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How to Clean Wallpaper

The only type of wallpaper you can safely clean by washing is vinyl. Even with vinyl, unless the care label says it’s scrubbable, use as little moisture and pressure as you can.

To wash vinyl wallpaper, use two buckets. Fill one bucket with a warm, soapy solution made from 20ml (1 tablespoon) of multi-purpose cleaner per 5 litres (1 gallon) of water. Put warm, clean water in the other bucket and use it to rinse your sponge so that you never bring dirty suds up to the paper.

Rinse and dry afterwards. For rinsing, use a slightly damp sponge, blotting it over the area you just washed. To dry the walls turn up the radiators or use an electric fan-heater so that the work is done for you. If this isn’t possible, you can lightly towel-dry the walls.

But take care: wet paper is fragile, so press the towel against the wall to blot up moisture rather than giving the wall a quick rubdown.

With non-vinyl wallpaper, the most you can do is spot clean. To do this using dry materials, you can try to soak out the grease and grime that make your wall look dull. You will need patience.

Hold a clean, absorbent cloth, or about four sheets of kitchen towel (paper towels), against the wall, then iron the cloth or sheets on a very low heat setting. The heat loosens dirt and oil, which the towelling absorbs. Another neat trick is to rub a slice of white bread against the paper which may draw out the grease element of the stain.

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7 DIY Ways to Remove Oil Stains from Asphalt Driveways

  • Dish soap: Squirt the liquid soap onto the oil stain and add water. Scrub at the stain with a stiff brush and use a garden hose to rinse away the suds.
  • Kitty litter: Cover the oil stain with cheap clay-based cat litter. Stomp on top of the litter granules to help it soak up the oil, then leave it out overnight. Sweep up the litter the next day, then hose off the area.
  • Powdered laundry detergent: Sprinkle detergent on oil stain and add water. Scrub the stain with a stiff brush, then let sit for 30 minutes and hose off.
  • Soda: Pour a can or two of Coca-cola, or a similar brand of cola, onto the stain. Let it sit overnight before cleaning further.
  • Baking soda: Sprinkle a generous amount on the oil stain, then scrub with a stiff brush. Wait at least 30 minutes before rinsing off.
  • WD-40 spray: Spray the stain with a generous amount before rinsing off with water.
  • Oven cleaner: Spray the stain and let it sit for 5–10 minutes. Scrub it with a stiff brush, then use a hose at the highest pressure setting to rinse it away.

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How to Clean Painted Walls

Keep painted walls looking fresh with preventive maintenance and simple cleaning methods.

Preventive Maintenance

Maintain a freshly painted look on your walls by keeping them free of dust and spots. Plus, preventive maintenance means less time spent scrubbing later.

Vacuum walls with a soft brush attachment. Then wipe them down with a cloth-covered broom or mop (spray with a dusting agent for best results) or use an electrostatic dusting wipe. Wipe away fingerprints and other marks soon after they appear. Avoid using an excessive amount of water.

Walls Painted with Latex Paint

Wash walls painted with latex paint using warm water and a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner. Dip a clean sponge in the water, then wring it dry. Gently rub the wall. Pay special attention to areas that get touched often — such as around doorknobs and light switches. Rinse with a second sponge and clear water. Take care not to wet areas around outlets, light switches, telephone jacks, and other electrical connections. When scrubbing those spots becomes necessary, turn off electricity at the circuit breaker box.

For stubborn spots, such as fingerprints, newspaper smudges, or scuffs, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub the area with a nonabrasive pad. If cleaner (or white vinegar and water) doesn’t remove the grime or stain on painted woodwork, wipe the woodwork with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Walls Painted with Oil-Based Paint

Wash walls painted with oil-based paint in the same manner, substituting detergent solution (see below) for the cleaner or white vinegar mixture. Wring the sponge or cloth until only slightly damp. Texture-painted walls, such as those with a troweled finish, can be dust catchers and might require deeper cleaning. Add 1 ounce of borax to each pint of water to clean the wall.

Recipe for All-Purpose Detergent Solution

  • Stir 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent into a quart of warm water.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar.
  • Let solution sit on stain for 10 minutes before blotting.

Keep painted walls looking fresh with preventive maintenance and simple cleaning methods.

Preventive Maintenance

Maintain a freshly painted look on your walls by keeping them free of dust and spots. Plus, preventive maintenance means less time spent scrubbing later.

Vacuum walls with a soft brush attachment. Then wipe them down with a cloth-covered broom or mop (spray with a dusting agent for best results) or use an electrostatic dusting wipe. Wipe away fingerprints and other marks soon after they appear. Avoid using an excessive amount of water.

Walls Painted with Latex Paint

Wash walls painted with latex paint using warm water and a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner. Dip a clean sponge in the water, then wring it dry. Gently rub the wall. Pay special attention to areas that get touched often — such as around doorknobs and light switches. Rinse with a second sponge and clear water. Take care not to wet areas around outlets, light switches, telephone jacks, and other electrical connections. When scrubbing those spots becomes necessary, turn off electricity at the circuit breaker box.

For stubborn spots, such as fingerprints, newspaper smudges, or scuffs, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub the area with a nonabrasive pad. If cleaner (or white vinegar and water) doesn’t remove the grime or stain on painted woodwork, wipe the woodwork with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Walls Painted with Oil-Based Paint

Wash walls painted with oil-based paint in the same manner, substituting detergent solution (see below) for the cleaner or white vinegar mixture. Wring the sponge or cloth until only slightly damp. Texture-painted walls, such as those with a troweled finish, can be dust catchers and might require deeper cleaning. Add 1 ounce of borax to each pint of water to clean the wall.

Recipe for All-Purpose Detergent Solution

  • Stir 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent into a quart of warm water.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar.
  • Let solution sit on stain for 10 minutes before blotting.

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Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Smoker

When it comes to cooking outdoors, no technique is more revered or more demanding than smoking your favorite meats, veggies and cheeses. If you’re willing to commit the time and energy, the benefits are plentiful. Longer cooking times and smoke from natural woods leads to astounding aromas, tender textures and mouthwatering flavors that will have everyone asking for seconds. Just like with grilling, having the right equipment can help make preparing delicious foods much easier. Read on to learn about the latest models and features when buying a smoker.

Types of Smokers

Charcoal Smokers
Charcoal smokers are the tried-and-true, classic smokers. Some experienced grillmasters may even tell you that charcoal smokers are the only real smokers out there. While the equipment you use is largely a matter of preference, charcoal smokers do offer a number of advantages over other types of smokers.

Benefits…

  • Authentic flavors – If you’re an outdoor cooking purist, charcoal smokers can provide the ideal combination of smokiness and classic charcoal flavors.
  • Customization – Since everything from establishing and maintaining the fire to regulating the temperature using the air vents is done manually, you have complete control over the smoking process.

 Gas Smokers
Gas smokers are a convenient alternative to traditional charcoal models. Like gas grills, these smokers are easy to set up, run and adjust on the fly. If continuously adding charcoal and adjusting the temperature for hours doesn’t sound manageable, then this option is right for you.

Benefits…

  • Ease of use –With no charcoals to look after, a gas smoker can be set up and left to cook without much additional hassle.
  • Precision controls –If you find that your gas smoker is running above or below the proper temperature, you can simply adjust the knobs appropriately, instead of tinkering with air vents that can require more nuance and effort.

Electric Smokers
One major advantage of an electric smoker over charcoal or propane styles, is that even the time can be regulated automatically on many models. If you know that your recipe calls for a specific number of hours in the smoker, simply program the machine accordingly and check back when it’s done.

Benefits…

  • Safety –Electric smokers use a heating element, as opposed to a burner or lit charcoals, which means that there’s no potentially dangerous open flame to worry about.
  • Simple cleanup –Even smoking purists can appreciate how easy it is to clean an electric smoker. Instead of scraping spent charcoal from the interior, you’ll just need to empty the wood ashes and wipe down any spilled juices before closing up shop.

Pellet Smokers
These high-tech smokers utilize preformed wood pellets to continuously heat and smoke your food for a true-to-style taste with less hassle. While they don’t deliver a hardcore charcoal flavor some enthusiasts crave, their ease of use make them a valued addition to any outdoor cooking collection.

Benefits…

  • Precision heating –Pellet smokers are able to provide continuous heat by automatically loading wood pellets via the attached hopper. All you have to do is fill up the hopper, adjust the settings and the smoker will do the rest.
  • Rich, natural flavors – Some outdoor cooking enthusiasts claim that the fuel used to cook on gas smokers can negatively affect the flavor of foods, while others don’t seem to notice. If you don’t like the taste of food from a natural gas or propane smoker but don’t like operating a charcoal model, this may be your best option.

Features of Smokers

The basics of smoking might seem straightforward, but mastering your technique requires careful attention to detail. Understanding the common features of different types of smokers can help you choose one that complements your skill level and ambition.

Essentials

  • Heating element –The heat source or fuel type can drastically affect the flavor of foods. While gas and pellet smokers directly burn wood chips, gas and charcoal smokers can provide more complex characteristics both in the appearance and taste of the finished product.
  • Dampers –Dampers regulate the airflow throughout a smoker. For charcoal smokers, this is the primary way in which you’ll control the temperature inside.
  • Firebox –Fireboxes are included on what’s known as offset options. Offset smokers generally feature a standard grill grate inside a cylindrical body. The firebox is attached to one side and is used to contain and help monitor your charcoals and wood as they burn.
  • Smoke chamber –The smoke chamber is where your foods cook as the hot, smoky air circulates. This area generally dictates the overall shape of the smoker as well. Styles range from vertical “egg” and rectangular smokers to horizontal offset models and more.
  • Thermometer – Maintaining a consistent temperature while smoking your favorite foods is absolutely essential, which makes the thermometer one of your most important pieces of equipment. While most models include a built-in thermometer, double-checking the status of your smoke chamber with an alternate thermometer is recommended.
  • Water and drip pans – The water pan helps keep your foods moist and tender over the course of the smoking process, while the drip pan collects excess juices at the bottom of the smoke chamber. Having easy access to both will make maintenance and cleanup simpler.
  • Hopper –Hoppers are an exclusive feature of pellet smokers. They both contain and distribute the preformed wood pellets.