Sneaker Care 101

Have you ever looked down at your white sneakers and been self-conscious?  If you have, then follow these easy to do steps and feel good about your white, almost new looking, shoes.

First of all, start with preventative care.  Grab a bottle of stain repellent at the shoe store, or anywhere they carry shoe supplies, and spray your shoes. Simply spray the repellent evenly on the surface of your shoes and let them dry overnight. Give your shoes a nice cleaning every few weeks to ensure they stay looking brand new.

Next, clean the soles. When the soles or the rubber part on your favorite pair of shoes needs a good cleaning, give them a good scrub. Try this one spot-cleaning method that’s sure to work – and it’s probably not what you think. Pick up a Magic Eraser next time you’re in the store, because it will soon become your go-to for keeping your sneakers white. Simply wet the Magic Eraser with water, and rub your shoes in a circular motion to watch the eraser work its magic.

Last, but not least – don’t forget the shoelaces. Remove your shoelaces from your sneakers. Fill your sink with hot water and add a few dashes of your favorite laundry detergent. Massage the laces between your thumb and index finger. You can also use the detergent and a toothbrush to get a deep cleaning. Squeeze the laces in a towel or paper towel to get out excess water, then hang them to dry.

How to Clean:

White canvas sneakers: Combine baking soda with an equal amount of a mixture that’s half water and half hydrogen peroxide until it forms a paste. After making sure all excess dirt is brushed off your sneakers, apply the mixture. Let your shoes sit for a few hours until the mixture has hardened. Shake off the hardened mixture and use an old toothbrush or crumpled up paper towel to remove the excess paste. You’ll notice those sneakers are way whiter! If the sneakers are still damp or wet let them dry before wearing them.

White leather sneakers: It might sound too good to be true, but getting your favorite white leather sneakers looking good-as-new, is as easy as taking a toothbrush with your favorite white toothpaste to the surfaces of the shoe. Use warm water with the toothpaste. You can even add sugar to the toothpaste to create an exfoliate effect for any areas where dirt seems to be caked on. Wipe with a clean towel or paper towel. Again, if the sneakers are still damp or wet let them dry before wearing them.

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Don’t Forget To Clean Your Mattress

Dust, mold, mildew, body sweat, fungal spores, allergens – all make mattresses the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and dust mites.  If you’re as grossed out as I am by this, keep reading and learn how to clean your mattress for a better, cleaner sleep.

Vacuum It

Vacuum your mattress every month or so or as often as every time you change the sheets, if you or family members have severe allergies. Run the vacuum very slowly over the mattress, so it has time to inhale the dust and dust mites. Break out the crevice tool for the edges and crevices.

Treat Stains

Treat any stain immediately. The longer liquids sit in a mattress, the likelier you are to foster mold and mildew growth.

This may sound crazy, but use foaming shaving cream for mattress cleaning, in part because of its thickness. Liquids will soak right through a mattress, not allowing adequate time to dissolve the stain. Foaming shaving cream contains denatured alcohol, which is a stain remover, and it’s thick, so it sits on the surface to work on the stain. Wait 10 to 15 minutes, wipe with a damp cloth, and rinse with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution. Repeat if necessary.

Other helpful solutions for common mattress stains:

  • Blood: A 50/50 hydrogen peroxide/water solution.
  • Urine, fecal matter, or vomit: An enzyme cleaner, such as Bac-Out by BioClean, or Nature’s Miracle, available at pet stores.

Freshen Fast

Use a mixture of cornstarch and baking soda to remove smells.  Place in a colander and just shake the mixture on to the mattress, let it sit for a few hours or longer, then vacuum. The cornstarch will absorb body oils, while the baking soda will work on smelly odors.

Sheet Strategy
Don’t put new sheets on until evening. This will allow the mattress to air all day discouraging dust mites and bacterial growth.

Pad It
Remember, mattress pads aren’t just for comfort. They keep your mattress cleaner, too.  Wash monthly in hot water, and machine dry thoroughly, unless the tag instructs otherwise.

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Properly Wash Your Clothes

Start by sorting your clothes according to colors or whites and by using the garments care labels. Some garments may say hand wash or delicate cycle etc. Washing symbols can be difficult to decipher but you can usually find the correct wash temperature by looking at the garments label (check out our blog “Understanding Laundry Language”). The machine wash symbol often looks like a tub of water, if there’s a cross through it, it can’t be machine washed.

 (Do not machine wash)

If you’re using a Tide Pod, or one of the other “pod” detergents, toss it into the drum first. The detergent will properly dissolve during the wash cycle. For small and medium loads use only one pod, for large loads use two pods. When using liquid detergent pour it into the dosing cap. Fill until line 1 for medium loads, line 3 for large loads, and line 5 for HE full loads. For powder detergent, fill the drum until line 1 for medium loads, line 3 for large loads, and line 5 for HE full loads.

Fill the machine with your clothes. Don’t overload the drum – 3/4 full is about right.

Choose a water temperature that’s right for your laundry load. Select a wash cycle.  Start the machine.

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Red Wine Stains

Red wine is one of the hardest stains to remove. If you act quickly, you should be able to effectively remove the stain before it sets.

Note: Silk is a delicate fabric, always do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Step 1 – Be Quick

If you spill red wine on your blouse, tie, or upholstery, the faster you work on it, the more successful you’ll be at removing it. Allowing it to dry will make it almost impossible to get out. If you’re in a restaurant, or otherwise away from home, and unable to work on the stain, blot it with a napkin or paper towel to get as much of the wine out as you can. Do not rub – it will only grind the stain into the fabric and make it harder to remove.

Step 2 – Try Homemade Remedies First

Homemade remedies don’t contain a lot of harsh chemicals that can damage delicate fabrics like silk, so it’s always best to give them a try before moving on to something stronger.

Try mixing a solution of one half hydrogen peroxide and one half cold water and letting the stained area soak in it overnight. If it doesn’t come out the first time, pour out the mixture, mix up a fresh batch, and soak just the stained area again. This may take several attempts and you’ll need to blot the area in between each application. If it’s a bad stain, use full strength peroxide. Don’t allow the stained garments to dry until the red wine is completely gone.

Again….do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Another effective solution is mixing Dawn dishwashing liquid and warm water. Soak the affected area, and then rinse just the stained area with cold water. You may need to soak it a few times. I’ve read some have tried vinegar or rubbing alcohol mixed with Dawn and been successful.

If a slight stain remains, dab rubbing alcohol onto it; then, put a cloth soaked in alcohol on top of the stain to keep it wet and let it sit. Blot the moisture away to remove the wine. Repeat if necessary.

Step 3 – Try Commercial Cleaners

There are several good commercial cleaners on the market for removing red wine as well.

Spray and Wash works well on red wine stains, while remaining gentle enough for silk. Spray it on, keep the area wet and blot away as much of the wine as possible.

Gonzo “Wine Away” is a very popular one that is available at most hardware stores. Follow the directions on the package and use in a well-ventilated area.

Again….I can’t stress enough….do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Erado-Sol, a commercial cleaner, is the best over the counter cleaner and will usually remove 100 percent of the stain. It may be difficult to find, so I recommend looking online.

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

The Importance of Washing New Clothes

 

There are three good reasons to wash new clothes, especially those that are worn in direct contact with your skin, before you wear them.

  • One is to wash out extra dye that can be transferred to your skin or other garments. Most fabric made from synthetic fibers (polyester, acrylic) are colored with azo-aniline dyes. These dyes can cause severe skin reactions for those who are allergic to them. If the allergy is severe, the rash will be similar to poison ivy. But even less severe reactions can cause dry, itchy inflamed patches of skin.
  • It is possible to transfer lice, scabies, bacteria and fungus from person to person when clothes are tried on. Dressing rooms can become breeding grounds for everything from viruses to athlete’s foot.

 

  • And, most importantly, to remove the chemical finishes that manufacturers put on clothes to enhance color or texture. The finishes won’t bother everyone, but if you have sensitive skin you can develop a rash especially in constant contact areas like armpits, collars, cuffs and trouser waists and thighs.

 

Urea formaldehyde is often the chemical used to prevent mildew on clothes that have to be shipped long distances in hot, humid containers from overseas to the United States. It has a very strong odor that will remain in the fabric until the garment is washed. One washing will not remove formaldehyde completely but you will reduce the build up significantly and it will continue to be removed with each wash.

 

It is especially important that children’s clothing, especially clothes for babies, be washed before they are worn. Babies are particularly sensitive to chemicals and skin rashes can occur. Select a detergent that is fragrance free and dye free as these can also cause skin reactions. Washing the clothes for children will also make them softer and more comfortable for them to wear.

Washing new sheets/blankets and towels is also important to remove chemicals since these come in direct contact with skin. Washing will also improve the absorbency of the fabric by removing surface fiber coatings.

 

If you have a tag on the garment that reads “wash separately before wearing”, beware of dye transfer and color bleeding. Washing will help remove the excess dye but check the rinse water. If color remains in the water, it make take several washings to get rid of the excess dye so continue to wash separately or with similar colors.

 

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Understanding Laundry Language

As if life wasn’t confusing enough with emoji’s and acronyms – now we have to deal with squares, circles, triangles, lines and dots on the labels of our clothing! However, clothing-care symbols are a code worth knowing.

The American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM International, put out a standardized set of care symbols with the goal of creating a universally understood “laundry language”.

ASTM symbols follow a simple scheme and a set order: wash (tub shape), bleach (triangle), dry (square), iron (iron) and special care (circle). A circle by itself usually means dry cleaning or wet cleaning. A circle (special care) inside a square (drying) changes “dry” to “tumble dry.”

Adding lines, dots and other marks modify these base symbols and adds info. For example, a large X through a symbol offers a warning, where an empty symbol often means that any version of what the symbol represents is OK to use. A crossed-out triangle means do not bleach, where an empty triangle tells you that any bleach will do. Adding two parallel diagonal lines means to use only non-chlorine/oxygen bleach.

Clear as mud?  Don’t worry, I’ve included a chart to help you decipher what seem to be ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics:

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

The Importance of Sorting Clothes

Interestingly enough, you’ll find several different opinions when it comes to sorting your laundry.  Our method is certainly not the only way.  If you have a method that works for you, then by all means keep doing it!  But if you’re getting worn out, torn or discolored clothes, then this article is for you.

What’s the reason to sort clothes in the first place? Do you really need to sort clothes at all?  In our opinion, you do.  Sorting clothes allows you to use different wash cycles (delicate, normal, permanent press) and also allows for washing in different temperatures.

Most importantly, sorting clothes decreases the chances that a garment is going to bleed onto another when you control the cycle type and water temperature.

Sorting Clothes by Color

There are several distinct piles in which to sort clothes: whites, darks, lights, jeans, and delicates.

∙Whites:  T-shirts, underwear, socks and other similar items fall into this category.  This pile is for white sturdy cottons that can withstand normal agitation in the washer on a warm or hot wash cycle.

∙Darks: Grays, blacks, navies, reds, dark purples and similar colors are sorted into this load.

∙Lights: More pastel-type colors such as pinks, lavenders, light blues, lights greens and yellows are placed in this pile of laundry.

∙Jeans: All items with denim material are washed together in this load.

∙Delicates: This category includes several types of clothing – lingerie, washable silks, and any clothing you’d like to keep from the harsh agitation of the washer.

Sorting Clothes by Fabric Weight

Please note that color is not the only consideration when sorting clothes. The weight of the garment should be considered as well.

For example, if you have several pairs of heavy cotton pants, or denim, then you don’t want to wash those with thin t-shirts.  Washing light- weight clothes with heavy material can possibly tear or rip those garments.

If they are placed in the dryer together, they obviously won’t dry at the same rate since one fabric is much heavier than the other.

It’s best just to separate these types of garments from the start and wash them in two separate loads.

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Removing Red Wine Stains

Red wine spilled on silk is one of the hardest stains to remove. If you act quickly, you should be able to effectively remove the stain before it sets.

Note: Silk is a delicate fabric, always do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Step 1 – Be Quick

If you spill red wine on your silk blouse, tie, or upholstery, the faster you work on it, the more successful you’ll be at removing it. Allowing it to dry will make it almost impossible to get out. If you’re in a restaurant, or otherwise away from home, and unable to work on the stain, blot it with a napkin or paper towel to get as much of the wine out as you can. Do not rub – it will only grind the stain into the fabric and make it harder to remove.

Step 2 – Try Homemade Remedies First

Homemade remedies don’t contain a lot of harsh chemicals that can damage delicate fabrics like silk, so it’s always best to give them a try before moving on to something stronger.

Try mixing a solution of one half hydrogen peroxide and one half cold water and letting the stained area soak in it overnight. If it doesn’t come out the first time, pour out the mixture, mix up a fresh batch, and soak just the stained area again. This may take several attempts and you’ll need to blot the area in between each application. If it’s a bad stain, use full strength peroxide. Don’t allow the stained garments to dry until the red wine is completely gone.

Again….do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Another effective solution is mixing Dawn dishwashing liquid and warm water. Soak the affected silk, and then rinse just the stained area with cold water. You may need to soak it a few times. I’ve read some have tried vinegar or rubbing alcohol mixed with Dawn and been successful.

If a slight stain remains, dab rubbing alcohol onto it; then, put a cloth soaked in alcohol on top of the stain to keep it wet and let it sit. Blot the moisture away to remove the wine. Repeat if necessary.

Step 3 – Try Commercial Cleaners

There are several good commercial cleaners on the market for removing red wine as well.

Spray and Wash works well on red wine stains, while remaining gentle enough for silk. Spray it on, keep the area wet and blot away as much of the wine as possible.

Gonzo “Wine Away” is a very popular one that is available at most hardware stores. Follow the directions on the package and use in a well-ventilated area.

Again….I can’t stress enough….do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Erado-Sol, a commercial cleaner, is the best over the counter cleaner and will remove 100 percent of the stain. It may be difficult to find, so I recommend looking online.

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Clever Ways To Use Lost or Mismatched Socks

 

Why is it when a perfectly good pair of socks goes into the laundry basket…only one of them make it out of the dryer?  This is a mystery we’d all like to know the answer to.  Instead of throwing them away, try some of these ideas.

1)  Dusting Mitts

Put one or both hands inside a sock and start dusting hard to reach places like blinds, the back of the tv, the baseboards, ceiling fan blades and more!

2)  Shoe Protectors

Keep your shoes protected in the closet and while traveling by placing them inside of a sock.

3)  Pet Toy

Put tennis balls in the toe portion of each sock then tie or sew ends together.

4)  Car Washing Mitt

Use to clean rims and other tiny, hard-to-reach places on your car’s interior and exterior.

5)  Glasses holder

If you misplace the holder for your glasses or sunglasses, place them in a sock to keep them from getting scratched.

6)  Potpourri Sachet

Fill a clean sock with potpourri and tie/ sew the end shut. Stick it in a closet, hamper, or drawer to keep it smelling fresh.

7)  Furniture Protectors

Place socks on the bottom of chairs or table legs to keep them from scratching during a  move.

8)  Foot & Hand Softener

Rubs hands and/ or feet with a generous amount of lotion.  Then place socks on overnight for smooth skin in the morning.

9)  Cool Pack Cover

Cover ice packs to make them more tolerable on bare skin. This will let you get the benefits without the freezing burn.

10)  Dry Erase/ Chalkboard Eraser

No more wasting paper towels.  Use a sock to wipe marker or chalkboard clean!

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Whiter and Brighter Laundry

Baking Soda

What It Does: Baking soda helps deodorize and soften your clothes. Simply add 1/2 cup of baking soda along with your regular liquid laundry detergent at the start of the wash cycle. If you are using a powder detergent, add the baking soda during the rinse cycle.

Bleach

Use chlorine bleach only for whites and bleachable colors. Before using check for “non-chlorine bleach only” labels.

Non-chlorine bleaches, such as oxygen bleach (Oxi Clean) and hydrogen peroxide, are also great at whitening. These products are gentler than chlorine bleach, making them safe for most fabrics and dyes.

Hydrogen peroxide will whiten and brighten clothes, disinfect laundry, and remove stains. Pour it directly on stains such as blood. Add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to whites in the washing machine to brighten them

NOTE: Test in an inconspicuous area before using the product on darker colors.

White Distilled Vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent fabric softener and deodorizer. Pour 1/4 cup into your washing machine during the last rinse cycle. Continue the cycle as usual

Warning: Never combine vinegar with chlorine bleach as this will result in harmful fumes. Do not use vinegar on silk, acetate, or rayon clothing.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural laundry whitener and freshener. Add 1 cup to your washing machine water along with your detergent. Only use lemon juice on white laundry.

Borax

Borax helps remove stains, and it deodorizes and brightens clothes. Borax also breaks down the minerals in the water so detergent can work better. Add 1/2 cup of borax at the beginning of the wash cycle.

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer
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