How to tackle your home's stubborn stains and odors
From wall stains to washing machines, indoor stains and smells can be a challenge to tackle. Luckily, there are surprisingly simple methods to erase them for good. Here are a few tips to freshen up the most stubborn spots in your home.
Conceal wall stains with primer
Have your kids made artwork of your walls, or has your leaky roof caused a water-damaged mess? Tough wall stains like these can be hard to get rid of, but are easily sealed by applying a high-quality, stain-blocking primer. For example, KILZ Hide-All Primer Sealer covers problem areas on surfaces from drywall and woodwork to concrete and brick. It even masks over dark stains without allowing color to bleed through. With only a one-hour drying time before applying a topcoat, this is the perfect one-weekend project to cross off your list. KILZ primer can also seal off odors caused by pets or smoke.
Eliminate refrigerator odors
Refrigerators are subject to a variety of spills and odors. Making time for fridge maintenance can help prevent unusual odors and keep your food fresh longer. To cleanse and polish your fridge, begin by emptying the contents of your fridge and throwing out, recycling or composting any food that is expired or beginning to smell.
Next, pull out any removable drawers or shelving and place them in the sink. Using a damp, soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge, wipe down these pieces, the interior of your fridge and the door with a multi-purpose cleaner. Or, mix two tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of hot water for a natural soap alternative. Don’t forget the seams of the shelves and rubber door seal.
If your fridge requires an extra-deep cleaning, unplug it while you work to avoid wasting energy. Before putting all of your food back into the fridge, wipe down the exterior of each jar or container with a damp cloth. Repeat this process every two or three months for the best results.
Make grout lines shine
Tile surfaces are prone to dirt and debris, especially in bathrooms or high-traffic areas. To keep tile looking fresh and new, grab an old toothbrush or electric toothbrush for a deeper scrub. Before you start, wash the surface with water then mix two parts baking soda with one part water. Scrub the resulting paste into the cracks and crevices, then douse with water again. If the grout lines are stained, spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water onto the area and brush. After a final rinse, the grime will be gone.
Prevent a moldy washing machine
If you own a front-loading washing machine, you’ve probably noticed the unpleasant smell that can linger after completing a load of laundry. Despite being more energy-efficient, these machines have a tendency to hold odors and harbor mold. To clean and prevent grimy buildup, try this: instead of detergent, cycle two cups of vinegar and a quarter-cup of baking soda on a hot setting. When it’s done, use a clean sponge to scrub down the inside. Finally, rinse with a plain-water cycle, and you’ll see (and smell) the results.
Whether in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, tricky stains and odors in your home can be a tough job, but with these four tips you’ll be able to eliminate a few messy tasks in no time.