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The things you use to clean your home deserve a cleaning too
Get a head start on spring cleaning by cleaning your favorite cleaning utensils.
Dish Drainer. Although you might like to pretend like it doesn’t, your dish drainer accumulates grime and mold — not exactly what you want to be placing your clean dishes in. Then soak in a mixture of ¼ cup bleach and 1 gallon water to sanitize.
Dish Rags. Even if you clean your dish rags after using, they end up getting that gross, stale smell. Hang the rags to air dry so that air can circulate on both sides. Change out dish rags daily and wash and dry them on the hottest settings to kill the bacteria.
Mop. Another bacteria hangout, mop heads end up just spreading around the dirt if you don’t clean them properly. Throw the mop head into the washer and dryer on the hottest temperature and add bleach or soak in a bleach bath and rinse with hot water. Most importantly, store mops completely dry to avoid more mold.
Sponges. Deodorize smelly sponges with a quick soak in some warm water mixed with baking soda. Microwave damp sponges every day for 2 minutes to kill germs.
Vacuum. Vacuums pick up some nasty stuff, so don’t be surprised that bacteria hang out there, too. Check the owner’s manual first, but for the most part you can rinse the dirt container and any attachments that you use with the machine. Change filters regularly (or clean them, depending on the vacuum), and remove whatever has been living in the brushes of the vacuum since you bought it.
10 Life-Changing Kitchen Cleaning Hacks That Save Time (and Actually Work)
Get every corner of your kitchen sparkling clean with our proven tips, tricks, and shortcuts.
Between cooking messes, dirty dishes, and everyday spills, your kitchen goes through a lot in one week. It&aposs easily one of the most trafficked rooms in the house (not to mention where you prep your meals), making it even more important to clean regularly. Whether it&aposs a sauce-splattered stovetop or coffee-stained counter, cleaning every surface in your kitchen on a daily basis can be challenging, especially when you&aposre on a tight schedule. These DIY kitchen cleaning hacks will help you degrease, deodorize, and sanitize in less time. Try these ideas to switch up your same old cleaning routine and keep your kitchen sparkling.
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Target Acidic and Alkaline Stains Differently
If you're using an all-purpose cleaner to remove mildew from tile grout, you are wasting precious time. To be more efficient, pay attention to your cleaner's pH level, and use the following guidelines:
A pH level below 7 indicates acidity, meaning the cleaner is formulated to make short work of inorganic substances, such as calcium, residue, and rust often found in bathrooms and kitchens. A pH level between 7 and 14 indicates an alkaline composition, which targets organic stains, such as dirt and grease, which you're more likely to find in other rooms and in laundry.
Did you know that Pam cooking spray can be used for cleaning purposes?
You can get your shower and faucets all cleaned up with Pam cooking spray.
Just spritz a small amount on the area you are cleaning. Let it sit for a while, and the oil in the spray will help to break down lime deposits.
Most composite wood, mesh, plastic and wood patio furniture can be pressure-washed. Place the furniture on a level surface away from any windows. Spot-clean tough stains with a soap and brush or rag. Using a 40-degree tip, clean the furniture working top to bottom. For painted surfaces (not painted by the manufacturer), start in an inconspicuous spot in case the water pressure starts to remove the paint.
The bedroom poses a lot of organization and cleaning challenges. Dresser drawers, shelves, the closet: all of these areas can be tricky to clean and keep tidy. Here are some ideas which will make bedroom cleaning and organizing much easier.
85. Get a color scheme. If you don’t already have a color scheme in your bedroom, it probably looks even more cluttered than it actually is. Just choosing a few key colors and coordinating them with your décor can really bring focus to a bedroom. This is an especially helpful tip if you are living in a cramped space.
86. Have clothing that doesn’t fit? There is no reason to keep it in your closet. Even if you are keeping it around to motivate you to lose weight, it’s best if you pack it away and move it to a storage area. All it is doing is cluttering your closet (and probably depressing you).
87. Seasonal clothing, blankets, and accessories can also be moved to a storage area off-season. That means items like scarves, gloves, and heavy clothes during the summer, and items like light summery clothing during the wintertime.
88. Do some decluttering! If you wouldn’t buy it today if you saw it hanging on a department store rack, why do you have it around now? There is probably someone who wants it more and would wear it more than you. Take it to the thrift shop and free up that space.
89. If your closet has just a single bar for hanging clothes, you are probably having a hard time keeping neat and organized. Consider buying a closet organizer which you can use to add additional bars and shelves. This is a great way to maximize your space, and many closet organizers are surprisingly cheap.
90. Make sure that your longer clothes are grouped together (i.e. long pants, dresses, skirts) and are separate from your shorter hanging clothes (i.e. tops, shorts, shorter skirts). This frees up room underneath the shorter hanging attire.
91. Think up a way to organize your garments that makes sense to you. It is a good idea to separate items by type. From there, you could color code your wardrobe or come up with another system that will help you find exactly what you need at a glance.
92. Need to shine some scuffed up shoes? If you don’t have any shoe polish handy (or don’t like the stuff), try rubbing a banana skin on black shoes or the pith inside a lemon.
93. Consider keeping a container directly in your closet to use for thrift donations. That way you can pop items right inside that you are ready to part with. This helps to prevent delaying tactics!
94. Think about rolling shirts in drawers. Folding them keeps them flat, but it is hard to keep them nice and neat. Rolling can actually be more efficient. It’s fast and easy, and does a great job maximizing space.
95. Consider buying a hanging shoe rack for your closet door. Not only will this free up room on the closet floor, but you can use the pockets for more than just shoes. They are great for consolidating hair and makeup stuff and for decluttering your dresser and drawers.
96. Use the storage space under your bed, and if you have one of those beds you can raise to a different height, pull it up as high as you can. You can fit a ton of stuff underneath your bed, which can really help you to clear out more space in your bedroom.
97. Make your bed in the morning right after you get up every day. That way it will look tidy the rest of the day.
98. Always immediately hang clothing you take off when you walk in the door. If you need to wash it, toss it straight in your laundry basket. Don’t just throw it on the bed or a chair. Once that starts, it gets right out of control!
99. Just keep one of every type of object out at a time. If you have twenty bottles of perfume, just keep one or two out at all times. If you own a ton of jewelry, just a few items that match different garments. If you have a dozen types of lotion, just have one out. Rotate through everything over time. This helps keep the clutter in check.
100. Use small plastic bins inside your drawers to keep makeup, hair clips, and other little odds and ends sorted. Bins that snap closed are a good choice since they keep everything in place.
101. Clear plastic bins are the best choice because you can see through them. You always know what is inside, even when they are closed.
102. To remember which bins go where (if for example you take everything out of your drawer for whatever reason), put a grid-work down on the bottom with everything labeled. One great way to do this is by painting the inside of your drawer with chalkboard paint. You can then chalk in the organizational plan and set up everything accordingly. If you change things later, it’s just a matter of re-labeling.
103. Use drawer dividers. There are soft fabric organizers you can use which collapse and fold up outside your drawers. You can expand them inside your drawers to create a number of small compartments. They are great for socks and underwear, scarves, belts, and so much more.
104. A necklace tree is a great way to keep your chains from tangling together.
Clean Removable Cotton and Microfiber Mop Heads
Mop heads can be tossed in the washer with a load of towels. Use a heavy-duty detergent like Tide or Persil and a hot water cycle to remove the heavy build-up of grease and soil. If the towels are white, add one-half cup of chlorine bleach to the wash cycle to disinfect the mop. Hang the mop head to air dry naturally. Do not store until the fibers are completely dry.
Clean Non-Removable Fabric Mop Heads
Mix a solution of one gallon of very hot water and two tablespoons of a heavy-duty detergent or pine oil cleaner in a large bucket or sink. Allow the mop head to soak for at least 15 minutes and then move it up and down in the solution to loosen the soil. Rinse thoroughly in hot water and allow to drip dry. If the mop head smells sour, add one-half cup of chlorine bleach per gallon of the rinse water to disinfect the fibers.
Clean Sponge Mop Heads
After using a sponge mop, rinse it well in hot water. Then, mix a solution of one-half cup of chlorine bleach and one gallon of hot water. Add the sponge head and allow to soak for five to ten minutes. Rinse well and allow to air dry.
What you’ll need:
1) 1 cup of boiling water
2) 1 tablespoon baking soda
3) 1 tablespoon white salt
4) 1/2 cup white vinegar
5) 1 sheet of tinfoil, shiny side up
6) bowl (I used a soup bowl but you can use a larger bowl or even a bucket depending on how much silver you have)
7) Polishing cloth (I used a microfiber cloth).
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The acid in lemon juice removes dirt and rust stains. Cleaning with lemon is especially effective when mixed with salt, which makes &ldquoan excellent scouring paste,&rdquo says Karyn Siegel-Maier, author of The Naturally Clean Home ($9, amazon.com).
Price: About 60 cents a lemon.
Use Lemons to Clean Your.
Countertops: Dip the cut side of a lemon half in baking soda to tackle countertops wipe with a wet sponge and dry. Don&rsquot use on delicate stone, like marble, or stainless steel (it may discolor).
Cutting boards: To remove tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards, slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Dishes: To increase the grease-cutting power of your dishwashing detergent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Faucets: Combat lime scale by rubbing lemon juice onto the taps and letting it sit overnight. Wipe with a damp cloth.
Garbage disposal: To clean your garbage disposal, cut a lemon in half, then run both pieces through the disposal. &ldquoThe lemon cleans it and makes it smell great,&rdquo says Linda Mason Hunter, a coauthor of Green Clean ($16, amazon.com).
Grout: Spilled morning coffee on your tile countertop or backsplash? Here&rsquos how to tackle grout stains: Add lemon juice to 1 or 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (an acidic salt that acts as a natural bleaching agent) to make a paste. Apply with a toothbrush, then rinse.
Hands: When you touch raw fish, the smell can linger on your fingers. Rub your hands with lemon juice, which will neutralize the odor.
Laundry: To brighten whites, add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle for a normal-size load.
Plastic food-storage containers: To bleach stains from tomato soup and other acidic foods on dishwasher-safe items, rub lemon juice on the spots, let dry in a sunny place, then wash as usual.
10 Smart Ways to Clean Fast Before Guests Arrive
When you're entertaining a crowd, time is especially of the essence. Here's how to sneak in a quick clean sweep, without borrowing too much time from other important party-prep tasks (you know, like greeting guests without a mop in your hand):
1. Sprinkle rugs with baking soda.
You don't have time for a deep cleaning, but make sure your carpeting is fresh and odor-free by dusting it with a bit of baking soda. Wait 15 minutes, then vacuum the powder (and the stink) away.
2. Clean your fixtures as you prep dinner.
Slicing lemons for your famous chicken? Reserve half of one and run the cut side over chrome to make it shine again. Then, toss a few rinds through the garbage disposal to get rid of any offending smells.
3. De-stink your kitchen.
You can erase any lingering cooking odors (yesterday's fish dinner, last night's microwave popcorn) by hardly lifting a finger: Simply fill a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 cup of water, and allow to boil for several minutes. Then, if you like, switch it out for a sweet-smelling simmer pot, with aromatics like oranges and cinnamon sticks.
4. Spray trouble spots with this handy solution.
Survey your home for any obvious stains, and give them a quick spray with a vinegar and water solution. This impressive cleaner is helpful almost anywhere, like for whisking away spots on a mirror or toothpaste drippings in the bathroom. Just don't use it on natural stone, like granite it could etch the surface.
5. Be forgiving about clutter.
There's no shame in putting catalogs, mail, and more into a basket and stowing it in a closet until guests depart. If you'd rather not move things, make neat piles out of messy mountains of stuff. Tidiness can step in for "organized" for the time being.
6. Swiffer your kitchen floor.
We love this tool for a quick pick-me-up under foot. And all you have to do is toss the disposable cloth when you're done.
7. Scoop up pet hair with a rubber glove.
After you're through washing dishes, don't remove your damp gloves. Take a detour through the living room and wipe away any lingering fuzz.
8. Zap dust fast with a lint roller.
Take a lap around your house and sweep this sticky, lightweight tool over any spot that's looking a little dusty (like stereo speakers, lamp shades, and stuffed animals). Or, banish debris in awkward spots by wiping them with a sock on your hand.
9. Be sure to clean the toilet.
Guests will surely visit this high-traffic spot, so brush with bleach or your favorite cleaner before people arrive.
10. Stick to spots you can see.
Our homecare expert Heloise knows her way around any cleaning issue, but also loves a handy shortcut. "My mother liked to do what she called top cleaning," Heloise says."She'd tackle only the surfaces that were going to be seen or used." So if you have to skip making your bed on party day, so be it.