Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cleaning did you know?

Sorry for the late post it has been one of those weeks....
I have always wondered exactly how to clean the proper way, you know like an expert.  I know you are asking, "WHY!"  I've got kids, a husband and dogs and I never feel like my house is clean, you know like those magazines you look at and go wow how did they get that house so clean?  Not a speck of dust!  I have a large dust problem, it's big, almost as big as the dog hair problem.  No matter how many times I dust or sweep I turn around and I've got dog hair and dust everywhere.  I thought getting our backyard landscaped would help but so far nope.... I've looked to some 'experts' on cleaning and did you know there is a right way to clean?  Heck there are books about it!
These 'experts' say you should start from the top and work you way down.  That means ceilings first.  I don't know about you but other than a stray smudge from killing a moth I don't clean my ceilings.  I do clean my hanging light fixtures, I dust them and the one in the dining room I take apart and wash the globes but in the dishwasher off course! However, I do wipe down my walls 3 or 4 times a year and I dust the corners every month.  Martha Stewart says you should dust first and suggests that you use a furniture polish regularly to keep dust from accumulating.  She also suggests that you use a damp soft rag and use olive oil (yep the kind you cook with!) almond or walnut oil.  Interesting....  Martha also suggests that you can experiment with a combination of olive oil and white vinegar or olive oil and lemon juice.  If you do this I would try it on a small section of the item to see how the polish interacts with your wood.  Nothing would be worse than to clean an entire surface only to have it stain or react poorly to the polish and ruin your furniture piece.  So try it on a small section that you can't see every day like a back leg or foot.
Finally you do the floorboards and the floor.  Do the molding first.  Now, you can get on your hands and knees and use a magic eraser to clean all the molding or you can try using a dryer sheet on the end of a mop or duster.  A dryer sheet will actually pick up dog and people hair as well as dust.  Yep a dryer sheet!
While I am on dryer sheets did you know that a dryer sheet is phenomenal to clean TV screens?  You don't need to use a new one, when you pull that old one out of the dryer (if you are like me you've got 5 or 6 in the dryer at any one time!), before you throw it away take it and clean the TV screens.  It won't scratch your screen and will still pick up all the dust without leaving streaks or a film.  Pretty cool!
To clean the floor I use a swiffer. We have hardwoods throughout our main floor and with the dog hair the dry swiffer really picks up all the dust, dog hair, sand and dirt.  Then I use the wet swiffer to clean the floors.  I do this weekly with the dogs during the spring, summer and fall and every 2 weeks in the winter.  At the start of each season I really clean the floors.  First I sweep with the dry swiffer then vacuum  and finally use the restore cleaner and finisher (satin finish) to clean and buff the hardwood floors.  Restore is a brand name I get at Home Depot.  The floors really shine when I do this.  For the areas that are carpeted I vacuum weekly or at least I try to.  With all the dog hair in the spring and summer I need to do this weekly!  Once a month I buy Arm & Hammer carpet deodorizer for pet odor.  I sprinkle it over all the carpeted areas and vacuum!  It really does well eliminating the pet odor especially in our bedroom closet where the shedding dog sleeps!
I also wash the dog beds at least once every 2 months, they can just get smelly especially since the bigger dog likes to wash his feet at night and makes the bed really wet.  YUCK!
I clean the windows, sliding glass doors and front door window at the change of each season.  Just when I've cleaned that front door one of the dogs smudges it with his nose!  To clean these I use a combination of warm water and white vinegar in equal parts.  I will drop one or two drops of dish liquid in the bucket as well.  I get a sponge and wipe the cleaner on the windows and I use newspaper to wipe it off - streak free!  You can also buy a squeegee to wipe off the cleaner if you prefer.  My grandmother used newspaper and that is what I use.  She even used newspaper to put the cleaner on but I find the newspaper falls apart too easily.
I do use a squeegee in the bathroom on the tile where I use tea tree oil to clean the tile and tub.  I use 2 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of water and put it in a spray bottle.  I find it cleans the tub and tile easily.  Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and fungicide.  It also prevents and kills mold.  I spray the cleaner on the tile and in the tub then spray a bottle of just water over that and use the squeegee to wipe it down.  It is really easy.  To clean the toilet I also use vinegar - I bet you think my entire house smells like a pickle by now but no it doesn't.  Did you know that vinegar had so many uses?  I add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the toilet bowl and let it stand while I clean the shower/tub.  Then I put on my gloves and use a sponge marked T for toilets and wipe the inside of the bowl and flush.  I only keep the sponge 2 months then I buy a new one and mark it with a T in black marker and it stays in a zip-lock bag in my cleaning bucket till I use it.
  I have one rule, each night I pick up anything on the floor; shoes, socks, dog toys, book bags, backpacks and books.  To me if the floor is picked up the house just seems cleaner.    I try to clean a room each night and the kitchen gets cleaned every day.  I have white cabinets and no knobs or pulls so the cabinets get dirty very quickly.   
I don't like cleaning, I don't think anyone does but it needs to be done.  It's a dirty task but someone has to do it!  I try to make it as easy and fast as I can. Do you have any tips or tricks to clean? I'd love to hear them and try some in my own home.

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