One of the things that makes our world dirty is the fact that we touch everything. Fingerprints from even clean hands can dirty up things due to the oils we have in our skin. When you clean anything, consider the different materials that they’re made of so that you don’t ruin them.
- Plastic – Plastic can easily be cleaned using just hot soapy water. Just squirt some dish soap in hot water, use a soft cloth and wipe the surface down. Then using another soft cloth, buff it dry. If you notice white bumpy areas in your plastic containers, the containers have been ruined from either acidic food or from microwaving or cleaning in a hot dishwasher. These are best disposed of or used for non-food purposes.
- Painted Areas – Typically you can use a soft cloth with hot soapy water to get most painted areas free of grime and fingerprints. If the area is made of wood and seems to be getting dried out, try using something like Murphy’s Oil Soap, or make your own with an equal mixture of olive oil, vinegar, water, and a couple drops of mild dishwashing liquid. Wipe down the area with the soapy cloth, then with a cloth that only has water. Finally, dry it with a clean cloth.
- Metal – Depending on the type of metal, you have many cleaning options. For aluminum, use a soft cloth to rub in a paste made with cream of tartar and water. Wipe off with a clean cloth and only water, then use another soft cloth to buff dry. For brass, use baking soda and lemon juice. For chrome, use vinegar, then shine up with mineral oil. To clean copper, use baking soda and a soft cloth to wipe. You can also use a lemon wedge and salt to clean the bottom of copper pots.
- Stainless Steel – You need to be careful with stainless as it has a coating on it to prevent it from corroding. Therefore, only use gentle soaps and oils on this type of surface, never bleach. For example, to clean a stainless island, wipe it down first with hot soapy water, then wipe down with just water and a soft cloth. Next, polish with a little olive oil, buffing it with a soft cloth until it shines. Hint: go with the grain.
- Wood – With wood, it will depend if it’s natural wood or treated wood. If water soaks in, it’s untreated and you should clean that wood mostly with only a dry, soft cloth. If it’s treated, you can use gentle soap and water. Use wood paste or olive oil to treat the wood and keep it from drying out.
- Tile – Some tiles are coated and some aren’t. For coated tiles, you can usually clean them with almost any type of mild cleaner and a soft sponge. For uncoated tiles, use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean. Make a paste of baking soda to clean grout, rinse well, then buff dry.
Removing grime and fingerprints from surfaces doesn’t have to be hard, but it is important to use the right tools to get the job done depending upon the material in question.
Windows are like the eyes of your home. Keeping them sparkling clean will make a huge difference, not only in the view from the outside but also on your view from the inside. Having clean windows can make the difference between thinking that it’s foggy outside or nice outside. You don’t want to miss out just because your windows are dirty.
Tips for Cleaning Glass
First vacuum or dust off free debris. Then using a glass-approved cleaner, spray it liberally on the glass. Use a paper towel, newspaper, or old paper bag to wipe the glass from side to side or up and down, but not in a circle. If there is any wood surrounding the glass, always cover it with a towel so that none of the cleaners get inside and ruin the frame.
Cleaning Window Tracks
A very frustrating thing to clean is window tracks. But, it doesn’t have to be hard. First, using the hand-held soft brush attachment with your vacuum, suck up all the debris that will come up along the tracks.
Next, sprinkle baking soda over the tracks, putting more where it’s dirty. Then, using a spray bottle, spray vinegar on top of the baking soda. It will foam up. When it stops foaming, use a toothbrush and water to scrub through the foam.
To get into nooks and crannies, you may need to use a paint scraper covered in a towel to fit into various parts. Then, using an absorbent cloth, soak up as much of the solution as you can. Spray plain water over the area and keep soaking it up until it’s gone.
If you have blinds, you probably love the ease of blocking the light without feeling like you’re in a dungeon. But, like most things they get dirty over time. The way you clean blinds depends on the type you have. If you have fabric ones, you can clean with a vacuum. If you have the plastic type, you can put dust cloths on your hands and clean them that way. If you have wooden blinds, you may need to remove them and scrub them with Murphy’s Oil Soap or a homemade variety. In each case, always dry them fully before rehanging.
Today there are so many different types of fabrics that can make up drapes. Therefore, it’s important to save the cleaning directions when you make purchases. In most cases, you can easily freshen your drapes by throwing them into the dryer with a dryer sheet. In others, you’re going to have to get them dry cleaned.
If they are washable, just follow the instructions for washing and drying, using mild detergent so that you don’t change the color accidentally. Drapes, like a lot of things in the home, need to be cleaned seasonally. That’s why some people have drapes for each season; they get them cleaned at the dry cleaners at the end of the season.
Cleaning Window Casings
To clean window casings, first inspect them, vacuum them, and determine what type of issue you’re dealing with. For example, if you have mold, you may want to get that checked to ensure that it’s not black mold. Either way, try to pick a day to clean the window casings when it’s going to be dry outside and not too hot or cold, so you can keep the windows open.
First, get the area wet with water using a spray bottle. The reason is that if there is mold you want to prevent it from flying around. Using a toothbrush and some mild dish detergent, scrub the area softly with the brush. Then rinse off with plain water. To kill the mold if some exist, you’ll want to put 1/2 cup bleach into a gallon of warm water. Spray the casings with the bleach solution and let sit 15 minutes. Then, rinse and dry well. If the wood around your window is getting dry, you can buff in some olive oil to help the wood.
Bathrooms have a lot going on in them. They get dirty easily. It’s important to know how to keep your bathroom clean so that it’s comfortable for family and guests, but also to avoid spreading germs.
Cleaning Your Tub
One thing to remember is that how you clean your tub depends on the type of material it’s made from. The best thing you can do is read the manufacturer’s instructions.
Never use any abrasive materials. Store all soaps, shampoos, and supplies in special containers that you can hang from the shower or stick on the tile to avoid pitting and staining.
Make your own cleaner with one gallon of hot water, plus two TBS of dishwashing liquid. Spray onto surface to clean and scrub with a soft cloth, rinse well, then use another soft cloth to buff dry.
If you have rust stains, you can use muriatic acid (pool supplies) to get rid of it. Be sure to wear protective gear if you are going to do this. Mix 4 ounces of room temperature water into a cup, then add 4 ounces of muriatic acid. Dip a cloth into the solution and rub on the stain, pressing down as you move across the stain. Rinse and repeat until the stain is gone.
Never use an abrasive cleaner, because it scratches easily. It can also be damaged by various chemicals that are said to be used for cleaning bathrooms. A good cleaner to use is generic baby shampoo. Use it straight on a soft cloth and rub into the surface in circles. Rinse the surface when you’re done. Buff dry with a dry cloth. To keep the tub clean you can use car wax on the surface of the tub, and buff out just like you would on your car. Let harden overnight.
One of the less durable materials but very popular due to the price, cleaning fiberglass can be a challenge. But again, don’t use an abrasive cleaner. Just use hot soapy water and baking soda to make a paste. Rub all over your tub with a soft sponge. You want the solution to stick to the walls and sides of the tub. Let sit for 30 minutes, then scrub with the sponge vigorously until it is removed. Use cold water to rinse and dry with a soft cloth or paper towel. It is okay to use a magic eraser on the hard to clean spots.
Enameled Cast Iron
This is one of the more durable materials for a tub. It’s more expensive but it often lasts much longer. Use the same baking soda and soapy water mixture to make a paste, except here you can rinse with warm water. Scrub with a rag or sponge but don’t use anything like steel wool on the surface. If you have stains on the surface, you can make a solution of trisodium phosphate and hot water (follow the directions) to apply to the stain and then rinse well. As always, dry the surface to bring out the clean shine.
Instead of a curtain to enclose your tub for a shower, you may have stained doors that need a deep cleaning. You can use any of the mixtures mentioned above to clean (but only one at a time). Just rub the solution over the area, then scrub with a stainless steel pad if the door is glass. If it’s plastic, use the milder vinegar and dish soap mixture with a softer brush. Scrub, rinse, repeat. When it’s clean, dry with a soft, dry towel to bring out the shine.
Cleaning your bathroom will be easier or harder depending on the materials. All the materials mentioned can encompass your tub, sink, and toilet. Use the right cleaning solutions for the material and the stain for best results.
Many parents put locks on cabinets that contain chemicals when they have children in the house. Unfortunately, using these products can harm you as well. Learn to identify your household toxins and find new ways to do what you do without them.
Your home has to be clean – that’s a given. But, many of the products that we use can have side effects. Let’s take another look at that cabinet under the sink.
Are those household cleaners under your sink? Take a look at the label. There are products that are termed “organic” and phosphate free. This reduces the possible irritation to your skin, eyes and lungs. They are also safer for the environment.
Do you have sponges down there? Most sponges harbor bacteria from cleaning up food around the sink and the stove. Reusing them is actually spreading bacteria and not removing it. Try using dishcloths that can be bleached and washed to remove germs.
With kids around, it is also safer to keep these household maintenance products on a top shelf. That way, kids won’t accidentally get into them and harm themselves.
Do you use Styrofoam plates and cups? One thing that you shouldn’t do with them is use the microwave. Chemicals from the plate can leech into your food. This also goes for containers that are not microwave safe or aren’t made to be used for the microwave.
Are you one who likes to store foods in their original packaging? This may be okay for some things, but not for cans. Cans are made of metal and that metal can also leech into the food that you leave in the can in the fridge. Always store food in approved containers and seal tightly.
Do you have bugs in your kitchen? When the weather gets warm it seems like they come out of the woodwork – literally. Instead of spraying bug killers or setting off bombs that will render your entire home a toxic dump, do a little extra cleaning in places where they hide. Use natural bug deterrents like mint leaves or boric acid to keep the persistent ones away.
Water from the tap is not all it’s cracked up to be. You can filter your water and remove many of the metals and other impurities that are allowed in. you’ll probably notice a change in the taste right away.
Take a look at your dishes. When the covering starts to peel, it is time to get rid of them. These particles can flake off into your food and make you sick. Besides, when dishes start to get rust stains they can also be hazardous to your health.
How is your kitchen looking? If there are hidden toxins, work to get rid of them.
You can make your cupboards look like new with just a little elbow grease. Simply cleaning and shining up without doing any type of painting or refinishing seems like it wouldn’t work. But the truth is, most of us don’t clean our cupboards well enough – even when we think we did a deep cleaning. Follow these tips to make your cupboards look brand new.
If you have wood cupboards, you’re in luck. You can make wood cupboards look like new just by using a soft cloth with lemon or orange oil to get them clean. A really good product to try is Murphy’s Oil Soap. You can also make your own soap by using a combination of equal parts olive oil, water, and lemon juice.
If you find dents and damage to the wood, simply use a wood filler that is the right color, or you can also cover scratches with walnuts, pecans, almonds, or Brazil nuts. To use a nut to fix the wood, just rub the nut over the damaged area, then buff with a soft cloth. For the most part, caring for wood involves just using a microfiber cloth if it’s unfinished, and a little water with the microfiber cloth for dirtier problems. You really don’t need furniture polish.
If your cupboards are made from plastic laminate, then it’s simple to clean. Just use a gentle cleaner such as soap and water, your favorite all-purpose cleaner (or vinegar and water) and a cloth, and if needed a rougher sponge for scrubbing. Then rinse it and dry it. This will make your laminate look sparkly clean.
If you have painted wood cabinets, then you’ll want to use a special way to clean them so that you don’t mess up the paint. The good news is that you won’t dry it out as easily as untreated wood. All you need to do is mix 50/50 vinegar and water mixture for deep stains, and 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar for less dirty and everyday cleaning.
Simply spray the surfaces you want to clean and wipe down with a soft cloth until they’re dry. If your wood does seem to be drying out, just add olive oil to the vinegar solution – about 1 part each oil, vinegar, and water. You can also put a little olive oil on the soft cloth and rub it into the painted wood finish to moisturize your painted wood cupboards.
Many of us have stainless steel cupboards or other metal cupboards. The easiest way to clean them is to buy a product made for the type of metal that you use. But, you can make them look wonderful with just a little elbow grease. Never use anything abrasive materials or cleaners on your stainless. Also, never use chlorine bleach.
First, use a soft microfiber cloth with the cleaner of choice, or just make your own using dish soap and water. Rub the material with the solution, then rinse with plain water. Then take a dry microfiber cloth and buff it until dry, remembering to go with the grain of the material. If it still doesn’t look good to you, wash it again with a little olive oil on a microfiber cloth. Then use a paper towel going with the grain, again rubbing until it’s perfectly shiny.
Your cupboards will look brand new again. If you keep them clean and keep up with this, you’ll find that your house will look new for longer.
Experts say that there are at least five to ten pounds of chemicals found in cleaning products per household. If that estimate is true, it is important to try to find cleaners that will actually clean your home without using chemicals to do so. One option is to use Tea Tree oil while cleaning.
Tea Tree oil, taken from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree in Australia, is a wonderful, non-chemical essential oil. The Aboriginal people in Australia have been using the oil, found in the leaves of the tree, for thousands of years for killing bacteria, to help with achy muscles, and other health-related uses.
Tea Tree oil has antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. (Tea Tree oil should not be ingested.) Recently, however, Tea Tree oil has been touted for more than just medicinal uses. Following are five non-medicinal uses for Tea Tree oil.
- Since Tea Tree oil does have antiseptic properties, it is a great addition to your warm mist vaporizer to help disinfect the air after someone has been ill in your family. Adding six to eight drops to the laundry when washing the linens following an illness is another good idea.
- You can make a homemade all-purpose cleaner that will rival any store-bought, chemical cleaner. One such recipe is to combine three or four drops of Tea Tree oil with two tablespoons of vinegar and one tablespoon of borax. Add this mixture to a 12 ounce spray bottle and fill it up with warm water. Shake to combine and use as you would a store-bought cleaner.
- Adding a drop or two of Tea Tree oil to your soap dispenser in your dishwasher prior to adding soap will help to disinfect your dishes, as well as getting them clean.
- To kill germs in your laundry, add a few drops of Tea Tree oil to each load of laundry. Not only will it disinfect your clothing, it will leave them clean and fresh smelling, as well.
- Do you have household pests such as ants? When you find a line of ants, follow the line back to the point of entry. Place a few drops of Tea Tree oil where the ants are entering the house. This will deter the ants from returning through that same point of entry. Wiping down cupboards with a solution of Tea Tree oil and water will also deter roaches, should you ever find them.
These five ways for using Tea Tree oil around your home are just a few available. Yes, Tea Tree oil is natural, but like any other natural substance, just because it’s natural does not mean that it’s safe. Research has shown, however, that Tea Tree oil, if used properly, will help make your home the cleanest it possibly can be.
There are some types of regular cleaning and maintenance that will help your home look better, maintain its value, and help you create the restful environment that you deserve at home. Your best bet is to always check your manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you’re not doing anything to harm your items.
- Pressure Wash Home Exterior, Decks and Patios – You can rent a good pressure washer from a store like Home Depot to clean your home’s exterior, desks, and patios, or look for a local rental supply company. It’s not hard to do; just follow the instructions with the pressure washer and be aware of the types of sealants you have on your surfaces so you don’t damage anything.
- Clean/Vacuum Out AC Unit – Your AC has evaporator coils that help to release captured heat as well as help dehumidification of your home and the AC unit itself. Dust, pollen and other particles can get inside these coils, reducing the effectiveness of your unit. These need to be cleaned about every three months. In addition, you need to replace your AC filter every month to 90 days depending on the type you purchase. Also, when you clean the floor and area where your AC air exchange is located, take the time to vacuum it off.
- Clean Gutters – Most homes have gutters surrounding the edge of the house to help water runoff. These gutters often get clogged with leaves, dead animals, and other debris. On a seasonal basis, inspect the gutters and clean them as needed. Ensure that you have the right tools to do it safely, or outsource this task.
- Get Rid of Debris – Sticks, limbs, dead leaves and other debris will often be strewn around the yard due to wind, storms, and animals. Simply picking up this debris will make your yard and home look a lot more well-kept and manicured.
- Prune Plants – Depending upon the plants and following your own seasons, regularly prune plants and trees to ensure that you’ll have fewer issues with random debris floating around during storms and high wind days.
- Touch Up Chipped Paint – On a yearly basis during the driest time of the year, if there is chipped paint on the exterior of your home, it’s a good time to touch it up. You don’t have to repaint everything. Instead, you can get a paint match at a paint store from a chip of paint, then use that to repair the area. Sand it down, prime it, and repaint.
- Reseal Wood Surfaces Like Decks, Arbors, Etc. – Depending on the type of sealant that was put on these surfaces the first time, you will eventually have to redo it. The best thing to do is to buy the type of sealant you like and follow their directions to ensure that you do it correctly.
- Wash Screens – Sometimes it’s easy to forget to clean screens on the windows and the house. But, they do catch a lot of debris such as pollen, dust, bugs and other things. Clean the screens at least yearly, during a time you know it will be dry outside. The best way to clean a screen is to remove it, then vacuum off using the soft brush attachment. You can also use mild soapy water and a soft brush to scrub off harder to get dirt.
When you keep up with these chores on a regular basis, spreading them out to make it easier, you’ll be so happy with the results. You’ll feel good about your home, and believe it or not – you’ll discover time you didn’t know you had because of the organization you’re bringing to your life.
Even though your garage is often hidden away, a place only you see, if it’s unorganized and dirty it can cause a lot of stress. Your children may even be scared to go in there due to all the hidden dangers from spiders and clutter. It’s easy to deep clean your garage and prepare it to stay cleaner and more organized if you have the right storage solutions.
It’s easier if you remove everything out of the garage to get a fresh start. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to get various containers with labels so like things go together with like things. Use these to place things in temporarily so that you can declutter. Get rid of all trash. Toss anything you haven’t used in two years or donate it to someone who will use it.
Dust Items and Surfaces
As you move items to the toss bins or the organizing bins, take the time to wash and dust the items off. This is going to make your job a lot easier going forward. Hint: If you insulate your walls, that can help keep your garage fresher.
Now that you have a good understanding of what types of things you really have in your garage, you will have a better idea of the type of storage solutions that you need. For example, if you have a lot of bikes, you need a solution to put the bikes away that is easy for the entire family to use. If you have tools, you need a place for all the tools to go so they can be found easily, and so forth.
Cleaning Concrete Floors
First, sweep and vacuum the entire floor to remove all dust and debris. Then, rent a power washer. With that, you can blast dirt and mildew away quickly. Always read the instructions and you should have some information about what type of sealer you have on your concrete in your garage. Spray the surface with an environmentally friendly detergent that will cut grease. Use a stiff brush to scrub the detergent into the concrete. Remove stains with bleach, ammonia, or other solutions created for concrete floors. Blast away the remains.
Sealing and Repairing Cracks
A great way to keep your garage floor from getting stained is to treat it. First, seal all the cracks using a good concrete sealant. Once that is dry, you can apply more concrete over the top to even out the color. Just buy the right kind to use over your existing concrete as a guide. Then cover the floor with concrete and masonry bonding primer. This will seal against stains and dries clear.
Removing Grease Stains from Walls, Tools, and Accessories
When you are decluttering, take the time to place anything that needs to be cleaned of stains and grease in a container so that you know you need to clean them. Some of them can be soaked in soapy water; others will be more difficult to clean because you can’t get the entire thing wet. You may need to use soapy water and a toothbrush. For walls, scrub with hot soapy water, then rinse. When dry, freshen up with a new coat of paint.
When everything is clean and organized, a lot of deodorizing will happen automatically. A great way to prevent smells from coming back is to use mothballs in containers around the garage. Or you can buy an air freshener that’s on a timer to keep the garage fresh.
Keeping your garage clean is not much different from keeping your entire home clean and organized. It will reduce stress, help you find things easier, and make life more enjoyable. Plus, your stuff will last longer.
Ever wonder why a professional cleaning job feels so much different than when you do it? What do professionals know that you don’t know? How do they get things so clean so quickly? This article exposes their secrets so you can enjoy a professionally cleaned home without the expense.
Secret #1 Time it.
When you clean chances are you probably wander from task to task. In fact, cleaning out your closet can likely take an entire day. You get distracted by the items you find. Your children need your help. You get an urge for French fries and have to run out or you get a phone call from your sister. All of this means it is going to take you much longer to clean than it should.
Give yourself a set amount of time to get the job done. Then stick to it. For example, give yourself no more than an hour to clean out that closet. Not sure you can do it? Reward yourself if you meet your goal.
Focused cleaning time means you’ll pay more attention to what you’re doing. You’ll do a better job cleaning and you’ll get it done quickly. When you set a time limit you won’t suddenly call your sister. You won’t get distracted by a television program and you won’t run out for French fries.
Secret #2 Make it fun.
Cleaning fun? Well it doesn’t have to be a drag. Listen to music. Open the windows and use cleaning products that make you feel good. Organic or natural cleaning products won’t affect your eyes or lungs. And they smell great too.
Secret #3 Buy good cleaning supplies and tools
Speaking of cleaning products…In addition to buying natural cleaning products, make sure you’re using cleaning products that work. Spending a little extra money on a good cleaning product actually saves you money. If you buy a cheap product that doesn’t work or isn’t the right product for the job, you end up using more of it. You waste the product and you still don’t get your home clean.
Additionally, make sure you have the right tools for the job. For example an old toothbrush is a great tool for cleaning tough corners or grout. A good mop saves time. And a vacuum cleaner with the right attachments means you are able to get every piece of dirt.
And remember, you don’t always need a new cleaning product for every room and task. Surface cleaner for your kitchen will clean the surfaces in your bathroom too. Abrasives for your stovetop work for your bathtub too.
Want to know what else professional cleaners do? They:
- Group similar tasks
- Have a tote to organize and contain their cleaning products
- Dress for the job
Embrace these handy secrets and you too can have a home that shines. Professionals focus, they get the job done quickly and they use the right tools. That’s all there is to it.
We all want to avoid disturbing memories of the pizza-encrusted couch cushions that haunt us from our college days. But is it possible that we go too far? Can your house be too clean? Maybe. Here are some things to consider next time you’re ready to scrub the counters with anti-bacterial magic.
Back in the day, homes were cleaned with the basics: you used a broom to sweep, took the rugs outside and beat the dust out of them with a rug-beater, maybe used some vinegar and water on the windows and floors, soap and water for everything else, along with the occasional bleach for difficult-to-clean areas. Baking soda and vinegars were popular cleaning agents all the way through the time the Greatest Generation were raising their families.
It wasn’t until more recently that companies got on the bandwagon advertising for specific types of soap, scrubs, and cleaning fluids. Now we have a myriad of anti-bacterial soaps and sanitizers available to us. Going camping? Bring along a mini hand sanitizer. After the petting zoo, we use anti-bacterial soap.
However, it’s important to remember that bacteria isn’t necessarily all that is terrible and evil in the world. In fact, bacteria can sometimes be beneficial. It helps us build immunities. Experts have found that children who are exposed to a little dirt, dust or pet allergens are less likely to develop allergies, eczema and asthma as they grow older.
We know that preschoolers get sicker more often than their older siblings who have built up immunity from spending their days in school surrounded by coughing, sneezing germ-filled cherubs. In fact, studies show that children who had more exposure to germs while they were in daycare at a very young age are healthier overall than those who spent the early years protected from germs in their parents ultra-clean homes.
So we should sit on the couch eating junk food and leaving the crumbs for the dog to pick up? No. But studies show that sometimes ultra-clean is too clean. So rather than reaching for anti-bacterial soap for every cleaning need, consider using regular soap. Rather than using a harsh chemical to clean something, consider a more natural solution.
As technology and chemistry fuse together cleaning solutions for today’s modern world, many people are concerned that this preponderance of chemicals can be too harsh.
Keep in mind that many chemicals we use in our cleaners are toxic. The most toxic are commonly used to clean drains and toilet bowls. Not only are the harsh fumes bad for humans, but they also go down the drain and impact the environment. Consider reading the labels. Although many products won’t list their ingredients, look for warnings such as “WARNING” or “DANGER” or “POISON.” These will indicate the product may be harmful to you, your family and/or the environment.
To avoid the harsh chemicals, many people are turning toward more natural cleaning solutions. Those with ingredients that are easy to pronounce are popular, and others are back to cleaning the way Grandma did – with baking soda, vinegar, and of course, soap and water.
Definitely we need to keep our homes clean, and definitely we need to wash our hands. But as Grandma used to lecture, “everything in moderation.” Consider using natural products and avoid going overboard in your quest for a clean floor or countertop. Soap and water has been doing the trick for many, many years. It still seems to work today.