Thursday, November 3, 2011


Ask a Clean Person: A Look Back, By Topic

A Clean Person left for another vacation, because she knows you’re not making your bed and she wants to give you some time to think about what you did, but before she left, she sorted through the archives and organized all the questions by topic. Now go forth and clean! And ask her some new questions! (And make your bed.)

Your Clothes & Accessories
Stain removal for the bustier among us
What to do about smokey-smelling clothes when you’re on the road
Doing battle with 'pit stains
Hand washing bras
Setting the color in dark denim
Jewelry cleaning 101
Getting bicycle grease stains off clothing
Cleaning canvas shoes
Chocolate stains on leather
Tackling shoe polish stains
What to do when your boyfriend barfs in your handbag
How to polish and store leather boots
Pulling a grease stain out of leather
Cleaning discolored or scuffed patent leather shoes
Getting super glue out of jeans
Keeping makeup from staining jacket collars
Underwear replacement cycles
Wite-Out stains
Cleaning colored leather shoes
Hand washing cashmere
Gummy, gunky boots
Barf stains on corduroy
Blood Stains on Underthings
De-pilling sweaters
Removing salt stains from suede and leather
Machine washing down parkas
Cleaning faux fur trim
Getting odors our of wool coats
UGG cleaning 101
Dealing with spills on ties
Do you own a Coach bag? Do you have a question about cleaning it? READ THIS
Just... don’t buy used bike shorts, okay?

Your Bedroom
What to do about cum stains on sheets
How to get a stinky comforter smelling fresh again
Getting yellowed linens white again
Getting barf stains out of decorative pillows
Cleaning a forced-heat radiator
Getting pee stains out of mattresses
Caring for silk sheeting
Lint removal for bedding and other large surfaces
Washing oversized comforters and mattress pads
Washing greasy sheets
Mascara Stains on Pillowcases
#LAMOB round-up

Your Bathroom

Cleaning a shower curtain liner
A not-gross way to clean the toilet
Cleaning jacuzzi jets
That weird orange stuff in the shower/toilet, what is it? What do I do about it?
Getting a pee-pee-smelling bathroom fresh again
Red hair dye stains, and how to cope
Clogged drains

Your Kitchen
The basics of hard cleaning a kitchen
Tending to your copper cookware
Beautifying Le Creuset and other enameled cast iron
Dishwashing secrets for the un-dishwashered among us
Caring for Silpat
Cleaning and caring for cast iron
Refrigerator cleaning and organization
How to clean an oven using oven cleaner
Cleaning a greasy vent hood
Getting discolored tea pitchers looking sparkly again
How to deodorize a garbage disposal
Defrosting and cleaning a freezer
Removing smells from cutting boards and plastic food storage containers
Cleaning burnt-on gunk from the bottom of your favorite pot
Make your stovetop gleam
Cleaning up greasy spills

Your Furniture
Getting frosting off a couch
Removing tree sap from fabric
How to get chocolate stains off an upholstered couch

Your Walls & Floors
Everything you ever wanted to know about cleaning your floors
Waging war against nicotine stains on walls
Learning to cope when your home starts sprouting mushrooms
Removing grease stains from walls
Getting leg wax up off the floor
Confetti-stained floors
Getting denim stains out of light colored carpeting
What do to when your floors get stained with dye

Your Smells
Getting the stench of cigarettes out of your home
Removing musty smells from the home
Unstinkifying stinky shoes
Deodorizing a smelly mattress
What to do about Boy Smell
Getting the smell out of faux fur-lined leather slippers
Addressing bedpan odors
Your sandals stink. I can help.
Also the desk drawer you're keeping them in, that stinks too.

Your Critters
Cleaning up after a mouse invasion
Getting rid of roaches, fruit flies and pantry moths
Cleaning critter-infested fur

Your #@#&$*%@ Cats
Getting the cat pee smell out of carpeting
Getting cat pee out of tile
Removing cat barf stains from wood floors
Keeping a litterbox smelling okay
Contending with cat hair on tile floors
Removing cat pee stains from a white comforter

Your Products
Basic cleaning routines and product recommendations
How to clean green! Products, techinques and a million commenter recs for living a more eco-friendly life
Buying a vacuum for a small home
Deep thoughts on humidifiers and cooties
Making cleaning a juicer easier, plus a discussion of whether to juice at home or order out
A magic wand for germaphobes

Your Workspace

White boards
Upholstered inherited office chairs
Keeping a keyboard, mouse, handset, etc on a desk clean

Your Big Jobs

Bedroom organization solutions
Opening a home that's been unoccupied for some time
Cleaning the home of someone with a compromised immune system
Tackling a major clean-up and the follow-up!

Getting tree sap off a car
How to care for your sex toys
The pre-vacation clean up
Housesitter clean-up etiquette
Getting gunky vases sparkling clean
How to clean your retainer
Cleaning leather strap-on harnesses
Tackling permanent marker stains
What to do when you spill nail polish
Getting your DivaCup clean
Cleaning pre- and post-move
How to clean your weed smoking apparatus
Cleaning wax off a menorah
Everything you ever wanted to know about washing produce but were too afraid to ask

Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Are you looking for a green alternative to the suggestions found here? Because we’ve got some! More importantly: Is anything you own dirty?

Image by Borat, via Shutterstock



51 Comments / Post A Comment

The Lady of Shalott

If A Clean Person really loved us, she would teach us how to get red wine and tomato-based stains out of everything.

To help our friends, I mean.


@The Lady of Shalott If you don't hit a red wine stain right away, your chances of getting it out are pretty bad. The key: SALT. Salt that bad boy and then salt it some more. Just leave a giant pile of salt on it and massage every now and then. I sat in red wine in a white dress (thanks asshole who can't hold their booze) and salt got it out!

The Lady of Shalott

@parallel-lines Now, when you say can't hold their booze, do you mean that you sat in red wine vomit? Or that someone literally cannot hold their wineglass without spilling it everywhere? One is exponentially grosser than the other.


@parallel-lines Weirdly, wine white will take out a red wine stain. Of course, then you're out two glasses of wine, so you'll have to balance the pros against the cons.


@The Lady of Shalott the latter, thankfully.

Pound of Salt

@melis It's simple, just take a dollar out of the register every time you throw away a glass of wine.


@Pound of Salt Oh, it's easy, you just take the bananas and you dip them in -

-Don't tell them, don't tell them-



@The Lady of Shalott be careful though, if you're in a humid climate the salt will just absorb the moisture in the air and turn into salty water all over the floor. Thanks to new years eve festivities and a sister who cannot hold her booze, I have discovered I am spectacularly good at getting red wine vomit out of light and dark and patterned carpets. Salt the bastard, leave overnight, then crack open the chemicals. For those in the land downunder: scotch guard for carpets, leave to dry then vacuum out then go over it again with staingo. If you need some heavy duty starting power, go with preen for carpets, the oxyaction one or something called ozkleen carpet power. That should do the job. The brilliant thing about staingo is that you can use it on anything.


How is our cat/boy/fruitfly/smoke/hairy-legged/nailpolish-free existence so far?


Oooh this is so useful! No more archive searching when I need to figure out how to clean ... oh, something.


@cherrispryte Right? Bookmarked!


AAAAH! There it is again! Jizzcliner II: RETURN OF JIZZCLINER


@Yahtzii If you keep this up, fate is going to arrange for a website to be nothing but how to clean ejaculate off things that should never ever have gotten ejaculate on them in the first place.


@wharrgarbl I'm trying to think of any mundane inanimate objects that DON'T fit this category.


@Ophelia How to Clean Ejaculate Off of Salt and Pepper Shakers


@Yahtzii you seem to be under the impression that JIZZCLINER ever left.
it's always here.

Jolie Kerr

@candybeans The Jizzcliner is basically the Hotel California of home furnishings.


Guys, I don't think it's a concidence that Jolie is away, and my apartment is a DISASTER. Like, I don't even want to be here disaster. Urgh.


@Ophelia Omg. Me too! I can't work out how it got so trashed. I barely have been there this last week/weekend, and it's like someone burgled me, and replaced all my possession with dirt.


Ooh, I'm happy about this. My bathroom walls have been doing the gross yellow beading thing and now I can get rid of it without rereading every single AaCP column (although I will do it anyway for fun).


@cuminafterall that happened to me, too! gross, right? like the walls are weeping gross tears. i don't have an answer, besides that i think maybe the room is underventilated?


@cuminafterall Yes, mine too! The grossest. When I moved in I cleaned all the walls. There had obviously been a smoker, and the kitchen fan was broken. The kitchen walls needed to be cleaned FIVE TIMES before the meat grease stopped beading out of them.

Oh god, oh god.


YES. I was hunting for "Unstinkifying stinky shoes" and couldn't find it.. I need to save my stinky flats


oh...well, I didn't find my leather shoe solution. My leather shoes are so stinky :( that powder junk doesn't work. wah.


@amusedgirl Baking powder? I had a pair that I used to wipe down with vinegar to get the grossness out, then leave with baking powder in for a day or so. Past a certain point, though, they are just stinky forever.


Question: I'm in college and thus live in a dorm. I still, of course, need to wash my bras. I've just been sticking them in the washer and dryer (bad, I know), because I have no clue where to dry them. Granted, I do go to a women's college, so maybe no one would care if I had them out for all to see. But how would you suggest I dry my bras?


How many times do I have to tell you? You DON'T PUT A BRA IN THE DRYER! IT WARPS!


@charlottevegan: In such situations I've hung mine on hangers in my closet with everything pushed away from them and left the door open in a nonchalant way but I live in a dry climate so.


@charlottevegan Off a showerhead during a low-usage time if you share a bath with a reasonable number of people (2-4), off a hanger over a pan/plastic bin/convenient potted plant (two birds with one stone!) if you share a bath with half the campus and there is no low-usage time ever.


@wharrgarbl Or on those sticky hooks that are, for some reason, all over the doors/walls of dorm rooms? Just put a towel down on the floor, they won't drip much. Also over the shower-curtain rod in the bathroom.




@charlottevegan: If you fold them a couple of turns into a towel and step lightly all over it they won't drip at all.




@Ophelia I think those sticky hooks are there in a misguided and doomed attempt to keep us from driving nails into the walls.


@wee_ramekin Thank God. Otherwise I was going to have to live up to Someone Is Going To Respond To This Hedwig Quote Or I Am Going To Set You All On Fire.


Aaaand bookmarked.


@LaFabuliste I just did that, too! Because maybe I don't always read ask a clean person because maybe then I'll feel guilty/compelled to clean, but I mean, I have to move out of this apartment at SOME point, and before I do that I'll have to scrub some shit down and will be all, Where did that one ask a clean person go? BECAUSE THIS BATHTUB STAIN IS OUT OF CONTROL.

I'm glad that's not going to be a problem for future me anymore.


@tea I want to know, will this post be updated as new Clean Persons get added? Because that would be the most useful, ever.

Jolie Kerr

@Craftastrophies Yes! My byline will change next week (OMG DON'T MISS NEXT WEEK ALSKHLAFKH I'M KVELLING I'M SO EXCITED FOR YOU ALL TO SEE/COMMENT ON IT!) so that this will always be linked and accessible. I'll update it when new posts go up, so it's always got everything.


i think tocca just sold out of their laundry detergent. $ for hairpin, plz?


This will be bookmarked -- nay! It will be printed out on high-end paper, placed in charmingly kitschy mismatched-on-purpose secondhand frames, and hung in my kitchen!

However, smells -- what about cooking smells from an onion-crazed family living downstairs from a girl with a disturbingly keen olfactory system... and a core-deep hatred of onions?


@Hellcat Bad air sponge? Jolie seems to swear by them. Looks like you can get them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Valley Girl

Doing battle with pitstains! I pulled up that wisdom recently after an amazing sweater I've only worn a handful of times went all salmon colored in the pits. I tried the vinegar soak, which seemed to lighten the stains a little but unfortunately that just made them more noticeable. After that I tried a baking soda paste, which didn't seem to have any effect.

I was thinking of either trying hydrogen peroxide or that special pit stain product, or just giving up and resigning myself to the loss of my favorite sweater...but it has PONIES on the boobs! Help me salvage it, Clean People!

a horde of great crab things

@Valley Girl YES YES THIS YES. Also, not just the staining; to my eternal shame, I have super- powerful sweat which sort of lingers in clothes and shortens their life- span. I am so tired of having to jettison pretty blouses just because I am such a schweaty pheromone factory. Can my favourite sharp- girl check shirt be salvaged? Jolie, tell me it is so, please! Please?

Acrylic Disaster

This is the most useful thing that has happened to me in 2011. I had bookmarked a bunch of different "Ask a Clean Person"s with no way to remember why I bookmarked each one. Now I can delete them all and just keep this one.

Dirty Hands

I love that this is getting updated after publication! <33333


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