Sweater weather is over, and sweaty weather is here! Things are warming up now, and that means optimal growing conditions for bacteria and mold. Before you toss out your smelly shoes and sweat-stained T-shirts, here are some survival tips to help you ride out the heatwave.
1. Sweaty Shoes
It happens to the best of us: you decided to wear flats on a hot summer day, and now your shoes are a swampy cesspool. They don’t call it “flip-flops season” for nothing! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to freshen up your footwear.
Put your shoes in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer to chill overnight. Remove your shoes the next morning and let them thaw in the sunlight.
Remove any laces or insoles, place your shoes in a pillowcase, and wash them with the rest of your laundry. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to your wash to help deodorize.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of baking soda in each shoe and let them sit overnight. The baking soda will absorb foul odors and excess moisture.
To prevent future smells:
Fill a pair of socks with baking soda or kitty litter, and place them in your shoes when you’re not wearing them.
Stuff your shoes with laundry sheets, which will absorb sweat and leave behind a fresh smell.
Wear non-slip socks with your flats, so you’re not sweating directly onto your shoes.
2. Pit Stains
Sometimes sweat soaks through even the strongest antiperspirant. When that happens, stay away from bleach, which can make stains even darker. Instead, spot-treat stains before washing your clothing in cold water.
Dab the stains with a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water.
If you don’t have vinegar handy, you can create a solution using aspirin instead. 2 crushed aspirins per 1 cup of water should do the trick.
Mix 1 part lemon juice and 1 part water for another DIY solution. Add 1 teaspoon of salt for added effectiveness.
Warning: This method only works for white shirts.
Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 1 part baking soda, and 1 part liquid dish soap to create a paste. Vigorously scrub the paste into the stains with a toothbrush and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
For persistent stains:
Soak your clothing in a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts cold water for at least 30 minutes. Wash with cold water afterward.
3. Smelly Washing Machines
Hot weather can make your already steamy laundry room especially pungent. Musty-smelling laundry usually means your washing machine is getting grimy. Remember, even washers need to be washed!
Add 4 cups of white vinegar to your washing machine and run the machine through a complete cycle on the highest load and heat settings.
Baking Soda Wash
After the cycle is done, run another cycle on the same settings, this time substituting the vinegar for 1 cup of baking soda.
You’re not done yet! Now it’s time to clean all the little nooks and crannies. Spray down dials, detergent dispensers, gaskets, etc. with a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water. Scrub with a toothbrush and wipe clean with a cloth.
To prevent future smells:
Leave the door of your washing machine open whenever you’re not using it, to prevent mold from growing inside.
Wipe down the gasket of your washing machine after every use.
4. Moldy Surfaces
Heat + humidity + poor ventilation = mold. Mold can spread quickly, so act fast once you start to notice it. Spray down spots with a homemade solution, and make sure you allow moisture to fully dry out of your bathroom or basement.
Important Tip: NEVER mix vinegar and bleach, which will chemically react and create toxic chlorine gas. When using bleach, always use gloves and leave a window open to air out the fumes.
Spray moldy areas with undiluted white vinegar. Let sit for an hour, then wipe clean with a cloth.
Again, spray moldy areas with a solution of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water. This method only works when treating mold on non-porous surfaces such as sinks, toilets, and tile.
Borax is perhaps the best method for eliminating mold, as it does not release any fumes and also prevents future mold from growing. Mix 1 part borax with 10 parts water to create your cleaning solution.
To prevent future mold:
Ventilate the room by cracking open a window and/or running a fan.
For seriously damp spaces, consider using a dehumidifier.
5. Gunky Grill
Everyone loves backyard barbecue, but no one likes eating off a grill with mystery gunk clinging to the grates. Before you fire up the grill for the first time this season, make sure you give it a good scrub-down.
Start with a completely cool grill, disconnected from gas. Next, remove the grates and dump them in warm, soapy water. Let soak for at least 30 minutes, then scrub, scrub, scrub with a grill brush. Let the grates dry fully, then wipe them down with a dry cloth, to remove any stray bristles.
Gently scrub the tubes with your grill brush, taking special care to remove grime from around the small holes.
Empty the grease collector and wash with soap and water.
Coals and Ashes
If you have a charcoal grill, empty out any old coals and ashes.
Interior and Exterior
Scrub the interior and exterior of the grill with your trusty grill brush and warm, soapy water. When cleaning stainless steel, spray the surface with a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water, and rub down with a clean cloth.
Wipe down the grates with a bit of vegetable oil before replacing them. Lastly, turn on the grill and let it burn for at least 15 minutes before using it again.