Plain white vinegar. I know it’s harder to find in places like the UK, but it’s the best for cleaning.
(I don’t usually buy the name brand, but this is just for an example.)
Run an empty load with hot water and use a cup of vinegar instead of detergent. Make sure you clean out the detergent cup and around any seals or gaskets. Once the cycle has run, wipe out the inside of the machine with a water/vinegar mix, and let it air dry with the door/lid open. Vinegar’s safe for clothes, so you don’t need to worry about rinsing or re-cleaning it before your next load of laundry.
If you try all that and it doesn’t work, repeat using half a cup of bleach instead. As always, I think bleach is generally overused and underdiluted, so save this only for if the vinegar doesn’t work. As bleach will discolor your clothes, either run another empty load or one with whites when you’re done.
Run your tap water as hot as you can get it, or heat some water up, but not to the point of boiling. Fill a decent-sized bowl. Wear some gloves. Using a rag or sponge, and repeatedly dipping it into the bowl of hot water, wipe up the residue. If needed, let the rag or sponge sit on part of the stain until it cools (which doesn’t take very long, hence the repeated dipping), which should loosen it up a bit. Once you’ve loosened and wiped up the bulk of the mess, wipe it down with some diluted vinegar (food-safe!) to de-stickify it, then give one more wipe with a clean sponge or cloth.
Wisdom from my septic guy: the toilet is not a trash can. Nothing but biological matter and toilet paper should get flushed. Ever.
That said, I don’t really know how this would work. Magic Erasers are melamine foam, which act, essentially, as micro-grit sandpaper to buff away stains. I would think you’d need actual physical contact between the Magic Eraser and the ring for anything to happen. Melamine foam, while it does disintegrate, doesn’t dissolve into anything that would clean a toilet ring.
My septic guy (no, seriously, it’s a thing) is totally OK with white vinegar going into the septic system, so that’s usually what I use to clean my toilet bowl.
Vinegar spray! Just spray the surface and let it sit as long as you can, then rinse. For stubborn areas, try a paste of Comet or Barkeepers Friend, let it sit, and then rinse. Repeating the vinegar spray frequently should let you avoid scrubbing.
I cleaned my electric kettle with a white vinegar/water solution, following a tip I got from Unfuck Your Habitat. The coils had been disgustingly crusted with minerals and… well I don’t know what all else, but since I’m still recovering from a nasty H Pylori infection, I don’t want any of it in my tea.
It worked like a charm. The coils are de-crusted, and now it smells really delicious. Running it with just water now to remove anymore traces of vinegar (cause I like vinegar, but not in my tea), and after dumping that I think I’ll make myself a nice cuppa.
Kettles and coffeepots!
Backstory… I currently don’t have a laundry machine in my apartment (yet). About once a week, I take my laundry to my grandparents’ place and bring the wet laundry back to my place so I can hang it to dry (Finnish people usually don’t have dryers). This Wednesday I kindasorta forgot to hang the laundry to dry… So the wet laundry sat in a basket.
For three days.
Because I kind of abandoned them as a lost cause after I had forgotten them for a day. I figured they’d need to be washed again anyway because of that musty smell clothes acquire if you leave them sitting around when they’re wet.
Solution… which unfortunately is unlikely to be possible for most people aside from Finns, but anyway.
Today, on Saturday, I decided I’m going to have to either take them to my grandparents’ or try to get rid of the musty smell, but I can’t let them sit in the basket any longer or I’ll soon have mouldy clothes, not just musty smelling clothes.
I had read a lot about vinegar and how it works so well to remove bad smells from things, so I wanted to try it.
I have a sauna (like most Finns do, even the relatively poor ones like myself). I spread all the clothes around the sauna, making sure they’re not too close to the sauna stove so I will continue having a sauna instead of a burned down sauna-like room.
Then I grabbed a small bowl, filled it with vinegar, and turned the sauna on for some 2 hours and let everything sit there for about 4-5 hours total.
And… Tah-da! I almost couldn’t believe it, but three days’ worth of musty smell was GONE. My clothes smell clean and fresh now.
Clearly I have underestimated the power of the Vinegar, because I didn’t REALLY think it would work. That musty smell is so hard to get rid of without washing the clothes all over again.
I’m afraid I don’t really have any ideas on how to make it work without a sauna though… I’m assuming the heat of the sauna made some of the vinegar evaporate in the air or something like that. Drying musty smelling clothes in the sauna doesn’t rid the clothes of the smell without the vinegar, and I assume that vinegar in a bowl in a normal temperature room isn’t quite enough to get the musty smell out of clothes.
I read a tip on Pinterest which claimed that you could clean window screens with Magic Erasers without removing them…so I tried it 15 minutes before my sister-in-law and her boyfriend came over to play Catan, because even though I’d cleaned the screen earlier that year, it was coated in dust and grime. Well, if by “worked” you mean “got little bits of black crud everywhere”, you’d be right. So in a panic I took it out and washed it in the shower. However, this gave me an opportunity to tackle the black crud around the window with vinegar, a toothbrush, and paper towel. It worked quite well, so two days ago I tackled the bedroom window, and the spare room which I’m not sure has ever been properly cleaned. Here’s the window before:
Success! Although I would point out that cleaning things with straight vinegar and no rubber gloves will damage your finger nails…just sayin’.
I cleaned the toolshed!
That, my friends, is the work of a spray-bottle of vinegar, two rags, and an oft-replenished bucket of water.
I didn’t check in with the landlady about it, because she was on a week-long vacation, but it turned out not to matter. Yay, worries that turn out unimportant!
1. Dilute it. For most cleaning, you don’t need full-strength vinegar.
2. Essential oils. They’re stronger than citrus peels, but take care, because some can stain.
3. Ventilation! Fans, open windows, air.
4. If you infuse your vinegar, let it sit with the peels or herbs or whatever so they can get up to full strength.
5. Use it when Mr. Nose is out of the house.
6. Tell him if he doesn’t like it, he’s welcome to come up with a non-toxic cleaning product that he won’t complain about.
I dilute vinegar in a spray bottle with water and chuck a bunch of lemon peels in it. The effect is pretty immediate but gets stronger over time until the lemon overpowers the vinegar. Either way, it fades pretty quickly once it’s sprayed.
I apologize in advance for how long this is. Holy crap. I’m sooooooooooo sorry!!!
I grew up in a very weird environment.
When I was very little, my grandmother on Dad’s side would come over and clean because my biomom just didn’t do it. I was never taught to clean till I was a teenager and my older sister taught me what our Grandmother had taught her. At around age 8 I was told to clean my room with no prior knowledge of how and was expected to do it and do it well within a certain time frame. If I didn’t get it done before biomom’s timer went off, I was punished. Usually by shaming in the form of insults being shouted at me, “spankings” that were really beatings and my things being taken away in garbage bags. And having to help marathon clean the whole house.
As a teen, cleaning the house fell to me because biomom still wouldn’t do it, only now she used working 40 hours a week as her excuse. And my older sister had moved out to preserve her own mental health since biomom is, to put it mildly, really fucked in the head - as if you hadn’t already guessed this. As a teen (or at any age, really!), it was impossible to clean to biomom’s “standards”. She wanted a sparkling clean house with none of the effort. So she would leave me notes every morning of what she wanted done before she got home from work. And there is NO WAY POSSIBLE to get 3 loads of laundry, 2 loads of dishes, vacuuming and dusting the whole house, cleaning off two tables stacked and pile to the gills, get all my homework done AND clean the whole bathroom in 2 hours! Yet it was expected and I was punished if it wasn’t done - with dinner cooked and on the table for her. Punishment was a combination of childhood punishments, not being allowed to do normal teen things and more marathon cleaning. Summers were even worse because the lists were even longer. They included cleaning HER room for her, for crying out loud!
As I got older and had my own child, it was agreed I’d continue living there rent free in return for “a little help”. I naively believed that meant we’d finally SPLIT the cleaning and I’d be able to save up for a place of my own. Instead it turned into being forced to keep my space and my daughter’s as clean as possible because since biomom retired it became really obvious she’s a hoarder to a terrible degree. I tried to clean. Truly. But one can only marathon clean daily for so long. And when I couldn’t do it anymore - and refused to in order to spend time with my child - I was now told I was a terrible mother for making my daughter live in filth. I shut down then and just did what I could in my child’s room and my room and did as best I could in the bathroom and kitchen - which wasn’t a hell of a lot since I wasn’t allowed to throw out hardly anything. (Biomom was always in the process of “fixing” the broken things or wanted to keep old things for the “memories” attached to them.)
Eventually it got to the point where my sister and I tried to get help for biomom via her doctor but instead we were told that if the house did not get totally cleaned for biomom by us, Adult Protective Services would be called in. I freaked because I knew if APS got called in, they’d call in Child Protective Services and I was truly terrified I’d lose my child thanks to my mentally ill biomom’s hoarding and non-cleaning if CPS got called in.
So I called my best friend in hysterics and she and I spent 2 months shoveling out that hell house with Daily Super Marathon Cleaning. Because she was not going to see her “niece” put into the system because my biomom is nucking futs. We not only had to clean, but go through nearly everything in the whole house to see what could be saved and try to save my family’s history (pictures, handmade things, antiques, etc). I would’ve lost my mind if not for my best friend (and my Super Awesome Understanding Boyfriend who let me cry on him as needed and spend one night and day a week as his place so I has a ‘safe space’. I love that man dearly.) It was intense. It was terrible. I had anxiety attacks and nervous breakdowns near daily over a variety of things. Throw in biomom constantly berating us for throwing out things that were moldy, broken, useless, covered in dog shit, having to sneak out 3/4 of what we didn’t toss so it could be preserved and biomom eventually threatening to shoot us for cleaning the house out and it was beyond hellish. The trash man hated picking up trash from there because we had weekly piles that were at least 6 feet high, 5 feet tall and 4 feet deep in addition to the regular trash. (There was still a 12 foot long wall of trash at the bottom of the driveway when I moved. It was 6 feet high and a good 6 feet deep as well.) Also, I got sciatica from hauling so much out of that hell house.
At the end of that 2 months, I moved myself and my child out, again with the help of my best friend and another friend. Also, some emergency help from my sister and emergency help and funds from my dad and stepmommy. After 6 weeks of living with my sister, my daughter and I moved to the apartment we’re in now. I managed to get it pretty clean and set up after a HUGE weekend of marathon cleaning. I had to, because my dad and stepmommy wanted to see the apartment they helped me get with the emergency funds they sent! It looked pretty darn good, but was still very crowded and cluttery and I had a lot of bags hidden in the bedroom closet and a lot of boxes hidden in the living room closet. I dealt with all that, finally, at the beginning of this summer and into the summer. (We won’t even discuss how much junk got tossed or how much more than that got donated to Goodwill. I think I single handedly stocked an entire Goodwill for at least a year.) But even after that, I’ve had depression issues that have kept it from being truly clean - unless company was coming and I forced myself to do the dreaded marathon cleaning. And, of course, it would backslide and get bad again.
Why am I telling you all this? (And believe me, this is the short version.) So you understand how completely terrified I am of using timers to clean, why cleaning sends me into massive anxiety attacks and why UFYH has, quite literally, saved me and my daughter from myself. And my daughter from the issues biomom tried to give my daughter.
I’m not crying. There’s just some localized rain on my face.