Affresh Blog

May 23, 2013

Fun in the Sun! But…

Colin

Remember just yesterday when we talked about how nice it was that the weather was finally changing and we shared tips on how to start your spring cleaning projects? Well, maybe it wasn’t yesterday – but it sure feels like it was! Now, its Memorial Day weekend already…how did that happen?

While the official start of summer isn’t for another month or so, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of getting in that “summer mood.” This is, after all, the kickoff weekend for cookouts, lounging poolside, beach days and camping trips. Just good old fashioned fun in the sun…

Which means it’s also the kickoff weekend for grass stains, tracking dirt, lemonade and ice tea spills, and everyone’s favorite question, “How did sand get in there?”

Summer brings on a whole new range of spills and stains that you haven’t worried about in months. To better protect yourself from all that accompanies your fun in the sun this season, here are some helpful stain-removal tips for common summertime annoyances:

• Ketchup/BBQ Sauce/Salsa— First be scraped off of the cloth, to remove as much of the sauce as possible. Then spray the stain with a laundry pretreater, rub it into the stain and let the product work for at least 10 minutes before laundering. Opt for the warmest water the garment can take according to the care label and feel free to add color-safe bleach to the load.

• Mustard – remove as much of the mustard as possible and then pretreating the spot with white vinegar. Launder according to the care label with detergent and a little color-safe bleach to finish the job.

• Mayonnaise – Don’t use water! Apply a pretreater or liquid detergent directly to the grease stain. “Work it in, don’t just put it on there,” as these products work better when worked into the fibers.

• Oil or Melted Butter – Don’t use water! For a grease spot, cover the stain with either baby powder or cornstarch to absorb the oil. Let the powder soak up some of the oil, then brush it off and pretreat the stain before laundering.

• Charcoal –  Always get rid of the charcoal residue while the stain is still dry, by brushing it off. With powder detergent make a paste using and a little bit of water and apply it to the Work the paste into the stain and then launder the garment using the warmest water the garment can handle according to the care label.

• Tip: If the offending mark persists after treatment for any of the stains mentioned above, launder the piece a second time before the garment has a chance to dry.

SWIMWEAR CARE: Wash in warm or cold water on a gentle cycle, or hand wash.  Do not use liquid chlorine bleach, as it can lead to fiber breakage and cause yellowing.  Dry on a low heat setting or a permanent press cycle that includes a cool-down, and remove promptly to prevent wrinkling.  Otherwise drip-dry or lay flat to dry.  And don’t forget to read the fabric care label.

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May 09, 2013

Meal’s Over, Time to Clean it Up

Colin

About two weeks ago my buddy had friends over to his apartment because he had gotten a new job and wanted to celebrate. He had chips and dip and other assorted snacks spread out all over his apartment and plenty of adult beverages for everyone who stopped by to say congrats. Eat, drink, be merry – that sort of thing.

But the real kicker was that he’d prepared a feast; chicken cutlets and pasta with a thick tomato sauce, to go along with a large house salad and bread sticks. I never expected my friend to be a culinary savant but I guess the lesson here is never underestimate an Italian in the kitchen. The food was delicious! By the time we were done, we were all thoroughly impressed….and totally stuffed.

We left that night excited for his new job, full of chicken, pasta, and wine, and none of us thought twice about cleaning up. Hey, it happens.

Well, I was over there again just the other night and – while he had done a decent job making his place presentable again – he had clearly forgotten about his cooktop, which we’re all guilty of from time to time (or always). I joked that the food still baked on to the surface looked just as good as when he served it to us a couple weeks earlier. It was the only thing in his apartment that didn’t go right back to looking like it had before he had guests over and, unfortunately for him, it showed.

Cooktops are a relatively small surface in a kitchen but they can really affect the overall appearance of the home. Everyone’s been a victim of a gross-looking cooktop, but it’s how you recover from that gross-looking cooktop that brings the room together. Something about that shine and reflection off the surface can really create a germ-free feel and a total sense of cleanliness.

Luckily for my friend, he knows a guy who was able to hook him up with affresh Cooktop cleaner and it made all the difference in the world. Now he just owes me another meal! 

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May 07, 2013

My Favorite Teacher

Jamie

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day and, looking back, I was pretty lucky to have been taught by a lot of great teachers! My second grade teacher, Mrs. Roethel, was pretty awesome in that second grade way of looking at things. She was fair, gave us a lot of playtime and was really nice. My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Cytryn, definitely gave me special treatment because I led our classroom to victory in the school-wide reading competition (I read more books than anyone in school, including the fifth graders…pretty sweet). So obviously she was alright in my book.

But the one teacher who really stood out was my eighth grade home economics teacher, Mr. McMahon. Picture this. You walk into home ec on the first day of school and you think you must have the wrong room because standing at the head of the class is, what looks like, a fratboy ex-football player. Burly, macho and a big scowl on his face. Found out later, Mr. McMahon had just graduated from college with a teaching degree and a concentration in social studies. He took the only job he was able to get. Home Economics.

That night, I went home and wrote in my journal that I liked all of my teachers on the first day of school, with the exception of Mr. McMahon, because he seemed mean. By the end of that school year, I had come to dislike every teacher I had except for him.

I like to think of that class as a learning experience for the teacher and the students. Mr. McMahon tried to teach us how to sew (tried being the operative word), he taught us how to maintain a household and we were also given a lesson in balancing a checkbook. And he often peppered in his own personal advice.

The few times I’ve seen Mr. McMahon since then, we’ve laughed about his first teaching position. He knew he couldn’t sew, but he put his heart into that home economics class and was subsequently rewarded. He became a bit of a legend and they also let him teach social studies the following year.

We’re all here because of some pretty great teachers. Tell us – what did your favorite teacher teach you?

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May 03, 2013

Jessica vs. the range

Jessica

Well it’s happened.

I’ve gone to great lengths to keep my range clean. And I use my range. A lot. Every weekend I cook up enough food for the entire week.

Open and shut goes the door as I move through sweet potato hash casseroles, Brussels sprout chips, roasted asparagus, baked sweet potatoes, baked chicken, the list goes on …

I wrap things in foil, line the racks and the pans and do whatever it takes to make sure there are no spills, no drips, nothing that will take any elbow grease in cleaning when it comes to my range.

But then…

But then the sweet potatoes were left in too long and I forgot to line the rack so they dripped onto the hot bottom. There was an unfortunate incident with a dropped baked apple. Juices from a roast chicken.

Ugh, I have to clean it and … wait for it … There’s no self cleaning option on this range of mine. That’s right, we go old school up in this piece.

Last night when I threw in some left overs to warm up for dinner – I realized I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Except for the four days I’ll be out of town, thinking about how I’ll have to clean the range when I get home.

Will I get through it? Will I come out of this dog fight with a clean range and no visible wounds? Will I consult the experts – my mother and grandmother – on their techniques or will I go rogue?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Until then – tell us your tips on how you clean the ranges, cooktops and the appliances throughout your home. I – er – some of us may need the help.

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