Archive for the ‘Household Tips’ Category

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1. Clean and sanitize a knife block with a mild bleach solution. To clean: Turn the knife block over and shake it to remove any crumbs — or, use compressed air to remove debris. Then, wash the block in warm, soapy water. To sanitize: Add a tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water and immerse the block for about 1 minute. Rinse the block with warm water then turn it upside down to dry.

2. Clean your refrigerator’s water and ice dispenser with a vinegar-water solution. Create a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water, and use an old toothbrush to get into the crevices of your fridge’s water dispenser. Clean monthly!

3. Sanitize and deodorize wood cutting boards with lemon and salt. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze its juice over your wood cutting board. Use the squeezed lemon to spread the juice around, then sprinkle coarse salt over the board and use the other lemon half to scrub in the salt. Use a paper towel (slightly damp if needed) to wipe off the salt and lemon juice.

4. Use an old sock, Windex, and a travel cup to clean cup holders in your car. Put an old sock over the bottom of a travel cup, spray with Windex, and twist to remove dirt and grime in cup holders.

5. Dust auto A/C vents with a foam craft brush.

6. Rinse your air conditioning vent covers in the dishwasher. Close the vents before washing so there’s more surface area that gets cleaned. Then, blow dry any remaining water from the covers on the cool setting before installing covers back over your vents.

7. Throw your pillows in the washing machine. Toss a tennis ball in the dryer with your washed pillows to help fluff them back up.

8. Clean reusable grocery bags in the washing machine regularly.

9. Remove dirt and dust from the metal parts of your earbuds with a dry toothbrush. Then use a gentle cleaner (like dish soap and warm water) and a soft cloth to clean the outside.

10. Soak your loofah in diluted bleach for 5 minutes every week. Or, just throw it in the washing machine.

11. Vacuum your broom often.

12. For a deeper clean, soak your broom in a bucket of warm water and dish soap. Add a few drops of dish soap in a bucket of warm water, and soak your broom for an hour. Rinse and let it dry completely before storing it away. And don’t forget the dustpan! Spray it with disinfectant, or use a bleach wipe.

13. Get rid of lingering smells inside your purse with baking soda. Carefully place an open box of baking soda inside your purse, then pull your purse’s dustcover (or use a pillowcase) over your bag. The baking soda should remove any odors.

14. Clean light switches and plates with rubbing alcohol. Spray a cleaning cloth with regular household cleaner or rubbing alcohol, and wipe the surface of your light switches (don’t apply cleaning solution directly on the switch!). Get into the crevices with a Q-tip.

15. Dust lightbulbs with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol. By removing the layer of gray dust covering lightbulbs, more light will shine through and make rooms brighter. Less lightbulbs needed to brighten a room = less electricity = money saved.

16. Use a lint remover to dust lampshades.

17. Use Resolve carpet cleaner to clean the grout between tiles. Spray some Resolve carpet cleaner into the grout lines, scrub with a brush, and let it sit for about 10 minutes before wiping off. Then, just mop floors as usual.

18. Wear rubber gloves to pick up what the vacuum doesn’t.

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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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