Secrets for Easy Surface Cleaning

111779891Bleach stains on carpet or clothing can’t be reversed, but you can sometimes make them unnoticeable by carefully touching up the spot with a permanent marker in as close a color you can find.

Blood stains are tricky but not impossible to remove, especially if you catch them quickly. Start with a paste of cold water and baking soda, followed by a vinegar water rinse. If necessary, use a bit of hydrogen peroxide for a second cleaning. Some people report that cornstarch is an effective blood stain remover. Rinse stain in cold water first, rub in moistened cornstarch, then place item in the sun. If you catch a blood stain immediately, try this old folk remedy: wet a long piece of white cotton thread with saliva and roll it across the spot. The saliva enzymes will help the thread absorb the blood. Repeat.

Candle Wax can be removed from walls, wood tables and tablecloths with heat and plain paper. Place the paper over the wax and gently iron until the wax seeps into the paper. Repeat with fresh pieces of paper until wax is lifted, then clean surface carefully with a soft cloth dipped in a solution of vinegar and water. As an alternative, try applying an ice cube to dripped wax. It will become brittle and lift off more easily.

Coffee stains can be lightened or removed with this process. Wash in cold water and detergent or soap, then rinse first with water, then a water/white vinegar solution. Repeat water rinse. Rub denatured alcohol in the stain, rinse with water again. Finally, dip a white cloth into beaten egg yolk and rub yolk into stain. Rinse with clear water.

Chewing Gum can be hardened with ice for easier removal with a dull knife. Or try soaking the gum in rubbing alcohol, which will dissolve the gum.

Crayon stains come off in a snap with WD-40, the product often used to lubricate squeaky hinges. Wipe residue with soapy water to prevent an oil stain.

Food Stains are often best removed with simple soap and water or baking soda and water after first dabbing off as much as possible. Also, try soaking a stain in milk or salt, handy if you’re seated at the dinner table. A napkin dipped in club soda with a smidge of saliva will break down the stain until the article of clothing can be laundered.

Ink will respond well to hairspray or rubbing alcohol. Spray or pour on, blot off until gone.

Makeup like mascara, lipstick and nail polish, can sometimes be removed with nail polish remover or a petroleum-based solvent such as WD-40.

Mildew in tough-to-reach corners of your shower or tub can be removed with cotton balls soaked in bleach, left to set for a minute or so. Rinse treated areas well. For tile grout, try soaking a cotton swab in bleach and “painting” the grout between tiles, then rinsing well. If you prefer not to use bleach, borax mixed with alcohol and water or vinegar can sometimes work, but allow for more soaking time to be effective.

Mineral Deposits come off with vinegar and water or lemon juice and water solutions wiped on and rinsed well. For stubborn deposits, apply a baking soda/vinegar paste, cover and let dry (the longer the better). Rinse and buff with a soft cloth.

Motor Oil can be removed with nail polish remover, WD-40, rubbing alcohol, cooking oils, baby oil and paint thinner. Caution: after treating stain, hand wash item in soap and water and air dry. Oily clothes can be flammable when placed in the washer and dryer.

Mustard is one of the toughest stains to remove because it contains turmeric, a yellow dye. First, try a petroleum-based solvent. If stain remains, vinegar and water may help. Hydrogen peroxide is another option, but bleaching may occur, so treat quickly, rinse well and air dry.

Rust stains respond well to acidic solutions like vinegar and water or lemon juice and water. If cloth has rust stains, lemon juice followed by air drying in the sun is effective. For rust on metal, try scrubbing affected area with balled-up aluminum foil.

Scuff Marks can be erased from walls and floors with a piece of bread, pencil eraser or rubber soled shoe.

Stuck-on Food that won’t scrub easily off of pans can be removed a few ways. Sprinkle on baking soda, followed by hot water and vinegar. Or put a few drops of liquid dish soap in the pan and fill with water, then heat in oven or on stove top to loosen food particles. A greasy pan can be cleaned easier if you sprinkle salt on it before washing; the salt absorbs the grease.

Water Stains on Wood can disappear if you make a paste of salt and cooking oil, rub it into the water mark with a sponge, and let sit for a few minutes. Wipe with a soft cloth and polish as usual.

Wine and Fruit Stains will come out of cloth if quickly soaked in milk or salt after blotting as much as possible. White wine reportedly removes red wine from cloth.

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