Ah! There’s nothing like a breezy, warm day so you can throw open the windows and freshen your living space. But some hidden spots in your home are difficult to air out. Here’s some help…
Smelly clothes hampers: Collecting all your family’s clothes into one hamper makes laundry day a little easier…and a little odorous. To make your hamper less offensive, cut off the foot portion of one clean pantyhose leg and fill it three-quarters way with baking soda or scented kitty litter (the dust-free kind). Then tie the open end closed and put the baking soda- or litter-filled foot in your hamper. (Some baking soda dust might escape from the hose, but that’s good for your clothes.) It will absorb moisture and help prevent stinky mildew from building up. Refresh the baking soda or kitty litter every month.
Moldy basements: You’ve probably seen those ugly moldy spots in your basement or bathroom and put off doing anything about them—but don’t do that. If you’re exposed long enough to mold spores, you may become allergic, experiencing a chronic runny nose, rashes, sneezing, asthma—even pneumonia or arthritis. Yikes! To remove small patches of mold (it can be black, brown, green, yellow or white and may have an acrid smell): Scrub the infected area with a mixture of one-eighth cup of laundry detergent, one cup of bleach and one gallon of water. Be sure to dry the area completely after using this solvent. Note: Mold on a wall often is a sign that mold also is within the wall, so you’ll need to consult a professional about removal, especially if the area is larger than 10 square feet.
Musty closets: Use crumbled-up chalk…or charcoal briquettes…or cedar chips to freshen your musty closet. If there are no pets in the house, put these items in a pie tin on the closet floor. Or else hang them in an old pair of pantyhose (see above). Caution: Do not let cedar chips come into direct contact with your clothes. They can cause fabrics to yellow.
Smelly drains: Combine one-half cup of baking soda with one-quarter cup of table salt, then pour the mixture down the drain. Pour one to two cups of white vinegar in after it—the drain will foam and bubble. Wait 15 to 30 minutes, then put the stopper in the sink and fill it with hot water. As soon as the sink is full, pull out the stopper (use tongs so that you don’t burn your hand) and let water flush the drain clean. If odor persists, pour one-half cup of hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar in the drain, let sit for 20 to 30 minutes, then fill the sink with cold water and pull the stopper to flush clean.
Freshness test for baking soda: To test the powers of your baking soda, pour one-quarter cup of distilled white vinegar in a little bowl, then add one tablespoon of baking soda. If it fizzes, it’s fresh enough to use. If there is no reaction when the baking soda combines with the vinegar, forget it. Just pour the contents of the box down the drain. Stale or not, it’s always good for the drain.
Thanks to Heloise, author of the syndicated “Hints from Heloise” newspaper column and numerous books on household cleaning and organization, including All-New Hints from Heloise, for help with this tip.