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How to Deep Clean a Garbage Disposal and Why You Need To

Germs—bacteria and viruses—are pretty much everywhere. Most of them are harmless, but one percent of all those germs can actually cause anything from a runny nose to a life-threatening infection.

Common sense dictates that when we clean our homes, we target places such as the toilet and counters to eliminate these germs—but we haven’t even scratched the surface of where germs lurk.

Photo credit: Wikimedia.org

According to Prevention magazine, there are more than half a million bacteria in the kitchen sink, about 1,000 times more than the average toilet.

The garbage disposal collects germs from raw food, like chicken, eggs, and spinach, and that food can be filled with harmful bacteria, like salmonella. It can make anyone, especially children, the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system, very sick.

The metal part of the garbage disposal in a kitchen sink produces ions that can help kill germs, but they love to grow on the crevices in and around the slimy rubber splash guard. Your disposal can become a real breeding ground for bacteria, contaminating your hands, and everything you touch, like your dishes and utensils. All that rotting gunk and grime can cause quite a stink, too!

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11 More Ways You Can Use This for That

I was halfway out the door, car keys in hand and on the way to the home improvement center when I remembered that I might already have what I needed. Cooking spray! That’s it. I’d heard that it just might work. It did, and quite perfectly, too. No more squeaks and I saved a needless trip and a needless purchase, too.

Squeaky door

Got a squeaky door or sticky drawer? Spritz a little cooking spray on the hinges or drawer slides then work it back and forth to distribute the “lubricant.” Wipe away any drips with a dry cloth or paper towel.

White water rings

Use mayonnaise to get rid of white water rings on wood furniture. Make sure the area is completely dry then spread enough full-fat mayonnaise on the spot. Let it sit for several hours, even overnight. Now wipe it clean, and buff with a soft clean cloth. Magical, right? Read more

Ask Me Anything: Bed Sheets, Vanilla Extract, Washing Soda, Lestoil, and More!

I just pulled a load of questions from my mailbag, which is really my email inbox, and while I don’t always know the answers right off the top of my head, today was my lucky day! And hopefully yours, too. So let’s get right to them.

 

group of hands holding speech bubbles

Contents

1. Throw rug break-down

2. Washing soda?

3. Gross, grimy kitchen cabinets

4. Sheets with Deep Pockets

5. Where can I get Lestoil? 

6. Re-Use vanilla beans

 

Q1: I wish you’d address throw rugs. I bought some with a rubber backing that are now casting debris in the dryer. I want to be safe but also want to cover my beautiful wood floors in the kitchen.  Is there any way to rescue throw rugs that have lost their rubber backing? I would hate to throw them out.

I’ve got good news for you. You may be able to rescue these rugs using something you may have already that’s sitting on a shelf in the garage.

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Yes! You Can Wash Silver in the Dishwasher

Contrary to popular belief, you can wash silver and silverplate flatware in the dishwasher without causing harm, provided you are careful to follow the rules.

I grew up being fearful of the oddest things. I wasn’t bold enough to question why, so I just did as I was told. Here’s one: Never, ever put good dishes or silver flatware in the dishwasher. Ever!

I didn’t know what would happen if I did, but you can be sure that my fear of the unknown made certain I didn’t come close to finding out. Until my rebellious years.

Silver pie server on black counter

Once I had my own china and my own silver, I was reckless enough to believe I wouldn’t go to jail if I violated this particular “Thou shalt not!” I was reminded of what I’ve learned about putting silver in the dishwasher when the following question showed up in my inbox:

I have a set of silver flatware that I use daily and wash in the dishwasher. I notice that after a few times through a normal cycle, the pieces become very tarnished. It is not a particularly good set, just a nice set of flatware for daily use. Do you think that the dishwashing detergent is tarnishing the silver? Anne

No, I believe the problem is the way you’re loading the machine and your choice of dishwasher detergent.

Case in point: The small pie server in the photo above is one of my favorite things. I love it for its size and just the way it feels in my hand. I use it daily and it goes in the dishwasher every evening—by itself in its own little compartment so that it is not touching any other type of metal. Since I inherited it many years ago I have done nothing to it but use it, clean it and enjoy it. Read more

11 Ways to Use Windex That Will Make You So Happy

The guys who installed our new shower doors warned us not to use Windex to clean them as it will damage the hydrophobic sealant. Huh? A few minutes of research explained the warning, but also taught me a lot more. I had no idea that the power of Windex could be harmful* on one hand, but so beneficial on the other. There are lots of good ways to use Windex around the house.

Pretty smiling housewife doing general cleaning in kitchen

Bug spray

Hit those ants and other creepy crawlies with a mist of Windex and watch them curl up and die. Many readers have reported this works really well but once cleaned up, it will not prevent the bugs from coming back. To do that, spray the cleaned up area with a light mist of white vinegar to create a more lasting barrier.

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This Homemade Silver Cleaner Removes Tarnish Like Magic

There’s no shortage of commercial silver cleaning products on the market these days. Those that I’ve tested generally do the job, but they’re messy, contain harsh chemicals and if that’s not bad enough—they’re expensive! Good news. I have a simple homemade silver cleaner recipe for your lovely silver pieces—chains, earrings, bracelets, flatware and heirlooms that’s cheaper, better and definitely faster.

Sterling Silver Scrap

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22 Weird but Wonderful Ways to Use Coffee Filters

It was a dumb mistake. I grabbed the biggest package of coffee filters—a pack of 1,000—only to discover much later that I’d picked up the wrong size for my coffeemaker.

stack-of-basket-style-coffee filters

Coffee filters are not expensive, which is probably the reason I didn’t bother returning them to the store. I suppose I should have tried, but I’m glad didn’t. I began finding all kinds of ways to use those filters for other things than making coffee.

What I discovered is that the basket-style filters are super useful around the house and the garage, too for so many things that have absolutely nothing to do with coffee!

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How to Clean a Jetted Bathtub

There are few things as luxurious as taking a bath in a jetted tub. The warm water and body massage make for one amazing way to relax.

But the last thing you want to see are chunks of mystery debris swirling about—all the gunk and grime that’s built-up inside the jets and connecting hoses since the last time you cleaned it, which would be uh, when?

Follow these steps to get both the tub and the air jets plus all of the interior plumbing system squeaky clean and sanitized so you can relax in crystal-clear water without fear of filth.

 

Beautiful corner jetted bathtub with shiny chrome fixtures

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