While many of us will instantly get the mental image of rubber gloves, tough stain removers, buckets, brooms and scrubbing brushes as soon as the topic of house cleaning comes on, it doesn’t always have to be the case. The internet is filled with various easy cleaning tricks to help you keep your household in shape, here are some from my own experience.
Dust, dirt and crumbs anywhere around the house can be picked up by a strong adhesive tape or a lint roller. Use these on fabrics, table tops, lamp shades; just about anything. Lint rollers can also be used to remove debris like cobwebs from screen doors.
Good as New Sneakers
Give your shoes a good rub with toothpaste and they will soon be in that “just out-of-the box” state. Scrub with an old toothbrush for best results.
Let the House Breathe
Open windows and doors to let fresh air ventilate through the house, creating a better environment for your family and yourself. Even in winters, open the windows for at least five minutes a day.
Whip up a Natural Air Freshener
Boil a quart of water with some natural ingredients to freshen up your home’s atmosphere. My personal favorite combinations are 1 sliced lemon, a little vanilla essence and two teaspoons rosemary. If you want the air smelling like pumpkin pie, try a sliced orange, a dash of clove and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
By scrubbing stained cooking utensils with lemon juice mixed with sea salt (or coarse salt), you can get those stubborn stains out in no time.
Safer Cleaning Techniques
Replace and wash cleaning materials frequently, especially kitchen ones like sponges and washcloths. Disinfect your cleaning materials by boiling these in water for at least 2-3 minutes, once a week. An easier alternative would be microwaving the sponges.
Disinfecting Chopping Blocks
Furthermore, if you use cutting boards to minimize damage to your kitchen tops (which is always a good idea), separate cutting boards for vegetables and meat. Chopping blocks or boards can easily hoard bacteria from the meat or vegetables placed on them. Keep your boards fresh, clean and germ-free by washing them in the dishwasher. Disinfect these by rubbing a slice of lemon over the surface. If there are any tough stains, squeeze some lemon juice on the affected area and let it absorb for 10 minutes or so. Wash the block/board after the process.
We can’t stress this enough. Wash, wash and wash your hands! Make a habit of washing your hands regularly with plain (or anti-bacterial) soap and water, especially when leaving the bathroom.
The rust-affected area should be sprinkled with a little salt. Squeeze lime over the salt so that the area is well soaked. Let the mixture sit for about 2-3 hours. Use the lime rind to scrub and scrape off the rust residue.
Natural Shoe Polish
You can make your own shoe polish at home – mix a few drops of olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice and apply this on to shoes with a thick cotton rag. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe and buff with a new rag that is clean and dry. Not only will this save you money, it will also reduce the chances of you staining up your stone floor with black wax of regular polish.
Water Rings on Wooden Surfaces
Condensation from glasses or cups result in water rings on wooden table-tops. Apply mayonnaise or toothpaste to a damp cloth and rub lightly on the ring so as not to damage the finish. Buff the entire wood surface afterwards.
For those who are sensitive to dust mites, vacuuming regularly can be a great help. Getting rid of stuff that collects dust like newspapers is also advised. Try to start a “no-shoes-in-the-house” policy as well. Dust mites tend to collect in bedding so wash your bed linens in hot water to be on the safe side.
Plunge the Sponge
Polyester and plastic sponges are most commonly used at home and most brands treat these with triclosan. This chemical can produce chloroform (an alleged pollutant), when it interacts with the chlorine present in water. Cellulose sponges are a safer option as these are bio-degradable and soak up spills better, being more absorbent in nature.
Pets, though loved by all and sundry, bring in fur, dirt and even fleas along with the occasional knocking down of vases. Pets should be kept brushed to reduce hairballs and trained to use only certain types of furniture. Give them their own spot on the sofa, covered with a blanket that is easier to clean, compared to a sofa cushion.
Clean Top to Bottom
Clean shelves, window blinds, and tabletops first. Dust them first then work your way downwards to the carpet or the floor. This lets the dust to settle and be removed once and for all; at least for this cleaning session.
Follow the tips above and you could save a ton of effort and money by minimizing the need for intensive, expensive home maintenance. That being said, your house will need a grand cleanup every few years, so don’t skimp on that either.
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