Spruce Up Spring Cleaning!

By on March 15, 2016

As snow turns to rain and rain to sunshine the season change reminds us that it’s time once again to begin our spring attack on the unsightly mess that invariably builds up each year during our home’s annual “winter in captivity”. You know the kind of yuck we’re talking about. Like the fireplace soot, kitchen grease and bathroom mildew that build up when your home’s windows and doors are kept closed during the winter season. Needless to say, whenever your home is closed up for long periods of time much needed fresh air is locked outside and prevented from helping to maintain indoor freshness.

Long black streaks seem to grow out of nowhere near furnaces and at heat registers – and doesn’t it always seem to happen on walls that were just freshly painted? And what about the soot at the fireplace face? Didn’t you have it professionally cleaned just last season? And don’t forget the grease that builds up on the kitchen ceiling during holiday meal preparation. Oh, and we mustn’t overlook the mildew that thrives on the wet grout in our shower when it’s too cold outside to open the window. Isn’t it absolutely amazing how important fresh air is in helping us to keep our home clean?

Soot and mildew are here to stay. The dark dirty appearance that they create and the especially bad smell associated with each – in our opinion – makes them the top two cleaning enemies.

Fear not, we have a one-two cleaning punch that will make light work of both cleaning headaches! Our famous fungus formula will most certainly help with even the toughest mildew problem and a cleaner we discovered on our radio program – over a decade ago – will eliminate soot and make even the dirtiest fireplace face look brand spanking new again.

A Carey Bros. Sea Story:
Back in the eighties we were hired to enlarge a family room for a customer in a near by community. During one of our regular visits to the project we noticed that our customer had had her fireplace face replaced. We were kind of hurt that she hadn’t asked us to bid the work and asked her if we had done something to offend her. She smiled and told us that she was very satisfied with the work that we were doing and that all she had done was clean her fireplace face. It hadn’t been replaced. We were relieved to discover that we hadn’t lost our customer’s confidence, but we were even more amazed at how clean and new her fireplace face looked.

We asked what she had done to get it so clean. She said that she didn’t know the name of the product but that the bottle was under her sink. She said that a door-to-door salesman had sold it to her. The product was called Advanage (Advantage without the “t”). We were in such awe that we immediately contacted the Chicago based manufacturer Austin Diversified Products. We proposed that they send us 100 sample bottles of the product so that we could do a consumer test on our radio program. And we did. We wanted to see if our customer’s fireplace cleaning was a fluke. The results were amazing. Ninety-nine out of the hundred raved about the concentrated cleaning product and its unique cleaning ability. The one lady who said that she couldn’t get the soot off of her fireplace indicated that is was probably because she had varnished over it the year before. Hey, no brains, no headache!

Anyway, ever since that time we have recommended Advanage cleaner for soot on fireplaces. We used to recommend muratic acid for this cleaning job, but unfortunately, muratic acid will cook your lungs if you breathe it and if it splashes on an adjacent wall or floor surface you can count on one or both being seriously damaged. As we get older we look more and more for safer cleaning solutions. Advanage is a concentrate and is diluted to varying strengths for other cleaning tasks such as the greasy kitchen ceilings that we mentioned a moment ago.

Thank You Uncle Sam
For mildew you will want to try our famous fungus removal formula. We copped it from the U.S. Government Department of Forestry. It consists of a third of a cup of powdered laundry detergent – any kind (Tide, Cheer, etc) – one quart of liquid chlorine bleach. Clorox is good, but any brand will do. You will also need three quarts of warm water. Add the bleach to the water and then the detergent and mix thoroughly. Although this concoction is mild you should be sure to use rubber gloves and eye protection. Spray the formula onto the affected surface and when the black mildew turns white it’s dead. Rinse the area with fresh water and towel dry. Although the formula can be used on painted surfaces it is a good idea to test an obscure area first.

It may be interesting to note that commercial mildew cleaners contain two active ingredients: sodium hypochlorite and sodium carbonate. Sodium hypochlorite is bleach and sodium carbonate is the primary active ingredient in most laundry detergents. Our formula costs about one-fifth the price of store-bought mildew cleaners and works just as well.

Note: If you intend to clean a painted surface be sure to test a small area first. And, good luck!

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