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Soap attracts dirt

October 7, 2010

cleaning

Do you wonder why that spot on the carpet that you cleaned just a few weeks ago now looks dirtier than ever? 

You are not imagining things. Soap residue can be a magnet for dirt. Washing often with soap can actually make things dirtier, not cleaner!

Prevent carpet and upholstery damage

  • Traffic patterns wear down carpet fibers in high traffic areas, tracking dirt and sand into the house. These dirty particles are ground into the carpet and eventually wear down the tiny carpet fibers.  Vacuum often to keep the carpet’s traffic pattern clean.  It is a good idea to keep a rug at each entry to reduce the amount of dirt buildup.
  • Drape upholstery and carpets with beach towels or sheets when a young (a.k.a. potentially messy) crowd is coming over. Tell the kids you are having an indoor picnic. They will think it’s fun!  What a relief to pull up the soiled towels and find the room as pristine as ever.
  • If wine is on the menu, consider serving white wine or champagne. If you do serve red wine, keep a large container of salt on hand.  Pouring salt on a red wine stain right away will soak up most of the stain and may have to sit on the stain overnight.  Vacuum up the salt, quickly pre-treat the stain with “Shout,” and then wash the area with cold water.
  • Keep club soda and a washcloth handy for random spots. Soak the spot, wait a minute for the club soda to begin its work, and then dab gently with a dry terrycloth. For carpets, you may stand on the cloth to maximize blotting power.  Repeat until the stain is gone.  Club soda is also an excellent spot remover for spills on clothing. Test upholstery fabrics in an inconspicuous area.

Keep your linens looking like new

  • Washing terry is a guaranteed way to wear it out, and it isn’t necessary (or eco-friendly) to wash towels after every use.   For visitors or a large family, write each person’s name on a wooden clothespin and place it on their bath towel.  Mix-ups averted and no one needs to grab a clean towel to be guaranteed a custom towel.
  • Remove mascara and make-up with a tissue and olive oil, almond, jojoba, or grapeseed oil.  Place a small squirt bottle the bathroom and say good-bye to menacing makeup stains on towels and washcloths.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a great way to lift blood stains. Pour enough to soak the stain, and watch the foaming bubbles devour the protein in the stain.  Once the foaming stops, rinse out the peroxide with cold water, and if any stain remains, gently scrub with a small brush dipped in soap under cold running water.

When you do clean your carpets

  • Seek out an eco-friendly carpet cleaning professional. Commercial carpet-cleaning solutions contain a cocktail of noxious chemicals. The Centers for Disease Control has linked certain dry cleaning additives to liver and kidney damage. In addition to the potential health hazards, if disposed of improperly carpet-cleaning chemicals can pollute groundwater.
  • When having your car detailed, ask for minimal soap when cleaning the carpet floor mats.  This reduces the amount of dirt clinging to the mats.

Hardwood floors

  • Like the carpet damage, dirt and sand can “cut” into hardwood, wearing it out sooner. All you need is a damp mop dipped in water with just the slightest bit of white vinegar mixed in.

Sherry Brooks is a healthy, happy, and trim “Frugalista” living the lean and green life near Malibu in sunny southern California. Follow Sherry on Twitter, http://twitter.com/LeanGreenLiving

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