5 ingenious ways to clean home surfaces

June 30, 2015

Getting ready for a party or cleaning up after one? These cleaning tips may come in handy!

5 ingenious ways to clean home surfaces

Dust away

  1. Here's a duster that's also good for moisturizing dry wood. In a teacup, mix 50 millilitres (1/4 cup) of linseed oil with five millilitres (one teaspoon) of lemon balm tea. Dip your dusting cloth into the mixture (soaking up only a small amount at a time) and rub it vigorously into the wooden surface to be cleaned. Use a soft clean cloth to wipe away any residue.

Unwanted wax

2. If your candlelight dinner party ended with hot wax dripped onto your nice mahogany table, here's how to remove it without scratching the wood. Put a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and rest the bag on the wax until it becomes brittle. Then gently lift the wax with the edge of a spatula or credit card. Gently rub a soft cloth dampened with a solution of one part apple cider vinegar to 10 parts warm water to take care of any residue.

Stuck paper, burn marks and tape

3. You don't have to look any further than the kitchen or bathroom when you need to take care of these three problems.

  • Stuck paper: To remove paper stuck to a wood surface (say, because the kids were busy doing crafts projects), pour a few drops of olive oil over the paper, wait about 20 minutes as the oil softens it, and then use a clean dry cloth to remove the paper and oil. (Not only is olive oil harmless to wood, but it may do it some good.)
  • Burn mark: If a wood surface suffers a slight burn from a mislaid cigarette or a lit match, rub a little mayonnaise into the burn, let it sit for a few minutes and wipe it off with a clean damp cloth. Mayo also removes crayon marks from wood.
  • Tape: If adhesive tape is stuck to a wood floor or piece of furniture, don't just yank it off or you may remove some of the finish. Apply a little rubbing alcohol to the tape, then rub the area with a cloth dipped in a solution of five millilitres (one teaspoon) of dishwashing liquid and 500 millilitres (two cups) of warm water.

Oh those ugly ring marks

4. It's bound to happen: A party guest doesn't use a coaster and his glass leaves a white ring or spots on a wood table. The unsightly marks will disappear like magic if you dampen a cloth, apply a dab of toothpaste and rub the area gently. For a stubborn spot, add a little baking soda to the toothpaste. Dry the area and then polish the surface as usual; if you're lucky, all traces of the damage will vanish.

Introducing easy fabric foam!

5. For spot cleaning dirty sofa cushion corners, upholstered chair arms and the like, whip up some fabric foam. First, make sure the fabric can be safely cleaned with water-based agents (check the cleaning instructions tag). If it can, vacuum the soiled fabric thoroughly to remove loose dirt.

Fabric foam: Mix one part mild laundry detergent with four parts distilled water in a bowl. (Distilled water doesn't leave watermarks on fabric.) Using a hand mixer, beat the solution until a good head of foam builds. Carefully apply foam to the upholstery, working in small sections and using a clean sponge or cloth. Let dry, then wipe it off with a cloth dampened with white vinegar diluted with distilled water (one part vinegar to six parts water).

No more worries about spills and stains around the house. You'll be a whiz at keeping those surfaces spotless with these ingenious easy-to-do clean-ups.

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