Home Cleaning Products too Costly? Consider these healthy alternatives:
Mix a paste of baking soda and vinegar to remove stubborn toilet bowl rings.
Rub windows down with a cotton-swab of rubbing alcohol to remove old cleaning product residue and wash with a mixture of two tablespoons vinegar and one-quart water.
Polish wood with three parts olive oil and one part white vinegar.
Use multi-purpose baking soda for scouring or to remove scuff-marks from vinyl floors. Add a small square of aluminum foil, boiling water, and it makes a great silver bath!
Be Prepared for Unexpected Guests! Keep this checklist handy for impromptu hosting:
- Use a laundry basket to pick up miscellaneous items and store in a bedroom closet.
- Close all doors to bedrooms and other rooms not intended for guests.
- Make room in the coat closet for guest's coats.
- Place extra rolls of toilet paper in a decorative basket in the bathroom.
- Wipe off fingerprints on appliances.
- Remove any dishes from the sink or countertops.
- Light dust the coffee table and other spots where guests will congregate.
- Vacuum high traffic areas.
- Burn scented candles in the bathroom and kitchen or set out potpourri.
- Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy your company.
Does Your Home Make You Sniffle? Use the house cleaning tips to cope with allergies:
- Thoroughly clean places where molds flourish, like drain pans under your refrigerator, old flowerpots and shower curtains.
- Encase box springs, mattresses and pillows in allergy-proof covers to keep dust – and dust mites – away.
- Clean and service air conditioning units to remove pollen and other allergens trapped during prior use.
- Always wash bedding in hot water (at least 130 F) to kill dust mites and launder every one to two weeks.
- Dust regularly. Wear a mask if you are allergic to dust and replace dusting cloths often to prevent dust transfer from one piece of furniture to the next.
- Stay away from dustwands, brooms and feather dusters. These tools merely move dirt and dust around. Vacuum all surfaces thoroughly, preferably with a HEPA-filter vacuum, catching dust on baseboards, high ledges, upholstery and ceiling fans.
- Restrict your pets' movement to as few rooms as possible, especially with regards to bedrooms. Frequently damp-wipe feeding areas and launder bedding often.
Keep Your Kids Clean Throughout Their Messy Summer Fun! Try these kid-friendly tips:
- Chewing gum – Whether it's stuck on the bottom of your shoe or in a pocket, leave item in the freezer overnight and gently chip away. For stubborn gum, use a small amount of paint thinner.
- Crayon on the walls – As ingenious as your child's art may be, the best way to remove it from walls is to rub the stain with a small amount of paint thinner and wipe with a clean, dry cloth.
- Playdough in the carpet – Place a large amount of dry-cleaning solvent on a clean white towel. Leave the towel on the affected area for one minute, lift and gently rub the playdough away, moving towel in one direction.
- Dirt and Dust – It's everywhere! Ask children to remove shoes before coming into the house to keep as many allergens outside as possible. Vacuum entryways often to remove allergy and asthma contaminants.
- Fingerprints – Buff surfaces with a clean cloth dampened with a neutral disinfectant. This will not only remove fingerprints, but childhood germs as well.
- Lipstick on your collar (or wall!) – Little girls love to play with make-up. Scrape excess wax away with a soft spatula. Pretreat clothing with a small amount of dishwashing liquid and rinse. Mix 1/3 part white vinegar to 2/3 part water to gently blot stain away or wipe surfaces clean.
Get Fido and Fluffy Ready for In-Home Service Workers:
- Notify the service provider that you have a pet.
- Tell your service provider the pet's name in the event that your pet should become disagreeable or disappear.
- Show your service provider where you keep the pet's leash and any treats as a means to lure a missing pet back home or out of hiding.
- If there is an animal mess, clean it up before the service provider arrives. Animal excrement can lead to the spread of dangerous diseases if not handled properly.
- If possible, relocate your pet. Put your pet in a kennel or in a clearly marked room that the service worker is not scheduled to enter. Leave a few favorite toys with your pet to keep it from getting restless.
- If you are expecting a cleaning service, be sure to mention your pet's favorite hang-outs so special attention can be paid to removing excess pet dander from those areas.
Fight Mold Growth for a Healthy Home. Hang the "not welcome" sign with these tips:
- Windowsills. Check the insides of windowsills for mold growth and wash with mild soap and water. Re-glaze windows for a better seal and make sure any drainage openings in the tracks are clean and not clogged.
- Humidifiers and Vaporizers. Empty these appliances daily and clean every three days with a solution of vinegar and water. Vaporizers should be cleaned daily with the vinegar and water solution.
- Air Conditioner. Air conditioners need to be serviced often to reduce mold growth. Clean the coils of the central unit every other month with mild soap and water, followed by a solution of heavily diluted vinegar and water, and replace the filter.
- House Plants & Dried Floral Arrangements. Re-pot your houseplants with a sterilizing potting soil and don't over-water. Throw away dried floral arrangements with signs of mold growth.
- Bathrooms. Clean those really tough areas in the bath and shower with a non-ammonia-based detergent and thoroughly dry. Keep a squeegee handy to quickly wipe down shower walls after each use to reduce the amount of standing water in your shower.
- Kitchens. Clean under sinks where mold is present with denatured alcohol and one-cup water. Check plumbing under sink periodically to look for leaks.
- Refrigerators. Wash the inside of refrigerators with a mild soap and water solution. If the refrigerator has a bad smell, add a teaspoon of lemon extract or a teaspoon of vanilla to the wash water.