How to Properly Clean a 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

Removing Muddy Water Stains and Mildew Odors

In light of the recent flooding in Oklahoma,  I’ve decided to post  with some helpful tips to help get rid of mildew odor and mud stains that have most likely affected many of you.

Mildew Odors

Washing your belongings a few times on a normal setting may get rid of the odor, but if that isn’t enough to combat the mildew smell, we’ve found a way to get your belongings back in shape and get that unpleasant smell out quickly. Here is how:

  1. Place your smelly belongings in the washing machine and fill with the hottest water possible. Add in 2 cups of white vinegar. Do not add any other products (detergent, softener etc.). This will allow the vinegar to penetrate the material without interference.  Run a full cycle.
  2. If the odor persist, repeat step 1, only this time use baking soda instead of vinegar. Run a full cycle once again.
  3. Dry until they are fully dry.

Muddy Water Stains

  1. Using the same method as above with vinegar works, but in case you don’t like the smell, you can always use a color-safe bleach and the warmest water your belongings will allow.
  2. Baking soda will also work.  Add approximately a 1/4 – 1/2 cup of baking soda to your load of laundry along with your favorite laundry detergent. Do not add any softener, this will allow the baking soda to penetrate the garments. Wash on the hottest setting your clothes/belongings will allow.
  3. If possible hang them out to dry to make sure all of the stains have been removed.  When hanging them out to dry isn’t an option, inspect them carefully before drying.  If needed, wash them again.
  4. Once all evidence of the stains are removed, dry them according to the label recommendations.

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Removing Diesel/Gas Stains and Odors

Have you ever been pumping gas and all of a sudden the tank is full and Ooops! the gas splashes out and right on to your clothes? So how do you get that awful odor out? It’s important to know that diesel/gas stains make all fabrics more flammable than normal so it is very important to handle the items carefully.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Gas and diesel stained clothes and rags should not be washed with other clothing. If after washing you can still smell fuel odor, do not place the garments in a clothes dryer. The excessive heat can cause the fabric to burst into flames.

Since gasoline and diesel are petroleum oil-based stains, they need to be pretreated using a solvent based stain removal product, like Shout or Spray ‘n Wash. If you don’t have a solvent-based pre-treater, apply a bit of enzyme-based heavy-duty liquid detergent, like Tide or Persil to the stain and work it in by gently rubbing with a soft bristle brush. Allow the stain remover to work for at least fifteen minutes before washing.

After pretreatment, wash the garment as usual in the hottest water appropriate for the fabric. Inspect the garment for stains and sniff for odors before drying and repeat treatment if necessary.

If there is still any lingering fuel odors, soak the stained clothes overnight in enough water to completely submerge the fabric with 1 cup baking soda added. Then rewash and rinse as usual.

For exceptionally heavy odors, fill the washer, deep sink or plastic tub with warm water and add 1 cup household ammonia. Shut the lid or cover the solution if possible. Allow the garments to soak for several hours or overnight. Drain the washer and wash as usual.

DO NOT USE ANY CHLORINE BLEACH during the soaking or washing because dangerous fumes can form.

Allowing the clothes to air dry outside will help remove odors as well. Again, if any trace of odor remains, air dry on an indoor rack or outside on a clothesline. Do not put these items in an electric or gas dryer.

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

How to Get Cleaner, Brighter, Clothes

 

 

Why buy expensive or dangerous cleaning products, bleaches or de-greasers when all you need is probably already in your cabinet!

Did you know baking soda can work magic — including getting cleaner and brighter  whites at a fraction of the cost.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…..

1) Put one cup of baking soda in your wash.

2) Then add your detergent

3) Run your wash on the normal setting and……Voila!  Brighter, cleaner whites!

Try this DIY homemade laundry detergent recipe. This is a project that will save you money and help you rid your home of toxic chemical cleaners and make your clothes brighter and cleaner in the process.

Ingredients

  • 1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) shaved bar soap (a homemade laundry bar, Ivory, or Zote)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup baking soda

Directions

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together. Use 1 Tbsp per small load (or 2-3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads) then add  to your laundry.  Store remaining in a sealed container.

Keeping your colors brighter is a challenge at times. Colors fade when the chemical bonds between the dye and the fabric break down, so the best way to keep your colors bright is to wash clothes in a way that either prevents dyes from dissolving, protects the fibers in the fabric — or both. Follow these tips, and your colors will look as good as new!

  • Turn clothes inside out— According to experts, the tumbling action of the wash cycle and the dryer can cause fabric fibers to break as clothes collide into each other and against the walls of the machine. Turning clothes inside out before you wash them will keep the worst of the fraying on the inside.
  • Soak clothes in salt water— Salt is inexpensive, environmentally friendly and great for keeping your colors bright. Before you wash that colorful new top, soak it overnight in salt water. Simply fill your washer with cold water, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt, and then add your clothes. In the morning, just add detergent and run the washer as you normally would. You can add additional clothes at this point, too — just be sure not to overfill the washer.
  • Wash in cold water— Washing in cold water instead of hot not only helps keep your colors bright, it also conserves energy and saves you money. For best results, use a detergent formulated for bright clothes and cold-water washing.

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Proper Care For Your Sneakers

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.

Specialty sneakers.  Sometimes sneakers have a different type of material that needs to be cleaned a little bit differently.

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

Keeping Pillows Clean

 

Over-sized, bulky and awkward – sometimes it’s hard to know how to wash your pillows.  Just remember with all of the germs, kids, pets, and guests it’s important to remember to wash them.The best way, plain and simple; machine wash your pillows. Most down and synthetic pillows can be machine washed and dried on low heat, but check the label to be sure.

You’ll want to wash and dry at least two pillows at a time to keep your machine balanced, but take care not to stuff too many in at once. Pillows need plenty of water to get thoroughly clean, and plenty of space to get thoroughly dry. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have clean, fluffy pillows.

NOTE: Foam pillows should not be washed! Sprinkling them with cornstarch, letting them sit for an hour or longer, then vacuuming thoroughly instead.

Detergent / Water Temperature

Make sure you use something that’s fragrance-free and will rinse clean.  Homemade laundry soap is always a good choice: 2 cups soap flakes and 1 cup each baking soda, washing soda, and borax. Water needs to be 140 degrees or higher to kill dust mites, so make sure your water heater isn’t set too low. It’s good to consider an extra spin cycle to squeeze out as much dampness as possible.

Drying

Make sure you dry pillows completely, even a little dampness could reintroduce the very mildew, bacteria, and dust mites you’re trying to avoid. Dry on low, checking them every 20 to 30 minutes to ensure even drying. For extra fluff, dry with dryer balls or a tennis ball in a sock.

Freshening Between Drying

Put your pillows in the dryer on “air fluff” every few months, to get rid of much of the dust.  If you can handle a little bit of the smell until it dissipates, you can include a vinegar-dampened washcloth, since vinegar is so good at killing mold and mildew.

Pillow Protectors

Removable pillow protectors buy you more time between full-on pillow cleaning.  Simply remove and machine-wash protectors in hot water once a month.

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

Grease Stain Removal

You probably already have some of these cleaning agents in your home, and a couple that might be worth bringing home.  Here’s how to take grease stains off clothes, step by step.

Dish Soap and Hot Water

Treat stained clothes the same way you would a sink full of greasy dishes – remove grease from the surface with dish-washing liquid.  Dish detergent is designed to break up surface grease and allow it to rinse away.

  • Place the garment stain-side down on white paper towels. (Printed paper towels could transfer ink color to your clothes.)
  • Squirt a dime-size amount of dishwashing liquid on the backside of the grease stains. Gently rub the dish detergent into the stain center and work your way to the edges. Give it a minute or so to work its breakdown magic.
  • Rinse the treated area under warm to hot running water for a minute or so to remove the dish detergent. The water temperature will depend on what the fabric can handle. For 100 percent cotton, you can usually use hot water.
  • Follow the rinse with a spin in the washing machine, using the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric and your regular laundry detergent.  If you can’t read the clothing label care tab, choose a warm water wash.

Laundry Detergent Pre-treatment

Rub a liquid laundry detergent into the stain, and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

Wash the stained item separately from the rest of your clothes in the hottest recommended water, adding a little bleach or bleach alternative to the wash water. Extend the wash cycle to give the garment some extra time in the spin cycle.

Absorbent Powder

Another good tip that works on grease stains that are fresh is to use absorbent powder (such as cornstarch, salt, baking powder or talcum powder).

  • Apply the absorbent of choice, and let it set until the powder has absorbed as much of the grease stain as possible. Brush away the absorbent remnants with a stiff-bristle brush.

WD-40 and Dish Detergent

Place the garment on paper towels, grease stain side up. Spray the greasy area with WD-40. Let stand 10 minutes.

  • Turn the garment over and spray the underside  as well. Allow to sit another 10 minutes.
  • Using paper towels, blot on some hand dishwashing liquid, replacing the towels as they absorb the grease.
  • Rinse the treated area, and wash separately from the rest of your laundry.

Lestoil Heavy Duty Cleaner

Lestoil Heavy Duty Cleaner is made by Clorox. It safely removes oil spots, grease stains and tar from washable fabrics. It’s effective and easy to use, but it does have a very strong smell.

Simply pour Lestoil onto the greasy stain and let it soak in for about 20 minutes before washing. And if you’re washing a huge greasy load of laundry, add some to the wash water to get the load clean and grease-free.

Lestoil is also good for removing stains from fabric on sofas, chairs, carpets, and concrete driveways.

Last But Not Least

Inspect the treated area before drying to ensure the greasy stains are completely removed. If you can still see any residue, repeat the pre-treating and washing process until clear.

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Remove Embarrassing Underarm Stains

Stains occur when the aluminum in your antiperspirant or deodorant combines with the salt in your sweat. The stains are notoriously difficult to get rid of with normal washing in the laundry machine. We recommend doing a pre-test on a small area before trying.

Method #1

You will need:

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Toothbrush

Apply the ingredients directly to the shirt, use an old toothbrush to work them in for a minute, and then let the shirt sit for at least an hour before putting it in the washing machine.

Method #2

You will need:

  • OxiClean
  • Toothbrush

Fill up a sink with warm water and mix it with one scoop of OxiClean.  Place your shirt in the sink, making sure the yellow stains are completely submerged. For mild stains, just let the shirt sit for an hour. For more stubborn stains, rub a thick mixture of OxiClean and water on the stain, and let the shirt sit overnight before putting it in the diluted mixture.  After you’re done soaking the shirt, scrub the stain with the toothbrush, then rinse and launder as usual.

To prevent the stains in the first place, Degree deodorant says it helps to wear loose clothing, make sure your antiperspirant deodorant is dry before you get dressed and don’t use too much product.

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

Removing Red Wine Stains from Silk

With Valentines Day quickly approaching, we thought it would be good to talk about removing 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.

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How to Wash Antique Linens

Some of us are fortunate enough to inherit a little piece of our family history. If we’re lucky, these items will be in good condition, but that’s not always the case. Some items may have dry rot, mouse nibbles and/or rust. You won’t be able to save these things if the fibers are already compromised. If you tug on two sides of a garment and it comes apart without much effort, your item has dry rot and has reached the end. Sometimes, you just have to let go, there’s no way to save it.

To start, here are a few items you should have on hand:
White Vinegar
Rust Remover
Restoration – (Oxyclean is similar, more widely available and slightly less expensive than Restoration, but it doesn’t work as well.)
Bleach pen
Laundry detergent (simple soap, nothing added)

***PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY METHOD THAT YOU CHOOSE TO TRY. IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE CONDITION OF THE GARMENT.***

“Restoration” and white vinegar are preferred products. Read the label and use common sense. You may only need to use “Restoration” for your initial laundering to remove storage dirt. You can also use “Restoration” in the washing machine with your laundry, too. It removes odors, age spots, storage stains, label stains and often, some rust. If it doesn’t remove the rust, try using “Whink Rust & Stain Remover.” Be aware that if rust has already eaten away the fibers that you may be left with a hole where the rust had been after cleaning with rust/stain remover.

Use “Restoration” first and, if stains remain after two or three sessions with it, put the dampened piece outside in bright sunshine for a day. This is often a magical solution. Horrible stains will usually disappear within an hour. This is the least invasive method. It is effective and it’s free – it also sanitizes. However, sunlight does bleach and weaken fibers over time. Sunlight is destructive so I am not suggesting that you constantly subject your fragile items to sunlight. This method, used once or twice on a piece that would otherwise need to be thrown away, can be very helpful. If the stains persist, you may need to resort to using bleach with laundry detergent. I like to have a bleach pen on hand because it allows me to pinpoint where I apply the bleach. After using bleach, always rinse with white vinegar, then rinse again with clear water.

Step 1. Use hot water with “Restoration” until the water turns clear. (approx. 4- 6 hours or overnight) If the water is not clear after overnight soak, repeat this step. Extremely filthy items may require several soakings.

Step 2. Drain and refill container with water; add white vinegar (a splash or a cup, depending on container size); swish around and soak for 10-20 minutes.

Step 3. Drain and refill with lots of clear water; swish around and soak for 15 minutes. Done!

If stains remain, repeat entire process.
If there is rust, use rust remover on wet fabric, then repeat from Step 2.

If stains remain, lay wet/damp item outdoors in sunshine.

If stains remain, soak with laundry detergent and small amount of bleach. Or use a bleach pen on small stains. It is better to soak longer using very little bleach.

IMPORTANT!
DO NOT mix chemical treatments. Pre-rinse items that may have bleach or detergent residue with vinegar to neutralize the bleach and then rinse twice in clear water before trying another treatment. DO NOT bleach anything after using Oxyclean or peroxide or any other chemical treatment. Your items may turn permanently blue, or worse Rinse really well before trying any other product.

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