Archive for the ‘Household Tips’ Category

Essential Oils
Extracted from plants, some essential oils can kill bacteria and mold. They’re very strong, so don’t go overboard: One drop of peppermint oil is as potent as 30 cups of peppermint tea.
Price: $14 for 5 milliliters at health-food stores.

Use Them to Clean Your…
Combs and brushes: Fill a container with 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, and 20 drops tea-tree, lavender, or eucalyptus oil. Soak combs and brushes for 20 minutes. Rinse and air-dry.

Scuffed floors: Apply two to four drops of tea-tree oil to the spots. Wipe excess oil with a cloth and rub in distilled white vinegar.

Gum-encrusted items: Orange oil is great at removing this sticky offender from various materials. (Don’t worry: It shouldn’t stain fabrics. But do launder immediately.) Apply with a cotton ball.

Shower doors: Wipe scum-covered glass doors with a few drops of lemon oil twice a month. It will protect them from grime buildup.

Toilets: Add 2 teaspoons tea-tree oil and 2 cups water to a spray bottle. Shake, then spritz along the toilet’s inside rim. Let sit for 30 minutes; scrub. You can also place a few drops of your favorite oil on the inside of the toilet-paper tube.

Windows: Mix 2 ounces water and 10 drops lavender or lemongrass oil to wipe grime off windows. Bonus: These oils may repel flies.

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The acid in lemon juice removes dirt and rust stains. It’s especially effective when mixed with salt, which makes an excellent scouring paste

Use Them 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’t 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: Cut a lemon in half, then run both pieces through the disposal.

Grout: Spilled morning coffee on your tile countertop or backsplash? Here’s 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.

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•Ammonia: This works as a good disinfectant, but when mixed with water makes an excellent glass cleaner and surface polisher. And I have used it to strip the wax off my kitchen floors.

•White vinegar: It is extremely practical in taking out stains when used properly.

•Baking soda: Use this mixed with a little water on your hard surfaces to clean them up. It works great in the refrigerator both to wipe it down, and, if you keep an open box inside, to remove odors.

•Bleach: This chemical is important because it will clean anything off and kill almost any bacteria. If you have some growing mold, bleach it. If you want to make sure something is really clean, bleach it. Just be careful with it, since it can burn your hands and permanently ruin furniture and clothing.

•Liquid dish detergent: This little item is obviously useful when cleaning dishes, but mix it with some water and rub it on almost any surface, including carpet, to wipe spots clean and disinfect at the same time.

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Counteract Kitchen Stains with Bleach:
Sometimes stains can penetrate the surface of a counter. In this case, you can use bleach-soaked paper towels to penetrate the counter’s surface and counteract the stain. Bleach is dangerous, so use protective gloves and special care while using it.

Kill Germs with Borax:
To avoid using expensive sanitizers to kill the germs in your home, you can make your own germ killer. Simply mix one cup of borax into one gallon of water. Use the solution as a sanitizer on any surface in your home.

Make Steel Wool Go Further:
Steel wool, a combination of fine steel and soap, is a great tool for scrubbing stubborn messes off of dishes and other surfaces in your home. Each time you use steel wool, you probably only use a portion of the surface. To make the steel wool last longer, cut it in half or in quarters.

Make Your Own Window-Washing Liquid:
You can make your own window washing liquid with ammonia and water. An even better alternative to Windex� is to mix ammonia, alcohol, dishwashing liquid, and water, a mixture that will not freeze. Make sure to label your homemade cleaning fluid bottles.

Clean Up Spills with Diapers:
Diapers are extremely soft and very absorbent. You can use diapers as the final drying stage to keep water spots or hard water stains from appearing. Diapers are great for cleaning up spills before they set into carpets or fabrics. Diapers also make excellent dusting and buffing cloths

Use Fabric Softener Sheets as Dust Cloths:
The same fabric softener sheets that you use in your dryer to reduce static and generate a fresh smell can also be used on your furniture. The anti-static property of dryer sheets will actually keep your furniture from attracting dust and making you have to clean them so often. As a bonus, your furniture will smell fresh and clean.

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cart_img1* Spray heavily with starch when tennis shoes are new to maintain whiteness.

* Add a capful of hair cream rinse to the final rinse water when washing sweaters.

* Use an old window screen (with fiberglass screening) to dry sweaters.

* Add a yard of nylon netting to your dryer with the wet clothes–it will catch most of the lint.

* Linen or cotton can be whitened by boiling in a mixture of one part cream of tarter to three parts of water.

* Boil socks in water to which a lemon slice has been added.

* Small knots and balls can be removed sweaters by shaving with a razor or rubbing gently with sandpaper.

* To your wash water, add 1/2 cup of household ammonia when washing your work clothes.

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* To remove rust from cast iron and tin, dip a peeled potato in baking soda and rub.
*Spray distilled white vinegar on glass windows to make them sparkle.
*To remove bathroom mold, mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water and spray on mold. Wait one hour, then rinse with clean water.
*A solution of one cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar will remove white water rings from wood furniture.
*To clean hard-to-reach glass decanters, combine a solution of warm water, baking soda and crushed egg shells. Swirl around in the decanter and let stand overnight. Then rinse thoroughly.
*For dirty hairbrushes and combs, soak for one hour in a solution of warm water and baking soda.
*For stubborn stains inside coffee cups, fill cup with a solution of baking soda and white distilled vinegar.
*To get rid of stale odors in a lunch box or cookie tin, dip a slice of fresh bread in vinegar and leave in container overnight.
*To remove deodorant stains on clothes, dip a rag in vinegar and rub across stain.

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* Loosen dirt before cleaning the bathroom by filling the tub with the hottest water possible. The steam will loosen the dirt faster.

* Before hanging shower curtains, soak them in a salt water solution to prevent mildew

* Wash mildewed shower curtains in hot soapy water, rub with lemon juice, and let them dry in the sun.

* Use a piece of very fine plain steel wool to remove film from the shower stall.

* Dip a stiff brush in a kerosene and warm water solution to clean the bath mat.

* Insert a sponge into the leg of an old nylon stocking and knot the end. Use it to scrub sinks, bathtub, tile, etc.

* Rub glass shower doors with a white vinegar dampened sponge to remove soap residue.

* Use a typewriter eraser to clean spaces between bathroom tiles.

* Dip a cloth in kerosene or rubbing alcohol to remove scum and spots from your bathroom fixtures.

* Soak a plastic shower head in a hot vinegar and water  mixture to unclog it.

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For every problem, there’s a solution:

PROBLEM: Trash Can
SOLUTION: Toss a handful of dry coffee grounds in the bottom of a new bag to absorb odor.

PROBLEM: Basement
SOLUTION: Cross-ventilate the room by opening windows at opposite ends. For stronger air flow, put a fan in the center of the area to circulate air, and another at an open window as an exhaust.

PROBLEM: Toilet Bowl
SOLUTION: Pour a cup of white vinegar into the bowl; let sit for 10 minutes. Scrub well and flush.

SOLUTION: Wash as usual, then rinse socks in a solution of 1 cup white vinegar and 1 gallon water. Let sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze out moisture, then air dry.

Hate to Clean?

*Weed out as you put away clothing, toys, books and other items. Be ruthless so you won’t have to spend hours organizing cabinets and closets. Keep a box in the basement or garage for items you want to donate. Use magazine racks to control what you keep, and shoe racks to control your shoes.

*Clean drips as soon as they occur, before they dry or soak into surfaces. Dust often so it doesn’t have a chance to build up and harden in corners and crevices.

*Always clean from top to bottom and back to front, so dust doesn’t get on clean surfaces. Sweep before mopping, and dust before wet cleaning. When cleaning a room, start at one wall and work clockwise around the area. Dust wood, shine glass, then vacuum.

*A home that smells fresh looks cleaner automatically. Spritz upholstery with fabric refresher, and sprinkle deodorizer or baking soda on the carpet, wait a few minutes, then vacuum. Is the kitchen smelling icky, or the laundry room musty? Set out a bowl of white vinegar to soak up odors, or use odor-eliminating compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

*Clean a different room every day, so eventually your whole house gets attention. Look at the top, middle and bottom of the room, and pretend you’re seeing it for the first time. Tackle the jobs you don’t always get to, like removing cobwebs and dusting plants.

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More Cleaning Tips

Glass cookware Wipe with a sponge saturated with vinegar. Rinse.

Rubber drain board Every two weeks, soak in sink filled with hot water, 2 Tbsp liquid bleach and a squirt of dishwashing detergent.

Wood kitchen cabinets Quickly wipe with a cloth dipped lightly in a solution of 1 gallon water and 1⁄4 cup mild soap, such as Murphy Oil Soap.

Copper-bottom pans Apply a paste of equal parts salt, flour and white vinegar with a soft, damp cloth. Rinse; wipe dry.

Dishwasher Periodically set a bowl filled with 2 cups of white vinegar in the bottom rack and run it through the complete cycle.

Cutting boards Wipe down with hot soapy water. Use an antibacterial abrasive cleaner and scouring pad for tough stains. Rinse well.

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Cleaning Tips

Stain: Coffee or tea
Solution: Douse with water; apply white vinegar. Any remaining blotch is likely milk or sugar; apply a stain stick and let sit. Wash as usual.

Stain: Gum, Wax, Crayon
Solution: Hold an ice cube onto the offender and crack off what you can. Apply a stain remover like Carbona, let sit, then rinse in cold water. as usual.

Stain: Mustard
Solution: Soak in a 1:1 vinegar/water mix, then spritz with diluted liquid dishwashing soap. Scrub and rinse.

Stain: Deodorant
Solution: Apply stain stick and let sit for 30 minutes. Hand-wash in cold water, then machine-wash.

Stain: Ketchup
Solution: Douse in cool water to remove as much of the stain as possible. Apply stain stick, let sit, then wash.

Stain: Ballpoint ink
Solution: Apply glycerin (available at drugstores), then rinse in cold water. Apply liquid dishwashing detergent and rinse. Repeat until the offender is gone.

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