Ah, happy day, refuse to go!
Hang in the heavens forever so!
Forever in midafternoon,
Ah, happy day of happy June!

When I discovered this passage from the poem “A Four-o’Clock” by Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford, thoughts of sweet-smelling magnolias that bloom in June, or the last days of lower humidity and occasional wisps of flirty, cool air on my bod did not enter my mind. Oh no, unluckily for me, my brain swelled with images of terrifying, bile-churning, creepy, worm-like termites hanging out in the air. Termite swarming season begins in late April and flies and squirms its way through the end of June. Termites use this time to expand their colonies by sending out thousands of swarmers—a.k.a. alates—to reproduce and look for new real estate. I have a slight case of trypophobia (a fear of repetitive patterns of closely packed holes or protrusions), so the thought of a swarm of termites covering something, their little wings fluttering and falling off, or a pile of them writhing in the walls of a house, makes me want to rip my skin off. Have you ever seen a termite queen? Don’t look it up. Sorry that I mentioned it. But as off-putting as these little Isoptera are, you have to admit that they are tenacious little monsters. In fact, in some cultures, termites are symbols of strength, perseverance, planning, and resilience. I mean, they’ll destroy a whole house, so I’d say that this symbolism is apt. So next time you see a horrifying swarm of termites throngin’ round a street light, halt for a second to admire this eusocial insect’s power, and then move your ass into the house, cut all of your lights off, and hide. Happy June, y’all! Cleaning questions and answers await you below.

I placed a potted plant on my carpet. Dirty water leaked onto the carpet. How do I remove the stain?

Plants are such lovely additions to a home. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they are real air cleansers with that whole photosynthesis thing. Want to remove toxins in your house air? Plants got you. English ivy, for example, removes up to 78% of airborne mold in 12 hours! Noice! (FYI: English ivy is not the best choice if you have pets, as it’s poisonous if consumed.) Want to be a tiny bit happier? Plants got you covered there too. Soil contains a jolly microbe called mycobacterium vaccae. When you tend to your plant pals, it is absorbed or inhaled, causing your brain to squirt out everyone’s favorite happy juice, serotonin. But like most things in life, plant accidents do happen. Luckily, cleaning up these messes is usually easy. Add a few squirts of dish soap to a spray bottle filled with water. Shake the bottle. Spray the spot with this solution and let it sit for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, grab a white rag and lightly wipe the spot in a brushing motion. Do not scrub: Scrubbing will grind the dirt further into the carpet fibers. Now spray or sprinkle some water over the spot to rinse away the suds. You may have to repeat this process a few times. Another option is to spray the spot with a mixture of half water and half white vinegar. Next, sprinkle some baking soda over the sprayed spot. Let this concoction sit for about an hour, then grab a damp white rag and lightly rub the spot (don’t scrub). Now spray and sprinkle the spot again and cover with a dry rag. Let this sit overnight. Vacuum the remaining baking soda. If the stain still remains, repeat this process. If your stain is being super stubborn, a steam cleaner might be the best option to remove it. I really like the Bissell Little Green Steam Cleaner. It’s lightweight and very easy to use. Good luck, plant lover!

My cloth patio furniture is covered in mildew. How can I get it off?

Oh man, I feel you on this one. My patio furniture remained untainted by mildew for all of one month. Good old New Orleans humidity is the perfect breeding ground for annoying, musty  mildew. It’s relatively easy to eradicate the filamentous hyphae; you just need the right supplies and a little patience. Add half a gallon of vinegar, a cup of borax, 1/4 cup of dish soap, and water to a bucket. Remove the cushions from the furniture, lay them on some towels or on a clean area of the ground, and use a hose with a spray nozzle on the jet setting to saturate the cushions. Grab a hard-bristled scrub brush, dip it in your sudsy solution, and scour the cushions, adding more pressure on the more stained areas. Spray the cushions once more, until the water isn’t sudsy anymore. Lay the cushions in the sun, and let the sweet, sweet rays remove the rest of the mildewy stains. With their voracious appetite for organic material, enzymatic cleaners are also great mildew busters; they are also very simple to use, as the enzymes do most of the work. Spray a generous amount of enzymatic cleaner (I really like Groom Industries Household Cleaners Sporicidin Enzyme Mold Cleaner) onto the cushions. Now use your scrub brush to work those enzymes even deeper into the cloth. Rinse the cushions with your hose and leave them in the sun to dry. Enzymatic cleaners not only remove moldy stains, they also completely gobble up the dank stank by consuming the fungus that causes the smell. Yus!

How do I remove a grease stain from my leather couch?

I dealt with this problem when I dropped a french fry on a leather coat of mine. Luckily, my clumsiness didn’t ruin my clothing; it was easy to remove the stain. Cover the stain with baking soda, and call it a night. The powdery baking soda should absorb the grease while you get your beauty sleep. In the morning, brush the baking soda off of the couch. If the stain is still there, dip a white rag into a solution of water and a little bit of dish soap. Thoroughly wring out the rag, and gently wipe the grease spot using a brushing motion. Let this dry. Now use the leather conditioner recommended by the couch manufacturer to remove any remaining discoloration. I hope this helps!

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