Hardwood Floor Unfinished

Here is a recently submited question:

How do I clean and make a hardwood floor glossy without refinishing?


You can use a few different off the shelf products which both clean and add polish to the floor. You should be sure that you have really swept or vacuumed the floor well before using these products. Since they have solids in them (wax) and dust will affect the apperance.

You could also use a wood soap such as a Murphy’s Oil soap which will leave a bit of a sheen after cleaning. However the shine will not last with the above methods and you will have to constantly reapply them.

If you have hardwood that is very worn you may have to apply the cleaner/polish product a few times to get the shine up as the wood absorbs the wax.

Tools & Techniques:

Use a hardwood floor mop and a spray bottle to apply the cleaner/polish.
Spray only an area that you can effectively clean.
A hardwood floor mop looks like a dust mop only the fibers are shorter with a large surface area for polishing and cleaning.
If you don’t have a mop use something like a beach towel which will do an effective job of polishing, but is hard on the knees.

Antique Baby Gown

Here is a question submitted by Eva:
How do I clean a 100 year antique baby gown?

Cleaning and preserving a 100 year old gown is not something that should be attempted by the consumer due to the risk of destroying the gown. However, there are several options available to the consumer.

If the gown is to be worn again, it can be restored to its original condition by a professional, but this will negate the antique value of the gown. You will have an antique gown that now looks new.

The gown can be cleaned and preserved in its current antique state by a professional. The gown will be clean, but any yellowing and other characteristics of an antique will be preserved. The gown will be packaged in a viewing chest designed for that purpose.

The final option, and the only one open to the do-it-yourself consumer, is to purchase a Christening Gown Preservation box. The gown can be placed in the box in its current condition. The box has a clear window for display. This will greatly retard any further deterioration of the gown, but will not entirely prevent it. Take a look at examples of Gown preservation kits at The Gown Medic.

Answered by Forum Expert Ed from Suncoast Preservtion Labs. For more info check out Ed Bio on the Ask A Pro page.

Yellowing Clothes

I noticed that someone was asking about yellowing here is how I answered a similar question on yahoo answers recently…

Here are some ideas for you:

Yellowing – Always read and follow the care instructins and any warnings on the garment label. And, follow the General Rules for stain removal.

Some fabrics which are white or pastel colored contain optical brighteners or fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) which were applied during manufacturing. These agents can decompose when exposed to light and atmospheric conditions, or prolonged storage conditions. In some cases the entire fabric becomes dingy or develops a yellow cast. In other cases the yellowing develops only where exposed to light. The FWAs can also be damaged by the use of chlorine bleach.
Unfortunately, once the FWAs are damaged, the whitening agents can’t be reapplied to the fabric.

All fabric bleach or the use of speciality products available in grocery or drug stores, such as Rit’s “Whitener and Brightener” may help. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the product label, and check for colorfastness first.

another tip to look at :
Dinginess, Yellowing, Graying – Always read anbd foolow the care instruction and any warnings on the garment label. And, follow the General Rules for stain removal.
There are several reasons why fabrics gray, yellow, and become dingy, including not using the right amount of detergent (i.e., using too much or too little detergent), insufficient rinsing, and/or the wash water temperature is too low. To reburbish clothing from these discolorations:

Wash with a permanent press cycle in hot water, use a cool-down rinse on permanent press and use one cup of water conditioner instead of detergent.

If the discoloration remains, either repeat this procedure or wash with the correct amount of detergent and either all-fabric bleach or chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric. (always check for colorfastness first.)

If the fabric is white, consider speciality products available in grocery or drug stores, such as Rit’s “Whitener and Brightener” to whiten the fabric.Always separate and wash your whites separate from colors. And, don’t put heavily soil garments with lightly soiled items.

Christmas Tree Sap

At Christmas time invariably someone gets sap on his or her hands and or clothes.

Some say that you can use milk to remove sap from your hands.

Or you can remove the sap with mineral spirits or denatured alcohol.  Mineral spirits and denatured alcohol acts as a solvent to break up and dissolve the sap. Wash hands thoroughly after using the solvent on skin.

Here are some tips for removal from clothes:

Saturate the area with a pretreatment stain remover.  Wait several minutes for the product to penetrate.  Rub the stain with a heavy-duty liquid detergent.  Launder immediately.

Rub with detergent paste and launder as usual.

For extra heavy stains lay the stain face down on folded absorbent paper towels and apply dry cleaning fluid to the back of the stain. Let dry, rinse, and proceed as above.

Dirty Walls

Cleaning Walls

The most important thing to remember when cleaning walls is to start at the bottom and work your way up. If you start at the top, dirt water runs down the wall leaving very dirty streaks, however if you start at the bottom, any runs are much easier to wipe off a freshly cleaned wall. Semi gloss and gloss paints can easily be cleaned (this is what most kitchens and bathrooms have on the walls) a flat finish can only be cleaned if it is a light color. Dark colors tend to show marks very badly, and will usually look much worse than before being “cleaned”.

  • Before washing, dust or vacuum walls to remove loose soil.
  • Most painted surfaces can be cleaned with a mild solution of warm water and liquid dishwashing detergent and then rinsed with clear water. You’ll need two buckets – one for the cleaning solution and one for the rinse water and two big sponges.
  • Working in overlapping sections, apply the cleaning solution to the walls by rubbing gently in a circular motion.
  • Rinse with a separate sponge reserved specifically for the rinse water.
  • After you’re done with one section, proceed to the next area, making sure that the cleaning edges overlap.
  • When you’ve done several areas, dry off the excess moisture with an old terry towel.
  • If the walls are very dirty, you can use a stronger solution to dissolve the dirt. Use a TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate) solution, especially before painting. Use caution as TSP will dull all surfaces, and may remove paint, particularly flat finishes.
  • Test your chemical in an inconspicuous corner first to make sure that the paint colour and finish are not damaged by cleaning. When using TSP, wear protective eyewear, rubber gloves, and a long-sleeve shirt. Always read the label for proper usage and safety precautions.
  • Use a drop cloth when washing walls to avoid soiling your floors.

Beds, Mattresses, Box Springs, Futons

Would you crawl into bed with a bunch of bugs? No? Well you do. Every single night. They are called dust mites, and they are everywhere. They thrive on dead skin, your dead skin. Yum. Yum. If you aren’t completely disgusted by now, check out our article on Dust Mites, to find out why they contribute to allergy problems.

In addition to these dust mites, their feces, and all that dead skin they are waiting to munch on, your bed also collects dust, lint, hairs, and other assorted debris that is floating around our homes.

Regular cleaning of your mattress, and the bed linen keeps these potential allergens in check. It also will increase the life span of your sleeping habitat.

The mattress should be flipped over a couple times per year. It is a great idea to co-ordinate it with changing your clocks to and from day light savings time, or on Independence Day and New Years Eve, if you don’t have much of a life outside your home.

The first time flip it over side for side, and the next time flip it over end for end (A note left between the mattress can remind you which way it is suppose to be flipped). This equalizes the wear of the mattress, and minimizes peaks and valleys. It is also a good plan on “flipping day” to vacuum the entire mattress and box spring. If you use a plastic mattress cover, wipe it down after vacuuming with a disinfectant.

Plastic covers are a must for young children who might have a periodic bed wetting accident. If you don’t have a cover when one of these accidents happens, check out the tip in our data base on cleaning urine from a mattress.


Although thought to be owned only by starving college students, there are those of us who have grown to love our futons. Like mattresses there are dozens of different firmness levels, and methods of construction depending on the manufacturer.

Typically there is a foam core, wrapped with cotton, in a heavy cotton fabric envelope. When cleaning, you should avoid getting a futon too wet, as it takes forever, or possibly longer, to dry completely. A moist futon is a bad thing, as warm, moist, dark areas tend to grown things (like fungus and mildew) that we don’t normally want to sleep with. Stains should be removed with as little water as possible, and usually blotting with a damp rag will remove most surface stains.

Futons should be rolled up every couple of months, and allowed to stay rolled up tight for an entire day, if possible. Turning them frequently will also lengthen their useful life significantly.

Sweet dreams

Keeping Dirt Out

Stop Dirt In Its Tracks

Did you know that over 95% of all dirt found in your house comes from outside?  Soil, dust, pollen, air pollution and many other sources get into your house and causes an endless cycle of cleaning, dusting and vacuuming. If it seems that you’re continually losing this battle to the elements why not do something proactive?  We suggest you enlist the following three lines of defense!


Keep the outside of your house as clean as possible. Does it not make sense to keep as much dirt as you can in the great outdoors before it enters your house?  We can achieve this quite easily by keeping the areas near any entrances free of sand, dirt, small rocks and debris which is easily tracked into your house.  By sweeping and cleaning your sidewalks, driveway, patio, porch, etc., on a regular basis, you will prevent a lot of indoor ‘after the fact’ cleaning.


Use entrance mats.  Did you know that a good quality entrance mat can capture as much as a pound of dirt per square foot?  This is much easier to remove from a mat than when it is spread through out your house.  Use as many large, good quality, mats as possible, both indoors and outside. Also, clean them often and thoroughly.


Capture the dirt completely on the first effort. What this means is to use tools and procedures that collect and don’t just scatter dust and dirt. High filtration vacuum bags, treated dusters and dust mops, clean rags, clean wash water, clean wet mops:  all these will make your cleaning more effective and longer lasting. Stopping dirt in its tracks is easier if you use the three lines of defense!

Hiking Boots-Leather & Suede

General Info. :
Without proper care, leather (and suede) hiking boots will rot or else turn brittle and crack. Even newer waterproof boots need attention to keep the leather supple, conditioned and functionable.

Technique :
Some models are pre-treated at the factory and can be worn several times before waterproofing. Others , especially lighter boots, should be treated as soon as they are purchased.
After use, clean boots with clean, cool water and a medium stiff brush. If mud is allowed to dry on boots for any length of time natural oils can start to wick out of the leather.
Dry wet boots as soon as possible-take out footbeds and laces.
Re-apply the appropriate waterproofing often, especially after the boots have been soaked during use. Consult with the boot vendor for the best treatment for your particular pair.

Precaution :
Never dry wet boots with a direct intense heat source such as a campfire or blow-dryer. These will dry out the leather and weaken the glue.

Fish Tank Filters

General Info:

  • Aquarium filters are marvelous devices, saving aquarists a lot of work as they collect waste products for easier removal. But that “removal” remains the hobbyist’s job, and one that should not be taken lightly.
  • Nearly all filters, even so-called “biological” filters like undergravels and certain slow-flow canisters, perform “mechanical” filtration; that is, they collect a certain amount of solid waste. Some, like most power filters and fast-flow canisters, are specifically designed to collect such waste efficiently, rather than allow it to accumulate in the aquarium.
  • But collecting waste is only the beginning, with removal and disposal completing the picture. Is it good enough to just collect garbage in the kitchen wastebasket indefinitely, without ever taking it out to the garbage truck? (Men and teenagers: ask your wives or mothers if not sure about this.) Well, it’s not good enough to simply put a filter on an aquarium, and consider the job done.
  • For one thing, aquarium filters often double as circulation/aeration devices. As they become clogged with waste products, their flow rates drop or even cease altogether, drastically reducing the amount of dissolved oxygen available for the livestock. In extreme cases, whole tanks full of fish can be lost in a few hours. Under less drastic circumstances, fish can become more prone to disease and overall health and growth can be diminished.
  • But even if there is adequate circulation from other sources, there’s no good reason to allow filters to become overloaded with waste. Rotting waste in a filtration device fouls the water every bit as much as rotting waste in the aquarium itself. In fact, it can be said that a filter isn’t a filter unless it’s cleaned.

    By Jim Kostich

Hamster’s Cage


Animal safe cleaner


cleaning rags

General Info: A dirty cage brings more potential for infection and sickness for your hamster as bacteria grows freely in a dirty wet environment.  Clean the cage floor twice a week by removing the litter and cleaning the inside of the cage completely.


1. Place newspaper all around and under the cage. Remove toys, wheels, food trays, etc.

2. Remove all the bedding and clean the bottom using the animal safe cleaner and rinse with water. Roll up the newpaper with all the bedding and throw in garbage.

3. Clean all the toys,  food trays an wheels. Do not use soap on food trays just warm or hot water and a rag or sponge.

4. Never use phenols or carbolic acid type cleaning chemicals like the kind you might find in the grocery store. They contain chemicals that are harmful to your pet.

5. Always follow the instructions on any chemical you may buy for you pet. If you clean on a regular basis it will reduce the need for alot of chemicals keeping your pet safer.