Mold is no match for magic shower cleaner

EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE

The only thing better than figuring out for myself how to do things cheaper, better and faster is teaching readers about my tips and tricks. Helping Mike was the best! His response just made my day.

Dear Mary: I can’t thank you enough for telling us about your magic shower and tub cleaner. I live in an older home in moldy ol’ Florida, and I have a tile shower. I used to bleach it every 10 to 14 days, and by 14th day it would be pretty bad — I’m talking mold and mildew. Since using your magic formula, I only bleached once this whole summer. I squirt the shower down two to three times a week, and OMG! It’s so easy and well worth it. I love your articles. Please continue to keep us informed. Thanks again. You saved my life. — Mike.

Dear Mike: I am laughing and tickled by your excitement. The stuff really is like magic, isn’t it? I know so many readers are chomping at the bit to know more about the secret concoction that saved your life (it saved mine, too, so I know how you feel). I call it my Magic Tub and Tile Soap and Scum Remover. Maybe we need to add “Mold and Mildew” to that label, as well.

I suggest readers read the original column (called “How to Make Ugly Soap Scum, Mildew and Water Marks Disappear Like Magic”) for details. But for those who can’t wait, here’s a quick refresh. Pour 1 cup blue Dawn dishwashing liquid into a 32-ounce spray bottle. Add enough white vinegar to fill the bottle to within an inch of the top. Done. Shake the bottle, and then spray away. Spray the walls, floor, fixtures, glass doors, shampoo caddy and every surface inside the tub or shower.

If the soap, scum, mold and mildew are, shall we say, well-developed, leave the remover on overnight. In the morning, gently scrub with a sponge, Scotchbrite or brush. You’ll be smiling when you realize the gunk is now soft and easy to rinse down the drain. Tough spots might require a good stiff brush the first time. Once the area is clean, spray it down once a week or so. You won’t even have to scrub from then on; just spray, wait a few minutes and rinse. Let it dry, and behold no water spots!

Dear Mary: We are trying to frugalize every detail of our lives so we can live on one income. How do you recommend cleaning dry-clean-only clothing items like men’s suits and blazers? — Katy

Dear Katy: While many clothing items marked “Dry Clean Only” can be hand-washed successfully, men’s suits and blazers are not among them. However, if you exercise good care these items can be professionally cleaned far less frequently than you might think.

Some fabrics like wool and cashmere must be dry-cleaned, but it is not good for them to be dry-cleaned often. Instead, every month or two you should hang those items — especially suits, sports coats and blazers — outdoors for several hours out of direct sunlight. That will refresh and renew those natural fibers.

If you practice good personal hygiene and are careful to deal with stains right away, dry-cleaning these items once a year should be sufficient.