Pinterest made my whites whiter!

Growing up, my father put up a huge bulletin board in my bedroom. Anything and everything I liked got pinned there – newspaper clippings of hockey stars and concert reviews, tickets, photos, certificates of achievement from school. Some of the ephemera made it into scrapbooks that I still have today. My daughter mentioned a song they were practicing in band that sounded familiar, and I found the concert program from my high school when I played the same song.

Today that bulletin board has been replaced by Pinterest. It’s even more ephemeral but it’s also easier to share with others. I’ve seen the site used for many purposes. Writers and gamers have posted images and quotes as inspiration for their settings and characters. Others dive deeper into their fandom with gifs, photos, and quotes.

My use of the site is fairly common. I pin craft projects and recipes that look interesting. It is easy to get carried away, pinning every shiny thing with a pretty picture. I try to restrain myself and pin only what I intend to attempt. When I do attempt a pin, I annotate it with the date and results.  If the pin was a failure, I make that clear as well.

Last week I tried an extremely popular housekeeping tip – bleaching moldy bathroom caulk – as pinned and re-pinned from This Blessed Life. It has had millions of views, but could it really work? I’ve been frustrated with people who pin things that look “neat” or “useful” but never tried them before telling others about them. This one did work for me.

The project is inexpensive. We had a bottle of bleach in the laundry room, so I only needed to pick up some cotton roll from Sally Beauty Supply for around $3. There’s enough cotton in that box for several bathrooms.IMG_0238

I tried it in a small area first. While the initial results were promising, I feel I should share some tips that I learned and used for my second round. First – wear clothes you don’t mind getting ruined and a pair of strong rubber gloves. I usually work neatly, but that wasn’t enough and I now have a pair of pink streaked blue pants. Also make sure to wash your hands each time you remove the gloves, just to be safe.

Ventilation is important. I don’t have a window in my bathroom, but I kept the exhaust fan running the entire time and opened the nearest windows. The bedroom still smelled like bleach for a day afterwards, but either it eventually faded or I became used to the smell.IMG_0239

Limit your exposure to the bleach. I used a bucket for my trial, and it was messy. When I did this the second time, I scaled down to a yogurt cup from the recycling bin. I put about a 4″ length of cotton in the cup and only poured in enough bleach to saturate it.

Sometime gloves get awkward, and it’s hard to position the cotton. I grabbed an old toothbrush from the garage to help push the cotton into place.IMG_0240

I left the bleach in place for 2 hours the first time, because I was rushed and wanted to clean the bathroom. Allowing 4 to 6 hours for it to work is much better. When you’re ready to remove it, bring a garbage bag or plastic grocery bag into the bathroom. I piled all the cotton into my little yogurt cup and dropped that into the plastic bag. The whole thing got taken to the garbage can outside. I didn’t need the bleach smell in the house any longer, but the bleach was probably good for the outdoor can!

In the end, I’m glad I found that pin and tried it myself. Although my bathrooms still suffer from 70’s and 80’s decor, removing those moldy areas lifted my mood and assured me that I can be a competent hausfrau. What’s next?


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