Windows: A Home-Ec 101 Guide

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We might wish we could say, “I don’t do windows,” but we don’t have that privilege if we want to keep our house looking nice and our view unobstructed. It can be a rewarding job to shine the glass, wash the blinds, and let the sunshine in. Following are some articles full of tips about cleaning windows, blinds, window sills, and more. Click the title you want to learn more about to see the complete article.

clean windows

How to Clean Blinds

I have several faux wood white blinds that I have stored in the garage. I want to use these now and they have needless to say their share of spider webs, dust and other weird things on them. What is the best way to clean them?

How to Clean Mini-Blinds

I live in an apartment and my mini-blinds are covered with the funk of thousands of tenants. Can you please tell me the best way to clean these?

How to Clean Window Sills

I bought a lovely old home with large windows, but I am at a loss over my window sills.  How on earth do you keep window sills clean? Liquid sprays seem to make the problem worse.  I’m hoping to avoid stripping all of the paint and starting over, and there are so many layers already that adding another coat would only be a temporary fix.

How to Clean REALLY Dirty Windows

We just moved into an older house and I don’t think anyone has cleaned the windows in years. We had it pressure washed and used Windex but the windows still look covered in grime. Are there any other solutions I can use that will get off the tough dirt.

Now Is The Time To Wash Your Windows

My mom always said there’s something very spiritual about washing your windows. Her theory on this is that the windows are they eyes of your home and by washing the windows, you’re opening up those eyes to let the sun shine in.

Tips For Buying Window Shades

I have a very large window that bears the brunt of the western sun in summer. Do you have any suggestions for easy, inexpensive window coverings that will block or reflect a lot of heat?

What Are These Bugs On My Window Sill?

This summer I have been noticing these itsy bitsy little grey bugs on my window sills in the kitchen and bathroom. Last week I diluted some bleach on a cloth and wiped down the sills. That seems to have helped. I’d still like to know what are they? How can I stop them?

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Guide to Household Odors

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how to take care of your walls

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Walls: A Home-Ec 101 Guide

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how to take care of your walls

They surround us, protect us, and shelter us. Walls also take a lot of abuse from dirty hands, shoes, feet, and the ends of brooms/mops that are taller than my children. Lately, I’ve heard myself saying, “Please take your feet off the wall – or – Please don’t put your dirty hands all over the wall.” Is that only at my house? Can’t be. I know that different ages of children make different marks on the wall. How do those toddlers always manage to find the non-erasable markers?

Just in case someone other than me has to deal with messy walls we wrote the following tips to help you take care of your walls. Click on the title of the article you want to read more of.

How to Clean Flat Paint

I have a quick question about washing my apartment walls. Normally, I’d just use some soapy water and dig right in, but my landlords used cheap, lousy, thin flat white paint. I’m afraid that my washing will ruin the surface.

How to Clean a Grungy Grille (Central Air Return)

Builders and contractors don’t always use common sense when planning the layout of a home’s heating and cooling duct work. Sometimes the grille, or vent cover, is right in the middle of a wall. Even though I frequently run the soft brush attachment over the grille and occasionally spray it off with the hose, our vent cover was gross.

How to Remove Candle Soot From Paint

A great way for me to relax is to curl up on the sofa once she is asleep, light some candles and put my Ipod on. About a week ago, while cleaning the house, I noticed that the candles left big black spots on the wall! I tried washing them with every product I have in the house and it’s not working.

How To Dust the Walls

How exactly does one dust the wall? Do you dust the entire wall with a dust cloth? Do you wash it?

How to Remove Marker from Painted Walls

My apartment walls are covered in crayon (washable and not), marker (washable and not), colored pencil, and various kinds of pen ink. I’ve tried soap and water, multi-purpose cleaner, Soft Scrub, and Magic Erasers to get my walls clean but nothing seems to do more than fade it out. My lease eliminates any repainting options. What can I do?

How To Touch Up Paint In Very Small Areas

This quick tip is Q-Tips make great, disposable “brushes” for touching up paint in small areas.

How to Wash Walls

My living room desperately needs to be painted….I really want to do this right, is it true that I have to wash the walls before I paint?

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guide to clean floors

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Guide to Household Odors

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Cleaning Up After Pet Accidents on Hardwood and Tile

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Sensitive readers, if you don’t currently have to deal with messes of a bodily nature, just make a mental note or better yet, bookmark the page and mosey along.

Dear Home Ec 101,

I have four dogs, they are housebroken, but every once in a while they have an accident. What is the best way to clean up after their mess on hardwood and tile flooring? I think I’m doing enough, but I want to be sure.

Seeking Assurance in Assumption


Heather says

Pets are wonderful companions.

What comes out of and off of your pet is far less pleasant, but it’s just part of life so we may as well know how to deal with it.

In the past we have learned:

How to clean pet urine off of linoleum

How to remove potty training or poop stains from carpet (Yes, toddlers are comparable to pets in their mess making abilities)

How to remove [dog] urine odor from a couch

How to remove [cat] urine from a mattress

How to deal with a cat marking its territory

Somehow in all of that we never got around to cleaning up pet messes on hardwood and tile.

Let’s assume your hardwood is sealed and that if you’re cleaning up tile that the grout is sealed.

If your pet pooped on the floor and it’s solid, life isn’t too hard. Just get a few paper towels*, dispose of the solid waste, grab your favorite cleaner for your hardwood (either what the manufacturer recommended, dilute vinegar, or a dilute cleaner like Murphy’s Oil Soap). I keep Wood for Good by Method around the house and it comes in a handy spray bottle. It’s up to you.

Spray your cleaner on the affected area, wipe it up, wipe with plain water if you choose and allow it to dry.

Bacteria in fecal matter is gross but does not possess super powers, if it has been wiped away, it is gone. No fuss, no muss, you’re done.

If the dog’s poop was runny or diarrhea, you’ve got a bigger job ahead of you as the mess can more easily seep into tiny crevices.

Grab more papertowels, a bucket, gloves,  a trash bag , warm soapy water, a soft scrub brush, a few more paper towels, and a strong stomach.

Put on the gloves, wipe up all of the solid-ish material you can with the paper towels. Over the years – 3 kids and several dogs add up- I’ve learned that it’s easiest if you sort of surround the pile and scoop the mess into a single blob and pick it up that way. Deposit this mess directly into the trash bag.

Gently scrub the area to loosen any fecal material that has worked its way into nicks in the grout or crevices in the wood. Use more rags or paper towels to wipe up the cleaning mess you just made and go over the area with a damp rag or paper towel to wipe up any soapy residue.

Make sure the area is well ventilated so it can dry quickly, running a fan over the area is a good idea.

If your flooring is no longer sealed, the mess must still be cleaned up, but please know that there is a chance that the mess caused staining.

For hardwood flooring you’ll need to contact a professional on the best way to proceed after the mess has been cleaned. If your grout was stained, it is possible to restain and seal your grout to prevent future headaches.

Pet urine can be a nightmare on hardwood, if it has seeped into the flooring. If it is fresh, wipe it up, then clean thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner like Kids ‘N Pets to break down the odors that could cause pets to revisit the same area. Tile and grout just treat like the diarrhea clean up above, if the grout is not sealed.

If the urine has soaked into hardwood flooring. You can try applying hydrogen peroxide -test in an inconspicuous place- and placing papertowels to wick the urine out of the wood.  Please note that some finishes can be affected by hydrogen peroxide and are must be taken. If you are unsure, please consultyour manufacturer on the best way to handle a stain like this. Sometimes the area will need sanding and refinishing depending on the level of damage.

Now smile knowingly at your friends, look away and say, “But they’re worth it

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*You can use rags if you are averse to using paper towels, but please wash them separately from your other laundry.

Household Odors: A Home-Ec 101 Guide

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Scientists say that people can smell at least one trillion distinct scents, scent cells are renewed every 30 to 60 days, and women have a better sense of smell than men. Combine all those things together with a house full of people and there is potential for A LOT of odors. On top of all that we know that scent is a powerful memory trigger, and we want our house to smell good and create good memories. Listed below are some articles that can help you find and conquer bad household odors. Just click the title of the one you want to read more about.

Guide to Household Odors

Can This Smelly Freezer Be Saved?

Due to a series of unfortunate events, my small chest freezer (that sits under the house) was left unplugged for 3 WEEKS! Of course the entire inventory was a total loss, but the real problem is the SMELL.

Don’t Just Cover Up Musty Odors

My problem is that I keep towels that we have used in a closet until I do laundry at the end of the week, and I wanted to know if there is anything I could put inside the closet to keep down the musky smell until laundry day?

Eliminated or Hidden? Febreze vs. Stink

I’ve heard from a friend that the way Febreze works is by “gluing” the molecules causing the smell to the fabric.

Help! Our New House Smells Like Mothballs!

There’s only one little problem with our dream home: it smells a bit of moth balls. I’m hoping that most of the stench is attached to the current owners’ furniture, but some of the smell has certainly transfered to the walls and floors of the house.

How Can I Make My Cat’s Litter Box Smell Better?

Why is cleaning out cat boxes such an ordeal? How can I make my cat’s litter box smell better if I’m a little bit remiss about getting them scooped every day?

How to Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal

How do you de-stink a garbage disposal?

How to Deal with a Cat Marking Its Territory

Our cat marks all areas of our house by peeing especially when another animal comes to visit or where she last marked. We are at our wit’s end…. is there any solution to this problem?

How To Deal With Mildew In The Laundry

I forgot about a load of wash in the washing machine. Of course, it’s almost the entire wardrobe for both my children and the entire load *reeks* of mildew.

How to Eliminate Sulfur Odor in the Laundry

I’ve noticed a sulfur odor in our clean clothes and I can’t get rid of it no matter what I do.

How to Eliminate Shoe Odors in Small Closets

I just did some awesome cleaning in my closet and swapped out my winter for summer stuff. I noticed my closet has a funky shoe odor.

How to Fix Sour Smelling Towels

Why do towels and washcloths smell sour and how do I get rid of that funky odor?

How to Freshen Plastic Storage Containers

My spouse, it’s not me, no never me, has a bad habit of leaving his dirty plastic containers in the back of his car. I have to tell you, they are FUNKY. How do I remove the bad odor?

How to Get Rid of a Fish Odor in the Kitchen

I’m trying to encourage an elderly dog to eat and someone recommended canned mackerel.  It worked a treat but now my kitchen stinks like fish.

How to Get Smells Out of Car Upholstery

Have you any idea how to get the smell of smoke and sweat out of car upholstery without making the entire vehicle reek of Febreze?

How to Reduce Cooking Odors

I love having my home grown bacon or sausage on the weekend, but how do I get rid of the horrible grease smell after I have enjoyed breakfast?

How to Remove Kerosene Odors from Unwashable Items

I do alterations and repairs on bridal wear and I recently returned some dresses that ended up absorbing the smell of kerosene. How would someone remove the smell of kerosene from un-washable clothing?

How To Remove Mildew And Musty Odors From Towels

My towels all smell funky. Is it my teenage son? He’s usually pretty good about hanging up his towel, but lately they’ve all developed a stink. There is nothing quite like stepping out of the shower to be greeted with a musty, mildewed, smelly towel.

How to Remove a Musty Odor from Dresser Drawers

An old roommate of mine borrowed a dresser from me and used it while we lived together. After she gave it back the drawers had a musty smell that I couldn’t get rid of. If I put any clothes in the drawers they come out smelling funky and musty too. What should I do?

How To Remove Musty / Mildew Odor From Furniture

I recently retrieved a table from my garage that was stored for about a year and it smells like there could be a mold or mildew issue. How do I clean the table to remove any traces and the odor of mold and mildew?

How to Remove Mothball Odor from a Closet

There’s only one little problem with our dream home: it smells a bit of moth balls. I’m hoping that most of the stench is attached to the current owners’ furniture, but some of the smell has certainly transfered to the walls and floors of the house. So what is a gal to do?

How to Remove Mothball Odor from Clothes

How does one get rid of this smell; a smell that permeates everything it contacts?

How to Remove Musty Odor from Jeans

For a few weeks I’ve occasionally noticed a musty smell. At first I thought it was something in my house, but I couldn’t ever pin it down. I finally realized it was my favorite pair of jeans!

How To Remove Odors From Shoes

How do you get the foot-stink out of shoes? Specifically, leather shoes, since those make your feet sweat like a fat guy chasing after an ice cream truck in August?

How To Remove Odors From Stoneware

Whenever I cook or use a strong smelling condiment, my dishes always pick up the smell I can never get the odor out.

How to Remove Smoke Smell from Plastic Toys

I recently purchased replacement pieces for a beloved vintage Fisher-Price toy on eBay. They arrived today after a long wait, absolutely reeking of smoke.

How to Remove Urine Odors from a Couch

We contacted the manufacturer, who suggested spot cleaning the urine stained area with diluted dish soap. This got the stains out. Unfortunately, the smell of pee still remains.

How To Get Rid of Musty Odor In A Home

Here’s my dilemma. The house is clean, but there is a fusty, musty odor, like a large dog is secretly living in our house.

Potential Sources Of Mildew In The Bedroom

There is a musty / mildew smell in my home, but I’m having issues locating the source of the smell. As far as I can tell, it’s restricted to one bedroom. I’ve examined all of my clothing, removed the air conditioner, checked all of the furniture, and even the air ducts. I’m guessing it might be in the carpet? Any ideas?

What Causes Smelly Sheets?

I have smelly sheets! I wash them and I promise I don’t use too much laundry detergent. Then I dry them and then store them in a built-in bookshelf that’s in our closet. For some reason as soon as I get the sheets out to put on the bed they smell weird, a little musty.

What To Do About Stinky Shoes

I got my favorite pair of shoes wet last week and now they stink to high heaven. Is there anything I can do to save these shoes?

What To Do With The Drawer That Makes Clothes Stink

After the clothes are confined there for a few weeks, they develop a strong odor that spreads to other clothes which would otherwise not get smelly.

What To Do When Your Mattress Smells Like Cat Pee

It’s been a week, and while my husband swears he can’t smell the urine anymore, I still get whiffs of something–whether it’s urine or just the cleaner, I’m not sure. But it smells funky, and I don’t know what to do!

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bathroom cleaning

Tips to keep your bathroom squeaky clean!

guide to the laundry room

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The Laundry Room: A Home-Ec 101 Guide

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guide to the laundry room

It’s great to have a house with a laundry room/area and really, those machines do a lot of work for our family. Why then, do so many people hate doing laundry? I, personally, am so glad I don’t have to use a pot of boiling water or a wringer to wash all of our clothes. The following articles will help you take care of your machines and as a result, the clothes that go through the machines. Just click the title of whichever one you want to read more of!

A Quick Tip To Detail Your Washing Machine

This is a special occasion kind of cleaning, perhaps I haven’t done it often enough (judging by the lint), but don’t think I’m trying to get you to add this chore to your already overwhelming to-do list. Maybe detailing your washer should be done whenever you get around to deep cleaning the laundry room.

Finding The Source Of The Mystery Spots On The New Clothes

I don’t use softeners or softener sheets and every piece of clothing we own is being ruined by these grease stains. I have no idea what it is but I can only assume its from the dryer. And I know, with kids, stains are highly likely but even their brand spanking new clothes are coming out with these stains.

How to Reduce Lint in the Laundry Room

Can you please post an article about keeping that nasty linty space along the sides of the washer and dryer clean?

How To Reduce Lint In The Laundry

My husband wears a lot of black shirts. Lately I’ve noticed that his shirts are covered in fuzz and lint. We’ve never really had this problem before. Is the lint coming from my washer or my dryer? Is there anything I can do to reduce the lint?

How to Remove Detergent Build-up From a Washer

I’ve recently noticed a layer of scum around the agitator.  If I were able to get my head in there I’d probably find it throughout.  Is there a way to get this out without scrubbing the thing?

How to Remove Gum from a Dryer

I / my husband / my kid didn’t check their pockets and now my dryer smells minty fresh, but is covered with with gum. How do I get the gum out of the dryer and off of the clothing?

How to Remove Mildew from a Front Loading Washer

Here is a gross one for you ladies. How do I keep my front load washer from mildewing? It smells so nasty.

How to Remove Ring Around the Washer

I’ve used everything possible I can think of to get the inside of my top-loading washer (where the top of the water line usually is) clean, but it’s still icky looking.

Lipstick In The Laundry

Help!! I took clothes out of the wash and found red lipstick in the dryer and all over my clothes.

Make Your Laundry Detergent Stretch Farther

A Tip to stretch your laundry detergent a bit further

Mildew in the Laundry

I forgot about a load of wash in the washing machine. I’ve rewashed the load at least three times now using a total of two gallons of white vinegar but the offensive odor remains.

Quick Tips From Real Life Laundry Experience

I have a few for you this morning and feel free to guess which ones I learned today and which I had done ahead of time.

Why Is There A Greasy Stain In My Washer?

Lately I’ve noticed a greasy ring around the top of my machine, a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II which is a top loader. I know my clothes are *clean* but the washing machine grosses me out.

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bedroom and closet cleaning

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keeping the kitchen clean

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