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Monday, March 09 , 2015

Ink-Removing Formula

Did you forget to cap a pen and now it has left its mark on your gym outfit, upholstery or other fabric? We've got a homemade stain-removing formula for you to try.

First, try some easy remedies on that ink spot…

If it's a colored piece of fabric, soak the stained area in milk, then toss in the washer. You can also douse the ink stain with rubbing alcohol. Let it sit for five minutes, then launder as usual.

For all fabrics (and if you don't want to use harsh bleach on your white shirt), spray a good two-second spritz of hairspray on the ink mark, then launder the clothing as usual.

If the ink blot is on upholstery, soak the spot with rubbing alcohol or vodka. The stain should dissipate within a few minutes. Caution: Be sure to test an inconspicuous area of the fabric with the alcohol. The spot should dry completely (no water stains or rings) after an hour or two.

If none of the above simple solutions work, here’s our heavy-duty ink-removing formula...

In a bowl, combine one tablespoon of milk, one tablespoon of white vinegar, one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of borax powder (available at supermarkets in the laundry detergent section).

For ink-stained clothing, cloth napkins, etc., sandwich the stained area of the fabric between four thick sheets of paper towel. Dip a sponge in the mixture, and pat it on the area of paper towel covering the stain. (You want the liquid to reach the fabric, but you don’t want to put it directly on the stain.) After about three minutes, remove the paper towels, and sponge the stained area with cool water. Repeat the entire procedure until the stain is gone. When it is, launder the item as usual. (You may need to professionally clean a removable upholstery cover.)

More help with household stains…


Thursday, August 14 , 2014

Nonbleach Trick to Brighten Whites

Don't you hate it when your favorite white cotton top starts to get that grayish dingy look? Here's what to do…

Fill a basin or sink with warm water, and add one-quarter cup of powdered automatic dishwasher detergent. Add your tops, socks, underwear and whatever else needs brightening. Swish them around, and let the garments soak for one hour. Wring out the sopping clothes—enough to get them to the washing machine without making a mess—and then launder as usual.

More help with laundry...


Tuesday, June 17 , 2014

Smelly Garbage Can Fix

"Take out the garbage!" How often do you hear or say those words in your household? Why is it such a hateful chore? Because no one wants to go near that smelly garbage bin! Here's what we do...

Empty the bin of any loose bits of food or peels, and dump in one-half cup of ammonia, one tablespoon of liquid dish detergent and two cups of hot water (careful not to splash yourself). Swish it all around vigorously. We normally don't like to use ammonia or bleach because of the harsh fumes, but ammonia is an excellent disinfectant for the garbage can, and it usually cleans off any garbage ooze and yuck without having to scrub the interior. If you don't want to use ammonia, use one-half cup of white vinegar instead.

Note: Never combine vinegar with ammonia or bleach of any kind. This combination creates a toxic gas that's harmful. You should also never combine ammonia and bleach together—that creates toxic chloramine vapors, which can cause respiratory damage (yikes!).

Rinse the bin well, and wipe or air dry. Then sprinkle a thin layer of borax powder (available at grocery stores or department stores such as Target or Walmart) on the bottom of the can. Doing this should inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold and will also prevent the dreaded reeking garbage can. Resprinkle the borax about once a month, and use the cleaning mix every six months—or if you've had a leak or spill and the garbage smell has come back.

Bonus tip for easier trash cleanup: Put several liners in the garbage can at once. When the can is full, take out the trash in the top liner, leaving the liner underneath all ready to go!

More household help...


Monday, November 04 , 2013

Get Those Stains and Smells Off Your Cutting Boards

To remove a stain from your plastic cutting board or wood butcher’s block, sprinkle table salt on it, then rub it with an inch-thick wedge of lemon or lime until the juice combines with the salt and the stain begins to dissipate. Rinse and dry. The salt draws out the grease that’s clinging to your board and acts as an abrasive, while the lemon/lime helps bleach out the stain.

To remove a strange smell from a cutting board, take a bigger piece of lemon and rub (again, the flesh side) wherever the smell is coming from. Rub until the lemon scent overwhelms the smell. This works on plastic or wood. Rinse. Dry. Sniff. No smell! Note: Most bacteria cannot survive without moisture. Keep all surfaces in the kitchen dry...especially cutting boards and butcher’s block.

More household help...


Thursday, August 09 , 2012

Healthier Garden Plants

If you’ve had sick plants, your garden tools may also be infected. Kill any problem bacteria by washing the tools thoroughly with soap and warm water. Wear rubber gloves.

If you want a stronger solution to sanitize your tools, soak them in 1 gallon of water mixed with ¾ cup of bleach. Rinse the tools thoroughly with plain water before using them again.

Don’t forget to wash your gloves, gardening shoes and any other clothes that may have had contact with the ailing plants.