Admit it. There are places in your home that are in desperate need of cleaning and restoration, but they’re tough jobs that nobody wants to do. What are those chores in your household? Today, I’m going to impart my knowledge on how I keep my beige microfiber couch looking like new (even after 11 years and with three kids using it every day), as well as some other cleaning tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. And who knows, I may even give you my down and dirty list of cleaning hacks that don’t work (at least for me).
Cleaning a Microfiber Couch
Here it is. This is how I clean my microfiber couch. I throw it in the washing machine. Wait – what? Yup, you read that right. Right into the washing machine. Well, maybe not the whole thing. But all the cushion covers, anything that I can take off, goes right in.
Here’s how I do it:
- Strip all the covers from their cushions and re-zip up the zippers.
- Place the covers in the washer, making sure to keep the machine balanced. (I have only done this with my high efficiency washing machine. I’m sure the technique would work just fine with a regular washer, I just can’t tell you ahead of time what the results will be.)
- Add your favorite laundry detergent. I’ve done this with Tide Coldwater Liquid in the past, and just recently with the Norwex Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent. I love how clean the Norwex detergent got the covers! (I’m sure that most detergents would do the trick, just use the one that works best with your machine and make sure that it is color safe. If you’re nervous, as I was the first time I my couch, start with only one small cover, such as a square throw pillow that can be replaced if the results are not to your satisfaction.) I did NOT use fabric softener, and could not say what the results would be if it was used.
- Wash the cushions with cold or warm water on a delicate setting. (I’ve never done it with hot water, so not sure what it would do to the fabric.)
While you’re waiting for the covers to wash, it’s time to clean the parts that can’t be thrown into the machine. Start by vacuuming up any dust, dirt, and hair off the sofa. Next, it’s time to work on the set-in dirt, grime, and water spots. There are two different techniques that I would recommend. You can put some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, apply to the spots and rub the dirt out with a soft white cloth. (I would recommend testing it in an inconspicuous corner of the couch to check for color safety.) Another method that I recommend is using a wet Norwex EnviroCloth and rubbing all the stains out using only water. It took care of all the dirt and grime, and did it without leaving water spots.
- Once the covers are washed, place them in the dryer. Tumble dry on low to medium heat. (I started with 30 minutes, and checked them after each time cycle, removing them from the machine when they were mostly dry.)
- Put the covers back on all the cushions, smooth out the fabric, fluff, and place on the couch. You’re all done!
Removing Stains from a Mattress
I have three young kids, two of which are now potty trained. But accidents can still happen, and a mattress is definitely not something that you can just throw into the washing machine. I’ve tried a few different techniques, but this is the one that worked the best for me on old mattress stains.
- Pour a small amount of laundry detergent into a bucket of warm water. Using a clean cloth (I used a Norwex EnviroCloth), rub the soapy water into the stain. This method removed at least 50% of the visible blemish.
- To get the rest out, I first put some hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. I then sprinkled the area with baking soda and sprayed it with the peroxide. Then, I just let it sit. The rest of the stain disappeared right in front of my eyes!
- Using our ceiling fan with a little help from my blow dryer, I waited for the area to dry.
- Once dry, I used my vacuum to clean up any leftover baking soda residue.
- Ta-da! A beautiful, good as new, mattress.
Repairing Water and Heat Stains from a Wood Table
We have a gorgeous, all hardwood dining room table that has seen its share of wear and tear over the years. (Remember – three young kids!) There are scratches and chips because they decided to use kitchen utensils as drum sticks and what have you. We know that one day, we will need to strip the finish from the table, sand it down and refinish it, but until then, we are just loving the lived-in look.
Until August 20th, when we had just finished making our Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I needed some space the let the jars cool off, so I placed the glass containers on a couple of layers of towels on one end of the table. (I have done this in the past, but apparently, this time it didn’t work out so well.) A couple of hours later when I went to check to see if they had cooled, I noticed the ugly white stains on my once beautiful table. I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe this had happened! Immediately, I researched what I could do to fix my mistake. I tried a few techniques, but only one really worked.
- Get out your clothes iron. (Wait – what?! Don’t worry, just keep reading.)
- Put the iron on the highest heat WITH steam.
- Hover the iron a couple of inches above the stain and let the steam gently mist the blemished area.
- Watch the stain disappear. Don’t hover in one spot for too long. Once you’ve noticed the mark starting to disappear, remove the heat. Come back again to do a little more at a time until the desired amount of invisibility is achieved. (Note: I did notice that too much heat and steam will have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve. Be careful to do this slowly and only until the marks have just disappeared.)
- At this point you’ll notice that the stained area, while no longer white, now looks dull. Use your favorite furniture polish to shine up the table, and you’re done!
A Few More Tidbits
- We have a gorgeous ottoman that opens for storage, as well as has cushions that flip over to become trays. Because of these dual-purpose cushions, we find that the fabric inside the cubes can get really dirty from dust and food crumbs. I’ve tried vacuuming it out, but the felted material just traps those crumbs in there. I’ve found that the best way to get that ottoman looking like new is to bring it out to the garage and use the air compressor to blow all the particles out of the fabric.
- Who else hates the grease and grime that collects on top of kitchen cabinets? This is a tip that I got from my mother-in-law when we moved into our first condo. After cleaning the tops of the cabinets to remove all the grime (we used some pretty heavy-duty cleaners that contained orange oil to cut through the grease) and giving them a few minute to dry, lay down a layer of paper towel. Then, when spring cleaning time comes along, all you need to do is roll up the dirty and dusty towels, recycle or compost them (yes, paper towels are compostable!), and lay down a fresh layer. All done!
- To get grease stains out of any article of clothing, no matter how old or set in, use clear or clarifying shampoo (I’ve had the best results with the Shoppers Drug Mart generic brand clear shampoo). Put a blob on the stain, rub it in gently with your fingers, and throw it in with the rest of the load. The grease stains come out almost every single time. (It may take a couple of tries if the stain is really set in there.)
- My final tidbit will get a more in-depth look in the third part of this cleaning series, and that is using my Norwex products. Yes, I just became a consultant, but I have been using Norwex cloths for over 20 years. They make cleaning so much healthier and safer for my family and the environment, and save you so much money on having to buy cleaners and chemicals. Be sure to check out the third part of this series next week!
Tips that I’ve Tried that Haven’t Worked
We’ve all seen them. Pinterest fails. Well, these are just a few of the cleaning hacks that I’ve tried that have really disappointed.
- Wiping the baseboards with a dryer sheet – I appreciate how this technique could work in repelling dust from baseboards, but I just found that it was a waste of time. The quickest method I’ve discovered to keep my baseboards clean is to take my dusting wand and run it along them every time I’m dusting. It adds less than two minutes to my cleaning routine and they always look fresh and sparkly.
- Toothpaste, baking soda, or oil and vinegar to remove water stains from wood – Maybe I just didn’t give these cleaning hacks enough time to work, but I found that these techniques did nothing to the water stains on my table.
- Damp towel in the dryer to remove clothing wrinkles – Gaby has needed to use this trick on a few occasions, but I’ve found that the results are not satisfactory for this perfectionist. The best way to remove wrinkles from clothing is to a) buy dress shirts with a wrinkle resistant fabric and b) hang them to dry instead of leaving them in the dryer.
What are your favorite housework techniques? Have you tried some internet suggestions for cleaning that have led to disappointment?
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