May 22, 2013
With Memorial Day Weekend on the horizon, some of us are putting the final touches on our summer vacation plans.
We’re making packing lists and “to do” lists so as not to forget the essentials for a successful trip. Preparing for a vacation doesn’t only include finalizing reservations and effectively packing as few suitcases as possible. We must also prep our home for our time away before we leave.
Here we share the 5 household things you must do before you leave for vacation:
♦ Turn off the water supply to your dishwasher and washing machine. If a hose to either of these appliances happens to crack or come loose while you are away, you could come back to a flood. The washing machine should have a valve switch in the back and the lever handle for the dishwasher is usually located under the sink. Sprinkle a little baking soda in toilets and down the sink drains to avoid coming home to the stench of stagnant water.
♦ Unplug small appliances and electronics that aren’t plugged into a surge protector. Your toaster, coffee maker, computer, etc. could cause a fire if there is a power surge. Disconnect Internet access to computers.
♦ Keep your air conditioner on but set it to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You may be tempted to turn the air off since you won’t be home and you’d like to save cost, but if it’s too hot inside the home, it can cause mold and mildew to grow in just a few days. Setting the temp to 80 degrees will prevent that from happening and your home won’t be too steamy when you return.
♦ Check sump pump alarms and temperature alarms. Make sure they are in working order and set to send alarms to the proper telephone numbers. If you have a friend, family member or neighbor keeping an eye on your house, it’s a good idea to give the alarm companies their number too.
♦ Turn off all lights except for one or two and set those on a timer. Set them to random patterns to discourage potential prowlers. Photo sensors or motion detectors are good ideas for outdoor lights.
One last bonus tip - Arrange for someone to keep up with your lawn mowing and watering and stop newspaper/mail delivery while gone to avoid calling attention to an unattended house.
Do you have any great household tips we’ve missed? Let us know so we can share!
March 19, 2013
There is a reason many household cleaners have a “lemon scent”. It’s because lemons are pleasant and smell clean. But, other than smelling great, lemon juice is one of the best natural cleaners. Lemons are high in citric acid, have amazing antibacterial properties, and most likely won’t damage the fabric or wood you are cleaning.
Even more beneficial, lemon juice is safe to use where people, babies and pets may come into contact. Lemons can be kept in the fridge for up to three weeks but for best results,they should be at room temperature at the time of use. Roll the lemon across a surface to help you get the most juice out as possible and you’re ready to start cleaning.
Here are 18 ways to clean with lemons:
1. Soak your non delicate clothing (no silks) in a hot water and lemon juice combo (about a half cup per gallon of water) to brighten clothing. Or, add ½ cup to your machine’s rinse cycle. Wash as normal and if you can line dry in the sun after – even better.
2. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to your wash to help your clothes smell fresher.
3. Add one cup of lemon juice to your load of wash along with your usual detergent as a bleach alternative.
4. Remove grease stains from clothing. Rub lemon juice into a grease stain on clothing and let sit overnight. Wash as normal.
5. Make a paste with lemon juice and cream of tarter to remove rust stains from cotton and polyesters. Test first then rub into the stain and let it sit for about a half hour. Wash as normal.
6. Remove juice stains by mixing 1/3 cup of lemon juice with 2/3 cup water and soak the stain. Wash as normal.
7. Rub half a lemon over the surface of a wooden or plastic chopping board to remove strong odors and stains. Let it sit for as long as overnight then rinse and air dry.
8. Place a cup 3/4 full of water with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in the microwave and heat to boiling. Keep door closed for another10 minutes then just wipe the inside with a clean cloth. Food particles will easily wipe off and lingering odors will be gone.
9. You can also rub half a lemon with a bit of salt over the surface of copper pans and dishes to make them sparkle. The same is true for grills and grates. Rinse with water afterwards.
10. Use lemon juice to remove grease, soap deposits & lime scale from faucet & drain.
11. Use lemon juice to wipe down hard water stains on your bathroom tiles and glass shower. Mix 1 part lemon juice to 5 parts hot water.
12. Lemon juice and old toothbrush is an excellent cleaner to scrub tile grout.
13. Mix lemon juice with borax powder to clean your toilet.
14. Combine lemon juice with olive oil to polish wood furniture. Mix 1 part lemon to 2 parts olive oil.
15. Use lemon juice mixed with water in a spray bottle to wipe down windows and mirrors.
16. The same mixture can also be used to clean laminate counter tops. Rinse with water and dry.
17. Boil lemon slices in coffee pots and tea kettles to remove mineral. Allow the mixture to sit for an hour or two, and then rinse and dry.
18. Place earrings in a bowl of lemon juice to sanitize.
When cleaning with lemons always rinse with warm soapy water and dry with a clean cloth afterwards. One of the very few things you can’t clean with lemon juice is anything that is brass plated as the juice will damage the item.
Have you tried any of the above cleaning techniques using lemons? Are there other natural cleaners you’ve had success with? Please share them with us!
February 21, 2013
Does this sound familiar? You’ve spent a good amount of time pressing and starching your dress shirt but you can’t get the giant wrinkle – or crinkle – on the collar to smooth out.
What could be the problem?
When ironing the collar, you probably unfold and lay the collar out flat then iron across from one side to the other, right? Well, many collars have an inner-facing material within the collar called interfacing which gives the collar body, shape and stability. Ironing from side to side like that pushes the extra collar material and when the iron reaches the other end of the collar so does the extra fabric causing the wrinkle.
Here’s the solution:
Since pushing the excess collar fabric to the end of the collar is the true cause of this problem when ironing the collar, the solution is really quite simple…do not push the excess fabric to the end of the collar.
To finish collars correctly:
1. Place the iron at one end of the collar Iron across the collar in a normal fashion but stop in the center of the collar. This pushes the extra fabric to the middle of the collar.
2. Place the iron at the other end of the collar and iron across to the center, again pushing any excess fabric to the center.
3. All the excess fabric is now in the center of the collar. When the collar is folded down and placed on the hanger or worn, the extra material is hidden in the back and absorbed in the natural fold of the collar.
Viola! Now you know how to iron your shirt collars like a dry cleaner. Of course, if you don’t have hours and hours to do loads of laundry and iron to perfection, we’re happy to do it for you. Check out this video to see how we give your shirts the spa treatment.
January 29, 2013
The snow coming down looks beautiful from the comfort of your home but when you have to travel by foot through parking lots, streets and on sidewalks, your shoes may suffer.
The salt used to melt the ice on the roads, sidewalks and parking lots is made of a combination of sodium chloride and calcium chloride. This salt remains on the ground and the pesky white residue ends up on your shoes.
- The first thing you can do to protect your leather shoes from sidewalk salt is to pre-treat them with a lotion or spray that repels dirt and water. Always test it on a small part of the shoe or boot first to make sure it doesn’t ruin the leather. Keeping the shoes polished will give them a barrier between the damaging salt and the leather.
- When you arrive at your destination whether it be work, school, home, or out and about somewhere else, take a minute to wipe down your shoes with a soft cloth or paper towel. Once you’re home, remove salt stains by mixing 1tbsp of white vinegar with 1 cup of water. Dip a clean soft rag into the mixture, wring out the excess moisture and gently blot the salt stains off the shoe. Apply sparingly and allow the shoes to dry.
- To dry out your shoes, place a shoe tree in them for about an hour or two. A simple unfinished cedar shoe tree with a split toe and a fully shaped heel will allow your recently worn shoes to contract and dry out to their ideal shape. Do this each time you wear your leather shoes to draw out moisture from average wear in all seasons.
- If you stepped in snow or a puddle and your leather shoes are completely wet, stuff soaking-wet shoes with crumpled up newspaper and dry them slowly away from direct heat. Direct heat can dry the leather too fast, causing them to crack and ruin. Before they’re entirely dry, insert cedar shoe trees to make sure they dry out evenly and maintain their shape.
After cleaning, maintain your leather shoes on an ongoing basis by cleaning and using a leather conditioner regularly to prevent cracks and to replace the lost oils, keeping the leather supple. Leather is a skin so it needs to be moisturized or it will dry up. And as we said before, the polish will act as a barrier to the pesky chemicals in the sidewalk salt. (Click here to save on your next shoe polish with Classic Cleaners).