When good cleaning goes bad

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- All of us have had an experience where we attempt to clean something and it just goes wrong, leaving us with an even bigger mess.  Here’s what to do for some of those messes.

This is right at the top of my list of cleaning no-nos: Using window cleaner to clean a spot on carpet.  Many window cleaners are blue in color. When you put it on the carpet to try and remove a spot you are left with a blue colored stain on the carpet. 

Number one, window cleaner is not a good carpet cleaner and not good for the carpet, but now that you have done it, what do you do.  First, pour club soda on as quickly as you can.  The carbonation will bubble up the blue liquid and the salts will keep it from staining. 

Still blue?  Saturate the area with 3-percent hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of ammonia added to it.  Let it soak for 15 minutes or so and then blot.  Follow up once the stain is removed by pouring on more club soda and blotting well with paper towels.  Lay them over the area and stand on them to absorb.

Lots of people uswg Mrs. Smith's Bluing to whiten their whites. What’s the biggest mistake they make?  Not diluting it correctly or pouring directly on the clothes.  

If accidentally spilled full strength or if too much bluing was used, soak fabric overnight in a solution of 1/2 cup ammonia to 1 quart of cold water in a tightly covered container.  Do not use bleach. If bluing removal was previously attempted with bleach, soak 2 to 3 days in a solution of 1 cup ammonia to 1 quart of cold water in a tightly covered container.

Be careful not to mix bleach and ammonia as toxic fumes will result. After stain is removed, rinse thoroughly , then launder as usual.

Grease stains on clothes when removed improperly will come out of the dryer with wet looking stains on them. 

In order to remove the grease at that point, you need to regenerate it.  You can do this by spraying with WD-40 Lubricant.  Let sit about 10 minutes and then work in 1 part Dawn Original Dishwashing Liquid and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide.  Work in well and then launder as usual.

Color runs are another huge issue. You toss the laundry in and somehow, a red shirt gets in with the light-colored clothes and suddenly everything is pink! 

Bleaching will not remove this fugitive dye that is all over your clothes. Buy Carbona Color Run Remover at the big box, grocery or home center and use according to directions to get the color out.  Another product that works is White Brite. Buy it in the same types of stores.

Sometimes wash comes out with liquid fabric softener spots all over it.  To remove, rub with liquid dish soap.   For spots caused by dryer sheets, rub with a bar of Dove Face Soap.  Then launder the clothes again. 

For more information on the Queen of Clean Linda Cobb, to find products used and recommended by the Queen and FREE printouts go to queenofclean.com. Find the Queen’s books at national book stores and on Amazon and queenofclean.com.