Mud is not a four letter word

I had the pleasure of going to a Little League baseball game and thought it might be a good time to talk about how to get out mud stains on pants!  Mud is a protein stain and it can be removed by rubbing the stain under cold water in your sink or soaking in cold water.  If hot water is used first, it cooks the protein, causing it to coagulate between the fibers in the yarns of the fabric, making the stains more difficult to remove.  After using the cold water use a pretreater and rub some liquid detergent into the spot and wash in warm water.  Inspect after it comes out of the washer and if it remains soak for ½ hour in cold water and detergent, reapply pretreater and rewash.

So don’t worry when they slide into home plate.  We will help you get those stains out!

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Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Laundry Stains?

imageIt seems as if winter just won’t go away this year.  It is time to begin thinking about storing winter clothing and getting out the spring and summer things. Remember that it is always best to store clean clothing.  We may not notice that there are some small spots on a garment as it is stored but theses spots will be noticed upon the first wearing next fall.

Pretreating stains is a simple procedure that will help assure that stains get removed in the first washing.  There are three types of pretreating products:  liquid or aerosol, sticks and gels.

  • LIQUID AND AEROSOL pretreaters do their best work while they’re still wet.  Pretreat the stain and wash the garment within a few minutes after the product is applied.  Leaving these products on longer than recommended on the product label may cause color loss or change if the fabric dyes are unstable.
  • STICK pretreaters do their work dry and should be left on the stain for three or four days before washing.
  • GEL pretreaters should be applied as soon as possible to help prevent stains from setting.  They can be applied up to a week before washing.  One exception to this time period is when using them on bright or fluorescent colors.  Do not pretreat these colored garments more than a few minutes before washing as they are susceptible to color loss.

If you are uncertain about the stability of the garment dyes, pretest the garment in an inconspicuous area.  Apply the pretreatment product, and then rinse out the product and note if there was any color change.  If not, the pretreatment is safe to use.

Call us with stain removal questions, or check out our stain guide.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Washing feather pillows

pillowDo you have feather pillows that need to be washed?  It can be done at home if you take a few precautions.  First make sure the ticking is in good condition.  We would suggest slipping the pillow into a pillow case and basting the case shut, for additional insurance against the ticking failing and releasing the feathers in your washing machine. When this is done fill the washer with warm water and the regular amount of detergent for normal load.  Agitate to dissolve the detergent in the water. (Dissolving the detergent is not as critical if a liquid detergent is used.) For a balanced load, wash two pillows at the same time or one pillow and enough bath towels to balance. Immerse the pillows in the suds until they are completely wet. Wash using gentle or soak cycle for 10 minutes. Rinse the pillows twice.

To dry, tumble in the automatic dryer using the warmest setting for one hour; reduce the heat and finish drying. Or hang on a line in a gentle breeze – occasionally “fluff” or move the feathers around within the pillow. This will take a few hours – then finish drying in an automatic dryer.

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Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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The Many Uses of Baking Soda

Baking Soda – the mighty cleanser!

One of the least expensive ingredients in the grocery store is also one of the most versatile tools in our home – BAKING SODA! Not only is it a critical ingredient when baking cakes, cookies, muffins and more, it is also an invaluable ingredient in many cleaning recipes and techniques. Check out the following list of common uses for this miracle ingredient (besides baking):

  1. Odor reduction – Mix 1 c. Biz with ¾ c. baking soda, ½ c. vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Soak overnight and wash as directed.
  2. Sticky residue – Use baking soda on dry plastic and scrub with a damp cloth. Then wash with soap and water. If the plastic has a bad odor, crumple up newspaper and put it inside the container. Put on the lid and freeze for 3 days, then wash again.
  3. Stains – Sprinkle baking soda on dry plastic (such as Tupperware)  and scrub with a damp cloth.
  4. Drain Cleaner – Combine 1/4 c. baking soda, 1/4 c. salt and 1 T. cream of tartar. Pour mixture in drain and add 1/2 c. white vinegar. Follow with 1 c. boiling water; allow to stand, then flush with cold water.
  5. Drain Freshener – Mix 2 T. baking soda, 2 T. salt and 1 tsp. cream of tartar. Pour into drain and flush slowly with water.
  6. General Cleaner – Mix ½ c. of ammonia, 1/3 c. vinegar, 2 T. baking soda and 1 gallon of water.
  7. Wooden Cutting Board – To remove that smell of onion or garlic, sprinkle the board with baking soda, rub in with a wet cloth, then rinse well.
  8. Coffee Cup Stains – Scrub the stained cup with a moist rag dipped in baking soda. If this does not work then soak the cup in a diluted solution of 2 T. chlorine bleach and 1 quart warm water. Wash thoroughly.
  9. Dye Stained Load of Clothes –  First, put your normal detergent into the washing machine – the amount called for the size of load you are washing. Then add 1 cup water conditioner (Spring Rain, Calgon or Rain Drops) and 1 cup baking soda. Fill up washer with clothes and water, agitate for 5 minutes, allow to soak, finish washing. Check before putting in dryer. May still have to try Energine on remaining spots.
  10. Deoderizers –  Place dishes of baking soda in any enclosed area that needs refreshing. You can also add a cotton ball dipped in vanilla to sweeten the scent.
  11. Enamel Ware – Combine 2 T. baking soda and 1 quart of hot water.
  12. Formica Stains – Remove stains by rubbing baking soda on dry surface using a damp cloth.
  13. Cloudy Stemware –  Make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub the cloudiness from the stemware. OR try using 1/2 T. ammonia and water, soak overnight, then wash.
  14. Sticky Residue on Iron – Make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it on the surface of your iron.
  15. Refrigerator Odor – Open a container of fresh baking soda and place in your refrigerator for every day freshness. If the odor is more serious,  combine baking soda and water and wash the interior of the refrigerator with the solution;  1 C. vinegar combined with 1 gal. water can be used for more thorough cleansing or place activated charcoal on a cookie sheet while you keep the unit running.  The charcoal will eventually become used up but can be refreshed by putting it into a 300 degree oven for 1 hour. Replace in refrigerator to absorb more odor., do this for up to 10 days.  Activated charcoal can be purchased in an aquarium supplies or green house store
  16. RUST on plastic – use baking soda or  fresh lemon juice, let set 30 minutes, then wash off.
  17. SHOWER CURTAINS –  For lighter cleaning or spot cleaning use baking soda to remove mildew.
  18. THERMOS BOTTLE – clean using boiling water and 1 Tbsp. baking soda, then brush and wash.
  19. TILE Mildew – Tile can be washed with a paste of baking soda and bleach.  Use a small brush to scrub the area.  One gallon of hot water with ½ cup of ammonia will also do the job.

REF: Household Cleaning Recipes, C. Birdsong, CO State, 1983 Stain Removal Handbook, Max Alth Old House Journal, ISU staff specialists
Prepared by Iowa State University ANSWERLINE 800-262-3804

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Removing ink from clothing

Removing ink from clothing requires a two step process.  First you need to remove the oily portion of the ink and then remove the dye portion.

Step 1. Spray or sponge* with a dry-cleaning solvent (example: Aerosol Shout, Spray’n Wash, K2R Spot Lifter) or treat with a stain stick. Then rub with heavy-duty liquid detergent and scrub in hot water.

Step 2. Soak in an all-fabric bleach (examples: Biz, Clorox 2, Snowy Bleach, Vivid) diluted according to package directions. Use liquid chlorine bleach for tough dye stains on fabrics that are colorfast to bleach. Wash in the hottest water allowable for fabric using detergent.

*”Sponging” confines the stain to a small area and keeps it from spreading. To do this, use absorbent material, such as clean rags or white paper towels, and a dry-cleaning solvent, spot remover, or aerosol pretreatment spray. Follow these steps: Pad the working surface with clean rags or paper towels that can absorb stains. Place the stained area or spot on the fabric face down over the padded surface. Dampen a small white cloth with solvent. Use the dampened cloth to pat the stain from the wrong side of the fabric. Feather the edges of the stain working from the outside toward the center to keep the stained area from getting larger. As the stain transfers to the absorbent material beneath the fabric, move the stain to a clean place on the absorbent material so the stain has a clean place on which to transfer. Repeat this procedure until all traces of stain are gone. Launder to remove any ring that might be left by the solvent.

So remember when you get an ink stain that it doesn’t mean you have ruined your clothing.  Follow these steps for a successful result!

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Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Oh No! Crayon stains in clothing!

imageCrayon stain on your child’s clothing? This is a dye stain so you will spray or sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent (Goof Off or Goo Gone) then rub with heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent before washing.

Did a crayon accidently end up inside a dryer load of clothes? First place the amount of detergent you would use for that size load.

Add: 1 cup water conditioner (Spring Rain, Calgon or Rain Drops) and 1 cup baking soda.

Fill up washer with clothes and water, agitate for 5 minutes. Allow the load to soak for a bit before you finish washing. Check before putting in dryer. You may still have to try a dry cleaning fluid on remaining spots.

Need to clean the dryer?

Unplug or shut off the gas. Use a non-abrasive, non-flammable cleanser (Soft-Scrub) and clean. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Then tumble a load of old rags or towels on regular cycle to remove rest of stain.

Hope that this helps the next time you find yourself with this problem.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Hotline Resources

Sometimes, even in this day of Google searching and networking, it is hard to find the answer to a question.  I’ve listed hotline numbers for Iowa and Minnesota that may be helpful.  Remember that AnswerLine is only a phone call away if you don’t see a resource for the question that you have.

Hotlines available for all
Iowa Concern (800-447-1985)

  • Financial questions, legal issues, family transitions
  • Phones are answered all hours, all days
  • TTD (Telecommunications Device for Deaf Persons) (800-735-2942)
Teen Line (800-443-8336)

  • Personal and health-related information and referral
  • Phones are answered all hours, all days
  • Teen Line is an information/referral hotline
  • TTD (Telecommunications Device for Deaf Persons) (800-735-2942)
Farm On (877-BFC-1999)

  • Program to match beginning and retiring farmers
  • Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hotlines available to Iowa Residents Only
AnswerLine (800-262-3804)

  • Questions relating to home and family
  • Relay Iowa (TTY) 800-735-2942
  • Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.
  • Email questions to answer@iastate.edu
Iowa Healthy Families (800-369-2229)

  • Health Information and Referral, Confidential
  • TDD (Telecommunications Device for Deaf Persons) (800-735-2942)
  • Phones are answered all hours, all days.
Hortline (515) 294-3108

  • Hortline provides assistance to home gardeners on lawn, garden, and ornamental questions
  • Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1-4:30 p.m.
  • Email questions to hortline@iastate.edu
PORKLine (800-808-7675)

  • Available to assist Iowa pork producers in all aspects of pork production
  • Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Email questions to ipic@iastate.edu

The MN Bed Bug Hotline 612-624-2200 or 1-855-644-2200
The bed bug hotline at the University of Minnesota can:

  • Provide information on bed bugs
  • Suggest ways to reduce the number of bed bugs in your home
  • Provide advice on selecting a Structural Pest Control Company
  • Recommend steps you can use to avoid bed bugs in your everyday life and while traveling.

www.bedbugs.umn.edu   |  Search: Lets Beat the Bug @letsbeatthebug

 

Minnesota Farm Information Line  800-232-9077

Minnesota agriculture and small acreage farm questions

  • Referrals made to local Extension Agriculture Personnel when available
  • Will answer some horticulture questions
  • Available: 8:30-1:30 Monday through Friday

 

Water Resources Center 800-322-8642

General water information and research information about water quality, shorelines, drinking water, and sewage and septic system questions.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Holiday Laundry Stains

The holidays are right around the corner – a time we want to dress up our tables for special dinners. With this comes the possibility of staining our holiday tablecloths. Please read below to discover ways of removing certain types of stains from these special coverings.cleaning-a-table-cloth-stain[2

For all stains, it is important to:

  1. Check laundry for stains before washing. Many stains need pretreatment.
  2. Take care of stains promptly. Fresh stains are much easier to remove than those over 24 hours old.
  3. Blot up any excess liquid with a clean white cloth or paper towel.
  4. Inspect wet laundry before drying to be sure a stain has been removed. If a stain is still evident, do not dryer dry. The heat of drying makes the stain more permanent.

For Cranberry, Apple, Grape, and Orange Stains as well as Wine Stains (also referred to as Tannin Stains):

  1. Do NOT use natural soap (usually in bar form). Wash in hot water with detergent (Wisk, Era, Tide). Fresh stains are usually removed by laundering the fabric using detergent in hot water (f safe for the fabric), without any special treatment.
  2. Old tannin stains may need bleaching for more complete removal.

For Candle Wax and Gravy, Use a two step treatment:

  1. Remove the oil/waxy portion of the stain, then
  2. Remove the dye portion using bleach (safe for the fabric).
  1. Spray or sponge with a dry-cleaning solvent or treat with a stain stick. Then rub with heavy duty liquid detergent and scrub in hot water.
  2. Soak in an all-fabric bleach diluted according to package directions. Use liquid chlorine bleach for tough dye stains on fabrics that are color fast to bleach. Wash in as hot of water allowable for fabric using detergent.
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Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

Fels NapthaDid you know you can make your own laundry detergent from just a few simple ingredients. You can even use it in your HE washer. There are several recipes available; you may want to try more than one of them.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

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