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Make Your Own Cleaning Products With Essential Oils

Visit TheHerbsPlace.com and view the numerous Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes

Don’t worry you won’t lose your place.

Steel Wool Pads
like Brillo or SOS,are great for cleaning around the house, especially in the kitchen. But usually one pad is too big for just a few small jobs and its a pain to keep them from rusting between uses. Solution? Cut a regular sized pad into fourths. Use an old pair of scissors.I fill up a pint sized jar (or any kind of container is fine) and keep it handy at the sink. No waste, no more rusty gooey mess!!

Cleansing Powder
When you open a can of cleansing powder like Comet, don’t fully remove the sticky tab that covers the holes on the top of the can. Lift it off and place it over half the holes, leaving half covered, half open.Not as much cleanser will pour out when you shake it. Less waste,less gritty residue to rinse, makes can last longer.

(Especially if your young kids want to help clean the bathroom!)

Candle Wax In The Carpet

Q.    I have brand new wall to wall carpeting and a candle melted and put a large pool of wax into my carpeting could you please tell me what I can do to remove the wax from my carpeting without damaging my carpeting?

A.  For the candle wax on the carpet you need to put down paper towels over the wax, and run your iron over that. i.e., melt the wax and blot it up with paper towels.  Remember to  change the paper towels as the wax is absorbed.  This information came from a carpet cleaner.

A.  Try putting an ice pack on the spot and that should freeze it so you can pick it out of your carpet. 

A.  I had success in removing red wax from beige carpet by folding several white paper towels over the wax area and applying a warm iron to the paper towels.   As the wax melts the paper towel absorb the wax. You may need to change the paper towels several times to get up all the wax. My carpeting is beige again!!!

A.  According to a pamphlet I have left from our carpet cleaning business, scrape off excess wax with a dull knife. Lay a paper towel over the wax and with a blow dryer, blow hot air on the towel. The heat will melt the wax and the towel will absorb it. Clean with a solvent cleaner (like De-Solv-It) if a spot remains.

A.  This is for the person with a pool of WAX on the new wall to wall CARPET.  I found this in a book titled: Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean by Linda Cobb.  Put ice in a plastic bag and lay it over the wax, allowing it to freeze.   Chip off all the wax that you can. Next, lay down brown paper over the wax (a grocery bag works great; use the area without the writing) and press with a medium / hot iron. Move the paper as it absorbs so that you don’t re-deposit the wax on the carpet. Have patience and continue as long as any wax shows up on the bag. Next, apply a good carpet stain remover.

Candle Wax On The Wall

Q.     I tipped over a large 3 wick candle and the wax ran all the way down my wall. It is painted in flat paint and I cannot seem to get it off. Any suggestions? Tiffany D.

A.  Just a thought:  Take a hair dryer and melt it so it runs down or you can blot it off or you can blot it.  Good Luck  Terry S.

A.  Wax will melt when heated. So why don’t you try using a hair dryer set on the highest setting to slowly melt the wax off. make sure you have plenty of paper towels handy to soak up the melting wax. the only other solution that I can think of is to place newspaper on the wax and then place a hot iron (make sure you have a damp towel between the newspaper and the towel) on to the area you need the wax removed the newspaper should soak up the wax and the damp towel will prevent the paper from burning or sticking to your iron. I have done both of these to remove wax from furniture and my rug. Hope it works for you.  Lisa F

A.  Have you tried using a warm iron and a paper towel to rewarm the wax? put the paper towel over the wax and gently move your iron back and forth over the wax  Cathleen S.

A.  You should try" Goo Gone",it works great on wax crayon marks so it should work for candle wax. You can buy this product just about anywhere at a minimum price, sometimes there are rebates for it. My house would not be without this product! Marji K

Water Conservation

A few months ago someone asked me whether it was more economic to wash dishes by hand or to use the dishwasher.  The best answer I can come up with is…it depends on your family and how many dishes you have and what kind of dishwasher you use.

A typical dishwasher uses between 25 – 50 gallons of water for each load.  For my family I the dishwasher works best because with all of us in the kitchen at different times during the day if I hand washed every time I had dirty dishes I’d be standing there all day.  We have a fairly new dishwasher with options that save us water and electricity and we never run it if it isn’t full.  We also do not fill the detergent cups all the way to the top.

For a small family that uses only a few dishes it’s better to hand wash because you don’t really want dirty dishes sitting in your dishwasher waiting to fill a load.

A typical household sink uses 5-6 gallons per sinkful.  If you use this method make sure you rinse your dishes all together and don’t leave the water running while you are washing.

I live in San Antonio and we are currently on volunteer water conservation. Last year we were restricted as to when we could water our lawns and wash our cars.  I have listened to a missionary talk about what the people in his small village in Africa had to do to get water.  The literally walked several miles and used every drop.  They would start with using it to cook food and would finish with bathing or flushing an outside toilet.  Not a drop was ever wasted.  I think about them a lot when I’m standing outside on my one acre of land with water flowing out of a hose.  I no longer take that clear stuff for granted.

Below are a few tips for conservation.

1. Don’t let it run while brushing your teeth or shaving.  Use a glass of water to rinse your mouth or rinse off your razor.
2. A shower uses only 7 gallons of water.  A bathtub can use up to 70 depending on the size of the tub.  You can take it a step further and install a low flow shower head.
3. Do not use your toilet as a trash can.  A regular toilet uses 5-7 gallons per flush. If you install a low flow toilet your family can save up to 55,500 gallons annually.
4. Insulate your hot water heater.
5. Don’t use your dishwasher or washing machine unless they are full.

OUTSIDE
1. Only water your landscape before 10:00 AM
2. Use 4" of mulch around your plants.
3. Check your sprinkler system weekly.
4. Keep the blade on your lawn mower sharpened.  If you mow with a dull blade you damage your grass which calls for more water.
5. Use only native plants when landscaping.  The plants that are grown in your area typically use less water.

 

Removing Water Deposits

Q. I’m looking for advice on removing soft-water deposits from faucets and fixtures.  Vinegar works great for hard water, but I recently moved to a home with a water softener, and found that vinegar does nothing for soft water deposits.  Thanks.  Deborah A.  Try a product called CLR — it is wonderful!  Anita O. A.  I just read about this last night in Good Housekeeping- Sept 2000 issue. It told about the difference in the type of faucet you have. For example- they recommended vinegar for silver faucets and baking soda for brass colored faucets. One tip was to make a mixture and soak a cotton ball in it and leave it on the faucet that way so it has time to work. Try that. Anita E

Tar On Brick

Q . Recently, my son did some repair work on my house and used tar to seal the space between the house and the wall outside.  He got a lot of the tar onto my brick front porch, please if anyone can come up with a method or product to help me to remove it, I would be most grateful.

A.  We have gotten "tar balls" on the bottom of our feet at the beach and found that Vaseline petroleum jelly was the best solution to remove the tar residue from the skin – hopefully this will work on other surfaces as well – good luck.   Dale

A.  You can dissolve tar by using a little bit of gasoline or paint thinner (mineral spirits) and a scrub brush.  Then wash the area with plenty of soap and water. Please be careful!   This also works for the tar spots on your car from going through construction zones – and from your clothes from working on construction.   Bob & Lorraine

A.  A friend of mine had driven through tar accidentally and got it on the outside of her tires. She used Avon’s Skin So Soft and it came off. I’m not sure how big of an area you are talking about; her wasn’t really huge, but it did work. Ramona

A.  My son is a foreman for a constriction company, which lays tar all day long. I don’t know if or how good this works, but he has told me that Baby Oil works.

A.  I ‘ve learned that trick from my roofer. Scrape thick pieces off and soak the rest with Paint-thinner . It will come right off. I did it on my bricks and it worked beautiful. Iris , California

A.  To remove tar the first part is the hardest–time. Let the tar harden over time.  Any method of freezing the tar will usually speed this up.   After the tar has hardened physically scrape off the tar trying not to disfigure the bricks. Remember that if you use a cleaner, paint thinner for example, the discolored area will get larger and go deeper into the brick. Tar is usually too thick to penetrate brick unless it is a commercial quick drying solution of tar and thinner. If all else fails remove the stained brick and replace with similar bricks, probably from a place that carries used housing materials.If replacing the bricks do not break up and throw away. Remove mortar carefully and simply turns the brick over and remortar in place.  With time and weathering they will be identical in appearance.     If the original brick was sealed, reseal with same sealant. 

A.  Your son can help you.  After all it has been a mutual experience up until now, don’t turn it into punishment.  Life’s lessons learned.  Michael

A.  Mayonnaise removes tar.  Price

A.  In college I use to do roofing work we would clean it up with either wd 40 or gas just have to be careful it my take a few applications. Then just spray it down with the hose.  BC52

How Can I Get Rid Of The Sour House Smell ?

Q. Our house smells sour (motel room like) no matter what we do!! We are very clean people– got any suggestions on how to permanently get rid of the odor. I’m tired of covering it up with candles, sprays, etc. I’ve even tried baking soda in the carpets! I also have to be careful because my children have horrible asthma/allergies. Thanks, Heather :)

A. Dear Heather, I’ll bet that something (probably pet urine) is in your carpet pad. Cleaning the carpet only treats the surface, not the carpet pad. If you don’t want to replace the pad, try using a steam cleaner and add a scoop of Oxyclean to the cleaning solution. Good Luck, – Katie

A. Buy a large pump of "FEBREZE"…it works on everything. Smelly hampers, sticky rental cars, sleeping bags that reek of camp fire, you name the smell I have used febreze. You can get it at the supermaket. Another idea is to use a citrus odor neutralizing spray, I used this at a Salon I worked at to rid the place of perm smell. BB

A. If you have a forced air heating and cooling system with ducts, get the ducts checked. We have a 45 yr. old house that had mold and LOTS of build up of dirt and other nasty stuff apparently causing an odor. The ducts were rusting out and we needed to have them changed. The newer ones are much more energy efficient. We have saved money on A/C costs this summer. Get a company that cleans ducts to inspect them. Some have a camera that can show you what is in your ducts. But be careful who you get. Use a reputable company and check with the Better Business Bureau. Ask them for references. Some only clean a short way and spray a deodorizer. The estimate we got to clean ours was only $350.00 less than new ones cost us. This was not cheap but we have a grandson with asthma, too. We thought it was vital to his health to do this.

A. You may have a mold of some sort growing in your carpet or behind your wallpaper.  Create a bleach solution (1 to 10 to start, then up to 1 to 4 if it does not work) and gently wash down all of your walls and mop boards.  Rent a hot water carpet cleaner (I actually purchased one and I use it four times a year) and put a bleach solution into the reservoir rather than the soap they try to sell you  (add a drop or two of dish soap, but no more:  it is the water that cleans, not the soap.  Adding too much soap will actually make your carpet dirty because it does not rinse out of the carpet and soap bonds with dirt.).  I have never had this bleach solution discolor even a very dark carpet.  It kills “everything” that might be causing an odor and the hot water cleaning really helps allergies as well.  Keep babies off the rugs as breathing chemicals of any sort is especially bad for them. If after cleaning like this the smell comes back more quickly than you think it should, get a dehumidifier.  Dry out the living quarters first, and then clean out your basement so it is empty of anything that could hold moisture and run it down there as well. Make especially certain to remove cardboard boxes.  Never run a dehumidifier where you have an open window or you are trying to dry out the atmosphere!  An air conditioner actually works even better because of the filtering system in it, but it is too cold where I live to still be using one. Finally, one of those devices that produces ozone or air-born hydrogen peroxide can also work, but they tend to be expensive and may not get to the root of the problem.  Covering or filtering odors is always more costly than eliminating their source. – Judy

A. At our last house we had the same problem ! I too burned many candles and complained about the smell. It was the old shingles ! We replaced them and instant relief ! The 25 or 40 year olds shingles had been covered up for many years & had years to mold and smelled terrible!! Good luck….. Lisa

A. This is for Heather with the sour house smells. We also had house smells and allergies. I burned many a candle trying to get rid of it. We decided to pull up our wall-to-wall carpet and that is where is smells were. We completely got rid of it and the stinky tack board it was attached to. We cleaned and painted our cement floors and the smells are gone. We use area rugs in the rooms now and it has really helped us. – Robin.

A. To get rid of any unwanted odor in the home place a bowl of white vinegar in an out of the way place in the room where the odor is strongest. Within 24 hours the odor will be almost undetectable. Within 48 hours it will be gone completely. It does not mask the odor but gets rid of it.

A. Perhaps it’s because there is a moisture problem. You may have molds/mildew in hidden areas. You may have to have a professional evaluate this status. Check your crawl space or basement for molds. A dehumidifier (standing unit or an addition to your heating and air conditioning units) may eliminate the problem. However, existing molds or mildew would have to be cleaned. Molds and mildew can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms for anyone in the house. Another “quick fix” to odors is charcoal briquettes hidden in inconspicuous places or small bowls of white vinegar here and there.

A. We have lived in several homes with disturbing smells. One was a trailer where cats had urinated in carpeted rooms and the carpet reeked especially on damp days. Cats also apparently loved to pee into your registers. We also once had a strange pile of goo in our vents that just reeked. We did end up moving, and replaced the carpet for the new tenants; we hope it solved the problem. Another problem could be mice in your vents. Finding the source of the foul smell is going to be tough. If you have pets, smell around your baseboards as you enter the house because pets have obnoxious habits. One house we had the previous owner had covered up a damp basement smell with a special type of cedar chip hidden behind light switches in the basement. We discovered in the spring there was a huge crack that leaked water into the laundry right into the drain. Cost us bucks to have it excavated and sealedIT was dry after that and the basement did not smell. Another home we found carpet hidden in a tiny basement room that reeked of cat urine. We dealt with that. Other problems we’ve encountered are unvented basement bathroom toilets, or wet vented plumbing. Or damp pantries. Or bathrooms with no windows or exhaust fan. Use your sniffer nose and go around each room to see it certain areas have a higher concentration of odor. Check your weeping tile drainage in the basement (a hole with a cover in your basement floor) to make sure it is flowing. Make sure your vent stack from your bathrooms is not plugged on the roof.

Sometimes carpets are steam cleaned unprofessionally and a lot of water remains. This causes mildewing and a related odor. Remove your carpets and put in hardwood or similar type flooring, with area rugs that can be cleaned outside of the home and dried before returning to the area. If your carpets are ten years old, it doesn’t hurt to remove them. Check for urine staining on the wood underneath. You can try disinfecting the wood, and then staining it to seal in the smell if you can’t bear tearing out the sub floor. Make sure your furnace is in good repair and is not leaking noxious gases, and check your natural gas lines for loose connections. Rule out all the smells one by one. Some cooking habits (ie curry, certain sausages, cabbage, etc.) leave smells behind that can be rather odious when you come back from being somewhere else. Good luck. RS

Fuzzy Sweaters

Q. I just recently subscribed to this newsletter. How can you get rid of fuzz-balls on your sweater? I have tried the lint-removers, but they don’t seem to work. Do you have any suggestions? Lynn

A.  I have always used a disposable razor to take fuzz balls off my sweaters and it works great and you can use the same razor again and again! Just light run the razor along the sweater and the fuzz balls come right off! Joanne B

A.  Absolute best solution is to get and use a battery-powered sweater shaver. It takes a little time, but it is marvelous. Janet

A.  The best technique I’ve found to "de-ball" sweaters and sweatshirts is SHAVE it! After a razor has been used, it generally just gets thrown away anyhow, so use it to shave the fuzz off those sweaters and other garments. 

A.  A related tip: When de-linting I will generally take a roll of tape (such as duct tape or masking tape) pull the tape out so it fits around the entire roll with the sticky side out, and then roll it over the linted garment. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it works!  Joseph

Removing Spilled Wax

Q. I am hoping someone can help me.  My husband was waxing our van when the wax accidentally dumped over.  It was on a ledge by the window, so as a result, it splattered (or poured rather) all over the brick of our home and the concrete driveway.  Any ideas on how to remove this?  We have tried scrubbing it, but to no avail.  I would appreciate any input!  Thanks!!

A.  What I would try is laying an old clean towel over the wax and apply heat to the top of the towel with a hot iron. This may cause the towel to absorb the heated wax. Repeat as many times as necessary, while  using a clean area of the towel each time.  Karri

A.  This is not so much a how-to but a what-to-do-first.    Car waxes are made of many things a lot of them not wax.    Polyester resins for example(polycoat).   read the label for the ingredients.   find out which cleaners will be effective.   Check the bottle for the internet site of the company.   Even if one is not listed use internet directories to find them.  re:parent companies are almost all on the internet.  The FAQ section may give you the information you need.  If not e-mail them with the problem you are having with their product.  They will usually reply; they want to keep you as a customer.  Good Luck, Michael.

A.  Try spraying it with full strength white vinegar. It should help break down the wax. If it’s thick it might take several shots to get it all. Good luck!  Kelly

A.  Wax comes off most everything with ice and cold. if you live in a climate where there is snow and cold, that time of year will be your best to get the wax off. Otherwise, invest in a bag of ice, don’t open it and  rub on brick a section at a time. Carefully using a putty knife, it should crack right off. Jean