Monday, November 2, 2009

Cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar

Home made Counter and Floor Cleaner

I recently read an article about someone who recommended using hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to clean counter tops. They had discovered that a researcher, named Susan Sumner, from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University State in Blackwell had done a study on it and written an abstract about it. I tried to find the link to include in this article, but found a link dated 1996 – so it probably is no longer available online. I will list some links below this article for more information. Susan Sumner discovered that by spraying a surface with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and then spraying over that same wet surface with distilled white vinegar created an acidic reaction that cleaned and killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, and E Coli organisms. Her method cleaned 10 times better than using either solution alone, or by using chlorine bleach. It doesn’t matter which gets sprayed first. You can make your own home cleaner and disinfectant by purchasing two spray bottles at your local Walmart and by filling one bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide (found near the pharmacy section) and fill the other bottle with distilled white vinegar (found near the salad dressing and pickles). You don’t dilute either of them.

I decided to give it a try, but I used it on my tile floor. I was astonished that after letting it set aproximately 2 minutes, I took a Scotch scrubber pad and just wiped up the dirt and grime. I mean “wiped”. There was no scrubbing involved. There was something very sticky and hard that came up very easily, too. I mopped my floors with regular mop water which consisted of ½ cup white distilled vinegar to about 1-1/2 gallons of warm water. Normally when I clean my floors, I have to get on my hands and knees and scrub, and I am sore all over. This took about 15 minutes to do. I highly recommend this method. Not only am I saving money, but I’m saving myself a lot of pain and discomfort.

I know there are a lot of people that have granite counter tops. I don’t recommend using it on them, however, I do know that ceramic tile and laminate counters are safe to use it on. If you use it on granite you may not notice damage immediately but since it builds up an acidic reaction, it might get damaged over time. Also, I don’t know if you can use this on wood floors, but it is safe for ceramic tile floors.

Although I didn’t find the abstract that Susan wrote, I found an article about it written by Janet Raloff, Senior Editor for Science News during Sept. 28, 1996. Apparently she used this method to clean vegetables, too. It didn’t appear to alter the flavor except for lettuce in which it left a slight vinegar taste. But if you dress your salad with vinaigrette, it would hardly be noticeable is what she said.

Susan’s disinfecting method will kill almost all Salmonella, Shigella, or E. Coli bacteria on surfaces as well as vegetables, meats, and it disinfects carcasses. (Her experiment was trying to find a disinfectant for meat which harbors E coli, and as a result she not only found a way to disinfect the meat, but a method that disinfected carcasses, too. I hope that isn’t too much information, but if you are like me, you want to know more about it before you try it.


Janet Raloff, Senior Editor, Science News

Janet Raloff, Senior Editor, Science News


Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Clean Silk Flowers and Silk Plants

I love artificial silk flowers and have many in my home, but it took a while before I realized the correct way to clean them that would keep the dust off the longest. The best method for cleaning small to medium silk plants is to give them a bath in regular dish washing liquid and warm water. I use my kitchen sink, just prepare some water as if you are going to wash the dishes: just a tiny bit of dish detergent to a sinkful of warm water, and then insert your silk flowers or plants, swish them around in the sudsy water. Take them and rinse them with warm water and shake the excess water off. If the petals or leaves come off, they are usually easy to put back on, just find the little stub where they came off and push them back on. If you are gentle with them they will most likely not lose very many leaves or flowers. Lay them on a towel to dry. They will look brand new. Cleaning them like this will also keep the dust off for a longer period of time. Do this every time you need to clean them. What surprised me the most about this method is how versatile it can be. I like to make floral arrangements and I had made a floral topiary that was covered in dust. The topiary consisted of a Styrofoam ball that had flowers hot glued all around it and the stems were made from cinnamon sticks. So I took the topiary out of it’s pot and cleaned it just like the other flowers and plants. It came out fine. I was afraid it would get water all over the place but it didn’t. I hope this tip was helpful to you, let me know if you have any other suggestions about cleaning silk flowers and plants.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Decluttering your Home with Style

Spring is here and yes, we all do it at some time or another. What, you ask? Spring cleaning., that’s what! Do they have jobs as mystery TV show viewers? If so, I need to get a job as one, because I’m always finding shows to comment about. I find myself watching Style networks “Clean House” more often than I’d like. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what to think of it at first, but I was so impressed with the results. I, myself, have never experienced as much clutter and mess as shown on this program, but there are things about the show and the characters that make it worth watching. The only negative thing I have to say is that this show only assists people in the Los Angeles area. I wish they would come to my home, because they would not only clean up the house and remove the clutter, they would redecorate the house, too. What TV show can you watch today where they do everything? I’ve seen programs where they help people sell their home because the home hasn’t sold for several months. I have seen shows where they have maids to come in and clean; I’ve also seen extreme makeover shows about how they build a brand new home in 7 days, but I’ve never seen a show where they accomplish so much and actually teach the family things so that it never gets that bad again all while being so entertaining (sometimes I have trouble keeping myself from laughing so hard).

This is how it works:

  • The cast meets the family and takes a look at their mess.
  • A discussion with the family how it got that way and what they can do to change their ways
  • The cast will look throughout their house for large ticket items to sell at a yard sale.
  • They have a yard sale. Whatever is left, is donated to local charity.
  • The family is sent off to a hotel for a vacation while the cast works on fixing up the house
  • The house is not only cleaned, but painted if needed, redecorated, and sometimes new furnishings replace old items.

The way the yard sale works is whatever money they make, “Clean House” will match it up to $1,000. So if they need 2,800 for the cost of fixing it up, and they only made $1,800 from the yard sale – then that’s OK, because the show contributes up to $1,000 allowing them to have the $2,800 that is needed. But, sometimes it is interesting because some families don’t have enough large ticket items at the yard sale and a lot of the time, the families will fall below budget. It is really interesting what the cast does to remedy this situation. I remember seeing one show where this happened, so they had to call their family and friends and ask them to donate items that they could sell and use to fix their house up with. I have seen the cast "gift" them things, too. This is when the show provides a gift of new furniture, new washer, etc. whatever is needed. The gifts are sometimes used to convince the owners to let go of unneeded items so that they can be sold, too.

Although at first appearance the show’s cast may seem loud and obnoxious, the show is full of humor and self-improvement. Take Niecy Nash, the host (hostess) of “Clean House”, she has a very loud voice and is not afraid to say what she wants, this may have something to do with her past appearances on the comedy show “Reno 911” as one of the officers. So far, everyone is usually attached to some item to an extreme, and Niecy has a way with people and she can normally convince them to let go of these items. However, sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way, and people can be really stubborn and want to hold onto their item even if it conflicts with the designer’s new plans for their space. Like one episode, they needed the father to give up his punching bag which was stored in the new babies bedroom. But he refused. So they let him keep it, but told him that the designer would re-purpose it in whatever way he needed to, to make it work in the room. So what does the designer do? The designer, Mark Brunetz, empties the bag, dyes it, and refills it making into a bean bag chair so that the father can sit on it while he watches his baby play in her new room. I thought it was hilarious.

Another character who adds a lot to the show is Trish Suhr. She has a definite southern accent. Trish appears to be an expert at finding high dollar items that would sell at the yard sale. She works closely with the others to let them know if they can even meet the budget with what they have to sell. Then we have Matt Iserman, who like Trish has a history as a stand-up comic. Matt helps with the cleaning, carpentry, and manly things that need to get done around there. It is hilarious to watch Matt when they have a yard sale, some of his costumes, are quite funny. I like to watch him put on wigs and things when he tried to sell a used car for one family - and he left his fly undone. Not to mention that his suit was a bold red color. You had to see this, I couldn't stop laughing.

Don't forget to tune your TV to Style network, "Clean House" airs on Wednesdays 10 pm Eastern, 9 pm central. You'll probably either love it, or hate it. I doubt if there is any in between for this show! Happy cleaning!