top of page

Welcome Spring

THE WAY to Clean Rugs and Carpet

I can still see myself down on my hands and knees spot cleaning a client’s carpet years ago. A bar of Ivory soap in one hand, a damp cloth in the other, a bowl of water nearby. I learned it was THE WAY to clean a spot out of a wool rug or carpet. I learned that from our sales person at Stark Carpet back in 1985 when I worked for David Laurence Roth, Interior Designer and former Costume Designer for the Metropolitan Opera. The client showed me the spot and said how she was disappointed in her professional carpet cleaner who missed it. I got the spot out, by the way. Rub the soap on it gently, pat it with a wet cloth, then soak up the wet, then back to rubbing the spot with soap over and over. That was in the early 2000s.

Another way to do that is with white vinegar, GREAT all purpose cleaner. And of course, a ‘shampoo’ is a good idea but only if you really know your carpet or rug needs it. I was told that the natural oils in the wool protect it from stains and resist them. Too much shampooing washes out the lanolin.

Check out The Spruce for more exacting instructions. They’re quite good and specific.

I have many professionals I rely on. Here are some tips from them to maintain a clean bacteria free kitchen or bathroom.


My stone supplier just said how only soap and water should be used to clean a stone counter. No, we think of them as hard and durable but natural stones are going to be more vulnerable to stains or scratches than man made quartz. This Old House recommends using a silicone impregnator to seal real stone surfaces.

Oprah promoted an interesting mix of products that smell good but be very careful that you’re not using any citrus on countertops. The acidity in the citrus will eat through the sealing impregnator and make your tops vulnerable all over again. (I noticed a grapefruit essential oil as a component for one of the products.)


That same white vinegar we talked about earlier can be added to your soap and water mixture in a spray bottle, spray a little on a clean cloth, and wipe cabinets down regularly to avoid build up. This white vinegar is an antibacterial additive perfect for use in the kitchen. So many kitchen cabinets are painted these days and if there is some build up, adding a little baking soda to that mixture will help.

Floor Tile

Warm water with mild soap on a string mop Bob Vila says is the best way to clean floor tile. (I’m not crazy about that kind of mop but he says that a sponge mop pushes dirt and grit into the grout and compromises the grout, just be careful and mindful of that if you use one). Adding about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water is the ratio depending on the area you’re cleaning and how dirty it is. Remember it’s not just the tile you are cleaning but the grout, too, between the tile you need to consider. It is way more vulnerable than the tile and so keep it simple. If you’ve got a mess you’re mopping up, be gentle on the grout so not to erode it with harsh chemicals or dig it out with harsh scrubbing brushes. Grout is porous and so a sealer that impregnates or seals the grout is necessary. Natural Stone and grout both need sealing so they’re not penetrated by water or any liquid that may stain or compromise it. Here’s a link to Bob Vila’s article about sealing grout.


I specified a paint color by Sherwin Williams, Grey’s Harbor 6236, a very dark blue/grey color for a mail room in a multi-unit condominium building. In the background of this photo you can see the dark mail room wall color. A shelf had been installed to put boxes on in the mail room.

Each time someone placed a box on that shelf, if they grazed the wall just slightly with the box it marred the wall like white chalk on black slate. I called my paint rep and she gave me a gallon of Professional Pre-Catalyzed-Epoxy Paint. A product recommended for high traffic areas. The marring never happened again. The lesson here is that a paint product makes a difference in durability, NOT a finish like Matte, Satin, or Semi-gloss.

When painting a high traffic area like a kitchen in your home, be mindful of your paint products. I know we were talking about cleaning walls here, but you’d not have a hard time cleaning any walls in the first place if you use the right paint product.

Benjamin Moore has Aura. For Bathrooms you’ll want to use their Mold and Mildew resistant Aura Bath & Spa paint product.

Sherwin Williams has a new product called Superior Paint. I promise more information on painting walls in the future!

Dust your walls regularly and if it happens that you mark your wall knocking a chair into it or with finger prints, try water with a little soap & vinegar on a soft white cloth. Other marks like pencil or crayon I’ve noticed that white toothpaste has become an interesting commodity in the house cleaning supplies world. Sometimes it is suggested that baking soda works also when added to toothpaste. Here’s a link to The Spruce and their suggestions for the various ways toothpaste can be used to clean around the house. Other than that, you’ll likely wash your walls before painting again.

Special Kitchen Cleansers

My huge pewter tray gets spotted up regularly and nothing ever worked as well as Barkeeper’s Friend Soft Cleanser. Check out their website for more amazing things they’ve got to keep your kitchen sparkling.

For all the stainless steel lovers, The Spruce (again) has a list for cleaning stainless steel products.

Bathroom Cleaners

Avoid using Chlorine! I always hated how chlorine bleach smells. Now I know something really important about that. Read this interesting article about substituting Chlorine Bleach with Hydrogen Peroxide to clean your bathroom and other interesting ideas like adding hydrogen Peroxide to your laundry as a whitener, to your dishwasher as a disinfectant, your humidifier to clean its interior system and using it to wash fruit & veggies to kill off E.coli and other bacteria!

If you loosely translate my name, Reinheimer, - Rein (Purely) Heim (Home) you understand I come upon my cleaning obsession honestly! If you look for a German translation of the word clean you’ll come up with a number of words. Sauber, reinigen, rein, (but you knew that) putzen, waschen, klar, reinemachen, sauber machen.

Happy Cleaning!

Gretchen Reinheimer Design

Creating extraordinary spaces together


Recent Posts
bottom of page