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Cleaning Common Crafting Messes

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Inevitably, there will be those times when all your best efforts will fail and someone will create a mess that needs special attention.

If you're armed with the right tools and the know-how, these mishaps can be taken in stride. It reminds me of the advertisement a few years back for the spray carpet cleaner where the kid spills grape juice on his mom's white carpet and she smiles, completely relaxed, and says "No problem." Well, I'm not sure it's quite that easy, but having a few dirt-killing weapons in your home arsenal, plus knowing what to use when, sure can give you a greater sense of confidence AND perhaps lengthen your fuse when it comes to the accidents created by other crafters in the family.

First, let's take a look at some of the most common crafting messes. Then we can talk about how to remove them.

The materials you'll most likely have to pick up, wipe up, scrape off, or get out of fabric or carpet are:

  • Paper, wood, metal, or glass scraps
  • Fabric and thread scraps
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Marker
  • Ink
  • Crayon
  • Colored pencil
  • Dye
  • Wood and other dust

Immediately you can see why the vinyl flooring suggested in Choosing Your Crafting Space would be easier to clean than carpet, especially when it comes to just picking up various scraps and dust. Materials like glue, paint, or marker create soil or a stain, however, on most any surface, and need to be removed.

The secret to removal of any kind of spill or stain is to get it when it's fresh, so act quickly. The longer the stain has had to penetrate or dry, the harder it will be to get off. (Just one more argument for having cleaning supplies nearby or toting your cleaning caddy to wherever you're crafting.) You'll want to remove as much as you can, as fast as you can, then apply the right cleaning agent and get up the rest.

But what if you don't see a stain right away and it has time to penetrate, dry, or harden? Fear not. Chances are there's a way to get it out.

These are the five steps to removing any kind of soil or stain:

  1. Identify. You'll need to know what the stain is, and how long it's been there.

  2. Remove. Get up whatever you can by blotting the stain with a dry, white absorbent cloth or white paper towels. Don't scrub! If the staining material is a semi-solid, scrape up what you can with a spoon or a spatula. If it's a solid, break it up if you can and vacuum up whatever's loose.

  3. Apply. Put the right cleaning agent to work on the stain. The right one may be something as simple as water or as powerful as an industrial cleaner or solvent. Generally, you'll want to use the gentlest cleanser you can to do the job. Not sure which one to use? I'll give you some resources a little later to help you find the right one.

  4. Wait. Give the cleaner time to work. It'll give you more of what you paid for and save you some elbow grease. If the stain is on a hard surface, you may need to rub the cleaner in a bit. If the stain is in carpet, don't scrub or rub it in.

  5. Remove. You want to get up both the dirt and the cleaner. This may mean blotting, wiping, flushing, rinsing, or sucking it up with an extractor or vacuum. You'll want to get all the cleaning solution up as well, since leaving it in a surface like carpet may mean the area will get dirty again more quickly.

Remember, you may have to repeat these steps several times before the stain actually comes out. Be patient and keep doing it as long as you're getting some results.



Next: Page 2 >>

More on: Crafts for Kids

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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