Cleaning a Popcorn Ceiling

Although not the rage anymore, popcorn ceilings are still very common in homes. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the popcorn ceiling was inescapable. They were the best, quick, and inexpensive way to add a finish to ceilings in apartments and homes across the nation. The process was simple: spray a stucco mix on the ceiling, which left a bumpy lumpy texture. Hence, the “popcorn”. Many homeowners have foregone the popcorn ceiling in the last half century. However, many ceilings still show that sign of the 1900’s. And if you live in a house that does… your ceilings are bound to need a good cleaning.

Check out the following tips to clean the popcorn ceiling, remove cobwebs and stains, and bring them back to their former glory.

(At least until a ceiling renovation is in the budget,)

Basic Cleaning

Cover the ground and furniture in the room with tarps to protect them from the dust and dirt that will come off the ceiling during cleaning. Use your vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment to gently vacuum over the ceiling. This should remove the basic cobwebs and dirt. Feather dusters may be useful as well, but if you have dirt buildup, the feather duster is not going to be strong enough to get the job done.

Deep Clean

In the case of cigarette smoke and cooking grease, you’re going to need a liquid cleaner. Popcorn ceilings cannot withstand much moisture, so you much be careful when removing built up stains such as grease and smoke. Test a small portion to see if it will disintegrate, and then proceed to gently clean the ceiling with the liquid cleaner.

Your liquid cleaner will be a mix of warm water and dish soap. Wet a soft wash cloth, wring it out and use it to gently dab the stains on the ceiling. Be careful not to get the ceiling too wet.

Water Leaks

If your roof has leaked previously, water damage may cause yellow discoloration on the ceiling or even mildew. Use a solution with a small amount of bleach and dab the stains with a wet wash cloth. Again, take caution to not over dampen the ceiling.

Paint

It is possible that over the years, the stains may become too tough to remove. You can simply repaint your ceilings as an alternative to replacing the popcorn ceiling. Purchase pain specified for ceilings.

Note of Caution

Homes constructed before 1979 could contain asbestos. If you have an older home, have a professional inspect for asbestos. In the event of asbestos, you will need to replace those parts affected, such as the popcorn ceiling.

 

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tips

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tips

Here we are, the day before Thanksgiving. If you are stressing out about making sure you have enough of all the right kinds of food, you’re not alone. The turkey, the side dishes, the RIGHT dessert for everyone.
Remember, the important part of Thanksgiving is being surrounded by family and friends and taking time to be thankful! However, it’s completely understandable to want to make things great. And it’s also completely understandable to add a few tricks to make it easier!

Last Minute Tips: Dress up Store Products

Mashed Potatoes

Add sour cream, cheddar, bacon, or garlic to jazz up your instant mashed potatoes.

Stuffing

Give your Stove-Top the homemade touch with some sautéed vegetables. For a healthier version, you can now find low sodium instant stuffing.

Green Beans

Take your frozen green beans to the next level with toasted almonds, a little Parmesan cheese, or caramelized onions. Most of the frozen veggies come in microwave steamer bags now, so they taste fresh and are ready in 5-7 minutes.

Pies

For pies, you can always pick up a pre-made pie. Or, if you want, a pumpkin pie is really easy to make! Make pies easier by picking up a frozen pie crust. And top your pie with Cool Whip.

Cranberry Sauce

For fancier cranberry sauce, warm up a can of regular cranberry sauce and then add orange zest or raspberry preserves. Many people like the canned jellied type though, so this is one item that straight out of the can may be preferred.

Gravy

Gravy packets make a pretty mean dressing, so if you haven’t perfected the gravy making, it is completely acceptable to cheat a little with a mix.

Rolls

Heat and serve rolls are always loved. Grab a bunch, top with butter, brown, and go!

Whether you choose to dress up all the store products, or make everything homemade, remember, Thanksgiving is about friends and family and spending time together. So, if you’re in a rush, embrace the last minute tips and take the time instead to focus on the things that really matter! Happy Thanksgiving!

Pantry Organization Tips

There is nothing more frustrating than going to make a grocery list and not being able to easily assess what you have in your pantry and what you need more of. There are two major problems that seem to occur most often. First, you think you have plenty of an item, only to find out someone  has left an empty box on the shelf. (Usually the husband or kids.) Or two, you think you’re out of something, only to realize you have four open containers. Being organized means less waste and more efficient grocery trips, so it’s a good idea to get organized and stay organized.

Check out these tips for pantry organization and then let us know what else you would add to the list!

Get Clear Containers and a Label Maker

Having clear containers not only lets you easily assess the quantity remaining of bulk items, but it also ensures things stay fresher, longer. When you have open containers (like boxes of cereal, nuts, or flour), you risk spoilage and bugs. Solve that easily with clear containers with properly fitting lids. Use the label maker in order to label each of the products. Use a dry erase marker to add the date you opened it.

Check Your Pantry Each Week

Take a few minutes each week to assess your stock and to see what you need to buy. A weekly check will also help you to stay organized. Put things back in their place during this inventory.

Use Pans or Bins for Similar Items

Certain products (like rice) spill easily. So, stock all of those items together in your pantry in a deep pan or in organization buckets. This can also be helpful for liquid items, in case they leak.

Spend the Extra 10 Minutes to Clean Up

At the end of the day, it’s always a hassle to add any extra chores to the list. But, it’s more of a hassle to reach into the pantry and realize you’ve inadvertently knocked over the maple syrup and it’s been leaking all over the shelf. Check for spills, open containers, and expired items regularly.

Lighting

Some pantries have lights, which is very helpful. If you don’t have a light in your pantry, you can get stick on LED lights that will stick on the bottom side of you shelves, so you can see everything better. This is especially helpful on the underside of the bottom shelf, because you don’t want the floor of your pantry to be the catch-all you forget about!

Find the Best Space Savers

Sometimes, you can multi-purpose other household items, like magazine racks, small shelves, and pencil holders for use in your kitchen. But you can also purchase items like behind the door shelving and canned food dispensers to make use of otherwise wasted space in your pantry.

There are several different ways to tackle the pantry, depending on the amount of space you have. But, whether you have a tiny space or a giant walk in pantry, it’s important to keep it well organized. That way, you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it.

Tips and Tricks for Carpet Stains

Tips and Tricks for Carpet Stains

In the great debate between wood and carpet floors, carpet does sometimes have its winning arguments. It’s definitely cozy and warm and inviting. Especially in the winter months, it’s nice to not need to look for slippers just to walk across the house. And to be able to vacuum once every few days, instead of the endless sweeping necessary with wood floors.

So, yeah, carpet is pretty good.

Right until you spill something on it. Then the panic sets in. Which cleaner should I use? Will I be able to get the stain out? Am I destined to never have a food or drink outside of the kitchen again?

We are here to help! Here are some tips for those pesky stains and how to best tackle them. (As a reminder, you’ll want to test cleaners on your carpets before dousing the whole area, and it’s always best to check your manufacturer’s recommendation and warranty before using any product on your carpet.)

Before You Begin

Tip: When removing stains, it’s better to blot and work inwards than to scrub. Scrubbing can damage the fibers of the carpet and can also cause the stain to spread.

Water-Soluble Stains

These can include: betters, food dye, alcohol, cola, milk, ink, jelly, and some types of paint.

Make a mix for ¼ tsp non-bleach detergent (or you can use white vinegar) combined with 32 oz of water.

Exceptions for Water Soluble Stains

These can include: blood, coffee, tea, wine, vomit, mustard, and chocolate.

You can make a mix of 1 tbs ammonia and 1 cup of water. For some carpets, you can also mix 1 part chlorine bleach to 5 parts water but you’ll need to check with the manufacturer’s recommendation before using bleach on your carpet.

Others

Glue: Rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball is all you need to loosen the glue residue.

Gum and Wax: Use ice cubes to freeze the stuck on mess and then scrape it off and vacuum the pieces.

Nail Polish: Nail polish remover is generally safe in small amounts.

Urine: Mix one part vinegar to one part water and add a drop or two of blue dish soap to clean the area. This will help remove the stain and the smell.

How to Clean Various Types of Furniture

Knowing how to properly care for and maintain your furniture means your home furnishings will look better and last longer. Instead of making it an overwhelming task of cleaning everything at once, do regular vacuuming and dusting of your furniture with your other weekly chores. And, on occasion, a deeper clean will keep your items in the best condition. Various types of furniture require various types of cleaning as detailed below. As a reminder though, please check with your manufacturer and their warranties before putting any cleaning solutions on your furnishings.

Upholstered Furniture

Vacuum it. This is the easiest way to keep your item (such as a sofa) clean. Check under the cushions and in the crevices to clear any debris or crumbs. If you have microfiber, they are designed not to stain as easily, so much of the dirt or spills will be easily brushed away.

Check the tags. Your product should include a guide for the type of cleaner appropriate to use on the fabric. The tags will say whether to use water based, a dry cleaning method, or whether a professional cleaner is required.

For most fabrics that allow for a water based cleaner, this is easy to make by mixing a small amount of blue dish liquid (like Dawn) with warm water. It can be applied with a sponge or wash cloth, being careful not to soak the fabric too much. Make sure to blot dry with a dry cloth. (Don’t forget to test your detergents to make sure they don’t stain. This can be done on the back of the furniture where it can’t be easily seen.)

Cleaning Leather

Vacuum it. As with other types of furnishings, you really can’t go wrong by giving the product a good vacuuming. Immediate attention to spills will be the best way to prevent anything from setting.

For leather though, you can use a equal part vinegar and water mixture and wipe with a cloth. Rinse the cloth often so to not spread the dirt, and then dry each area well.

You can condition your leather with commercially available leather conditioner or use one part vinegar to two parts linseed oil. Leave on for ten minutes and then buff with a cloth in order to brighten and condition your leather.

For Wood

Generally with wood, you’ll want to play it safe depending on the finish of the wood. Do not use any harsh cleaning supplies. You can always go stronger if needed, but if you use something to harsh to begin with, you risk damage to your product.

For cleaning wood, do not use much water and don’t allow the water to sit for too long. Standing water can make the wood warp or crack.

For grimy buildup, using mineral spirits (paint thinner) will break through that grime, but you may risk damaging the fishing on your wood. Check in an inconspicuous spot to make sure you wont stain or damage the  finish  before applying everywhere.

Wax wood for a shiny and conditioned finish.

 

 

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

Why Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

It may seem weird to be concerned about cleaning a machine designed to clean, but your dishwasher needs regular cleaning and checking just like any other appliance. The door gets covered in fingerprints and the inside accumulates food particles, soap scum, and grease. All the extra grime can cause bacterial growth inside the dish washer, leading to foul smells and less than perfect dishes. Clean you dish washer monthly for a fresh new look and optimal performance.

First, the Door

Clean the door of the dishwasher by washing down the exterior with warm soapy water. You can also use a baking soda and water mixture to add a little scrubbing power without scratching the exterior. (Avoid rough scouring pads that may scratch up the dishwasher door.)

Clean the Tub

Before you get to cleaning, it’s a good idea to take some paper towels to wipe any excess debris from the bottom of the dish washer.

After you remove any excess debris, set a cup of white vinegar in the dishwasher’s top rack. Add no other dishes to this cleaning cycle. Run a full wash, with the hottest water possible. When the wash cycle is over, take paper towels and wipe up any excess debris again.

As an easy alternative, you can put a packet of lemonade mix in the spot where the dish detergent goes. Or you can put a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dish washer tub. With either option, run a wash on the hottest cycle.

Deep Clean the Extras

Check the utensil holders and racks. Look for any debris or stuck-on food particles. If the spray arm is clogged, use a cleaning brush to remove clogs so that will spray evenly when cleaning.

Keeping your dishwasher clean will mean it will be more efficient at cleaning your dishes. And, a clean, fresh smelling dish washer will make a much better kitchen experience. Keep your dishes the best they can be and keep your dishwasher in its best condition and remember to clean your dishwasher regularly.