Saturday, May 12, 2012

Out Damned Spot! Out I Say! Cleaning your not so stainless stainless steel sink

Do you agree that the term stainless steel is an oxymoron when it comes to your kitchen sink? My stainless steel kitchen sink is always stained so lets be honest, it is really just a steel sink. In fact, I find sometime my stainless steel cutlery stain from tea and coffee. Do you find this too?

So, I set out to find the best method to clean the stain out of our stainless steel sinks. I have my favorite method, but I thought I would test out a few others and see how they hold up vs mine.

I tested the following 6 methods to clean a stainless steel sink:
  • Fantastic cleaner (This did nothing to remove the stains so I won't share photos)
  • Magic Eraser
  • Baking soda paste
  • Stainless steel cleaner
  • Dawn dish soap and peroxide
  • Vinegar and dish soap
I personally hate bleach and try to avoid it as much as possible. So you will very rarely see me use it in any of my cleaning. So if bleach is your trick and gives you great results...let me know.

Magic Eraser

This is a staple in my cleaning bucket and under my kitchen sink. It is actually how I have always cleaned my kitchen sink prior to this test. Please note I have never had a new sink so mine are always I cannot guarantee it won't scratch a brand spankin new sink. Mine are so sctrached up I didn't see a difference.

I dampened my magic eraser with water and lightly scrubbed the bottom of the sink. The magic eraser pulls the stain off immediately with very little scrubbing. You can see a clear line where I stopped and you can see the dirt on the eraser.
I highly recommend this method because you can get the eraser into the cracks and even all over the drain plug.

Baking Soda

I sprinkled baking soda on the sink and added a little water to make a paste. I then scrubbed the paste over the sink using a kitchen sponge.

To be honest with you, this method did very little to remove the stains. I was a little disappointed with the results because I find baking soda usually does a good job on kitchen projects. But I have to say next to the magic eraser, this was a fail.

Dawn Dish Soap and Peroxide

Using the same recipe I used to remove dirt from my grout here (mix 1 part Dawn with 2 parts peroxide) and scrubbed the sink. This recipe did well with the grout so I had high hopes, but it didn't do anything for the staining in the sink.
 So Dawn dish soap and peroxide is not fix to a stained sink problem.

Stainless steel powder cleaner
I have this powder cleaner for my Logastina pots and pans. It works great on them to remove staining and discoloration so I thought I would try it on my sink.
It worked amazing but scratched my sink. As mentioned, my sink was already really scratched but this created little fine scratches so you could see where I scrubbed. Don't recommend this one at all if you worry about your sink being scratched.

Here is a photo comparing the first four methods.
I then thought I would try one more since the Dawn dish soap spot was still really stained (I could have done it on the other sink but you wouldn't be able to see them all together then).

Vinegar and Dish soap

 I poured white vinegar onto a kitchen sponge and added a drop of dish soap. Scrubbed away and found it worked surprisingly well. Is it as good as the magic But it did a fairly good job.
Ranking of the methods to remove stains from your stainless steel sink (after I disqualified the pot cleaner for scratching too much and Fantastic for doing absolutely nothing):
  1. Magic Eraser - Clear winner
  2. Vinegar and Dish soap -Did an Ok job
  3. Baking soda
Here are the before and afters again:
 Here is the sink after it was entirely cleaned with the magic eraser. So my personal favorite won hands down!
Do you have any tricks you use to keep your sink from being stained?

Up next in Out Damned Spot! Out I say- Cleaning windows. You know spring is here so we can go outside to clean the outer windows.
Have a great Mother's Day weekend everyone!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Out Damned Spot! Out I Say! Removing Candle Wax from Carpet

For my birthday last year, my sister gave me a Scentsy type of wickless candle. I absolutely love the look of the container and the amazing scent it puts off.
Well, for my daughter's first communion, I moved it to my formal living room (off the hardwood and onto a carpeted spot) because I thought it looked nicer. Little did I think about what would happen if it spilled. This is what have beautiful green melted wax all over cream colored carpet.
Initially, the first reaction is to wipe it up. NO! Believe me, leave it alone and let it dry. I know it is hard to stand back and stare at dark colored wax on your carpet, but believe me, do it.

Once it sat for a day, I tried to tackle it with a butter knife. I thought "how hard could it be to scrape off the wax?" Very hard. In fact it doesn't work.
Then I thought a hot steam clean might do the trick...nope that didn't do a thing but leave my carpet damp.

I had heard about using your iron to remove wax, but I honestly thought it would set the stain into the carpet. You know what you were taught about stains on clothes...never use heat or it won't come out. That is what I worried about with this. If I put heat on it, then my carpet would be stained green.

But after exhausting my limited options and watching a few YouTube videos, I pulled out my iron. I started by setting the iron on low (again hoping to avoid staining). I placed paper towel over the wax and then put the iron on the paper towel. This did not work!
So, I held my breath, turned the heat on my iron up to the medium-high cotton setting (with no steam) and ironed away on top of the paper towel.
I made sure to do two things frequently: I changed the paper towel (so that the wax wasn't put back into the carpet) and I wiped the bottom of the iron with an old dishtowel (so I wouldn't ruin my iron).
In the areas where the wax had gone down into the carpet, I used the tip of the iron to get between the carpet fibers.
I was and still am shocked at how well this worked. It did take some time (about an hour), so you will need to be patient, but there is absolutely no stain left on the carpet. This method was a great way to get wax out of carpet.

Here is my before and after. (They were taken a few hours different lighting :))

Have any of you had this fun experience and found other techniques that work?

Note: I do recommend spot testing the iron on your carpet to make sure you don't melt or damage your carpet with the heat. Also, I cannot guarantee that other waxes will not stain. I am overjoyed mine didn't.

Up next in Out Damned Spot! Out I Say! - the best way to clean a stained stainless steel sink. If it is called stainless steel...why does it stain so easily?

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Out Damned Spot! Out I Say! Permant Marker + White Board= Seeing Red

Have you ever had one of those days you wish you stayed in bed? I had one a couple of weeks ago when I struggled (aka screamed, threw a fit or two and ran) to get to the train on time only to find out it was delayed (so the rush was pointless), then I got into work to see my coworker had used his recently purchased permanent markers to write on not one but two white boards. I literally said to him "my 6 year old even know the difference between a permanent marker and a whiteboard marker!" The funniest part was some of the details were his personal lists and not work related. Made me chuckle a little bit. But the deed was done, so I had to figure out how to get it off.
I received a great tip from Amy on a previous post (where I ripped up a white board because my kids drew on it when they were little) on how to take the permanent marker off with Murphy's Oil Soap.  So I thought I would test it out with a few other methods to see how they compare.

So this is what challenge I faced. Not only was it permanent marker, it was red permanent marker! I found this to be the hardest of any color to remove; but I did.

The methods to remove permanent marker from white board I tested:

  • Murphy's Oil Soap
  • Magic Eraser
  • White Board Marker (I will explain below)
  • Combination Murphy's oil soap and magic eraser

Murphy's Oil Soap (Undiluted)

I dampened a microfiber cloth with Murphy's Oil soap and scrubbed away. It worked really well and only took bit of scrubbing to get it all off. You will need lots of cloths because the permanent marker almost seems to be an oil that sits on the cloth. I did end up with bright red stained fingers from this method.

Magic Eraser

I dampened the Magic Eraser with water and scrubbed the permanent marker. It seems to smear the permanent marker across the white board; again it felt like the permanent marker had oil in it. Do you see the shading of the word below?
It eventually took everything off with more scrubbing, so it definitely is an option if you face this same problem.

White Board Marker

Monstermoma recommended scribbling over the entire area of permanent marker with white board marker! You read that right...cover the permanent with white board marker. Guess what, it works. It is not the best solution out of all of them, but it will work if you have no other choice.
So here is what it looked like. The permanent marker is the red and the green is the white board marker. I found the permanent marker almost transferred to the white board marker so be careful not to ruin your white board markers with this method.
Use the white board eraser brush to clean the area and here was what you have.
Not completely gone, but after a few more tries it was.
I did find it did not clean the board to it original state. It left little lines of permanent marker in grooves on the board. You can kind of see it in this photo at the bottom left.

Combination Method - Murphy's Oil Soap and Magic Eraser

I found this to be the best solution to remove the permanent marker. Dampen your magic eraser with Murphy's oil soap and scrub away. It easily removed the permanent marker and the oily film that I struggled with with both of the individual methods.

Ranking of methods to get permanent marker off a white board:
  1. Combination of Murphy's oil soap and magic eraser
  2. Murphy's oil soap
  3. Magic eraser
  4. White Board Marker technique

So here are some full after shots. I would show you the before images where these boards are completely covered with red permanent marker, but I don't think we need to know my coworkers to do list since we all have long ones ourselves.

Two sparkling clean white boards!
Not bad if I do say so myself.

I hope this helps some of you out there; I wish I knew about it when my two kids were really young.

Up next in "Out Damned Spot! Out I Say"....colored candle wax in cream carpet! 

Do you have any tips or tricks of your own?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Out Damned Spot! Out I Say! Best way to clean grout

If you are like me, you have Pinned a hundred different cleaning recipes and techniques, but never got around to trying them. So I will for you. I am going to do a series of posts comparing conventional cleaning methods with some of those I found on Pinterest and in the blogging world. If there is one you are curious about, send it to me and I will see if I can do it.  What do you think? Will any of you be interested in seeing if the frugal, DIY method actually works? I am curious.

I have to say at the beginning, I am truly embarrassed to show you some of the pictures that I have taken for this post. I would prefer to hide them in a folder on my computer and not share them, but I think each and every one of you out there who has tile and grout in their house will appreciate this. So I will share my dirty little kitchen tile grout.

I am by no means a clean-a-holic, but I do try to keep my home generally clean. Would I eat of my floors? Absolutely not. But I never thought they were as dirty as they were until I moved my island. We had a large family gathering (my daughter's first communion- I will share more on that after I do a few of these posts) so I thought I would turn our island sideways to use as a buffet in our kitchen. Well, when I did that I found out what color our grout was suppose to be.
Do you see the clear line where the island sat? How disgusting. I clean my floor often with one of those amazing Bissell steam mops (I do love it) and although I knew that it didn't clean my grout line well, I had no idea it was this bad!

So, off to the internet I went and found a four grout cleaning methods people raved about. Here are the four different techniques I tested:
  • Dawn dish soap and peroxide -recipe below ($1 for soap and $2 peroxide- but probably costs pennies for the amount you need)
  • Magic eraser ($1 per eraser)
  • Baking soda and water/lemon juice (Pennies if you have it on hand)
  • Zep grout cleaner (Home Depot $6)



Dawn Dish soap and Peroxide

Recipe and Method:
1 part Dawn dish soap (I used the pot scrub type)
2 parts peroxide

Mix the two ingredients in a container or spray bottle and apply directly to the grout. Leave for a few minutes and scrub with a brush.

I found the Dawn dish soap and peroxide combination, AKA miracle cleaning solution, did a very good job! It did not take much scrubbing or time to see the results, but I found the clean up after to be a little sudsy. I used a toothbrush to apply to the grout but I think a ketchup squeeze bottle might work a little better. For a general, every day cleaning of your grout, I highly recommend this method!

 Magic Eraser

Dampen your magic eraser and run along the grout line.
Although this method works well for a small spot, it chews through your magic eraser really quickly. I would not recommend this method for cleaning an entire room because you would need so many magic erasers. It does leave little particles of the magic eraser along the grout line that are annoying. I recommend this technique for spot cleaning.

Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

Dampen grout line with lemon juice and sprinkle baking soda. Leave until dry and scrub with damp brush.
To be honest with you, I do not recommend this method for two reasons: firstly, it did not work nearly as well as any of the other methods and secondly, it was a horrible mess to clean up. Granted I was a little heavy handed when I sprinkled the baking soda but I was only doing a small area and I was cursing trying to get the grit off the floor. So trust me, don't try this at home.

Zep grout cleaner and whitener

Apply solution to grout line (it has a little spout to help apply to the line). Leave for 3 minutes and gently brush grout line. Wipe clean. 
I loved this Home Depot product and the results it produced! I don't love that fact it is a chemical and you need to wear gloves when using it BUT if your grout is as bad as mine...this is the product for you!
The dirt literally just flakes off the grout with hardly any scrubbing. It is fast and has dramatic results.

Here is the order I recommend the four products:
  1. Zep cleaner (heavy duty clean needed)
  2. Dawn dish soap and peroxide (every day clean)
  3. Magic Eraser
  4. Baking Soda and lemon juice
Once I get all my grout cleaned with the Zep product, I will reseal it and then use the dish soap/peroxide method to clean in the future. I think the Zep is a little too harsh for every day cleaning but it is needed now to get my grout back to its original state.

Here are some before and after photos (as I hang my head in shame at the before photos):
 But look at this after! I have done this entire area with the Zep cleaner. AMAZING!!!!
I hated my kitchen tiles because they were a dirty white color (not white and not cream), but when I cleaned the grout and it was lightened, my tiles now look more of a creamy taupe. I am soooo happy with the results.

So what do you think? Have you had great results with a grout cleaner? Do you have any tricks to clean something in your house? Please share!

Up next in Out Damned Spot! Out I say- removing permanent marker from a white board. All of use with kids have experienced this problem at least once.

Have a great Sunday.


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