Tag Archives: cleaning

Vinegar in Laundry

towelsIn my experience with three different brands of high efficiency washers over the years, I have found one thing to be true- they don’t clean laundry as well as the old fashioned agitator machines.  This is especially true with bath and kitchen towels- especially wash cloths.  They go in and out of the washer with soap and a little softener, but still come out smelling somewhat musty and sour.  Currently, I’m using a Maytag Neptune washer/dryer and I must say that it is the worst offender of this problem.  It’s gotten to the point that I set the washer for a pre-soak and an extra rinse and add Oxy Clean to the load along with the soap.  Seems a bit extreme, but when the job isn’t getting done, I do what I have to do.  

Last week, I mentioned this to my mother.  She suggested that I add vinegar to the load.  I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before- I love using basic and home remedy type products and ideas.  So, we added a cup of vinegar to the load in the beginning of the cycle and let it wash all the way through.  Let me tell you, I was quite pleased with the outcome.  There was a very faint vinegar scent after the towels were dried, but no musty/stale smell remained.  It’s quite refreshing! For the towels, I kept it on the longer cycle as I mentioned before.  

I have no doubt that this works on other clothes as well.  From my reading and research on it, other people use it to aid in stain removal, brighten whites, remove odors, and as an alternative to fabric softener.  It would provide relief to those with allergies as well, as an alternative to regular softeners.  

Are you using vinegar this way? Let me know how its going for you.  

-Olivia  white_vinegar

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Posted by on September 6, 2014 in House


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Homemade Window Cleaner

Here’s a quick recipe for making your own window cleaner. Give it a shot! Works like a charm.

1 cup isopropyl alcohol
1 cup water
1 tsp. white vinegar

Put in a squirt bottle and you’re all set! Be sure to label the bottle! Let me know how it goes.


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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in House


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Spring Cleaning

Spring seems to be peeking over the fence a bit early this year, but winter will surely rear its head one more time within the next month. While the weather is so nice (albeit there is a high pollen count), my doors and windows are open and spring cleaning is underway. Time to get some projects started around the house. Yesterday’s chores included some yard work, cleaning out a pantry and replanting a Philodendron. Mission accomplished.


The finished product. He is much happier.

The Philodendron I was re-potting belongs to my landlord.  He lives in the house next door, but has some plants on my back patio.  This plant is from an older one that he has had for years.  He prefers to leave this plant out all year round, but that is not my choice.  Frost and cold weather are not good for tropical plants, by the way. He had no problem with me taking care of it for the winter.

It has been in my guest room and I have watered and misted its leaves regularly.  However, the leaves seemed to be dropping a little bit.  The time for re-potting has been imminent.  So, yesterday was the day.  Once out of the old pot, it was evident as to the decline in health of the plant. Root bound for sure.  The poor plant had eaten up almost all of is nutrients/soil. So, after the dead leaves were pulled off and new pot was in place, it got a good watering and fertilizing.  Currently, this is about 4′ tall in the pot.

 The next step was cleaning out one of my pantries in my kitchen.  My house was built in 1921, so storage is limited and awkward.  The kitchen set-up is terrible, but I do have a pretty good pantry for non-food storage. Shelves go all the way up to the high ceilings.  The problem lately is that I have been lazy in putting things away and it’s just gotten cluttered at the bottom.  Everything needed to be moved up and given a proper home.  As you can see from the picture, there’s a chest-of-drawers in the bottom.  (Got it from Craigslist when I moved in and it’s made all the difference.)  At any rate, everything has a better place now and it feels much less cluttered.  This took about 40 minutes to get it back together.  (The lighting is terrible, but just wanted to give the idea.)


The last project was the yard. This is a whole ‘nother post in itself. I will spare you the gruesome details, but I worked for a couple of hours trimming ivy and holly bushes. (Insert holly and ivy joke here.)

So, what is spring cleaning all about? With spring comes new life, growth, warmth, and renewal. As the Earth refreshes itself, so should we. Open the doors and let the fresh air in, getting rid of the stale winter atmosphere in your house. It works wonders.

Following that, here are some typical chores that are done for spring cleaning:

  • Cleaning your bed. This includes washing all linens and vacuuming the mattress.  Rotating the mattress and cleaning the pillows as well.
  • Vacuuming/shampooing rugs.
  • Wiping walls and baseboards down.
  • Cleaning off bookshelves and their items.
  • Cleaning/washing windows and their treatments.
  • Heavy duty cleaning to your floors.
  • Cleaning out closet, swapping winter for summer clothes.
  • Thoroughly vacuum all furniture cushions, underneath, behind, etc.
  • Clean and freshen up you outdoor spaces- patios, decks, porches.
  • Clean out attic or basement.

The list can go on and on depending on your home.  The process is not a quick one, mind you.  Give yourself quite a few days to complete these tasks.  The important thing is to stay motivated.  You will be thoroughly rewarded.

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in House


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Extending Life of Clothing

Here are some ways to make your clothing last longer and maintain a newer look. 

Tailoring.  Ensuring a proper fit will go a long way.  If clothes fit better, they feel and wear better.  If you are more comfortable in an item, you will wear it for a longer length of time.  Another consideration for tailoring is change in style.  If something was in style last year, but not as much now, what can you do to make it more wearable? Can you shorten the hem or take it in a little? Consider your options for that.

Buttons.  Make sure they are secure and all accounted for.  It is so much easier to replace a button rather than the whole shirt.  Think about the money you will save.  Seven dollars or so for a seamstress to replace it rather than fifty for a new shirt?  Personally, I would sew it back on myself and save the seven dollars.  It’s an easy thing to learn and I recommend knowing how to do it.  Nine times out of ten you will find a replacement button on the inside of the garment.  That’s why those are there- for replacement.

Stains.  We spill all kinds of things on our clothes.  Sauce, wine, chemicals, bleach, juice and a host of other things can possibly ruin a garment.  Don’t throw it away so quickly.  There are a host of products for sale and home methods to get stains out.  Trust me.  It’s almost always possible to remove a stain.  (The methods are so numerous that I will not go into them in this article.) If nothing is working then think about what else you can do with the garment to keep it. 

Leather Goods.  Time and time again I see people throwing out perfectly good leather goods.  Shoes, belts, bags are tossed just because they are scuffed up.  There is a simple solution.  Shoe polish! It costs about 4 dollars and you can keep the item ten times as long! The wax and color added to the leather is so hydrating for it.  I use it so often.  There is a pair of shoes in my closet that I got in Singapore in 1998.  I’ve taken care of them, polished them and wear them still today.  My long leather duster gets scuffed and scratched, so I put polish on it.  Polish and conditioning cream are products that I cannot say enough good things about.  Get a shoe shine kit- cloth, polish, and shoe brush. 

Kiwi shoe polish– my favorite brand. Be sure to check out the Facts & Tips page.

Shoe shine kits This is a fantastic website!! They have everything you need. Including Meltonian creams.

Meltonian shoe cream is one of the greatest products I’ve used.  It comes in tons of colors.  This is great for all of these different colors of leather we can get now.  I’ve got the dark green and the deep purple in my kit as we speak.  You can find it at the website listed above. 

Another point about leather goods is that they can be repaired.  Take them to a shoe shop.  They will reapir all kinds of things. You can get shoes resold! I love it.  My 10+ year old JCrew ballet flats that I refuse to part with- they have been resoled.  My Justin roper boots that I received as a gift in 2001- resoled ( and polished regularly) and are still going strong.  In addition to resoling, you can gets heels repaired, gouges fixed, additional notches put in a belt, and zippers replaced. 

Dry cleaning.  This is a bit of a double edged sword.  It saves wool goods and suits and some of the household linens.  Dry cleaning can tackle jobs that we sometimes can’t at home. However, the cost can be high. It definitely helps with the longevity of items.

Laundering.  This covers a big topic, so I will be direct with the considerations. 

  • Wash clothes inside out.   Clothes getting tossed around over and over in a washer/dryer will add to the wear and tear.  This cuts down on that. 
  • Use a light wash cycle.  Are the clothes really that dingy? If not, a lesser cycle cuts down on wear and energy/water cost. 
  •  Skip the softener or use less of it.  Chemicals in the softener break down the fibers.
  • Wash in cooler water.  Hot water fades clothes. 
  • Hang dry rather than tumble.  Or tumble on medium heat or tumble half time and hang dry the rest of the time. 
  • Don’t wash an item every single time you wear it if you don’t need to.  Unless it is dirty, stinky, or stretched out, you might be able to wear it again. 

Storage.  Clothes in storage need to be put away correctly and protected.  Should you hang it or fold it? If it is going to stretch, you probably want to fold it.  You will avoid stretching out the shoulders and ruining the fit. Then put it in an airtight container.  Some containers have vents now that you can add moth balls or cedar in.  It lets air circulate a bit and keeps out insects.  Hanging clothes are best kept in a closet or rack with a zippered cover over it.  Cedar or moth balls are essential. All should be stored in a cool, dry place.

Finally, find a new use for something.  You have decided you don’t want an item anymore. Can you wear it to work in the yard?  Can someone else benefit from it? Sell it at a yard sale or donate to charity. Can you make something else out of it? Old tee shirts can be made into rags.  You can even polish your shoes with that new rag! Other items can be made from old clothes- rugs, pillows, etc. Need more instruction on this? Just ask.  I’ll help you out.

Hopefully, all of this will help you add life to your wardrobe.

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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Clothing


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