Make It Look Like New


Don’t throw out old favorites, make them look like new. Our do-it-yourself ideas whiten and brighten everything from spring fashions to patio furniture.

Utah State University Consumer Educator, Teresa Hunsaker, shares tips to make your favorite items look like new!

Something about spring just begs to have everything looking new, and shiny, and bright again.

Here are some common items we especially want looking new again:

White Shirt—Start to look dingy and grey with underarm stains.

· Brighten with White Brite, available at ACE Hardware, some Smith’s stores.

· Repair any necessary “fix its”, like buttons or ring around the collar (use cream of tarter sprinkled on wet collar for that)

· Iron/press—use a light starch for the crisp Spring look

· Dying—to really brighten you can use a white Rit dye, or even a color remover by Rit.

For the armpit stains try any one, or some, of the following:

· ¼ cup baking soda and 2 cups of water—dissolve soda in water and soak armpits stains in the solution for a couple of hours. Launder as usual.

· Soak in a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 1 part water. Rub with soft brush and launder as usual.

· Mix one scoop of Oxiclean with 1 cup of warm water and work into stains with a soft brush. Let sit 30 minutes and launder. Oxiclean is a commercial product that when combined with water water produces hydrogen peroxide…it is actually a dry mix of baking soda and peroxide that can be replicated at home with both soda and hydrogen peroxide.

· 4 cups water, 1 tsp. meat tenderizer, 1 cup liquid laundry detergent. Mix well and spray on underarm stains. Let sit for a few minutes and launder.

· ½ cup ammonia, 4 cups water, 2 TBS. liquid laundry detergent . Mix well and store in a quart spray bottle and apply to underarms as needed prior to laundering.

Sneakers/Running Shoes

· Pull out laces and remove insole (if it is removable)…place both in nylon mesh laundry bag and launder in a normal wash cycle in the washing machine.

· Using a clean soft scrubbing brush and some basic white liquid dishwasher detergent to scrub all around the shoes. Do not rinse off the detergent.

· Open the shoes as far as they can be opened and place them upside down on the top rack of the dishwasher. Use normal detergent for the dishwasher. No need for the “dry” cycle. Take out and let air dry.

· Scrub rubber exterior sole with white toothpaste and a soft brush, or may even use Magic Eraser for the tough black marks.

· Shoes may also be placed in a washing machine and laundered with regular clothes detergent.

Wicker/Plicker/Plastic Furniture

Wicker: Rain, snow, dust, dirt, and bright sun will eventually take its toll on wicker.

· Remove cushions

· Hose down furniture and using a soft brush and a little mild dish detergent scrub the furniture.

· Rinse and dry thoroughly before sitting on.

· If wicker needs repainting or staining check with paint departments of home centers for the stain or paint best suited to wicker furniture. I have used spry pain very successfully on wicker furniture, and it makes it easy to change out the color theme every now and then.

Plicker or Plastic (Vinyl):

· Place 1 gallon warm water in a bucket and add 3 teaspoons of automatic dishwasher detergent.

· Wash down the furniture with this solution.

· Note: Let the solution set on the furniture for approximately 15 minutes if it is white vinyl. (The dishwashing detergent has a bleaching agent in it that will whiten the furniture.)

· Rinse and dry. Finish with a bit of Armor All Car Care.

Note: Clean colored vinyl furniture with an all-purpose cleaner and water. Make sure you rinse it well because sunlight and weather will hurry the fading process along. The vinyl on strapped furniture should be kept clean and free from body oils and tanning lotions or sun block. Use a towel or provide pads for use on chaise loungers and chairs. Apply a vinyl protectant to the straps after cleaning—such as Amor All.


Pots and pans get grease and food build up on the outside, especially the bottom, and in order to make them look shiny and new a little elbow grease is all you need.

· Make a paste of water and baking soda. (Can also use Bar Keepers Friend on stainless steel or porcelain, but not aluminum. Make a paste as described.)

· Spread all over the bottom of the pan.

· Let sit for a few minutes—but not long enough to dry.

· Using a sponge or soft scrubbing pad and rub the pan.

· Rinse and repeat process if necessary.

Note: For heavy grease buildup on cookie sheets and pans completely soak a clean rag in ammonia, place rag and pans in a heavy plastic bag. Tie off and let sit in a warm place for a couple of hours. Ammonia breaks down grease and will help lift the grease stains. Simple wipe off with a soft scrubbing pad and rinse.


Strollers really get looking quite bad in no time at all, and really need to be attended to all year long. Many of the stroller manufacturer’s have a care and maintenance section in the Use and Care Manual. It will have some guidelines for you on washing and even taking apart the stroller for maintenance and upkeep…most of us forget to use that. But for most strollers it is OK to take it out and hose it down, or at least take a sponge and a little detergent to the seats, canopy, and trays. A little water doesn’t hurt too many things, and after all, they are made for kids.

· With the upholstery attachment of your vacuum, vacuum out the stroller, getting in as many of the “nooks and crannies” as possible.

· Where possible detach the fabric canopy and seat/back and launder in mild cool water, line dry only.

· If unable to detach fabric parts, simply use a soft brush and some mild detergent water and scrub fabric surfaces.

· Rinse and dry…as if you were cleaning a couch cushion or car seat.

· For the frame, wipe down with soft cloths and an all purpose cleaner.

· Check the wheels/tires and oil when necessary. Wheels can often be replaced through the manufacturer. Shine wheels/tires with Amor All, as we do for car tires.

Note: Never use bleach on any part of a stroller, especially the fabric portion.


Lowe’s Home Center

Good Housekeeping

If you have any questions, contact Teresa Hunsaker at the Family and Consumer Science Education Department at the Weber County USU Extension office at (801) 399-8203 or online at

Add comment