Tag Archives: cleaning

4 Essential Cleaning Tips for Households with Small Children

Keeping a clean house isn’t always easy…and keeping a clean house with other people living in it, especially small children, can feel near-to-impossible sometimes. You turn around from cleaning one thing only to find the room a mess once again, and your sweet, innocent child the guilty culprit! A perfectly spotless, tidy home and kids usually do not coexist; however, there are some cleaning tips that you can help!

Rethink your definition of tidy

Before kids, tidy may have meant everything was perfectly in its place so that the house looked like a model home daily:  every counter was clear and there were no baskets, boxes or objects left lying about.

Add kids, though, and there are bound to be toy baskets, dress-up boxes and a few other toys strewn about. You can still be orderly, while realizing that now it may mean that baskets filled with toys are visible, or a lost shoe may appear in the middle of the kitchen every once and a while. Once you realize you can still be tidy, just in a different way, you can live more peacefully in a clean, kid-friendly home.

Daily Sweeps

One way to help keep things tidy and avoid having a huge, stressful pile-up of cleaning on the weekends (or whenever your cleaning time is), is to do a daily sweep of your home. Every night when the kids go to bed—or another time that suits your schedule—walk through the house and do a basic clean up spot-check.

If you pick up toys left out, clean papers off the counters, put dirty clothes in the hampers daily, it will be easier to deep clean later since you’ve already limited the stuff you have to tend to. Also, by having less messes and clutter around the house, there will be fewer areas to accumulate dirt and dust (that would ordinarily need to be cleaned later). By just taking 10 minutes out of the day, you can make it easier on yourself to maintain the clean rather than completely clean a messy house.

Teach them the importance of clean while they’re young

From a young age, start teaching the principles of cleanliness and tidiness to your children. Of course, you can’t expect your 1 year old to be dusting and vacuuming! But early on, you can start teaching them about cleaning, how to clean and why cleaning is important.

After playtime, give them toys and show them how to put the toys away; if they spilled something, teach them how to wipe it up. Even toddlers can be taught this way.Then, as they get older, you can teach them more things such as making their bed, cleaning up their room and eventually move into bigger cleaning and organizing tasks.

In the long-run, this will help you keep your house clean because your children will understand what you expect in a neat and tidy home.

Organizing/Decluttering

Cleaning a house can be time-consuming enough without the added clutter from children—which lengthens your cleaning routine even more! An essential tip for keeping that clean home is to be organized and free from piles of clutter.

When you declutter the counter, desks and other spaces, find a home for the clutter and if there is no home, get rid of it! Basically everything in your home should…have a home! This makes cleaning easier and your home appears tidier— so it’s a win-win.

How Often To Clean These 10 Home Items

When cleaning, there are the “regulars” that always show up, like dusting, vacuuming, sweeping — and you know just how often to do them. But what about the bigger things to clean, like windows or the oven? Do you know how often those should be cleaned? What about the toilet or the kitchen sink? To get a full and fresh cleaning, here are 10 things in your home and how often you should clean them—so now you know!

The Windows

Windows can definitely be a pain to clean, but when exposed to the elements of mother nature and messy pets, children or even adults inside, they need to be deep cleaned! Fortunately, this big task needs to be done only twice a year. Clean the inside and outside windows with a squeegee and cleaner or soapy water and a sponge.

The Bedding

For the bedding, this includes the whole set of things you sleep on and with—sheets, pillows, comforter, and the mattress. Sheets need to be washed about once a week and pillows every 3-6 months. If you have a comforter over the bed, wash that every 2-6 months and then vacuum/wipe your mattress every 6 months as well.

The Oven

Oftentimes the oven can be dirtier than expected, due to all the grease and grime from baked-on food and grease splatters. Every 6 months, wipe and clean out your oven, including the bottom, outside and racks. (Do spot clean when big stains or messes appear.)

Washer/Dryer

If you expect these machines to clean your dirty clothes, they themselves need to be clean! Once every 2-3 months, pour two cups of white vinegar into the washing machine and run on a regular cycle. For the dryer, vacuum out any loose lint (with the vacuum hose) and then wipe down the inside. Don’t forget to wipe down the outside of the appliances too!

The Kitchen Sink

The kitchen sink is one of the dirtiest places in your home—filled with bacteria, germs and gunk. Just think about all the old food that gets dumped into the sink! It’s vital to keep a your kitchen sink as sanitary as possible. Sinks need to be cleaned every single day with a cleaner and towel to wipe it down.

The Refrigerator

Because it’s the place you store food, refrigerators need to be kept clean. Once a week go through and toss out anything that has expired. Also, wipe down shelves, drawers, and any other storage bin, and wipe down the outside—especially the handles—with a cleaner.

The Toilet

The toilet is most likely nobody’s favorite thing to clean; however, it contains lots and lots of germs and bacteria. Clean toilets once a week by wiping down the exterior and using a toilet cleaner to clean the bowl and any other interior part of the toilet.

The Dishwasher

Despite the fact that the dishwasher runs to clean dirty dishes, the appliance itself needs to be cleaned. Dirt and grime from the dishes can get stuck and left in the appliance. To clean it, put a dishwasher-safe dish filled with a cup of white vinegar in the top rack and run the cycle. Do this once a month.

The Computer

Computers are capable of many amazing things, but one thing that’s not so amazing is the amount of dust, dirt, and bacteria living on the computer, especially the keyboard. You can clean computers as they are needed, which is generally every 1-2 weeks. To clean the screen, spray a solution (equal parts distilled water and white vinegar) onto a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the screen and any other smudges on the computer. For the keyboard, dip either a cotton swab or a cloth into rubbing alcohol and clean the areas on and around each key on the keyboard.

The Carpet

Carpets are magnets for dust and dirt particles, which can make for an unclean home. While you should be vacuuming regularly, deep cleaning your carpet is an important part of keeping your carpets in top-shape. Once a year, deep clean your carpet—by yourself or call a professional—in order to ensure a really nice, long-lasting clean.

 

 

 

 

6 Things You Never Think of Cleaning…But Should!

When it comes to cleaning, there’s always a to-do list of tasks. There are probably certain things that you don’t even think twice about doing—they’re just habit! But what about the more overlooked areas that might not appear on your daily list? Whether or not you think you have them, there are many spots or items that people don’t even consider as a chore that definitely needs to be done. Here are 6 things you may have never thought to clean…but definitely should!

Remote Controls
Although they allow for the total relaxation and ease of access to the many wonderful television channels, they’re also home to tons of bacteria. When picking up the remote, the cleanliness of it never crosses most people’s minds, but just think about the bacteria, dirt and germs that get spread through the air and by dirty hands directly onto the  control itself. Clean as often as possible—especially if you have little kids—with a rag, rubbing alcohol, and cotton swabs for the hard to reach places on the remote.

Indoor Trash Cans
Trashcans in your kitchen help you dispose of unwanted food, dirt and other garbage. But have you ever stopped to consider what kind of garbage can get on the actual trash can? Bacteria and germs can gather (and multiply) in trash cans — whether from food or moisture— and cultivate. About every other week—or more if you notice it’s particularly filthy or smelly—take your trashcan outside to clean. Spray the inside and outside of it with  a mixture of vinegar and water, and then wipe down the whole can.

Washing Machine
The washing machine is essential for laundering and cleaning your dirty clothes by taking the dirt and bacteria from the clothes and removing it. However, this means that all those unwanted particles are still left in your washing machine. Once every three months, put 2 cups of white vinegar into your washer and run it empty on a regular cycle. Also, to prevent bacteria and mold growth, take the just-washed load out as soon as the cycle is complete, place the clothes in the dryer, and leave the washer door open to allow the leftover water to evaporate.

Dishwasher
A dishwasher cleans your dirty dishes, but did you know that the actual dishwasher needs to be cleaned on its own? Oftentimes, grease and grime from the dirty dishes can end up stuck in your dishwasher — which not only provides a breeding ground for germs, but also decreases the efficiency of the appliance. Once a month, clear the drain by removing the bottom dish rack and removing any visible gunk caught in the drain. Then, place a dishwasher safe container (like a glass bowl) filled with a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run through a hot-water cycle. This will freshen and deodorize the inside of your dishwasher!

Light Switches
Light switches are one of the most touched surfaces in your household, being pressed and touched every time someone walks into a room. This means that lots of bacteria and dirt can end up on these switches, and then gets transferred off to other places that you most likely do not want them to be. To clean the light switches, spray a mild cleaner or rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and wipe them down each week.

Cell Phones & Tablets
Today it seems almost everyone has a cell phone or tablet device attached to them at all times, and for a very good reason:  they’re very handy! However, with a phone or tablet, you aren’t just carrying around a useful tool, but a lot of germs as well. Think of all the places a phone is taken or set down — it can pick up a lot of bacteria. So it pays to wipe down your phone or tablet every once in a while! To clean the screen, dampen a cotton ball or a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and wipe it down; afterward, dry with a soft cloth. When cleaning the USB and earphone ports, make sure the rubbing alcohol doesn’t seep into the phone. If you have a case on your device, don’t forget to scrub it thoroughly as well.

 

5 Things to Clean When Moving Into a New Home

Moving can be an exciting and crazy time — a chance to start fresh and new! — but sadly the home you move into may not be very fresh or clean. On top of the stress of moving, the messy state of your new home is adding more worries to the list—but that doesn’t have to be the case! Here are 5 things to clean when moving into a new home that every new homeowner should do to ensure a fresh and healthy new start.

  1. The Floors

Whether tile, hardwood, or carpet, those floors have had dirt and dust thrown over them for years, and you want to ensure they’re clean for you and your family. For hardwood or tile, mop and scrub the floors really well. For carpet, you’re going to want to steam clean them, either by yourself or have a professional do it.

  1. The Walls

The walls may not seem like a normal chore on the cleaning to-do list; however, walls can be very dirty from the previous owners (especially if they had pets or kids). Get a bucket with warm, soapy water and a sponge and wipe the walls. Don’t forget to clean any moldings or baseboard, too, as these can be often covered with dust and dirt.

  1. The Bathrooms

The thought of a bathroom used by other complete strangers probably disgusts you—the exact reason the bathrooms are a top spot to clean when you move into a new house. Thoroughly wipe down the sinks and mirrors with a antibacterial cleaner and mop the floors. Also, wash the shower/tub with hot water and a clean, and wear robber gloves when you clear out the drain. Wipe out any drawers and cabinets that may be in the bathroom as well with a damp cloth.

  1. The Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

The cabinets and drawers are often overlooked on the full house cleaning schedule — yet you’re about to store your clean dishes, pots, pans, and utensils in there! Wipe down the inside and outside of your cabinets, including the doors and dust the top of them too. If there’s any lining paper in the cabinets, take it out and replace it (or leave it out if you prefer no lining). Also, wipe the inside and outside of all drawers.

  1. The Kitchen Appliances

For cleaning appliances that come with your new home, it’s good to use a heavy-duty cleaner (or a more natural solution like baking soda and water) with sponges. Grease removers will also come in handy in getting out those tough, forever-stuck stains. When cleaning appliances, move the appliances (if possible) away from the wall and clean behind them. Try to get all 5 sides (top, sides, back and front) of each appliance in order to have that super-clean space!

Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

Bringing a pet into your life can be a great addition to your family—until you get to the cleanliness of your house that is! It seems as if you can’t get away from the muddy paw print trails, lingering pet odors and don’t forget the massive balls of pet hair you seem to be drowning in. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case! Here are some cleaning tips for pet owners to make your home clean and pet friendly—and no that isn’t an oxymoron!

  • Brush your pets multiple times per week. The more you brush them, the more the hair and fur ends up in the trash and not on your floors. Do this outside, if you can, in order to eliminate the need to sweep afterwards.
  • Put a washable slip cover or a towel down on your pet’s favorite spot or piece of furniture. Now when they lay down, the fur is on the cover — which makes for a much easier clean-up. Make sure to remove and wash the covering at least once a week.
  • For any pet hair that is on draperies, blankets, furniture, upholstery, etc., slightly dampen rubber gloves and use your hands to sweep the pet hair into an easy-to-pickup pile.
  • Despite all your efforts, there will mostly likely still be pet hair somewhere in your house—it’s practically inevitable—and this is where vacuuming comes in. Pick a vacuum with great suction and use it often over the floors and areas where the fur seems to linger.
  • Wherever your pet sleeps could be a huge culprit of trapping dirt and fur. If your pet sleeps on your bed at night, wash your sheets in high temperature at least once every two weeks. If possible, close the door to your bedroom during the day to limit their access. If your pet sleeps in its own bed, wash the bedding and deodorize it with baking soda as needed.
  • Put placemats under your pet’s food and water bowls/dishes to minimize the mess that can come from eating. Wipe down and clean the mats once a week.
  • If your pet is like some—especially cats—and likes to walk on surfaces that sometimes have food on them, make sure you wipe down your counters before and after you prepare food. Their paws have touched the litterbox, outside and other dirty surfaces and are now contaminating your counters with organisms.

How Often Should You Clean?

Most people probably consider themselves decently clean, picking up after themselves and doing housekeeping daily tasks as time allows. But how often do you really clean and accomplish the big chores in every room in your house? Do you religiously stick to a schedule…or do you base the necessity to clean by the amount of layered gunk and dirt on your surfaces?

How often you need to clean your house usually depends on how frequently you use a particular room and the room’s purpose. Here are some basic tips for how often the different fixtures of a room and the room itself should be cleaned. After all, a clean home is a healthy home…which means a healthier you!

The Kitchen

The kitchen is the usually the most frequently used room in the house, so cleaning as you go is a good idea.

  • For the refrigerator, clean out expired food as needed and make sure to wipe down the shelves inside the fridge at least once a month.
  • Weekly tasks should include: mopping floors, and wiping down spills on cabinets, appliances, the backsplash and dish rack.
  • Consider sweeping daily, or every couple days depending on the dirt level.
  • If you wash the dishes after you cook and wipe down the countertop and stovetop each time they’re used, there will be less of a mess of dirt later on.
  • And clean that trash can! If food spills out of the bag, it can splatter the inside of the can. A good ideas is to hose it down outside and then wipe both the inside, outside, and lid.

 

Bathroom

Unfortunately, the room many people try to shy away from cleaning, is the one that needs to be cleaned regularly—the bathroom.

  • Every time after you shower, turn the fan on, keep the shower curtain open, and hang the bathmat up to dry. This minimizes moisture in the room which lessens the chance for mold to grow.
  • On a weekly basis: change out the towels, wipe down the mirrors, sweep, empty the trashcan and clean your sink.
  • Spot clean areas like mirrors or sinks as needed.
  • Wipe down the bathtub/shower every week with cleanser and hot water.
  • Clean your toilet —with a scrubbing brush and cleaner—at least once a week.

 

Living Room

The living room can mostly be cleaned based on how frequently you use the room. It is a good idea to pick up any clutter left around daily to ensure that bigger pileups do not accumulate.

  • Clean any mirrors, dust and wipe down tables, electronic equipment, lamps, etc.
  • If you have hard floors, sweep on a weekly basis.
  • Consider vacuuming your floors and carpeting at least once a week, depending on your family’s allergy and/or asthma sensitivities.
  • When vacuuming, don’t forget the windowsills and baseboards in the room.
  • Depending on your lifestyle (pet owner or parents whose kids leave sticky prints on surfaces) you may want to wipe down counters and tables daily.

 

Bedroom

To have that fresh feeling bedroom you enjoy relaxing in, you should make your bed every day and straighten any clutter left in the room.

  • Once a week, clean mirrors, dust, and sweep the floors. Again, be sure not to overlook the windowsills or baseboards!
  • Depending on the amount of carpet and soft upholstery, vacuum at least once a week, to ensure you’re removing as many allergens from your sleeping environment as possible.
  • Wipe down fan blades once a month.
  • Wash sheets in hot water weekly, perhaps even more often if your pets sleep in the same room with you.

Chemical-free Clean: 5 Natural Cleaning Supplies

It seems like the cleaning supplies aisle at the supermarket continues to get packed with new items: cleansers, scrubs, anti-bacterial, gels, powders…the list goes on. And while each product is designed to clean your surface, it can also bring with it a lot of harsh chemicals, dyes, and artificial fragrances. If your house isn’t well ventilated, these fumes can linger, causing everything from a mild headache to triggering an asthma attack. Many times, it’s possible to get your home just as clean, fresh and sanitized using all-natural ingredients and items that are usually cheaper than brand-name cleansers, and safer for the environment, you and your family!

 

Salt

Salt is inexpensive, natural and comes in different grit sizes, so it can be great to use in lieu of commercial cleansing scrubs. (First make sure the surface will not be harmed by using a scrub of any kind!) Notably, using salt to clean out a greasy cast-iron skillet works wonders, since using soapy water is discouraged for cleaning all cast iron products. You can also use salt as a natural deodorizer: mix salt and seltzer water and spritz on the inside of your refrigerator door; wait a few minutes and wipe down. Salt can also be great for soaking up oily spills.

 

Vinegar

Vinegar is a great natural alternative that’s also tough on bacteria, grime and mildew. It’s also inexpensive and — although it has an unmistakable smell — is non-toxic and safe to use throughout your home. Vinegar is great for cleaning cutting boards, removing greasy food film from plastic containers, is great for shining up glass, and can even be used as a natural fabric softener. It’s got hundreds of other uses, too!

 

Lemon

Lemon is a natural deodorizer, and a scent strongly associated with kitchen cleanliness. You can also use lemon juice to polish brass and copper, shine chrome faucets, remove stains from cotton fabric and clean hard water stains on glass shower doors. Lemon is also wonderful for freshening your garbage disposal: throw in a handful of ice cubes, a spoonful of kosher salt, and a few lemon peels. Pulse for 20-30 seconds and voila — the stinky odor and greasy mess is gone!

 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a favorite standby for natural cleaning enthusiasts everywhere because of its safety and ability to neutralize odor. Did you also know you it can be mixed with water to remove dirt and the waxy coating on produce? You can also use it to clean and deodorize countertops, microwaves, sinks, range hoods, plastic containers, refrigerators and cooking utensils. It also can be combined with water to make a gentle cleansing paste.

 

Steam

Cleaning with steam is a great way to both clean and sanitize a surface. (Make sure your surface won’t be harmed by the use of steam!) Steam is a favorite for kitchens and bathrooms, as it’s great for use on grout and ceramic tile. You can take it outside, too, where it’s perfect for cleaning grease from BBQ grills and grime from patio furniture.