Posts Tagged ‘Cleaning’

Hey!  Welcome to Home on Tuesday, where every Tuesday I scour the internet to find great tips on design, cleaning, automobiles, organization, and more!  Please note that I will be out of town tomorrow and so Working Wednesday will be postponed until next week.  Please subscribe to Life Lists’ RSS feed so you can be updated each time there is a new post!  Please feel free to leave your comments, even if it is to say hello!  I see you are coming by, so don’t be shy, just say hello! 🙂  See you on Thursday!  Enjoy!

1. Brighten up the dreary days of winter by planting pre-season blooms!  HGTV shows you just the plants to use.

2. Think you can’t decorate because of the economy?  Well, the Budget Decorator begs to differ!  Find unique ideas for decorating, organizing, gardening, and more!  And you can sign up for a free budget decorating newsletter.

3. Cleaning a home thoroughly can be painstakingly exhausting.  So Stepcase Lifehack has provided 150 tips and tricks on cleaning everything from carpets to vinyl records.

4. Extend the life of your electronics with tips from Real Simple.

5. And while you are at it, learn how to extend the life of your mattress, as well, with the help of Eco Salon.

6. The Daily Green and the American Lung Association show you 25 ways to keep the air quality in your home safe.

7. Everyone wants to go greener these days- whether you care about the future of the environment and a balanced ecosystem or just for the sake of cutting costs in the belly of a recession.  EcoHomeResource.com has a plethora of resources to help you achieve a greener living space from your kitchen to your nursery.

8. And, finally, don’t forget to take a look at the Innovative Project of the Week brought to you by Interior Design Magazine.  This week’s project was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and is for the California Academy of Sciences.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s links!  Leave a comment and let me know which one(s) were most helpful to you.  You could see more of the same in a future Home on Tuesday!


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This list originally published at HowtoCleanStuff.net.

#1. The Bathtub

You know you’ve been putting off cleaning the tub. It’s not the most fun job, but oh so necessary! We use the shower and bathtub to remove all the dirt and grime each day. While it seems all this would get washed down the drain, the bacteria lingers making your bathtub more dangerous than the toilet when it comes to bacteria. It won’t take long and it’s not very difficult, here’s all you need to do:

What You Will Need:

  • Bathroom cleaner (make sure it’s safe for the material your bathtub is made of)
  • Soft bristled brush
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Spray the entire bathtub with the bathroom cleaner.
  2. Use the soft bristled brush to scrub away any build-up.
  3. If soap scum is being stubborn, the Magic Eraser is your secret weapon. You’ll be amazed at how easily it removes all kinds of dirt with very little effort!
  4. Rinse with clean water.
  5. Enjoy! If you clean the tub just once a week it will be much faster than cleaning it every couple of weeks.

2. The Kitchen Drain

We know germy the kitchen sink can be and how important it is to keep it clean, and we do. So where is that smell coming from? Chances are it’s the goop that’s collected in your drain. Here’s a couple of tricks to remove odors from the drain.

What You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Hot Water
  • Bowl or pitcher

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by running very hot water through the drain to flush out any loose debris.
  2. Next, you have several options.
    1. Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain and wash it down with hot water.
    2. Pour 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice down the drain and let it set for 30 minutes. Then flush it down the drain with hot water.
    3. To prevent grease build-up, make a strong salt brine and pour that down the drain.
  3. Chemical cleaners are always an option, but should be used more sparingly. For a more eco-friendly cleaner, pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Wash it down with ½ cup of vinegar. This will immediately cause a foaming and fizzing reaction. This is good. Let this set for a few minutes and rinse with hot water.

#3. The Telephone

We use it everyday, and chances are you’ve wiped it on your shirt a time or two to remove the dirt, but have never really cleaned it. We spread so many germs when we’re talking, it’s amazing the filth that builds up on the phone. Add in the lotions, make-up and body oils and you’ve got a real need to clean.

What You Will Need:

  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Soft cloths

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by wiping down the entire phone with a disinfectant wipe, removing as much dirt as possible.
  2. Slightly moisten the cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol and use them clean dirt from the nooks and crannies such as in between the numbers, around the caller ID window, etc.
  3. Dry with a soft cloth and you’re good to go.

#4. Your Toothbrush

We use our toothbrush to remove all the gunk and germs from our mouth each day, so it’s no wonder it gets a little nasty itself. Here’s some easy ways to clean and disinfect your toothbrush.

What You Will Need:

  • Alcohol (concentrated, not the diluted type)
  • Listerine (optional)
  • Small bowls
  • Old toothbrush
  • Mild dish detergent

The Cleaning Process:

  1. The first thing to do is always wash your hands before handling your toothbrush, that will dramatically cut back on the amount of germs.
  2. Begin by washing your toothbrush daily by running it under hot water and using pressure when rubbing the bristles. Using toothpaste everyday is also helpful.
  3. You can disinfect your toothbrush several different ways, the easiest of these is to soak it in mouthwash (one that contains alcohol) for 30 seconds.
  4. You can also boil it for a few minutes or place it in the dishwasher. (if you have a plastic toothbrush, place it on the top rack so it doesn’t melt)
  5. These methods will greatly reduce the germs and bacteria that live in your brush. Now won’t you feel a little better about brushing your teeth tonight?

#5. The Remote Control

So many of us can’t live without it, so let’s give it the care it deserves.

What You Will Need:

  • Alcohol (concentrated, not the diluted type)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Paper towels
  • Disinfectant wipes

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by wiping the outer casing with a disinfectant wipe.
  2. Dampen the cotton swab slightly with rubbing alcohol and wipe away any dirt from tiny crevices and around the buttons.
  3. Continue scrubbing with a clean cotton swab each time until the dirt is gone. Depending on the amount of build-up, you may need to use several.
  4. Dry any remaining alcohol with the paper towels and it’s ready to use.

#6. Computer Keyboard and Mouse

Dust, crumbs, dirt, and many other items make their way under your keys leading to a small colony of germs growing beneath your fingertips. Use this simple method to remove the dirt and clean up your keyboard.

What You Will Need:

  • Lint free cloths
  • Can of compressed air
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Vacuum with soft brush attachment
  • Small bowl
  • Water

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Start by turning your keyboard over and gently tapping the back to knock out any loose dirt.
  2. Take the keyboard outside if possible along with the can of compressed air. Direct the can at the spaces in between the keys and blow the dirt loose. Turn the keyboard over and shake out the loosened dirt.
  3. Fill the bowl half full with water and add a small amount of dish detergent. Mix until suds form.
  4. Slightly moisten the cloth in the water and use it to gently wipe any dirt off of the keys. If your keys are not very dirty, plain water may be enough. Dry with another cloth.
  5. Use the vacuum with the soft brush attachment to remove any remaining dirt from inside the keyboard.
  6. Now for your mouse, wipe it down with the soft cloth that as moistened with the soapy water.
  7. If your mouse has a ball inside, unlock the cover, remove the ball and clean it with the soft cloth. You may also want to clean inside the cavity where the ball was as dirt quickly collects there.
  8. Replace the ball and cover, and dry the entire mouse with a dry cloth.

#7. Wooden Cutting Board

Wooden cutting boards are great for chopping and dicing, but when it comes to bacteria and stains, they seem act like a sponge. These boards can be a breeding ground for germs if not cleaned regularly. Here’s how:

What You Will Need:

  • Dish detergent
  • Lemons
  • Salt
  • Soft cloths
  • Mineral oil
  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Hydrogen peroxide

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by cleaning the board off with hot, soapy water. Do not immerse the board in water or it will absorb the water and crack when it dries.
  2. Next, you want to disinfect the board to remove any dangerous bacteria. There are several ways to do this:
    1. Use a soft cloth to wipe the board down with white vinegar.
    2. Use soft cloths to wipe the board down with vinegar then wipe again with hydrogen peroxide.
    3. Mix a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach with one quart of water. Drench the top of the board with the solution and let it set for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly with a clean cloth and clean water. Allow to air dry or dry with a towel.
  3. Remove stains by covering with salt and rubbing with a lemon. Rinse and dry.
  4. Once a week, apply some mineral oil to a soft cloth and rub onto the board in the direction of the grain. Allow this to soak in then remove any remaining oil with a clean cloth. The oil will fill the pores of the wood and prevent other liquids from being absorbed.

#8. Behind Appliances

Out of sight, out of mind – these areas are often the most neglected areas, but so necessary to clean. Pull them out and you’ll be shocked at what all you’ll find.

What You Will Need:

  • Mop
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Floor cleaner
  • Sponge or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Partner to help move the appliances
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Vacuum with hose attachment

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by having someone help you pull the appliances away from the wall. Never attempt to do this yourself as they can be very heavy and could fall over causing serious injury.
  2. Begin by unplugging any plugs that may be hanging in the way and assess the yuck you find back there to determine your plan of action. Most likely you want to start by vacuuming the dust and dirt build-up. The hose attachment is especially helpful for this.
  3. Use the kitchen cleaner to scrub away any dirt or food splatters that have fallen between the cabinets and the appliance. Be sure to clean both the walls of the cabinets as well as the sides of the appliances. For removing stubborn build-up, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will be a useful tool.
  4. Next fill the bucket with water and floor cleaner. Use the mop to clean the floor area that was underneath the appliance.
  5. When the entire area is clean, have your helper assist with pushing the appliance back into place.

#9. The Top of the Refrigerator

Another place that’s often out of site out of mind, this spot seems to be a “collect-all” in many homes for more than just dust.

What You Will Need:

  • Spray cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Box

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by removing all the miscellaneous items that many of us place on top of the fridge and put them in a box. You can organize or replace them later.
  2. Spray the cleaner all over the top of the fridge.
  3. Carefully wipe the layer of dust and dirt into the paper towel. Try not to wipe it onto the floor as it will just cause another mess.
  4. Repeat as necessary until you find the top of your fridge and all the dirt is gone.

#10. Doorknobs

They’re most likely one of the last items you think to clean yet one that needs it the most. Fortunately, cleaning them is a snap.

What You Will Need:

  • Disinfectant wipes

The Cleaning Process:

  1. The best way to clean and remove germs from doorknobs is just to wipe them down really well with disinfectant wipes. Can’t get much easier than that!

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1. Toothbrush– Before cooking fresh ears of corn, use the bristles of an unused brush to dig out stray silk threads stuck between the kernels.

2. Sponge– Sponges aren’t just for wiping up spills! Another use is to keep potting soil in place.  Simply trim a sponge to a square slightly larger than the drainage hole of a pot.  Put the sponge over the hole before filling the pot with soil.  Excess water drains out, but the soil stays in!

3. Straightening Iron– Use a straightening iron to smooth in between buttons where a regular iron doesn’t fit.  It also works well on collar creases and minor wrinkles.

4. Toilet Paper Roll– Take an extension cord and coil it no more than 1 and 1/2 inches thick.  Then slide the extension cord through the tube for tidy, tangle-free cords that won’t come unwound.

5. Shower Caddy– Store extra supplies in your laundry room, pantry, or garden shed.  Use the dead space around the doorknob when the the shelves and cabinets can’t take anymore.

6. Dish Rack– Organize children’s coloring books and art supplies in a dish rack.  Stack the books like plates, between the prongs.  Store markers, crayons, and pencils in the utensils caddy.

7. Coat Rack– Use a coat rack to store your most-loved (and most frequently worn) necklaces and bracelets within easy reach.  The best part is the tangle-free baubles will decorate your wall when not decorating your neck.

8. Newspaper– Deodorize food containers by balling up newspaper and stuffing it into a lunch box or thermos.  Then seal it and let it sit overnight.

9. Oven Cleaner– To remove paint or varnish from wooden or metal furniture, try oven cleaner.  It costs less than commercial strippers and is easier to apply (if you spray it).  Always test in an inconspicuous spot first.  After applying, scrub off the old paint with a wire brush.  Neutralize the stripped surface with vinegar, then wash it off with water.  Allow to dry.  Warning: Never use oven cleaner on antique or expensive furnishings- it may darken wood or discolor metal.

10. Sand– Fill a large bucket with builder’s sand and pour in a liter of motor oil.  Plunge spades, hoes, rakes, and other tools into the sand a few times to clean them and lubricate them.  To prevent rust, you can leave the tool blades in the sand for storage.

These tips have been collected from the following sources: ABC News archives, Real Simple magazine, and the UK news site, The Guardian.

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1. Wind Up Holiday Lights with a Garden Hose Holder

Original Purpose: Keeping a hose from becoming a snake in the grass.
Aha! Use: Winding up strings of holiday lights. Coil them round and round for knot-free hall decking.
Reward: You won’t blow a fuse trying to hang next year’s light show.

2. Remove Sticky Labels with a Hairdryer

Original Purpose: Blowing out your hair before dashing out the door.
Aha! Use: Removing labels that are stubbornly stuck on bottles, bowls, and picture frames. Heat the labels for a few seconds to release the adhesive, then peel them off.
Reward: No more pick-pick- picking at tags when you buy new juice glasses.

3. Store Toilet Paper in Tall Vases

Original Purpose: Showing off all those long-stemmed roses from gentleman callers.
Aha! Use: Helping toilet paper hide in plain sight.
Reward: Guests don’t have to root around for a new roll in your not absolutely, positively tidy vanity, and you always know when you’re running low.

4. Store Jewelry in Ice Cube Tray

Original Purpose: Freezing water.
Aha! Use: Organizing jewelry. Each ring, necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings gets its own cubby. Trays can be stacked in a drawer for a multitier alternative jewelry box.
Reward: Knot-free chains and less time spent digging for that other little gold earring.

5. Use a Bobby Pin to Save Your Page

Original Purpose: Holding up complicated dos.
Aha! Use: Saving your place in the latest Alice Munro. Slide the pin over a few pages (so it stays in place) to mark where you left off.
Reward: No accidental backtracking — and no slaps on the wrist for dog-earing borrowed books.

6. Store Pills in a Contact-Lens Case

Original Purpose: Storing 20/20 vision overnight.
Aha! Use: Transporting non-prescription pills without all the bottles. Pop it into your handbag and you’ll have a headache remedy handy when the man in seat 7A drones on about his herniated disk.
Reward: More room for that fifth pair of shoes.

For more new uses for old things, visit RealSimple Online.

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