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CleaningMatters logo sm September/October 2010


Nancy Bock   2010 [320x200]


Remember when you were in school and Show ‘n Tell was a favorite classroom activity? Well, that's just what we'd like to do with this section of Cleaning Matters. We'd love to hear more from our readers! Here's an acceptable place to air your dirty laundry . . . to tell others how you coaxed spots and stains from your favorite outfits. Do you have a funny story about what was left in the pockets? What lessons have your kids learned the hard way about doing their own laundry? You decide what's next! Send Nancy an email at and write "Tell Nancy a story" in the subject line.

Q: I am worried about germs on my kitchen counters. Is it true that more bleach kills more germs?

A: The only advantage to using more bleach than prescribed is if the surface is soiled. To create a sanitizing solution, it is recommended that you use one tablespoon of EPA-registered unscented liquid bleach per gallon of water. Spread the solution liberally over the countertop. Let stand for at least two minutes and then allow to air-dry. We recommend making up fresh sanitizing solution as needed, rather than storing leftover solution.

Q: Because they can be uncomfortable and not always safe, last year I convinced my kids to forgo masks in favor of face paint and other makeup to create their Halloween "personas." It was a great success and we're doing it again this year. The only problem is the makeup stains on their outfits. Some stain-removal help, please!

A: Stains from face paint, makeup, hair gel and lipstick can all be treated with a prewash stain remover, and then laundered in the hottest water that's safe for the fabric. Of them all, lipstick may be the most stubborn, requiring a second round of prewash stain remover and laundering. Just make sure that the stains are gone before putting the garments in the dryer. Otherwise, the heat of the dryer may permanently set them, making them impossible to remove.

Halloween stains can sometimes "settle in," because, once the festivities are over, washing the costumes isn't one's first priority. Treating the stains with a stain stick or a stain-removal wipe will put them on hold for up to a week.

– Nancy Bock is Vice President of Consumer Education at the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI)

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Cleaning Matters® is compiled by the American Cleaning Institute and is not copyrighted. Such information is offered solely to aid the reader. The American Cleaning Institute and its member companies do not make any guarantees or warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to the information contained in Cleaning Matters and assume no responsibility for the use of this information.