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How to tackle grass stains on clothing

You can be sure these clothes are going to have grass stains on them by the end of the day (istockphoto.com)
You can be¬†certain this kid’s¬†outfit is going to have grass stains on¬†it by the end of the day. (istockphoto.com)
 

If you enjoy spending time outdoors in the summer, you know that nature inevitably leaves its mark on your clothes in the form of unsightly, hard-to-clean grass stains.

You can blame chlorophyll, the chemical that gives plants their green hue, for ruining your favourite pair of jeans. In addition to being a strong dye, chlorophyll binds well with natural fibres, making it notoriously difficult to remove.

While delicate materials like silk or wool should always be handled by a professional dry cleaner, denim and cotton clothes can benefit from grass cleaning solutions you can make at home. The basic steps are similar in each case:

Note: Some cleaners can fade or discolour¬†clothing. Always “spot test” cleaners on¬†an inconspicuous location before applying it to the stain.

Step 1: Give the stain a hot water bath. Run the stain under hot water, preferably using a high-pressure nozzle. This will remove any solid grass pieces and loosen the stain. For best results, you should clean the stain as soon as possible to keep it from setting.

Step 2: Scrub the stain with detergent. Any liquid detergent will do. Use a scrub brush or a toothbrush and thoroughly scrub the affected area, then rinse.

Step 3. Apply a cleaning agent. There are literally dozens of products that claim to remove grass stains, but the simplest and most cost-effective home remedy is a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, then pour the vinegar over top and scrub the mixture while it fizzes.

Step 4:¬†Launder in¬†warm or hot water. Most denim¬†clothing can handle your washer’s hot water cycle, while cotton clothes can be¬†washed in warm water. Just in case, you should always follow the washing¬†instructions on the label. Wash with detergent as normal.

If the stain persists after step 4, don’t put the clothing in the dryer – this will cause¬†the stain¬† to set. Instead, repeat steps 3 and 4 using “harsher” cleaners, starting¬†with rubbing alcohol and then progressing to¬†chlorine bleach. You can also try natural digestive enzymes, which are available¬†at most health food stores. Mix the contents of several¬†enzyme capsules¬†in lukewarm¬†water until you get a mixture with the consistency of toothpaste. Scrub the mixture into the stain and let it sit for 20 minutes, then repeat step 4.

Natural ways to keep your home smelling fresh

 
Herbs like lavender and thyme are natural air fresheners for your home (istockphoto)
Herbs like lavender and thyme are natural air fresheners for your home (istockphoto)
Spring cleaning isn’t just about getting rid of clutter and scrubbing floors. After a winter on lockdown, your home could probably use a good airing out. Spring is a time of rebirth in the natural world, so¬†why not take a page from Mother Nature’s playbook when combatting funky smells? These natural remedies will bring the¬†fresh¬†scent¬†of spring to your home in no time flat. -A chemical wunderkind, baking soda¬†has near endless applications¬†when it comes to¬†combatting household odours. A scoop of baking soda poured down the drain with warm water will quickly neutralize smells coming from your¬†sink or garbage disposal. To de-odorize carpets, sprinkle on a half a cup of baking soda for every square foot of carpet, wait fifteen minutes, then vacuum the carpet. Put¬†baking soda in the fridge to remove food odours. It can be even be used on stinky sneakers! -Tired of buying air fresheners that promise a “fresh” scent but actually smell like chemicals? Consider using herbs and spices instead.¬† Natural lavender species¬†come in a variety of smells which are¬†less overpowering than pure lavender¬†oil.¬†To clear out a smelly kitchen, put some cinnamon sticks in a pot of water and bring to a boil on the stove.¬†Hang bundles of¬†fresh or dried¬†thyme, rosemary, and¬†mint¬†throughout of ¬†your home for some natural aromatherapy. Ivy in flowerpot-There’s also some solid research to suggest house plants can improve air quality in your home.¬†Back in¬†1989,¬†NASA tested a number of house plants as part of its clean air study, which researched ways to¬†augment air filtration systems¬†in¬†space stations.¬†Certain plants¬†not only removed carbon dioxide and provide oxygen, they also removed harmful chemicals like benzene (found in petrochemicals)¬†and trichloroethylene (used in industrial¬†solvents) from the surrounding environment. Among the top performers were snake plant, pot mum, peace lily, Boston fern and English Ivy.¬†For best results,¬†the NASA study recommends using 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in six- to eight-inch diameter containers in a 1,800-square-foot house. –Coffee grinds can do more than help you stay awake – they can also soak up the stink from vomit, urine and other nasty accidents on clothes and upholstery. Place two or three layers of old dryer sheets over a stinky stain, then sprinkle coffee grinds over the sheets. The odour will be absorbed in the grinds overnight.  

Good as new: How to clean jewelry naturally

For couples, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate the special love between two people. But for retailers, February 14¬†is a day¬†for big¬†consumer spending. The average Canadian household will¬†spend¬†$37 on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, according to¬†The Retail Council of Canada. (Fun fact: Ontarians, are more likely to buy jewelry for their special someone than residents in any other province). So, if you’re lucky enough to get a bracelet, necklace or – gasp! – engagement ring¬†for Valentine’s Day, follow these easy¬†tips to keep your jewelry sparkling and new for years to come. Cleaning Silver -To remove tarnish from silver pieces without gemstones, try a soaking bath. Line a glass roasting pan with aluminum foil, dull side facing down. Put silver pieces on top of the aluminum foil. Pour about 1¬†litre of boiling water over the pieces and add 2 tbsp. of baking soda. Allow the silver to soak for¬†five minutes, or until the water is cool enough to touch. Dry the silver with a clean polishing¬†cloth. -If your silver piece contains¬†gemstones,¬†do not submerge it in¬†water; water can¬†rust or discolor your settings or cause the stones to become loose and fall out over time. Toothpaste, with its mild cleaning agents and gentle abrasives, is an effective single-ingredient cleaner for polishing tarnished silver. Apply the toothpaste to silver with a clean cloth. Avoid touching the gemstones.¬†For intricate pieces, use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush. Let the pieces air dry by placing them upside-down on a clean cloth. Cleaning Gold and Platinum -To clean¬†gold or platinum jewelry¬†that doesn’t have gemstones, use a¬†mixture of soap and water. Fill a small bowl with warm¬†water and add a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid. Submerge your gold jewelry in the mixture. Let the jewelry soak for 20 minutes,¬†then rinse the jewelry thoroughly under running water. Dry the gold with a clean polishing¬†cloth. -Never submerge gold or platinum jewelry with gemstones under water.¬†Instead, dampen a clean cloth with the soap-and-water mixture mentioned above.¬†Gently wipe down the piece, then¬†use a cloth that has been dampened with water to clean off the soap. Let the pieces air dry by placing¬†it upside-down on a clean cloth. Cleaning Copper -Pure copper jewelry (without gemstones) requires an¬†mildly acidic solution to remove tarnish. Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a few drops of pure lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt. Submerge your¬†copper jewelry in the mixture. Let the jewelry soak for 20 minutes, then rinse the jewelry thoroughly under running water. Dry the gold with a clean polishing cloth. -The same rule applies to copper jewelry as with¬†gold and silver: do not submerge pieces containing precious stones in water. For these pieces, you can use ketchup (yes, ketchup!) to clean the piece.¬†Add a small amount of ketchup to the copper with a clean cloth, or¬†use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush. Let the pieces air dry by placing them upside-down on a clean cloth.