Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Tips: Miracle Cleaner

Thursday is tip day.

I use a homemade cleaning solution to tackle our most vexing stains: rust on our white window blinds.

As our regular readers know, Odyssey leaks. Alot. Sometimes the water comes in immediately and is pretty clean. But sometimes that water seems to have fermented somewhere deep in the structure of the bus and when it finally seeps in it is a rusty brown goo.

When the slanted windows leak, the moisture drips directly onto the blinds.

Most of our window coverings are fabric cellular blinds which we bought at Home Depot. They are the double honeycomb type, like the pink ones in this photo, but ours are off-white.

The material is kind of a cross between fabric and stiff paper, and they raise and lower using cords like Venetian blinds. They are virtually impossible to wash. So when the first big rust stain appeared, we were convinced that the only thing we could do was replace the entire blind.

Then I heard someone rave about this cleaning solution, and figured I would give it a try. What did I have to lose? The blinds were already ruined.

I wish I had before and after photos of the first time I used this stuff. There was a huge brown stain, about the size of a dinner plate and the color of iced tea, on the blind. After about an hour after spraying on the miracle stuff, the stain was just....done. There was no bright white bleach spot. Even though I only sprayed on the stain, not the whole blind, it all blended perfectly.

Now I don't wait until the stains are huge and dark before I clean them. Here are photos of the last time I sprayed. The stain isn't too bad, so the "after" photo isn't too dramatic. But if you click on the pictures and look at the larger images, you can clearly see the stain in the lower right corner disappears.



The vertical mark near the wooden trim piece is actually a shadow from a crease in the fabric, not a stain. Thank you, cats, for that crease.

Miracle Solution

1/4 cup bleach
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup club soda (plain, unflavored)

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Open vents or windows for ventilation. Spray stains until soaked with solution. Let dry. Be amazed.


This stuff is strong, so test in an inconspicuous place first. I've never tried it on any color other than off-white, so it may bleach out other colors. It is really fume-y, so make sure you have plenty of ventilation. Better yet, spray before you leave your rig for a while so it can air out. Don't store extra solution in your spray bottle or it will damage the sprayer nozzle. Make a small batch and use it all, then rinse the bottle throughly and run clean water through the nozzle.

I don't claim to know exactly how this works. Obviously the bleach plays an important role. The club soda's fizziness supposedly helps work the magic deep into the fabric. Maybe it's just snake oil, but man has this worked great for us.

I don't remember where I heard about this stuff. It might have been at an RV rally. I might have read about it online. If you know who first came up with it, leave a comment so I can give credit where credit is due. I do remember that it was presented as a way to clean the fuzzy carpet-like fabric that is often used on the ceilings of RV. I've used it on our light gray/off-white carpet successfully. It should work on Day-Night blinds and windshield curtains if they are white/off white.

Again, I have no experience using it on other colors, so test a small spot first and let it dry before going hog-wild.


  1. Actually, I remember where we got this recipe. It was at a cleaning tips and tricks seminar presented at the 2005 Escapade in Du Quoin, IL. This is the same seminar where we learned of the benefits of microfiber towels, which we now use in copious quantity.

  2. I've discovered microfiber towels, but I'm sure I don't know all the applications. How about a post on that topic?

    Thanks! Natalie

  3. Natalie, I plan to do a post on microfiber in the near future. Thanks for your interest!


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