Remove stains from walls before you slap on another coat: It's the first commandment of painting. Here’s how to wash seven common stains off your walls.
Painting instructions often warn: Remove stains from walls before painting. But they never say how. Any cleaning rookie can wipe off dust and cobwebs. But it takes a cleaning pro to scour grease stains, watermarks, and kids’ crayon and ink wall art.
Dirt and Grime Dirt and grime are part of everyday life. The oil from your hands gets onto walls,cabinets, doors, and door frames. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($3 for 4 pads) easily cuts through these stains. Wet the sponge and rub gently to avoid taking bits of paint off with the stain.
Or try this: Mix 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup white distilled or apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda with one gallon of warm water. Wipe the solution over walls with a sponge or cloth, and rinse with clear water. The solution won’t dull the painted finish or leave streaks.
Grease Grease is an occupational hazard of cooking; it covers cabinets and walls and attracts dirt and dust. Any good dish soap can remove grease stains on walls. For small stains, mix 1/4 teaspoon of soap in a cup of warm water, and wipe. Rinse with clean water, and blot until dry. Clean stubborn grease stains with solution of 1/3 cup ofwhite household vinegarwith 2/3 cup of water.
Crayons Wall erasers work like a charm on crayon marks. If they don’t do the trick:
Rub marks with toothpaste (not gel).
Erase marks with an art gum or a pencil eraser; use a circular motion.
Swipe marks with baby wipes.
Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub marks.
Permanent MarkerPermanent markers are tough to remove from walls. Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and dab the stain. Or spray marks with hairspray, then wipe drips.
InkBallpoint ink, which is oil-based, often succumbs to foaming shaving cream, dry-cleaning solvents such as Carbona, or nail polish remover. Make sure you open windows when using cleaning solvents and polish remover.
MildewMildew is afungusthat eats soap scum and body oil. To remove from walls, spray with vinegar water: 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 quart water. Also, try an enzyme laundry detergent; follow the pre-treating directions on the label. Blot it on the stain, and then rinse thoroughly with water.
Water StainsAfter you’ve solved theproblemthat caused the water stains, rinse with a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Thoroughly dry with a hairdryer or fans. If bleaching doesn’t remove water stains, you’ll have to repaint. Prime the walls with a stain-killing primer, such as Kilz Paint.
Got bathroom mold on your ceiling? Here’s how to get rid of it and prevent future infestations, too.
If you’ve never experienced bathroom mold, perhaps you aren’t looking deep enough into the corners of your bathroom.
It’s one of the most common problems in any house; it’s also one of the easiest to prevent and cure -- as long as you haven’t let it get out of hand.
“Bathroom mold occurs primarily because mold loves damp, dark, isolated spaces,” says Larry Vetter of Vetter Environmental Services in Smithtown, N.Y. “Typically, a bathtub, shower, or entire bathroom remains damp enough for mold growth just from showering or bathing.” Common Causes of Bathroom Mold
Lingering moisture caused by lack of ventilation
Leaky toilets, sinks, and plumbing pipes
Damp cellulose materials such as rugs, paper products, wood, wallpaper, grout, drywall, and fabric
So how do you know if you have a mold problem? Matt Cinelli, owner/operator of AERC Removals in North Attleboro, Mass., says, “If you can see it or smell it, you’ve got it.” Finding the Mold in Your Bathroom Bathroom mold isn’t always obvious. Check out hidden areas, such as under sinks, access doors to shower and bath fixtures, around exhaust fans, even in crawl spaces and basements underneath bathrooms. “It could be starting in the bathroom but actually forming in another room,” says Cinelli, adding that lack of proper ventilation is the biggest culprit for mold growth. Preventing Mold The best defense is preventing mold from occurring in the first place. Yashira Feliciano, director of housekeeping for Conrad Conado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, offers the following tips for keeping mold out of your bathroom:
Use your bathroom ventilation fan when you shower or bathe, and leave it on for 30 minutes following the end of your bath; if you don’t have an exhaust fan, install one.
Keep household humidity levels below 50%; an air conditioner or dehumidifier can help.
Use a mildew-resistant shower curtain, and wash or replace it frequently.
Don’t keep bottles of shampoo or shower gel, toys, or loofahs in the shower, as they provide places for mold to grow and hide.
Wash your bathroom rugs frequently.
Getting Rid of Mold What do you do if mold growth is already a problem? As long as the infestation isn’t large, you can take remedial measures yourself:
Strip away and replace any caulking or sealant that has mold growth.
Clean your bathroom with mold-killing products, such as bleach, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.
Open windows and doors while cleaning to provide fresh air and help dry out the mold.
If you have a problem area bigger than 10 square feet, refer to guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or call in a professional.
“When you see it creeping into walls and insulation, you need a professional,” says Cinelli, who notes that tearing out walls (which may be necessary for a big problem) can release mold spores into the rest of the house and create an even bigger issue.
“The idea is to kill it and then remove it,” he says. “And the most important thing is to figure out why you have it before you clean it up.”
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Repair wood floors and scratches that make rooms look worn out. We’ll show you easy ways to put the luster back into your floors.
Dogs chase kids, pans drop, chairs scrape, and soon you must repair wood floors and erase scratches that make a mess of your red oak or Brazilian cherry. A professional floor refinisher will charge $1 to $4 per square foot to apply a new coat of finish. No worries. We’ve got inexpensive ways to remove wood scratches and repair deep gouges in a few easy steps.
Take some artistic license to hide minor scratches in wood floors by rubbing on stain-matching crayons and Sharpie pens. Wax sticks, such as Minwax Stain Markers, are great scratch busters because they include stain and urethane, which protects the floor’s finish.
Don’t be afraid to mix a couple of colors together to get a good match. And don’t sweat if the color is a little off. Real hardwoods mix several hues and tones. So long as you cover the contrasting “white” scratches, color imperfections will match perfectly.
Mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar, which work together to remove dirt, moisturize, and shine wood. Pour a little directly onto the scratch. Let the polish soak in for 24 hours, then wipe off. Repeat until the scratch disappears.
Spot-Sand Deep Scratches
It takes time to repair wood gouges: Sand, fill, sand again, stain, and seal. Here are some tips to make the job go faster.
Sand with fine-gauge steel wool or lightweight sandpaper.
Always sand with the grain.
Use wood filler, which takes stain better than wood putty.
Use a plastic putty knife to avoid more scratches.
Seal the area with polyurethane, or whatever product was used on the floor originally.
Apply the polyurethane coat with a lambs wool applicator, which avoids air bubbles in the finish.
Fix Gaps in the Floor
Old floorboards can separate over time. Fill the gaps with colored wood putty. Or, if you have some leftover planks, rip a narrow band and glue it into the gap.