Washing your windows is the sort of annoying chore that you want to get right the first time. To make sure you only have to tackle this project once, note these common mistakes before you start spraying and wiping.
1. You choose a sunny day.
Do this job in the blazing sun and the cleaner will dry onto the hot windows before you get to wipe it off, leaving hard-to-remove streaks. Instead, choose a dry, cloudy day. But if the sun’s out and you’re itching to clean, start with the windows on the shady side of the house.
2. You don’t dust the sills and sashes first.
Skip this step and any liquid that drips onto the window frames will create a muddy mess. Always vacuum the frame, sill, and sash first before tackling the glass.
3. You don’t use enough window cleaner.
Don’t be afraid to generously spritz your windows with cleaner (we like Hope’s Perfect Glass), especially if they are extra dirty. You need plenty of cleaner to dissolve and suspend the dirt so it can be completely wiped away. Skimp and you’ll
From toasting bread to grilling pizza, or even roasting chicken, the toaster oven is quite the diminutive workhorse in any kitchen. Here’s how to get it gleaming again after a few rounds battling grease and crumbs (which, if left unattended for too long, are a fire hazard — eep!).
1. Bust crumbs.
Start by unplugging the toaster oven, and taking on the easy-to-dump debris first. Simply shake any crumbs or other food particles into the trash.
2. Tackle the removable parts.
Next, remove the rack and pans, and spray them and the crumb tray with all-purpose cleaner. “Use a non-abrasive scrubbing sponge to get off gunk,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Rinse, and let air dry.”
3. Wipe away oven grease.
To tackle the oven itself, spray a scrubber sponge (or a regular sponge, if the interior is non-stick) with more cleaner. “Never spray appliances directly,” says Forte. “And steer clear of the heating elements inside.” Wipe the exterior as well, including the glass door. Good Housekeeping home care expert, Heloise, likes to use a vinegar-and-water solution on the glass.
4. Allow to dry completely.
“Be sure the oven’s dry (wait about five
1. Combat cooking fumes.
Try this to erase the scent of yesterday’s broiled fish: In a saucepan, mix 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 cup of water, and boil for several minutes. Vinegar is acidic and odors are alkaline, so the former will neutralize the latter.
2. Treat the trash.
Without regular attention, garbage stench can take over your kitchen. As soon as you get a whiff, empty the can and use a wet paper towel to wipe away any debris stuck inside. Spray the inside and out with a disinfectant spray like Lysol, and let it dry. Do this about once a week, and you may be able to skip a deeper cleaning for good.
3. Freshen appliances.
If you’ve quit hand-rinsing items before loading them into the dishwasher, kudos for saving water. The downside: Food bits in the machine can lead to funky smells. Clean the filter (below the bottom rack) by whisking out any particles with a paper towel. Then run a “rinse only” or “quick rinse” cycle with the machine empty to wash away debris; afterward, leave the door a
Deciding on the right flooring option for your home can be quite stressful, especially if you’re having to work to a tight budget. There are literally hundreds of different flooring options in addition to your standard carpet and wood floors, so here are five slightly different options that look great and are surprisingly affordable.
Concrete floors can be polished or finished with a sealant to make them appear shiny. They give a great contemporary look to any room and are a great way of giving that traditionally decorated space a little bit of a twist. Concrete floors are also very kind to your wallet in comparison to other flooring options.
Cork flooring is both beautiful to look at and is very warm and forgiving underfoot. Its natural springiness makes this flooring option lovely to walk or stand on, making it ideal for kitchens.
Rubber flooring may make you think about 1980s industrial units, but as a flooring option for in the home, it is
If you want some house cleaning tips or advice, then here are a few simple important house cleaning tips for those of us that find our time somewhat stretched, or those of us, that procrastinate over house cleaning, and allow it to mount up steadily, until it is something we do not want to face. The secret to getting a neat and clean house, and not have to be confronted with a mammoth cleaning task is to clean a bit here and there. A little bit each day will result in ones housekeeping not becoming a pain, or a job you just cannot face.
Here are my top house cleaning tips for busy lives.
Set your Sights on the Main Cleaning Requirements
One will find there will always be crucial jobs, take for instance, cleaning the bathroom or attending to the vacuuming. Inevitably there will be roles that would be good to attend to when the chance arises, such as, sorting out the kitchen cabinets and de-cluttering. Target on the important roles immediately.
Balance How Much Time You Your Hectic Work Schedule and Busy Life can Offer.
I think that you might be surprised how much can be achieved in a busy persons schedule. A
If house cleaning seems to be too much of a burden to you then you are probably not doing it correctly. While there is no doubt that you’ll need to use quite a bit of elbow grease to clean up your home, you can definitely bring down your workload if you work smart and not just hard. The following house cleaning tips will be of great use to you by reducing the time needed to complete your chores:
1. Have the right equipment handy: You need to buy the right brooms (fine bristles for indoor cleaning and stiff bristles for outdoor areas), dusters (microfiber is best for picking up all dust particles instead of moving them from one place to another) and high quality cleaning products (buy products for different surfaces such as tile, glass, wood etc.). You’ll also need a toothbrush to clean away dirt from inaccessible areas.
2. Always approach cleaning from top to bottom: This means that you have to start cleaning higher surfaces and work your way to the floor. This ensures that you sweep away all crumbs and particles that lie on table or counter tops.
3. Tidy up the house before you start cleaning: Fold clothes, including
1. When cleaning a house, she thinks of everything as a grid.
“I do this with small areas, like a mirror or countertop, or larger spaces, like an entire floor.” Tanaka says. “By visualizing the space broken up into a grid, I don’t miss anything and I don’t go over any spot more times than necessary.”
2. She always cleans from top to bottom.
“If you’re doing a major clean-up, do your floors last,” Tanaka says. “That way you’re not shaking down dust and dirt onto anything you’ve already cleaned.”
3. She keeps a few odd (but seriously helpful!) items in her cleaning kit.
“I often use washable cloth baby diapers as a buffing tool,” says Tanaka. “They’re really amazing at shining things like granite countertops, mirrors, and windows, and help you use fewer paper towels.
Tanaka is also a fan of microfiber cloths, but heads to the automotive section to buy them. “They will be much cheaper than the ones in the cleaning section.”
And she’s figured out some double-duty uses for other cleaning tools in her stash. “A squeegee is great for sweeping up crummy countertops or dusty stairs, since it’s grippy and can get into tight corners. And I like to use a plastic
We’re in the business of cleaning well, but we also want you to get chores out of the way as quickly as possible. And if you’re committing these common cleaning mistakes, you just might be scrubbing up sun up to sun down.
1. You don’t follow the “top to bottom” rule.
If vacuuming is your least favorite chore, it can be tempting to get it out of the way first. But if dusting the top shelf (or cleaning the ceiling fan) is your last task for the day, dirt will likely fall over your freshly vacuumed carpeting. And then you have do that annoying part all over again.
2. You don’t sort laundry when it really counts.
Every now and then, you might skip sorting by color to hurry laundry day along (some moms even find that doing laundry “by person” saves a ton of sorting time — especially when all of your kids’ clothes are similar hues and fabrics). But pre-sorting is often actually a time-saver in the end.
“Don’t forget to separate lint givers from lint catchers, like towels from knits or corduroy,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “If you wash them together, you’ll spend
Cleaning your house is a chore that takes you hours to complete. So you call a cleaning professional to do the task for you and BAM! They zoom right through the task. Ever wonder how? Us too. So we got the inside scoop — and some top-secret tricks — on their process.
If you have the budget and want to save some time, you can hire a cleaning service. Or, here are some great tips on how you can clean your house as fast as they do:
#1 Efficiently remove soap scum.
That soap scum that’s such a pain to remove? Scrape it off with a plastic putty knife. It will take half the time it would take to rub it off with a sponge. To prevent future build up, switch to synthetic liquid or gel soaps, which are less likely to form scum than bar soaps. It will save you from future scum-scraping — and you’ll still come out squeaky clean after a shower.
#2 Quickly dust.
Cloths remove dust okay, but you can save a lot of time with a feather duster. These dusters are really efficient — especially for cleaning blinds, pictures and hard to reach areas. They’re also great for routine
One of the busiest spots in your house, the bathroom is also the place almost every guest visits. So if you start sweating whenever someone asks, “Do you mind if I freshen up/use the toilet/secretly judge your cleaning skills?” just relax. These tricks will get the room looking freshly scrubbed in 15 minutes or less.
1. Grab a bag.
To start, hang a plastic grocery bag on the doorknob as a quick way to gather trash — the easiest way to instantly tidy any room.
2. First, flush.
Next, grab some bleach. Pour a cup into the bowl, and brush around the sides and under the rim. Let sit for five minutes, as you move on to the next task.
3. Shine up.
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Spritz the solution onto paper towels or a microfiber cloth, and wipe away soap drips and toothpaste spatters on faucets, mirrors, countertops, and in the sink. If you really care what your visitors think, give spotty shower doors the same spray treatment.
4. Collect dirt.
Flip over one of the same vinegar wipe and run it across the back of your dusty toilet tank, then over, under, and around the seat. Flush the
We know you try to treat your furniture well, but scratches from dropped car keys, rings from water glasses, and other damage is often just part of life. But good news: There’s often an easy way to get your favorite wooden pieces looking great again.
1. Undo water damage.
On a wood table, water spills, wet glasses or vases, and hot dishes can leave behind unsightly white marks and rings when the moisture seeps into the finish. Fortunately, unless you’ve had a spill linger on the surface for a long time, this damage can be repaired quickly. Start by placing a clean, thick towel on top of the stain. With your iron on a dry low-to-medium setting, press over the towel (making sure the soleplate doesn’t touch the wood) for several seconds. The gentle heat will warm the finish enough to release the moisture into the towel. Lift the towel to check the results. Repeat as needed until the stain disappears. Polish and buff as usual.
2. Fix nicks and scratches.
When keys are tossed or a fork is dropped on finished wood, the marks left behind are especially obvious if the stain gets scraped off. The solution to help conceal these
1. You wait too long between washes.
Sheets don’t wear like your gym shorts or favorite jeans, but you do spend quite a bit of time in them. And night after night, germs, sweat, and body oils accumulate quickly.
“The longest you should wait before changing out your sheets is two weeks,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Weekly is even better.”
2. You forget to pretreat any stains.
“If there are no stains, there’s no need pretreat the sheets,” says Forte. “But it’s always a good idea to check pillowcases for makeup residue. A prewash stain remover like Shout Advanced Gel can help get any spots out.”
3. You overload your washing machine.
It can be tempting to dump all of your family’s bedding in one load, but you’ll need to do a couple to get the job done right.
“Sheets needs to circulate to get clean,” says Forte. “Today’s enormous washers can probably hold several sets, but you should never cram them in. And if your washer has an agitator in the middle, don’t wrap the sheets around it. This can cause them to wrinkle or tear. Instead, lay them in separately without wrapping them.”
4. You choose the
Think your kitchen is squeaky clean? Not so fast. “Moisture and food particles make it the perfect environment for growing germs that can make you sick,” says Kelly A. Reynolds, PhD, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona’s Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson. “If you’re not killing them, you can go from 10 microbes to millions within 24 hours.” And the more germs there are, the more likely you are to get sick from one. Here’s where they’re hiding and what you can do about it.
1. Your kitchen sink
“There can be millions of pathogens (disease-causing germs) clinging to the sink, the seal of the drain, and the rubber gasket around the garbage disposal,” says Dr. Reynolds. While proper cooking lowers your chance of foodborne illness, germs like salmonella, which lives in much of the chicken you bring home, can linger in your sink after you wash the food that contains it. Touch your face after touching the sink and you’ve just spread the germs.
What to do:Clean your sink immediately after rinsing raw meat, veggies, and pet bowls and once a day even when you don’t wash food or pet dishes. Spray a disinfectant (look for the
1. Kitchen sponges
Soaking up bacteria is all in a day’s work for your kitchen sponge, so unless you want to “clean” your dishes with a germy sponge, you need to disinfect or replace it regularly. To disinfect, soak the sponge in a mixture of 3/4 cup bleach and one gallon of water. You can also run it through the dishwasher or zap it in the microwave to kill germs, but if you use the microwave method, make sure the sponge is soaked with water or it could catch fire.
2. Between appliances
There may only be an inch (or less) between your refrigerator and the countertop, but that crevice can trap a lot of dirt. Use a long duster or thin vacuum attachment to clean out all the nooks and crannies.
3. Reusable grocery bags
Cloth grocery bags are great for the environment, but they’re no different than other fabrics in terms of care. Run your reusable bags through the washer regularly to remove any lingering food bacteria, turning them inside out before you toss them in. Pay attention to the bag’s fabric when selecting a dryer setting.
4. Refrigerator bins and door shelves
You probably wipe down your fridge’s interior shelving
Don’t make the mistake of cleaning windows on a sunny day — they’ll dry too quickly and leave behind streaks. On a cloudy day, start by sweeping the window, frame, and screen with a brush; or, vacuum with the dusting attachment to eliminate dirt and avoid a mud pile-up. While some may suggest using newspaper as a cleaning tool, the GHRI doesn’t recommend that since it can be messy. Stick to microfiber cloths for the cleanest clean!
2. Dishes, glasses, and utensils
Don’t fall into the habit of jamming items in the dishwasher like in a game of Tetris. Utensils nested together won’t get an even washing, so alternate placing spoons handles up and down, but keep forks tines up for best cleaning. In addition, make sure not to mix silver and stainless steel flatware, as the silver could get pitted if they touch. Never stack items, either, because the water spray won’t be able to reach the dishes on top. Place extra-dirty items on the bottom rack facing the center so they’re near the spray arm. And if you’re using a detergent pod, place it in the dispenser — if tossed in, it’ll dissolve too quickly.
3. Shower curtain
1. Dusty board-mounted valances
2. Grayed delicate sheers
3. Stains on fabric shades
Tools You’ll Use
- Handheld vacuum
- Step stool
- Garment steamer or steam iron
- Washer and dryer
- Sticky lint roller and/or soft brush
- Sudsy water or foam upholstery cleaner
- Clean sponge and cloth
- Fastest Fixes
1. Rescue your valances. Drapes are simple enough to take to the dry cleaner (and if they’re silk, polished cotton, wool, or lined, that’s your only option), but valances and swags mounted on boards are dust magnets — and a pain to clean. While it may be tempting to send them out or have someone come in to freshen them, that’s a pricey choice. Instead, try this at-home alternative: a handheld vacuum and a step stool. Climb on up and start by sucking dust from the flat, top surface of the board. (Material catching in the vac? Cover the nozzle with a knee-high.) Next, holding the fabric taut with one hand, get into the folds and pleats. If the fabric still looks drab, revive it with a handheld garment steamer or with a blast of steam from an iron held a few inches away.
2. Clear the sheers. Nearly all sheer curtains today are made of nylon, polyester, or cotton, so they’re machine washable
1. Grungy ceiling-fan blades
2. Dusty portable fans
3. Clogged air conditioner filters and vents
Tools You’ll Use
- Old tablecloth or sheet
- Extendable duster and step stool
- Microfiber cloth
- Sudsy water or blow-dryer
- Vacuum with dusting attachment
- Replacement AC filters, if needed
- Fastest Fixes
1. Clean ceiling-fan crud. To get rid of the grime that all ceiling fans seem to collect (created by dust clinging to greasy airborne particles), place an old fabric tablecloth or sheet underneath the fan; a shower cap to protect your hair from debris also isn’t a bad idea. With an extendable duster, go over the tops and bottoms of the blades to capture loose dust. Or just grab a step stool, and dust with a dry microfiber cloth on both sides of blades. Shake out the cloth, lightly dampen it; wipe blades again, this time picking up any oily film. Give glass fixtures a pass with a clean section of cloth while you’re up there.
2. Wash portable fans. When you need a cool breeze, the last thing you want is dust blowing back at you. Here’s how to spruce up portable fans in a hurry: Unscrew or unclip the front grille and slide off the fan blades (nearly all fans, even old ones,
General clutter, from mail to mismatched mittens; wet jackets, shoes, and boots that need a place to go; and tracked-in mud, leaves, and other debris.
1. Remove the mess. Ultimately you may want to reorganize the room, but for today, start by answering, “Which shoes really need to be in here?” (Hint: only winter boots and pairs of shoes for changing into.) So you can clean, scoop the rest, plus jackets, gloves, hats, and socks, into a bin, and deliver them to their owners’ bedrooms — or better yet, ask said owners to collect the items themselves. (Another idea: If any of the outerwear needs a wash, run a load now.) Next, grab a tote bag and fill it with newspapers, magazines, or catalogs you’ve yet to read; recycle the ones you’ll never get to. Save a few papers for step 2.
2. Do some footwork. If shoes or boots are sopping, use those salvaged news sections as mats to soak up puddles and catch dirt. Also, crinkle some extra paper and stuff it inside soaked-through footwear — it will absorb odors and help shoes hold their shape.
3. Finish with the floor. Dry dirt is easier to remove than sticky
Sure, it’s a essential for grandma’s amazing chocolate chip cookies, but baking soda’s real claim-to-fame is its power to freshen and clean many spots in your home. It’s a super-effective (but gentle) abrasive and is a great natural deodorizer, so it’s helpful in all sorts of trouble spots. All of these are reason enough to stock up now.
1. Stained and stinky plastic food containers
Leftovers have a way of leaving their mark. To freshen your containers, wipe with a clean sponge sprinkled with baking soda. Or erase tough stains by soaking in a solution of four tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of warm water.
2. A foul-smelling fridge
They sell those fridge packs for a reason. Baking soda will absorb strong food odors so they don’t linger or change the taste of neighboring foods.
3. Unrinsed fruit and veggies
Mixed with water, baking soda can remove dirt and the waxy coating on produce.
4. A filthy kitchen
Nearly every dirty spot in your kitchen can benefit from a baking soda treatment. With water, use it to clean countertops, stainless steel sinks, mircowaves, range hoods, and cooking utensils.
5. Extra greasy dishes and pans
Give baked-on food the one-two punch by dialing up
Each time you use it:
“It’s best to wash the removable parts of your coffeemaker after every use to remove coffee, grinds, and oil,” says Forte. “You can hand wash at the sink with warm and soapy water, but usually the pieces are dishwasher-safe. And don’t forget to wipe down the outside and the warming plate where spills can burn on.”
Forte also recommends leaving the reservoir’s lid open use so it can thoroughly dry out (germs love moisture!)
Once per month:
Over time, hard water minerals can build up in your machine’s inner workings, and you may notice that your coffee takes longer to drip. To get things back in tip-top shape, you need to cleanse and “decalcify” the machine. Forte’s trick? Good ol’ reliable white vinegar.
Fill the reservoir with equal parts vinegar and water, and place a paper filter into the machine’s empty basket. Position the pot in place, and “brew” the solution halfway. Turn off the machine, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, turn the coffeemaker back on, finish the brewing, and dump the full pot of vinegar and water. Rinse everything out by putting in a new paper filter and brewing a full pot of clean water. Repeat