Category Archives: How to Clean Easy

How to Clean Tile

If you’re like most people, cleaning tile is about as exciting as watching leaves fall.  And if you’re like most people, you’d rather spend your time watching the leaves fall than heading to the bathroom to scrub those grimy tiles.

Nevertheless, they need to be cleaned and cared for just like everything else in your home – even if it does take a little longer.  Usually it’s the shower tiles that take the worst beating.  Kitchen tiles can certainly end up grimy and covered in spaghetti sauce or even suffer a tiny scratch, but this type of grime is easier to take care of.  A little spray cleaner, a sponge, and voila – the kitchen is in perfect order again.

Those bathroom tiles aren’t quite so forgiving, however.   The strange thing is that most of the buildup on the tiles we need to clean is a soap buildup!  The very ingredient we need to use to get rid of the soap that’s already there.

Don’t waste your time, hopes and money on the new products that supposedly deliver a protective finish once you’re out of the shower.  They don’t reach all the crevices, they don’t spray around corners, and they certainly don’t spray enough to do any good.

You need a combination of elbow grease, vinegar, and a regular strength all purpose cleaner.  Forget the bleach!  Bleach is not a cleanser.  Bleach is a disinfectant, and it actually harms tile by dulling the shine.   If you do decide to still use it and mix it with your cleaner, don’t mix it with the ammonia!  It produces a lethal gas that you won’t smell.

Depending on the kind of tile you have will depend on the type of sponge you can use.   Dainty ceramic tiles will scratch if you try to use a steel wool pad.  But you will definitely need a scrubbing surface with some sort of abrasive finish that is safe for the tile you are cleaning.  Your best bet for a general purpose scrubber is a pad made with nylon or Teflon.

Before spraying on that commercial grade cleaner, you should prepare a solution of 1:1 vinegar and water.  Vinegar actually begins to dissolve the grime.  If you are doing this on walls you will need to soak a sponge or rag and keep rinsing the wall – don’t just dab it on once and leave.  The easiest way to do it is section by section.  Dab, rub, rinse, move on.  You’ll be amazed at how much grime comes loose and falls off with just the vinegar.  (This mixture works equally well for tile floors, too.  Just use your regular mop and finish with a clean water rinse.)

Next, mix your all purpose cleaner with water.  The trick here is to mix it in a denser combination depending on how dirty the tile is.  If the directions say ¼ cup per gallon, you may need ¾ cup.  In some cases you may be better off using the solution full strength without diluting it.  (Of course, to avoid this in the future, you should clean your tile at least once a week and rinse it down completely after each shower.)

Tiles made of clay, such as Mexican tiles, can be more difficult to clean and keep clean because they are very porous.  Dirt and grime get into these tiny crevices and, if not cleaned properly, will keep building up over time.   Without proper care, these tiles may succumb to deterioration and will need either to be replaced, or at least professionals might need to come in and clean them and seal them properly.  Hint:  After cleaning them, have them professionally sealed.

In any case, don’t use solvents not made to work on tiles.  Before buying a new product for this purpose, check the side of the bottle for contraindications that say “not safe for…”.  Some cleaners can be used on ceramic, and not on Mexican tiles.  Other cleaners can only be used on granite.  Look before you buy.  It could turn into an expensive mistake if you bring home the wrong product.

How To Clean A Fish Tank

Fish tanks are great additions to any home not just for people who love pets, but also for anyone who wants to add something to the décor. Many people don’t realize however, that caring for fish means more than just feeding them. A big part of the process is cleaning the tank properly. This will ensure that your fish remain healthy, and limit the build up of harmful bacteria.

Aquarium fish can live for three to seven years, or sometimes even longer. Often, people who own fish are surprised when they only live for a few months. In many cases this may be due lack of proper maintenance. Cleaning a fish tank does not have to be a time consuming or expensive task. Items that can be used for this job are:

  • Clean rags and paper towels
  • Algae scrapers
  • Bucket
  • Filter brush
  • Glass cleaner for aquariums
  • Bleach
  • Siphon

The Process of Cleaning a Fish Tank

Remove the fish from the tank if you are doing a full cleaning. Put the fish in bags containing water from the aquarium or a small fish bowl. After you have finished cleaning the tank, put the bags to float in the water for about fifteen minutes. This will bring the water in the bags to the same temperature as the tank water. Or if you had placed them in a small bowl, wait for a while until the water in the original aquarium is back to room temperature before replacing the fish in the cleaned tank.

It is not always necessary when cleaning a fish tank to remove all the water. In fact, depending on how dirty it is, removing 10 to 15 percent of the water is usually enough. The first step is to use the algae scraper to clean the inside of the tank. You should be able to find these at any pet store. Keep in mind that these are different from scrapers or scouring pads you will find in a regular store. If you have a deep tank, be sure to get a scraper with a long handle.

Take out any of the tank fixtures that are visibly covered in algae or dirt. Make a mild bleach solution (10% bleach or less) and soak the fixtures for ten to fifteen minutes. Rinse them off and place them back in the tank. Some plants used in aquariums can handle a mild bleach solution. When you purchase them be sure to ask at the store if this is the case.

Use the siphon to clean up the decorative gravel. It is easy for waste and algae to get between the tiny stones and eventually create a hazard for the fish. There are different types of siphons on the market, so ask for advice before buying one. For the most part siphons function in a similar manner, but there are some that actually filter out the water and return it to the tank.

Use the glass cleaner to wipe the outside of the tank. If you are unable to get a special cleaner, use vinegar or a bleach solution, as they work just as well. Now the only thing that is left is the filter. Unless the filter is actually falling apart it is not necessary to change or clean it. A lot of bacteria beneficial to the fish live in the filter. Cleaning it or changing it can lead to the build up of toxins, which can prove harmful to the fish. Simply rinse the filter in the water that was removed from the tank.

If you do decide to clean the filter, it must be done at a separate time. Some filter media actually have to be changed after a few weeks. You should be able to get this information when you purchase the filter. A filter brush can be used to clear excessive build up, but when cleaning, ensure that the water is the same temperature as that in the tank.

For tanks that are excessively dirty, it may be necessary to remove all the water, and put in fresh water. The water should be at the same temperature to maintain the levels of beneficial bacteria, and the sudden change could cause the fish to die from shock. Periodically the water temperature should be checked as part of your regular maintenance. Cleaning the tank once a week is enough to prevent having to do a lot of major cleaning.

There are also fish that can make the task of keeping the tank clean an easier one. The Chinese algae eater, catfish and the trunk barb are all fish that either eat algae or consume food left at the bottom of the tank. Snails are also useful in this regard, but it should be remembered that they can reproduce quickly. Some of them will also feed on the aquarium plants, so introduce them to the tank environment with caution.

How to Clean a DVD – The Correct Method

Cleaning a DVD or CD is part of our everyday media experience. Every once in a while, DVD’s get dirty or scratched and become unusable. To preserve the data on the discs, they need to be stored, handled and cleaned correctly.

The information on a clean DVD is read by the reflections transmitted back from a laser. If a DVD has surface contaminants or scratches on it, the laser cannot read the data correctly. It is time to clean DVD’s when we start to see minor pixilation on the video or if the problem is bad enough, the disk will go to frame skipping or even freeze frame and be unplayable.

Good storage, such as keeping the clean DVD in a case when not in use will help to save on scratches but regular handling can actually make the DVD dirty and cause contamination that will affect playability.

Our hands naturally have an oily film that keeps the skin from cracking. This film is transferred to the clean DVD during handling and in time makes the DVD unreadable. When handling a clean DVD I find the best way is to hold the hub or outer edge. Do not touch the shiny data surface.

Do not store your disks near a heat source such as a sunlit window or radiator. Make sure the disk is fully inserted in the tray before closing it. A trapped disk will become distorted and not spin correctly.

Cleaning a DVD can be easy. This is how to clean a DVD:

  1. When you clean DVDs, hold the disk by the edges and if you want further stability, rest your middle finger inside the center hole.
  2. Do not rub it up and down the front of your shirt. That is not the correct action for cleaning a DVD. Use a soft, lint-free cloth that is free from dust. Dust causes scratches.
  3. Do not clean in a circular motion. The tracks of data go round the disk in a circular direction. If there is dust on the cloth, it could scratch out many contiguous data, making it unreadable.
  4. Cleaning the DVD in a radial direction from the center of the disk to the outside rim is best. If your cloth does have dust on it, only small areas of data will become affected and the disk will still be recoverable.
  5. Do not use any strong cleaner agents, acids, abrasives or solvents for cleaning a DVD. Cleaning agents will cause damage to the protective surface of the DVD. Either wipe it with a soft dry lint free cloth or if it is very dirty, use a mild soapy water to clean DVD’s and rinse clean with clear water. Dry with a clean cloth.
  6. Do not use any of the canned or compressed air products that are available for cleaning keyboards to clean DVD’s. These are very cold and may cause thermal stress the disc.

If you continue to have problems with your disk, examine it for scratches. Hold it at an angle against a window or any light source to identify scratches.

There are commercial compounds available for filling scratches on DVDs and are ideal if you have a large library but for most of us toothpaste will sometimes do the trick. Smear some toothpaste on the disc and polish in the same radial way that is used for cleaning a DVD. Wipe off any excess paste before using.

How to Clean Carpets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Carpets make a great decorative presence in many homes. Not only are they attractive but they can be real comfy to lie on. One big headache attached with carpets is keeping them clean, especially if you have children or pets. Another is that they can be a major health risk especially to persons with allergies. Nonetheless, carpets can be kept clean with a little effort and without having to call the carpet cleaner as often as you normally would.

Before attempting to clean your carpet determine what type of material it is made of. Remember that all carpets are not the same, some are wool, plant fiber or manmade material. The material will help you better determine whether to do it yourself or get the professionals.

The tools needed for cleaning carpets are not out of reach of the ordinary homeowner. In fact, all that is generally needed are:

  • Buckets
  • Spray bottle
  • Scrub brush
  • Laundry detergent (preferably the powdered type, although dish washing liquid can be used. Do not use detergent containing bleach or alkaline.)
  • Towels
  • Vacuum
  • Toothbrush

The Process

  • Vacuum or sweep the carpet before you start the real cleaning. This removes lint, hair and any other such material.
  • Mix the detergent with warm water. Generally ¼ cup to a gallon of warm water ensures that it is not concentrated. To prevent damage to the carpet, test the solution on a small area.  If discoloration occurs do not go any further. If all goes well, you can proceed with the cleaning process.
  • Whether you are using a sponge or a brush work in small areas at a time for the best results. If using a sponge squeeze out most of the water. With a brush, gently spray some cleaning solution and slowly scrub the area being cleaned. Use the toothbrush to scrub hard to remove spots.
  • Dip a clean sponge into clean water and remove the cleaning solution before moving on to the next section to be cleaned. You may need to repeat this to ensure that all the cleaning solution is removed.
  • Fluff the carpet against the nap to ensure proper drying and to restore carpet to its original level of fluffiness. Using a stiff bristle brush is a good way to raise the nap. You can also vacuum for the same result.

Dealing with Stains

It is hard to avoid stains getting on your carpet. The Internet offers lots of solutions for removing various types of stains, so do a quick search for the solution to your particular problem. However, the following tips are handy for dealing with stains as they happen:

  • Quickly blot the spot with hand towels or a clean rag to absorb most of the spilled material, whether liquid or solid. Remove as much of it as you can before cleaning the area. As usual test any cleaning solution on small area first.
  • Always start at the outer edges of the spot and work inwards. This will prevent the stain from spreading outwards.

If nothing works to get your carpet as nice and clean as you want, you can always resort to calling in the professionals.

For clean, fresh smelling carpets, vacuum them at least once per week. Pay special attention to heavy traffic areas. Add some baking soda to your vacuum bag to prevent odor. You can also opt to sprinkle the baking soda on the carpet itself, leave for about 15 minutes and then vacuum.

Tip:  Don’t get overly excited and soak the carpet. Making it too wet leads to a longer drying time. This can be an especially problematic situation as it can soak through to the floor and damage it, especially a wooden floor. This will also make it easier to get dirty again if others walk on it while it is still wet.

How To Clean a Mattress: Planning to Succeed

Who actually thinks about cleaning a mattress unless they actually have a spill they are frantically trying to clean? It’s more likely that you had a spill, tried a few methods to clean it, which didn’t work, and are now researching a method to clean a spill which is a few days old, set, and has had seveal cleaners applied to it.

This article will highlight how to prevent spills from ruining your mattress and what to do in an emergency situation.  These tools, learned ahead of time, will prevent you from hours of frustration and save your mattress, an expensive investment which is costly and time-consuming to replace.

This article will also teach you how to clean a mattress and outlines many different types of reasons a mattress could get dirty, and how to clean a mattress in each situation.  Many of the products featured are inexpensive, easily available and non-toxic.

A. Prevention and Maintenance – 3 Easy steps

  1. Mattress cover: dust mite and waterproof

This is the first line of defence and the most important.  If you do nothing else, run to your nearest mattress store  and purchase a dust mite waterproof cover.  It looks like a terry cloth fitted sheet that slips over your mattress before you place your fitted sheet.  It is available in 15 inch or 20 inch depths for those deep pillow top mattresses.  A queen sized cover is around $69 and has a ten year warranty.  It is worth it even if your mattress is scotch-guarded and has an antibacterial coating.

Why is this so important?  It will seal your mattress, preventing dust mites and dust from settling into the coil system of your mattress.  It is waterproof, preventing any spills or night-time accidents from seeping through.  The company offers a guarantee:  if a spill penetrates the cover, they will replace your mattress.  For the cost of the cover, that is great peace of mind with easy choices:  easy way to clean a spill by throwing the cover in the laundry or get a new free mattress.  This would be excellent for children’s beds as well, as they don’t always tell you about a spill until it seeps deep into the mattress.

Did you know that your mattress warranty is void if your mattress has a stain? Yes, the mattress company can refuse to honor your warranty and not repair your mattress if it has a visible stain.  Please check with your local company to see if this applies in your situation.

Did you know that the average queen mattress after ten years of use weighs 20 – 30 lbs more than when you bought it? Why? The accumulation of dust mites and dead skin weighs heavily on your mattress.

With a dust mite waterproof protector, remove it monthly and wash with your sheets.  Pick a regular week in the month ex. First week, and write in on your calendar.

  1. Vacuuming

Vacuum your mattress monthly when you remove the cover.  Why?  It is the best way to maintain your mattress by removing any lint, dust mites or dust can work their way into the layers of foam, coils and materials.  This is best done just before reposotioning your clean dust mite protector.

  1. Rotation

Rotation, rotation, rotation, rotation.  That’s how many times per year it should be done.  Every 3 months, your mattress shuld be rotated, head to toe, front to back or both.  Done through the course of the year, this will provide you with a better night’s sleep and extend the life of your mattress.  How?  With time, your mattress adjusts to your weight and body position, creating coil and foam compression.  If left, this could lead to sagging, a permanent coil change and a need to purchase a new mattress.  At the beginning of the year, plan out when to rotate your mattress and note the position change as you write it on the calendar.  It is easy to forget with the pace of life today.  Grab a friend or family member if the mattress seems too bulky or heavy.  Use the side handles for turning and positioning but not for transporting.

B.  Stain Removal 101

  1. Blot with water immediately

If you have an actual stain, grab a white washcloth, dampen slighlty and blot.  Rubbing can actually deepen the stainby pushing the matter deeper into the fibers of the mattress ticking.  Blotting, the frequent downward pressure and holding of the washcloth on the affected area, allows the stain to be absorbed into the washcloth.  This will remove the majority of the stain and is best done immediately before the stain has a chance to set.  This is good for all stains.  Always use a white cloth to avoid dye transfer into the stain.

  1. Test before you clean and act quickly

What type of stain is it? What type of  fabric is the mattress?  Always use

a test spot in an innocuous spot to see if the product affects the mattress

ticking.  For all cleaning, do not allow the inner mattress to become wet.

Always dry thoroughly before use.  This can be done outside, indside with open windows or with a hair dryer.

Use laundry detergent as a concentrated soap for stain removal.  Mix

either liquid or powder laundry detergent with an equal amount of water

in a dollar store spray bottle and shake well.  Spray directly onto the

affected area.  Blot the bubbles into the stain using a white cloth.  Allow

the bubble mixture to work its way into the stain as you blot, which may

take twenty minutes or so. Allow the area to fully dry before placing the

sheets.  You can also use a hair dryer to speed the process.  Works well

on most stains.  This is recommended by mattress salespeople.

Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach and also helps to disinfect the stained

area.  It works well on protein-based stains such as blood and urine.  Dampen a white cloth and blot!  Repeat!  This takes out stains from your clothes as well.  It is tried and true.

  1. Recommendations for specific stains:


Blot with water, soap, hydrogen peroxide.

Urine or feces from pets or people:

Remove solid matter and blot any liquid residue. Blot with water, soap. Once dry, an enzyme product should be used to digest the protein in the stain. Leave on for twelve hours, and cover with plastic.  Remove plastic and powder with Borax®.  Vacuum well. Follow-up with a general cleaning by an upholstery shampoo. If odor persists, try spraying with vodka.  Note:  Enzyme products are available from pet supply stores, veterinary clinics and janitorial supply stores.  Recommended brands include: Outright Pet Odor Eliminator® by Brampton Company and Nature’s Miracle®.   Urine stains may cause discoloration of the actual mattress material.

Vomit:   Remove excess matter with a cloth.  Sprinle baking soda to absorb the smell and the excess liquid.Use a clean cloth to first blot area using water, clean with soap.  For a large or deep area, follow up with general cleaning of the entire mattress.

Food or drink:  Remove excess food, blot area with a clean damp cloth.  Use the sudsy soap mixture.  If protein is involved, use an enzyme product as described above.

Ink:  Use hairspray directly on the stain as the alcohol in the product will help break up the ink.  Follow up with blotting soap mixture, as described above, to remove the visible ink and the hairspray.

  1. General cleaning of a soiled mattress:

For the overall cleaning of a mattress, an upholstery shampoo may be useful.  Specific products are also avaible to clean a mattress such as Nature’s Miracle: Bane-Clene, ideal for allergy suffferers or ProKlean, used by the hotel industry.  Steam cleaners can be rented ex. Rug Doctor to give the entire mattress surface a thorough clean or for tough stain removal.

C.  Odor removal

Surface odors are easy to tackle once the stain has been cleaned.  If odors are trapped beneath the surface, it is difficult to remove the smell as you don’t have access to the inner foam and other materials.  Inner stains can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold growth.   Once cleaned and sprayed for odor removal, you can dry it outside in fresh air it out in the summer directly in the sun on a warm day. Don’t forget to flip it and do both sides.

Vodka is a great odor neutralizer and doesn’t leave any residual smell.  Simply place in a spray bottle and spray directly on the mattress.  This is recommended as it does not leave any toxins or perfumes, which is important considering  the length of time we spend on our mattresses.  It is non-toxic and easily available.

Baking soda is recommended for light odor removal.  Just sprinkle dry baking powder directly from the box onto your mattress and let sit.  The baking soda absorbs odors just like when it is in your fridge.  Vacuum the soda after eight hours.  It is inexpensive, easily available, and non-toxic. Also good for general refreshing of your mattress.

A solution of vinegar and water, mixed 1 to 1, can be effective also.  Sometimes it may leave a residual smell.  It is inexpensive, easily available, and non-toxic.

Commercially available odor neutralizers such as Febreeze  also work well.  It is a matter of preference.

Recommendations for specific odors:

Smoke:   Vamoose 1808T Tobacco Odor Fabric Spray is sprayed

dirctly on the mattress in sections.  Wait for the product to sink into

the surface before blotting to pick up the residue. If it is a new

mattress with serious smoke odors, you may want a professional fire

restoration company who could use an ozonated room.

Sweat: Vacuum the mattress then clean with a good upholstery

shampoo.  Apply an odor eliminator such as vodka.  Wait until

thoroughly dry.  If the odor persists, it is likely deep into the mattress

materials and worth considering purchasing a new mattress.

Urine:  Thoroughly clean as outlined in cleaning specific stains.  Apply vodka, baking soda or Febreeze to neutralize odor once thoroughly cleaned and enzyme product applied.  If odor persists, buy a new mattress.

D.  Mattress replacement

After 10-15 years of use, the mattress manufacturers recommend replacement of your mattress.  Why? The mattress will begin to sag and leave lasting impressions on you.  The lack of support will create pressure points and pain can result.  Also, if you haven’t used a dust mite waterproof cover, the  mattress will be saturated with dust, mites, dead skin etc…  For cleanliness reasons alone, they recommend a change.

When buying a mattress, it pays to shop around.  Bring the companies spec sheets and do your homework.  Always lay on the bed to see how comfortable it is for you.  After it is home, you may forget about the coil count, but nothing beats a good night’s rest.

Proven Techniques for Cleaning Silver Items

Knowing how to makes all the difference in the world

Silver properly cleaned and maintained should provide generations of use and enjoyment. Whether you are wishing to clean jewelry, collectibles or silver culinary utensils, there are a variety of ways to go about it. It all depends on who you talk to, how valuable the pieces are to you, the degree of tarnish to be removed and how much you deem reasonable as an expense to perform the task.

But before we delve into how to clean silver, an understanding of how silver is tarnished in the first place is beneficial. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as the old saying goes. This statement holds true for protecting the finish of silver items negating the need for frequent silver cleaning chores.

The most common misunderstanding consumers have about how silver is tarnished, is that it is caused by exposure to air. This leads to the practice of stowing silver pieces away in cupboards and boxes to be brought out for special occasions. The truth of the matter is that the more you use your silver, the less it will need to be cleaned to remove tarnish. Frequent use will establish a consistent silver-cleaning program that prevents tarnish from getting started in the first place.

The real culprit in tarnishing silver is exposure to sulphur. Trace amounts of sulphur can be found everywhere, including the air around us. This is particularly true in winter months because sulphur is a natural by-product of heating and cooking fuels. Sulphur is also found in many food items, peas in particular and may also be found in saps and acids of flowers as well as the salty oils of well-meaning hands. Other common sources of tarnish are wool, eggs, mayonnaise, onions, rubber bands and latex gloves to name a few. Humidity accelerates tarnishing as well. By taking prudent measures when handling, using and cleaning your silver articles, you can greatly reduce the build-up of tarnish.

There are many options open to consumers for the cleaning of their silver pieces. If you own high value or priceless sentimental pieces, it would be advisable to seek the services of a specialist in conserving silver. They have the skill, know-how and equipment to perform all levels of restoration.

But, if you are like most of us, you may have a silver service that needs attention or the odd piece here and there and will want to service them at home. Following you will find a few methods you can use at home to clean your silver yourself.

Use Your Silver Regularly:

This may be the easiest and most effective way to combat tarnish on silver. Pieces that are used and washed frequently will reduce the opportunity for tarnish to form. Some pieces, such as fork tines, will still tarnish in spite of your best efforts because they are in constant contact with food or some other source of sulphur.

Clean your silver promptly after each use and dry thoroughly.

When cleaning silver items after use, do each one individually by hand. This reduces the chances for scratching the surfaces, requiring professional repairs. Never clean silver in a dishwasher! There are several reasons for this:

  • A film from the detergent will build up causing the finish to dull.
  • If some of the pieces are hollow, such as knife handles, the extreme heat of a dishwasher may cause them to burst due to pressure built up inside the hollowed out part.
  • Dishwasher detergents are often too abrasive for cleaning silver and will cause damage to the finish requiring professional restoration.

Washing Silver Pieces:

Immediately after each use, clean your silver piece with hot, soapy water, making sure to dry it thoroughly. This will remove the agents present that initiate tarnish to begin with. This should be done not only with food service pieces but with decorative items as well. Remove all dirt, dust and grease that have built up on the surfaces of the piece.

Note: If the item to be cleaned has porous components like ivory insulators or wooded handles, soaking them is not advised. Instead use a mild detergent like hand sanitizer to clean the silver before tarnish removal and polishing.

Remove the Tarnish:

This can be accomplished by administering a tarnish removal agent: such as Tarn-X.

Apply the product to the surfaces of the pieces with a soft cloth and allow the chemical to do its magic. Avoid rubbing as this may cause damage and is not required for the product to work anyway. If the tarnish is heavy on the piece of silver you are cleaning, you may need to repeat this process several times. Don’t be alarmed by a chemical odor, as this is just the sulphur breaking down and coming free. Tarnish may also be removed by polishing but keep in mind that all polishes also remove some silver. This effectively shortens the life span of the piece over time.

When the tarnish has been removed to your satisfaction, rinse the piece in cold water. Using hot water may cause streaks to form. Again, dry the piece thoroughly when through rinsing.


Carefully polish the piece with a silver glaze product. Be careful not to use a combination tarnish remover/polishing compound, as it may require excessive buffing and be too abrasive; damaging the piece of silver.

An Alternate Method:

Electrochemical reduction is a method of cleaning silver using a washing soda mixture and an aluminum plate. It is capable of removing light tarnishes only.

When silver is submerged in the washing soda solution, resting on an aluminum plate, tarnish is broken down and removed from the piece by an electrochemical action. There are several drawbacks to this process you may wish to consider.

  • Items are more easily scratched on the plate than by hand washing.
  • Pieces cleaned this way typically tarnish quicker than ones cleaned by polishing.
  • Fluid can seep into porous areas of the piece causing additional damage.

Although decidedly easier than washing, tarnish removal and polishing, this method is not recommended by silver cleaning specialists for the reasons cited above.

Five Proven Methods of Bloodstain Removal

Home Remedies for this age-old problem

The removal of bloodstains from clothing and other fabrics doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. In most instances, the materials needed are on hand in a typical household setting to perform this task. Anyone can tend to this chore with a little know-how.

The main problem encountered with bloodstains is that they stick to the fibers of a material and must be successfully broken down into very small particles before washing the fabric by conventional means. The compound in blood that causes the rust-colored stain is iron present in a protein called hemoglobin. When blood becomes denatured (dries up), this hemoglobin binds to the fibers of the material.

Many conventional detergents are not equipped for the removal of protein-based stains, but rather those of fats, oils and starches. Even solutions that tout the use of enzymes in their composition are often not geared towards protein breakdown. Enzymes of the lipase class dissolve lipids (fats and oils) while those classified as amylase dissolve polysaccharides (starches). Hemoglobin, which is the bulk of the bloodstain, is a protein. A protease class of enzyme must be used to degrade and dissolve protein-based stains; releasing the iron ions for removal.

As stains get older they become harder to remove. The sooner removal is begun after the stain occurs, the better the results. Heating (hot washing or drying) also serves to fixate the protein to the fiber as well. Bloodstains should be treated before a garment goes into a washing machine as it may be set in the washing process. By observing these few principles and using one of the removal methods discussed below, you should have complete success in the removal of bloodstains.

The following methods of bloodstain removal are tried and true measures that will work. These methods are easy to perform, some better and quicker than others, but all can be achieved using things most of us have on-hand in our homes.

  • Spit – If the bloodstain is only a drop or two, human saliva reacts much the same hydrogen peroxide. Saliva contains protease enzymes that dissolve blood and allow it to be “blotted” away.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Hydrogen peroxide is an effective method for bloodstain removal. It works best on fresh bloodstains, but will also work on older stains if the item has not been hot washed or dried in a clothing dryer. Fresh bloodstains are often removed with one to two applications of hydrogen peroxide, while older stains may take more. Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on the bloodstain. The hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with the blood and starts bubbling. Let it set for a few seconds and work. Remove the white foam produced by ‘patting’ the area of the stain with an old towel.  Pat dry and repeat if necessary. This method can also be used on furniture or mattresses as well clothing. It is best to try it on a hidden place to test if the hydrogen peroxide will affect the color of the fabric before using in a conspicuous place.
  • Glycerin-detergent Solution – There may be times when you have no hydrogen peroxide handy. You may use this method in lieu of it. Lubricate the site of the stain with the solution (15% glycerin-15% liquid detergent – 70% water). Tamp the bloodstain lightly with a soft brush, letting it drop gently under its own weight. Continue this until you see the bloodstain breaking up. Flush the stain vigorously with cold water, rinsing through the material if possible. If the stain persists, add an ammonia solution (1 part ammonia to 4 parts water) to it as well as the other mixture. Tamp the area again. For very difficult stains, use a 40% hydrogen peroxide solution and tamp again. Flush thoroughly again. If the stain is still present, begin the process over and continue until you see no further improvement or there is danger of fabric damage.
  • Shampoo – Shampoo plus scrubbing will work on bloodstains, in a pinch. Regular shampoos (without conditioners) work best. Shampoo works best on fresh bloodstains, but works well on older stains with more scrubbing. Pour a small amount of shampoo on the stain. Use a scrub brush so that you don’t destroy the fabric with the scrubbing action. Use an old towel to ‘pat’ off as much of the stain as possible. Pat dry and repeat as necessary.
  • Detergent  Pre-soak – Soak clothing in cool/cold water (hot water sets the stains). You can add some detergent to the water if you wish, but it also works if you don’t. Make a paste of detergent and place on the stain. Let it sit a while and rinse out. Lightly scrub, as needed, until stain is removed and laundry in cold water. Hang to dry. Do not machine dry until sure the bloodstain is gone.

Bloodstain removal does not have to be performed by professionals in most cases. It can, in fact, be accomplished by anyone using good judgement and items found around almost every household. A quick response along with the knowledge of what to do, more times than not, will get the job done.

How to Clean a Dishwasher

Dishwasher manufactures tell us that the inside of dishwashers should not need cleaning—after all, it is constantly being cleaned as you wash your dishes.

You know better. There is a slimy feeling on the walls or door gasket of your dishwasher—or there is something black “growing” at the bottom of the dishwasher by the drain—or it doesn’t smell very nice—or there is a white coating on the heating element (even manufacturers acknowledge this one as common).

What do you do?

The first thing is to try to prevent as much of this as possible:

1) Be sure your water is coming into the dishwasher at a minum of 120°; 140° is even better. If your water heater is a long ways from your dishwasher, before you turn on the dishwasher you may need to run the water into the sink until the required temperature is reached. If the water is not hot enough, the detergent (even gel detergents) won’t completely dissolve, and you get the slimy feeling on the walls and gasket of your dishwasher. You also foster the growth of bacteria and mold or mildew in your dishwasher.

2) Be sure you are using the right kind of dishwashing detertent. Manufacturers usually recommend using certain brands. That is because they have tested those brands in their machines, so they know they will work. Others may do fine, but they haven’t been tested.

3) Be sure you are using the right amount of dishwashing detergent. Ironically using either too much or too little can cause similar problems. The amount you need depends on the hardness of your water, not the amount of food left on your dishes.

Okay, you’ve got all that under control. Now, how do you clean the dishwasher?

Problem 1: Slimy feeling on walls and gasket—Use good old soap and water (yes, soap to clean soap residue!) and clean away. Be sure to rinse well. If you don’t you may have suds coming out from around the door the next time you use the dishwasher!

Problem 2: Something black “growing” by the grates at the bottom of the dishwasher—You have a mold problem. This is also what causes a bad odor to “grow” in the dishwasher. The mold is caused by food particles not getting fully pushed through the drain hose when the dishwasher drains. The drain hose is corregated, and bits of food particles can sometimes collect on the ridges and in the valleys of the corregation. Given the right circumstances, this can cause a gradual buildup inside the hose, just like colesterol in our arteries. The presence of moisture and lack of sunlight in the hose allows mold to grow on these food particles. You will want to remove the grates at the bottom or back of your dishwasher (usually removing just a couple of screws will do it) and clean with bleach water (a cup of bleach in a gallon of water) as far down as you can reach. After you have done that, replace the grate, put the rest of the bleach water in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a regular cycle (no dishes, please!). Why not just put the bleach water in and run the cycle? Because that will kill the mold, but will not remove its build-up. You want to remove the build-up first, as far as you can reach—it’s easier to remove when it’s live. Then kill what’s left in the drain.

If your problem was serious enough, you may want to replace your drain hose, too.

Problem 3: Brown spots on the door gasket—This is mildew. Mildew can also cause a stale odor in the dishwasher. Use the bleach water recipe to clean the gasket, and then run the rest of the bleach water through a cycle, just as for Problem 2.

Problem 4: White coating on the heating element—This is a build up of minerals, mostly from your water. You may have heard people recommend putting TANG® Drink Mix in the dishwasher and running it through a cycle. This does work to help remove the calcium from the heating element. That is because there is citric acid in TANG®. However, the sugar in it may contribute to other problems you have been trying to clear up. So why not just use plain citric acid—what an idea! You can often buy the crystals in a drug store or in the canning section of the grocery store—it is used for making jelly with a fruit that does not have enough acid in it to allow it to jell. Fill the dispenser cup with the crystals (3–4 ounces), and run a cycle. If the build-up is unusually thick, you may need to do this a second time.

So, now you have a clean dishwasher! How do you keep it that way? After all, who wants to have to go through all of those steps every so often? The best thing to do is occasionally run it empty with a cup of white vinegar and a cup of baking soda. How often depends on your water quality, how often you use your dishwasher, how much food you leave on your plates, etc.

Mmmm—Mmmm. What a pleasure to have your dishwasher looking and smelling nice and clean!

How to Clean an LCD Screen

Whether it’s on your television or your computer monitor, having an LCD screen can not only save a lot of space but it can also provide you with rich colors, high definition graphics, a reduced energy cost, and a sleek and stylish look that you just can’t get with a standard television or CRT monitor.  Unfortunately, those advantages come with a price; when your LCD screen gets dirty you have to be very careful how you go about cleaning it.  If you aren’t, then your quest for a clean LCD screen might end up giving you scratches or dead pixels.

Luckily, the tools that you need to help you get a clean LCD screen are rather easy to come by.  While there are a variety of LCD screen cleaners on the market today, you can actually make your own that will work just as well for a fraction of the cost of those small bottles.  All that you’ll need is some isopropyl alcohol, the same as you’d buy for your first aid kit, and some distilled water.  Cheap 70% isopropyl will work fine, and just so long as the water that you use is distilled it doesn’t really matter what kind it is.  Just make sure that you don’t use tap water or mineral water, as the minerals that are dissolved in the water will more than likely leave visible white streaks on your monitor after it’s dry.

To make your cleaning solution, all that you’ll need to do is mix the water and the alcohol in an approximately 50/50 mixture.  You can then pour this into an empty spray bottle (making sure that the bottle is clean; you can generally buy brand new bottles in the housewares section of most department stores for cheap) and you’ve got as much cleaner as you’ll need for months if not longer.  Just remember that you’re not going to want to spray this directly on your monitor or television… instead of a clean LCD screen, you might end up with a broken one if you do that.

Instead, choose a piece of microfiber cloth and spray your cleaning solution onto it.  You can generally find microfiber screen wipes at most stores that sell electronic supplies, or you may have a variety of microfiber materials around your house.  A cheap and easy solution to this is to use dryer sheets that have been through the dryer at least 2 or 3 times… making sure that any fabric softener that they had on them has been removed by the various dryer cycles.  Regardless of the material that you use, you should spray it a few times to make sure that it is slightly damp before you clean the LCD screen.

Make sure that the television or monitor has been turned off, and then gently wipe your slightly damp cloth over it.  Allow the liquid cleaner to dry completely before you turn it back on again, and then sit back and enjoy your now-clean LCD screen.