Leather sofas and chairs can last a long time in your home, if they are cared for properly. Do not place this furniture next to a fireplace or heater on in direct sunlight. This heat will dry out the leather. Here’s how to clean and keep in beautiful:
1. Use a microfiber cloth, dampened only with tap water. Wipe over the leather and it will pick up grime and dirt. Do this regularly to prevent a build up. I give the couch a once over while I’m watching an old movie!
2. If the piece needs more cleaning. Mix a tiny bit of baby shampoo with water, about 1 teaspoon per quart of water to clean it. If you see a grease or oil stain, sprinkle a bit of cornstarch or flour over the spot and pat in to absorb the stains.
3. Never scrub or use caustic or abrasive cleaners on leather! Once it is scratched or marked, it’s not going to come out, it’s been damaged.
If you’ve stacked bowls on a shelf and not used them in a while, they can get stuck, making it difficult to get them apart. Here are the Heloise Hints how to do it without damaging them:
1. Place the stack in the sink. Fill the top bowl with ice and cold tap water. Let it sit for several minutes to cool and to contract the bowl.
2. Then place the lower bowl in warm to hot water. The heat will expand the bowl.
3. Gently attempt to pull them apart.
4. If the won’t separate, pour a little bit of baby oil between or around the edges of the top and bottom bowls. It will seep down between them and then they should separate more easily.
With so many parties and events during the holiday season, it can be hard to keep everything clean. Here are some Heloise Hints to help up spiff up your home in no time:
1. Take cleaning supplies (and cell phone) and place them in a basket and then just carry it with you to the area you want to clean.
2. When you enter a room, stand in the center and look around to see exactly needs to be cleaned. Often, top cleaning, just the surfaces, will do.
3. Don’t worry about cleaning under furniture or in cabinets, your guests won’t see the dust or dust bunnies anyway. How rude if they looked!
4. Don’t stress about having your home perfectly clean. Your guests won’t be making a white-glove inspection, but rather enjoying your company!
If you are having large seated dinner parties and don’t have enough tablecloths, be creative. Here are suggestions for clever sub-ins:
1. Use a lovely shawl as a table runner or nicely placed cloth.
2. A serape draped over a table will add colorful drama.
3. Extra pretty sheets can be used with placemats put on top, along with a centerpiece, and no one will know!
4. If you don’t have enough napkins for a casual or outdoor party, colorful washcloths that you can buy in stacks, can add interest to the table too.
Every home should have a working fire extinguisher in and around the kitchen, as well as others strategically placed where they might be needed. However, if you discover yours isn’t effective (check periodically to see that they are working), here’s what you can do with small kitchen emergency:
1. Baking soda can be used to douse a small kitchen fire. Toss a handful over the flames; it produces carbon dioxide, which quells the fire.
2. Never use cornstarch or flour because they can be combustible.
3. Do not toss water on a grease fire because it can spatter and cause the fire to spread.
Baking Soda can be a lifesaver! For more Heloise money-saving baking soda hints, click here to find them on my website: www.Heloise.com.
As you prepare for cold weather, take the time to your roof a visual inspection. Get a ladder and use binoculars to examine the roof. Here’s what you should look for:
1. Check for loose or missing singles or cracks in tiles. All will need to be repaired.
2. Look at each flashing (the sheet metal at the breaks on the roof) to be sure that it’s secure. Also check flashing around the chimney.
3. Examine the chimney. Make sure nesting materials from bird or squirrel nests are removed, so it does not block the chimney and create a fire hazard.
4. Don’t forget the eaves and gutters. Remove tree debris or anything that can clog them up. Make certain they are still attached firmly to the roof and sides of your home.
These awful biting little insects can create havoc and a big mess in your home that needs to be addressed immediately. Here are three steps you should take ASAP:
1. Clean, disinfect and remove these critters where they are invading. Examine your bed and wash linens, bedding, curtains and clothing in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric and then dry at high temperatures.
2. Vacuum the bed area, including floors, carpets, baseboards, furniture and bed frame. Be aware that bedbugs hide or nest in seams, tufts of folds or in piles of clutter in the bedroom. Point a hot hair dryer at the area where they are to flush them out and destroy.
3. If the infestation is overwhelming, you will most likely need to call a professional to do the job.
The mattress will have to be steam-cleaned or thrown out or they may use a specific pesticide for bedbug removal.
During the upcoming holiday season we use our best crystal and good china for all family gatherings and parties. Here are some Heloise hints on how to protect them when cleaning:
1. If your good china is rimmed with gold or silver, it’s best to hand-wash. Don’t put it into the dishwasher on a high heat cycle. To hand wash without fear, lay a soft terry towel in the sink before adding china or (crystal). It’s better to put only a plate or two and really only one glass in at a time. That way, they won’t get chipped or cracked by hitting each other. Hold the crystal by the stem when washing and rinsing.
2. If the crystal still seems to be cloudy after washing, dip it into a warm vinegar rinse. If the cloudiness remains, the glasses could be etched with tiny scratches, which cannot be removed. Dry ASAP after washing with a lint-free cloth. Then there won’t be any spots.
3. When you store plates, place a round coffee filter between each one to stop scratches or chipping. Cover the stack of plates with plastic wrap so they don’t collect dust.
With the holiday looming and lots of fall parties to go to, you always want to bring a gift to the hostess. I like to take homemade gifts because they are personal. Depending on your talent, they can be crafts or delicious treats from your kitchen. Here is one my friends like. I put it in a decorative jar with a pretty bow and sometimes include a tea cup or mug or cookies.
HELOISE’S FRIENDSHIP TEA
2 ½ cups powdered orange-flavored breakfast drink
1 ¾ powered instant tea, not sweetened
2 to 2 ½ cups sugar or to taste
1 small package lemonade mix (makes 2 quarts)
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. Blend together all dry mix ingredients. Store in a tightly sealed jar.
2. To serve, use 1 to 2 teaspoons mix per 6 to 8 ounces of hot water.
Dental floss is used to well, keeping gums and teeth healthy. But there are many other Heloise Hints to use the cheap product around the house. It’s great for emergencies too. Can you guess?
1. Sew on a button. It works better than thread.
2. Cut cheese, cakes or other food items. Unflavored please!
3. Use as a shoelace when you don’t have time to buy new ones.
4. String beads or popcorn.