Woman cleaning her dishwasher. Photography by Cottonbro @Pexels.

Household Odors

Dishwasher

A dishwasher can be cleaned with household vinegar or citric acid powder. Pour a gallon of vinegar in the bottom, let sit for an hour or so, then run the washer through a full cycle. The citric acid powder will also help remove hard-water buildup. Add a half-cup of powder and run the dishwasher. If there’s still an unpleasant odor coming from inside, examine the drain hose to see if it’s crimped and check the bottom for bits of food or gunk. After checking, if the odor is still strong, call a plumber because it might be a possible hazardous plumbing problem, like sewer gas, that needs to be remedied,

Mothballs

This strong odor, in furniture or clothing, can be taken care of with a lot of air circulation. If it’s in clothing, hang garments outside in fresh air to let the smell dissipate. Wash garments alone with washing soda or baking soda, added to the regular amount of detergent. If the odor is inside a chest of drawers or a cedar chest, you must air out the drawers too and then lightly sand the inside and vacuum up the shavings. Stuff the drawers with newspapers to help absorb the odors. Wipe the inside with a cloth lightly dampened with household vinegar and let air dry.

Smoke

If clothing smells smoky, put it out in the fresh air. Many fabric-odor sprays do a good job, particularly on winter coats and heavy sweaters. Of course, normal laundering can remove the odor. But if there has been a fire, and the smoke smell is awful, locate a dry cleaner that has an ozone cleaner and that should do the trick.

Foot & Shoe

As long as foot odor is not a medical condition, try these hints: Wash your feet and dry them thoroughly. Spritz feet with deodorant before putting on socks. Apply antibacterial soap or soak your feet in vinegar for five minutes every night to help. Airing out shoes in between wearing, and pouring a bit of baking soda inside, will help neutralize odors.

Woman is pre-treating her clothing stains. Photography by Rodnae Productions @Pexels.

Stains

Perspiration

Prevention is better than curative. Let antiperspirant or deodorant dry completely before putting on your garment. Pre-treat the underarm area of the garment with liquid laundry detergent, so the buildup can be washed away. If the stain is old, treat the area with white or apple cider vinegar to help dissolve the perspiration. Wash in hot water at least every third or fourth time to get rid of the buildup.

Lipstick

Generally, lipstick can be removed from washable clothing with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Use two hand towels; put one down and place the lipstick stain face down on it. Dab the back of the stain with the other towel, which has been dipped into the alcohol. Repeat until the stain is gone. If there’s any residue, use a pre-spotter or stain remover before laundering and let air dry to be sure the stain is gone. Lipsticks today have newer formulas, such as long-lasting or those with a lot of gloss. Several treatments may be needed to remove these stains.

Blood

For clothes that you launder, soaking the bloodstained garment in cold water for about 30 minutes will usually remove it. However, if stains are visible, mix a bit of water with an unseasoned meat tenderizer (which breaks down the protein in the blood) and apply to the area. If the garment can’t be laundered at home, take it to the dry cleaner right away and identify the stain. Let the professionals save the clothing.

Crayon on Walls

If your artistic child has shown his talent on painted walls or wallpaper, here’s how to get it off: Dry cleaning solvent, available at drug or shoe stores. Pour a bit on a terry cloth towel to safely remove crayon from almost any (except antique wallpaper) surface.

Mystery

Suddenly you notice a stain, but it really isn’t a mystery because it probably was there when the garment was put away or actually laundered but did not come out totally. These stains frequently are from a light-colored liquid, such as a clear soft drink or white wine that contains sugar. If you’ve tried all of the normal spot-and-stain removers without success, give this a try: If the garment is white or light-colored, use three-percent hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab to dab at the stain. Allow it to sit for several hours because it acts as a milder, slower bleaching agent.

Scrubbing bathroom with cleaning gloves. Photography by Karolina Grabowska @Pexels.

Cleaning

Tubs

Use cheap hair shampoo and a scrub brush. (If you don’t like bending over, use a long-handled brush.) Commercial cleaners do an excellent job and so will vinegar, but do not use it on marble.

Toilets

Newer-model toilets with a shiny finish are easy to maintain by scrubbing with the toilet brush several times a week (for a minute) rather than only once a week. This will prevent a hard-water buildup. For regular cleaning, use a disinfecting cleaner, and don’t forget to clean under the seat, the lid, and around the base.

Shower Curtains

Put plastic shower curtains and liners into the washing machine to eliminate grime. Toss in a bath towel or two for scrubbing action, along with the usual amount of detergent. Then place in the dryer for a couple of minutes or hang to dry. Here’s a hint from my mother: To stop mildew buildup, use pinking shears to cut off the bottom seam of a liner or a non-decorative plastic curtain, so the water drips off.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver and stainless steel can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher. If you put them in the dishwasher, don’t place the utensils in the same basket with stainless steel because this could damage the sterling. If you put sterling or silver-plate (no hollow-handled knives) in the dishwasher, stop the machine before the drying cycle and take them out to hand dry. For regular care, a good quality silver cream or polish will have excellent results.