87.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 19, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesHOUSEKEEPING TRICKS FOR THE TROPICS

HOUSEKEEPING TRICKS FOR THE TROPICS

Here are some tricks and tips for housekeeping in the tropics.
ANTS: Do you have little sugar ants all over your house? It’s so bad you’re creating moats to float the leftover cake? Believe it or not, you don’t have to share your house with ants. You can get rid of them very easily with a bottle of Terro, which can be purchased at True Value or Sea Chest.
I should be writing ad copy for this product. It literally changes your life (and makes it possible for me to leave dirty dishes all over my kitchen!)
A tiny drop of Terro should be put in several places in the kitchen, in the bathrooms, around any mechanical item like pumps, phones, TVs, computers, radios, etc. Ants love the lubrication and can jam up the mechanism faster than they can haul away that piece of cake.
Terro can also be used to deter the microscopic ‘ant’ that gets into books and papers. A few drops on each bookshelf will slow down the disintegration of your favorite novels.
When you first put out Terro, you will see more ants than you thought you had. But this ends quickly as they all go back to the nest and convince their relatives and friends that your house is not a nice place to live, before they pass on to ant heaven.
A once-a-month application will totally rid your house of these pests.
GLASS AND MIRRORS: Because of the salt residue in the air, mirrors and glass become very streaky. A small amount of white vinegar in a spray bottle of water does the trick of neutralizing the salt on windows, mirrors, car windows and surfaces and even bathroom tiles and chrome.
Standard glass cleaners contain ammonia, which just seems to make the problem worse.
Paper towels work best because we are still using newspaper print with a lead content that smears.
WICKER: Wicker likes to be washed or sprayed frequently to keep the reed from drying out. Don’t hesitate to carry your favorite wicker furniture out on the walk and spray or sponge-wash it down on a regular basis. It will last a lot longer.
We have a skilled wicker repair person on St. Thomas who can make an old broken chair look better than new. Call Brenda Sullivan at 777 4246.
RED DUST: The Sahara dust that plagues all of us, especially during dry months, needs to be vacuumed with a small canister-type vacuum and a good brush attachment. These canister vacuums can be purchased at the Floor Store in Sub Base.
Sweeping the dust with a broom only sends it up in the air to settle somewhere else. Attacking it with the wet mop creates red mud.
A good vacuuming of window frames, screens, curtains, upholstered furniture, overhead fans, baseboards, webby corners and the floor makes the whole task much more efficient and the results will last longer.
MARBLE OR TILE FLOORS: Do not wax — never, ever. Aside from the fact that you create a dangerously slippery floor, over the years the wax builds up in an uneven yellowing layer that can only be removed with strong ammonia or lye mixtures that will make you sorry you ever wanted a shiny waxed floor.
The worst product is Mop and Glo because it dissolves some of the old wax and dirt and smears it around again.
All floors need to be vacuumed, then scrubbed with a damp mop that is frequently cleaned out. If the floors are very dirty, it is recommended that you use a very small (one capful — our water is soft) amount of a liquid cleaner like Mr. Clean, Spic and Span or Simple Green and maybe a scrub brush on a stick.
If the floor is not as shiny as you like, follow up with a rinse of water with a splash of white vinegar.
FURNITURE: It is difficult to clean and polish wood furniture in the tropics.
If the piece is not shiny finished, it can be washed with a mild solution of any liquid cleaner and water and dried carefully.
For regular cleaning of polished pieces, I recommend a lambs wool mitt like painters use to apply paint (available at the hardware or paint shop). Never, ever use Lemon Oil or any other oily polish because it just draws and holds the dust and salt and eventually becomes gooey.
On a blue moon (oops, just missed that opportunity) I might get real industrious and wash all my furniture with that mild liquid soap solution and dry it with a soft rag.
Editor's note: Carol Lotz, former owner of A Friend Inc., a housekeeping service in New York City, welcomes other housekeeping tricks and problem solutions you have found. She’ll also do her best to answer questions. E-mail your ideas or questions to her at source@viaccess.net.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Here are some tricks and tips for housekeeping in the tropics.
ANTS: Do you have little sugar ants all over your house? It’s so bad you’re creating moats to float the leftover cake? Believe it or not, you don’t have to share your house with ants. You can get rid of them very easily with a bottle of Terro, which can be purchased at True Value or Sea Chest.
I should be writing ad copy for this product. It literally changes your life (and makes it possible for me to leave dirty dishes all over my kitchen!)
A tiny drop of Terro should be put in several places in the kitchen, in the bathrooms, around any mechanical item like pumps, phones, TVs, computers, radios, etc. Ants love the lubrication and can jam up the mechanism faster than they can haul away that piece of cake.
Terro can also be used to deter the microscopic ‘ant’ that gets into books and papers. A few drops on each bookshelf will slow down the disintegration of your favorite novels.
When you first put out Terro, you will see more ants than you thought you had. But this ends quickly as they all go back to the nest and convince their relatives and friends that your house is not a nice place to live, before they pass on to ant heaven.
A once-a-month application will totally rid your house of these pests.
GLASS AND MIRRORS: Because of the salt residue in the air, mirrors and glass become very streaky. A small amount of white vinegar in a spray bottle of water does the trick of neutralizing the salt on windows, mirrors, car windows and surfaces and even bathroom tiles and chrome.
Standard glass cleaners contain ammonia, which just seems to make the problem worse.
Paper towels work best because we are still using newspaper print with a lead content that smears.
WICKER: Wicker likes to be washed or sprayed frequently to keep the reed from drying out. Don’t hesitate to carry your favorite wicker furniture out on the walk and spray or sponge-wash it down on a regular basis. It will last a lot longer.
We have a skilled wicker repair person on St. Thomas who can make an old broken chair look better than new. Call Brenda Sullivan at 777 4246.
RED DUST: The Sahara dust that plagues all of us, especially during dry months, needs to be vacuumed with a small canister-type vacuum and a good brush attachment. These canister vacuums can be purchased at the Floor Store in Sub Base.
Sweeping the dust with a broom only sends it up in the air to settle somewhere else. Attacking it with the wet mop creates red mud.
A good vacuuming of window frames, screens, curtains, upholstered furniture, overhead fans, baseboards, webby corners and the floor makes the whole task much more efficient and the results will last longer.
MARBLE OR TILE FLOORS: Do not wax -- never, ever. Aside from the fact that you create a dangerously slippery floor, over the years the wax builds up in an uneven yellowing layer that can only be removed with strong ammonia or lye mixtures that will make you sorry you ever wanted a shiny waxed floor.
The worst product is Mop and Glo because it dissolves some of the old wax and dirt and smears it around again.
All floors need to be vacuumed, then scrubbed with a damp mop that is frequently cleaned out. If the floors are very dirty, it is recommended that you use a very small (one capful -- our water is soft) amount of a liquid cleaner like Mr. Clean, Spic and Span or Simple Green and maybe a scrub brush on a stick.
If the floor is not as shiny as you like, follow up with a rinse of water with a splash of white vinegar.
FURNITURE: It is difficult to clean and polish wood furniture in the tropics.
If the piece is not shiny finished, it can be washed with a mild solution of any liquid cleaner and water and dried carefully.
For regular cleaning of polished pieces, I recommend a lambs wool mitt like painters use to apply paint (available at the hardware or paint shop). Never, ever use Lemon Oil or any other oily polish because it just draws and holds the dust and salt and eventually becomes gooey.
On a blue moon (oops, just missed that opportunity) I might get real industrious and wash all my furniture with that mild liquid soap solution and dry it with a soft rag.
Editor's note: Carol Lotz, former owner of A Friend Inc., a housekeeping service in New York City, welcomes other housekeeping tricks and problem solutions you have found. She’ll also do her best to answer questions. E-mail your ideas or questions to her at source@viaccess.net.