Everyone has a “secret way” of removing the terrible smell of skunk. But most of those simple ideas really don’t work. Beer, tomato juice, even douches have all been proven not to be effective. But if we apply science to the problem we can come up with a simple recipe that really works.
Skunks spray an oily substance that contains thiols. Thiols are what give the skunk spray it’s terrible smell. They aren’t water-soluble, but if you mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda together it turns them into a water-soluble combo that will wash out of your dog’s fur.
Paul Krebaum published his solution in Chemical & Engineering News in 1993, and it was republished in Popular Science in 2007.* I’ve tweaked his recipe so that it works great on any kind of pet hair or fur.
Secret Skunk De-skunker
1 large bottle of hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon castile soap
1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol or vodka
1 tablespoon hair conditioner
Mix together and bathe Fluffy in the mixture. Rinse and repeat. If your pet still has a slight smell of skunk, just put a spray nozzle in a bottle of hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and spray him occasionally.
I’ve started a private Facebook group called The Green Crew. We have over 20 “green living” experts joining me in this private group and it’s amazing how much information we are sharing there. Every Friday I go on Facebook Live and talk about the questions and comments within the group during the week. This is where you can get your questions answered – LIVE.
Just for fun I thought I’d share today’s Coffee with the Crew. If you are interested in joining my crew, you can click this link and join for free for one month and then it’s just a small investment of $4.99 a month. I will be giving you exclusive information from myself and all the experts in my crew. For example you get a free digital copy of my book, The Joy of Green Cleaning, the latest issue of Clean Green Living Magazine, special offers for only MY crew and of course; Coffee with the Crew on Friday mornings where I answer YOUR questions- LIVE.
I get tons of questions from new and expecting moms asking me how to get their homes ready for a new baby. They know there are things in their homes that aren’t safe or healthy, but they don’t know how to go through their home to get it ready. Plus, they are spending so much time focusing on “nesting” that they really don’t want to think about “detoxing”. I’d love to know what you think. What are some things you wish you knew before bringing home your new baby. Or maybe you have questions too. I’m here to find out how I can help new and expecting moms get their homes cleaner and greener. Help me help them. Together we can change the world for a new baby! Can you fill out the form below for me?
Bucketless mopping is my way for you to clean your hard floors quickly and easily. I’m always trying to find ways to make cleaning faster and more economical. Time is money in the cleaning industry, so if there’s a faster way to do something, it’s worth its weight in dollars. If you want to learn more about my bucketless mopping technique, you can read my post over at Maid Brigade’s blog
If you are looking for the mop I used in this video, you can purchase it on Amazon here:
Whether you call it “the can” or “the commode,” a toilet by any name can stink.
Despite being the most popular seat in the house, the toilet rarely gets the cleaning it deserves. Who better to teach us the right way to clean it than Leslie Reichert? The Queen of the Throne specialized in bathrooms when she ran her cleaning business.
I’ve cleaned over 11,000 toilets in my life,” she admits, and now she’s teaching us her ways.
TODAY.comYou don’t to buy a fancy cleaning product to clean your toilet bowl. In fact, you can make your own DIY toilet bowl cleaner with these few ingredients that you probably already have at home.2975TODAY ShowCLEANING
Reichert’s basic toilet bowl cleaning powder: 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda or soda crystals, 1 cup salt, 6 drops tea tree oil for disinfecting. Mix dry ingredients with tea tree oil. (While Reichert recommends natural cleaning products, regular cleanser can be substituted.)
Toilet brush with an under-the-rim brush on the tip
Large microfiber cloth, folded into eighths
Cleaning inside the toilet bowl
Once a week: For a thorough weekly cleaning, turn off the water to the toilet and flush so all the water empties out of the bowl. Sprinkle the toilet cleaning powder into the toilet bowl and, wearing gloves, scrub the bowl and under the rim using a scrubby sponge. Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the toilet after scrubbing with the powder. Allow this to sit for an hour, if possible, before turning on the water and flushing. Now you have one clean toilet!
Daily: To extend the effects of the weekly cleaning, swish the toilet bowl every day using plain water and a toilet brush. This is a maintenance tip only. It doesn’t replace the weekly cleaning regimen.
Does your toilet have more rings than a punk rocker? Remove stains and rings using a pumice stone. (Nothing does it better once you get over being up close and personal with a toilet.) Do this chore during the once-a-week cleaning when the bowl is empty. Wearing your rubber gloves, sprinkle toilet cleaning powder on the stains/rings, then use the pumice stone and a little bit of elbow grease to scrub them away.
TODAY.comCleaning a toilet doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, it can be easy thanks to these step-by-step instructions and product suggestions. Get your toilet squeaky clean with these tips.51410TODAY ShowCLEANING
Cleaning the outside of the toilet
Every week, clean the entire outside of the toilet. Using a damp microfiber cloth that’s been folded into eighths, start wiping at the top of the tank and work down. You’ll be using only an eighth of the cloth at a time. Wipe in this order, folding to a fresh portion of the cloth after each step:
-flusher handle and the tops and sides of the tank -top and inside of the toilet lid -top of the toilet seat, then the underside-porcelain area between the tank and the toilet seat where the bolts are. Urine often collects there. Continue cleaning the top and inside of the porcelain rim-outside of the bowl and the base
Technically, the floor around the toilet is not the toilet, but we all know what lurks there. (If you have boys in the house, you know what I mean.) There are products on the market (enzyme-based Urine Off and probiotic-based Chrisal) that consume urine from surfaces and eradicate the odor. These work best on fresh urine spills as opposed to a year’s worth of urine build-up.
Toilet tank: When slime is obvious in the toilet tank, it’s time to clean it. According to Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, all you have to do is: drain the tank by turning off the water valve below the tank and flushing the toilet. Apply an all-purpose cleaner, like Reichert’s DIY version, to the inside of the tank. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush, old toothbrush or scrubby sponge. Turn water on and flush.
Cleaning the tools of the trade
Because of the bacteria involved, Reichert says bathroom cleaning cloths should go straight into the washer. Wash separately in hot water and detergent after each use. Do not add fabric softener, it ruins microfiber. Air dry.
Toilet brush and holder: Every two weeks, mix 2 ounces of distilled white vinegar, a few drops of tea tree oil and a few drops of essential oil, like lemongrass or lavender. Pour some on the toilet brush and add the rest to the brush holder to keep it smelling fresh. Replace this mixture every two weeks.
To clean the toilet plunger (as needed, of course), let it sit a few minutes in the toilet with the cleaning solution. Rinse. Dry it by lifting the plunger out of the water. Keep it suspended over the toilet but out of the water by closing the toilet seat on top of the plunger handle. When the plunger is dry, it’s ready to be stored.
After all, while you’re snoozing peacefully, your pillow’s collecting drool, sweat and all matter of other body fluids, not to mention dead skin cells, dust mites and their excrement. Yuck! That’s why cleaning coach Leslie Reichert recommends cleaning pillows every three months. Just follow these easy steps below and you’ll sleep cleaner tonight.
“Most solid/memory foam pillows are dense and cannot be machine washed,” cautions Reichert.
Freshen them by vacuuming (use a setting that has less suction) or place them in the dryer on an “air only” setting for 15-20 minutes.
To remove stains, spot clean using a cloth lightly moistened with mild soap and water. Rinse with a damp cloth. Blot with a towel and allow the pillow to air dry before covering it with a pillow case or protector.
If the pillow comes with a removable cover that is washable, clean it according to directions on the care label.
If your solid/memory foam pillow is hand washable, be careful. “Solid foam, when wet, is fragile and can tear easily,” says Reichert. “Proceed gently.”
Submerge the pillow in lukewarm water mixed with a small amount of mild detergent. Carefully squeeze water through the pillow to clean.
Using cool water, rinse until water runs clear.
Gently squeeze to remove excess water.
Place on a flat surface to air dry. If possible, dry outdoors on a sunny day.”
“Not all down/synthetic pillows are washable,” says Reichert. “First and foremost, follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the pillow and the cover, too.”
Repair torn or loose seams before laundering so you don’t end up with a machine full of feathers.
For down pillows, wash only in a front-loading washer. Top-loading washers with agitators in the center could damage the down.
Wash two pillows at one time to keep machine balanced during the spin cycle. If you don’t have two pillows, add extra towels to balance the load.
Set the washer for an extra-large load. Pre-fill with warm water, add a small amount of low suds detergent (enough for a small load), then allow the water to agitate for a couple minutes to make sure the detergent is dissolved and evenly dispersed in wash water.
Place pillows in the washer.
Wash on gentle cycle.
Rinse twice in cold water.
Fluff pillows then tumble dry on low heat. To help prevent the filling from clumping, toss in a few rubber or wool dryer balls.
Every 15-20 minutes, fluff and turn the pillows to insure even drying and maximum fluffiness.
Sometimes, pillows need more than cleaning; they need replacing. Use the “fold” test to see if you need a new pillow. Fold the pillow half, then let it go. If it unfolds and fluffs back up, it’s still got some dream miles left in it. If it stays folded, it’s time to recycle it to an animal shelter or send it to that great bed in the sky.
Cleaning product manufacturers take a real chance when they ask me to test their carpet shampoo. I have two golden retrievers that tend to make a real mess of my carpets. Plus, I have a white carpet in my living room. My home is a real challenge for any carpet shampoo. I received a bottle of the new Puracy Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo. It states that it is the only natural carpet and upholstery shampoo on the market. Puracy states that you will get professional results from the clinical grade ingredients which rapidly remove stains, soils and odors from carpets, rugs, upholstery and other washable fabrics. You can use this product in either a carpet cleaning machine or by hand.
I went onto the Environmental Working Group’s web site to look up their rating of the product. It’s not rated as of today on their site. The Puracy company has two products that were rated an “A” and two that were rated an “F” so that web site wasn’t much help. I then went over to the Good Guide web site and none of the Puracy products were reviewed there.
Puracy does list all the ingredients in their carpet shampoo on their website. Since the product was not reviewed on either EWG.org or GoodGuide.com, I looked up the ratings of the individual ingredients and have the grade after the item listed. Here is the list of items found in the product: Purified Water, Decyl Glucoside (Plant-Based Cleanser) B, Octyl Dimethyl Amine Oxide (Plant-Based Cleanser) B, Lauramine Oxide (Plant-Based Cleanser) F, Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate (Biodegradable Water Softener) C, Zinc Ricinoleate (Natural Mineral-Based Odor Removal Agent) F , Sodium Citrate (Plant-Based Softener) A, Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil, Benzisothiazolinone (Biodegradable Preservative)C Overall if EWG were to rate this product it would probably get a “C”.
One of my dogs decided to get sick during the night on a white rug in my living room. By the time I found it the next morning it was completely dried. I thought this would be the perfect test for the Puracy Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
This is bowel, which is very acidic and can be difficult to remove, even for a professional.
I started by using a damp cloth and moistening the entire area with just water. I then used just a touch of the carpet shampoo as it’s very concentrated and just dabbed the shampoo on the wet cloth. Never pour the cleaning product on any stain on a carpet. You will make the stain bleed into the rest of the carpet. Instead use a warm, damp cloth and just a touch of the cleaning product on the cloth and work gently into the stained area.
I continued to work the stain with the shampoo until there was just a light foamy film left on the carpet. I let the area dry overnight.
The next morning the stain was completely gone. The carpet was soft and there was no residual signs around the area where the stain was located. I’m very pleased with the outcome. It worked very well so it’s performance grade is an “A” and it’s ingredient grade is a “C”.
I always give a company an opportunity to explain their ingredients and in this case I received this rely from Puracy:
The ingredients are listed in order of concentration on our label. To be honest, everything from Zinc Ricinoleate-on is 1% or less. The bulk of the concentration (over 90%) is from the first five ingredients.
The data for zinc ricinoleate varies greatly. On the EWG Cleaner site, it gets an “F” but on the Skin Deep site it gets a “1” for Low Hazard. Interesting. The ingredient level they are using on the EWG Cleaner site looks at this ingredient in raw (100% concentration) featorm when placed on skin. As I mentioned, we use this at about 1%. We use it the same way they use it on the Skin Deep side – for deodorizing. It is not a primary ingredient.
The MSDS looks at the product in its final form. It analyzes the risks based on the actual concentrations of each ingredient in the end formula. It supports a safe and non-toxic profile for this product.
This is one of EWG’s short comings as they plaster a grade on an ingredient even when the data is completely out of context. We’ve offered to reveal our formulas to EWG so that they can grade our laundry detergent and stain remover properly. We have yet to receive a conclusive response.
Based on this information, the ingredient, Zinc Ricinoleate, is given a 1 or “very safe” rating on the EWG – Skin Deep website. Due to this new information I would change their ingredient grade to a “B”.
Are your normally beautiful hardwood floors looking a little drab lately? Has that glossy shine gone dull? It could be that you are not cleaning them the right way. Especially if you own your home, it’s important to know the proper way to go about cleaning your hardwood floors.
Back to the Future
Even though there are lots of cool new products on the market to help you clean your hardwood floors, I have found that some of the things my great-grandmother used to use work just as well. You want to use soft cloths like cotton baby diapers or dusting brooms, and hardly any chemicals. Just by keeping it simple you can have your floors looking as nice and shiny as ever.
Clean Them Often
Even tiny dirt and dust particles can scratch the finish of your hardwood floors. Try to get into the habit of dry dusting the floors often. Once dust and grit get onto the floor, they are ground into the finish with every step people take on it. These tiny particles, when dug in over time, work to scratch the shine off your floor. You should dry mop the floor two to three times a week to keep the dust, sand and dirt from damaging your floors.
Less is More
Most hardwood floors get foggy when they come in contact with chemicals often found in cleaning products. Cleaning products with oil or other ingredients stick to the floor, and can actually attract more dirt to them. You are much better off using a cloth with water to clean your floors. If possible, use club soda or distilled water, as minerals often found in tap water can also leave your floors looking cloudy.
Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
If you must use a chemical-based cleaner, you need to make sure you rinse it off the floor thoroughly. As mentioned, cleaners actually attract dirt to the floor and can leave them feeling sticky, and nothing is worse than having your shoes stick to a clean floor. It may look nice and shiny when you are done cleaning, it’s going to get dirty much more quickly if you don’t rinse it off entirely.
Generations of people have suggested using distilled white vinegar to clean wooden floors, however it’s really not the best for keeping your floor looking shiny. Vinegar is a natural acid, and over time it will work to break down the floor’s coating. A tablespoon or two in a gallon bucket probably won’t hurt the surface, but most people use much more than necessary. Vinegar is great to use once in a while if your floor accumulates food or grease, but as a regular cleaner I would stick with simple water.
One cleaning product that really makes me laugh is a disinfecting floor cleaner. Just so you know – your floors will never bedisinfected. Even if you always leave your shoes and socks outside, your floors will always be filled with germs. The closest you can get to a disinfected floor would be to clean the hardwood with a steam cleaner. Even using steam, you will not get them disinfected, but instead partially sanitized. You don’t want to use too much steam on the wood, as it can get down into the seams and cracks which can do a lot of damage. If you like using steam, you should limit it to only a few times per year.
There are all kinds of gadgets for removing pet hair from your furniture. Special attachments for your vacuum, brushes and even special tape. But did you know you have one of the best pet hair removers underneath your sink? It’s a rubber glove! Just rub a dry rubber glove over the fabric and the hair comes off with one swipe. I learned this trick from a professional carpet cleaner that used it on an oriental runner before steam cleaning it. My rug went from a light gold color (I have two golden retrievers) to the bright blue it was originally. And it was just with a wipe of a dry rubber glove. The rubber creates static that pulls the hair out of the fabric. It’s truly amazing how well it works. You can watch here:
I just spent the entire day videotaping how to make my miracle whitening formula so that it will work in a front loading washing machine. I love finding old recipes of mine that I haven’t used for a while and tweaking them so they are more current. This mixture of four simple ingredients will whiten and brighten all your whites. One of the best tests for this formula is trying it on bed pillows. Have you ever wondered why your pillows get that yellowish tinge to them? It’s caused by sweat and drool. I know, it’s not a pretty picture, but neither are we when we sleep. We all sweat during the night and that sweat dries and leaves a yellow stain. Why yellow you ask? It’s due to the minerals that our in our bodies. Sweat carries toxins out of your body such as salt and potassium, but it also contains trace amounts of ammonia, uric acid and urea. (Mayo Clinic – How Stuff Works)
Your bed pillows are like big sponges and should be washed twice a year. If you are using a top loading washing machine, fill the washer with the minimum amount of water and add your laundry soap and whitening treatment to the water. Make sure it’s VERY HOT water. Load in either two or four pillows opposite of each other to keep the machine balanced. Once the pillows are in the washer, continue to fill the washer to the maximum water level. If the pillows aren’t covered with water, turn them so that the entire pillow is wet with water and laundry soap solution. Start your washer and stay with the washer just in case it gets out of balance. You want to stop the machine immediately and rearrange the pillows so they will be evening distributed in the washing machine.
If you have a front loading washing machine you are going to use the concentrated recipe below. Place the pillows in the washer and pour the whitening additive into the soap dispenser in the drawer of the machine. Use the setting for a normal wash with very hot water. You also want to use a high setting for the spin cycle.
Place the pillows in the dryer with a few dryer balls. I usually don’t recommend tennis balls as the rubber from the ball heats up and can add fumes to your home. Dryer balls will help the pillows dry faster and come out of the dryer nice and fluffy. Make sure the pillows dry completely. You can also set them in the sun after they come out of the dryer to remove any other possible stains. Sunlight is a great natural laundry whitener.
Miracle Laundry Whitening Formula for a top loading washing machine
Dissolve the powdered ingredients in 1/3 cup boiling water (boil in a microwave safe container until it reaches a full boil). Mix in the liquid ingredients and add the entire mixture to the water in the washing machine before placing the pillows in the water. Make sure the entire mixture is evenly distributed in the water. Wash at the hottest water setting and the highest spin cycle. Remove and place the pillows in the dryer with four dryer balls to make them dry faster and come out of the dryer nice and fluffy.
Miracle Laundry Whitening Formula for a front loading washing machine
Dissolve the powdered ingredients in 1/3 cup boiling water (boil in a microwave safe container until it reaches a full boil). Mix in the liquid ingredients and add the entire mixture into the laundry soap dispenser in the machine. Wash at the hottest water setting and the highest spin cycle. Remove and place the pillows in the dryer with four dryer balls to make them dry faster and come out of the dryer nice and fluffy.