Cleaning Suede Boots

Suede boots are a staple for many of us for the winter months. They can last a long time, but they should receive regular maintenance to stay looking nice.  However, the regular maintenance part seems to rarely happen, and most of us are now pulling ours’ out from the dark corners of our closet and realizing they need a good cleaning!

The first thing you need to do before cleaning the entire boot is to treat the stains.  There are different procedures for treating different types of stains. For oil and grease stains, take a piece of white chalk and gently move it over the entire stain. If you don’t have chalk, you can take cornstarch and sprinkle it over the top of the stain and gently pat it down. Let it sit over night. This powder is absorbent and can suck up oil and grease. In the morning, gently dust it off. One important note, heat sets oil and grease stains, so be very careful not to get boots too hot if you have a stain you want to get rid of.

To get rid of dirt and salt stains, brush the boot from top to bottom with a suede brush to remove any surface dirt and grime. You can get a suede brush at most shoe stores or shoe repair shops. If you have a matted or shiny stain, you can use a pencil eraser to gently rub it out. Some suede brushes come with a little rubber piece on the brush for this purpose. Wet the isolated stain with a little water. Let the water soak in for a few moments. Now use a suede cleaner on the spot and follow the directions.  Rinse the stained area off with clean water and a clean sponge. Too much water can deform the shape of the boot, so be careful.

For water spots,  gently rub the spot stained area against another part of the suede. This will usually get the water stain right out!

Okay, now that you have the stains out, it’s time to clean the whole boot.  Start by brushing the entire boot from top to bottom with a suede brush.  Moisten the exterior of the boot with clean, cool water. You can use a clean soft sponge or cotton cloth to do this. Now you want to rinse your sponge and wring it out.  Dampen your sponge just a little and squeeze some suede cleaner onto it. Gently work the product into the boot, starting at the top and working your way down. As the sponge becomes dirty, rinse, wring and dampen it again. Next, gently wipe the cleaner off with a clean, damp sponge. You will probably need to clean your sponge several times, so that you are continuing to use a clean sponge throughout this process. Now stuff the boots with paper towel, tissue paper, plastic dry cleaning bags or newspaper. Let them dry for 24 to 48 hours. Do not leave the boots in the sun, or close to any heat source. The heat will misshape the boots.  After your boots are dry, remove the stuffing and brush with a suede brush to even out the nap. Now spray the boots with a protective suede spray and let that dry. Your boots may feel a little snug, but after you wear them for awhile, they will reform to your feet and feel as cozy as ever!


Deodorize Carpet with Baking Soda

Carpets harbor a lot of odors, especially those of pet owners! Baking soda can be very effective in removing these odors, and it’s a safe product for the entire household.  Here’s how to use it effectively.

First vacuum your carpet. The baking soda works best if you start with a carpet that is as clean as possible. Next, liberally sprinkle baking soda over the area you want to treat. Use fresh baking soda. A fresh, unopened box will absorb more smells.  Let the baking soda sit for at least an hour. Now vacuum up the baking soda.  Work slowly, since that much baking soda is going to take a little extra time to get up. This also helps deodorize the vacuum canister!

You’d be surprised at how well this works.  You might want to consider doing it once a month if you have a lot of activity in your home!

Three Steps to Organize Your Closet

It’s the time of year to switch out the summer clothes for the winter ones, and therefore, a good time to clean and organize your closet.

Sort everything into 3 major piles: Keep, Toss and Donate. Get rid of everything that you have not worn in a year. Get rid of things that no longer fit.  Say goodbye to things that have stains, holes and are no longer in style.  This is not a time to be timid. Closet space is valuable real estate.  Don’t hold on to those things you won’t wear or shouldn’t! It’s also a good idea to put things to the side that you want to keep but need mending.  If things are holy or in too bad of shape, put them in the Toss pile. The rest you can Donate.

Now it’s time to organize. Take all of your clothes out of your closet and put them on your bed. Separate them into logical groups based on style so they’re easier to put back. Then assess the space you have available to help you to figure out the best way to maximize it.

Any system that works best for you is okay. You just need to be consistent. You may prefer to keep similar styles together (i.e, dress shirts, then t-shirts, etc.) or you may prefer to organize by color. It’s always good to keep your clothes facing the same direction and have the hangers hooked the same way. You may want to put some baskets on your shelves for socks, t-shirts and other folded items. Using storage boxes that go under the bed is also a good way to free up some space.


How to get Water Rings out of Wood Furniture

Water rings that are on furniture with an oil or lacquer finish can usually be fixed pretty easily.  You will need a gentle abrasive. A good one to use is one you make yourself. Mix one tablespoon baking soda with one teaspoon water.  Put the abrasive on a damp cloth and gently rub the spot in a circular motion with the abrasive until it disappears. Then dry the area with a soft cloth and seal the finish with furniture or paste wax.

If you don’t have any baking soda, you can use a nonsoapy amonia or a nongel toothpaste.

Another method is to mix equal parts of vinegar and olive oil. Apply it with a soft cloth and rub it on the furniture as above. Use a clean, soft cloth to shine it up.