What is an Emergency Maintenance Request?

  • Many apartments are only responding to emergency maintenance requests during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Emergency maintenance requests should only be made in cases of true emergency, which pose a safety threat to the resident or major potential damage to the property
  • Some maintenance issues can be easily handled by the resident

Apartments are pretty complex places, and things are bound to go wrong from time to time. So, how’s a renter to know when it’s appropriate to file a routine maintenance request or opt instead to press the proverbial “red button” to summon emergency assistance?

At this point, it’s important to note that the coronavirus pandemic has caused many apartment complexes to shift gears and only offer maintenance services for true emergencies at this time. It’s an inconvenience for sure but it’s being done to keep residents and maintenance workers as safe as possible.

What does emergency maintenance mean?

The concept of what qualifies as emergency maintenance can seem convoluted to the uninformed tenant, but it actually isn’t. Basically, if the issue at hand presents a safety issue or potential for property damage, call for emergency maintenance post haste. If not, wait until regular business hours resume.

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Types of emergency maintenance requests

  • Natural gas smell. Such a leak can cause disastrous consequences, including death. Never hesitate to make the call if you suspect a gas leak.
  • A broken water line, flooding or a small leak that appears to be getting worse. Those things can go from zero to 60 pretty quick, causing significant damage.
  • Fire. Before you call for emergency maintenance, however, dial 911.
  • Septic tank back-up or failure. Aside from being gross and unsanitary, this problem can also cause major damage.
  • Non-functioning heat during periods of freezing temperatures
  • Non-functioning air-conditioning during periods of hot weather
  • Power outage. Sometimes, there’s nothing maintenance can do about an outage, such as when severe weather strikes. However, random or frequent unexplained power outages can cause other safety problems, so it should be addressed.
  • A broken door lock. No one should be able to access your apartment except for you and trusted individuals. A broken door lock leaves a resident vulnerable and endangered.

When not to call for emergency maintenance

  • Clogged toilet
  • Broken or non-functional light bulb
  • Heating or air-conditioning malfunction in non-extreme temperatures
  • Appliances on the fritz, like the ice maker or oven
  • A drip/leak so weak that it can be temporarily handled using a bucket or cooking pot

Instead, opt to either fix the problem yourself, if possible, or fill out a non-urgent maintenance request for an issue of this sort.

How to submit an emergency maintenance request

Ideally, when you first move in, management will provide detailed instructions on how to make emergency and general maintenance requests. If they don’t, be sure to ask and keep the info somewhere it’s readily accessible to you.

Most apartments will have a 24-hour phone line for emergencies. Only use this if you’re really and truly in a serious situation (as described above).

For general maintenance, some apartments rely on voice mail or old-school paper request forms. Many others have made the leap to digital requests. Check with your management team or hit up the property’s web site to find out which yours uses.

You’re the best resource

Even the best property managers can’t anticipate every problem. They’re simply not in your space day in and day out the way that you are. So, your role as a tenant is critical. Keep a watchful eye on appliances, look out for anything amiss and take steps before a small issue becomes a big, fat one.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

6 Creative Storage Solutions for Efficiency or Studio Apartments

If you’re hoping to live in a popular city, neighborhood or building while sticking to a budget, considering a studio or efficiency apartment could help make your real estate dreams a reality.

These smaller living spaces are often located in desirable parts of town at a price point that’s more affordable to single renters. The downside? Less square footage. The upside? A chance to declutter and less space to keep clean!

With a few organizational skills and a little creativity, moving your belongings into a studio or efficiency apartment doesn’t mean you have to give everything up. Here are some creative storage solutions for studio apartments, efficiency apartments and other small spaces.

1. Multipurpose when possible

Because floor space will likely be limited, choose your pieces of furniture carefully and wisely. Opt for furniture that will suit your lifestyle and meet your needs (even better if you can meet multiple needs with one piece.)

Think sofas that pull out into a bed, TV stands that offer ample storage, coffee tables and ottomans with built-in storage and other creative solutions. You may not be able to fit in every piece of furniture you’ve always wanted, so decide what’s the most important and the most functional.

pots on a wallpots on a wall

2. Go higher up

You might have limited floor space, but the walls of smaller spaces are often underutilized. Use bookshelves, mounted shelving, hanging fixtures and hooks to give yourself storage options without taking up too much valuable space on the floors.

You can hang pots and pans in the kitchen, use a hanging clothing rack to maximize closet space, display your personal items and more. The key is to be willing to think outside the box. Just be mindful of your security deposit and check with your landlord before installing any serious hardware in the walls or ceiling.

3. Baskets and bins

If storage is lacking, you may find yourself struggling to find places to hide necessary items that aren’t so visually pleasing. Today, baskets and bins are available in a wide range of materials to help give you some storage space without sacrificing your design aesthetic.

Store linens, office supplies, small kitchen equipment or clothing accessories in one easy-to-find location.

4. Don’t forget doors

Your studio or efficiency space may not have a lot of doors, but you have at least one! Doors are also often underutilized in small and large spaces, alike.

Add a hanging rack or hooks for compact, discreet storage of coats, hats, jewelry, towels or anything else you might be struggling to find a home for. Don’t forget about the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, too!

pillow and blanket storagepillow and blanket storage

5. Rotate with the seasons

In order to be as efficient as possible, focus on keeping items you’ll use on a daily basis in the easiest to reach places. In the winter, store summer linens, shoes and clothing under the bed or in another location you don’t need to access often.

In the summer, do the same with heavy blankets, winter coats and boots.

6. Channel Marie Kondo

Stay organized and purge often. Learning to be and stay organized might be the biggest challenge you face in a studio or efficiency apartment, as clutter will become apparent much faster.

Use this as an opportunity to downsize and get rid of items you don’t really need — unworn clothing, excess dishware, materials for past hobbies and the like. Make a point to practice decluttering at least once a year to reassess the necessity of items you’ve collected throughout the year.

Don’t let a small space get you down

A small-space apartment can seem intimidating at first glance, especially if you’re downsizing or used to living in a larger space. Instead of worrying about the size of your space, use your move as an opportunity to reorganize and restructure your belongings.

If you’re willing to get a little unconventional and consider some creative options, you’ll find a place to store all of your favorite things.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

What to Do About Bad Smells in the House

When you’ve found the perfect new home and are counting down the days until you can move in, nothing can put a damper on your spirits quite like bad smells in the house that just doesn’t seem to go away. Musty or stale smells, odors from previous smokers or pet owners, or even smells from fresh paint can be less-than-welcome and hard to get rid of.

While it might take a little elbow grease, there are several plans you can put into place to get your new home smelling a little fresher.

1. Start with a top-to-bottom deep clean

cleaningcleaning

While one can hope that the previous owners, previous tenants or landlord have already done a thorough move-out clean, it doesn’t hurt to go through the process once more to ensure nothing was left behind in the turnover process.

Wipe down surfaces, sweep and mop the floors and use your go-to cleaning products, so the scents left behind will be familiar to you. Perhaps the most important task: open up the windows, turn on any ceiling fans and let fresh air circulate throughout your new home. This will help eliminate any bad smell in the house.

2. Try to identify the cause of the odor

dirty dogdirty dog

If the bad smell in your home still seems to be lingering a day or two after you’ve cleaned and aired out your new space, it’s time to get to the bottom of the issue. Depending on the source, your cleaning techniques will be different.

Pet odors

Odors left behind by pets can be notoriously strong and difficult to get rid of — especially if your home has carpet. Try to identify specific areas where pet urine may have left stains — a blacklight can help you here as it will illuminate any areas containing urine.

You can try techniques like baking soda or an enzyme-based carpet cleaner to spot treat the area and neutralize lingering odors. Spot test any cleaning products first or your security deposit could be at risk if you cause further damage to the flooring.

Food odors

If strong food or spice smells are still present after your general cleaning, focus your attention on the kitchen and deep clean areas like vents, fans, oven, refrigerator, etc. Examine sinks and garbage disposals to see if they might be the source of bad smells. Consider asking your landlord to repaint any walls located close to the oven, refrigerator, sink or microwave.

Smoke odors

Cigarette smoke is one of the most potent odors and hardest to remove, which is why most landlords and property managers prohibit smoking of any kind indoors. Very strong remaining odors can even lead to thirdhand smoke damage to new occupants.

To truly tackle cigarette smoke odors, removable items like blinds, carpet and draperies will need replacing, which is something you should discuss with your landlord.

Mold odors

Odors from mold or moisture damage are not only unpleasant, but they can also impact your health. Mold typically grows in parts of the home that are prone to moisture or ventilation issues — like the bathroom or basement — but can grow almost anywhere including on wood, carpet, food and fabric.

For areas with light mold like the shower, use bleach to effectively remove the mold. For larger mold issues, contact your property manager as a few states have laws in place defining landlord responsibility regarding mold maintenance.

3. Consult with your property owner

man on the phone talking about bad smells in the homeman on the phone talking about bad smells in the home

If you’ve done your own deep cleaning, tried to address the issue at the source and still can’t seem to shake the bad smell in your home, it’s time to consult with your landlord to see how the two of you can address the situation together. In some cases, foul odors can be a sign of a larger issue that is beyond renter control.

Stubborn odors from a previous pet or smoke damage may require a cleaning crew or maintenance crew to replace items like blinds and filters. If your home contains a substantial amount of carpet, ask to have the carpets professionally cleaned if they weren’t already before you moved in.

You may run into issues concerning financial responsibility, as foul odors from food or unhygienic previous tenants are not typically a health risk (though odors from cigarette smoke or pets may be, depending on individual situations). Your landlord may ask you to split the costs or cover costs of additional cleaning if you are unhappy with the living situation, but it is always worth bringing it to their attention early on to see what the two of you can work out.

Eliminate bad smells in your house

Even though they are a pain to deal with, most unpleasant smells in the home can be handled if you are persistent and try various tried-and-true methods to eliminate them.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

10 Natural Ant Repellents to Keep Bugs Out

The ants go marching one by one hurrah, hurrah!

This is cute, animated children’s song but when you see ants marching through your own apartment, it’s suddenly not so much fun. If you notice that these pesky blank insects are a common occurrence in your apartment and are wondering how to get rid of ants, we’ve got some home remedies for ants ready for you to try.

Natural ant repellents to try at home

If you’re looking for a way to get rid of ants without using a pesticide or professional pest control services, here are 10 natural ant repellents and home remedies for ants that you can try.

You can make these natural ant repellents with things you have in your own home, so it’ll be an easy way for you to rid yourself of these pesky critters.

1. Mint

mintmint

Peppermint essential oil is a simple home remedy for ants that you can make yourself.

Get some peppermint essential oil or peppermint leaves, mix it with water and spray around baseboards, doors and windows to deter ants. However, if you have pets, keep in mind that this ant solution is toxic to animals.

2. White vinegar

white vinegarwhite vinegar

White vinegar is truly an all-purpose household product. From cleaning and disinfecting to getting rid of ants, white vinegar is a must-have product.

Take a mixture of hot water and vinegar and scrub your floor and countertops with it as a way to get rid of ants. While the smell is strong for an hour or so, it’ll rid your home of ants.

3. Cinnamon

cinnamoncinnamon

Cinnamon smells and tastes good, but did you know it can also be used as a natural ant repellent? You can use either cinnamon essential oil or cinnamon powder to repel ants.

Take a cotton ball or Q-tip and dab it with cinnamon oil and then place it where you’ve seen ants. Or, sprinkle cinnamon powder along windowsills, baseboards or door entries to stop ants from entering.

4. Pepper

pepperpepper

Pepper is another kitchen staple that everyone has and uses to season food. However, it can also be used as a home remedy for ants.

Sprinkle pepper wherever you have an ant problem. The smell will irritate them and they’ll go away. You can use cayenne or black pepper as your natural ant repellent.

5. Chalk line

chalk linechalk line

This natural ant repellent is somewhat mysterious. Ants use scent as a way to navigate. By drawing a line of chalk where you noticed ants, it seems to disturb the trail of smell and confuse ants. They won’t cross the line anymore and will go away.

6. Water line

waterwater

Like the chalk line trick, you can also get your finger wet and draw a water line where you noticed ants last. This will also deter ants, disrupt the smell and help get rid of your ant problem.

7. Hand soap

hand soaphand soap

Take a pump of hand or dish soap and mix it with some hot water and put it into a spray bottle. You can use this concoction to spray down countertops, entryways or other areas you’ve noticed ants marching about.

Use this natural ant repellent as a way to rid your home of the ant problem while cleaning at the same time.

8. Tea tree oil

tea tree oiltea tree oil

Tea tree oil is another home remedy for ants. Like the other essential oil remedies, you can use tea tree oil mixed with water as a spray to repel ants or you can saturate cotton balls in tea tree oil and place those cotton balls around the house in high-trafficked ant areas.

Both remedies will work, but be careful to keep this away from pets if you’re a pet owner.

9. Coffee grounds

coffee groundscoffee grounds

Who doesn’t have a morning cup of Joe? Well, instead of throwing away your coffee grounds, you can use them to repel ants.

Simply sprinkle the coffee grounds around countertops, windowsills, doors, the pantry or any other area you’ve seen ants crawling around. This hack will rid you of ants and you’ll get more use out of your coffee each day.

10. Corn starch

cornstarchcornstarch

This last approach on how to get rid of ants is a bit messier, but it’s effective.

Do you notice a large cluster of ants or a hive instead of just one or two? If you see a hive of ants, cover it with corn starch and then dump water on it. This will kill the hive entirely.

Preventing ant infestations upfront

These 10 natural ant repellent suggestions are great if you already have an ant problem. However, there are ways to prevent ants from entering your house upfront.

  1. Check your pantry: Ants love food and crumbs and they will feast in your pantry or cupboards. Make sure you seal all of your dry food in plastic containers so ants can’t get into the boxes of food stored in your pantry. Also, make sure to sweep or vacuum your pantry regularly and get all of those tasty crumbs off the floor.
  2. Clean often: Make sure you’re sweeping and mopping your floor daily, if not weekly. This will ensure that there are no crumbs on the floor that ants can snack on.
  3. Pest control: If you want to control ants or any type of insect or pest problem, you can consider hiring a pest control expert to spray your home.

Keeping bugs out

No matter where you live, you’ll likely see a bug or two in your apartment at some point. However, there are easy ways to rid your home of ants using home remedies and ingredients you already have on hand.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Remove Permanent Marker From Any Surface

Permanent markers are essential in every craft room and household.

They are great for creating lasting memories through artwork, writing labels on metals and plastics to help keep your home organized and even covering up scuffs on shoes.

Although the name suggests otherwise, if you accidentally get permanent marker on a surface you didn’t intend, or one ends up in the hands of a very young, but very inspired creative, there are ways to remove it.

Permanent marker can be removed from a variety of surfaces using basic household cleaners and materials. So grab an old towel or washcloth that you don’t mind the strain potentially transferring onto, and follow the instructions below to learn how to remove permanent marker from any surface.

How to remove permanent marker from plastic

writing leftovers on plastic container with permanent markerwriting leftovers on plastic container with permanent marker

If you had used a permanent marker to label a plastic item and now want to alter that label, you can use a dry-erase marker to remove the writing. A dry-erase marker works well for getting permanent marker off of plastic because it contains rubbing alcohol.

Follow these steps:

  1. Color over the permanent marker with the dry-erase marker
  2. Wipe away
  3. Repeat the process if needed

How to remove permanent marker from clothes

using hairspray to remove a stain from a shirtusing hairspray to remove a stain from a shirt

If you got a permanent marker stain on one of your favorite clothing items, don’t fret. There are a number of different methods you can use to get it out of different clothing fabrics. Below are tips for removing permanent marker stains from cotton, leather and wool.

Cotton

Hairspray is an effective way to remove permanent marker from cotton. Be sure that the hairspray contains alcohol, as not all hairspray products do, and this component is critical for removing the stain.

Follow these three steps to clean your cotton item:

  1. Apply hairspray to the area until it feels wet
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes
  3. Put clothing item in the washing machine without other items in case the stain bleeds
  4. Run on warm with detergent

Leather

You can remove permanent marker from leather, without damaging the fabric, using white vinegar.

Follow these three steps to clean your leather item:

  1. Dab vinegar onto the stain with a cloth
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes
  3. Use the same cloth to wipe off the stain using a circular motion

Wool

Hairspray is also an effective way to remove permanent marker from wool. Instead of tossing the item in the wash after setting the stain with hairspray, you can handwash it to prevent damage to the item.

Follow these steps to clean your wool item:

  1. Apply hairspray to the area until it feels wet
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes
  3. Hand wash the item with cold water

How to remove permanent marker from wood

removing permanent marker from wood with toothbrushremoving permanent marker from wood with toothbrush

Not only does toothpaste fight stains in your mouth, but it can also fight stains on your wood furniture or floors. The abrasive quality of toothpaste helps to gently remove the dye without dissolving it. It’s best to use a baking soda toothpaste, but if you don’t have one you can simply mix baking soda with the toothpaste you have. Skip the gel toothpaste, it won’t work.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Apply toothpaste to a cloth or you can even use an old toothbrush!
  2. Rub into the wood, going with the grain
  3. Repeat as needed

How to remove permanent marker from skin

using hand sanitizer to remove permanent marker from handusing hand sanitizer to remove permanent marker from hand

It turns out that hand sanitizer not only can clean your hands of germs but also can be used to remove permanent marker from your skin:

    1. Squirt a dab of hand sanitizer into your hand or on a cloth
    2. Rub directly into the stain
    3. Wipe away with a cloth

How to remove permanent marker from other surfaces

putting rubbing alcohol on a clothputting rubbing alcohol on a cloth

If permanent marker ended up on one of your upholstered furniture pieces, a stainless steel appliance, wall, carpet or glass item, you can remove the stain using the techniques we breakdown below.

Upholstery

Use rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from upholstery. It’s best to blot the area with the rubbing alcohol instead of rubbing as it’s possible to actually massage the stain further into the fabric.

Follow these simple steps using rubbing alcohol:

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth
  2. Blot the area
  3. Wash away the remaining rubbing alcohol using a clean damp cloth

Metal

Similar to plastic, dry-erase markers work well to remove permanent marker from metal. So if permanent marker ends up on one of your stainless steel appliances, follow the steps below. Keep in mind, you may have to repeat this process a couple of times to fully remove the stain.

  1. Color over the stain with a dry-erase marker
  2. Wipe away

Wall

Toothpaste for the win, again! Toothpaste also works great for removing permanent marker from walls without causing damage. As previously mentioned, skip the gel toothpaste and ideally choose one that contains baking soda. Then follow these steps:

  1. Apply toothpaste directly to the wall stain
  2. Allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes
  3. Scrub the mark in a circular motion
  4. Wipe the remaining toothpaste away with a damp cloth

Carpet

To remove permanent marker from the carpet, just like with upholstery, you can use rubbing alcohol. Remember, blot the area with the rubbing alcohol instead of rubbing so you don’t rub the stain further into the carpet. Follow these steps below:

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth
  2. Blot the area
  3. Using a damp, clean cloth, wipe away the remaining rubbing alcohol

Glass

If permanent marker ends up on one of your glass items, such as a window or mirror, you can remove it with nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol by doing the following:

  1. Apply remover of your choice to a cloth
  2. Rub the strain
  3. Use a clean cloth and a multipurpose or glass cleaner to wipe away

Dry-erase boards

In addition to working well to remove stains from walls and plastic, dry-erase markers can be used to remedy a situation where you may have mistakenly used permanent marker on a dry-erase board. In two steps, you can pretend as though nothing ever happened:

  1. Write over the stain with a dry-erase marker
  2. Wipe away with a clean cloth

Few things in life are truly permanent

You may have to repeat the steps laid out above a few times to be successful, but with a little effort and patience, you can remove most permanent marker stains. For additional cleaning hacks, be sure to check out our cleaning and maintenance tips.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How To Clean An Iron To Make It Look Brand New

Cleaning an iron is a household task that’s easy to forget about. However, with all the shirts to press, sheets to smooth and pants to unwrinkle, it’s no wonder our irons get worn out. Giving your iron the TLC it needs can be simple and way cheaper than opting for a newer model.

There are many different ways to clean and shine your iron using some elbow grease and a few items you may already have in your home. Keeping your iron clean is necessary to keep the chore easy and productive, so check out these tips to clean an iron without any fancy cleaning products required.

1. Clean with baking soda

Baking soda is used to clean almost anything, whether it’s your household appliances, fruits and veggies or your iron. You can create a stain-fighting paste using two tablespoons of baking soda mixed with one tablespoon of warm water. Gently rub the paste on a cool iron plate, coating areas that have mineral deposits. Wipe the paste off using a damp cloth.

Pro tip: Avoid getting the paste in the iron’s steam holes. If you manage to get it in there, use a damp cotton dipped in distilled water or a wooden toothpick to clean it out.

2. Clean with sea salt

person filling up water tank in an ironperson filling up water tank in an iron

Believe it or not, using salt to clean your iron can get the job done. Turn your iron on the hottest setting and lay out a brown paper bag or newspaper on your ironing board. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the paper bag or newspaper and begin to iron the salty surface. Continue this process until the salt takes away all the dirt on your iron. After this, wipe the salt residue away with a damp cloth.

Pro tip: Iron in circular motions to maximize the amount of dirt you take off.

3. Clean with a towel and vinegar

If your main issue with your iron is corrosion, the towel and vinegar trick will make it look good as new! Soak a towel in vinegar and then set the iron onto the towel with the soleplate facing down. Let the iron sit in the vinegar-soaked towel for 30 minutes before wiping it down.

Pro tip: Place your soaked towel in a bin or other container to avoid vinegar seeping into unwanted areas.

4. Clean an iron’s steam holes

person steaming their ironperson steaming their iron

A common problem with dirty irons is the steam holes getting clogged. A good indication of some much needed cleaning is when the iron sputters and leaves mineral-filled or rusty water spots on clothing. Mix ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of distilled water into the iron’s reservoir and inspect the steam ducts in an upright position.

Use an old toothbrush, wooden toothpick or cotton swab to clear away build-up. Test the iron by heating it up and depressing the steam button until the steam flows out freely. Let the iron cool before pouring out the mixture into the reservoir.

Pro tip: Never use metal to clean the soleplate of your iron as this could scratch or damage it.

5. Clean with nail polish remover

Not only does nail polish remover clear away nail polish, but also the gunk on your iron plate! Heat up your iron and dip a cotton ball into some acetone nail polish remover. Use a heat-protecting glove like an oven mitt and wipe the cotton ball along the surface of the hot iron. This method helps dissolve any unwanted residue on your iron. Let your iron cool and wipe away excess nail polish remover.

Pro tip: Perform this cleaning method outside so that your household doesn’t breathe in the strong chemical fumes.

6. Clean with paracetamol

An unusual yet excellent hack for cleaning your iron (especially with burnt residue) is paracetamol (like Tylenol). In fact, any acetaminophen tablet will do. First, turn your iron on the highest setting. Once the plate is hot, use an oven mitt or other heat-protecting glove to press the pill directly onto the burnt area of your iron. The pill should melt into a gel which then dissolves the burnt spot on your iron. Use a damp cloth to clean the soleplate and repeat if necessary.

Pro tip: Don’t use tweezers or pliers to press the pill onto your hot iron. One slip could result in scratching your iron or burning your fingers!

7. Clean an iron with wax paper

someone holding an iron uprightsomeone holding an iron upright

Similar to the salt trick above, you can use wax paper with coarse salt to clean your iron. Place wax paper on your ironing board or a cutting board and sprinkle about a tablespoon of sea salt over the wax paper. Heat the iron to its highest temperature and iron the salt without applying much pressure. The residue will stick to the salt and your iron will be good as new!

Pro tip: Make sure the steam function is off while you perform this cleaning trick.

8. Clean with toothpaste

Toothpaste not only clears the plaque on your teeth but the muck on your iron as well. All you need to do is smear a small amount of white toothpaste on any affected areas on your iron’s soleplate. Leave the toothpaste there for a few minutes before wiping it away with a clean cloth.

Pro tip: Finish things off by filling your iron’s reservoir with distilled water and setting it down on a towel. Steam your iron leaving in for an additional few minutes to work through.

9. Clean with dryer sheets

Iron assisting with laundryIron assisting with laundry

Dryer sheets have more uses than freshening up your drying clothes. One way to use a dryer sheet you may not have heard of yet is to clean your iron. Simply rub the soleplate with dryer sheets while the iron is on its lowest heat setting. As soon as you feel the dryer sheet get too hot, grab a fresh one. Repeat this process until the iron is clean.

Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to wear a heat-protecting glove or mitt when touching an iron soleplate. You should be fine while in the lowest setting, but be cautious.

10. Clean an iron with ice cubes

If you accidentally left your hot iron near something plastic, you probably have a bit of a mess to deal with. However, melted plastic is easy to get off an iron by using simple items like a big bowl, ice cubes and a plastic knife or spatula. Place your iron in a bowl or pan full of ice to harden the plastic. If your plastic is already hardened, you can skip this step. Now take a plastic knife or spatula and scrape the plastic away, then wipe it down with a damp rag until you feel the iron’s surface to be smooth.

Pro tip: It’s crucial to get plastic off your iron before you use it again, otherwise the plastic will melt into your garments.

How often should I clean my iron?

The answer to this question heavily depends on how often you use your iron. On average, you should make it a habit to clean your iron every other month to remove mineral deposits. If your iron begins to dull or you see any build-up on the soleplate, then you can do a quick cleanse to avoid having to do a deeper clean.

What is the black stuff on my iron?

someone wiping down their ironsomeone wiping down their iron

Most people notice their iron is dirty when they see “black stuff” on the soleplate. The “black stuff” you see is a result of burn marks, dirt, dust, spray starch and fabric fiber buildup. Additionally, if you leave water inside your iron, it could begin to rust cause rusty spots. It’s important to maintain your iron to avoid it from damaging or ruining your clothing.

Maintaining a clean iron

To maintain a clean iron, there are a few things to consider. First, try using distilled water rather than ordinary tap water in your iron. Tap water contains minerals which over time results in rust and mineral build-up. Another consideration to avoid rust and mineral build-up is to make sure you empty the reservoir and place it in an upright position before storing it in your laundry room.

To keep your iron’s soleplate sleek and shiny, never iron over metal zippers, buttons, snaps or any other decorative item. The plate will last much longer and keep your iron maintenance low. Maintaining an iron may seem low on the to-do list, but it’s a great laundry hack that will save you a lot of time in the long-run.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Clean the Inside of a Metal Water Bottle

Metal water bottles have been all-the-rage for a couple of years now. Not only are they friendlier for the environment, but they’re also more cost-effective than purchasing disposable plastic water bottles.

Another great thing about metal water bottles is they’re more durable than plastic or glass bottles. Like all other bottles, however, it’s important to keep mold and unwanted bacteria out of your metal water bottle, so cleaning it regularly is highly recommended.

If you’re wondering how to clean the inside of a metal water bottle, fortunately, all you need is a few household items to start cleaning. If you’re looking for different ways to clean your metal water bottle, you’ve come to the right place! Whether it’s a just quick solution or a more thorough cleaning process, we’ve got you covered.

cleaning metal water bottlecleaning metal water bottle

The simple cleaning process

To start cleaning your metal water bottle, gather the following household cleaning items:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge or bottle brush

Cleaning your metal water bottle

  1. The first thing you’ll want to do is to remove the lid, then pour a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar into the bottle. From there, screw the lid back on and shake the bottle well to evenly coat the sides of the bottle.
  2. Remove the lid, keep the vinegar inside and fill the bottle with water until it’s about halfway full. Next, take your sponge or bottle brush and scrub the insides, then remove the brush. Screw the lid on once more and shake again.
  3. Pour the contents out and rinse thoroughly with hot water.
  4. Your metal water bottle will be as clean as new.

If the smell of vinegar isn’t for you or if you’re on the go, there’s another option for cleaning your metal water bottle — cleaning tablets. All you have to do is add some water to the bottle you wish to clean, drop in a tablet and shake it like it’s your job.

They’ll completely dissolve while shaking so there’s no need for a bottle brush or any other tools. Once it’s dissolved dump out the water and rinse the bottle once more.

One thing to keep in mind is that the tables are, of course, single-use.

water bottle lid cleaningwater bottle lid cleaning

The simple lid cleaning process

Cleaning your metal water bottle is really as simple as that. But what about the lids? People often neglect cleaning the lids of their water bottles. The lids are important to clean because they collect a lot of dust and other bacteria throughout the day as you touch the top of the water bottle frequently. Luckily, the lids are just as easy to clean as the bottles.

To start cleaning your lid, gather the following items:

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Q-tips

Cleaning your metal water bottle’s lid

  1. First, you need to fill a bowl with hot water and baking soda.
  2. Soak the lids and caps in the hot water and baking soda for approximately 2-3 hours.
  3. After 2-3 hours have passed, rinse out the lids with hot water and dish soap.
  4. Use Q-tips to clean any other hard to reach areas within the lid.
  5. Rinse fully with hot water and your lid should be good to go.

water bottle straw cleaningwater bottle straw cleaning

The simple straw cleaning process

Similar to lids, bottle straws are often forgotten. To start the cleaning process grab the following items:

  • Hot water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Straw brush or pipe cleaners

Cleaning your metal water bottle’s straw

  1. First mix the hot water and dishwashing liquid in a bowl.
  2. Dip the brush or pipe cleaner into the solution and insert it into the straw. Keep in mind that the brush should be big enough to touch all sides of the brush.
  3. Rinse out the straw with water and you are ready to go.

bottle brushbottle brush

Do a deep clean!

If you’re in a rush, doing a quick clean as mentioned above should do the trick. However, it’s suggested that you should do a deep clean at least once per month depending on how often you use your water bottle. If you use your water bottle daily, you might want to deep clean your bottle weekly.

Deep cleaning your metal water bottle

To deep clean your metal water bottle, it’ll require a bit more time and attention. Consider utilizing these two ideas below for deep cleaning your water bottle.

  1. Fill your metal water bottle with boiling water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse out the water bottle and wash intensely with dish soap. The boiling water will disinfect germs and get unwanted bacteria out.
  2. Consider getting a bottle brush. A bottle brush helps you clean hard to reach areas and scrubs the bottom and sides of your water bottle. Just fill your metal water bottle with boiling water and mix in some dish soap. Then, use your bottle brush to get a good scrub in. The bottle brush will get any mold that’s accrued over time out quickly.

By using either of these two cleaning methods, you’ll ensure your water bottle is free of bacteria and any built-up mold. To deep clean the lids, you can and should soak the lids in boiling water overnight, as well. It works like magic!

Clean your metal bottle regularly

As noted above, metal water bottles are easy to clean, yet people often neglect cleaning them. Now that you know how to clean the inside of a metal water bottle don’t be that person that lets their water bottle sit in the car without being cleaned for months on end.

Letting bacteria and mold creep in can affect your health in negative ways. Stay healthy by cleaning it out regularly and doing a deep clean at least once per month. Perhaps consider adding it to your spring cleaning schedule and then, you’ll never forget!

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Clean Grout: 5 Steps to Sparkling Tile

Grout is a construction material that is used to fill the space between tiles, and with normal wear and tear it tends to get pretty dirty. Since it’s typically a lighter color and has a porous competition, grout is particularly prone to showing dirt, mold and stains. The good news is that it’s not difficult to clean grout, and in several steps, you can have sparkling tiles once again. Below you’ll find step by step instructions for how to clean grout and learn how to keep it clean long-term.

How to clean grout

Cleaning grout just requires a good grout cleaner, a scrub brush and a little elbow grease. So throw on a pair of rubber gloves — especially if you’re handling chemicals — and let’s get started.

Step 1: Remove surface dirt

scrubbing grout with brushscrubbing grout with brush

Scrub the grout using warm water and stiff-bristled brush to remove as much surface dirt as possible. If you don’t want to invest in a special grout brush, you can always use a scrub brush or even an old toothbrush.

Step 2: Mix a cleaning solution

spoon full of baking sodaspoon full of baking soda

Purchase a commercial grout cleaner or make a homemade cleaner.

One proven DIY cleaner is made from two parts baking soda and one part hydrogen peroxide. Try adding a teaspoon of dish soap to this mixture to help cut through extra greasy grime.

You’ll want to avoid acidic cleaners as they can dissolve or pit the grout as well as oil-based cleaners, which can leave a film that will attract dirt.

Step 3: Apply the cleaner and let it sit

brushing cleaner on floor with broombrushing cleaner on floor with broom

Pour the commercial or your DIY solution over the grout, and depending on what cleaner you use, let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Scrub the tile

gloved hand scrubbing groutgloved hand scrubbing grout

Use your brush to scrub the tile again. Since the grout is porous, make sure to scrub hard so that you reach the tiny spaces dirt and grime may have seeped into.

Step 5: Rinse away the cleaning solution

woman mopping floorwoman mopping floor

Wash away the cleaner with a mop or wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Best DIY grout cleaners

There are a handful of DIY grout cleaners that you can make from just a few ingredients you likely have on hand. If you don’t feel like venturing out to the store, try making these grout cleaners at home.

  • Baking Soda and Water:
    • Mix equal parts to create a paste
    • Scrub directly on grout
  • Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide:
    • Mix two parts baking soda and one part hydrogen peroxide
    • Let it sit on grout for 5-10 minutes, then scrub and rinse
  • Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide and Dish Soap:
    • Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of dish soap
    • Let it sit on grout for 5-10 minutes, then scrub and rinse
  • Heavy Duty Cleaner:
    • Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 7 cups warm water
    • Apply to grout and let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse

Additional grout cleaning tips

Everyone has their own method for cleaning, but these additional tips will help ensure that your tile stays in optimal condition.

  • Clean grout regularly — weekly or biweekly — to prevent the buildup of mildew, dirt and mold
  • For frequent cleaning, you can create a natural solution using two parts baking soda and one part water instead of hydrogen peroxide
  • You might also consider applying a grout sealer. It’s easy to apply and is water-resistant, so it will repel moisture and prevent mold and water damage.

Although cleaning can be tedious, sticking to a regular cleaning schedule will help keep your apartment beautiful and functional. Visit our blog for more cleaning and maintenance tips.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Kill Bathroom Mold: 8 Methods to Try

So, it’s happened. You’re in the shower and you spot it — mold. What do you do now? It’s tricky to know how to kill mold in a safe way and make sure it doesn’t come back. Luckily, there are several ways to ensure your apartment is clean and mold-free. Here are multiple ways you can kill mold.

Understanding what causes mold

Before you can kill the mold in your apartment, you have to know what caused it. Mold can occur in a couple of different ways:

  • Lack of or poor ventilation that causes moisture to linger in the air
  • Faulty plumbing like leaking sinks, faucets or drains
  • Damp materials like rugs, towels, wallpaper, grout or drywall that never completely dry

These are the most common ways mold forms in your apartment. Now that you understand the different ways mold can grow, you can identify what caused the mold in your apartment and choose the best tip to prevent and kill it.

How to kill mold in your apartment

It’s recommended that if the affected, moldy area is larger than 10 feet or if you notice mold is growing in your apartment’s insulation, you should call a professional. However, if it’s a small area and the mold is already there, you need to get rid of it.

Here are some mold-prevention tips to make sure mold never inhabits your apartment and living space again.

1. Use or install a bathroom fan

bathroom fanbathroom fan

Use the bathroom’s ventilation fan while you bathe and leave it on for 30 minutes after you get out. If you don’t have a ventilation fan, think about installing one. The fan can help suck the moisture out of the air so it doesn’t linger and lead to a mold infestation.

Another tip on how to kill mold is to keep down the humidity in your home. Fans and dehumidifiers can help improve ventilation in the space, therefore reducing moisture that can cause mold.

2. Organize your bathroom products

shampoo bottlesshampoo bottles

Yes, organization can actually help keep your space safe and mold-free.

When you leave things like shampoo, body soap and bath toys on the side of the shower without ever removing them, water gets stuck underneath allowing mold to grow. By frequently adjusting their placement and cleaning underneath them weekly, you can reduce the risk of mold growth in your bathroom.

3. Apply tea tree oil

tea treetea tree

Not only does tea tree oil have a nice smell, but it’s also a great way to get rid of and kill bathroom mold. Simply mix one teaspoon of oil and one cup of water. You can either pour the mixed solution into a spray bottle or pour it into a bowl and dip your scrubber into it. Scrub the moldy area with the mix to remove the mold.

Once the area has been cleaned don’t rinse it with water as it’s best to let the mixture sit to prevent future mold from growing. Note, when buying tea tree oil for mold removal, make sure it contains melaleuca alternifolia in the ingredients.

4. Clean with vinegar

vinegarvinegar

Vinegar is an effective, non-toxic way to get rid of mold. If you go with this method, here’s how to use it. Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle and make sure to not dilute it with water. Spray the affected area with the vinegar and let it sit for one hour.

If you have windows in the area you’re cleaning, it’s best to leave them open for ventilation. After an hour, use hot water to wipe the area clean. Finally, dry it off completely as mold thrives in damp places.

5. Use baking soda

baking sodabaking soda

Baking soda is another option if vinegar isn’t for you. Not only does it kill mold but it absorbs moisture. This is a great option if you have pets as it isn’t harmful to animals.

Mix a quarter of a tablespoon into the water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the area and scrub the mold away, then rinse the area with hot water. Finally, you can spray the area again and let it dry to prevent future mold.

6. Sanitize with bleach

cleaning with bleachcleaning with bleach

Bleach is a good way to get rid of mold on nonporous surfaces, however, it’s not recommended to use bleach on surfaces such as wood. Make sure when using bleach that you take all the safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and having proper ventilation. Remember to never mix bleach with any other cleaning solution as it can cause toxic fumes.

The most effective way to use bleach to kill mold is to mix one cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Spray it onto the affected area, let it soak and scrub that nasty mold away. When you’re done, rinse the area down and dry it completely.

7. Scrub with borax

scrubbing with boraxscrubbing with borax

Borax can be found at most grocery stores in the laundry detergent aisle and is a great option to get rid of and kill most molds in your bathroom. Mold Help for You has a great recipe for a borax solution to kill mold that’s easy-to-make and effective.

8. Clean using hydrogen peroxide

hydrogen peroxidehydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is easy to find and easy to use to kill mold. All you have to do is spray the area with it and let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub the area and rinse with hot water.

Getting rid of mold for good

Mold is never a welcome guest in your home or bathroom. But with these cleaning solutions and tips on how to kill bathroom mold, you’ll be prepared and ready to attack and kill next time it strikes.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How To Clean Stainless Steel: 10 Affordable Methods For A Sleek Finish

Stainless steel is best known for its ability to resist rust and other corrosion, making it a prime choice for kitchens and bathrooms. However, it’s hardly ever free from fingerprints and other marks, so you can’t forget to clean it routinely. The good news is, there are plenty of easy and cheap ways to make your stainless steel look brand new again.

Stainless steel material

Before we dive in on ways to clean your stainless steel you must first understand the material. Just like wood and certain fabrics, stainless steel has a grain to it. These are faint striations you can see on its surface. As you wipe the material, make sure you go in the direction of the grain for optimal cleansing and shine.

Now that we’ve got that covered, check out these top 10 tips on how to clean stainless steel to gain back its sleek and flawless finish.

1. Dish soap and baby oil

The dish soap and baby oil duo is almost unbeatable when it comes to cleaning and polishing. The dish soap will clear the stainless steel of any oils, fingerprints and dust on your surface while the oil polishes and makes it shine. Simply moisten a cotton rag and put a little bit of dish soap on it and wipe along the grain of your stainless steel. Once you’re rid of any marks, dry the surface with a clean towel.

Next, dab a small amount (a couple of drops) of baby oil onto another rag. Wipe along the grain as you did in the cleansing process with the dish soap. This gives your stainless steel a properly polished finish as if it was brand new!

Best for: Stainless steel appliances, countertops, sink, pots and pans

2. Windex and microfiber cloth

personal cleaning stainless steel ovenpersonal cleaning stainless steel oven

People often complain about fingerprints left on stainless steel. However, using a glass cleaner like Windex will do the trick! Spray the cleaner on a dry cloth (preferably microfiber) and evenly apply in circular motions. It’s not recommended to spray directly onto your appliance, as this could result in more drip marks and residue. Repeat the process until there are no more fingerprints and then rinse thoroughly and dry with a towel.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances and countertops

3. White vinegar and olive oil

White vinegar and olive oil are also great for cleaning any grime while polishing your stainless steel appliances. Apply white vinegar to a microfiber cloth or spray it directly onto your surface and let it sit for a moment before wiping it away (with the grain). Repeat this process until there is no more grime left to remove. Finally, dab a clean towel in some olive oil and polish in the direction of the grain. If any olive oil remains, wipe away with a fresh cloth.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances and countertops

Does vinegar damage stainless steel?

If left on for too long, vinegar can cause damage to your stainless steel. It’s important to not let any stainless steel material soak in a vinegar solution, but it’s harmless if you make sure to wipe it away in a timely manner.

4. Club soda

Girl cleaning stainless steel ovenGirl cleaning stainless steel oven

Club soda surprisingly is a great cleaner as it cleanses away any fingerprints and food residue while simultaneously leaving a nice shine. Spray club soda directly onto your stainless steel surface and then wipe in the direction of the grain. Repeat as necessary.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances, countertops, sinks, pots, pans and jewelry

5. Warm water

Plain water seems so simple, but you’d be surprised how much cleaning some warm water and elbow grease can accomplish. It’s also the least risky option for cleaning stainless steel. Simply dampen a microfiber or special polishing cloth with some warm water and wipe your surface in the direction of the polish lines. Once you’ve ridden any unwanted smudges and residue, dry the material with a clean towel or cloth to prevent water spots.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances, countertops, sinks, pots and pans

6. WD-40

Have a leftover can of WD-40 from your squeaky door? Well lucky for you, WD-40 also cleans and protects surfaces including stainless steel. Spray some directly onto your appliance or into a clean rag and then wipe in the direction of the grain. For an added bonus, WD-40 provides a layer of protection to help prevent future smudges and pesky fingerprints. Keep in mind that this is a petroleum-based product, so it should be used with care around surfaces where you’ll be handling food. So make sure you clean thoroughly before proceeding as normal.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances

7. Lemon oil furniture polish

Someone using lemon oil furniture polish to clean stainless steelSomeone using lemon oil furniture polish to clean stainless steel

If you have some furniture polish laying around, that’ll also do the trick for cleaning your stainless steel. Apply the polish to a clean cloth and rub it evenly on your appliance. Don’t apply the polish directly onto your stainless steel surface, as it may leave you with too much uneven excess. Once it’s evenly applied, wipe it clean with a fresh cloth in the direction of the grain.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances

8. Flour

Not only is flour great for baking delicious cakes, but also for buffing and polishing your stainless steel. Flour isn’t great for cleansing away grime or grease, but is a great final touch that will make your surfaces shine! Simply sprinkle flour onto your dry stainless steel surface until it’s fully covered. Then use a soft cloth to buff in circular motions until your surface starts to shine like it’s brand new!

Best for: Stainless steel countertops, sinks, pot and pans

9. Baking soda

someone using baking soda to clean stainless steel pansomeone using baking soda to clean stainless steel pan

Baking soda is a magic worker when it comes to cleaning. You can use it for just about anything and it’s extremely easy and cheap to come by. Make a paste with baking soda and water and let it sit on a problem area for a few minutes. Wipe away using a rag dampened with white vinegar followed by a cloth dampened with water. Dry using a microfiber cloth. This process is best for more stubborn stains and heavy-duty messes.

Best for: Stainless steel countertops, sinks, pots and pans

10. Store-bought stainless steel cleaner

Of course, there are cleaners that are specifically designed to clean and polish stainless steel, but they are rather expensive. If your appliance or surface has major staining, scratching or just needs a thorough polishing, this is an excellent option that may just be worth the extra penny. Make sure you read the directions on the cleaner and do a test on a small spot on your stainless steel before fully diving in.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances and countertops

What should you not use on stainless steel?

Now that you know what can be used on stainless steel, it’s important to cover the major “don’ts” when it comes to proper cleaning of the material.

Do not use:

  • Chlorine-based products
  • Oven cleaners
  • Steel wool or harsh scratchers or sponges
  • Harsh tap water that could leave water spots and stains (best to use distilled or filtered water)

What is the best cleaner for stainless steel?

If you are looking for the absolute best solution to your stainless steel cleaning routine, a store-bought cleaner may be your best option. However, DIY cleaners come in a close second and are much cheaper and convenient so give those a try before opting for a commercial cleaner.

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Source: apartmentguide.com