You’ve just settled down in a comfy chair with your favorite cup of java and get an alert on your phone. Unexpected guests are coming over and you have little time to prepare. It is the nightmare scenario we have all faced a time or two. If it has been an exceptionally busy day or week, you feel the stress settle in and are now noticing all of the spots around your house that are not ‘guest ready.’
If you have run low on any of your products and are pressed for time, we have solutions for you! Having a few useful cleaning tips utilizing items laying around your home can help make your process quick and easy. Of course, you always have the option to check into a service that will eliminate all of your need to worry as well…
Coca-Cola Removes Tough Stains
This classic soda is loaded with phosphoric and carbonic acid which makes it super effective in busting through rust and hard stains. One of the best locations to test this out is in your bathroom. Grab a can of Coke and pour it around the rim of your toilet allowing it to flow down into the bowl. Let this sit while you focus on other areas of the house. Upon returning, you can use your toilet wand to scrub off any stubborn stains that have not already dissolved. Flush and you’re done!
Grapefruit and Salt for a Sparkling Tub and Sink…with a Bonus!
You have probably read about the cleansing power of lemon and vinegar; it’s all true. Grapefruit, however, is just as effective and leaves behind a bright citrus scent in its wake. It is important to note that while it is a great cleaning agent for grime, it does not have antibacterial properties and should not be used as a substitute for areas where bacteria might abound. If you have tub rings or sink stains, simply slice your grapefruit in half, sprinkle salt on both the fruit and the surface you intend to clean, and scrub vigorously. The rind can be used against particularly stubborn areas. Rinse away the remaining salt and pulp with warm or hot water, and voila!
BONUS: Your used grapefruit halves can be boiled in water for a few minutes before tossing out to add diffused fragrance to the air (do not eat/drink!) or dropped down your kitchen garbage disposal to freshen/clean the piping and blades.
Coffee Filters for Clean Screens
Coffee filters are a perfect substitute for traditional feather dusters and can do an even better job at leaving behind a shiny surface. Because of their rippled surface and anti-static properties, you can use fresh filters on just about any screen in your home; television, tablet, phone, laptop, computer, and more. Run them across wooden surfaces – especially dark colors – to watch the dust lift off in an instant with a streak and lint free sparkle.
Eliminate Grease and Smudges with White Bread
Do not toss out stale bread or unwanted end-pieces! The sponge-like surface is loaded with gluten that can absorb grease, dirt, and stains. Notice fingerprints or grease on your kitchen walls? Gently dab and brush the surface with a piece of bread and watch those unwanted marks disappear. The perks do not end there! If you drop a glass object and it shatters, you can carefully press the slice down onto the tiny shards to help lift them for disposal.
Combat Dust with Dryer Sheets
Just like coffee filters, dryer sheets can bust through dust while making every room smell like fresh laundry! Take your sheets and run them along baseboards, blinds, chandeliers, light fixtures, and mirrors in order to lift and repel dust. Dryer sheets are so effective in preventing dust from resettling on your delicate surfaces, you will notice your need to swipe these spots will decrease overall.
Have you ever noticed your grout goes from white to grey? Yup, dirt builds up here and one day it’s not going to look so new anymore! It can be pretty expensive to hire a vendor who specializes in grout cleaning so if you are cost conscientious and are in for a chore that can double as a workout you can do it yourself. Now that’s self-gratification!
Steps for Grout Cleaning
Here are a few different ways you can get the job done:
Baking Soda & Water
Mix 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part water to make a thick paste. This cleaner is versatile and works with all colors of grout (this isn’t the best option for natural stones like marble or travertine).
It’s easiest to use your fingers to apply the paste between the grout lines, that way you can reach every nook and cranny.
Rubber gloves aren’t a necessity but can help prevent scratches protect your skin from irritation.
Vinegar & Water
Couple the paste from the baking soda with vinegar and water in a spray bottle. You can spray the grout lines without getting hands-on.
Pause for the bubbles! The combination of baking soda and vinegar causes the mixture to bubble and is a sign that the solution is working. Once it simmers down after a couple of minutes it’s time for you to wipe the surface clean.
Use a nylon-bristled brush. If you use steel or wire bristled brushes they may damage the grout.
Mop and rinse. The last step would mean to mop the floor with plain water to pick up any leftover residue and you’re done!
Let 2 tablespoons of oxygenated bleach dissolve into 2 cups of warm water. You’ll want to make sure that you are ready to use the mixture as soon as it’s made for the best results. Bleaching is gentle enough for different types of tile but this isn’t best for colored grout. Test it first! Use some of the solution on a small corner of the floor to make sure there is no discoloration by the bleach and then you’re clear to go!
Clean one section at a time. This will ensure that the solution is used evenly and you’ll be less likely to have a totally wet floor! Pour just enough for each room so all grout lines are reached.
AGAIN – Nylon bristled brushes! Don’t forget the corners!!
For more stubborn stained grout lines, dip your brush in the solution itself before scrubbing for maximum potency.
Lastly, rinse with plain water and let that floor shine!
Time for the big guns! Rent or buy a steam cleaner!
Steam cleaners can effectively clean and sanitize all types of tiles and grouts and a big plus for many, without any chemicals. You can usually find them in a home improvement store. Just make sure that the steam cleaner you acquire has a steam hose and brush attachment regardless if you’re renting or buying the unit.
Once you turn the steam cleaner on, you’ll want to move the brush back and forth over the grout. The most effective way to go about this is to start from the back of the floor to the front. Watch as the steam loosens up that dirt and reveal a floor that’s like-new! Another benefit of steam is killing any mildew that could be growing.
No need to mop, just a simple wipe as the steam will have already blanketed the floor with moisture. And voila! Chemical-free cleanliness.
CAUTION: Grout sealant can be wiped away from steam cleaning so it’s best if the grout hasn’t been sealed already or if it’s something you’re going to replace in the near future.
Cleaning a fireplace is usually one of those items that is overlooked, even in a deep home cleaning. It is important to regularly clean the fireplace as the leftover build up from fires can become toxic and can potentially harm your family.
Cleaning the inside of a Fireplace
Wait at least 24 hours since the last time the fireplace has been used.
Old Towels or Sheets
Handheld Broom and Dust Pan
STEP 1: Prepare the Area
Lay a plastic tarp around and in front of the fireplace area. If you do not have a plastic tarp, old towels will do. Also, make sure to wear an apron and protective gloves. You may also want to wear old clothes as soot and dirt can be difficult to get off. If you have furniture close by it may also be a good idea to place sheets or towels over the surfaces to protect it.
STEP 2: Remove debris
First take out any metal grates that may be in the fireplace. Next, take any wood, tinder, or debris from the fireplace. We suggest wearing protective gloves to do this. Using a handheld broom sweep any dirt, debris or soot up and place it in a waste bin.
STEP 3: Get the small bits!
If necessary use a vacuum to pick up any remaining ash. Then throw away the debris into an outside bin.
Spot Clean the Brick on a Fireplace
Cream of Tartar
Old Tooth Brush
STEP 1: Make your mixture
Mix two tablespoons of cream of tartar with a little water to make a paste.
STEP 2: Apply
Spread the paste on the brick with an old toothbrush. Then wait for ten minutes to let the paste sit.
STEP 3: Wash
After ten minutes use warm water and a rag to wash off the paste. If necessary apply more past and repeat steps.
Detailed Cleaning of Larger Brick Areas
Tooth brush and/or larger scrub brush
STEP 1: Make your paste
Make a thin paste that is easy to spread by mixing 3 tablespoons dish soap with a half cup of baking soda. You can add more dish soap if the paste is too thick.
STEP 2: Dip and Scrub
Dip the scrub brush into the paste you have just made. Make circular motions on the brick surfaces inside and/or outside of the fireplace. When all brick surfaces of the fireplace are covered, let sit for five minutes.
STEP 3: Rinse!
After the paste has sat for five minutes, rinse the paste off with a cloth and warm water.
STEP 4: Repeat
Repeat from step one as needed.
Cleaning Fireplace Glass
Stove Glass cleaner
Soft Dish Clothes (3 or more)
STEP 1: Check before you start
Be sure the glass has already cooled and that the inside of the fireplace has been vacuumed and cleaned out.
STEP 2: Spray
Get one of the clothes damp with warm water. Spray some of the stove glass cleaner onto the damp cloth.
Next rub the cloth over the fireplace glass focusing on the stained areas. Once again, use circular motions as well as back and forth motions. You may need to apply some pressure to get hard stains to come off.
Continue to apply more cleaner to the cloth and continue circular and back to forth motions until all stains have been removed.
After all stains have been removed take a new damp cloth and wipe the surfaces clean.
Lastly, take your last clean cloth and dry the glass so that there are no streaks.
How to Clean Your Dishwasher
Your dishwasher is always hard at work cleaning your dishes, but what cleans the dishwasher? Often times dishwashers operate for years without receiving the attention that they need and required in order to continue to run efficiently and not fall apart. Out of all of the things in your house, often times this one is neglected. Here is a list of things you will need to get your dishwasher looking new:
Distilled white vinegar
Screwdriver (if needed)
Toothbrush (for small to reach areas)
Stainless steel cleaner
1. Empty the dishwasher. Cleaning the dishwasher while it is full just won’t work.
2. Remove the racks and and other compartments that can be removed from the inside of your dishwasher.
3. Wipe the bottom of the door and any dishwasher grates that you might have (the bottom part underneath the door). Often times dust and crumbs will accumulate here because water cannot reach there.
4. If you have a filter in your washer, it’s a good idea to clean it periodically.
5. Wipe the door seal and by soaking a cloth in vinegar, then wipe around the door seal. Make sure to get into the small areas with a toothbrush or Q-tip also soaked in vinegar.
6. Clean the utensil rack with a soapy toothbrush or dish brush. Then rinse and wash off the top and bottom racks of your dishwasher and put them back into the dishwasher.
7. Run an empty cycle with vinegar, this will help to remove hard water deposits and clean any other areas you may have missed during your cleaning. You can add 2 cups of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher and run the dishwasher. Stop the dishwasher halfway through the cycle, and let the vinegar stand on the bottom for about 20 minutes. Turn on and complete the cycle. * Please note that vinegar is acidic and should be used with caution.
8. Clean and polish the exterior, sides, and all buttons on the panel with a cleaner that is made for the type of surface that your dishwasher has, such as a stainless steel cleaner or an all purpose cleaner.
9. You’re all done! Repeat once a month or as needed. Now it is time to move on to other tasks in your home.
Don’t forget your garage when house cleaning in Phoenix
Living in Phoenix, Arizona you’re outside a lot and items begin to pile up in your garage day after day at the park with kids or a trip to the pool. Pretty soon your neat, clean garage has been turned upside down and you don’t know where to turn. This is normal. Your garage is where everything from Christmas decoration to scooters are stored. However, there is a way to utilize the space you do have to the full potential and this is how.
First, plan a time to dedicate to cleaning out your garage and stick to it. A weekend would be best, but any day will do. Get the whole family involved! Everyone can have a role! Spread it out over a couple days so you are not overwhelmed.
Second, it is time to separate. You will now place items in four categories: 1) Items to keep 2) Items to throw away 3) Items to give away and 4) Other Items such as those you need to return, repair or replace. This is time consuming but once it’s done you will be so grateful and the rest is all downhill!
Third, look at the items in your keep pile to determine what you need to buy. If you have a lot of tools or sports items, you may want to purchase shelving or racks or possibly a tool wall for easy access. Here in Phoenix most people have some outdoor toys such as bikes, scooters or strollers. If this is the case, a hanging bike rack would be useful. If you have a lot of holiday decorations or small items you may consider buying bins and labeling them. Once you make a decision on what you need, get rid of your trash pile right away. Then makes sure to take a drive a return items that aren’t yours.
Fourth, go shopping! Purchase the items you need and make sure everything has a place. Label your bins and stick to that. This would also be a great time to sell your items to give away pile online. Etsy and ebay are popular sites to sell used items. You could also use local Facebook pages.
Fifth, Be sure to be safe! Do not store propane in the garage. When handling chemicals make sure to use gloves. Think carefully before placing a large heavy item, such as a ladder. It would be smart to put a ladder horizontal and close to the ground to insure falling would not be an issue. Surprisingly messy garages can lead to hazards and accidents. Keeping a clean and tidy storage space will prevent items falling and spilling and will keep you and your family safe.
Sixth, once you have put everything in its pace, it is time to tackle the floor. Use a broom to sweep the floor and use a vacuum to clean up the extra dust, spider webs and debri. Make sure to also wipe down all of the walls and corners to get rid of any bugs or webs. Be careful and watch for cockroaches! This would also be a great time to clean up any spills, paint or oil, and even refinish your garage floor.
You’re job is now done! Enjoy your clean garage and maybe the warm Arizona weather outside!
House Cleaning Tip #341: Keeping the Laundry Room Clean
A lot of work goes on in the laundry room, but how often does that work include keeping the laundry room itself clean? If you’re like most people, very little time is ever spent keeping the laundry room clean. These simple steps are an easy way to make sure your laundry room space is just as clean as your whites.
Keep it Clean!
Where do you start? From the top and work your way down.
Wipe down any shelves with a wet microfiber cloth. Starting from the top allows the dust and dirt that you don’t collect fall down to the ground, where you will take care of it later. On those shelves, over spray and splashes of detergent can leave surfaces sticking and gross, making them a great spot for dust, link, and even bugs to accumulate.
Next, run your washing machine with an empty load an don a hot cycle. Use two cups of vinegar to keep the machine fresh and clean inside. After completing the load, wipe down the interior where soap has accumulated.
Remove the lint trap from your dryer and soak the trap in hot water and a quality soap. After it has soaked for a few minutes, you can scrub the trap to remove any extra buildup. If you are feeling super motivated, you can also soak the knobs from your washer and dryer as well (if they are removeable). This will put a nice clean touch to your laundry room.
Wipe the outside surfaces of your washer and dryer with a microfiber cloth and a quality glass cleaner. This will help to make them shine and repel dust.
Don’t forget to remove the dryer hose and use your vacuum to remove link that has built up on the inside of the hose. Not only is this a good cleaning tip, it is a good safety tip as well, as it keeps your hose from turning into a fire hazard.
Use a vacuum that has a good attachment that can clean behind, under, and between your washer and dryer.
Sweep and mop the floors.
Keep it organized
If you’re like most people, you have a small laundry space with huge piles of laundry. There are also probably way too many products in the room and not enough time to get everything done. As a result, it’s easy to let a laundry room go so long without a proper cleaning. If you can add organization to your laundry room, it can make your life and laundry chores much easier.
If possible, extra shelving can be very helpful with organization. Add shelving where it’s most convenient. This often times would be right above your washer and dryer. This allows you to store bleaches and detergents out of the way, along with other products you might use.
Periodically sort through the products you have and discard the ones that you do not use.
When not in use, hang your ironing board on the wall. This will free up a lot of extra space.
Hang hooks from shelving or you can install a retractable drying line for a place to hang clothes. This helps to keep them from wrinkling and doesn’t take up extra space.
Use several laundry baskets for storing and separating dirty and clean laundry.
Keep a small container somewhere safe for storing items left in pockets.
Keep a trash can in the laundry room! This will help keep clutter down so you have a place for lint, dryer sheets, and many other items that might just end up on your floor.
Getting Down to Shine
Stainless steel is a preferred material in kitchen appliances because of it resistance to corrosion. This popularity has also translated to it use in bathrooms. If you one stainless steel appliances you already know how well they can withstand time and use, this is of course as long as you give them the appropriate care and maintenance. Cleaning for stainless steel is pretty straight forward but we have a couple tips that will make sure your appliances look great.
If your appliances are in pretty good shape, it could be all you need is a little warm water and a clean cloth. This is by far the safest way to clean your stainless steel without the risk of ruining the finish. Just damo you cloth with warm water and clean the the steel following the grain of the finish. Once you’re done dry to the surface with a clean towel (microfiber works best) following the grain of the steel. Make sure to dry it right away as the minerals in the water can leave little water spots.
Let’s pretend for a second that your appliances are perhaps a little dirtier and you need a little extra cleaning power. For jobs like this, warm water and a mild detergent can go great ways. You can start with a little bit of detergent and gradually add more to the mix if needed. Just like with plain water make sure to rinse and dry right after you’re done; this again to avoid leaving any water marks.
One of the main concerns people have with their stainless steel appliances is how easy it is to leave fingerprints all over. When getting rid of these a little glass cleaner will do the magic. Spray a little glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth and gently scrub the fingerprints away. Alway try to follow the grain of the surface to avoid an off-looking finish.
In some cases, especially if there is scratching or staining, it is a good idea to use a stainless steel cleaner/polish. This type of products focus on accentuating that shine we relate to stainless steel. Like with any new product, make sure you go over the instructions before you apply anything on your appliances. It is important to clean the surface of the appliance before using any polish, this is to avoid scratching the finish. Just like before, make sure to use a clean microfiber cloth to absorb any excess product.
Whenever you are getting ready to try a new cleaning product or process it is always recommended to start with a small inconspicuous area, asses the results and if pleasing move on to the rest of the surface being cleaned. As with any “finished” surface it is always best to take your time and judge the quality of the cleaning job before moving on to the big stuff.
At the end the best way to keep your stainless steel looking great for longer is through cleanliness and maintenance; make sure you keep those two things constant and your appliances will keep that great look and feel you love.
Cleaning Your Home Makes You Healthier
When trying to avoid sickness cleanliness is basic. There is of course factors outside our homes that will inevitably lead to sickness a couple times a year, if not more. The fact of life is that you will get sick, and if you do not take the appropriate measures the rest of your family will get sick too. Getting sick may be inevitable, but you can always prevent disease from spreading by disinfecting surfaces and following healthy habits.
You probably already know that hand-washing is the single most efficient way to prevent the spreading of illnesses like the common cold. What you might be forgetting is that in most homes people use the same towels to dry everyone’s hands. Hand towels should be replaced as often as possible during this time to avoid spreading bugs around. Consider paper using paper towels as well; this is not a very ecologically friendly approach, but it is an option to be considered.
Our second recommendation would be to maintain a clean bathroom. After all that is where most of us will be washing our hands. Keep your sink handles and toilets clean to avoid more cross contamination. Another good idea would be to limit yourself to use one bathroom and avoid maintain this habit until everybody is feeling better.
If you have little ones that have fallen ill, a good thing to do would be to clean and disinfect toys and play areas. You may do this on a regular basis already, but it is especially important to maintain toys and common areas disinfected. Along with the idea of cleaning toys, make sure the “toys” of the older children are also clean. Of course we are talking electronics: Keyboards, TV remote, and video game controllers are great things to keep in mind.
If you are sick enough to miss work, you will probably spend a good time of your “time-off” stuck in bed. You need to make sure your sheets and pillow are clean and disinfected after your get better. You want eliminate the source of the illness altogether; you probably don’t want to sleep on dirty sheets anyways. While you’re at it you might also want to flip your mattress.
Another benefit of maintaining a clean home is the comfortable feeling you get walking into a tidy place. If you are already feeling down, the last thing you need is to feel even sick in the space that you are in. Nobody wants to clean while under the weather, but the feeling afterwards is totally worth it.
Cleaning your home is not a bulletproof way to stay healthy, there are external factors that will eventually get you sick. Cleaning will make sure that you are not spreading the bug around your family and hopefully will shorten the time you spend under the weather.
Tile flooring is easy to clean but definitely needs to be done daily. No one likes walking barefoot into a kitchen and feeling of the sticky or crumby tile beneath their feet, wishing they had put on socks. You have to stay on top of it! Here some basic cleaning suggestions, deep cleaning methods as well as a list of how to get rid of the build up in the grout to make your life easier.
-Vacuum or sweep daily
-Clean tile with a mild detergent and warm water, using a rag or chamois-type mop, rather than a sponge mop
-Exchange the water frequently throughout the process; this will increase the shine and glossy look of your floors
-For everyday simple clean up you may use a clean damp dust cloth
-Make sure to dry the floor with a dry mop whenever you use water wile cleaning; this will help prevent future dirt from building up
-Mop the floor using a gallon of warm water and ½ cup of vinegar
-Rinse the floor with clean warm water afterwards
-Dry using a dry mop
Ways to get rid of Grout
-Use a #2 pencil eraser to remove dirt in small sections
-Use baking soda and water to make a paste, and then scrub with a toothbrush
-If either of these don’t do the trick, using bleach is always an option. Mix beach and water at a 1:3 ratio, then e a toothbrush or sponge to scrub
-After the stains are removed, wait until the grout is dry and then use a grout sealer to finish it off
Spring Cleaning is right around the corner! Don’t know how to begin your attack on all the house cleaning?
Here is a check list to make sure you cover all your bases and don’t miss a thing!
• De-clutter your counters and get rid of unnecessary kitchen utensils and tools
• Wipe down top and front of cabinets
• Wipe down backsplash
• Clean inside of oven
• Clean microwave and toaster oven
• Clean refrigerator
• Vacuum under all appliaces
• Clean out pantry and get rid of unwanted food
• De-clutter anything you don’t need, want or use
• Dust all cobwebs
• Vacuum couches
• Sweep/vacuum/mop/shampoo floors
• Wash curtains and blinds
• De-clutter clothing, shoes and anything unneeded
• Wash all bedding
• Flip mattress
• Vacuum/sweep/mop/shampoo floors