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Maeve’s Pro Cleaning Tips, as featured in Real Simple

It’s an honor to once again be featured in Real Simple’s Spring Cleaning Edition. This year, the editor’s reached out to ask if I could test some of their top cleaning hacks to see if they really work. I got right to it. If you’ve got the magazine in your home check out my Pro Tip on page 126:

To help fade ink marks on leather, spray WD-40 onto a cotton ball and work it into the area. The mineral spirits in the solution act as a powerful degreaser and cleaning agent. – Maeve Richmond, Founder of Maeve’s Method

This is the one that made the page, but I tested a bunch of others cleaning hacks for Real Simple. As you’ll see, some work better than others. Try them out and let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear!

Q: Can you remove water rings from wood, and if so, how?

A: You sure can. All you need to do it apply a little heat.

There’s nothing more frustrating than a water ring on your fine wooden furniture, right? Well, don’t fret. There’s a great hack you can try that just might do the trick.

Water rings–whether white rings, or foggy rings–are basically moisture trapped inside a table’s finish. Warm aim circulating above helps the moisture inside to evaporate, and the ring begins to disappear. While this hack can work wonders, be sure to put your dryer on its lowest setting–so there is no direct heat which could damage the finish–and move the dryer around so you do not overheat the surface or cause surface burns. If the hack works, finish by rubbing a little olive oil into the wood, or your favorite wood moisturizer, for luster and shine.

Q: Will hand sanitizer get slime out of upholstered furniture?

A: Yep, in a pinch it will help. Here's how.

Hand sanitizer contains a high concentration of ethyl alcohol, which, like white vinegar, works wonders to break down tough stains. The trickiest, gooiest ingredient in Slime is glue, so yes, in a pinch hand sanitizer can help to remove sticky slime from upholstery.

That said, upholstery is not all the same. From polyester to linen–each fabric has its own care guidelines. If your kid drops slime on the Doctor’s office waiting chair and you want to try and get it out quick, absolutely, use hand sanitizer and a paper towel. But at home–slow your roll. Check the care instructions for your furniture, and then–as I shared with TODAY–spot clean using distilled water, diluted vinegar or a clear, mild soap, and a soft bristled brush.

Q: Can you remove ink from fabric using hair spray, will this work?

A: You can try, but this is sort of a dated hack. Here's why.

Hairspray was once made using a high concentration of alcohol, which is the ingredient that helps to gets ink stains out. Nowadays, hairsprays have lower levels of alcohol or are even alcohol-free because alcohol dries out your hair. Which means, this hack sometimes works, and sometimes fails.

In a pinch, if hairspray is all you’ve got you can use it to try and tackle an ink on fabric stain. Just douse both sides of the shirt then dab with a paper towel on both sides until the ink begins to pull up. But, if the fabric means a lot to you I’d choose a targeted stain remover or straight up rubbing alcohol over hairspray any day, especially if the hairspray is scented with perfume.

Q: Can I spray WD-40 on my leather goods to remove ink stains?

A: Yes, but the results depend on the type of leather. Let me explain.

WD-40 works like a charm to remove ink stains. But how well and how easily depends on the type of leather. Semi-analine leather has a protective coating on it. Spray and wipe on semi-analine leather and your stain is gone in seconds. But spray and wipe on full aniline leather and it will take a few tries to get the ink out, as this softer, more supple leather is designed to absorb.

According to the WD-40 website, the product contains 50% mineral spirits, a powerful degreasing and cleansing agent. While this ingredient does the trick, always test WD-40 first on an inconspicuous area of your leather, and clean in tiny areas at a time using a small absorbent tool like a cotton ball or Q-Tip.

Did you try our hacks? Share your results in the comments below!

Photo Credits: Timothy Brock, Unsplash, Thgusstavo Santana, Pexels

Maeve Richmond is the founder and head coach of Maeve's Method, a home organization system based in New York City. She specializes in parents & kids, couples, small space solutions, space planning and decorative elements for the home. Contact her at [email protected] or @MaeveRichmond.

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