GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: Expert cleaning advice from the Good Housekeeping team

Good Housekeeping’s cleaning expert, Carolyn Forte, addresses readers’ questions. (Photo by Mike Garten)

GH’s resident home care dynamo, Carolyn Forte, shares her best tips and favorite tricks to conquer your toughest trouble spots.

Q: My wood floors look dull. What’s the best way to bring back the gleam? — Nancy O.

A: Winter grime can take a toll, but fortunately, floors that are sealed or polyurethane-finished can withstand damp (not wet) cleaning. Here’s how:

Choose a Proper Wood Cleanser
Start with a product formulated to clean wood, like Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner or GH Seal star Swiffer WetJet. These are safe for sealed (not waxed) wood floors and don’t require rinsing. (Avoid using vinegar, products mixed with water or those designed to clean vinyl or tile floors.) Use a mop with absorbent disposable or microfiber pads, and keep extra pads on hand to swap in when the initial ones get dirty or saturated.

Spray Sparingly
Lightly mist a 3-foot-square section. Clean the area with your mop, going first across the floorboards to loosen trapped dirt, then along them. For stubborn stains, spray a cloth with some cleanser and rub gently. Avoid saturating the wood, and if the floor doesn’t dry immediately, buff it with a dry towel to remove excess moisture. Clean one section at a time until the entire floor is done. If your floor still isn’t shiny after cleaning, it may need a professional re-coating.

Q: My son’s stuffed animals are grimy. How can I spiff them up?

A: Even plush friends could use a bath! Before cleaning, repair rips or loose decorations. For surface-clean-only toys, dip a cloth in a sudsy mix of dish liquid and warm water, and spot clean. Rinse with a damp cloth and blot with a towel. Air-dry or use a hairdryer on the Cool setting. For machine-washable toys, place the toy inside a pillowcase or mesh laundry bag and zip or knot closed. Use your machine’s most delicate cycle (one without an agitator is best) and a low-sudsing, gentle detergent. Add an extra rinse. Reshape and air-dry or tumble dry on low heat.

To rid toys of dust mites, put toys in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for 24 hours. Then, vacuum with the upholstery tool.


Your Look: Can You Shrink Your Pores?

Q: Do pores get larger with age, and can you shrink them? — Amy K.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, Good Housekeeping’s doctor on call, says: “There isn’t much hard evidence, but pores may enlarge over time — to a point. A study that measured the facial pore size of over 2,500 women found that on average, it did increase slightly from ages 18-40, then plateaued. That could be because oil production, which may contribute to clogging, tends to decrease around that age.”

Treatment Plan: Some doctor’s office procedures have been shown to reduce pore size, including hyaluronic acid filler injections and laser treatments. Visit a dermatologist to find the right option for you.

Recalls Alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, (800) 638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.


KitchenAid electric kettles, sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillard’s, Fry’s Electronics, Kitchen Kaboodle, Kohl’s, Navy Exchange, Target, Williams-Sonoma and other home improvement, home appliance and retail stores, and online at as well as other online retailers from September 2013 through February 2018 for about $100 to $120.

The handle can loosen and separate from the kettle, causing hot contents to spill, posing a burn hazard. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled kettles and contact KitchenAid’s parent company, Whirlpool, for a free replacement. Consumers can contact Whirlpool Corporation at (800) 874-0608 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. Consumers also can visit for more information. 

2018 Kia Sorento

The side-curtain air bags on these vehicles have a component that may detach during deployment of the inflatable curtain air bag. If the component detaches during deployment, it may enter the passenger compartment and be a projectile within the vehicle cabin, increasing the risk of injury. Kia will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driver and passenger side curtain air bags for free. Owners may contact Kia customer service at (800) 333-4542. Kia’s number for this recall is SC159.

© Hearst Communications Inc.; Distributed by King Features Syndicate



GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: Expert cleaning advice from the Good Housekeeping team–