When you use sponges in the kitchen, they do become stinky. That’s because bacteria, food particles or mildew can get trapped in the sponge. Here’s how to get rid of it:
1. Soak the sponge in a bowl of vinegar for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Rinse the sponge in cool soapy water and then wring it out thoroughly. Let it air-dry.
3. If your sponges still smell bad or are just too grungy, toss them out. Buy new ones when they are on sale.
Vinegar can be used to clean many items in your home from windows to shower heads. For more vinegar hints, click here.
Oh, this laundry disaster does happen! And it’s such a task to remove all that sticky stuff from the interior of the dryer. Follow these Heloise Hints to make it easier:
1. First, place a couple of old towels into the dryer and allow it to run on warm for several minutes. This will allow the gum to soften.
2. Then combine 1 tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent with water, just to make a paste. Apply it with a cloth and scrub over the gum inside the entire dryer and wipe out.
3. Before putting clothes into the dryer again, run it again with just a couple of damp rags to make all of the gum is gone.
4. Check pockets for gum before putting clothes into the dryer!
Indoor ceiling fans do get completely dusty and greasy and often we don’t notice because they are up high. But they should be cleaned on a regular basis, depending on the traffic in the room. Here’s what to do:
1. First, place an old flat sheet on the floor underneath the ceiling fan, so it will contain dust and debris falling when you clean it.
2. Stand on a step stool to clean the fan blades. If the top of the blade is really dusty, wipe a dry microfiber cloth over it to grab the dust. Also, you can use the brush attachment of the vacuum to remove dust.
3. For wooden blades, wipe with just a slightly damp (water only) cloth and then dry well.
4. To clean the light fixtures, remove them. Wash in soapy water, rinse well and then hand dry.
Granite floors can create a stunning entrance to your home. They are durable, but they do get dirty and need to be cleaned. Here’s what to do to keep them in good shape:
1. Dust with a non-treated dry dust mop to get rid of dirt or sand, which can harm the floor.
2. To then clean, mix warm water with a pH neutral detergent and apply with a rag mop. Don’t use too much cleaner, which will leave a film.
3. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.
4. Never apply any acidic (lemon or orange) or abrasive cleaner.
Worried about dust mites in your pillows and bed? These little creatures thrive in warm, humid weather and adore chomping down on the flakes of dead skin from people and pets. These pieces often land in beds or in carpeting or furniture. Here’s how to get rid of them:
1. Vacuum and dust your bed and bedroom often to pick up skin flakes.
2. Wash bedding in the hottest water appropriate for the fabrics and dry well.
3. Buy dust-mite covers for pillows and even box springs and mattresses.
4. Sub in polyester fiber pillows rather than feathers.
Oh, those pesky flies can drive you crazy in the kitchen. Where do they come from? Be aware that when you bring fruit home from the grocery store, they already may have laid eggs onto the skin. So when the fruit gets to your warm kitchen, it will ripen and fruit flies come to life! Here’s what to do:
1. The new fruit flies will then lay eggs in the garbage can, sink drains or empty bottles. So keep them clean.
2. Don’t let fruit ripen on the counter, eat it right away.
3. Store fruit in the refrigerator to make last longer.
You can clean those dirty and sweaty baseball caps without losing the shape by taking these easy steps:
1. If caps are cotton or wool (not vintage), start by testing them for the colorfastness. Dip a white cloth in a mild mixture of mild laundry detergent and cool water and dab it on the interior of the cap. If you don’t see any dye, you can hand wash them.
2. Wash with that solution and rinse well (shake out and pat dry). You can buy an inexpensive baseball form to put the hat over to dry and retain the shape.
3. If the band is filthy, mix 1 tablespoon of cheap hair shampoo with ½ cup of water. Scrub onto the band with a toothbrush, rinse and air-dry.
If you would like to save money on buying fabric softener, you can do so by making your own natural, scent-free softener with this home-style recipe:
1. In a big plastic container, mix 2 cups of baking soda, 2 cups of white vinegar with 4 cups of water.
2. Add this solution to the last rinse cycle to soften your garments.
3. Be aware that commercial cleaners do a good job lessening static cling, but don’t overuse because they make cotton diapers or towels less absorbent.
Baking soda can be used to take all kinds of awful household odors. Click here for more baking soda hints.
Many of the fabrics in our homes are used daily and we don’t pay attention to them, unless there is a spill or emergency. But here’s what you can do to refresh them in between serious cleanings:
1. Dryer: Freshen most pillows, bedspreads, comforters or curtains just by putting them, along with a fabric-softener sheet, into the dryer on the AIR setting for several minutes.
2. Vacuum with upholstery and crevice attachment: Dust off heavy drapery, fabric-covered chairs and couches with the vacuum and attachments.
3. Microfiber cloths: Simply dampen a microfiber cloth with tap water and rub over fabric (NOT silk) to get rid of minor surface debris or dust.
Toothbrushes can be stored on the counter as long as they are away from the toilet, so the airborne bacteria from flushing the toilet won’t land on exposed toothbrushes. Here’s what else you should do:
1. Do not allow toothbrushes to touch each other because infections, such as periodontal disease or colds, can be passed from one toothbrush to another.
2. Rinse toothbrush bristles completely after every time your brush.
3. You should change toothbrushes around every three months or when you see that the bristles are worn or splayed.