Great Ideas For Cleaning Your Summer Gear

August 2013

As I look out at the water and watch the sun reflect off the ocean waves, a warm breeze blows across the sand.  Ahh, summer.  I love summers in New York.  Unfortunately, the summer season is almost over.

All those dips in the ocean, trips to the ice cream store, walks on the boardwalk and sunbathing on the sand moments will soon be coming to an end.  All that’s left are wonderful memories, stinky sandals, dirty white t-shirts, chlorine-smelling bathing suits and dirty pool toys!

Here are some tips for keeping your summer gear looking its best for the next few weeks of the season:

Canvas shoe cleaning:  Wipe off all loose dirt.  Make a paste of baking soda and water in a bowl. Dip an old toothbrush into paste and brush it onto soles of shoes.  Wash shoes in washing machine.  Air dry shoes (not over a vent). 

Stinky sandals:  In a large Ziploc bag or container with lid, combine 1 cup cornstarch, ½ cup baking soda, ½ cup baking powder, and an anti-bacterial essential oil (like tea tree or sandalwood).  Place sandals in powder overnight.  Next day, throw away powder and wear sandals!

Shoe deodorizers:  Pour ¼ cup baking soda into a coffee filter.  Fold corners of filter towards center and fold the top down.  Punch holes on sides of filter and tie with a string.  Place in shoes to keep them smelling fresh.

Whiten sneakers:  Brush off loose dirt from sneakers.  Remove laces.  In bucket, mix castile soap, washing soda and Borax with 2 gallons warm water.  Soak for about 1 hour.

For extra dirty sneakers, add 2 cups vinegar to 2 gallons water.  Let soak for 2 hours.  Vinegar disinfects and whitens.  Baking soda absorbs moisture.  Borax and washing soda neutralize odors, cuts through grease, removes stains and whitens.

Bugs in the sandbox?  Sprinkle cinnamon in there!  To keep ants out, sprinkle black pepper around the perimeter of the sandbox.  Always keep lid on box when not using.  To get rid of debris, sift sand in box every few days.

Clean pool toys:  To get rid of the mildew odor on plastic and vinyl pool toys, add ¼ cup baking soda to 1 quart warm water.  Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down toys.

For very dirty toys, pour baking soda directly on damp cloth.  Scrub toys and rinse.

Keep sand off beach bags, hands, and feet:  Sprinkle some talc powder on the outside of your beach bag to keep sand from sticking to bag.  To get sand off of legs, feet and hands, sprinkle talc powder on them.  No talc powder?  Use corn starch or baby powder instead.

To remove chlorine, salt and sunscreen from bathing suits:  Fill sink with warm water.  Add 2 tablespoons liquid detergent.  Soak bathing suit inside out.  Rinse well.  Squeeze, do not wring water from suit.  Hang in shower or laundry room to dry.  Do not use dryer.  Do not dry in sunlight because UV rays break down fibers in suit.

Stains on shirt and shorts:

For berries, marker, newsprint, coffee, tea, juice, jams, ink, BBQ sauce, pumpkin, and mustard stains, combine ¼ cup liquid dish detergent, ¼ cup glycerin, and 1 ½ cups water in a spray bottle.  Spray on stain and throw in washer. 

For pasta and blood stains, spray on hydrogen peroxide and water.

For deodorant stains, dab on vinegar, wait 30 minutes.  Rinse.

So long summer, it’s been a great season.  Until next year…..

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