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Bleach Spots Appearing on Khaki Shorts

Dear Home-Ec 101,

I have been puzzled by this mysterious pink / red stains on my khaki shorts for years. Whenever I get new khaki shorts, it will get these red / pink stains on them whenever I wash them. I don’t use bleach or fabric softener. I only use powdered detergent, cold/warm water and that’s it. Whatever I do, it will only create new red/pink marks across the khaki shorts. What is truly bizarre is that I tried not washing one of my new khaki shorts I bought and the stains still appeared! It looks like it has something to do with the water in the home I live in. It only occurs on my khaki shorts and not anywhere else. I need help with this as I have google searched for months without any answer. I’m afraid to buy new khaki shorts now.

Signed,

Shorted on the Shore

Heather says:

The stains you describe sound like bleach stains. Bleaching agents -not necessarily chlorine bleach- can appear in many innocuous forms in our modern lives. However, acne creams, whitening toothpaste and mouthwash are the usual culprits. Some dyes are less able to resist these bleaching products, which is why you will only notice this on some fabrics. After giving this some thought, my guess is splatter from vigorous toothbrushing landing on the bathroom counter or the shorts, themselves. Then, all it takes is a lean in for a close look in the mirror and voila, bleach stains on khaki shorts. The would appear either as a dot or a smear depending on the contact method.

In all likelihood you wouldn’t notice the tiny spatter or rub for several hours until that pink / orange / reddish spot appeared.

To prevent bleaching stains like these in the future, be extra careful with your bleaching products. Try to get in the habit of wiping off your bathroom counter and washing your hands thoroughly after applying acne creams or medication.

For what it’s worth, some people’s sweat seems to oxidize the dyes of some fabrics leaving mysterious stains. However these stains would be in very specific areas, prone to sweating. Since you mentioned spots rather than blotches -these would appear where the shorts crease when sitting- my money is on one of the previously mentioned products.

On an unrelated note, getting to the bottom of these mysterious bleach stains has felt like an episode of House the Domestic Edition and heck, I’ve been cranky enough to play the lead.

Submit your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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Happy 8th Birthday Home-Ec 101

Heather says:

Thank you all for being a part of Home-Ec 101 these past eight years.

I was just looking over my calendar, this afternoon, when I realized it was March 1, 2007 when Ivy and I officially launched this site. The past eight years have been one hell of a ride. Thank you for being there when my youngest was born, when my sister passed away and all those events in between.

In that time, almost 9 million people have visited this site, that’s like having had the entire population of NYC pass through the door.

I have learned and experienced so many things thanks to you, the Home-Ec 101 community.

Thank you for your comments, your companionship, your wisdom, and your patience.

Thank you for letting me run a site where we’re allowed to be human. Where we can screw up, we don’t have to be perfect, and we know that time is sometimes the best remedy.

Thank you for inviting me into your homes and trusting me in your kitchens (and bathrooms and and and)

amazoncardIt’s only the slightest token, but on March 15, 2015 I’m going to give away a $100 Amazon Gift Card, you just need to be a current newsletter subscriber to be eligible. (If you’re reading this via email, you’re already entered). The winner will be contacted via email.

This giveaway is sponsored by Home-Ec101.com and is in no way affiliated, sponsored by, or approved by Amazon.com.

How to Enter:

Subscribe to Home-Ec101.com via email.

Rules:

You must be over 18 years of age to enter. This giveaway is open to US Residents except where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary.

Thank you, here’s to the next eight years.

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Well That Wasn’t Fun

Heather says

Hi, it’s been a couple weeks, hasn’t it?

Things started off with the best of intentions, but then my youngest decided to play Typhoid Mary (only she was sick, too) with a fun thing called Rotavirus.

Parents of very young children probably know this term and are cringing. I took the kids to a water park and she thanked us by giving us the gift of a highly transmissible stomach virus. And one by one we fell.

While I’m doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and disinfecting all of the hard surfaces, why don’t you tell me how you have been?

 

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Menu Monday 26

Heather says

Well, last week didn’t work out as planned. There were a lot more let’s make do with what we have that’s quick dinners, but I was able to reshoot one of the most popular recipes on this site.

Quick beef and cabbage skillet, it’s a handful of ingredients and thirty minutes until you’ve got a warm, filling (and believe it or not paleo if you’re into that) meal.

 

Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet HE101

If I keep this up and manage to re-shoot one recipe a week, I may manage to catch up by 2018.

I kid.

Mostly.

I also started to make an interesting chicken fajita soup but I left the wheat-free flour somewhere else and ended up making a tortilla soup that the family loved, but it was too thrown together to write up. It’s still movement in the right direction and I’ll take that.

So what’s up for next week? Well, I’ll be sharpening my knives if the sharpening stone and ceramic rod arrive (they should).  Lent starts this week and I’m going to buckle down on the whole let’s not eat out thing, unless I’m on the road for work. I have to have the practical caveat in there, sorry.

And on the menu:

  • Monday – Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, cabbage, carrots
  • Tuesday – We’re headed out with some friends for Fat Tuesday, otherwise it’d be the perfect excuse for Shrimp Etouffee
  • Wednesday – Lentil casserole, baked sweet potatoes, kale (Ash Wednesday)
  • Thursday – Taco soup, tortilla chips (or maybe I’ll remake last week’s soup with a lot more attention to detail)
  • Friday – Fish and tomato stew, with bread and / or potatoes
  • Saturday – Sloppy joes / tacos, broccoli with cheese sauce (experimenting with a gf version) and what the heck chips
  • Sunday – Let’s shoot for the Chicken, mushrooms, and peppers dish, rice and peas, acorn squash

What will you be cooking this week?

Are you trying anything new?

 

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How Long Will it Take to Clean My House?

Dear Home Ec 101,
How long will it take to clean my house?
Signed,
Curious in Corpus Christi

time to clean

Heather says:

Well Curious, what is your favorite color?

Blue?

Ok. I’ve plugged that variable into the top secret Home-Ec 101 House Cleaning Algorithm and I’ve determined it will take you exactly 18.36 hours to thoroughly clean your house. Oh. Wait. That doesn’t make much sense does it? A question like “How long will it take to clean my house?” has an incredible number of variables.

What kind of home do you have?

Someone who lives in a McMansion is going to have a lot more surface area to clean than someone who lives in an efficiency. In that case, just doing surface cleaning? Just mopping? The person who lives in the tiny apartment will be done in no time. Even if the floors are equally grubby, it simply takes longer to mop more square footage.

How many people live in the house?

More people means more messes. Humans are rather nasty creatures and in this case I’m not even counting what the young ones do -one of my minions has a cold and she’s at the age where I have to remind her to blow her nose, good times. People shed skin cells and hair, they track in dirt, even if they wipe their feet. The oils from our skin lingers on keyboards, remote controls, wall plates, and door jams.

Did you know there is actually a guideline for how often you should vacuum? Don’t feel badly if you didn’t know I was recently involved in a focus group discussing a vacuum cleaner and it surprised the hosts. Each week you’re supposed to thoroughly vacuum a carpeted room AND add a quick vacuum of high traffic areas for each additional family member, including large dogs. So, if you have a family of four, that’s one deep vacuum and three quick. . . do you see how this adds up? For what it’s worth, babies don’t count, but you’ll probably vacuum even more often once they can crawl.

Are there pets?

We love our animal friends, but anything other than beta fish tend to bring their own measure of mess into a home. From tracked in dirt to litter boxes, shed hair and damage to furniture. They all have a cost when it comes to extra work. -How long until someone tells me about the hairless cat they trained to use the toilet? That’s the exception that proves the rule, people-

Are there children under the age of reason?

Do I really even have to explain this one? It’s chaos in a 3 feet tall package -unless you’re my kid and then you bump it up to under 5 feet-. Sure children can be taught to help with damage control, but for years even the most perfectly behaved, helpful, and polite children create more mess than they can possibly undo.

How many people actually clean in the home?

How well chores are divided will help reduce the amount of time any individual has to spend cleaning a home. For even the most well adjusted adults, this often requires a lot of effective communication of wants and needs on both parts.

Do you cook in your home?

Cooking food adds moisture and often sends aerosolized grease particles -yes, even vegetarians, just less so- into the air. The particles float around and cling to surfaces. Once they are on a surface a dust magnet has been created. The longer the dust magnet sits on the surface, the harder it will be to remove.

Let’s consider clutter.

Imagine two book cases. One has neat rows of books and the other has glass figurines, odds and ends, a pile of papers, etc. The first only requires the soft bristle attachment of the vacuum or a feather duster. The other? You’re going to have to unload each shelf, wipe the item carefully and replace gently. Multiply this around every horizontal surface in a home and it quickly becomes obvious that the amount of STUFF in a home drastically affects the time it takes to clean.

How often has the home been cleaned?

If you’ve lived in a home for five years and never cleaned the tub, it is going to take a long time to undo the damage. Some of it may not even be fixable. Regularly attending to chores keeps grime from building up. Without a lot of grime to remove, cleaning takes less time.

I wish I had a simple answer for you, Curious. The truth is I can’t give you a good answer, just trying to figure out how long it should take a person to clean their home without any other variable is a very overwhelming task. Here is what I do know.

house cleaning help

Click the picture for more cleaning help!

How to reduce the time it takes to clean:

  1. Communicate
  2. Delegate.
  3. Don’t procrastinate.

Good luck.

Send your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.