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Cleaning

Daily Shower Cleaner

Q. I’d like a homemade alternative to the daily shower cleaner spray.

I clean my shower 2-3 times a year and it always looks clean. I’ve been using homemade cleaning supplies for a long time since I used to have environmental illness and couldn’t have chemicals in my home. I use Tea Tree Oil in water to spray the corners and door tract after each shower. About once a month I may spray the tile also. I use Sunshine Concentrat e as my shower gel which leaves no soap scum at all.  Seems the dirt sticks to the soap scum. Essential Oils (like Tea Tree) have potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which make them nice for cleaning.

In a spray bottle put  3 T. of liquid Jetdry for dishwashers and fill the rest with water. Then spray after every shower.

Seems like just using a body shampoo or just plain shampoo / liquid soap will do the trick. Apparently, leaves no scum. You might try putting a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spraying the shower stall with it. When I use vinegar in the final rinse of my laundry, the soap scum floats up.

I used the shower spray at a friend’s house and didn’t like the greasy feel it left on the walls. So, in our house, the last person out of the shower uses a squeegee on the walls and shower doors. That wipes off water spots and soap scum. An old towel catches the corners and around the handles and spigot then we turn the fan on facing the bathtub for ventilation. We have done that for years now and I have never needed to clean the shower walls/doors.

Try using a mixture of 1 c vinegar and 3c water in a 1 qt spray bottle.  (works good for fiberglass showers surrounds) or for tile/grout mix 1/4 c warm water, 1 c baking soda, 1 c ammonia, 1/2 c white vinegar OR 1 part bleach and 3 parts water OR mix some all purpose cleaner with 1/4 c water, 1 c washing soda (found in detergent aisle of most bigger grocery stores), 1 c ammonia.   This is good full strength for small jobs, and diluted 3/4 c per bucket of water for floors and large areas.

I dilute floral scented store brand bleach 1 part to 9 parts water and put in a spray bottle to use as a quick mist after showering every couple of days, I  also mist the curtain liner. JB

Crayons In The Carpet

Q.     My son vacuumed up a crayon and now I have blue streaks of melted crayon in my carpet… I cannot afford new carpet does anyone have any solutions? Thank you. Robin

Use non diluted vinegar. It works like a charm.  Terry

Here are 3 easy steps that I have used successfully:
1.  Put an ice cube on the area and scrape all that you can from the surface.

2. Put down at least 3 layers of paper towels and use a warm iron to melt and absorb the wax.  Keep doing this and then let it cool and do it again until no wax is being absorbed.

3.To remove the remaining color, try the product "Simple Green"  It is usually sold in the automotive department of Discount stores like Wal-Mart.

This is what I did to remove the stains from a carpet of a rental house and it worked GREAT.  Simple Green also removes crayon stains and marker from clothing and painted walls, doors and cabinets. Julie

Try WD40. My kids once left one in a pocket that then became one with the inside of our dryer. I called our county home extension person and she suggested this. To get it out of the dryer you sprayed it on a towel and ran it for a little while. The stuff in the WD 40 dissolves the wax. So I would be very careful, but at this point it is worth a try.  Deb

I read this tip from http://www.stretcher.com and I would think that crayon would be similar to candle wax. It’s worth a try! unless  there is a lot of dye in it.  With the Christmas season fast approaching, along with the lights on the tree, red and green candles around the house add that extra touch of warmth and coziness. But  what happens when the candle was spills on to the carpet below?   Don’t worry! Here’s what to do and how to safely remove the wax.  Take a brown paper grocery bag, fold it over two or three times and place it on top of the wax. Now take a warm, NOT hot, but warm iron and gently go over the candle wax, back and forth. The paper bag will act like a sponge. As the wax begins to melt, it will melt into the bag and most of it should come up.  One little problem: If the candle wax has a lot of dye  in it, it can discolor a light-colored carpet.  Unfortunately, there is not too much that can be done about that.   Robert

I would try using a hot iron and a old towel (one you can throw away).  Place the towel over the streaks, and pass the hot iron over it.  The towel should absorb the wax as it melts from the heat of the iron.  I’d be surprised if this does not work, I tried it when one of those big round candles, with three wicks spilled over and onto our carpet.  The pool of wax was about 8 inches in diameter.  We chipped off as much wax as we could, then did this trick, and its GONE!  totally gone. This also works on crayon on the walls.  Simone

Check the Crayola site (www.crayola.com). Here’s what they said for problems:
Needed Materials: Sponge, Paper Towels, Dull knife or metal spoon, WD-40� (car part lubricant), Liquid dishwashing detergent, Small stiff bristle brush.

Scrape excess crayon off with a dull-edge knife or metal spoon. Spray with WD-40 and let stand a few minutes. With a small, stiff bristle brush work  crayon stain and wipe with paper towels. Respray with WD-40 and apply liquid dishwashing detergent on the sprayed area; work in with the brush and wipe stain away with a damp sponge. If stain remains, repeat the procedure. For another method, apply Energine� cleaning fluid as directed on the container.  Tom & Ada

You may be able to remove it the same way you remove candle wax from carpet-I have read that placing a brown bag over the spot and gently running a warm iron over the bag will lift the stain. It works for candle wax.  Bernadette

Removing Dinnerware Marks

Q. Does anyone know how to remove the pencil-like marks on dinnerware that are caused by using stainless utensils to cut food or stir coffee? I’ve tried powdered cleansers, even an abrasive eraser, but nothing really works. Please help! – Barb

I’ve used bleach to remove those marks from coffee mugs- Linda

Working in the floorcovering industry for 17 years, we run into the same type of problem all the time: a metal "score" mark on ceramic tile. What I have found that works the best for this is something quite easy and simple – a pencil eraser does the trick! This will not work if the score has penetrated the glaze, but as long as the mark is light, it will come right off with just a little bit of rubbing, just like erasing pencil lead. – Tim

Try a little silver cleaner (the stuff that removes tarnish)…my mom has the same problem and this seems to work. BB

Wenol – Wonderful product for removing stains, as well as silver and utensil marks on dinnerware and rust too is called Wenol….a small tube will last years and will clean up all those problem areas on pottery and china! Takes a bit of elbow grease along with a small dab of the Wenol. Now…..you are hearing this from a long-time Fiesta collector and antiques dealer…..if you have stains, utensil marks, silverware marks, rust, spoon marks, some of the darkening on the surface of your pottery or Fiestaware, (vintage OR contemporary) (and who doesn’t??)…..this usually will remove the majority of them. Wenol combined with that good, old-fashioned elbow grease….work great! It performs well for me at my antiques shop for removing silverware stains and some use marks from dishes of all types, be it…..fine china, Fiestaware, Stangl, most pottery, Corelle, etc. – Jim

I learned at the china store, and it works, a powdered cleanser called ZUD.  Don’t know why this one works when others don’t, but it does! – Sarah

Getting Cigarette Smoke Smell Out Of The Car

Q. We recently purchased a used vehicle.  The vehicle smells strongly of cigarette smoke.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to get rid of this odor?

A. Try Fabreze or a like spray

A. Ex-smoker and Ex-hair stylist…there are several citrus products out there that are made to neutralize odors rather than cover them up. I used one at the Salon when Perm solution stunk up the room. – BB

A. There is a substance called “sweet rock”. I have seen it sold at large gas station/convenient stores and truck stops while traveling. I do not know the more scientific name for this substance, but it will remove any odor any place any time. It is a very porous material that soaks up every smell around. It works even if flat, but it is often sold carved into animals and such and ready to hang on your car mirror. Judy

A. Hi, This is in response to the readers who have odors they cannot get rid of in their car (smoke) and home (motel madness!)  Leave a dish of citrus peels in the car and wherever the odor is in the home.  I had a "vomit on a very hot summer day" smell in my car and it went away in a few days with the citrus peel.  The trick is to leave it until it dries out. Hope this helps! – Monica

A. This is a suggestion for the above question regarding cigarette smoke in the car. Use some coffee (not already perked) and put it inside a sock. Tie the end of the sock. Then, just put it in the car, maybe under the car seat and it will take the odor out. It works really well at getting rid of lingering odors anywhere, not just the car. – Robin.

A. This will also work for the cigarette odor in the car. Place a bowl of white vinegar in the car and leave over night and the next day the smell should be gone. This worked for a friend who had some meat fall out of her grocery bag in the trunk of her car in the summer in Florida and found it a few days later by following her nose. She could still smell it even after having the car professionally cleaned. At her wits end she tried the vinegar and it worked.

A. Years ago my mother in law bought a used car that had been used by some kind of Dr. The inside had a medicinal odor. They suggested she put a fresh l/2 can of coffee on the floor in back seat and start it on fire. The burning coffee grounds took the smell out pretty good. This might work for the cigarette odor in car and also for the lady with the smelly house. Not guaranteed but worth a try. – Ruth

Bath Tub Ring

Q.    Ring Around The Tub ~After several weeks of letting the shampoo bottle rest on the bath tub ledge, it has left a ring stain that I can’t seem to remove. I tried vinegar but it didn’t help. Any suggestions please? Terrance E.

For stubborn water mineral deposit stains, I use a flexible black mesh made by 3M you can pick up at any hardware store. An 8"x10" sheet was $2.29. I cut it into 1" or 1-1/2" square pieces. Rub it over the stain and it should come off. I use the mesh primarily in the toilet for that ‘water line’ stain. Pumice scratches the enamel and exposes the porous material underneath, which stains even faster. This 3M mesh does not scratch. Works like a charm!  Joseph

Try using Bar Keeper’s Friend. It is awesome for getting out difficult stains. Of course, check to make sure it is safe for the type of tub you have (which it should be). Trisha

I use lemon juice for cleaning those rust rings out of my tub. Pour the juice on it, let it set of a few minutes, apply some elbow grease and viola!  It also makes the bathroom smell better! I do recommend fresh juice from the lemon because I don’t trust the fake stuff on the shelves. Theresa

I suggest they go to K-mart and buy a bottle of "The Works" this cost about $2.35 for a real nice cleaner and it takes everything and anything off of bath tubs and showers. You do not use much and this lasts me for about six months, to clean two bathrooms. Linda

How To Remove Acrylic Paint

Q.     Late last winter I purchased a Columbia jacket for my daughter.  She had it less than 2 weeks when she got oil or acrylic artist paint on the sleeve.  Does anyone know how I can get this out?  Thanks.  Faye A.

Answers:

To remove paint – they have the store alternative first – THEN the home remedy.  I opted for the home remedy.  2Tablespoons AMMONIA, 2Tablespoons WHITE VINEGAR, 1Tablespoon SALT. As there was a LOT of paint on the leg of her pants I had to make much more solution.  The site says to soak overnight.  As some spots were VERY thick I used a brush and worked at it for a while (1/2 hour plus).  About 80% of the paint came off – I was amazed. THEN I soaked overnight – in the bathroom sink. With a sink of water and approximately double the amounts listed above added to the water. In the morning – there was absolutely no trace of the paint.  Worth a try.  W.

My boyfriend is a painter and he swears by Goo Off. It is a highly toxic substance, but it gets the job  done. It is used to get paint off pavement so be very careful with it. If you go to a local professional paint store (not craft store), they can help you with the products. You can always dye the jacket a cool color that hides the paint.  Shannon

You really must determine which type of paint is on the coat first. Oil and acrylic are very different, also need to know the type of fabric. Any advice without these two bits of info could end up with further damage to the coat, and still no removal of paint.  Michael

At a restaurant supply (and perhaps other places) you can buy "Vandalism or Graffiti Remover".  I’ve used it to remove oil based paints from fabric.  Best to have the paint spill laid on an old white cloth and as the paint releases dab it up with paper towels to keep it from spreading  E.J.

I have taken painting classes in the past.  To remove paint, we used rubbing alcohol or vodka.  Acrylic paint, of course, is different from oil-based paint so I am not sure which was the problem.  If I can get further information, I can ask my painting instructor.  vr/Geraldine

First of all, it is really important to know the difference between oil or acrylic. This is because they have different bases. If it is oil, try a paint thinner or mineral oil. Soap and water should do the trick for acrylic depending on the type of fabric.  Farrah