Clean

8 November 2010

Since my job loss last month, I have been scheming ways to make money without sitting in an office or classroom all day. So I listed all of my skills, and it turned out to be a not long list that doesn’t point to any specific career path. My in-demand skill list is: stain removing, internet researching (any topic, people), Facebook picture caption writing, baby clothes buying, blog reading, half apron sewing, sleeping until noon (we alternate days waking with Beau), teaching/training/helping (but I don’t want to teach or be a customer service representative), and dancing (very subjective).

Then, today, I was accused of hoarding cleaning secrets, so I decided that since it is apparently a skill not everyone has, I would share some cleaning tips. Go ahead and close out this tab if you are already bored. I try and make most of my cleaning products or use things that are natural. If you are using chemicals and cleaning with the windows closed, you are inhaling those fumes. I don’t think that’s why my mom got lung cancer (non-smoker, non-genetic) but I don’t want to take any chances. So pictured here is my crew.

-Vinegar. I pour white vinegar into a spray bottle that I got from Publix for $1 and use this for almost everything. You can dilute it with water but I use it full strength. Yes, vinegar is not the most pleasant smell but it dissipates, along with other odors. I use it to clean mirrors, windows, toilets, sinks, floors (we have an electric mop like a Swiffer but by a different company that lets you fill it with whatever you want), counters, and basically anything you would use a spray cleaner on. I have also used it to stain treat, as bleach, fabric softener, cat urine smell remover, hair rinse, car carpet deodorizer, to treat jellyfish stings, and to clean out the coffee maker.

-Lemon juice. If I get a stain on clothing, especially white clothing, or if I find something old from a thrift store, I use this to treat it. I just squeeze lemon juice on it and hang it out in the sun for a few hours. Then I wash it and repeat the lemon juice/sun cycle, if necessary. So easy and it works really well.

-Dawn. Old-school Dawn, not newfangled super concentrated Dawn. This stuff is my general stain remover for clothing. It gets out grease, oil, blood, food, and dirt. Depending on the stain, like a general food stain, I just squeeze some on and throw it in the hamper. Then I wash as usual. If it’s something major, I squeeze it on and rub it in with an old toothbrush. If I can’t get a stain out with lemon juice, I go to Dawn. I have used this to get stains out of hand-me-downs that were there for a couple of years.

-Borax. I use this when I want a paste or a scrub, like when I clean the tub. I also use this for laundry stains, if lemon juice or plain Dawn didn’t do the trick. I once washed a white tank top with pink jeans and the tank top got a huge pink stain on it. I instantly treated it with borax and a toothbrush and got the stain out. It is really hard to remove clothing dye stains, so I probably rewarded myself after that with an episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

-Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. So far, I only use this for the tub because I couldn’t get a ring off with anything else. I hear you can use it for other things, like marker on a wall. It is my last resort, since it is the least natural.

-Hairspray. This is the only thing that gets ink out. I will be using it tonight; thank you, Beau. You could probably use rubbing alcohol, if you don’t have Aqua Net around. I prefer to use a traditional spray over the aerosol but they both work. Just spray the stain, let it set, blot with a rag, and repeat.

-Specialty items (not pictured). When something crazy happens, like your husband spills a glass of red wine on your white couch, I refer to the internet. I removed a huge red wine stain with a combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, which was awesome, but the cleaning solution left a big water mark, which was sad. You can wad up newspaper and throw it in the fridge to remove odors (like fish). I use Goo Gone to get the sticker residue off of things. I wish there were a Poo Gone I could use for cloth diapers. For light laundry stains, I use the Ecover stain stick and that works well.

Wasn’t that enthralling? If you’re still reading, you’re probably a nerd.

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13 Responses to “Clean”

  1. Brittany Says:

    Sunning cloth diapers works great.

  2. gwynne Says:

    Thank you!!!!! I was going to ask you about this at our next ‘meeting’, with pen and paper in hand. I still have questions that I will enthusiastically ask you next time I see you!!
    I’ve already started the vinegar thing, but am having a hard time dumping my Method products!!! They smell so good!

  3. RaeAnn Says:

    As Beau grows older and uses your walls for her creativity you will become a lover of Magic Eraser.

  4. taraferreira Says:

    did you get the stains out of that beach boys 1984 shirt?

  5. brooke rains Says:

    Tara-you know I did (lemon/sun method, two cycles). Next up is the Elvis t shirt you gave Beau as a hand-me-down.

  6. therobynnest Says:

    Ah. Tomorrow the cleaning crew arrives for the second time. I have arranged to send Rory to the neighbors and plan to use those three hours to sew a blanket. This is no longer my problem. (evil laughing)

  7. callee Says:

    oscar said that red wine stain was back in 2004

  8. elizabeth Says:

    This is great! But I worry about Borax’s impact on the environment. My sister (who is a chemical engineer) said Borax affects eco-systems and never really goes away once it is used and washed down the drain, and then goes into waterways. I think baking soda is safer. Have you heard anything like this?

  9. brooke rains Says:

    That is interesting, Elizabeth. I have always heard that it is toxic if ingested but it is naturally mined and safe for the environment. I use it in my laundry detergent recipe, which would go straight into the waterway. It is always listed as a “green” or “eco friendly” cleaner, and I can’t find any info online to the contrary. So I’d love to hear more from a scientific perspective, if it is hazardous.

  10. B-dog Says:

    You had to know I would be all about this post. Instant bookmark. I’d like to add that hydrogen peroxide helps with blood on clothes.

  11. elizabeth Says:

    I’ll ask my sister for more details. It is “natural” in the sense it is a natural element, but what she told me before was using borax for cleaning purposes unnaturally introduces it into eco-systems it wouldn’t normally be a part of, and it can harm fish, plant life, etc., and that it never really “goes away”. She told me to stop using it (I used to use it to create a cleaning paste, too). I will ask her for more info and let you know what she says.


  12. love LOVE this!! i am one of those crazy people who loves to clean, so this post was like porn to me 🙂

    question: why old school dawn? i love dawn, but i am not the fan of the old school formula. I feel like you have to use too much to get the results achieved with ultra.

    omg, i cannot believe i am actually asking these questions. i need to go drink some whiskey and listen to punk rock now!

    • brooke rains Says:

      I don’t know why but old-school Dawn just works better. I bought the super concentrated version once and it didn’t work as well. Since I mainly use it as a stain-treater, I don’t use much.

      You definitely became a little less cool by reading this post. My post on menstrual cups is also guaranteed to ruin your social life 🙂


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