DIY Deconstructed

Lemon juice, elbow grease clean dirty newsroom microwave

Published On: Oct 19 2014 12:52:06 PM CDT

If you’ve ever worked at a place that has a communal kitchen you’ve probably dealt with a dirty microwave. I’ve always wondered why everyone who uses the communal microwave doesn’t just cover their food when it’s heating up, but that little step always seems to get missed.

Here at News 3 I’ve seen our microwave pretty dirty. But someone must clean it on a regular basis because when I decided to try out a DIY mixture of water and lemon juice to clean the newsroom microwave it was cleaner than I was expecting. It had some splatters around the sides, but the biggest issue was a pretty large circle of something that resembled cheese that was completely dried on.

The cleaning process is pretty simple and worked really well. You take a microwave safe bowl and fill it halfway with water and the other half with lemon juice. You don’t want to fill it too full because after you put the mixture in the microwave for 10 minutes it will be boiling when you try to take it out.

After 10 minutes in the newsroom microwave I dipped some paper towels in the bubbling mixture and the splatters wiped right off. Thanks to the steam from the mixture the large circle of crusty nasty came off, but not without a little elbow grease. I’ve never seen the newsroom microwave look so nice!

DIY do or don’t? This one definitely works. I have tried this on my own microwave and if it can clean the newsroom microwave it can definitely clean anything. The steam from the bubbling mixture basically breaks down the dried-on splatters, which makes it easier to wipe them away. Using the hot lemon juice and water mixture to wipe away the food splatters works really well and your microwave smells like lemons afterwards, not chemicals.

The best part is you can use the leftover mixture to clean your garbage disposal -- just drop some ice cubes in with the leftover water and lemon juice and turn it on. The ice will knock off any food particles and the lemon juice will deodorize!

-- Hannah

Household items make temporary, but not easy speakers

Published On: Oct 05 2014 12:48:43 PM CDT

Have you ever been at a party without music and you pull your smartphone out to crank up some tunes, but there aren’t any speakers? Well I haven’t, but a friend asked me to test out a homemade temporary speaker system to see if the effort was worth the outcome.

You’re supposed to use two red solo cups and a toilet paper roll to craft a makeshift smartphone speaker station. The post I found just had a picture so I improvised the step-by-step instructions. I also didn’t have any red solo cups, but the clear plastic cups I took from the Union a while back seemed to work just fine. I traced the toilet paper roll on the cup and then used an X-Acto knife to cut the hole. After doing the same thing to the second cup I cut a slit a half-inch deep and as wide as my iPhone in the toilet paper roll.

Ideally, the toilet paper roll slides into both holes in the cups and then the smartphone goes in the slit in the toilet paper roll. The cups are supposed to act as amplifiers while the toilet paper roll seems to be just a mechanism to connect the two cups together.

If you don’t have an X-Acto knife cutting the holes in the cups and the slit in the toilet paper roll is going to be difficult.

Pinterest do or don’t? Cutting the holes wasn’t easy, even with an X-Acto knife. Once I got the pieces put together I realized how flimsy it was. The makeshift speakers barely held up the weight of my iPhone, but once it was balanced it did stay propped up. As for the sound, it wasn’t a massive difference in volume, but it did make a difference. The thing that I noticed most was that the quality of sound seemed better. I don’t know how to describe music quality, but it sounded softer, less metallic.

I’m not sure in what situation anyone would need to use this, but it is definitely a temporary and short-term fix. The pieces don’t stay together very well and they are very flimsy. But in a pinch, and if you have an X-Acto knife to make the assembling process manageable, the plastic cups and toilet paper roll speaker is a good option.

--Hannah

The dreaded, always slightly dirty shower curtain

Published On: Sep 28 2014 12:38:45 PM CDT

No matter how often I clean my shower curtain it still never really looks clean. I used to buy those really cheap plastic liners and toss them when they got nasty, but my mom convinced me a fabric one would be cheaper in the long-run. She was definitely right, but why does it always look slightly yellow even after I just wash it?

I went searching for that answer on Pinterest and found multiple posts that said the same thing -- Even though you wash your shower curtain liner, it might not ever look as clean as you want it to. But one of the posts promised that even though the liner might still be slightly discolored it would be clean and disinfected after the process.

This one was super simple. Put the shower curtain liner in the wash with some towels, add your regular detergent and then pour in about a cup of white vinegar. According to the post, the detergent will get the liner clean and the vinegar will disinfect it. So I tossed some towels in with the liner and poured in some Tide and vinegar. After a full cycle in the washing machine I tossed it in the dryer for a bit.

Pinterest do or don’t? My shower curtain liner looked as clean as it did the other times I washed it. The difference this time was that the part down at the bottom felt cleaner (the other times I washed it without the vinegar the bottom inch or so felt a little stiff…kind of like it still had soap residue on it). I would say adding the vinegar is definitely something I’ll be doing going forward. But does anyone have any suggestions, or is it even possible, to get my fabric shower curtain liner looking like new?

-- Hannah

DIY tip cleans, disinfects makeup brushes

Published On: Sep 21 2014 12:13:59 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 21 2014 12:15:06 PM CDT

I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but when I do I brush on some foundation with some pretty common beauty tools -- a regular foundation brush and a newer foundation sponge. I’ve had both of them for about a year and have rinsed them off with water, but never actually cleaned them.

I was digging around on Pinterest last week and came across a post with a simple suggestion for cleaning and disinfecting makeup brushes. The post says to mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap.

I mixed up the ingredients and started swirling my foundation brush in the bowl. The amount of foundation that washed out of my brush was ridiculous! I used two bowls of mixture to make sure my brush was super clean, and then wiped it on a paper towel to make sure the water coming off of the brush was clear.

Then I started on my foundation sponge. This is a relatively new way to put foundation on (as far as I am aware!) and I really like it. But apparently it holds a lot of excess foundation in the make-up application process because I used four bowls of the water, vinegar and soap mixture to clean it.

The best way I discovered to clean my sponge was to squeeze the sponge under the water so it soaks up the mixture, and then squeeze the water out while really focusing on the part you use most often. It took me awhile but the water I was squeezing out of my sponge eventually started coming out clear.

After letting my sponge and brushes dry completely, I’ll be able to use them a lot longer since they are basically like new! I also tried cleaning brushes that are used with powder and the process basically worked the same, but the powder brushes held a lot less makeup so they took less time to clean.

Pinterest do or don’t? Definite do! The post suggests cleaning your makeup brushes every other week if you use them daily, and I think that’s probably a good idea. Think of the gunk and bacteria that builds up on them. I know I’d prefer to use a clean, like-new brush over a dirty, spindly-looking brush. I’m also assuming that cleaning makeup brushes will make them last longer, so you’ll save money by not buying replacements as often.

-- Hannah

DIY trick cleans, repurposes glass candle container

Published On: Sep 07 2014 01:34:05 PM CDT

I love repurposing containers, especially unique-looking glass ones, into something I can use instead of just recycling them. Most containers are pretty easy – use a little Goo Gone to get rid of sticker residue, wash it thoroughly and you’ve got a sturdy, container you can use to store stuff, transport leftovers or even spray paint it to use for decoration or gift giving. But one glass container has always eluded me – the big wide jar three-wick candles come in. For some reason you can never get all of that wax to burn away, so once the wicks are useless you still have at least a half-inch of wax stuck at the bottom.

A Pinterest post I found said boiling water was all I needed to get rid of the wax and to be able to reuse the container. Thanks to Michelle Li, I had a big three-wick candle that was on its death bed to try this out with. I boiled some water in my trusty teapot and poured it on top of the stuck wax. Almost instantly I could see the wax melting and floating to the surface. After a couple hours the majority of the wax had floated to the top of the container and cooled. I pushed the chunk of wax down slightly and it split in the middle, giving me a chance to pull out the two pieces.

Once I threw away those two pieces I noticed the container was far from being clean. I dumped another round of boiling water into the container to get the wax remnants out, and then just had to deal with the wick holders stuck to the bottom of the container. The post I was referencing didn’t offer any insight into removing them so I pulled them out, soaked the container in soapy water for a bit and then started scrubbing. The actual wick holders came out really easy, but the glue used to keep them in place stuck around.

I was able to scrub away the pesky glue with a combination of Dawn dish soap and Goo Gone, but it wasn’t easy. I rotated between the dish soap and the Goo Gone twice before finally getting rid of the glue residue. That’s when I thought my candle container was done, but then I noticed a light black ring around the top of the container. The black ring was smoke residue from burning the candle, and no amount of scrubbing completely got rid of that. But the end product was pretty close to what I was expecting.

Pinterest do or don’t? This DIY trick was a pretty simple way to clean up those nice glass jars three-wick candles come in. I’ve always felt bad getting rid of them, because I never knew if I could recycle them with the wax inside so I usually tossed them. Now I will at least be able to remove the remaining wax so I can recycle the container. As for repurposing the container for something else – I would 100 percent avoid putting anything in there that might come in contact with your face (the Pinterest post suggested storing cotton balls in it) because even after all that cleaning the jar still smells like the “’Tis the Season” scent from Bath and Body Works. I would also not use it for any type of food storage. I will mostly be using this method to clean out the container so I feel better about recycling it.

--Hannah

Solution for rust-spotted knives disappoints

Published On: Aug 31 2014 12:28:55 PM CDT

I’m not sure how my steak knives got a couple of little rust spots on them, but I noticed it about a week ago. Three of my knives had a couple tiny rust spots and one had just one small spot. I don’t put them in the dishwasher and I clean them with regular dish soap, so I’m not sure why they have started rusting. I’m also not sure if it will get worse and I’ll have to replace my knives, but I figured I’d look into a DIY fix to try and get rid of the spots.

A post I found on Pinterest made getting rid of these small spots sound way too easy. It said to soak the knives in lemon juice for a couple minutes and then use a scrubby sponge to scrub away the spot. I didn’t know what “a couple minutes” meant so I tried a couple different times.

After about two minutes I pulled one of the knives out, but I was not able to scrub away the spot. The same thing goes for the times I waited about five minutes and a little more than 10 minutes. I used a generic green sponge with a scrubby side, and after waiting for the knives to soak in the lemon juice for 10 minutes I really went at it with the scrubby. But four of my steak knives still have little rust spots on them.

Pinterest do or don’t? This DIY suggestion was a waste of time and lemon juice. The lemon juice and scrubby didn’t do anything to get rid of the small rust spots on my knives. Do you have suggestions for getting rid of or preventing small rust spots on knives? Send them my way!

--Hannah

2-ingredient spray doesn’t get rid of stinky shoe smell

Published On: Aug 17 2014 04:06:47 PM CDT

I know I’m not the only Toms shoe wearer that has the problem of stinky shoes and feet from wearing our favorite pair canvas slip-ons. I have been to numerous websites and forums that have said the only way to prevent stinky shoes and feet when wearing Toms is to wear socks. I have tried wearing them with socks and it’s just not the same. So I go sock-less and my feet always stink when I wear my favorite pairs of Toms.

I had resigned to having stinky feet during spring, summer and fall because that’s how often I wear Toms, until I saw a post on Pinterest that says no matter how stinky or how dirty your shoes are, a two-ingredient spray would get rid of it. I found a couple posts that said to use pure rubbing alcohol, but most of the posts said to use two parts alcohol to one part water, so I tried that.

I filled my spray bottle about half full of rubbing alcohol and then another fourth of the way with water. Then I took my favorite, oldest, smelliest pair of Toms shoes outside and sprayed them down with the mixture. Initially the shoes smelled worse, probably because they were wet, so I let them dry overnight. In the morning they smelled the same as before I sprayed them, and after wearing them a full day at work they smelled just as stinky as they normally do.

Pinterest do or don’t? This Pinterest post claiming to eradicate bad smells from feet and shoes says the alcohol kills bacteria that causes the bad smell. Well maybe my old Toms are just too old and smelly to be saved. But I also don’t think this simple spray would do anything for any of my newer pairs of Toms that are just as stinky but have been worn less. I would suggest passing on the spray and embracing stinky feet, especially if you love your Toms as much as I do.

--Hannah

Bottle trap gets rid of relentless fruit flies

Published On: Aug 10 2014 01:41:12 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 10 2014 02:32:28 PM CDT

I have absolutely no idea where fruit flies come from or why they plague my apartment on a regular basis in the summer, but I’ve finally found an easy and inexpensive way to get rid of them.

The Pinterest post I found said to fill an empty water bottle halfway with apple cider vinegar, add in a couple squirts of honey and about half that amount of dish soap. The post said not to shake up the mixture because there would be too much foam.

The first time I tried the mixture I followed the instructions and didn’t shake it up. Every time I would walk in my kitchen I would scare away a couple flies that were sitting on the edge of the bottle, but there didn’t seem to be any inside. When I got up the next morning the bottle did have a decent amount of the nasty little flies floating in the bottom. Even though there weren’t a ton of flies in my trap, the effort seemed to get rid of them for a couple days.

Then I went grocery shopping and must have brought some more home from the grocery store. So I pulled out another bottle, filled it up with the ingredients, and this time I purposely got some honey on the inside of the bottle, and shook up the mixture a little bit. The resulting bubbles proved to be helpful because the fruit flies that just flew part of the way into the bottle seemed to get stuck in the maze of bubbles and couldn’t get out. Plus, the honey on the side of the bottle seemed to attract more flies sooner. With the same mixture, but with my two adjustments, I seemed to catch twice the amount of fruit flies. It is three days later and I haven’t seen another one.

Pinterest do or don’t? I definitely plan to use this bottle trap again if I find those pesky little black flies in my kitchen. Hopefully the suggestions I’ve listed below will prevent them from taking over, but if they do come back I know how to get rid of them overnight!

NOTES: A suggestion I’ve heard for getting rid of fruit flies is to keep all produce in the refrigerator, but you can’t really do that with bananas. I read online that most fruit flies come on the stems of bananas and that you’re supposed to dip a paper towel in vinegar and use it to wipe off your bananas. Apparently that’s supposed to prevent any eggs or bugs that traveled home on your bananas from infesting your home. Do you have any tips for getting rid of these pesky summer bugs?

--Hannah

Homemade, cheap cleaner de-smudges glasses

Published On: Aug 03 2014 01:08:28 PM CDT

I just recently got glasses and thought the hardest part about wearing them would be getting used to the way I looked in them. But after wearing them for a week something else started bothering me more -- the smudges and fuzzies that started collecting. I tried using the tiny microfiber cloth the eye wear place gave me, but it didn’t do much for the smudges so I took to Pinterest.

I found a bunch of posts saying to mix water and vinegar, and a bunch saying to mix water and rubbing alcohol. Then I found one where you mix all three together and figured I’d give that one a go.

I took a little spray bottle I got in the travel section of Target and filled it 1/3 with water, 1/3 with rubbing alcohol and 1/3 with white vinegar. I shook it up and used it with the small microfiber cloth that came with my glasses. It worked perfectly! I sprayed both sides, wiped them off and the glasses looked like new.

Pinterest do or don’t? These three common household ingredients are a great way to clean your glasses. I thought the vinegar or the alcohol might be strong-smelling but the two seem to cancel each other out, and any smell the mixture does have disappears pretty fast. I now find myself cleaning my glasses at least once, but usually twice a day with this stuff, so it’s good the ingredients are so cheap!

--Hannah

Readers’ DIY suggestions take on 2 cleaning dilemmas

Published On: Jul 27 2014 01:44:40 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 28 2014 07:29:56 AM CDT

Over the past couple of weeks DIY Deconstructed has been posted to Channel3000.com, tweeted and posted on Facebook, and thanks to that exposure I have gotten some reader suggestions for ways to take on some of the issues I have written about. So this week I decided to test two of them and they worked a lot better than the Pinterest suggestions.

The first viewer suggestion I got was how to unclog my bathtub drain after a mixture of baking soda and vinegar didn’t do anything. I got two suggestions and the first one was so good I didn’t have to try the second one.

A Facebook commenter said the best way to unclog a bathtub drain is to use a plunger. So I ran the water to let the tub fill up a little and then tried the plunger. I didn’t notice immediate results, but during my next shower I definitely noticed it. The standard inch of water that usually sat at the bottom of my tub after a shower was not there. Using a plunger to unclog a drain definitely works.

The second suggestion I got for unclogging my bathtub drain came from Jeri who said I should buy a “zipper” gadget at Menard's. They are basically long plastic, flexible sticks with plastic barbs along the side that you use to fish out whatever is clogging your drains. I found the zippers and they were only a couple dollars, but the plunger worked so well I decided to save them for another time.

The best viewer suggestion I’ve gotten so far was to use a pumice stone to get rid of the hard water stains in my toilet bowl. I tested a Pinterest post that said to use borax and vinegar, which didn’t do anything to the small ring of hard water stains in my toilet. But after a couple minutes of scraping with a pumice stone they were gone. My toilet bowl is now picture perfect!

Thank you for the DIY cleaning suggestions. I will keep reviewing what I see on Pinterest, but keep your tried-and-true suggestions coming!

-- Hannah

Washing T-shirts with salt doesn’t make them vintage

Published On: Jul 20 2014 01:51:57 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 20 2014 02:08:25 PM CDT

The best type of clothes are the kind that you feel great in, and super soft vintagey T-shirts will always be my favorite. It’s those T-shirts that never lose their shape, fit perfectly and come out of the wash feeling super soft and comfy.

I, like so many other Badgers, have an obscene amount of Badgers apparel. I have more Badgers T-shirts than I can fit in my closet so some of them live in plastic drawers in the back of my closet. I’ve always thought that I would wear more of my basically-unworn Badgers T-shirts if they were soft and comfy instead of super new, starchy and stiff. And that’s why the pin on Pinterest promising the vintage T-shirt feel with a couple washes was appealing.

The pin says to dump 1/4 cup of sodium carbonate washing soda and 2 cups of salt into the washing machine with the T-shirts you want to age (or towels if you only want to age one shirt). Then you add your regular detergent and run the washing machine on the highest temperature. After it’s done you dry the shirt on the highest heat, and then repeat the process three to five times.

The post says to use a smaller batch of the salt and washing soda mixture for the rest of the washes, but after the first wash didn’t do anything to change the feel of the eight shirts I was trying to age I decided to continue using the same amounts.

After three washes with the full amounts and three high-heat drying sessions my shirts did shrink a decent amount (the post warned about that), but they are definitely not soft like a vintage T-shirt. They might be ever so slightly softer than before, but not to the point where it was worth the effort of the three washes.

The post also says to use sandpaper to scrape off parts of the logo or design. I tried it on one of the shirts and the sandpaper definitely does what it says it’s supposed to. After just a couple seconds of scraping, the logo was noticeably worn down and less stiff.

Pinterest do or don’t? The post shows a picture of a perfectly vintage Adidas shirt so that’s what I was expecting. But after three full washes and drying sessions the shirts I was trying to age kept coming out just as stiff and new-feeling as before. The sandpaper scraping definitely ages the logo, but the washing mixture doesn’t do anything to age the T-shirts. I guess I’ll just have to wear a Badgers shirt every day to start aging them the slow way!

--Hannah

9-step process cleans grimy, smelly garbage disposal

Published On: Jul 13 2014 12:33:49 PM CDT

Recently my garbage disposal started to smell a little funky. Usually I drop a chunk of citrus peel down there and the smell goes away, but this time it was pungent enough to overpower anything a citrus peel was going to do. I found a nine-step cleaning process on Pinterest and gave it a try.

First you sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the disposal, then you pour a cup of vinegar on top of the baking soda. The mixture will foam up, and you let it sit for a couple minutes to let all of the fizzing clean out the gunk. Then you pour a cup of hot boiling water down the disposal (I used an entire tea pot because there was residual baking soda around the edges).

Step four is to put some ice chips down the disposal and run it. Then you add 1/2 cup of salt and run it again. Once all of the ice and salt has been ground up in the disposal you drop a small chunk of lemon (or any other citrus fruit you may have) into the disposal. The last step is to make a vinegar and baking soda paste (about a tablespoon of baking soda and a couple splashes of vinegar), and use that paste to scrub under the plastic flaps with a toothbrush. The last step is to dump water down the disposal for a couple minutes to rinse it all out.

The baking soda and vinegar mixture helps with the griminess on the inside, the salt and ice add scrubbing factor and the lemon gives the finished product a nice citrus scent. I think the baking soda and vinegar paste step was what really put this cleaning method over the top. The black plastic flaps at the top of my garbage disposal apparently had a lot of grime and nastiness on them because the toothbrush I was using kept coming out brown. I scrubbed the flap with the paste for a couple minutes and I think I finally got them clean.

Pinterest do or don’t? I have seen a lot of variations on this garbage disposal cleaning process, but this one is definitely the best. The vinegar and baking soda paste was the most effective because I’m pretty sure the icky grime on the plastic flaps was what was making the entire thing smell funny.

--Hannah

Hard water stains definitely aren’t easy to get rid of

Published On: Jul 06 2014 12:52:34 PM CDT

When I moved into my apartment there were a couple of things that indicated it had definitely been lived in before. I blogged about a couple dark spots the previous tenant left on the carpet last week, and this week I tried to get rid of the hard water ring around the toilet bowl that has been there since I moved in. My mom has tried scrubbing, soaking and Kabooming the hard water stain off, but it’s still there.

The post I found on Pinterest was very simple. It said put 1/4 cup of borax and 1 cup of vinegar in the toilet bowl. Let it sit for 20 minutes, and when you come back it should scrub right off. I didn’t have borax so I tried using washing soda and vinegar first. Based on an ingredients comparison I didn’t think they were super different, so I was hopeful I’d get similar results. When I combined the ingredients there was a little fizzing and then nothing. I let it sit for 20 minutes and most of the discoloration wiped off, but none of the hard water crusty ring came off.

After scrubbing to no avail I decided maybe I needed to actually use borax. A friend let me borrow the 1/4 cup I needed to try doing the test again, but this time even less happened. I poured the borax and vinegar in, and there was zero fizzing. I let it sit for 20 minutes, and again couldn’t get the crusty hard water ring off.

Pinterest do or don’t? The only thing this vinegar and borax or washing soda mixture was good for was general cleaning. It did not even touch the hard water ring that has set up a permanent residence in my toilet bowl. It would have been nice to get rid of the hard water ring, but I’ve decided just because that’s there doesn’t mean my toilet is dirty; it just means my apartment building has hard water. Do you have a method that gets rid of hard water stains?

-- Hannah

Vinegar, baking soda mixture removes 3-year-old carpet stain

Published On: Jun 29 2014 01:11:16 PM CDT

If I could rip out all of the carpeting in my apartment and replace it with wood floors I totally would. Wood floors are a ton easier to clean, and I think they look better. But since I’m a renter I have to deal with the one downfall in my apartment, beige carpeting.

When I moved in there were a couple dark spots on the carpeting between my kitchen and my bathroom. Since that is probably the heaviest traveled chunk of carpeting in my apartment, I have accidentally added to those original dark stains. But I could never get them out with the carpet cleaner I bought at Target. So I didn’t have much hope for the post on Pinterest saying that baking soda, dish washing liquid and vinegar would get the stains out.

The post says to sprinkle baking soda on the stain and let it absorb, then vacuum it up, but since my stains were so old I kept the baking soda on the spot to add to the power of the mixture. Then combine a tablespoon of clear dish washing liquid, a tablespoon of white vinegar and two cups of warm water. I doubled the amounts because I had about a dozen spots the size of an apple I planned on attacking. The post says to use a wash cloth to sponge the stain with the solution, and blot it until all of the liquid is absorbed. With the addition of the sprinkle of baking soda, the spots on my carpet fizzed a little and then the soapy mixture started to suds. I used more water to scrub the soapy mixture out of the carpet and had to dab the spots for about 10 minutes or so to get the soapiness to go away. The whole process definitely took longer than the post suggested, but once the carpet was dry the dark spots were gone!

Pinterest do or don’t? With some small adjustments, this Pinterest post definitely works. I suggest using two tablespoons of clear dish washing liquid, two tablespoons of white vinegar and 4 cups of warm water, especially if you have a large area to clean. Then, unless the spot is brand new, I would keep the baking soda on the spot (remember, it’s just a sprinkle) as you’re dabbing the stain with the vinegar mixture. That way the baking soda and the vinegar will react and break up the stain better. And if the mixture works as good for you as it did for me you will see exactly how dirty the rest of your carpeting actually is!

--Hannah

Mixture claims to eliminate yellow armpit stains

Published On: Jun 22 2014 01:59:41 PM CDT

I’ve come to realize some topics on this blog might not be things people like to talk about in public. For example, last week I tested a DIY foot soak for dry feet and this week I’m testing a mixture to get rid of those pesky yellow armpit stains on white T-shirts. Well as long as I keep finding DIY suggestions for these odd topics I will keep talking about and test them!

As much as we don’t like to admit it, I’m sure everyone has some workout or under shirts that they’d like to see restored to their original whiteness under their arms. I have a couple old T-shirts I wear to the gym all the time that are getting pretty gross looking, so a post on Pinterest claiming to get rid of the stains with a simple mixture and a regular load of laundry sounded great.

The post says to mix one part Dawn dish washing liquid and two parts hydrogen peroxide. You’re supposed to mix it together, sprinkle some baking soda on the yellow spot and pour some of the mixture on top. Then you use a scrubby brush to work the mixture into the stain for a few minutes. With the addition of the baking soda the mixture fizzes a little and starts to absorb into the material. After scrubbing for a little while I tossed the shirts into a regular load of laundry.

I did three white shirts and a grey shirt because the original post said it also works on dark discolorations on colored shirts. After the regular laundry load and time in the dryer I pulled out my shirts and examined them. I was expecting a miracle so the results were a little disappointing. The discoloration on the grey shirt didn’t get any better, but the white shirts were better. The yellow discoloration wasn’t completely gone, but it was significantly less noticeable.

Pinterest do or don’t? As long as your expectations aren’t to completely get rid of the stains on the first try, this is a good option to try. The process is definitely easy enough and cheap enough to try a couple of times to get your desired outcome. Maybe my stains were too hardcore for the mixture to work the first time! The next time I wear these four shirts I will try the mixture again and see if a second attempt continues to fight the yellow discoloration into submission!

--Hannah

Listerine, vinegar mixture softens feet, doesn’t remove dry skin

Published On: Jun 15 2014 02:33:08 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 15 2014 02:34:00 PM CDT

I don’t necessarily have really dry feet, but who I wouldn't pass up softer, prettier feet, especially now that we’re in the heart of summer. I’ve used a pumice stone, foot scrubs from the drug store and now a Listerine and vinegar foot soak to get pedicure-ready feet.

The post on Pinterest for the soak says to combine 1/4 cup of Listerine, 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of warm water. After soaking your feet in the mixture for 10 minutes, the dead skin is supposed to wipe right off. My first issue with the mixture was the amount…a full cup of total liquid barely covered the bottom of my feet. Now maybe my container was bigger than the person who wrote the recipe, but my feet wouldn’t have fit in a much smaller container so I didn’t really have another option. I had to multiply the ingredients by 16 just to get the mixture to cover my feet! So I used 4 cups of Listerine (or the blue Up and Up version from Target), 4 cups of vinegar and 8 cups of warm water.

My second issue was the smell -- menthol mixed with vinegar really doesn’t have a great smell. Once my feet were in the mixture for a couple minutes I couldn’t smell the vinegar anymore, and the minty menthol wasn’t too bad on its own. My third issue with the mixture was that it said to use warm water. I would definitely suggest using hot water, because by the time my feet had been soaking for 10 minutes the water was room temperature and no longer soothing. Plus, the hot water might add to the therapeutic feeling of the menthol mixture, which was warm and tingly!

Suggested recipe

  • 4 cups of menthol mouth wash
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 8 cups hot water

*soak feet for 10-15 minutes

When I pulled my feet out of the minty water the first thing I noticed was that they smelled super-duper minty! As for the dry skin wiping off: mine didn’t really wipe off. The warm menthol water definitely made it easier to use the pumice stone on my dry heals, but I still had to work at getting the dry skin off. NOTE: A friend of mine has used this same mixture twice and said it worked great for her. So it is possible I didn’t soak my feet long enough, I should have used hot water instead of warm, or my feet don’t have enough dry, flaky skin that they need to be scraped off.

Pinterest do or don’t? Because I choose to wear Toms shoes in hot, cold, rainy, snowy and all weather in between my feet regularly don’t smell good, so I will be using this mixture regularly to try and combat the smell that Toms wearers know all too well. As for the dry skin promise of the post -- the mixture didn’t get rid of my dry skin without the use of a pumice stone. The menthol mixture did make using a pumice stone on my heels a lot easier, so I will definitely be using the recipe (altered with my suggestions above) to get minty, pampered feet!

--Hannah

UPDATE: Baked permanent marker mugs make good gifts

Published On: Jun 08 2014 02:07:13 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 15 2014 01:22:00 PM CDT

I love giving gifts, but I hate giving generic gifts, and the best way to avoid expensive personalized gifts is to make them yourself! In high school I started making fleece tie blankets for friends, and after college I started giving friends my framed photography. Both of those DIY projects are good options, but both are a little time consuming and on the pricier side. So I started searching for fun gift ideas on Pinterest and I found this DIY mug project.

I have more coffee mugs than I know what to do with, but I still love buying new ones and making my own personalized ones seemed like the next step in my crazy coffee mug addiction! The post says to use permanent markers to write on or draw designs on ceramic mugs. I printed out an outline of the state of Wisconsin for one of my mugs and traced it (then I wrote "Go Badgers" where Madison is on the map). Once you’ve perfected your design, you put it in the oven at 350 degrees and bake it for 30 minutes.

I made two, with a white mug and an orange mug, to see if different mugs or colors would make a difference. Once the mugs cooled down I filled them with boiling water to see if additional heat would make the marker smudge. The marker stayed intact through multiple handlings filled with boiling water and being hand washed. I would still like to see what happens to my DIY mugs when I send them through the dishwasher…stay tuned for an update!

Pinterest do or don’t? Definitely a do! I have bad handwriting and am not a good artist, but I am still super happy with how my DIY mugs turned out. They are 100 percent personalized and each mug cost $3.99 plus 10 minutes of artistic time and 30 minutes of baking time. These baked permanent marker mugs are a great, inexpensive way to send someone a fun personalized gift.

-Hannah

UPDATE (6/15): I washed the white mug by hand and the orange mug in the dishwasher. The orange mug actually came out better in the dishwasher than the white mug after I washed it. The orange mug only had one letter that was starting to rub off when I took it out of the dishwasher. The white mug was starting to was off in multiple locations, including the 'Go Badgers' in red on the front. So basically no matter how you wash these DIY mugs they probably aren't permanent. They are still a good, fun, inexpensive gift idea...you just have to realize they are DIY and not permanently decorated mugs.

Can a lemon really remove hard water spots?

Published On: Jun 01 2014 01:56:10 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 01 2014 01:57:29 PM CDT

Hard water spots don’t really bother me, but some people really can’t stand them. I feel like unless you spend a lot of money trying to “soften” your water, your bathroom fixtures are going to have water spots. It doesn’t mean they aren’t clean, it just means when the water dries it leaves little droplet spots.

When I moved into my apartment my shower fixtures had hard water spots on them. Again, they don’t bother me, but when I saw this super simple solution I figured I would try it because shiny fixtures are prettier than dull ones.

The post on Pinterest says to cut a lemon in half and rub it on the fixture. When you rinse away the juice it says the spots will magically disappear. My shower fixture basically looked like the one in the Pinterest post when I started, but definitely did not look like the “after” picture that was posted. I scrubbed and scrubbed until my lemon was in pieces and my water spots were still there. I had chunks of lemon all over the place in my shower I was scrubbing so hard. Then I took a cup of water and rinsed it off, hoping the spots would magically disappear, but they didn’t.

Pinterest do or don’t? The water spots were duller after scrubbing them with a lemon, but they definitely weren’t gone. I don’t know how anyone could possible scrub harder than I was scrubbing to get the spots off, so I probably won’t try this again. Anyone out there have any luck with this method? Did I miss a step or is there a trick I don’t know about?

-Hannah

Simple mixture helps with winter’s effects on leather boots

Published On: May 04 2014 02:55:46 PM CDT   Updated On: May 21 2014 09:06:28 AM CDT

Leather boots are my best friends three seasons out of the year. They go great with dresses in the spring and fall, and can dress up skinny jeans in the winter. But wearing leather boots in the winter has its disadvantages: salt and water stains from Wisconsin winters really take a toll on my beloved boots. I have tried leather cleaner to no avail…my boots still look raggedy after wearing them through the winter.

I found a homemade version to try on Pinterest so I pulled out my staple black leather boots to test it out. The post is simple: Use a mixture of vinegar and cold water to scrub water stains off of leather. I bought a tiny squirt bottle in the travel section at Target for 99 cents and did a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar.

I spritzed the boots with the mixture and used a paper towel to try and scrub away the water stains. When the boots were still wet the results looked promising, but as soon as they dried I could still see the stains. The stains were definitely less noticeable but they are still there. I repeated the process to see if the stains would continue to go away, but that didn’t seem to be the case. I’m not sure if I was supposed to leave the water and vinegar mixture sit on the boots (there really were no additional instructions on the Pinterest post), but I didn’t see the exact results I wanted to in the end.

Pinterest do or don’t? I’m on the fence on this one. The water and vinegar mixture definitely didn’t get rid of my winter water stains, but it did make them less noticeable. If I can’t find a permanent solution to the havoc that Wisconsin winters reek on my lovely leather boots, I will probably continue this process every spring to make the damage less noticeable.

Elementary school volcano combo doesn’t clear up drain

Published On: May 11 2014 12:41:44 PM CDT   Updated On: May 21 2014 09:06:28 AM CDT

I moved into my current apartment almost three years ago and have had the same slow-moving shower drain since day one. It isn’t clogged, it’s just super slow. I have tried using store-bought chemicals and the plunger method, but it still seems to only drain at a trickle. It doesn’t bother me too much, but it would be nice to get a full drain going!

I found a post on Pinterest for unclogging drains that uses baking soda and vinegar…the same combination kids have used for decades to make those cool exploding volcanoes in science class. The instructions say to poor 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar into the drain, wait 15 minutes and then pour about 5 cups of boiling water down the train. The instructions also say you might need to use something long to poke down inside the drain to help the mixture…well I knew that wouldn’t work for my drain because mine isn’t open, it is a small grate of tiny holes.

I spilled the baking soda while I was pouring it into the tub so I probably put 3/4 a cup down my drain and then added the 1/2 cup of vinegar. I stayed to watch it bubble and foam, but once the vinegar had gone down the drain there was still a decent-sized pile of baking soda sitting in and around the drain. So I poured more vinegar down the drain until all of the baking soda was gone. I waited the prescribed 15 minutes and then pour the entire contents of my screeching tea kettle down the drain.

About an hour later I took a shower and didn’t notice even the slightest difference. The mixture didn’t do anything to whatever is causing my drain to be slow. If the DIY mixture couldn’t unclog my half-clogged drain, I can’t imagine it would be very helpful for a fully clogged drain.

Pinterest do or don’t? I vote DON’T since it didn’t do anything for my slightly slow drain. I can’t imagine it would have enough power to take care of a drain that is actually clogged. Also, I did use quite a bit more vinegar to rinse down my leftover baking soda and it still didn’t do anything. I think this combination of at-home products is best left to impressing crowds at elementary school science fairs.

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