Sunday, March 6, 2011

What is THAT in the dryer?

There was a time when my home was spotless top to bottom and I kept it that way with only an occasional gripe from my dear husband. I'll call him "Peter." He would grumble a bit after I created meticulously straight lines across the carpet about how he was to get to the couch without leaving a mark. "So do I need to be Peter Pan?" he would ask. I truly wished he could--I loved those straight lines. Well that was then, ahhh the easy, pre-small boy days. Don't get me wrong, I love my son, but he has forced me to re-think cleaning, and to come up with easy and inventive solutions I never thought I would need! I'll bet most of you have no idea how to get gum out of your dryer barrel, or sharpie off your furniture, or burnt on popcorn stains out of the microwave, and yes, I know how to get rid of pee on any surface!

So just in case you need to know I'll share a few of my favorite tips.

One morning you open your dryer and aarrrggghhhh gum. Not just the wrappers or an unopened pack but ooey gooey gum all over your dryer barrel. Panic sets in -- a new dryer is just not in the budget. Hold tight my fellow Moms there is a solution! Take a deep breath and look to your dryer sheet. Any brand will do. Grab a few, wet them, and lean into the sticky mess. Believe it or not the sheet will remove the gum. You will stand up and think to yourself, I am a hero and I fixed the dryer! The gum has been obliterated.

Just when you think you've saved your home from the small offender you look at your kitchen counter and see "oh no a SHARPIE lid and no marker." Hyperventilating, you look on the ground around the kitchen and then to your son happily coloring at your uncovered kitchen table. Aaaaaarggghhhhh please my perfect little offspring are you using the washable Crayola markers??? Those innocent eyes look up, holding that beautiful stick drawing of”our family Mommy." My heart swells and then skips a beat -- black Sharpie! I remembered when I volunteered in preschool, a teacher handing another teacher a can of men's shaving cream and the marker on the tables mysteriously disappearing. I race up to the bathroom and return with a can of "sensitive skin" cream--oh well it will have to do. I spray it all over the offending stains. I sing to myself; remark to my son on how great we look in the portrait and secretly pray that the marker is gone when I wipe. I pick up a generous amount of paper towel and wipe, and I expel my breath, it worked!!!

Burnt popcorn is the demise of many a microwave both at home and in offices around the country. I must admit that this was my faux pas. The sensor on our microwave has never worked properly so I'm not quite sure why I believed when I hit "popcorn" that it would actually cook my popcorn perfectly. I left the room--big mistake. When I returned black smoke the likes of which I have never seen in my kitchen was pouring out of the microwave. I opened it and grabbed the smoldering bag which I quickly tossed outside to try to minimize the smoke. I then opened all the doors and turned on the stove vent--what a mess. The inside of the microwave was dark brown. It was gross and I believed ruined. I tried all the standard microwave cleaning methods, boiling water inside, lemon, baking soda, scrubbing pad and spray cleaners. Nothing would remove the staining. I was so irritated. I then turned to my computer and someone suggested nail polish remover. I have to admit I was skeptical. Memories of spilling it on my night-table in my bedroom as a young teenager and my mother's reaction came flooding back to me. I knew that nail polish remover can damage finishes but at this point the microwave was ruined. I grabbed the bottle and some cosmetic pads and it worked. It actually removed the staining. I stood in my kitchen doing just a little happy dance. I can't say that the smell is completely gone but it is much better and usable. I'm still working on a solution to get rid of the smell. I let you know when I find one--better than the vinegar solution which I don't think works.

Now my most ridiculous problem. My son is not a straight shooter. Please don't hold it against him but just know that he misses the bowl more than he hits it. The smell of pee nearly knocked me out in his bathroom. I tried everything. I tried all the traditional cleaning products, including those formulated for pets and nothing worked. The smell took on a life of its own. I'll admit I have a ridiculous olfactory sense. I smell everything! The only product I have ever found that completely removed any traces of dirty public restroom is Don Aslett's XO. I swear by the stuff. It has a funky smell when you first spray it but after a bit it destroys the offending odor and leaves nothing in its stead. I LOVE this product. We recently adopted a rescue puppy and it was a lifesaver. No one would ever know she had a few accidents in the house. It is one of my favorite all time products. I've had to mail order it but it is worth it. It comes concentrated and you mix it into a spray bottle with water so a little goes a long way. I keep a spray bottle in my son's bathroom at ALL times.

So my friends I hope if you ever face any of these issues you will now relax and know exactly what to do. My beautiful boy is a source of so much joy but as we all know he is incredibly busy. Every day I have more dilemmas and more solutions to find. I'm becoming quite the expert...Move over Heloise, Alice has an 8 year old son, 10 year old daughter, one husband, two dogs and a water turtle...I know things!


  1. wow - duly noted all those tips! Perhaps you can help with this one - my 11 year wanna be scientist decided to melt led over the weekend - the project left a very expensive calphalone pot with weird substance in it that I can't remove and he also took said pot and laid it on my counter straight from the stove - there is a lovely stain which I made worse by using brillo - any suggestions?

  2. I would try toothpaste and a toothbrush for the countertop. I can't remember what kind of countertop you have...if it's solid surface get some really fine grit sandpaper and try that. My experience that brilo makes stains worse. What did he melt in the pot? Where does one even get lead????

  3. Ok will try toothpaste and also try sandpaper. The counters are regular corian. He used the led he got from his science teacher - it's chemistry this month - fun!!! Thanks again