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How to clean these 3 stubborn household spills

There are several causes for stubborn spills in your home and, while many are harmless, some are potentially hazardous to you and your family. Accidentally spilling bleach all over your bathroom tiles, or dropping a glass of red wine on your plush white rug, not only needs to be addressed quickly, but also carefully.

Since it was founded in 1974, SpillPro has become one of Australia’s leading authorities on how to manage spills, ranging from small oil leaks at the local mechanics to supplying containment booms for the likes of Rio Tinto. We asked SpillPro’s crew how to clean up three common yet stubborn household spills: oil, chemical cleaners, and red wine.

 

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Absorbents including kitty litter, baking soda, salt, corn starch, flour and sand help remove cooking oil spills.

1.  Cooking oil

As much as you love the idea of turning your kitchen into a MasterChef haven or a sacred place where the magic of food happens, you would want to avoid spilling cooking oil at all costs. Regardless of how the cooking oil gets spilt, the greasy result is the same. Often times spilt cooking oil is accompanied by broken glass which does make one wonder: which should you clean up first?

Solution: Just like all those fire drills and safety trainings you have experienced throughout your lifetime, safety always comes first. Where there is glass involved, you want to wear closed-in shoes to avoid any injury. To pick up the glass safely, avoid using your hands and use tongs or tweezers instead. To dispose of the broken glass, wrap it up in newspaper before throwing it away. This will ensure that no more injury will be dealt when dealing with the rubbish bags containing the broken glass. With regards to the oil, you want to use an absorbent to soak it up. Great absorbents include kitty litter, baking soda, salt, corn starch, flour, or sand. Leave the absorbent to soak up the oil for at least 15 minutes. To wipe the remaining oil residue, use slices of bread (we are serious here – it works wonders), or paper towels. Just like that, you’ve managed to clean up your hazardous oil spill!

 

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Wear thick rubber gloves when wiping spilt cleaning products like bleach, especially if you suffer from sensitive skin conditions.

2.  Household chemical cleaners

Despite our best of intentions to keeping a house clean, a simple slip of a hand may lead to a spill of the cleaner bottle resulting to a similar experience as in the Gulf of Mexico. The cleanup process is daunting and the idea of nasty fumes and chemicals (both liquid and gaseous) is cringe worthy. It is crucial to be aware that several household cleaners contain industrial chemicals that may emit toxic fumes dangerous to a person’s health and overall wellbeing – especially in confined spaces like bathrooms and toilets. And, any direct contact with household cleaners may lead to irritation of the skin especially if you suffer from dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis.

Solution: To avoid any direct contact with the cleaning product, wear thick rubber gloves. Open a window for good ventilation to avoid any toxic fume inhalation and, if you have a safety mask, pop one over your face for further precaution. Use a paper towel to soak up the excess abrasive cleaner. Be aware that the surface of the spill may be greasy and slippery so you may have to mop it up with water after you’ve soaked the excess cleaner.

 

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Mix ¼ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with four cups of lukewarm water to remove red wine spills.

3.  Red wine

A simple spill of this mind-inducing liquid has the power to send grown women to tears. The tears aren’t simply wept for the loss of a beloved beverage, but also relate to the nasty stain it’s renowned to leave. Unfortunately, when a spill happens, a high probability of broken glass comes with it.

Solution: As always, safety does come first so be sure to wear some shoes to avoid any feet injury in the event broken glass is at play. Use kitchen tongs or tweezers to pick up any pieces of broken glass. As for the remedy to getting the red wine stains out, mix ¼ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with four cups of lukewarm water. Pour some of the solution onto the stain and gently work a sponge in a blotting motion. You will want to ensure the direction of your cleaning motion starts from the outer rim to the middle of the stain to prevent further spreading. To remove any remaining stain, a damp cloth of lukewarm water ought to do the trick. Alternatively, if you haven’t got any dishwashing liquid at your disposal, you can sprinkle some salt over the stain and add lukewarm water to work some magic.

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Don Milne

Don Milne is one of the founding members of ziilch.com.au, a free community driven website that provides Australians with a place to give away items they no longer want to people who may need them. Since its launch, Ziilch has been visited by over 2.5 million people and most items listed are typically collected within hours. It's free to list items and it's free to take them. Ziilch encourages social responsibility and supports environmental sustainability by keeping good stuff out of landfill.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.