Household Hints by Myra L. Fitch

Household hints on * *
Getting Whites White * * Garlic on Hands * * Ring Around the Collar * * Blood Stains on Clothing * * Scorch Marks from an Iron * * Wax on Fabric and Rugs * * Red Wine Spills * * Wax Crayon on Painted Walls * * Ink Stains * * Urine Odors * * Bicycle Grease * * Grease Stain on Nylon Fabric * * Grease Stain on Wool Fabric * * Stainless Steel Sinks and Bathroom Fixtures * * Rust on Enamel Finishes * * Removing Paint from a Brush * * Safe Rat Poison * * Cleaning Concrete * * Hard Water Marks on Polished Marble * *

Quick suggestions and cleaning tips! Keep an old tooth brush around to do little cleaning jobs. (Sanitize the brush by pouring rubbing alcohol on it before putting it into your bag of cleaning tools.) It makes a marvelous brush for those hard to reach places.

Crayon marks on vinyl can be removed with silver polish. On wallpaper, try rubbing very gently with baking soda sprinkled on a damp cloth. On hard surfaces try rubbing lightly with dry soap-filled steel wool pad. Do not wet.

The best thing for window cleaning is ammonia and water. Use 2 tablespoons ammonia to 1 pint of water. Use as you would commercial spray bottle.

In today's world, even household hints needs disclamiers. Therefore, it becomes necessary for me to say the following. There are hints only. You must be the one who decides that they are valid for use. They are my suggestions and only that. See Hard Water Marks on Polished Marble.

Getting Whites Clean and other uses for Cascade

For cotton and cotton blends only---1/4 cup cascade powder, 1 cup bleach, mix with one gallon very hot water and soak the cottons and blends---they will be snowy white and odor free. But wait, flush your commode and pour this used solution into it and let stand---stainfree and clean with no scrubbing! I also found that Cascade powder will remove those adhesive remains of the glue on things in bathtubs----wet your tub, cover thickly with Cascade, let set 30 minutes or so, then use a scrub brush and rinse. It may take more than one application, but they will disappear and the tub will be sparkling clean.

This neat hint is from Rosaelle. Thanks for this terrific hint, Rosaelle.

Garlic on Hands

Have you ever peeled garlic or handled it and your hands smell to high heaven? The next time that happens, take any stainless steel bowl, pan or other stainless steel kitchen gigit and rub your hands on it. It will take away the smell of garlic. I'm not sure what makes this happen, but it works.

And here's a tip from a reader concerning smelly hands. "I have found that washing your hands with tootpaste gets rid of the odor." Thanks for the hint!

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Ring Around the Collar

Dirty neck rings around shirt or blouse collars can be removed by putting shampoo on them. Rub the shampoo in like you were washing your hair. Shampoo is specifically made to remove body oils. A cheap bottle of shampoo kept by the washing machine is handy for all kinds of stains in clothing. Don't forget this trick when you are traveling.

Here is a suggestion for from a reader about cleaning collars.

"I had a couple of dress shirts that had ring around the collar pretty bad. I found your shampoo suggestion and it helped some, but the ring was still pretty pronounced. It occurred to me that I had some mechanics hand cleaner (Fast Orange with pumice, natural citrus formula with no petroleum solvents was the brand I had) that is designed to remove grease from your hands. Since I had nothing to lose on the shirts (ruined one way or the other), I tried the hand cleaner. I applied and used a small hand brush to work it in some. Washed the shirts and the ring around the collar is 95% gone. It also cleaned the dirty cuffs that I applied some cleaner to also."

Thanks for your addition to this site, Mark!

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Blood Stains in Clothing

Blood stains in clothing need to be removed as soon as possible. Use cold water and wash out the stain. Hot water will set the blood and it will be difficult or impossible to get out.

The following is a suggestion sent via e-mail from "R". Thank you for your addition to this page!
"Hydrogen peroxide is the absolute best for removing blood stains. The fresher the easier of course, but even dried blood comes out with a little effort. The hydrogen peroxide seems to do no damage to any fabric I've tried it on."

Another suggestion from Wanda is to use Adolph's unseasoned meat tenderizer. Rinse in cold water, then sprinkle on the tenderizer and let sit for awhile and rinse again. May have to be repeated. Thanks, Wanda.

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Scorch Marks from an Iron

Scorch marks occur when your iron is too hot for your fabric, or when you leave the iron in one place on the fabric too long. If the scorch is not too bad, there are a couple of things you can do to try to get it out. Light scorch marks can be treated with 1 part water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide dabbed gently on the mark. Also you can try a borax solution (1/4 cup borax to 1 quart of water) on the scorch. And if the fabric permits, it can be soaked in a bleach solution. Be sure to rinse throughly and wash as usual after treatments. On the down side, if the scorch is heave and dark, there may be nothing you can do to remove it. You may, however, be able to "decorate" over it, depending on where it is on the garment. You may be able to add a pocket or add an embroidery decoration over the scorch.

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Wax on Fabric

This is an e-mail question from Kay.

I'm trying to find out is how to get wax out of silk.

This answer should work on most fabrics.
Set your iron on the "warm" setting or the lowest setting. Let the iron get warm. Take a couple of sheets of paper towel and put them on the ironing board. Take the fabric with the wax stain, and place the stain over the paper towels. Place additional paper towels over the stain. Then press the iron on the spot. Do not move the iron back and forth, but just set it down, leave it for a moment, and lift it up. Check the paper towels to see if any wax has been absorbed. If some of the wax has been asborbed, move the paper towels to a clean spot and do the same thing again until the wax is removed. You are going to melt the wax and transfer it onto the paper towels. Be careful not to "iron the wax on the paper towels" back onto the fabric, if you have to repeat the wax transfer treatment.

Kay's answer. Your suggestion worked like a charm, thank you very much!!!

Wax on Oriental Rugs

Then here's one from the Internet as it appeared. "Hurray for our friend, the internet. When I spilled candlewax on an Oriental rug just now, did I panic? No. I googled for answers, and I got them at ... ...without pesky parental "and just what were you doing with candlewax near an Oriental rug, young lady?"

(In case you're wondering: place a blotter or brown paper bag over the spot. Put a hot iron on top. Move it around until the wax soaks into the paper. Repeat as needed)."

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Red Wine on Fabric

I have received several questions about removing red wine from fabrics. My suggestion for removing red wine is to put club soda on the stain as soon as possible after spilling the wine.

Here's an e-mail from Anne who has another solution.

"I didn't see this on your hints page, but it's very helpful by the way to remove red wine stains from fabric (table cloth, napkins, shirts, slacks, etc.) that are cotton or other natural fibers. I've never spilled on silk so I can't comment on that fabric.

Apply table salt to the wet stain immediately. Allow the salt to absorb the wine. The stain is then easily rinsed away with cool water. I have had to reapply the salt to the area for complete removal, but it generally works the first time. Salt also works on blood stains on cotton clothes.

Thank you, Anne.

Here's another hint.

Hi Myra! Love your hints,,,the page is added to my favorites! As a waitress, I've tried everything to get red wine stains out of clothing. Here's a new one that really does work.... Dab the red wine stain with white wine! Apparently, the respective enzymes cancel each other out! Only glitch is, it has to be done immediately after the wine is spilled/splashed on fabric!

Thanks Vivian

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Wax Crayon on Painted Walls

This is an e-mail from Cindy of Edmonton, Alberta in Canada.

"I hope you add this to your household hints page. With 2 children who love to color I've found this to be very useful. Use WD40(spray lubricant) to remove wax crayon from painted walls. Just spray it on and wipe it off. Dish soap easily removes all traces of the lubricant from the wall. Heavily colored areas should be done a few times or sprayed and left for a time."

Thanks much for this hint, Cindy

And Another e-mail on WD 40 and Crayons:

I just used "Ask Jeeves" to find out how to remove crayon from painted walls after a particularly artistic burst from my two year old son Michael. I have been living with crayon on walls since his two older sisters went through their "artistic" phases. When I looked at your site and read the hint from Cindy from Edmonton I ran out to the workshop to get my WD40 and give it a try. I am still so astounded that I want to run up on the roof and start cheering. I could not believe the results. I can't see any trace of the crayon. Thank you from a very relieved Homemaker.

Vancouver BC, Canada.

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Ink Stains

Here are a couple of suggestions for removing ink stains. Ball point pen stains can be removed by using hair spray. Let the hair spray dry and wash. Table salt will absorb ink when it is spilled. Pour salt on the wet ink and continue to add salt until there is no more "wet ink". Then vacuum or wash. Other types of ink can be removed using rubbing alcohol. Here's a response to rubbing alcohol used to remove ink marks on leather car seats. "Rubbing alcohol did well. It did not remove the ink completely, but it did fade them to the point that you would have to look very closely to see the the marks."

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Urine Odors

Urine odors on mattresses and mattres covers may be neutralized by dampening the spot and sprinkling borax over it. Rub the borax into the areas and let dry. Brush or vacuum to remove the dry borax. One brand of borax, 20 Mule Team Borax, is found in the laundry department of grocery stores. Pet urine and sour milk odors can be neutralized using the same process. There are also commercial products available at pet stores that do nicely on pet urine. The ones that I have used are "Nature's Miracle" and "Simple Solutions". Use as directed. The commercial products are more expensive than is borax.

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Bicycle Grease

Here's an e-mail I received from Cheryl

I did want to give you a tip for your page that I've discovered "the hard way". My husband is an avid bicyclist, and frequently gets black bicycle grease on his pants. I've discovered that regular dish soap, especially Dawn and Palmolive, take it out with very little "elbow grease". Using that discovery, I've used dish soap to take other oily/greasy stains out of other washables, including sun-tan oil, and chicken gravy. I hope this can save someone else's clothes, and their day!

Thanks for sharing your tips (and your recipes, yum!) on your page!

And here's an e-mail from Linda.

I really like your hint page. I thought I might add to your hint on removing bicycle grease. I have been successfully removing black grease from the car door or whatever by applying Pine Sol to the stain. This must be done before you get the garment wet or try to remove the grease. Just pour Pine Sol directly on the grease spot and rub. You can see the grease melt and dissolve. The Pine Sol will not damage your fabric in any way; it just completely dissolves all the grease. Then wash the garment as you usually would. Try it!

Thanks to both for their suggestions!

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Grease Stain on Nylon Fabric

Here's a question and answer on removing a greasy stain on a Nylon Jacket.


Hi There, I sure hope you can give me a solution. I have a nylon jacket that I got some Icy Hot on. (The stuff for sore muscles) It is my favorite jacket. I immediately put cold water and soap on it and scrubbed. I was at the ballpark at the time and upon returning home, I used Spray and Wash. Then I washed in cold water and hung it out to dry rather than putting it in the dryer. The stain is still there. I hope you have a solution for me.


The Icy Hot is similiar to a grease stain. It's quite greasy. Try treating the jacket in one of the following ways. First, hot water may take out the grease. If your bathtub hot water is "steamy", take the jacket with the spot held carefully as far under the faucet as possible (about 12 inches). Then run hot water on the spot. Be careful not to get the hot water on your skin. On fabrics other than nylon the suggestion for the hot water would be "boiling water", but I would not try that temperature on the nylon as it may harm the fabric. Another thing to try is to take undiluted detergent (either kitchen or laundry) and apply directly to the spot. Rub gently. Let set for 30 minutes or so. Rinse well. Another suggestion would be to use Goop, a hand cleaner for mechanics. Run into the stain, let set and then rinse. Goop is found in most hardware stores.


Thank you so much for the tip on getting the stain out of my nylon jacket. It worked!!!!!

Here's another e-mail response I received about "grease stains".

I really liked your page and I have a little tip for you on those grease stains. When the stain is fresh, first pour powder like talcum powder on the grease, and let this set to absorb as much of the stain as possible. You can apply more as the power becomes saturated. Then pretreat with Dawn (liquid detergent) before washing. Grease Relief works well, too. It's a washing powder which will absorb more of the grease and will not harm any fabrics. Then wash as usual
Thanks for a great page. Rachel

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Grease Stain on Wool Fabric

Here's what to do for grease spots on specificaly on wool fabric.

An e-mail came in with this question. "I am at work and I need to get a bacon grease stain out of my wool skirt. Signed - Heidi" Heidi e-mailed back saying that colleagues at work supplied her with this solution. "A friend at work gave me baby powder to put on the stain. The baby powder worked - I left it on the grease stains for over an hour and then brushed it off. I have heard the powder may leave a ring, but that was not the case for me."

Thanks Heidi for your problem and then the solution.

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Stainless Steel Sinks and Bathroom Fixtures

Here's a couple of ideas for your sink. Rub stainless steel sinks with lighter fluid if rust marks appear. After the rust disappears, wipe with your regular kitchen cleaner. Spots on stainless steel can be also removed with white vinegar. Use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to remove water spots from stainless steel. And club soda will shine up stainless steel.

Two excellent fixture cleaners are: To save time and money while providing the best shine possible to bathroom fixtures, use an old cloth which has been dunked in kerosene. Kerosene removes scum quickly and the odor will only remain for awhile. Spray the fixtures liberally with Spray and Wash laundry soil and stain remover. Rub with a cloth for an excellent shine.

And lastly, try crumpling up a piece of aluminum foil and scouring your stainless steel sinks and fauctes. (Note: this will act as an abrasive so do not do it too often as it rubs off part of the metal.) Also, you can try commercial cleaning pads such as SOS or use very fine steel wool (400 or 600 grit).

Some stainless steel sinks have a nickle plating on them which makes them very shiny. If this surface is worn off, you may not be able to get the sink shiny again.

A friend of mine takes auto polish and puts it on her sink and fixtures after they have been polished. This helps keep the water spots off.

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Rust Stains on Enamel Finishes

I use cast iron skillets for cooking and love them. However, if they are even the slightest bit damp after cleaning and are set on my white enamel finish kitchen range, a rust circle will appear. After one such incident I tried all the commercial cleaners I have from bleach to Comet to SOS Pads. Nothing worked. Then I tried the old standby, baking soda, and the rust disappeared. Here's what I did. I wet the surface, sprinkled on dry baking powder, took a wet cloth and scrubbed. That was all there was to rust removal. My husband even tried this on an old stove that had set outside for some period of time and had rust stains on it. It worked magic. It works well on all enamel finished from enamel pots and pans to bathtubs.

Here's an e-mail on "Rust stains on sinks, etc" from T.B.
"Use a cleanser that has Oxalic Acid as one of the ingredents -
BarKeepers' Friend and Zud are the two brands I'm familiar with and both give good results. Be aware that both contain abrasive materials and will scour a polished surface. My method for polished surfaces is to dampen and sprinkle the cleanser on and just let it soak a while, then rinse. Reapply if necessary. Hydrolfouric Acid, as contained in Wink, will also dissolve rust stains, but use extreme caution. DO NOT GET THIS STUFF ON YOUR SKIN."

Thanks. T.B.

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Removing Paintg from Brush

To remove paint from a paintbrush, immediately after use, put 1/2 cup of any liquid fabric softener per gallon of water in a 5 gallon bucket. Swish brush vigorously in the liquid while counting to ten. Remove the brush and there will be no paint on the brush in 10 seconds flat.

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Safe Rat Poison

A friend of mine gave me this tip on Safe Rat Poison. She said to set a bowl carbonated beverage out at night for rats. The rats will drink is and will not be able to expel gas from the beverage and would die. She set root beer but any kind of carbonated beverage that is sweetened with sugar will do. Her rat bit the dust over night. You might want to remove the bowl during the day so that other animals cannot get to them. I'm not sure what carbonated beverages does to other small animals. "Thanks for the suggestion, Linda."

Here's an e-mail response from Eva that adds a new dimension to this. * * * * "I know for sure that your root beer solution works like a charm...but you should warn users of this method that if the mouse or rat gets in the walls and will stink to high heaven!!! And believe me...nothing short of time will get rid of that smell!!!" * * * Thanks Eva.

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Cleaning Concrete

Concrete with grease or oil on it can be cleaned by putting kitty litter on the grease stain. Let set to soak up the grease. Then sweep up. You can also put dry laundry detergent on the grease, wet down and let set. Then wash away.

Concrete that has black coloration from weather is usually molded. Spray bleach water on the contrete. Use about 1 parts bleach to 3 parts water. Brush in and let set. Then wash off.

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Hard Water Marks on Marble

Advice is just that, advice, and should be taken with a grain of salt. Below are e-mail correspondences about Hard Water Marks on Marble. I missed the mark entirely. So If you have a solution to this one, e-mail it to me.

First E-mail

Subject: Re: water ring on polished marble

Dear Myra,

I recently noticed a water ring on the counter and before doing something that could impair the luster, I am turning to you for advice.(I don't know how long the ring has been there) Please help. Thanks, Alan

My First Reply

Hi Alan,

Water rings can generally be removed by using white vinegar and water. The following proportions should not hurt the marble.
1/2 cup white vinegar to 1 quart of water.
Wet a clean cotton cloth with this solution. Leave the cloth on the ring for an hour or two. Inspect to see if the ring has lessoned by rinsing and drying. Check to see that the luster on the marble counter top is not being harmed. Repeat as necessary, that is if the counter top is OK.

Additionally, the plastic scrubbers that are used in the kitchen can be used gently to remove the ring. Do not apply much pressure to protect the luster.

Good luck! Myra Fitch

Alan's response

Dear Myra,
This was terrible advice. We are now in contact with a marble expert who stated that it should never be in contact with any vinegar.

Another response to marble is from Megan

I don't know what Alan or his "marble expert were thinking. I had the exact problem, I followed the same advice you gave him and my ring came out in about two hours with no damage to the marble.

E-mail response from Patsy, a reader.

I have heard that toothpaste works well on marble. Good luck

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Comments - my e-mail address.

Myra L Fitch
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