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5 house cleaning secrets for walls and floors

A mix of vinegar and water can help floor shine. (Photo courtesy of Debra Basilis)

A mix of vinegar and water can help floor shine. (Photo courtesy of Debra Basilis)

Angie's List went to house cleaning experts around the country and convinced them to share five little-known tips for keeping floors and walls looking like new.

  1. Baking soda freshens your carpets, cleans your walls. Instead of buying those expensive carpet powders, use baking soda. It helps to eliminate the odors. A rag dipped in baking soda is also a quick cure for crayon marks on your walls.
  2. Hot nails, less cracks. To reduce damage to plaster when hanging family photos or artwork, heat the nail with a lighter or candle before hammering.
  3. Silence those squeaks. Dust talcum powder into the cracks of squeaky wood floors. Getting powder into the crevices can help silence the squeaks.
  4. Wax on, wax off. To remove wax from carpets, place a paper towel over the wax and set a warm (not hot) iron on the towel. Repeat if necessary. The warm heat will draw the wax into the paper towel.
  5. Make kitchen floors sparkle. A cup of vinegar mixed with a bucket of water will make kitchen floors gleam. On no-wax floors that have dulled, it brings out the shine. On waxed floors, it helps cut through years of wax buildup.



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How do you make your own laundry soap?

murphys spray cleaner but the best is goof off or WD 40. They work awesome.

I use TSP and mix it with water in a spray bottle. It works really good to get greasy dirt off of almost any surface. rinse afterward.

I have a black stove how I can make the top look like new? The pans have grease on them when I soak them all the grease does come off.

I am moving into an apartment above what was formerly a bar. I didn't notice the smell when I viewed it, but since I have signed the lease, it wreaks. There is no carpetting, it just wreaks! Any suggestions for odor removal? Probably a mixture of cig smoke, stale BO and mildew. Does new paint help?

How do I clean mildew from refrigerator?

How do I clean my new wooden floors smudges are everywhere. I used Murphy's Oil Soap it smelled great but it left a residue I cleaned it again but smudges keep coming back. Please helpppp

Does anyone know how to remove sticky tape residue that has been left (after hanging the kids pictures) on the kitchen cupboard doors?

I USE LYSOL DISTINFECTING WIPES. KILLS 99.9% OF VIRUSES & BACTERIA. EASY TO USE AND JUST THROW THEM AWAY. THANKS FOR ALL THE HINTS I HOPE THIS WILL HELP MAKE LIFE EASIER.

would like to know the best way to clean shower heads and taps. water marks, and lime scale build up.

I just get a sandwich bag , add vinegar, Get a rubber band and totally submerge the head in the Baggie with vinegar...tie up shower head with rubber band and leave. Let sit for at least 2hrs if more it seems to work best , after removing run a solid stream of hot steaming water thru shower grad for at least 5minutes you should notice the streams are stronger, and a more even flow.

If your pan or pot is burnt, put a layer of Complete Dishwasher liquid, then put a layer of hot water over that. Let it sit for awhile. You will be amazed how easily the burnt stuff comes off with a scrub pad!

I clean walls with a dry cloth attached to a swiffer mop, this helps to reach the high spots to. Then I go back over them with a damp cloth (microfiber is favorite) dipped and squeezed out, in a vinegar/ water solution. when I let the kids help with light switches baby wipes ( use the ones that do not have lotions) are great. I will put motion lights in the next home. The vinegar solution is a guess at the amounts I just pour. I use this throught the home on everything, in the kitchen a drop or two of dawn help cut the grease when added to the solution, I even put it into a spray bottle and deodorize with it. It will not smell like a pickle if you go easy on the vinagar and the smell deminishes when it dries. I have three dogs in the home and you cannot smell them. I spray their sleep areas thru the week and then once a week clean those areas. I use dryer sheets to rub on the dogs if they have the wet dog odor when coming in from outside. works great and does not leave enough stuff on your dog to harm them.

I too, use baby wiptes to wipe dirty finger prints, etc off my walls and for cleaning up/off tons of other things. The thicker ones are more durable yes, but they get expensive if you have kids that feel they need to always be touching walls, or seem to walk all over their walls somehow too like mine (3 and 6 yrs old) appear to do as well...or think the walls are napkins, or kleenex even LOL. The things you find on your childrens bedroom walls (actually, all my walls) may amaze some people.... I had a book of dvds that were out of the cases and kept for easy access, and space reduction, that got something nasty and sticky spilled on them. I cleaned them all, along with the storage sheets in the book with baby wipes and dried with a lint free cloth and you would never know there was any sticky mess on them!!

Any more hints about getting burnt pans clean again?

My mother taught me to use dishwasher detergent (the kind you use in dishwashers, not to hand wash dishes). I'm not a fan of the elbow grease method so I cover the burnt or baked on soil with water, add detergent, and boil for 10-15 minutes. You can skip the boiling part and just use hot water if unable to put the pan on a burner. Usually I will allow to soak overnight, guaranteeing the soil comes up as if cleaning off a brand new non-stick surface, but depending on the difficulty of the soil, boiling or soaking for 20 minutes may be sufficient.

Put water to cover the burnt part, bring to a boil then sprinkle with Cream of Tartar. Remove from heat, let cool then wash. Depending how bad it is you may need to repeat ...

I found Baby wipes work amazing on cleaning walls. They are durable and leave a fresh sent. I preferred Huggies... but my babies are now teens, that was my trick back in the day. I do love the magic erasers and I use them ALOT. My kitchen counter gets lots of color stains. And the black marks on the vinal come right up.

How to clean the used accesseries like P.P. Beakers, glass bottles, pressure vessels, conical flasks etc.,

I have tried denture tablets, and it worked pretty well, it cleaned all the crud from the inside of antique bottles I had bought.

Wood Floors........I vacuumed my wood floors because the directions said it would be ok. Well, that is not true! Anyways, now I have scratches all over my once beautiful floors. They are not deep in the wood only on the top surface. I have tried all kinds of over the counter products that was recommended to me thru Lowes, Home DePot and Walmart but none of them work. The floors were once shiny and scratch free, now they are dull and scratched. What can I do to bring my beautiful wood floors back without having to hire a professional to redo the entire floors. I even bought a buffer to try buffering out the scratches and bringing the shine back but has had no luck. Please help!

I used minwax reviver - worked beautifully!!!! brought my wood floors back!

get a walnut and rub it into the scratches the oil from it will help them dissapear it worked on all my Greatgrandmothers wood furniture when we inherited it

The nut meat not the shell...

what kind of vinigar to use on hard wood floors with no wax...

Magic eraser is very good but do beware! My mother used one to rub emulsion off my daughter's arm, resulting in burns. Perhaps it should carry more of a warning, but my mother should have been more careful. I wouldn't have rubbed my skin with it.

Would you rub your skin with a Brillo pad? That is just plain stupid. I have never seen "ingredients" listed on a sponge, a Brillo pad, a dinner plate, a wrench, etc. This is not a "consummable" product. It is a cleaning aid. A tool. As a tool, you shouldn't let your young kids use them either.

For the comment regarding the Mr Clean Magic Eraser-- .Fingerprints on walls Nicole, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are great for getting dirt and fingerprints off walls, and all you use with them is water, so the kids can wipe the walls themselves! No chemicals or bleach to worry about You may want to check into the amount of chemicals that are in the eraser...:) The Warning Label Melamine foam erasers work well; but on surfaces that are painted, polished or easily scratched, they might work a little too well. It's recommended to test the eraser on a small, preferably unnoticeable, portion of whatever you're looking to clean before you dive on in. A few years ago, Internet rumors spread that melamine foam erasers could cause serious health problems because they contained formaldehyde and had the potential to cause chemical burns. It's impossible to know what's in home cleaning products because there is no law requiring consumer products—other than food and cosmetics—to include ingredient lists. And given the above information from P&G, understanding the chemical ingredients is another thing. The confusion about formaldehyde as an ingredient could have been avoided if manufacturers labelled the ingredients on their products, or provided a full ingredient list (with an explanation) on their website. In the meantime, you might choose products that have ingredients listed, if you value transparency. Or, make your own green home cleaners with food-grade ingredients. Once you whip up a batch of liquid laundry soap or an all-purpose cleaner, you'll never go back to store-bought!

Well you could fine him or have him foot the bill for a girls'-night-out. Or never let him do dishes anymore. Divorce is not recommended with a husband who helps out with chores like doing dishes.

My husband put my silver platter in dishwasher and it oxidized. Can this be fixed?

Nicole, the best thing for dirt/fingerprints on walls are Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. All you use with them is water, so the kids can help you by wiping the walls clean themselves! No harsh chemicals or bleach to worry about. My kids actually enjoy helping me with that chore.

when I used Mr Clean Magic erasers on one of my cabinets it actually damaged it . I now have a dull light spot on my door.

never use them on any thing with a gloss finish. They actually do the same as wet sanding and take off the first layer and most of the time that is dirt but it will also take the last layer of shine off and you will have to add a buffing compound to bring back the shine.

A cheap and effective option that can also be used to remove buildup of dirt, grease. nicotine etc is good, old fashioned sugar soap. You can get it in powder or liquid form and it cuts through really quickly. Not one for the little ones to help with this time though :-)

Is this Something I can make at home? If so Please let me know how. Thanks

it really works

what is the best way to remove years of greasy buildup on your wooden kitchen cabinets?

Nita, I bought a house with heavy grease buildup on the cabinets. I could even tell which burner had been used the most! After trying everything, including scrubbing down to raw wood, my mom told me to use ammonia/water. You can mix as strong as you like. I always have a mixed bottle on hand now.

i am wondering how to clean silver w/o having to buy expensive tarnish remover.

if you use cigarette ash to polish your silver it is cheap and gets rid of tarnish and all!get a soft cloth like old tee -shirt ,put your finger in cloth then dip in ashtray and rub on silver and hey presto ,shiny rings!

Step 1: Find a pan large enough to hold your silver items and line it with aluminum foil. Put the items inside the pan, making sure they are touching the foil, then pour in enough water to cover them. Step 2: Mix the salt and baking soda in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over the water. Cover the pan and let it sit for four to five hours or overnight. Alternatively, place the pan on the stove and gently boil for two to three minutes. Step 3:Empty the water and remove your silver from the pan. Rinse each item well with hot water. Step 4:Add two to three drops of olive oil to a soft, natural fiber cloth and rub your silver pieces with it. This will dry and polish your silver, while providing a natural anti-tarnish Then store with a few pieces of chalk...

#1 doesn't just remove tarnish - it removes SILVER! This used to be shown in Chemistry class and this also applies to the "Magic" piece of metal that is sold for about $20 at fairs, on-line, and in the gim-crack catalogues. It works by ion exchange and the ions that are exchanged are the silver off of your tableware! This is also deleterious (bad) for any pre-planned darkening that is on your silver, That is generally seen on larger pieces. That darkening is NOT tarnish but a part of the artistry pf the designer. Many of the quick ways of polishing removes this artistry, along with gold decorations and planned decal work. Dips are also to be avoided. when you are dealing with silverplate, you can easily wipe away all the silver after a few dinner parties, depending how deep the plate actually is! Don't put good silver in the diswasher as the hot water and the soap, which is made to scrub really dirty stuff, will etch your silver (and china and crystal, if you are so lucky as to have them ) Keep your silver CLEAN and DRY and in fitted silvercloth holders (you can even buy silvercloth by the yard and easily stitch up the holders or buy them) and it is worth it! The chalk idea is good, also but you should replace the chalk sometimes, as its purpose is to keep the silver dry. However with all of this you should USE YOUR SILVER ! When silver is used it develops the patina that silver is supposed to have. When you use your silver you don't have to polish is as often because regular use keeps it polished. Don't eat eggs or other sulfered or acidulated stuff with silver. The great sets have items that few people today know what they are because they have different colored spoons or fork or knife ends. Those were made specifically for the foods that would react with silver. One can buy, even today, silver sets at thrift or consignment stores. They cost more now, but not as much as new. If they are monogrammed, you can either acquire "new ancestors" or take them to engravers and check as to whether the monogram could be modified to your or your mother's maiden name (in the English style) or to your married name or joint names or whatever. Recall that silver is obviously to show off with so you should preserve it and have fun with it.

Great idea ! will this work with silver jewelry as well?

Forgot to add. Never tried it on larger items, but I think would work on them just as well.

I have silverware and other silver items. You use so little of it on an old tee shirt rag. It seems to last "forever." For small touch-up on silverware, I use a just a very little dab of white cream tooth paste. Just rub gently until clean. Wash/dry. Back into the silverware drawer. Easy.

Cheap/inexpensive cleaner. I use lemon-scented liquid dish soap. Just a drop (cutlery), rub well with a clean cloth until tarnish disappears, then rinse/dry. The silver really sparkles.

Love the tips. Look forward to using them soon. Great job

Love the tips; keep them coming.

Can you use the vinegar and water on ceramic tile floors?

I use one gallon of hot water with 4 cap fulls of rubbing alcohol to do ceramic, and laminate floors. Also is great for mirrors.

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