Cleaning the Impossible
Experts share their secrets for the best way to remove caked-on, decades-old dirt from the bathroom to the garage.
Dirty Linoleum Floors
Getting a '50s-era kitchen floor that's taken on a jaundiced hue back to its original, sparkling glory requires strong cleaners and elbow grease. You want to avoid hot water and alkaline-based cleaners, since they'll eventually turn the surface yellow (and they're probably the reason your floor looks the way it does). Instead, mix chlorine bleach with water (follow the instructions on the bottle of bleach for the correct ratio) and apply it with a wet mop, letting it sit for 30 to 45 minutes. Then, get down on your hands on knees and start scrubbing. Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner, says that "nothing beats a bucket of cleaning solution and a brush" to brighten a dingy floor. Rinse with cool water and then mop with a mixture of one cup of white vinegar per gallon of water to neutralize the bleach.