Household hints

I may have already mentioned what follows in a prior blog or two. However, today is Monday — the day we suspend our regular work schedule in favor of a bit of rest and reflection. I always rest my brain on Mondays, so if I’m forgetting that I’ve already done this, just blame it on Monday.

Hey, it works for me.

Anyway, here are two of my all-time favorite helpful hints. One is vinegar. I just love vinegar and use it for everything from poison ivy relief to weed control.

Yep, weed control. We buy gallons of inexpensive white vinegar for cleaning and other non-food uses. Fill a spray bottle with straight vinegar and head on out to the sidewalk, brickwork, curb … wherever pesky little weedlings are pushing their way into the world at the expense of your lovely patio or street. Spray them with the vinegar (sometimes the spray setting is best, as in cleaning up the place where curb and street or driveway meet; the stream setting works better between bricks of a patio, for example).

Then just sit around and watch the vinegar do all the work. (You do want to be careful; I don’t suppose your prized rose would appreciate, or perhaps even survive, a vinegar bath.)

My next little household helper is hydrogen peroxide. Of course I grab it when anyone is cut; used with Betadine, it’s the best way to clean and sterilize a wound. But it really shines in the stain removal department. Ever discover a red wine stain on your favorite shirt or your best linen napkin? Mix about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of peroxide with a small squirt of dish-washing liquid (some folks say Dawn works best, but I use ECover liquid and it works just fine).

Mix it up a little bit to distribute the soap, then use it as a prewash treatment. Honestly, it’s just like magic. Even an old wine stain (if it hasn’t been set by a hot dryer and/or a firm ironing) will disappear. This morning I discovered a large spot on the back (now how did it get there?) of my good shirt. It looked sort of like a scorch spot, though I don’t iron this particular garment. Having no idea what caused it, I tried a bit of soap and lukewarm water.

Didn’t phase it. So I did the peroxide/soap thing, and voila, no more stain.

OK, that’s it for this Monday. Go get your vinegar and peroxide and have a weedless, spotless day.


4 thoughts on “Household hints

  1. Depends a lot on when you notice the grease and what kind of material it’s on. As far as I can tell, when a grease spot has been washed, ironed and/or dryer-dried, it’s pretty hopeless. If you catch it early, and if the fabric can take it, boiling water will often do the trick. This is true of “organic” (as in not chemical- or petro-, but plant-based) stains. Car grease and some greasy cleaning materials are pretty awful to contend with. The best fabric to work with where stains are concerned is 100% organic (in the New Story, farming sense) cotton, and next is 100% non-organic cotton. Polyester is a grease/oil nightmare.

    Have fun!!

  2. [Sr. CJ later wrote to tell me this was a gyro grease stain that landed on her habit scapular — that apron sort of thing we nuns wear. Here was my response for that problem. Our habits, by the way, have a high polyester content.]

    If you are talking about those summer blue scapulars, they are a grease nightmare for sure. Some of the sisters swear by Fels Naptha soap, though I’m afraid some of the more recent material used for habits might well fade with that treatment. Sr. Elise, however, suggested the following sure-fire temp fix.

    Take some powder with talcum in it (Shower-to-Shower, baby powder, whatever smells right to you!) and brush it into the stain on the scapular with a soft brush (I have a tiny little hair brush from my dad’s house that is perfect, but a soft fingernail brush would do the trick). Brush until you can’t see the powder, and the stain appears to go with it.

    This seems effective until the next washing, but for those nasty grease spots it may be worth the extra minute or two not to look like you can’t manage your food. (Does this identify us as the little old ladies, or what?? This is one reason I love the cotton “outfits” we wear from Deva Lifewear — so far I’ve been able to wash out all the stuff I continually drop on myself!)

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