Do you ever go to war against a tough stain, deeply embedded grime, or chronic odor only to discover you don't have what it takes to win the fight? This arsenal of tips will help you conquer your most difficult cleaning challenges.
Remove Gunk from Your Car
It’s easy to remove tar from your car's exterior. Make a paste of baking soda and water, then apply it to the tar with a soft cloth. Let it dry, then rinse off with warm water. Easily remove tree sap with butter or margarine. Just rub the butter onto the sap with a soft cloth, and it comes right off.
Getting Rid of Water Bottle Odor
If you've made the transition from plastic water bottles to reusable stainless steel bottles, pat yourself on the back for being more eco-conscious! To get rid of a musty odor, fill the bottle with one part white vinegar, ten parts warm water, and shake. Scrub the inside with a bottle brush, shake again, and pour out. Wipe the cap with a bit of vinegar and rinse.
Removing Mineral Deposits from Faucets
If mineral deposits have built up in your faucet, cut a lemon into quarters, then push one piece up into the faucet until it sticks. Leave for about 10 minutes, then twist the wedge out. Repeat with remaining lemon quarters until the deposits are gone.
Dusting Fans and Light Fixtures
To easily clean a ceiling fan, spray glass cleaner or a mixture of half vinegar and half water on the inside of a pillowcase. Put the pillowcase over one arm of the fan, then pull it off while applying gentle pressure toward the floor. The pillowcase will wipe the top of the blade clean. A crystal chandelier is also easier to clean than you may think. First, make sure the light switch is off. Next, lay a blanket or upside-down umbrella underneath the chandelier to catch any drips or falling pieces. Now mix 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol with 1 1/2 cups water in a jar. The crystals clean themselves—all you have to do is bring the jar up to each one and dip it in, then let it air-dry. You can use a little bit of the solution on a clean cotton rag to wipe areas that can’t be dipped.
Cleaning Dirty Electronics
The easiest way to clean the gunk and dust between your computer keys is with transparent tape. Slide a 2-inch strip between the rows of your keyboard, and the adhesive will pick up any debris. Your cell phone is another filthy item you probably never clean--no more excuses! Pop off the battery and the case, gently wipe all surfaces with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, and use the dry side of the swab to immediately dab off the moisture.
Getting Gum Out of Your Carpet
The best way to get gum out of carpet is with a chemical called methyl salicyclate, which you can find in analgesic heat rubs, like Bengay. Put it on the gum, then apply heat with your hair dryer set on low. Press a plastic sandwich bag on the gum and it should pull away easily. Make sure to wash the area after you’ve removed the gum. This works for gum on clothes, too!
Removing Spots on Leather Furniture
If you get a spot on leather furniture, try removing it by rubbing it with artists’ gum—a super powerful eraser that can be found at art supply stores. If you accidentally get a liquid that badly stains on your leather, blot up as much as you can, then apply hydrogen peroxide with a cotton ball to wipe it up.
Getting Crayon Marks off Walls
If the kids have drawn with crayons all of their bedroom walls, remove it with a bit of WD-40 spray, which works like a charm. Afterward, you’ll need something to remove the grease—we like a mixture of dishwashing detergent and white vinegar. If you don’t have any WD-40, dip a damp rag into baking soda and rub the mark to remove it.
What are the toughest cleaning battles you've faced? Share with us in the comments section below!