Bring in ammonia for tough cleaning
QUESTION: I read with interest your hints in the Winnipeg Free Press. I need your help because I washed walls this week with my usual cleaner, Lysol Liquid; now there are terrible streaks over everything I’ve washed. This has never happened before. I rewashed with clean water only, and after drying washed again with weak vinegar and water solution, to no avail. I used the same method with Lysol Liquid in another room with the same paint and had no problem. Any suggestions to help with this mess? I’m afraid to do the rest of the walls! — Heather, Winnipeg
ANSWER: If the cleaner was used on walls near the kitchen, it is likely that grease is the culprit for streaks. If those walls won’t clean properly with plain old dish soap and water or cheap shampoo and water, it’s time to call in one of the fiercest soldiers for this cleaning war. Use non-sudsy, non-detergent ammonia. Ventilate well and mix one to two cups ammonia per gallon of water. If you use cool rather than warm water, fewer fumes will drift your way. Another option is TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water, which has fewer fumes than ammonia.
ANSWER: You may want to carry the microwave into the garage or shed so the smell is out of the house, but first the corners of the microwave need a thorough cleaning. Heat lemon juice or vinegar in the microwave until it boils over and then wipe out the interior. Or into a bowl, combine vanilla and water and heat until it boils over; or another option is to combine lemon slices, vinegar, vanilla, dish soap and water in a bowl and heat. QUESTION: I burnt a bag of microwave popcorn in the microwave very badly (I did follow directions, but apparently the popcorn was still in the microwave too long — my bad for not sticking around to watch it pop). The inside of what was a white microwave is now yellow and smelly. I tried to wipe out the inside with baking soda right away — there was a sticky film inside the entire microwave — but it remained yellow, even after a wipe-down. However, the smoky smell is the worst challenge at the moment. I’ve unplugged the microwave, filled it with crushed newspaper (you once suggested that to remove a smell from a freezer) and put in a box of baking soda. Do you think this will help? How long should I keep it in there and closed? Should I replace the paper after a few days? Or should I give up and go buy a new micro? And do you think there is any way of getting the stain out of the interior? It must be stained from the popcorn flavouring. I’ve been airing out the house and cleaning it and using candles to get the smoky smell out of the house. Any other suggestions? Thanks. — Glynis, Winnipeg Alternatively, combine and heat baking soda and water. If the odour persists, store coffee grounds in a bowl in the microwave to absorb excess odours. In terms of the newspaper trick, leave the newspaper for about one week before removal. The newspaper does not need to be changed during this time. It is likely that the colour damage is permanent. QUESTION: I was wondering how to clean vertical blinds in my living and dining room. They are a fabric, but the weights are sewn in and it will be tricky to clean them. Any suggestions? I have vacuumed them, but some of the slats hang over the floor vents and have blackened with time (not super noticeable, but I see it). Thanks for any suggestions you may have. — Pat, Winnipeg P.S. Your third book is excellent. Many thanks.
ANSWER: Sounds like it’s time to add water. While vacuuming is great for regular cleaning, you will need to bathe your blinds every now and then. To do this, remove vertical blinds and lay them in the bathtub with heavy-duty detergent, washing soda (or borax) and hot water. Scrub and hang to dry. Some people toss vertical blinds inside a pillowcase and into the washing machine, but I have used this method and was disappointed with the results (shape was affected). Another option is to lay them on the grass in the summer and hose them down with a garden hose. Lastly, feedback from readers has suggested putting fabric vertical blinds into the dishwasher because they don’t move around inside the machine and clean up nicely. If you choose this method, do not add detergent; use water only.