General Cleaning Hints and Tips
Kill Ninety-nine Percent of Bacteria. A recently published scientific study indicated that to effectively clean & deodorise any surface (countertops, cutting boards, toothbrushes, even fruit & veggies) keep two spray bottles – 1 with hydrogen peroxide and one with white vinegar (hydrogen peroxide cannot be mixed as it loses its efficacy and also needs to be kept in a dark/coloured bottle)
Spray one then the other over it (doesn’t matter which one first) and wipe. The study indicated that this combination kills 99% of all known bacteria and is 10 times more effective that either one used alone. -- Lyndis Zirbel (Down Under)
Cleaning Large Areas: Walls and Hard Floors.
Use an ordinary broom, a bucket full of cleaning solution and an old towel to make light work of washing large areas. Unless the surfaces are really dirty or greasy, you can use washing-up liquid in warm water with a few sloshes of vinegar added. Dip the broom into the bucket of solution, let the excess drain off, and then start at the top of the wall and work downwards. When you have finished one section, use the old towel to dry off the wall,
If the cleaning solution is not too dirty, you can use it to clean the kitchen or bathroom floor, and use the towel again to dry the floor. I wash the floor with the broom, and then (with bare feet) walk the towel around the floor to mop up the excess solution. Then just rinse the broom and bucket, and fling the towel in the washing machine with your coloureds. Voila! You now have a clean wall, a clean floor and a clean broom with relatively little effort -- Penelope Joan Downs
How to remove Sticky Residue from Glass If there is residue left on the glass jar after you remove the label, and that residue remains after soaking in hot soapy water, use charcoal lighter on a paper towel and rub. It will disappear in an instant! L. Stevens More on Sticky Residues
Washing Dark Clothes: My tip for washing dark clothes to stop them from fading is wash them in conditioner only, it works very well and I have been doing this for years. -- Janet Chapman
Chewing Gum on Clothes. I once used a can of pressured air (the kind for cleaning keyboards) for getting chewing gum out. If you hold it upside down whilst spraying then the stuff that comes out will instantly freeze chewing gum - allowing you to pick it straight off. Much quicker than putting it in the freezer and waiting for hours - not very economical I admit, but it is a quicker way. Vicky, United Kingdom. -- Vicky Wood
Gum on Clothing. Unlike freezing and scraping the gum off (which can thin or destroy an item of clothing), a method which takes little strength and should not damage the item of clothing is simply this:
Take a small amount of white wine vinegar and heat until warm. Take an old toothbrush and begin to rub the gum and surrounding material with the vinegar. The gum will start to soften and come away from the material. This process may require some patience but the gum will come off with no damage to the material. The item of clothing should then be washed. I have not tried this with gum in the hair! -- Regards, Amaia UK
Blood Stains. Another way to remove blood stains from clothes is hydrogen peroxide. Put some on a cotton ball and dab at the stain till gone! Works great!! Love your site!! -- Sharon~AZ
Streaky Mirror. Ever have a problem with a streaky mirror? Try using furniture polish, pledge or the like. Works better than glass cleaner and will leave an invisible shield that will repel dust and dirt. -- Jason Valliquette 23 Jan 2006
Soap Scum on Shower Curtains. I used Bathroom Vim to spray Plastic - Vinyl Shower Curtains then dumped some Vim also in the Washing Machine, did not use any other soap. They came out looking like New. Sincerely, -- Maureen McKillican. --
Dryer Sheets. I have discovered that instead of wasting paper towels or putting more lint and crud back into your washing machine, You can use your "used" dryer sheets as washing machine lint and crud remover that collects around the opening of your washer! I don't know if anyone else has offered this advice or not.....I felt compelled to submit it though......TAMMY
Window Cleaner. I transfer Windowlene (the pink stuff) into an empty squeezable ketchup bottle. It’s makes life much easier when cleaning your windows. It’s easier to get onto your cloth without spilling it everywhere. I accidentally knocked an open bottle of Windowlene on to the carpet whilst cleaning my sons bedroom window and I’ve used an empty ketchup bottle ever since. Kind regards, -- vicky wood
Streaky Windows and Mirrors. Never can get the lint and streaks off windows and mirrors? Use the pockets from jeans. cut out and wash pockets then use your normal window cleaner stick your hand in the pocket and use one side to wipe, turn pocket around and dry up with this side. Also don't use dryer sheets with the pockets or other cleaning towels you may use. It will leave a residue on what ever you clean. The pockets work great for TV. and computer screens too, or ironically use USED dryer sheets for dusting TV and computer screens. -- J Musson
Blood and Grease
1. To remove blood from clothes, soak in strong COLD salt solution, as soon as possible after the stain happens. For mild stains on white cloth, sunshine is a very good harmless bleach.
2. To get rid of grease (e.g. chicken fat) stains from clothes, dab on eucalyptus oil just before washing. The eucalyptus binds with the other fat and is volatile so disappears with hot water. Heavy staining might take a few applications.
Your site is riveting, I've enjoyed it very much. Best wishes, Kate 23 May 2006
Cleaning Hint. Use liquid laundry detergent half cup to 20 ounces water put in spray bottle good to use in bathroom & soap scum 'sink & clean toilet' also can add teaspoon alcahol to the cleaner to disinfect. healthier for your lungs. Mrs Jackie Lester -- 3 Sep 2006
The Absolute Best All Purpose Cleaner.Engine degreaser. It comes in a huge 5 gallon bottle that can be purchased at wal-mart , k-mart, target, or automotive part store for about $5. It removes adhesives, cleans carpets, furniture, clothing, walls, bathrooms...EVERYTHING. It sounds like it would be a very harsh astringent, but it actually isn't. I use it all the time and have for years. -- Joey October 2006
Cleaning Crayon off Walls Tip. For removing crayon off walls or doors simply heat on a low setting with a hairdryer and simply wipe of with a wet slightly soaped cloth. -- Natalie Wyness. Aberdeen, Scotland. 6 Dec 2006
Oven tip. If you are only using one tray in the oven, remove the other(s) so that any grease on them doesn't get burned on even more. -- June Gill 20 Dec 2006
I have a few tips you might use on your site.
1. Carpet Stains from pets, kids, etc.... - Spray - n - Wash...just spray it on the stain and either use paper towels to gently rub or I use a small carpet cleaner and they come right up and there isn't a smell left either. My husband is in the Army and it even works when he tracks in mud and dirt from his combat boots.
2. Flat top stoves... - Rubbing Alcohol....I could never get it clean enough or keep streak marks off of it since it'sblack and one day I tried Alcohol. Works wonders! -- Tera E. Bellemare Jun 15 2007
Streaky Windows and Mirrors. Never can get the lint and streaks off windows and mirrors? Use the pockets from jeans. cut out and wash pockets then use your normal window cleaner stick your hand in the pocket and use one side to wipe, turn pocket around and dry up with this side. Also don't use dryer sheets with the pockets or other cleaning towels you may use. It will leave a residue on what ever you clean. The pockets work great for t.v. and computer screens too, or ironically use USED dryer sheets for dusting tv and computer screens.~~ j musson Oct 2005
Microwave Ovens -- Don't like the smell of pop corn, or bacon in the microwave? Got a filthy oven with splattered lasagne or chili. Clean it the easy way. Cut a lemon into quarters. Put in a 2 cup Pyrex jug. Put one cup of water in and put on high for 5 minutes. The steam and lemon melt away dirt. Just wipe dry with cloth or paper towel. Your oven is now spotless and NO ODOURS!-- Lorraine Smardon Ontario Canada 18 Dec 2002
Pitch Removal from Clothes Apply nail polish remover directly on the pitch on fabric, and then apply any dish detergent, rub thoroughly and rinse out pitch along with the detergent. There may be a fading problem with some fabrics although I have not experienced any. I have used this method on cotton,wool and synthetics without any problem. The advantage of nail polish remover over paint thinner is odor is gone with the initial rinseout. -- Sharlene and Wayne Farley Grease in Garments, Carpets etc. Use aerosol brake cleaner.....its like dry cleaning fluid ~~ Linda Louf 08/07/2004
Clean your Jewellery I find that the least expensive and best way to shine up your jewellery is with a Toothbrush and plain toothpaste. It is slightly abrasive, but not enough to do any damage and boy oh boy will your gems sparkle! Sincerely Niina 09/07/2005
Marks on Walls. For pencil and pen marks on walls ...just dip a cloth in milk and rub the mark. This always works for me...Vanessa -- 5 May 2005
Novel Cleaner: To remove ink or oily grimy spots from cloths carpet etc spray with "cleaner for dry erase surfaces" (used on white boards) then gently rub the spot out. Anon
Odour -Smoke. Hi I heard a tip when wanting to deodorise my caravan from smoke odour, pour cheap coffee into open containers and leave for a couple of days the odour is soaked up and replaced by the smell of coffee. -- PAULINE 26/10/09
This is for anyone that has a problem with pet stains and odors - even skunk. "Nature's Miracle" is fantastic!! It can be bought at Pet Smart. It is to be used full strength. It's rather expensive, but it does the trick. We have a dog and it has been great for the occasional accident so don't know how well it would work on cat pee. But, it did work on removing the skunk odor from our deck and shrubs that got sprayed one night. It's really terrific stuff!! -- Mary Frankenfield
Carpet Spot Cleaner. To clean spots on rugs and carpets, use window cleaner. It works as well as the spray-on carpet cleaners and if you buy the store brand (I use Wal Mart), you can get it for as little as $0.97 for a full quart bottle. -- Jean Calderon,
Carpet Stains Don't remember where on the web I got this solution but it has worked everytime. I was originally searching for something to remove old red wine stains from carpet but have used it on other stains and it has worked just as good. dishwashing liquid (i use palmolive) and peroxide. The stains actually just disappear. It's great. I've never used a precise measurement of either. I would be careful on dark carpets. From what I understand the peroxide can have a bleaching effect. My carpets are beige so it hasn't been an issue. -- Belinda Enamorado
Cleaning Wine on Carpets. Pour salt over wine spills on carpets absorbs in seconds then just hoover up.dave -- David Jones 1/11/09
Stainless Steel Appliances Hello, Thought people out there would like to know a tip about cleaning stainless steel appliance doors etc. The folks at the Sears store use "baby oil" to get the finger prints and marks off the doors. I was nervous to try it but it works like a charm. I used a small amount on a napkin and wiped the fingerprints away. It also took off the glue from the tape that was used in shipping. K. MacPherson 9 Jul 2002
You can clean out trumpets and brass instruments with warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Lubricate the valves with valve oil afterwards. - Scott Edmunds.
To clean inside your guitar fill it with uncooked rice, give it a good shake, and then let it all fall out. - Bob Peterson.
Musty Instrument Cases: Damp Rid is wonderful for removing must. Damp Rid is designed to be used in the container it comes in, but this may be too big for the instrument case--you may have to improvise. Once you've shut the Damp Rid in the case, you should probably leave it there undisturbed for several weeks. If you open the case to take a peek to see how it's working, you will allow the case to fill back up with humid air & the Damp Rid will have to pull all of that new moisture out of the air. Be careful not to bump the case--as the Damp Rid absorbs moisture out of the air, it dissolves, leaving an orange liquid in the container. Jeanne
Always clean wind instruments such as clarinets after you play with them. To clean a clarinet properly use a knitting needle to push a small piece of flannelette sheet through it. - James Wyatt - Bedford - England.
Clean your Guitar Strings with WD40 - Did you know that you can clean and extend the life of your guitar strings with the magic fluid - Alex Winder NYC
The Bare Bowl Method
What's the best way to remove stubborn stains from toilets? -- Read on......
Apply Mineral Oil over your Shower Doors and Tile Surface. That delays the mineral build-up in future use. -- Cameo
Marks inside Cups and Mugs are caused by the metal cutlery abrading the glazing coating the service. Try an old fashioned remedy from an old fashioned man - toothpaste! (Betcha it works!) -- Alan -English Bob
The whitening toothpaste usually contains alumina which is an abrasive. I suppose that if it safe on the teeth it has to be O.K. on cups etc -- Ed
Clean your dishwasher. I run vinegar through my dishwasher once a month and this prevents hard deposits from getting a head start. -- Good Luck, Patti Seizetheday
Eyeglasses and Vodka. Nothing makes them shine as much as a few drops on a soft clean cloth. Use for cleaning small china ornaments. -- Eadie Milton
Red Candle Wax Stain. Some red candles dripped on my crocheted table cloth and this is what I did... The hot iron trick took the wax off but left the red dye, This is how I got it out... A while ago I discovered OXI CLEAN in a powder form. After rubbing the stain with some stuff called Zout let that sit for a while I soaked it in Oxi It took 3 times of pre-soaking it in my wash machine pre-soak cycle using as hot of water it could take, but it is all out. I think if I would have let it soak over night it would have been gone by morning. I have used this Oxi Clean on several difficult stains and it has worked every time. -- Nancy Yaeger
Use olive oil or other cooking oil to clean hands dirtied by engine oil -- Jean Edmunds.
Tips on Stuff: To spot clean carpets or upholstery, go to an auto discount store and get Lifter 1 in a spray can and just follow the directions. You'll be amazed!!!!!!!!! -- I've learned a lot of neat things while on this planet for 68 years. Try them, what do you have to lose? -- (Irene M. Ward)
Tips on Stuff. When doing laundry, never use a water softener in the washer. It only builds up on the clothes and puts a layer of slime onto the washer walls. Use Calgon in the wash or 20 mule team borax. It's cheaper and cleaner and softens the water without adding a nasty film to everything. Besides, the fabric softener makes the clothes less fire resistant. To clean out the washer if the walls are scummy, use the hottest water and ammonia and put through a couple of cycles without soap or(of course) clothes. -- I've learned a lot of neat things while on this planet for 68 years. Try them, what do you have to lose? -- (Irene M. Ward)
smelly clothes after being left in the washing machine. If you leave the clothes in the washer for a day or more, especially in warm weather, they will smell bad. Rewashing with 1/2 cup of ammonia gets the smell out better than laundry detergent does. -- (Judy Vega)
Tumble drying Down Clothing. Instead of sneakers, use a can of new tennis balls. -- (Susan Carter)
Removing "pills" from clothing. When "pills" develop on clothing (small wads of lint) use a rough piece of steel wool, run it over the material and the "pills" disappear. Very easy to do. Will not harm material. -- Gertrude M Seifert,
Wash jeans inside out. The first wash should be without detergent. – Vanessa Echols
Cleaning Leather. Small spots of dirt on glossy leather can be removed with a damp sponge. Scuff marks can be removed with a shoe polish of the correct color. - Jane King
Cats Hair - Remove cats hairs from clothes and furniture by rubbing with wetted rubber gloves -- Wendy Quin Kuala Lumpur
Washing Red Clothes. My Grandmother told me this- to keep brand new red clothes from bleeding all over your other laundry, soak it in vinegar before the first washing. Works like a charm!! -- Mindy Ralston
Household: Cleaning. Use a Crest SpinBrush battery toothbrush ($5 ) and spray cleaner or powdered cleanser for easy cleaning of those hard to get to places: baseboard corners, around sink faucets, tile grout, corners of wood mouldings around windows, around shower doors, etc. -- PeggyVelthoen,
Glass Cleaning. This was passed on to me from my mother of course. Add about one tablespoon of cornstarch to about a third of a gallon of lukewarm water. Wet and a rag or squeegee, remove excessive water and wipe down glass as if using regular glass cleaner. Dry with either a soft cloth or paper towel and be amazed. This is great for both inside and outside glass cleaning. Vehicle windows too! Cleans the dirtiest windows in half the time. No steaks, never clean and then clean again to get the spots that didn't come off the first time. The glass seems to stay cleaner longer too. I have been told that the cornstarch method doesn't build up a static charge on the glass so it doesn't attract dust and debris as quickly as regular cleaner.?? Thanks mom!! ~~ Famous Redhead
Stainless Steel Sinks. A great way to get your stainless steel sink to look brand new. After cleaning and drying the sink. Put some lemon oil or pledge on a paper towel and coat the entire surface of the sink. It will look brand new! Of course, once it is used again, the lemon oil will vanish and your sink will look the way it did before. But it is great if you are having company, and want a shiny sink. -- Linda Sparrow
Dirty Dish Solver. Want to solve the grungy caked on baking dish problem? Instead of scrubbing away, ...fill pan with water,pour a bit of Downey fabric softener in and let soak. Everything will slide off ! :) Debbie --- Louis Makrdichian --
Spotless Shower Stalls. To clean the shower stall or bathtub and sliding glass doors on the tub without scrubbing, get a hand held shower spray and after showering, just spray the walls and tub or shower area every day before you step out of it. You won't ever have to scrub if you do this faithfully -- I've learned a lot of neat things while on this planet for 68 years. Try them, what do you have to lose? -- (Irene M. Ward)
Cleaning Glass and Mirrors. To get perfectly spotless windows and mirrors, without chemicals, use a solution of water and regular vinegar. (About 1/2 cup vinegar to 2 cups water), spray and wipe. This solution will not streak at all. It is the best and cheapest way to clean glass. You can increase the amount of vinegar for very dirty glass. -- Kelly Jimenez,
Shower curtains: To remove mildew soak shower curtains in water containing 20% chlorine bleach. To remove soap and water marks wipe with vinegar. – Essy Edmunds.
For more tips on cleaning mildew see the stains page
Removing Crayon Marks. For crayon on walls, use WD-40. It removes it immediately, but if you use it on a flat paint it will leave a greasy line that can easily be washed off with soap and water. -- Kelly Jimenez,
Crayon On Walls:The only method I found that worked quickly and easily was to use white spirit (mineral Spirits)and an only rag. It works a treat, but be careful on emulsion walls (it works best on vinyl and gloss). -- Ian Matthews
Shower Stalls and doors - A good replacement for those expensive cleaners for shower stalls/doors that I have found is, believe it or not: WD-40. I never believed it until I tried it, and it certainly makes a shower door sparkle, so give it a try! --"Susan Kelly"
Old Newspapers Give Windows a Shine, every bit as good as a chamois leather -- Wendy Quin, Hong Kong
Crayon Marks on Wall: use a blowdrier to heat the crayon so it can easily be wiped off. -- Heather Dickerson
Marks on Walls: Try using bread to remove marks on walls and surfaces - - Mike Weller
Silk Plants: Why pay expensive prices for silk plant cleaners? Just spray them with Dow bathroom cleaner and let them dry. This works just as well as the more expensive alternative --“Toni
Brass: Clean brass with lemon juice. – Comi Edmunds.
Cleaning Windows - Dry windows with old newspaper -- Nigel Hartley.
Tips on stuff. To remove hairspray from eyeglasses or any non porous surface, use rubbing alcohol. It does the job. -- I've learned a lot of neat things while on this planet for 68 years. Try them, what do you have to lose? -- (Irene M. Ward)
Recommend to add the following:
Using an astringent or other harsh/acidic/abrasive cleaner on glass lenses coated with protective film (ie to help prevent scratches) - may scratch, blur or altogether remove the protective coating. This will also void any insurance claims or "warranty" regarding the "protection" on your lenses -- (Irene M. Ward)
REMOVING GUM Great way to get GUM out , rub it with PEANUT butter! I think it is the OIL in in, and though I have not tried it, I am sure oil would probably due the same thing, except the peanut butter is GOOEY, and the oil runs! -- "Kathy Ulmer" 5 Sep 2002
Gum in Hair Use lighter fluid to get gum out of hair works like a charm, wash hair a couple of times after to get rid of smell. Lighter fluid can also be used on other sticky thing such as: paint, glue, price tags, stickers, I even washed silicone caulking out of my hair once.-Kelly Lowery Sep 2002
chewing gum. If you have gum on a shirt try putting it in the freezer and scrape it off. -- Hannah Minich
Fresh Blood stain. Put article of clothing into bathroom sink and pour some peroxide on it and let it set a couple minutes. work it in a little, rinse and repeat. -- John D,
Blood on fabric and carpet. Pour, full strength, hydrogen peroxide on the stain and let it bubble. Then, blot with damp cloth. -- JGBet Caution!! Full strength is a rocket fuel!!! Full Strength should read 5%. Ed.
Remove Stains from Dishwasher. dump a cup of tang in the washer & run it for a cycle--guaranteed to remove any stains , also works for plastic cups, etc. Barbara (Barbara R Kynette)
Ink Pen Stain To get an ink stain out, spray ultra-hold hairspray on the stain, let it dry, then wash like normal. ( Don't be afraid of putting too much hairspray on the stain.) -Polli
Removing Ink Stain. To remove ink stains from cloth, or leather spray hair spray on the area and wipe off with a clean rag. --Judy and Lou
Ink Stains. For removing ink stains on shirt or jeans pockets just soak in milk overnight and wash as normal the next day! -- Lana Kelly
Tip for removing blood stain. Soak affected garment in salt solution overnight then machine wash as per usual. 1/2 cup of cooking salt in a small or medium sized bucket. garment will look as good as new. -- Marcia Allen
Tub Stains Use the Gel Type Dishwasher Detergent to remove tub stains. Put it on and allow it to sit for 5 or 10 minutes. It tends to be slippery so rinse very well. -- JEM jeanna hawley
Stains I use peroxide in my laundry. Half of a large bottle (32 oz. size) w/ half box (sm) of baking soda. It removes stains. I also use it straight on stains. It seems to work like the oxy wash that's advertised on TV. It's a lot more friendlier to our environment than bleach and doesn't have the offensive smell. -- Donetta Joe Hinton
Stains on Clothing I have found that most types of baby wipes work great on removing a strain from your clothing. Anyone with babies always have baby wipes handy. Try it some time it works. I always use them when my 2 year old gets something on her and it works great for taking ink from your skin. -- Bradley E Baker -
Be Quick --Attack the stain straight away. If you are going to use water make sure that it is as cold as possible -- Jean Smith Kirkcaldy Scotland
Use salt on Red wine stains. - - Vanessa Echols
Use white wine on red wine stains. - - Vanessa Echols
Vanessa, are we to assume that considerable amounts of wine are consumed (and spilled) in your household?? -- Ed
If your garment is cotton or similar try disguising the stain by tie-dying it -- Davie
Embarassing Stains : I know people don't like to discuss (stains in underwear) but they are there. I discovered the other day when I was washing my sons that this worked. I used half a cup of dish washer detergent. I couldn't believe how white they became. No stains. I believe the dish washing detergent is the trick. SUE
Vicky Lansky in her book "It worked for me" suggests using dishwasher products for removing stubborn stains. See the shop section
Nicotine stains. Remove them from your fingers with lemon juice, and scrubbing with pumice stone. Then add hand cream. - Jacob Thorne, Bristol
Melted Wax: To remove melted wax from clothing '... you will lay a brown paper bag over the garment before you iron over it then keep moving the bag around it will absorb the wax'--Magand
Age Stains: I have heard a mixture of fresh lemon juice and salt rubbed on spots and placed in sun will bleach out yellow in old stains. This information from my wise Aunt Sue. I would try it first on just one small area and see how it does. -- Good Luck, Patti Seizetheday
Chocolate Stains. First blot or scrape off any excess chocolate. Add a solution of biological washing powder, and then blot with clean towels. If the stain remains soak the fabric in biological detergent. White fabrics can be dabbed with bleach. - Anna, Canada
Chewing gum: To remove chewing gum from clothes freeze, or cover the gum with ice, then crack and scrape off. – Marjory Simpson.
Ink Stains. If the ink is still wet put salt on the stain, and then brush it off after a few minutes when it has soaked up some of the ink. You may need to repeat this a few times. Clean wet ink off carpet with soda water, then blot it off with paper towels. Then clean with a detergent. - Ruth Knowles
Rust stains in white cotton: To remove the stain, rub with lemon juice and salt. Leave it several hours. It's even more effective when placed in the sun. Wash as normal. - - Patti
Shirt Stains: If you find that you can't remove a stain from your shirt...then give it to your Mum -- Daniel Anderson -- Milton Keynes England <;o)
Stains. I have a 2 year old granddaughter that is always coming home with some kind of stain on her clothes, I have found that Fels Napa soap (found in the laundry aisle) has never failed to remove them. Just wet the bar and the item rub it in let set for about 5 minutes and launder as usual. Susan Horton
Removing Dry Paint From Skin Before painting major projects, coat your hands & forearms with Vaseline. To easily remove dry paint from skin: Simply wash with a foaming brillo pad. Quick, cheap, simple & safe. They are softer than you would think. Mask eye areas with medial cloth tape or similar. -- Sam from The Hoosier State, USA.
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