Whether you’re tackling some spring cleaning, or just want to focus on fixing up your latest vintage score, the tools you need are right in the kitchen!

Recently, my husband accidentally placed a still-wet bowl on our vintage wooden sideboard table, leaving a white ring behind. At first I panicked, and then after a surprising online search, discovered that the mayo in our fridge could remove it! I learned from Bob Vila that the light mark is actually a sign that the moisture is trapped in the varnish and hasn’t gotten through to the wood yet. He suggests ironing, which I don’t recommend. It left more marks, rather than removing the ring. I followed his steps for using mayo, “Dab a bit onto a rag, then gently apply the mayonnaise directly to the stained area. Let it sit for at least an hour or as long as overnight, reapplying the mayonnaise if the initial coating dries out.”  I left my mayo for a few hours and it did the trick. You can’t even tell where the stain happened!

Photo of vintage wooden furniture with vintage baskets

Personally, I’m team patina, but I know not everyone likes their brass that way. So, if you’re team shine, there’s an easy way to bring it back! Using Apartment Therapy’s guide to cleaning brass, you can mix the juice from 1/2 lemon with 1 teaspoon or so of baking soda, creating a paste that you can apply with a rag or toothbrush. What I love about this technique is that it doesn’t completely strip the brass of it’s vintage patina, making it look brand new.  You buy vintage because it’s vintage…not something that can be easily found at any big box store.  Also, as a sidenote, the Oxo brush is amazing…small head, firm bristles and this little rubbery pointy nub on the other end that’s great for crevices.  Be sure to check to see if your piece is actually brass first! Use a magnet…if it sticks, there’s probably another metal at play, but if it doesn’t, then you’ve most likely got a true brass piece.

Cleaning vintage brass with baking soda and lemon juice

Finally, some folks are wary of taking home a vintage piece that has a less-than-pleasing odor, but there’s a remedy for that too! When it comes to containers, or things that have been closed and left for long periods, an odor naturally develops.  As long as there are no signs of mold or other serious issues, I typically have found that some baking soda, coffee grounds or even tea tree oil can nip that stinch in the bud! For plastic containers, like Tupperware or thermoses, I’ll simply shake a good amount of baking soda into the container, covering the bottom, and let it sit with the lid off. I’ll even put a layer on the underside of the lid, as I don’t want to trap the scent back in there next time it’s closed.  For jewelry boxes or wooden furniture, sometimes I’ll put sprinkle baking soda directly on the piece and later vacuum it up, or you can put the baking soda, or even coffee grounds, on a small plate inside the piece to soak up the scent.  If it’s something washable, like glass, I’ll use diluted white vinegar if the dish soap doesn’t do the trick.  Another great trick, I learned when my kids were babies and I was using a Diaper Genie to dispose of their diapers, is a little dash of tea tree oil on a piece of cloth left in the container.  It’s a great odor neutralizer!

Vintage red yellow black plaid thermos

Alright friends, I hope this was helpful! Happy spring cleaning!

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