Monthly Archives: February 2014

Askmrsmom channels Hints from Heloise!

I had to laugh just writing that title.  I am a little ashamed and a lot relieved to say, I don’t clean my own house. Well sometimes, but I have help.  I am very fortunate. And appreciative I am able to have someone else do what I hate to do. I can be  a whiz in the kitchen, love sparkly countertops (Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner a favorite)  and rarely leave dishes in the sink unless it is a stubborn skillet that needs to soak and even then, never overnight.  Nothing worse than waking up to last night’s spaghetti noodles floating lazily in tomato-tinged soapy water.

So what got me on this subject this morning, it’s Wednesday and my “person who helps me” (I refuse to call her my cleaning lady) is here. I was walking into the living room to sit down and read the paper with a hot cup of tea and tripped over the vacuum cleaner that was lying across the entrance to the room.  I know, there is so much to needle me about here.  Yes, I was in my PJ’s.  Yes, I was going to repose with some tea and the morning news while someone else dusted and vacuumed around me and yes, I might have been looking at my cell phone when I fell instead of looking where I was going. Only checking weather and headlines, of course.

Anyway, I twisted my ankle on the bad foot I had surgery on two years ago and as I went down, the contents of my tea mug went flying across the room and splattered all over the taupe linen chair I was headed toward. In my scramble to right myself and get at the tea stains ASAP, I  set my warm mug on a lovely old–like in antique old–desk my husband’s father gave us.

First things first, I addressed the brown tea splats that were quickly soaking into my chair with a bottle of club soda that I sprinkled rather dumped all over the stained areas and began quickly dopping the extra up with a terry cloth rag I grabbed from “the person who helps me’s” supply caddy. Club soda is a known helpful hint for most any stain–anywhere–but the dopping motion (a term my mom taught me) is key.  Dopping is a quick patting, not rubbing,motion in a press/release sort of wrist action. It’s hard to explain in words, but you get the picture.  Don’t rub the soda and stain in, pat it out and up and away from the fabric in fluid quick motions.

If you can picture that, you should see my jump shot.

Anyway, as the wet spots on the chair were drying and hopefully disappearing, I turned in triumph to see a huge white circle growing on the desk top at the base of my mug.  I grabbed the cup and thought as my dad used to say, “You have really done it now, Nancy Noble.” Not to be deterred, I ran/limped to the computer and googled very articulately, “how to get white moisture rings out of varnished wooden furniture” and voila!  What to my wondering eyes did appear not one but several solutions, and I tried them all.  Here is what I found:

–First tip was cover the area with a thin cloth and iron, yes iron, the spot on low heat to hopefully remove the moisture.  Did that, worked sort of, but  pale white ring still remained. Was surprised though that one:  the heat didn’t hurt the not spotted surface and two:  I knew how to turn on the iron.

–Second plan of attack was mayonnaise.  I only use Hellman’s, even love it over Duke’s, but for furniture repair, I doubt it matters.  I was instructed to rub the mayo gently into the wood in a circular motion for five minutes. Being a bit ADD, I did  this for about three minutes and then wiped the surface clean. Gave the desk an awesome shine, but still had a pale white ring.

–Bachelor number three was the most aggressive and much to my amazement, did the trick!  I was told to mix white toothpaste (not gel and no whitening agents) with baking soda and water to make a thick paste.  I was lucky to have Tom’s natural toothpaste on hand so I mixed that with the soda I keep in my frig for odors, a helpful tip but everyone knows it, and rubbed away at the stain.  At first, I thought I had ruined the desk as the surface seemed sort of dull but after rubbing the paste off with the mayo cloth, it looked brand new!

Bingo, bango, bongo, as my husband likes to say, mission accomplished.

Maybe I will have a weekly helpful hint.  Or maybe that will go the way of my weekly recipes that show up more monthly or quarterly.  But I will sign off with a few of my favorite stain/spot averters, just as a teaser for future posts:

Cream of Tartar with water paste to clean small stainless steel appliances. Wipe in circular motion and buff dry with clean cloth.  Microfiber cloth and water is simplest and best to remove fingerprints from large stainless surfaces like frig, stove or dishwater. Damp cloth to clean and dry to buff.

Carbona Stain Devils are amazingly good for wine and tea stains on clothing. Even if the piece has been washed and dried.  Use as directed.  Shallow bowl of hot water and soak with Carbona granules.  Works like magic. In laundry section of most grocery stores or in bulk on Comes in many different stain solutions:  oil, crayon, ink, etc.

Wine B’ Gone for red wine stains on carpet or table cloths. What is a party without a spill? I purchased at a wine store and it is also magic. Spray and it goes away.

So until the Heloise part of my brain reappears, happy Wednesday, happy cleaning and happy hump day. Hopefully that Geico camel won’t lump through here and tip my replenished tea mug.

But if he does, I am now fully armed.