Freshen Up Fabric Using Ingredients From Summer Cocktails

To battle the summer sweat, one of my favorite things to do is to get my friends together for some sweet, refreshing summer cocktails! Gin, vodka, rum, and bourbon are just a few of the spirits you can mix-in with fresh herbs and fruit to make your favorite summer cocktail. However, here’s the thing: I may be a cleaning guru, but an expert mixologist, I am not! Throughout the summer season, I like to explore the internet for new (and familiar with a twist) summer cocktail recipes to try. Here are the results from my latest search this week:

Here's What Happened When I Let My Family Clean the House for Two Weeks

Here's What Happened When I Let My Family Clean the House for Two Weeks

When asked me to stop doing housework for two weeks, I was terrified. For starters, we're your typical, busy Midwestern family with two teenage sons and two dogs. My husband Alan is a tidy and fastidious civil engineer, and I am the proud owner of a Merry Maids office and the founder of the Don't Look Under the Rug blog. The two of us divide the chores (Alan washes dishes, cooks, and vacuums; while I handle laundry, grocery shopping, and monitoring general clutter) and the boys are expected to pick up after themselves. That said, I do feel I handle more than my fair share of housework after a day at the office.

I don't think my standards are unrealistic. I love things to be clean, but I also enjoy living in my home. We do have a mail pile and a "take it up the stairs" collection. So, eventually, I felt cautiously optimistic about taking a two-week hiatus from housework. My boys are well-behaved, helpful, and only slightly sloth-like when it comes to picking up after themselves — how bad could it be? 

How To Clean Mystery Stains on Tennis Shoes

I’ve been thinking about shoes lately. I love a good well-made pair of casual shoes because when you find the right pair, you seem to wear them constantly. I’m a big believer that shoes are an investment for our wardrobe and long term health, but having great shoes is knowing how to keep them clean and fresh- and looking fabulous!


My friend’s mystery stained Nike shoes

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Tennis shoes are meant to be worn, but it’s the worst of luck to have them get dirty the first day you take them out. And that is exactly what happened to my friend Janell when she bought her husband a brand new pair of Nike tennis shoes. She’s not exactly sure what happened, but he did come back with a chainsaw and chainsaw oil in hand, and the residue splattered all over the breathable mesh fabric was greasy. I suppose he may have been reluctant to come completely clean (lol! Bad humor... but I can't resist!) I wanted to take a stab at the mystery oil stain and help out my friend...and her husband:

  1. I wet the shoes down with water
  2. Added Dawn soap directly to shoes
  3. Set shoes aside for about an hour
  4. Threw them in the washer in a lingerie bag
  5. Allowed them to air dry in the sun

Not a very scientific cleaning process but it worked like a charm and the tennis shoes came out of the washer devoid of the mystery stains! I got extra brownie points with my friend, and was surprised to find that the simple cleaning tip of using soap and water worked so well!


My son’s stinky tennis shoes

I am not only the owner of a cleaning business, but the mother of two boys who are always on the go. After sports practice they love to kick their shoes off as soon as they get in the car. It seems to be a common prank to pull on mothers everywhere. How long does it take for a Mom to notice the feet have been freed from the shoes? In my car? About 30 seconds before my eyes water. Here is a picture that demonstrates exactly how smelly Andrew's socks are:

Anytime you wear athletic shoes for exercise or sports, your feet are going to sweat into the shoe and leave an very unpleasant smell! I have a cleaning tip that only requires two main items:

  1. Newspaper
  2. Baking Soda

Both are way cheaper, and not to mention more environmentally friendly, than a spray deodorizer! Check it out here:


A note on running shoes

I live in Tulsa and running groups and races are very popular, and runners are very particular about their gear. I am more of a pilates gal myself, so for advice on high-end running shoes ASICS recommends these great cleaning tips in their article, “How To Clean Running Shoes - 3 Tips For Keeping Cleaning Shoes”:

  1. Wash the sockliner or insole separately if you’re able to remove them. This will help make the inside of your shoe fresher. Laces can be washed or just replaced.

  2. Remove surface dirt such as mud and grit. Use an old toothbrush or nail brush, a little warm water and a gentle, anti-grease soap. This should take care of the dirt, and is fine to do once in awhile. I don't recommend soaking the shoe for lighter cleaning jobs.

  3. Dry your shoes naturally and don’t place them near a radiator. Direct heat will alter the shape of the shoe. Open out the shoe and then stuff the inside with kitchen paper or newspaper. The paper will absorb the dampness inside the shoe. A shoe takes about twelve hours to dry out.

#happycleaning - Amy

How To Quickly Remove Red Wine From Fabric

I received a bottle of wine this week as a holiday gift! It's a sleek red wine blend called "Tulsa Deco Streamline" inspired by Tulsa's art deco architecture. It will be a great compliment to the unseasonably warm December day we are having in Oklahoma today. But whether you are enjoying a glass of red wine on your outdoor patio or inside during a dinner party, accidental spills will happen! For example, I wore my Mom's wedding dress when I married and had a full glass of red wine dumped on it! But guess what?! Every single trace came out from the heavy brocade fabric! Want to know how? - Watch my cleaning tip on how to quickly remove red wine from fabric:

What you need:

  • ice water or chilled club soda
  • paper towels
  • salt or corn starch
  • rubber bands
  • large bowl
  • water pitcher or teapot
  • hot water

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Clothes

Did your child come home from school with Sharpie permanent marker on their new shirt? Guess what? Permanent marker is not impossible to remove! To get started with this DIY cleaning tip, you will need white paper towels, a clean working surface, and rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. I prefer to use hand sanitizer (non-fragrance) because I find it is easier to work into the fabric. The trick is to NOT wash the shirt before you do this. If you do, the stain will be set in the fabric and you will have no luck getting it out! It may take a couple of tries but eventually the color will lift right out!

#happycleaning - Amy,

How To Clean Leather Boots

I have been not-so-patiently waiting for it to feel like Autumn, and although the weather still isn't cooperating with me, I am pulling on my boots. Whether riding boots, motorcycle boots, or booties, I know they are an investment. So, I try to keep them looking fabulous and make them last by protecting them from mother nature. After all, your boots were made for walking, regardless of the weather!

The two products used: Obenhauf's Water Shield Spray and Huberd's Shoe Grease

#happycleaning - Amy Bates

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News on 6: Tips On Stubborn Stains

Showed News on 6 this week that club soda may not always do the trick for stubborn stains. Especially when it comes to permanent marker and ballpoint pins getting on your clothing (or children!), it doesn't have to be a lost cause. Grab a couple of items you have in your bathroom, find a clean cloth and get ready to be amazed!

#happycleaning - Amy

D.I.Y. Fabric Refresher With Vodka

Did you forget to drop off the dry cleaning or need to freshen a suit or dress that picked up the smell of smoke after an evening out? What can you do? Using your home bar, or if traveling, the hotel mini-bar, D.I.Y. a quick odor eliminating fabric spray! The same mix works for removing pet odor on upholstery and more.

What you need:

  • Vodka or Gin
  • Distilled Water
  • Optional: Essential oils such as lavender  

#happycleaning - Amy

October Survival Kit From Don't Look Under The Rug

I hope your start to October is going well! This month's survival kit includes items I use constantly, when on the road, and in my home cleaning regiment. I would love to hear what your favorite items are this fall - Comment below!

Oh Sh#% Tip: Removing Pen Marks From Clothing

Here is another one of my "Oh Sh#%" tips! Have you ever been sitting at work in a favorite shirt or blouse and suddenly realize you have ink on your sleeve? Or perhaps you have caught your kids writing on your car's upholstery?

What do you do?

You grab something you already have on hand! Follow these quick and easy instructions and be back to looking fabulous in no time at all!

#happycleaning, Amy Bates