Bring in am­mo­nia for tough clean­ing

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - REENA NERBAS

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.

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