Solutions to the 6 Most-Common Homekeeping Fails
FAIL: Using Chlorine Bleach to Remove Tough Bathtub Stains
Chlorine bleach may help lighten a stain, but it can also further full and discolor the surface, so test first in an inconspicuous spot, and use sparingly. Also, chlorine can oxidize the iron in porcelain and you run the risk of getting rusty red spots if your tub is porous.
SOLUTION: Be Gentler
Use a sponge or cloth and a mild abrasive, such as Bon Ami. (Never use a brush inside the tub; it can damage the surface.)
To combat soap scum, use an acidic cleaner –– like white vinegar or Lime-a-Way. Wear gloves when cleaning with acid, and be sure to rinse well, since the residue can etch surfaces if left on too long.
FAIL: Not Washing Dishes in Order
You wash them as you see them, don't you?
SOLUTION: Start with the Least-Soiled Dishes
Think about it: How gross is that sponge after you clean the bottom of a saucepan? Do you really want to use it to wash a barely-used glass?
Wash dishes in this order: crystal, glassware, clear glass plates, other plates, flatware, serving ware, then the greasiest serving dishes and finally pots and pans.
FAIL: Vacuuming Electronics
Just suck up all the dust, right? Wrong! A conventional vacuum can create more static, causing more harm than good.
FAIL: Over-washing Your Comforter
Keep in mind that repeatedly washing or dry-cleaning down can remove some of its natural oils and reduce loft.
SOLUTION: Wash the Cover Instead
You should not need to launder a comforter if you keep it covered, unless it has been saturated by a spill or an accident. The cover, however, should be washed once a week!
FAIL: Keeping Food in Store-Bought Packaging
Do you get home from the supermarket and just toss everything in the fridge?
SOLUTION: Put Everything in a Proper Container
Those grocery store trays sealed in plastic wrap might look secure, but that doesn't mean they are. Ditto for those plastic bags of salad greens. Vegetables should be washed and spun-dried, then wrapped in a paper towel and stored in an airtight container. Unwrap all meat and produce and store in resealable containers. Look for a strong set of containers with seal-tight lids that lock in freshness.