Ask UfYH

Ask UfYH: Cast Iron Stains, Green Toilets, and the Dreaded Floordrobe

Q: I accidentally left a damp cast iron skillet on the counter, and now there’s a big ole rust stain. I tried making a counter volcano with vinegar and baking soda, a bleach pen, and just scrubbing the fuck out of it, to no avail. Is there something that will get rust off a cheap laminate counter top?

A: Cast iron: the absolute best to cook with, but leaves rust stains behind on every damn thing. For any rust in the kitchen issues, I highly recommend Bar Keepers Friend, the old-school powder in the gold can. You can find it at most discount-type stores, and it’s pretty cheap. Make a paste of BKF and water, cover the stain with it, wait a few minutes (according to the directions on the can), then wipe off with a damp rag. Repeat if needed. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers can also sometimes work their sorcery on rust stains, so it’s worth a shot if the BKF doesn’t work.

Q: The guest bathroom never gets used, ever. As a result of hard water and neglect, the inside of the toilet bowl is bright fucking green. Can I fill the bowl with vinegar and get a miracle, or do I need to do something more caustic/drastic?

A: Green stains like that are usually caused by copper deposits in the water, and are pretty common in areas with hard water. I’d first suggest turning off the water and flushing so that the bowl doesn’t refill. That way, your cleaner won’t get diluted by the water in the bowl. Try saturating the stain with white vinegar and letting it sit as long as possible. The stain should lighten, and with some elbow grease and re-application, you can make serious progress.

If you want to go a faster/more caustic route, get yourself a bottle of CLR (calcium, lime, and rust) or Lime-Away (I prefer CLR). Spray, let sit, scrub, and turn the water back on and flush.

Q: I’ve been following along for about a year, with lots and lots of forward movement & positive outcomes, so a huge thanks from me. My question is regarding the dreaded floordrobe. It’s often mentioned as something to deal with, but I’ve come to realize that it’s our biggest challenge, and I’m not entirely sure how to deal with it. Any words of wisdom? It would be hugely appreciated. I’m overwhelmed.

A: Oh, the floordrobe. The worst and hardest to handle part of any bedroom. For those of you not familiar with the term, a floordrobe consists of all of the articles of clothing that end up strewn around your room on the floor. The floordrobe also extends to laundry baskets, chairs, desks, and the bed. Basically, if you have clothes where they don’t belong, you have a floordrobe. Let’s break this down into some easy steps:

  1. Identify what’s dirty. That stuff goes into the hamper or directly into the washing machine. If you’re dealing with a ton of dirty laundry, I like to wash similar stuff together: a load of socks and underwear, a load of T-shirts, etc. It makes putting thing away easier, since it’s all going to the same place. As you do laundry, remember that it, like dishes, has three steps: wash, dry, and put it away, goddammit.
  2. Grab all your empty hangers out of the closet and toss them on the bed. Starting at the pile nearest your feet and working methodically around the room, take clean clothes and hang or fold them and put them away.
  3. Work in 20/10s. Work for 20 minutes, then take a 10-minute break.
  4. Don’t panic if it takes a few days or a week or longer to get the floordrobe under control. It’s fine. You’ll get there.
  5. The most important thing about the floordrobe is prevention. Don’t ever ever ever let clothes end up where they don’t belong. One load of laundry takes, on average, about eight minutes to put away, less if you don’t have to fold anything. Putting the four items of clothing that are coming off your body at the end of the day in the hamper instead of dropping them on the floor takes absolutely no extra time. Listen to that little voice in your head that tells you that a few minutes of work now will save you hours of aggravation later. That voice is me.


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2 replies on “Ask UfYH: Cast Iron Stains, Green Toilets, and the Dreaded Floordrobe”

I’d say finding a system for the floordrobe once its clean is important. I know for me, a lot of times stuff ends up on the floor is because I don’t have a good, easy system that works for me (and only me!) Questions to ask: why are you not putting stuff away? Do you not have easy access? Does where you have everything now just not make sense? One of the best things I ever did was to put my sweaters in a Mr. Rogers like hall closet because I realized I never put my sweaters away because I wanted them by my entry because they were the last thing I grabbed on the way out. Same for shoes. I also hang everything up because drawers just don’t work for me. I have open baskets at the bottom of the closet for undies and socks because that’s the only way I’ll put them away. Making putting things away easy for the way your brain works is half the battle.

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