain acidic, or greasy substance. It works well on dried stains of blood, perspiration, fruit juices, urine, ink etc.

Ammonia solution comes in many variants. Make sure to use only plain ammonia solution and not the sudsy or scented ones. Whenever using ammonia to clean, first do a spot test on some hidden part of the fabric to ensure that it is colorfast to ammonia and does not get bleached.

Also keep in mind, never to mix ammonia with chlorine bleach, which results in highly toxic chloramine fumes.

5. Baking soda

After vinegar, baking soda is the most useful household item for cleaning jobs. It is alkaline in nature and can be used to lift stains made of acidic or greasy substances. And it is non-toxic.

Use it to clean your kitchen sink, marble or granite countertops, carpets, bathroom tiles, porcelain bathtubs and washbasins, clogged drains etc. The abrasive nature of the powder rubs away the dirt and the alkaline property reacts with acid based dirt and grease to break them down and decompose.

It is effective in removing stains cause by soil and grass. It can also be used as a deodorizer for your basements.

6. Borax

Borax is another powder with properties similar to baking soda. It is alkaline in nature and can be used in cleaning just like baking soda. Use directly or mix with water to form a solution. Can be used to launder clothes better or remove stains.

7. Bleach stain removers

Bleach is a very strong cleaner and often used to treat very strong stains. It comes in many variants like chlorine based, oxygen based etc. Before using bleach on a fabric you have to first ensure that it is safe for the fabric. Using bleach on the wrong fabric can completely ruin the color or even the fibers.

Oxygen bleach is considered safer than chlorine bleach and can be used on a wider variety of clothes. But still check the label on the fabric to ensure that it is bleach safe.

8. Club Soda

Club soda ( carbonated water ) is found effective in lifting certain types of stains from clothings and carpet. If you do not have club soda, you can try using non-flavored soft drinks.

If there is a ink or wine stain on the carpet, sprinkle a little salt and pour some club soda over it. Then dab with a sponge and the stain should lift out. Club soda can be used on almost any kind of stain on any fabric. It helps loosen out the stain and prevent it from setting in.

9. Color remover

Color removers are special products that can help you lift dye stains from white clothes that were mistakenly washed with colored clothes that were not colorfast. Some popular brands include Rit Color Remover and Carbona Color Run Remover. You can get them at your local hardware store, or on amazon.

10. Cream of tartar

Cream of tartar (Potassium Bitartrate) finds use in some cooking recipes, but can also be used for household cleaning. It is “acidic” in nature.

Mix some of it with vinegar or lemon juice to prepare a paste. This can be used to clean metals such as brass, aluminum or copper and other surfaces like porcelain. It can also be used to treat food stains on clothes.

11. Enzyme based detergents

Bleach free and enzyme based detergents are the best choice for removing almost all kinds of stains from fabrics, carpets and upholstery. You could also use dishwashing liquid like Dawn or Joy.

Mix about a teaspoonful of liquid laundry detergent or dish washing liquid in about a cup of warm water and add a tablespoon of white vinegar. This powerful cleaning solution can be used to lift stains from fabrics and carpets. Use a sponge to dab the stain with this solution and afterwards launder as usual.

Dry cleaning solvent

Dry cleaning solvents are specifically formulated for non-washable fabrics. They are available as liquid spray or even powder. Ideally you would spray the solvent on the stain area and then let it dry. The stain will be gone.

There are a variety of different dry cleaners available. Each has a different chemical composition for different kinds of fabrics and stains. Some are made for carpets and upholstery, while some for delicate fabrics like silk and wool. So you need to get the right kind of dry cleaning solvent. Check out on amazon.

Glycerin

Glycerin has an effect similar to that of alcohol and acetone. It can soften or completely dissolve stains out of fabrics. Its effective on both food/oil based stains like mustard, turmeric and chemical based stains like paint, ink etc. Just spray glycerin on the stain and let it sit for few minutes. Then dab with a wet sponge and see the stain coming out.

Hair spray

Hair spray contains high quantity of alcohol which gives it the cleaning ability. It can be used in the same fashion as rubbing alcohol. Can be quite effective in removing ink, wine, blood stains from fabrics and carpets. However just like rubbing alcohol it is also inflammable and toxic. So make sure to use only in ventilated places away from any heat or spark.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has “bleaching effect” and can soften or loosen out stubborn stains that have dried for some time. Use it on stains caused by food items like oil, mustard or chocolate. Make sure to use 3-5% solution of hydrogen peroxide. Also test it on some inconspicuous part of the fabric to test the colorfastness.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is nature’s bleach and disinfectant. It contains citric acid which acts as a cleaner. You can also add little salt to it to make a paste that is even more effective in removing the stains.

For white clothes, apply some lemon juice on the stain and hang in bright sunlight. The stain itself should evaporate. Or just pre-treat the stain with a paste of lemon juice and salt and let sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse it with fresh water and launder as usual.

Nail polish remover

Nail polish removers can remove stains other than those of nail polish. Try a non-acetone based nail polish remover first. It is less harsh on skin and fabrics.

Prewash stain removers

Prewash stain removers allow you to treat a stain before washing the garment. They come in spray or powder form. Apply on the stain and let it sit for few minutes. It removes the stain and then you can launder the clothes as usual. However be sure to read the instructions on the product and the label on the fabric. Popular stain removers are Oxi Clean, Shout Stain remover etc. All of them can be found on amazon.

Rust stain removers: Choose a commercial rust remover, available in supermarkets and hardware stores, or a 5% oxalic acid solution, which is available in pharmacies. Oxalic acid is poisonous, so always wear rubber gloves, rinse garments thoroughly to get rid of any traces of the rust remover, and avoid contact with skin and eyes. Always follow package directions carefully. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute recommends Rit Rust Remover (for washable white fabrics) and Whink Rust Remover (for colorfast fabrics).

Salt

Sometimes something as simple as salt can do a marvelous cleaning job. Mix with a lemon juice to prepare a paste. Use this paste to clear mildew stains from clothes. The same can be used to clean glassware and the kitchen sink.

If you just spilled wine on a carpet, sprinkle some salt on it and cover it. This will pull much of the wine out from the carpet and prevent it from setting in.

If you spilled somekind of sticky liquid or food recipe in the kitchen, use salt over to coagulate the liquid and remove it easily.

Vinegar

The plain white vinegar is perhaps the most useful cleaner for your home. It effective in lifting stains from clothings and carpets. Simply mix it with water and use directly over the stain. Or add a teaspoon of dishwash liquid to make it even more powerful. Plain white vinegar is widely available, is cheap and non-toxic.

Mix equal parts of vinegar with water and keep in a spray bottle. Vinegar is useful in cleaning water stains on utensils, glassware, bathroom tiles, faucets etc. Spray the solution and rub with a sponge. Avoid vinegar on stone surfaces like marble and granite.

Turpentine

Oils like turpentine are not meant to be used as cleaners but they can lift certain types of stain that are otherwise difficult to handle. These act as solvents and can easily dissolve stains caused by synthetic coloring compounds like paint, crayon, polish or even grease. Use it on wooden surface, laminate, glass, vinyl or even polyester jackets. Make sure to use very little of it.

Conclusion

So keep your favorite stain remover at hand and use it when ever you see something that needs cleaning. If you know any other useful cleaning aid, then let us know.

How to remove blueberry stains from clothes

By | July 12, 2016

Remove blueberry stains from clothes

The deep purple colors of blueberry are nicely visible the moment they stain some light colored fabric like a white shirt or cream color trouser. The stains are little bit stronger than other fruit colors and need extra effort and patience to remove.

While kids are eating a bowlful of blueberries or some blueberry smoothie recipe, they will end up feeding a little of it to their clothes. The juice of the fruit and the sugar content starts to set into the fabric fibers very quickly, developing stains. The sooner you treat them, easier they are to remove.

Common household cleaners like vinegar or alcohol can do a wonderful job in cleaning the stain if it is fresh and has not dried up yet. Fresh stains can be dissolved directly in a number of cleaning liquids and pulled out of the fabric almost instantly. It however gets tougher if the stain has dried up going unnoticed for several hours.

1. Rinse in water

If the stain is fresh, flush the fabric in plain water under the tap on in a washing tub. Doing so will release some of the blueberry juice into the water and make the stain lighter. Keep doing for a few minutes till no more color is being removed.

Now you need to take some action on the remaining stain.

2. Rubbing alcohol

Alcohol has this property of dissolving many coloring pigments found in natural and synthetic substances. Just get some rubbing alcohol and spray over the stain. Gently dab with a cotton ball or sponge.

You should notice the purple stains coming out over to the cotton. Keep doing so till you can pull out as much of the stain as possible. It should work even with dried stains.

Rinse again in fresh water. Apply rubbing alcohol again and see if it has any effect or not. If alcohol seems to have done all its work, continue with the next remedy. If the stain has gone away entirely, launder the garment as usual.

If you do not have alcohol at home, try glycerine. It can also dissolve coloring pigments in fruit stains. Another alternative is aftershave lotion.

3. Vinegar

Vinegar is yet another universal cleaner for fabric stains. The acetic acid breaks down the organic compounds in the food matter and eliminate the stain.

However, before applying vinegar make sure that the fabric can withstand it. Delicate fabrics like silk are not supposed to be washed with vinegar. But cotton and polyester should be just fine.

Soak the stain in a solution of 2 parts water with 1 part plain white vinegar. The stain colors should start dissolving in the water and come out of the fabric. Let it sit for few minutes, till the entire stain is gone or there is no more progress.

Another trick is to add a teaspoon of dish washing liquid to this washing solution. After this step, the stain should be completely gone, and you can then wash the fabric as usual with detergent.

If you do not have vinegar at home, try applying a paste of lemon juice and salt. Lemon juice is similar to vinegar.

4. The Borax method

Borax can also be used to lift out fruit stains from fabrics. Make a small amount of paste of 3 parts borax with 1 part water and spread it over the stain. Dab and rub gently with your fingers.

Let the paste do its work for about 10-15 minutes and then rinse. The stain should be gone or significantly reduced.

5. Commercial stain removers

It the stain is very old and dried for a long time or if the fabric has been ironed the stain might become kind of permanent. Natural remedies like alcohol and vinegar may no longer have any effect on such stains.

To deal with such stains try one of those commercial stain removers. On amazon you can find almost all the popular stain remover products. Here are some of the popular ones –

1. Shout Laundry Stain Remover – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007W29I6Q
2. Oxi Clean

Oxi Clean is a very popular stain remover that comes in both powder and spray liquid forms. Just pre-treat the stain with it and hold for few minutes. Rinse with water and the stain should be gone.

Extra tips

Whenever applying any cleaning solution, always do a spot test to check the colorfastness of the fabric. Apply the solution to some inconspicuous part of the fabric first and check if the dye color remains intact.

If nothing is available, you can just try to pre-treat the stain with plain dish washing liquid or laundry detergent. First rinse the stain in water and then apply some dish soap on it and let it sit for few minutes. This will loosen the stain so that it comes out completely in the next wash.

Hydrogen peroxide can also be used on such stains, if it is safe for the fabric. Read the fabric label for washing instructions first. Always use low concentration hydrogen peroxide solution and mix water in equal parts to dilute it further.

How to clean vomit from carpet

By | July 11, 2016

Remove vomit from carpet

It doesn’t happen all the time, but sometimes your nice carpet might spoiled by vomit specially if you have kits or pets at home. The bad thing about vomit is that it smells really bad and causes nausea to those around. And perhaps requires a lot of courage to clean.

Vomit contains food and digestive juices from the stomach which produce a strong odor and sticky stains into whatever fabric they fall. The sooner you act on it, the easier it would be to remove the stains and smell.

1. Clean up the excess

If its a fresh vomit the first daunting task is to clean up the solid mess. Use a dust pan, wear a mask on your face and go ahead with confidence.

Slowly and steadily collect all the dirt into something and dump it away in the toilet or elsewhere. If its a small carpet that can be lifted then fold it slightly and turn it sideways into a bucket to collect the scum.

2. Pour baking soda

Pour in generous amounts of baking soda on the vomit area enough to cover up the whole thing. Press a little and let it stay for an hour or so. Baking soda will absorb the liquid of the vomit and also the bad odor. You should immediately notice the bad odor going away after sprinkling the baking soda on the vomit.

Instead of baking soda you can also try corn starch. You can also try mixing plain white salt with baking soda.

Once the baking soda has done its job, just remove it from the carpet using a duster or just vacuum it out. Now the solid, the liquid and odor of the vomit should be all gone away. Whatever left would be a mild smell and some stains on the carpet. Vomit can leave behind stains depending on whatever food matter there was in it.

3. Clean up the residue with vinegar

Vinegar can help in removing the residual stain and the smell. Mix about equal parts of plain white vinegar with warm water in a cup. Also add about a teaspoon of dish washing liquid.

Now use a sponge to soak this solution and blot the stain with it. Gently dab and rub a little till the stain start dissolving. Do not try to rub hard. Afterwards pour plain water to rinse out this cleaning solution. Press with a paper towel to dry out the water.

After cleaning with vinegar, vacuum the wet area to dry the carpet. Finally all stains and odors should be gone.

4. Hydrogen peroxide

If you still see some traces of the stain left, even after cleaning with vinegar and dishwash liquid, try pouring a little bit of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution over the stain. Press with a paper towel. This should lift away any remaining stains and odors.

Commercial carpet stain remover

Does it seem like a lot of work preparing your own cleaning solutions at home ? Then get yourself one of those commercial carpet cleaning liquids. There are actually many many carpet cleaners available in the market. Check out amazon to find out more. Here are the names of some popular carpet cleaners.

1. Resolve Carpet Triple Oxi Advanced Carpet Stain Remover – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000TDZH3S

2. Liquid Oxi Clean Stain Remover – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005V9ZDGG/

After having cleaned with baking soda, spray Oxi clean on the stain and let it sit for few minutes. Then pour some water and dab with paper towel or sponge. The stain should dissolve away and then you can vacuum or dry the carpet.

Extra tips

Another home remedy to remove stains from carpet is using club soda with salt. Sprinkle a little salt over the stain. Now pour club soda all over it. Now use a paper towel to soak out the stain. So if you don’t have vinegar and hydrogen peroxide at home, try this recipe instead.

If the carpet is expensive and made of delicate fabrics, then you may want to consider calling a professional instead of doing the cleaning yourself.

How to remove mold from a mattress

By | July 10, 2016

Removing mold from mattress

Having a clean and odor-free mattress is very important for good health, not just because you spend about a third of the day sleeping on it, but also because it is very close to your body when you sleep on it.

Any kind of dirt, dust, or mold that contaminates the mattress is will absolutely affect your body through respiration and skin. When you sleep on a mattress affected with the smell of mold you are directly inhaling the micro-organisms and the toxic gases they produce.

Mold can be very risky for patients suffering respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis or any other form of allergy. It can also cause irritation to the eyes and skin if present in large quantities.

In humid climate conditions, mattresses are vulnerable to mold growth since they move little, are cleaned seldom and not exposed to bright sunlight. So it becomes very important to clean away the mold to ensure that it is fit and healthy for human use.

Mold can appear on either side of the mattress. It can appear anywhere on the mattress, either the surface or even deep inside. Mattresses are often made of foam which is porous inside and provides space for moisture to get trapped. Moisture and warmth is what mold needs to grow.

Sometimes mold can even grow out due to liquid spills on it. Kids often spill milk or water that instantly seeps inside the foam and rests there until cleaned appropriately or dries itself after a very long time.

However such spills provide a very conducive environment for mold and other forms of fungal growths. And with kids at home you have to be even more careful about cleanliness to ensure health safety.

1. Do a thorough inspection

This relates directly to your health, so be extra careful and check the mattress thoroughly. Check all sides of the mattress and find all signs of mold.

Check if the mold has appeared only on the surface or is it entrenched deep inside the foam. Also check the pillows if they have also been affected by the mold.

To clean the mold you will need things like a vacuum, rubbing alcohol, simple dusting broom.

2. Vacuum the mattress

Get a vacuum and pull out all the excess mold on the surface. The vacuum should be able to clear away most of the mold on the surface without spreading it in air.

Vacuum all sides of the mattress evenly. Continue doing so for few minutes till all the visible mold spore is gone and the mattress surface feels drier than before.

If you do not have a vacuum, then take the mattress in some open space and use a broom to dust the entire surface. Wear a protective mask to prevent inhaling the air particles while cleaning.

3. Clean with alcohol

Alcohol is an effective in removing mold. Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol with warm water in a small bucket. Soak a washcloth in the solution and squeeze out the excess liquid. Now use this cloth to rub the moldy area of the mattress. Clean the mattress thoroughly.

Make sure that the washcloth is not too wet, to avoid the mattress getting from soaking the excess water.

After cleaning with alcohol, turn on the fans and open the windows in the room. This will help the mattress dry quickly. Also vacuum the mattress again in the area where the alcohol was applied.

4. Lay out in bright sunlight

Sunlight is a completely natural and the probably the best way to disinfect your mattress and clothes from all kinds of germs, damp and decays. It can work wonders and kill even the most dangerous of mold infestations.

Bright sunlight with heat the mattress inside out and completely eliminate all moisture and damp from it. This will also kill all mold , bacteria and virus that might be left anywhere inside.

The heat of sun will also reduce bad odors and make the mattress feel fresh and new. The best way to do this is by laying out the mattress on the roof. Put some papers or a nylon sheet beneath the mattress to avoid it getting dirty.

Let the mattress stay in the sun for the entire day. During the day flip it upside down to make sure that both sides get equal heat. Repeat this process for several days if the results are not yet satisfactory.

While the mattress is lying in the sun, sprinkle baking soda on it all around and rub a little with hands. The baking soda will remove any sticky dirt from the surface of the mattress and make it cleaner. Afterwards, dust off the soda or vacuum it out.

Extra tips and advice

After cleaning the mattress, take care of it to prevent mold from growing again. Avoid putting any wet cloth like a towel on the mattress for long. This cause the mattress to get wet and absorb moisture.

Always use a bedsheet over the mattress to protect it. Avoid eating or drinking on the mattress to avoid any liquid spills.

Change the bedsheet, regularly like once every 2 months. Vacuum the mattress everytime you clean it to ensure that it is free from dust and moisture. If you ever notice any smell coming out of the mattress take immediate action without delay. Foul smell would always indicate mildew/mold that needs to be cleaned away as soon as possible.

Avoid cleaning mattress molds with laundry detergents or soap. They can leave behind sediments which can again attract moisture from air and permeate deep into the mattress foam. Also, while cleaning with washcloths always make sure that the washcloth is squeezed properly to remove all excess water.

After regular cleaning you may want to use some disinfectant on the mattress to deep clean the mold and prevent it from occurring again for some time. However make sure that you choose a disinfectant that is natural or non-toxic. Using toxic chemicals can again be harmful if any traces are left behind.

Let us know if you have any suggestions or queries about removing mold from your mattress. Thanks for reading.

How to clean your home with vinegar – Dos and Don’ts

By | July 9, 2016

Vinegar – a versatile cleaning solution

Vinegar is a very common household item that is useful in cleaning many things in your house. Its non-toxic, cheap and widely available. If you are looking for non-toxic alternatives to the commercial cleaning solutions, then try vinegar.

First you should know that vinegar contains acetic acid, so it is an “acidic cleaner”. This itself explains a lot about how you should be using it.

Almost everything that can be cleaned with acids can be cleaned with vinegar, except that vinegar is a low-strength acid. Its safe on human skin and is less likely to cause any hazards when used.

However, anything that cannot be cleaned with acid, should be kept away for vinegar too. This includes mineral rich surfaces like marble and granite.

Prepare your vinegar solution

Preparing your cleaning solution with vinegar is actually simpler than you think. Just get a spray bottle and fill it with plain white vinegar and water in equal parts.

That is it. Your powerful cleaning solution is ready for job. Next you should know what all you should be cleaning with vinegar and what not.

Things NOT to clean with vinegar

First lets take a look at all the things you should not be cleaning with vinegar. Keeping these in minds should save you from lots of troubles later on.

1. Marble and Granite flooring and countertops

Anything made of mineral stones like marble, granite etc should not applied with vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and it reacts with the minerals on these surfaces.

The result would be an etched or corroded surface that looses its shine and some stains along with it. It can really spoil the looks of a finely finished surface, if used in a concentrated dose.

2. Iron and other metal surfaces

Do not apply vinegar on surfaces of raw metals like iron. The acid in vinegar can potentially react with metals and cause corrosion.

However, objects made of stainless steel like kitchen sinks can be cleaned with vinegar.

3. Wooden furniture and flooring

Wood may also react with vinegar’s acid. Wood is a natural substance and contains lots of organic chemical compounds that may get eroded with the effect of vinegar.

4. Certain fabrics like silk and linen

Delicate fabrics like silk and linen may not be able to withstand the acidic effect of vinegar and may get ruined. So if you are trying to use vinegar to remove stains from clothes, first check the fabric type.

Things to clean with vinegar

Apart from the above things, you can cleaning almost everything else with vinegar. Here is a big list of things.

1. Glassware

Glass utensils, glass mirrors or any other things made of glass, can be cleaned with vinegar. Vinegar will lift up all the dust, scum and other sticky dirt away from the glass. Use a spray bottle to spray vinegar solution on glass and rub with a sponge.

To clean glass crockery simply take a small tub and fill it with 20 parts water and 1 part plain white vinegar. Put in all the utensils and leave overnight. Next morning clean with plain water.

2. Vinyl & plastic structures

Vinyl is a polymer used to make doors, chairs and similar furniture for households. It can be easily cleaned with vinegar. If you have plastic chairs and vinyl doors, spray vinegar on them and rub away with a sponge.

3. Porcelain tiles

Porcelain or ceramic tiles in bathrooms, kitchens can also be cleaned with vinegar. Tiles in the bathroom get dirty and due to stains cause by soap scum and water and other things. Spray vinegar and rub. Clean wash basins and bath tubs the same way

4. Mold on walls

Vinegar is an excellent cleaner for small amounts of mold on the wall. Simply spray vinegar on the mold and rub with a scrubber till its all gone. For larger molds however you would need alternatives like detergent and bleach.

5. Food stains on fabrics

Vinegar can help lift stains on clothes and fabrics caused by food items. Stains caused by chocolate, mustard, tumeric can be lifted by dabbing with vinegar. After the stain is completely gone, wash as usual.

6. Clogged drains

Vinegar together with baking soda can clear off the jam in clogged drains. Pour down about a cup of baking soda in the drain hole. Then pour a cup of vinegar. It will cause a fizzy reaction and loosen out the clogged dirt inside the drain pipe. Let it do the job for about 15 minutes and the pour in hot boiling water. This will flush out everything.

7. Stainless steel

The stainless steel sink in the kitchen, the faucet and the utensils can be cleaned with vinegar. Just apply diluted vinegar solution and rub. Vinegar will fight hard water stains and restore the original shine of the steel.

8. Plastic containers

Plastic containers like bottles, buckets, tubs etc can be cleaned with vinegar. Spray enough vinegar all over and start rubbing with sponge.

To clean plastic bottles leave them in vinegar solution for a night and clean with plain water next day. You can also use lemon juice for this trick.

9. Stains on carpets

Vinegar can be used to clean stains on carpets just like other fabrics and clothings. Just pour some vinegar on the stain followed by warm water and start dabbing with a cotton ball or sponge. This will lift out the stain. Its very effective in getting rid of stains like wine, ink, tea, coffee etc.

10. Mildew smell in clothes

Clothes that have been left in damp conditions for long will start smelling. Its the mildew smell. To get rid of it, just wash the clothes in the washer as usual but with a cup of vinegar. Vinegar will completely remove the musty odor from clothes and make them smell fresh.

Extra tips and advice

The uses of vinegar is endless and a single page article like this cannot cover it. However you are free to try it out in new and creative ways to get a clean and sparkling home.

In effect vinegar is similar to lemon/lime juice. So you can also use lemon peels and lemon juice to clean things that you would clean with vinegar. Lemon is useful in cleaning kitchen things like sinks and utensils.

If you really want to learn more about the uses of vinegar in household cleaning tasks, then I would recommend you to buy some of the those books on amazon.com about vinegar and its many uses.

How to remove hard water stains from stainless steel sinks

By | July 8, 2016

Remove hard water stains from stainless steel sinks

Hard water stains develop quite frequently on the surface of sinks as they are exposed to water all the time. The stains are white in color and are quite visible on the shining surface of stainless steel.

Ordinary water supply at home consists of lots of different dissolved minerals made of calcium and magnesium. These minerals are dissolved under normal conditions, but they tend to deposit out wherever the water stays for long. This includes the pipeline itself and other things the water touches, like your sink, utensils and appliances.

The levels of minerals in water varies across places. For instance if the water in your area has more mineral concentration, then you would see more of such hard water stains and frequently.

The minerals are not bad at all. They give water the natural taste and provide the human body with some essential minerals for free. The only problem is the stains they leave behind.

Getting rid of hard water stains in your sink is not difficult at all. The stains are made of mineral crystals, so any acidic cleaner would be quite effective in cleaning them.

Vinegar, lemon juice are some common household items that are acidic in nature and very effective in cleaning off these hard water stains.

1. Baking Soda

If there is a lot of greasy scum on the sink then you should start with baking soda. Baking soda helps rub off all particles of dirt and oil and grease.

Sprinkle plenty of baking soda in the sink and start rubbing with a sponge or scrubber. If will loosen the hard water stains due to the abrasive effect and clean away all organic dirt including food particles and grease. At the end the only thing should be left is very light stains that baking soda cannot lift. Use vinegar or lemon juice then.

2. Begin with Vinegar

Use a solution of 1 part water with 1 part vinegar. Soak a sponge with this solution and start rubbing the sink.

If the stains are hard, then spray vinegar on the stains and let them sit for a couple of hours. This will allow the acid in vinegar to do its action and loosen up the minerals. Then you can continue rubbing the whole thing.

Instead of vinegar you can also use lemon peels. Just rub the pulp site of the peels on the stains and they should start falling off. Once everything is clean, rinse with fresh water.

3. Commercial steel cleaning products

There are plenty of products available in the market made specially for cleaning stainless steel. You can find them on amazon.com

1. Howard Natural Stainless Steel Cleaner – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IYS6QHG
2. Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser & Polish – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000V72992

Clean the drain as well

Now that you just cleaned the surface of the sink, how about cleaning the drainage beneath as well. Its simple and you need the same baking soda and vinegar.

Just pour in about 2-3 cups of baking soda into the drain holes. Make sure the fall through the drain. Now pour in about a cup of vinegar. This will instantly cause a fizzy reaction between baking soda and vinegar which will do a great cleaning job deep inside the drain. Let the reaction continue for about 10 minutes.

Finally pour in some hot water to clean off all the residues. Now you should have a clean drain pipe that has no bad odors.

Extra tips and advice

While cleaning the sink do not mix baking soda and vinegar at the same time. Baking soda is alkaline while vinegar is acidic. Mixing them would instantly cause a reaction and make the thing useless for any cleaning.

Water stains that are not very old and small in size can often be removed and the metal surface underneath would restore to its original shine. However, there are situations when some chemical reactions have set in permanently changing the chemisty of the stained area. Cleaning would make the thing look better but may not bring back the same old finishing.

Flavored beverage drinks like pepsi or fanta contain phosphoric acid which is also a good cleaning agent for mineral deposits. You can try and experiment if you have those drinks at home. Use them the same way as vinegar.

Avoid rubbing the sink with highly abrasive cleaning pads as they could streak the steel surface causing permanent damage. Try to use cleaning solutions to dissolve the stains and scum as much as possible, and rub with a sponge.

If you know of some other cool trick to clean up hard water stains then let us know in the comment box below. Thanks for reading.

How to get rid of musty smell in basement

By | July 7, 2016

Remove musty smell from basement

Basements are one of the places in your house that can develop bad odor. The bad odor can rise out of many things including mold growth, dirt, and other air borne spores. The main reason behind this is the trapped moisture created by poor ventilation.

Basements are often closed places that have little or no ventilation at all. Over time, moisture starts getting trapped in there and starts producing the musty smell. If there is a damp or water leakage in any of the walls, the situation gets only worse.

If you are serious about keeping your house clean, then take care of these bad odors as well. Bad odors anywhere are a sign of decay and negative energy. They are bad for health.

Cleaning up the musty basement will take some work, but is easy if you are determined. Few household things can help do a wonderful job.

1. Check damp and water problems

The first thing is to ensure that there are no damp problems. Damp can rise out of leaking water pipes or accumulating rain water due to poor construction. Moisture may even seep through the foundation of the building which can be difficult to detect.

If there are any signs of water or damp coming in the area from anywhere, that is the first thing you need to fix. Damp often appears as dark patches on the walls that are painted white.

Do a thorough inspection of the walls, floor and the ceiling. If the level of damp appears quite serious then it is best advised to seek professional help.

Make the entire area as much waterproof as you can. The longer it stays dry, the lesser will be the odor.

2. Check for mold and mildew

A major cause of bad odor in closed places is the growth of mold or mildew. These micro organisms grow where ever there is moisture or damp and lack of ventilation and sunlight.

Removing mold is an easy task. All you need to do is clean the moldy area with bleach or borax mixed water. Even laundry detergent can do the job.

3. Clean the whole place

For best results clean the whole place. This will get rid of whatever has built up over time and also give a better idea of what to do next.

Use suitable cleaning material for the walls, floor, ceilings and other structures. Detergent, vinegar, baking soda are some common household things that can be used for cleaning.

4. Ventilate

Adequate ventilation is the key to eliminate odor and make the place better. If there are any windows, open them right away.

The old stale air needs to be replaced with fresh air. This will reduce the moisture in the air and also the odor. You can use a portable fan or something similar to force some circulation in the whole place.
A vacuum blower or a leaf blower can be useful to circulate the air in the corners and edges. Try what ever you have.

5. Deodorize with vinegar

Vinegar helps fight bad odors. Placing a bowl full of vinegar in your basement can do the trick to keep musty smell out.

It will work only for a few weeks, after which it has to be replaced with fresh vinegar. It is quite cheap but effective.

Sprinkle baking soda

Similar to vinegar, even baking soda can help reduce smell in the air. Sprinkle plenty of baking soda in the corners and edges of the entire room. It will help absorb the bad smell.

Plain baking soda in your kitchen should do the job. Otherwise you can get some commercial baking soda based odor removal product, like this –

Place an opened container of baking soda in the basement, as baking soda will absorb the unpleasant odors for up to three months.

Arm & Hammer Fridge-N-Freezer Baking Soda, Odor Absorber – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BRYJ702

Commercial deodorizer products

There are plenty of odor removal products available in the market that can help fight bad odors in the basement. They typically come in small pouches that you just need to place in the smelly area and it will automatically absorb the odor causing gases from the environment, and optionally give out some good odor as well.

Here are a few such deodorizers that you can buy on amazon.

1. SMELLEZE Reusable Deodorizer Pouch – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004SBOV5M
2. Gonzo Corporation Basement Odoreliminator – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000L9R9E0

There are lots more similar products available on amazon. Search and find a suitable one.

Maintenance

After getting rid of the odors once, make sure it does not appear again for atleast a long time. This will need regular maintenance even if in small quantities.

1. Cleanup the place regularly, like once a month or 2.

2. Keep humidity under control. Ventilate the place once in a few weeks to move out the clogged air and get fresh air in. You could also use a dehumidifier to dry out the air moisture completely.

3. Keep a check on water leakage and damp. Leakage problems should be fixed at the very first sight to avoid damp spreading deep across the walls and structures.

Extra tips

Similar to baking soda, charcoal can also absorb bad odor. Place some charcoal bricks in a container and put it in the basement. However, make sure to use “plain” barbecue charcoal and not the “easy light” charcoal that contains lighter fluid in them.

If you like the smell of olives, then dust the basement area with olive leaf powder. Not only will it eliminate the musty smell, it will also keep any mold from forming.

Let us know if you know of any other method to fight odors in the basement. For any further queries or suggestions please use the comment box below. Thanks for reading.

How to remove acrylic paint from clothes

By | July 5, 2016

Remove acrylic paint from clothes

Acrylic paints are those that kids use in their art and craft classes for painting. So if your kids are into paint and stuff then you will at some point of time come across acrylic paint stains on their clothes.

Acrylic paints are generally water soluble while being used to paint, but they come water resistant once they dry up. So when they land up on clothes the stains dry up within an hour or so.

Removing acrylic paint is easy and does not require too much of work. The ingredients needed are easily available at home.

1. Flush out excess paint with water

If the paint is fresh and wet, you should right away take it under a tap and flush away the excess paint quickly. Keep washing till most of the color has washed off. Afterwards a residual stain would be left which would be light in color and depth and can be easily removed with other common household items.

2. Rubbing alcohol

Acrylic paints are made of chemical compounds that easily dissolve into alcohol. So rubbing alcohol can be used as a solvent to pull out the acrylic paint from the fabric.

Soak the stain area with rubbing alcohol and dab with a sponge. The paint should start dissolving and come out easily. Apply more alcohol if needed.

If you do not have rubbing alcohol at home, try aftershave lotion or hairspray. They also contain alcohol like substances and can have a similar effect.

In some cases, the paint may be too strong for rubbing alcohol to remove. Then you can try some stronger alcohol like denatured alcohol.

This method works best if the fabric is white in color. With colored fabrics, you may want to do a spot test first to check if the dye on the fabric is resistant to alcohol.

3. Hair Spray

Hair spray also contains alcohol which can be used to dissolve and lift stains. Get a can of hair spray and spray it on the stain directly. You may first want to try it on some hidden part of the fabric to test colorfastness.

After applying hair spray on the stain, use a sponge to dab it and see if the color starts to lift from the fabric. Apply more hair spray as needed.

Once the stain has been removed completely, wash the clothes as usual in laundry detergent.

4. Dish soap with hot water

Since acrylic paints dissolve in water to some extent, they may loosen up a bit upon applying hot water with some soap.

Apply some dish soap directly on the fabric and soak it in hot water. But first make sure that the fabric is washable in hot water. Gently rub the fabric with your own fingers and see if it comes out.

If you see the stain slowly getting reduced and dissolving out in the water, leave it like that for few minutes or hour till the whole stains is lifted.

Stains that are wet will respond quickly to this method. Dried stains may take some time or may not be affected at all.

Acetone based nail varnish remover

Similar to alcohol, acetone can also dissolve acrylic paints. Acetone based nail varnish removers can be used for this purpose.

However keep in mind, that acetone or any acetone based solution should never be applied on acetate/triacetate based fabrics. Acetate based fabrics tend to “dissolve” in acetone.

Also you should first test the acetone on some inconspicuous part of the fabric first to check if the fabric is colorfast.

Blot the paint stain with nail polish remover using a sponge or cotton ball. See if the paint transfers the cotton ball. If it does so, continue dabbing till the whole stain disappears to has been reduced as much as possible.

Afterwards you can wash it with usual laundry detergent.

Commercial stain remover

If there are traces of the stain that persist even after applying alcohol then you can try some commercial stain remover products. They are available on amazon.com

These products are often very effective in lifting the stain completely. Always check the manufacturers instructions first before applying it on the fabric.

Tips and extra advice

Like always, do not forget to first do a spot test when applying any cleaning solution or mixture to the fabric.

There is another trick to remove the paint stain that involves freezing the garment. Freezing the stain might help to break it and pull it out of the fabric. You need to first freeze the whole garment so that the paint in the stain becomes hard enough. Then use something like a credit card to hit it gently to break it and separate from the fabric.

How to remove mold from wood

By | July 4, 2016

Removing mold from wood

Mold and mildew thrive in places that have moisture, moderate temperature and lack of adequate ventilation or fresh air. They can grow on a variety of organic and sometimes even inorganic surfaces.

Wood is an organic surface that has the tendency to absorb moisture and consequently it provides a very conducive environment for growth of fungal microbes like mold and mildew. Humid climates make it even more favorable for mold to grow.

Wooden structures exposed to outside environment like rain or wet soil are more prone to develop mold growth. If these structures make up your house, then its very necessary to take care of the wood and prevent mold.

Why you should clean away the mold

Mold is a sign and symptom of decay which is not good in any way. Though in small quantities it does not really pose any risk, but you should ask yourself as to why should there be any decay or dirt in the house.

In large quantities, certain species of mold can be hazardous to human health. They give out toxic gases which if inhaled can cause allergies and other health symptoms. But why let the situation get worse to that extent. The best thing is to get rid of mold at the first sight.

Cleaning away the mold

Cleaning the mold may require some effort. Depending on the size of the affected area you may be able to either do it yourself or have to call a professional.

For most simple places like wooden furniture or a simple wooden structure you can work out yourself. You will need few household items like baking soda, bleach and detergent to clean the mold.

However if the affected area is quite large or is in a place that you cannot reach out to, you better call a professional. For example, if there is a large wooden ceiling that is badly affected by mold, then you may not want to do it yourself.

1. Scrub with soap or home detergent

Just mix some detergent in a small tub of water and prepare a solution. You can also add some baking soda to it to increase the alkalinity of the solution.

Now use a sponge or scrubber to soak the solution and start rubbing the wooden surface where the mold is. You should see the mold coming over to the scrubber instantly.

Keep rubbing till you have scrubbed off all the mold. Instead of detergent you can also use dish soap or dish washing liquid.

Detergent or dish soap are mild cleaning agents that work best if you are dealing with wood that is painted or has some kind of protective coating. On such wooden surface the mold generally remains only on the surface and has not penetrated deep. So cleaning with just detergent or soap will suffice.

Once the mold has been cleaned away, its very important to dry the wood completely. Make sure there is as much ventilation as possible in the room. Turn on the fans to get more air flowing. Alternatively you can use a vacuum blower to blow some hot air onto the wood to dry it quickly.

If the wood is not painted or polished in anyway, and the mold has grown all over in great quantity then you would need a more powerful cleaner like bleach or ammonia.

2. Bleach

If there is a very heavy growth of mold, then you need a more powerful cleaner like chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach is a very powerful chemical that kills all microscopic organisms like mold and mildew.

Mix liquid chlorine bleach with 2x times water in spray bottle and begin spraying this solution on the mold. As earlier, use a scrubber to rub along the mold.

Bleach gives out a very pungent and toxic smell that you would not want to inhale in excess. If you are working indoors, make sure to ventilate the place by opening all doors and windows. Also use hand gloves and protective respiratory masks.

In case of polished wood, the mold is generally only on the surface and can be cleaned off completely with bleach.

Otherwise if the wood is not varnished or polished, the mold growth could have penetrated deep inside the pores of the wood surface. Bleach may not go deep inside the pores and fibers of the wood to clean out all mold. You may have to use some commercial mold removal product.

3. Ammonia

Ammonia is a strongly alkaline substance and is effective in eliminating mold. Simply mix equal parts of ammonia solution with water and fill in a spray bottle.

Now spray ammonia on the mold area and rub with a scrubber. That should remove the mold. Ammonia is very effective in disinfecting and cleaning. However ammonia has its own pungent smell that you may find very irritating. When using ammonia solution, mask your face with something.

Note – When using ammonia, always remember to keep it away from bleach. Ammonia and bleach react together producing highly toxic chloramine gases.

4. Other commercial mold cleaning products

Apart from the above mentioned remedies, there are various other commercial mold removal products( called mildewcides) available in the market out there. Here are the names of few of them.

Concrobium Mold Control – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000UVGHQK

Whenever using commercial mold removal products, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Varnish the wood

After removing the mold and all stains, you may want to consider painting or varnishing the wood to protect it and prevent the mold from re-occurring in future.

There are quite a few options like paste wax, lacquer, varnish, polyurethane etc. These are industry grade chemicals and it is best advised to consult and hire a professional for this task.

Precaution

If you are dealing with massive amounts of mold and plan to use bleach, then its important to wear protection equipment to avoid inhaling any toxic gases that may be produced during the cleaning process.

Make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a mask or something else. Also get protective goggles is possible. Also make sure to put on hand gloves to avoid any direct contact with mold.

When using ammonia or bleach, always remember never to mix both of them together. Mixing ammonia with bleach produces highly toxic gases.