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Cleaning Tips

Home Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Eliminating Mold & Mildew

When it comes to preventing mold and mildew, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Since mold and mildew thrive in warm moist places like bathrooms, keeping those areas regularly cleaned is key. Immediately cleaning up spills and adequate ventilation can go along way towards inhibiting their growth. Rugs that can be washed should be hung outside to dry in the sun.

Generally speaking, 1/4 cup of bleach in a gallon of water, along with a stiff brush, will remove most mold and mildew. Sodium Hypochlorite is the active ingredient in bleach and is often used in many products that claim to remove mold and mildew. Since bleach fumes can be very strong and irritating, here are some alternatives that often work equally well, with most of them found in your local supermarket.

  1. Borax – a good alternative to bleach with no irritating odor. Using a brush, scrub the area with a solution of 1 cup borax added to 1 gallon of water. There is no need to rinse because the borax residue will inhibit further growth of mold/mildew.
  2. Vinegar – a mild non toxic acid that can kill most types of mold. Using a spray bottle, soak the area to be cleaned, with white vinegar (don’t dilute). Let stand about an hour and wipe with a water soaked cloth. Any odor should disappear within a few hours.
  3. Ammonia – very effective on hard non-porous surfaces for removing mold and mildew but has a strong odor. Mix equal parts of “clear ammonia” and water in a spray bottle and brush away. Make sure your work area is well ventilated and remember to never mix with bleach.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide – a very good alternative to bleach because in addition to being anti-fungal, it disinfects and has a bleaching effect on mildew stains. Spray the area to be cleaned with enough 3% Hydrogen Peroxide to saturate and let stand for about 10 minutes. Scrub and then wipe the surface dry.
  5. Baking Soda – very safe with added benefit of removing odors associated with mold and mildew. Baking soda can either be added directly to a cloth or make a solution of 1/2 tablespoon baking soda and 8 fl. ounces of water in a spray bottle. Saturate the area and brush until clean. After wiping with a cloth, spray the surface again and allow to dry.

There are other mold/mildew removers such as tree tea oil and grapefruit seed extract, but these are more expensive and no more effective, although they may smell better.

Death to Dust Bunnies! Dusting Tips

We all know that dust removal in the home is a constant battle. There are however, some ways to reduce dust accumulation and make dust removal easier. Using a pleated, electrostatic furnace filter is the best way to trap dust throughout the whole house before it settles. Air purifiers can be a good option but are only effective for the room it is in. To remove dust once it has settled, a microfiber cloth is more effective than feather dusters or cotton cloths. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is best for carpets or large area rugs and the attachments can be used to get to those hard to reach places. Regular dusting not only gives your home a clean look, but can decrease allergens associated with dust.

Cleaning Prevents Colds & the Flu

To prevent the spread of germs that can cause colds and the flu, it is necessary to regularly clean things that are frequently touched by everyone in your home. Use a disinfectant to clean light switches, door knobs, phone receivers drawer handles and anything else that is commonly used where germs may lurk. Once again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Carpet Cleaner Secret for Removing Carpet Stains

Here is the secret to the carpet cleaning trade! A carpet cleaner once told me the main ingredient to the carpet cleaning solution in the big tanks fastened inside his van was…. alcohol.

I decided to test this out and to my pleasant surprise, it took care of the carpet stain better than I’ve tried at the store! So next time a nasty stain appears just use any clear alcohol, be it vodka or rubbing alcohol, to easy lift that stain away. The alcohol is strong enough to take care of the stain while not strong enough to ruin the carpet.

Removing Hard Water Stains on Glass

Hard water stains that build up over time, especially on places such as the glass door to the shower, can be ugly! That’s ok, do you have any shaving foam?

Covering the water stains with shaving foam, leaving it on for an hour will eat into the stains. Then it is simply a matter of wiping them off. Viola. Clear glass.

Window Cleaning Maid Easy!

There are few things that can brighten a home more than clean sparkling windows. You can make this once arduous task part of your cleaning routine by using the right tools and techniques. The most important tool used by professionals is the squeegee. It has a blade that is designed to push or pull water and dirt away from the glass surface. Handles that can extend or telescope are necessary for hard to reach windows. Often, a sponge or brush is needed for hard to remove dirt. A solution of 1 part ammonia and 8 parts water is an effective wash for glass. A good alternative is 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water with 1/2 part baking soda added to the mix. The acidic nature of the vinegar will cut through the grease while the base of the baking soda will wash away the dirt. After removing trouble spots, use the squeegee for a streak-free finish. Try horizontal strokes on one window and vertical strokes on another to determine which works best.

Spotless Floors

With the exception of standing water, dirt, sand and grit are your hardwood floor’s worst enemies. Keep them clean by frequently sweeping with a soft fine bristle broom or vacuum with a soft attachment. Dust mops with a special dust mop treatment are an excellent way to keep the hardwood shining and preserve their beautiful finish. When heavier cleaning is needed, mopping with a mild detergent in warm water or a neutral pH cleaner designed specifically for wood floors is best. Oil soaps are useful for spot cleaning but can cause a build-up if used too extensively. Before mopping, squeeze the mop almost dry to avoid too much water on the wood surface. A barely damp mop is all that should be used.

Regular sweeping or vacuuming is necessary for ceramic tile floors. This will allow for cleaner floors when mopping is necessary. Avoid using abrasives when cleaning tile because they can dull the finish and leave scratch marks. A mild detergent mixed with warm water is usually all that is needed.

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