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Since I'm an admitted bachelor, you may be wondering what I would actually
know about taking care of a house or apartment (or anything for that matter).
Well, let me say that since I am a rather lazy (um, I mean I like to maximize
return on effort expenditures) bachelor I hate to waste effort cleaning
my apartment. I am therefore very motivated to find the most efficient
ways of taking care of my apartment, car, etc. So I would like to share
with you some of my favorite tips which I've collected over time.
I would like to note that I'm not affiliated with any products I mention
these are things that have worked for me.
Also, be careful when using cleaners. Do NOT mix cleaners. Of the things
I suggest, be especially sure not to mix the X14 and Comet. You can produce
fumes that will hurt you!
This page really IS under construction. I have more tips which I haven't
had time to add. If you have some things you'd like to share with me, please
do e-mail me. (pietro[atsign]videoi.com (@ omitted to reduce spam. Use @ instead of [atsign] of course).
This is undoubtedly the worst. I hate cleaning bathrooms. Here's some
things I've discovered over time:
Mildew: I use X14 Mildew remover. It's not as strong as it used
to be about 10 years ago when it would dissolve mildew instantaneously
and if you got it on your skin you could feel it burn, but it's still pretty
quick (~10- 15 minutes) to dissolve mildew (with no work!) and is probably
safer. I always use latex gloves. These are handy for lots of things I
Special Tip: Remember when you first bought your shower curtain and
it didn't get mildewey for a really really long time, then after the first
time, it seems to get mildew pretty often? You can restore that mildew-proof
action by soaking your shower curtain in a solution of water and X14. I
fill the bottom of the tub with enough water to cover the curtain and then
spray in about 10 triggerfuls of X14. (You have your latex gloves on, of
course) Swish the curtain around so that it gets thoroughly covered and
then hang it up and let it dry. Works for me.
Mirrors: Somebody wrote in and told me they used shaving cream on
their mirrors to eliminate fog. I was credulous, so I tried another
experiment... One third of the mirror I used windex, one third I
left as control and one third I used a coating of "Edge" Gel. First
off, it took quite a bit of buffing to get the shaving cream (gel) to become
transparent and you could still see a slight film if you looked at it at
an angle. (If you didn't know what to look for, though, and didn't
look at the right angle, you really wouldn't notice it) Well, I have
used a lot of anti-fog chemicals and I've never seen anything work this
well, folks. The shaving cream (gel) panel has remained absolutely
fog free for over a month, as of the time of this writing and there's still
no fog at all! (Hey, no comments on how often I clean my mirrors
(My pre-shaving cream comments :) :Somebody once told me that if you used
an amonia cleaner on glass it would be less likely to fog up. I decided
to try this, so I cleaned the left third of my mirror with Windex (with
ammonia), the center third with Glass Plus (what I'd always used) and the
last third I just left as a control and didn't clean it. Sure enough, the
Windex cleaned side had notably less fog, and the other two were identical.
The effect lasted about a week for me but I'm sure it'll vary for everyone
depending on how hot and steamy you take your showers.
Note: I used to use Fog-X but I thought it was kind of a pain since it
really didn't last long on the bathroom mirror. I use it in my car, though,
see the car section. And I think the shaving cream has a bit too
much residue for use in the car.
Fixtures: I rather like Lysol's Foaming Disinfectant Basin, Tub
& Tile Cleaner spray because I like the way it smells, and it leaves
what I think is an unusually shiny surface on the chrome parts.
Soap Scum in the Tub: Ahhh, I saved the best for last. It took me
years of scrubbing with every kind of chemical I could think of and brushes
and sponges and etc. and I never found the proper thing to clean the tub.
Until I got stupid and used the soft-scouring pad on the backside of the
kitchen sponge type of sponge! (Note: don't use the super abrasive ones.
The ones I use are the white scrubby material, which is about the hardness
of a fingernail I suppose) Takes that soap scum right off! Just use your
favorite cleaner, I happen to use some X14 soap scum remover since I have
it around, but it really doesn't work better than anything else I've found.
Resolve, Resolve, Resolve. This stuff takes out everything I've ever spilled
on my carpets or upholstery. There may be some other brands that work as
well, but, I've never needed to try them.
But what about candle wax? If you use drippy candles and the wax runs off
your candles, off your holder, off your cabinet and onto the carpet (or
any other cloth) you can remove it easily with a paper towel and a warm
iron. Fold the paper towel a few times and put it over the wax spot. Iron
the paper towel over the spot, and as the wax melts, the paper will absorb
it. You may have to repeat this a few times, but it works well and is quite
Somebody wrote me an e-mail asking how to get lipstick out of carpet. We
discovered that rubbing alcohol (although I prefer denatured ethyl alcohol,
myself) would takethe stains out.
Vinyl and Plastic Care
I'm probably going to get sued for this eventually, but here goes:
DO NOT USE "ARMOUR ALL" ON ANYTHING, EVER!!
Rubber materials rot, tires crack and plastic material turns cloudy
with that stuff. I've had auto detailers tell me that it has something
to do with it being a water based solution. I have no idea, but I used
to use it, myself, and it never protected anything that I could tell. When
I asked around what would be good to use, I hear universally, "Clear Guard".
I have been using this on my vinyl and plastic for several years, now (Including
the black interior of my car which sits out in the California Sun (TM)
all day while I'm at work. I've had great success with this stuff and my
car's interior still looks brand new. No cracking, fading or decay of the
rubber and plastic.
Which leads me to:
Well, every good bachelor has to take care of their car!
Windows: If you like to drive fast, drive in the rain, or drive through
bug infested areas, I would recommend RAIN-X highly. It's a little more
work because it takes a little time to apply it, but it's worth it for
the above people. If your windshield has fine scratches in it, it will
tend to make those less visible so you can see better to drive faster.
If it rains, you can see very clearly since the water immediately beads
up and rolls off, and doesn't make a big distorting slobber on the windshield.
You don't need to use your windshield wipers if you drive over 30 (typically)
and it will last longer if you don't because the wipers tend to live up
to their names and wipe it off. One other thing I've noticed is that bug
splatters tend not to stick to the windshield as much. Plus they clean
Rear Window Defogger: I bought my car used, (It's an 1987 Toyota Corolla
FX 16, which is basically a hatchback Corolla with the MR2 engine stuffed
under the hood. It performs great, it handles well, it's got lots of room,
gets good mileage, and is incredibly reliable. Trouble is, it looks kind
of like a Gremlin. Ah, well...) and it had a couple of the rear window
defogger strips which didn't work. I was able to repair the strips that
didn't work by simply touching up the wires with a conductive pen where
the old conductors were scratched off. Usually (as was my case) it's just
a small point somewhere. Conductive pens can be found at pretty much any
electronics components store for hobbiests that carry a full line of circuit
board prototyping stuff.
Driving in the Sunshine: Actually, I'm not going to get into driving tips
because I'm sure you all know how to drive, but I've driven delivery trucks
during the day and make long drives of 1000-1500 miles in a day. (I used
to drive from Seattle to San Francisco or LA fairly often). Anyway, I've
learned the best thing for long trips is a pair of lightly darkened polarized
sunglasses. The polarization removes road glare and blinding reflections
off of bumpers, roads and glass. The fact that it's not very dark means
that it doesn't slow down your reaction time or make it difficult to see
those errant garbage trucks swerving in front of you.
Remove any spot from the paint of your car: Actually, I really can't recommend
this, but I have done it when desperate. Denatured Ethyl Alcohol will take
anything off, including paint. Dab a few drops on a clean Kleenex or other
thng soft and CLEAN (if it's not clean, you will imbed the dirt in your
car paint) and wipe on the spot gently. I'm pretty sure this is removing
your paint, so use sparingly and you have been warned!
Kitchen (or Dining Room) Table
Well, my dining room table has a semi-porous white surface. (Yeah, sounds
stupid, doesn't it? :) But it's not that bad. I simply use a spray wax
when I dust it, (I like anti-static "Spring Fresh" Pledge) and spills just
wipe up and don't soak in.
You can also use a similar trick for marble (which is highly porous)
surfaces, using professional marble wax for them.
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