House Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Who doesn’t want to come home to a house that’s clean and where things are neatly in place and organized? However, while we all want our homes to be clean all the time, it can be a real challenge to maintain a clean home. After all, where do you start cleaning?

Cleaning can be overwhelming, especially when you’re literally facing a mountain of a job – things littered on the floor, desks and counters, cobwebs on the ceiling and fans, filmy windows, old newspapers and magazines piled up high everywhere, a sink full of dirty dishes, grimy stove tops, oven and microwave, stained carpet the list goes on. Its enough to stop any cleaning enthusiast dead in her tracks, her hopes of transforming the house into one that’s clean and tidy dashed.

But before you take out the rags and other cleaning supplies, do a little pre-cleaning first. Make sure every things in its proper place. Tidy up the place first. Pick up items littered on the floor and counters and put them away. This way, you wont have to constantly start and stop vacuuming just to pick up things off the floor, or put the furniture polish down to remove old newspapers and magazines from the coffee table. Make no mistake about it – tidying is a strenuous activity, and you may run out of energy to get right down to the actual cleaning by the time you’re through tidying up.

The key, though, is to be organized. Before you start cleaning, get together the cleaning products you’ll need to clean an area or a room. A small bin that will hold your cleaning supplies together would be useful. You can easily carry the cleaning supplies you need, and quickly too. Make sure you have these essential supplies in your bin: rags, furniture polish, window cleaner, anti-bacterial spray, and carpet cleaner and re-freshener. Have the right cleaning supplies too, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time cleaning dirty spots with the wrong cleaning supplies. Its best to clean something properly the first time than clean it wrong the first time and then re-do cleaning. And its also a good idea to include in your bin a few garbage bag. This way, you wont need to run back and forth to the garbage can every time you pick up trash. Simply put the trash in the garbage bag with you.

When you’re done tidying up a room or an area, remember to start cleaning from the top (ceiling) and work your way down to the bottom (floor). Dust away the cobwebs on the corners of the ceilings and on the top shelves. Then do the windows and then finally the floor.

A clean and tidy home is something we all aspire to have. Its very pleasing to the eye to walk into a home and see everything organized and clean. Whats the first thing you notice when you walk into someones home? Most likely its whether or not the house is clean. Remember that’s what most people will notice too when they enter your home. Aside from the aesthetics, a clean home promotes health and wellness among those who live in it. A dirty home is home to illness-causing viruses and bacteria. When you keep your home clean, you keep yourself and your family healthy in the process.

Simple Guide to Cleaning the Bathroom

In general, its a good idea to have a bin that hold together all the cleaning supplies you need. You can carry this bin from room to room, saving you time and energy from going back and forth to where you keep your cleaning supplies or having to search for cleaning supplies in the most unlikely of places.

However, when it comes to cleaning the bathroom, its better to have a separate bin just for bathroom cleaning supplies. This is because bathrooms require as many cleaning products as the whole house requires, if not more. Your bathroom cleaning supplies should include soap scum and mildew remover, window washing fluid, bathroom surface cleaner, dust rags, toilet bowl cleaner, sponges, paper towels, floor cleaner and scrub brush.

So where do you start cleaning the bathroom? First, remove dirty clothes, towels and other articles. You can dump them in the washer and get them washed while you’re cleaning up in the bathroom. Tidy up the space, making sure everything is in its place. If there are rugs in the bathroom, remove those too for washing.

Next, you’ll tackle the shower. Cleaning the shower is perhaps the most difficult part of cleaning the bathroom. Its where soap scum and mildew are likely to build up, unless you clean the shower regularly. If the soap scum is bad, let the cleaner soak on it for a few minutes before you scrub it. If you use a shower curtain, take it down and clean it. If you use a shower door, don’t forget to wipe it down. Use cleaning products specifically designed for cleaning the shower. Rinse the shower thoroughly after cleaning it to get rid of other loose dirt and chemicals.

After the shower, your next task is to clean the mirrors. Take out your rags and spray and start wiping down the mirrors. Also dust shelves, moldings, baseboards and door frames. Attack the sink next. Don’t forget the faucets. You can clean your sink with any cleaning product designed for bathroom or kitchen surfaces. Make sure you clean not just the sink, but also the counter tops and the pedestal (if you have a pedestal sink).

Then comes the dirtiest part of bathroom cleaning: cleaning the toilet. You’ll need to clean the inside of the toilet, rim of the toilet bowl, under part of the toilet seat, toilet seat, back of the toilet and the toilet pedestal. A lot of people skip or forget to clean the back of the toilet and the toilet pedestal. Use regular toilet brush and toilet bowl cleaner to clean the inside of the toilet. For the toilet rim, lid and seat, you can use rags or paper towels in wiping down toilet cleaner. Use a good surface cleaner for cleaning the back of the toilet as well as the pedestal.

Finally, mop the toilet floor and empty the garbage bin. If you mainly use paper towels for wiping things down, the garbage bin is surely going to be full by the time you’re done Cleaning the bathroom. Put the shower curtain back up. If the towels are done washing, fold them up and put them back in the bathroom, neatly piled and ready for the next use. Make sure there’s toilet paper by the toilet, and an extra roll somewhere near. Keep the bottles of anti-bacterial soap and hand lotion by the sink full. On your way out of the bathroom, take the trash with you.

Cleaning your messy kitchen

It’s time to clean that messy kitchen again. What better way to start than with your oven/stove top?

Oven and Stovetop Cleaning- A messy and grimey stovetop and oven is what sometimes makes a messy kitchen what it is, but cleaning the inside of an oven is not as hard as most people think. One reason people don’t like to clean ovens is the harsh fumes and chemicals that are often in oven cleaners. They can make you sick and damage your skin and often you need to wear rubber gloves.

You can make your own oven cleaner by mixing 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of salt and 3/4 cup of baking soda into a bowl. Whisk them together until they form a froth like paste. Wipe the inside of your oven down with a wet cloth and spread the paste-like substance evenly around the inside. Let it set and clean it out the next day. You will find that you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. No harsh fumes, no harsh chemicals, and it got the job done right!

Now on to cleaning the stove top. Remove all elements from the stove and place in the sink in soapy hot water to soak. Before you start cleaning the stove get a dry (or wet) rag and wipe away all debris so they don’t get in the way when your scrubbing around the burners. Now just get some baking soda and combine it half and half with warm water until it is past-like.

Evenly apply it to the stains and let it set for about 5 minutes to give it time to eat away the dirt, grease and grime. When removing it give a little bit of a scrubbing motion to ensure you get everything off all at once. After you have wiped all the baking soda paste off just spray a mixture of vinegar and water onto the top of the entire surface and wipe until clean and dry. This will get any baking soda residue that may have been left over from earlier.

Now that you have given your “stove rings” time to soak in soapy water you can take them out one by one, rinse off with some water and a little scrubbing from a sponge, air or towel dry and place back onto your newly clean stove top.

Cleaning out your freezer: Make sure you have an extra freezer or cooler full of ice to store your things in while your cleaning. Use the same soapy water and then water and vinegar mixture that you used to clean out your refrigerator to clean out the inside of your freezer. If you have a build up of ice in your freezer you can use a plastic spatula to remove it. Have a bowl and towel on you while doing this to prevent the ice and water from giving you a messy kitchen allover again.

Now the appliances in your once was messy kitchen will be but a thing of the past for a few months or more!

Cleaning out your fridge: After a while or so, your fridge starts to give a whole new meaning to the term “messy kitchen”. To quickly fix that problem start by going through the shelves and throwing out anything that is past its expiration date. Take out anything that can lift or pop out. Get a soapy lukewarm rag and start wiping down the inside of the whole fridge.

Don’t use any chemical cleaners because this could contaminate your food once placed back into the fridge later on. When wiping down the inside of your fridge with that soapy rag, be sure to rinse it frequently. Now once that is done, make a mixture of water and vinegar (Ex: 1 gallon of water and 2 cups of vinegar).

Re-wipe the inside of the fridge with that mixture to ensure it really is as clean as it looks. Do the same steps as above for the shelves and drawers, first soapy water following by the water and vinegar mixture. Once it is dry immediately put everything back inside. Now to the exterior of the fridge, use any type of multi-purpose spray. Also, don’t forget to clean the inside seal on the doors of your fridge and your freezer!

Cleaning your countertops and fixtures

Cleaning Stainless Steel- If possible try to wipe down your stainless steel appliances and fixtures with a wet washcloth daily. Warm water preferably, just let it air dry. If you need something a little more powerful to clean it with just combine some warm water with a very mild detergent. Rinse well to prevent any stains that may be left on the appliances and towel dry so water spots aren’t left behind.

Fingerprints are really tricky to remove off stainless steel. Glass cleaner is one of the only things to get them off. If glass cleaner doesn’t do the job, put some household ammonia on a rag and wipe clean. Rinse off with water and towel dry. Now for scratches, hard stains or if you just want to polish your stainless steel it would be best to go and get a regular store bought stainless steel cleaner. Using these cleaners weekly can reduce the chances of scratches and keep staining to a minimum.

Cleaning Granite countertops: Always clean up spills immediately or it can seep through the surface. It is best to use a mild dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water to clean off any stains, using a soft cloth. If you have any tricky dry-on stains on your countertops take a cup of flour, a couple tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and a tad of water to form a thick paste. Put the paste on the stain and let it set over night. Scrape off the next morning carefully, you don’t want to scratch the granite.

**If the dry-on stain is grease, or oil of any sort; try using hydrogen peroxide in place of dishwashing liquid.**

Cleaning Marble countertops: Daily wipe marble counter tops with a wet rag that’s been dipped and rinsed with warm water and dish soap. To deep clean them take baking soda (3 tablespoons) and mix with 4 cups of warm water. Take a rag and dip into the mixture, ring out and wipe across all marble countertops. Let it set for a couple of hours and then wipe off with a clean rag that’s been dipped into clean cool water.

To make your marble countertop give off that extra shine just take a few pieces of chalk and finely crush it. Combine the crushed chalk with a damp rag and wipe across the countertops. Let it dry for a few minutes and then rinse off with cool water. Afterwards, wipe off with a dry cloth.

A couple warnings

  • Never set anything that is hot on your marble countertops. Always set on a towel or potholder.
  • Never clean marble ANYTHING with vinegar. It can seep through the cracks and discolor/ruin the marble.
  • Never clean you marble countertops with anything abrasive. Don’t clean it with alcohol and don’t use anything with a scrubber built onto it.

When cleaning countertops, the best way to go about it would be to wipe and wash with one hand while feeling your countertops with the other. This is just to ensure they are as clean as they look.** **Also, if you have backsplashes lined against the wall you should clean those too. Especially near the area where the stove is.**Cleaning chrome fixtures: In a small container take 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar and mix with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Mix together until a thick like paste is formed. Take a dry white cloth and wipe the mixture across the chrome, leaving a visible layer. Let it set until it dries and starts to become “flaky”. Take the cloth you used and dampen it and wipe the paste off the chrome. This should leave it sparkling.

Cleaning brass fixtures: Take a wet soapy cloth and wipe down across entire surface of brass fixture. If there are any stubborn spots that don’t want to come off then try removing them with either vinegar or lemon juice, this should fix that problem. (If you use vinegar, dilute with a little bit of water first). Afterwards, rinse off the fixture with cold water if you had to use the vinegar or lemon juice. This way they won’t get further damaged. To keep it looking good as new, weekly use a brass polish.

Cleaning Wall Stains

Getting fingerprints/scuff marks off your walls: When treating your wall stains, you want to know how to do so without peeling your paint off along with it. In order to do that you are going to need to fill a bucket with plain warm water. You will need this for your sponge.

In a spray bottle mix about 20 ounces of water with a tbsp or so of dishwashing liquid, shake well to know they’ve mixed. Spray the bottle along the parts of the wall that need it and let it set for 5 minutes. Afterwards, wipe it off with a damp sponge. Make sure to keep rinsing and ringing out your sponge so your not treading dirty water.

Doors and door frames: Start wiping the door frame with a wet rag, scrubbing at any spots that won’t come off easily. If there are still some tricky spots, just spray a little bit of multi-purpose spray on your rag and then scrub. To clean the doors themselves, get a bucket with warm soapy water and a rag. Rinse and ring out the rag and wipe all along the edges of your door starting from the top and working your way down.

For difficult stains, get a soft bristled scrubbing brush. After you have finished take a dry (micro fiber towel preferably) and dry the door off. When it comes to cleaning the insides of sliding glass doors use the same method. Now for the outside of sliding glass doors you are going to want to have a sponge that is soft on one side with a scrubber on the other.

Using a type of glass cleaner, spray onto the door and use the scrubber side of the sponge to remove access dirt, grass stains, or water spots. Once the surface is smooth, rinse off with water and hand dry with an absorbent towel.

Another type cleaner you can use on your walls is a homemade solution. You mix in 1/2 a cup of vinegar, 1 cup of ammonia, 1/4 cup of baking soda, with 1 gallon of warm water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when using this and try to keep the area your cleaning ventilated.

Mr. Clean magic erasers also do the trick on your walls. They can clean baseboards and crown molding and can wipe off the scum, crayons, and fingerprints on all walls without stripping the paint off with it, all while renewing the surface!

Wood Floors

In order to keep your beautiful wood floors looking spotless and smelling great, you HAVE to clean them daily. You vacuum or sweep to make sure no dust and dirt is given any time to settle down into the flooring. When it’s time to mop the floors make sure you only use a damp mop, not a soaked one. If the water seeps down into the cracks it may warp and bend your floors causing permanent damage.

Some ways to keep them in good shape is to buy area rugs or mats to cover it with wherever you may have high traffic in your home. Place entry mats at the doorways of your house where you may track dirt and rocks into your home and a large area rug in the center of any rooms. If something is spilled or dropped onto your flooring you need to remove it immediately. Don’t let it set, it will be near impossible to remove the longer you let it.

**DO NOT USE AMMONIA TO CLEAN HARDWOOD FLOORS** -Ammonia can ruin and discolor your hard wood floors. Use Vinegar, or Murphy Oil Soap followed by Orange Glo to give it that extra shine.

Caring for Your Upholstery

The upholstery could use some vacuuming too so don’t forget to vacuum the upholstery whenever youre vacuuming the carpet. Its a good idea to vacuum the upholstery at least once a week. Vacuuming furniture helps in removing surface soil, preventing dirt from embedding themselves in the fibers. Aside from the vacuum, you can whisk away dirt with the help of a soft-bristled brush.

Periodically turn over loose cushions as doing so can extend the life of your furniture. This is because there will be even distribution of wear and tear, and your cushions wont get indentations right away. Fluff the cushions too to retain their shape. Rearrange the cushions too. Swap cushions from one furniture to another or from one end of the furniture to the other. You want the cushions to get an even amount of use.

Make sure your furniture doesn’t get direct sunlight any time of the day. If it does, either minimize the sunlight by using heavy drapes or put the furniture in a different area of the room. Sunlight can cause fading, and if you’ve got furniture with silk fabric, sunlight exposure is going to ruin it soon enough. Make sure there’s good ventilation in the room too as airborne pollutants like smoke and fumes coming from the kitchen can damage your upholstery. Also, having proper ventilation helps keep the area clean.

To minimize stains and dirt on your furniture, put some rules up in place for you and other household members. For instance, don’t let anyone eat on the couch, chairs or love seats. For dining chairs, go with those that come with removable and machine-washable chair covers with seat cushion. Another thing is you can disallow anyone to lie down or put their feet up on the couch with their shoes on. If you have dogs, train them not to get up on the furniture whose upholstery you’re trying to protect.

A fabric protector is a wonderful thing use on your furniture. If your furniture is already protected, its easy to remove stains you simply blot them up. However, if your furniture doesn’t have fabric protector, you’ll need to act fast when it gets stained or something spills on it. First, don’t try to rub out the stain or the spill or you risk ruining the fabric. Blot up as much of the liquid as you can using a clean towel. Next, use a spot cleaner that’s specifically designed for upholstery. With a soft-bristled brush, gently work the spot cleaner in a circular motion. Vacuum the spot once it is dry.

Its a good idea to have your upholstery professionally cleaned every two years or so. In between, make sure you exercise proper care and maintenance of your upholstery. Once a piece of furniture becomes dirty, it is much harder to restore it to its original look.

Organizing Essential Cleaning Supplies to Get the Job Done Quickly

However, before you purchase any cleaning product, read the label. The label lists the products common uses, precautions you’ll need to take (if any) and solutions. Beware of cleaning products with the label “All Purpose” slapped on; more often than not, they aren’t good for all kinds of surfaces. If you’re cleaning laminates and other plastic surfaces, for instance, avoid using cleaning products containing ammonia and other strong chemicals. These chemicals will damage such surfaces. Typically, you don’t really need to use a strong cleaner to get the job done; a simple mixture of warm water and mild soap is often adequate.

Whether you’re gearing for a large, annual cleaning job or simply doing your daily light cleaning, its important you gather the essential cleaning supplies together prior to starting. But what cleaning supplies are essential? These are the things you’ll need in order to clean.

When cleaning, start cleaning from the ceiling, working your way down to the floor. Essential cleaning supplies for Cleaning the ceilings include rags for dusting cobwebs up in the corners, blades of ceiling fans, and tops of ledges and shelves. You’ll see a lot of those infomercials telling you their product is the better way for you to dust. However, a rag actually works quite well, and its cheap too. You can use an old shirt or sock as a rag for cleaning. Rags are effective in getting rid of cobwebs, but when you’re dusting ledges and shelves, apply a little bit of furniture polish on the rags and wipe.

Up next for cleaning are the windows. For cleaning windows, you’ll need a window washing liquid. There are a lot of brand name products whose manufacturers claim they produce a streak-free shine, but they can get very expensive. You can stick to the bargain brands and get the same result. The trick is in what you use to wipe down the windows. For some reason, wadded up newspaper works much better than paper towels in wiping down the window glass. You’ll need lots of old newspaper and to control the clutter, make sure you have brown paper bags in your House Cleaning kit. You can toss the old newspapers in there after using them to wipe down the windows.

Anti-bacterial sprays are essential cleaning supplies you should always have in your house cleaning kit. You’ll find many cleaning products for cleaning various parts of the house and most of them are fine to use on different surfaces. Keep on hand an anti-bacterial spray that’s specifically designed for hard-to-clean mildew and soap scum in bathrooms and another anti-bacterial spray you can use in your kitchen and other surfaces.

For cleaning the floor, you’d need a vacuum for cleaning carpets areas and a mop and bucket for cleaning the non-carpets ones. Keep two floor cleaning kits – one kit for cleaning non-carpeted areas of your home and another kit for the carpeted areas. This way, you can simply take out the appropriate cleaning supplies you need instead of lugging around supplies you don’t need quite just yet. Other essential supplies you’ll need are rug fresheners such as a powder or spray.

When you have your cleaning supplies organized, you’ll be able to access them easily and complete your tasks much more quickly.

House Cleaning Tips and Tricks
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