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Cleaning Articles – How To Clean Your Home

Interesting Cleaning Tips On How To Clean And Keep Your Home and Office Clean!

  1. How to remove and clean gum from carpet

Ugh. Gum on the carpet. What can be worse? Removing it is kind of tricky because the surrounding spot can become a gooey mess if you’re not careful. If you don’t get to the spot quickly enough, not only can it really stick, but someone else can walk over it dragging the gum across the room and grinding it in deeper. So, what does one do in this situation? Put the carpet to the curb on the next bulk pick up day? That shouldn’t even be an option.

Displaced gum doesn’t have to mean a death sentence for your wall to wall, it’s easy to remove and no one will ever know the difference.
You’ve probably heard that peanut butter is a wonder when it comes to removing gum from hair. Well, it’s just as wonderful for removing gum from the carpet. Just take a spoonful of peanut butter and massage it into the gum. Wait a few minutes and scrape away. Of course, now you’ll have to contend with peanut butter removal, but in the general scheme of things, it’s preferable and easier to remove peanut butter from the carpet than gum. If you let the peanut butter dry for a little while, it should be easy to vacuum, or you can sponge it off with a cloth or rag. If staining does occur, blot it with a little mild dish washing detergent or some vinegar. Dab with a damp cloth or sponge to rinse.

If you’re thinking the peanut butter method might be a little messy, you can always try an ice cube. You can either place the ice cube directly onto the gum, or if that’s too messy, place it in a Zip lock bag. The coldness of the ice cube will cause the gum to harden. Once this happens you should be able scrape it right off the carpet with the help of a butter knife.

WD-40 also works well to remove gum. Spray it onto the gum spot and smooth it around a little bit. Let it sit for fifteen or twenty minutes and then remove. The gum will slide right off the carpet! It may take two applications, but the gum should come right out. Lighter fluid is also something you can use, which you wouldn’t expect. This is not recommended around fireplaces or where people are smoking (or anywhere else it might be exposed to heat or flames.) With these latter two methods, you’ll probably want to test a hidden area of your carpet first to be sure no damage will be incurred. After the gum is removed, clean out any residue or leftover product with a damp cloth.
Warm vinegar might also work. Pour it directly onto the gum and let it sit for a while. Scrape off the gum with a butter knife and then wipe clean with a damp cloth. This method may take a few tries and require some heavy scrubbing but if one of the above methods isn’t available, you can give it a shot.

Oil soap, such as one that cleans wood, will also help to remove gum. Pour it onto a cloth and rub into the gum. It may take a few tries, depending on how deep the gum is ground into the carpet, but the gum will come out if you persevere. Rinse with a damp cloth.

After the gum is removed, you may still have a stain on your carpet. If this is the case, put a bit of mild dish detergent or vinegar on a sponge or cloth and blot at the stain until it disappears. Then, blot with a clean damp cloth to rinse.

When cleaning your carpet, it’s important to note that violent scrubbing will wear away the fibres. Use elbow grease if you need to, but try not to create a worn spot. It’s for this reason that you’ll not want to use a scrub brush or scouring pad to remove the gum. Always be as gentle as possible.

If the stain isn’t easily removed, you can contact a professional. The carpet manufacturer might be able to recommend a product, or you can call someone who specializes in cleaning carpets. When applying any chemicals to your carpet, however, always test in a hidden area and follow the directions to the letter.

Don’t throw your carpet away because of a little careless gum chewing. Instead, try to clean the gum off using one of the simple methods mentioned here. It won’t take long and in most cases, you won’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive household cleaners. Why, you can let the punishment fit the crime and have the careless chewer clean up the mess. Guaranteed it won’t happen again.

2. How to remove and clean pet odour from carpet

Do you have a pet? Furry friends are a welcome addition to any household. They offer protection; they keep us company, and they’re always there for us. Many people love the idea of a pet for companionship; they’re just scared away by the work owning a pet may entail.

They don’t want to have to clean up after a pet and even worse, they don’t want to have to contend with pet odours. When you’re in the same house every day it may not be something you notice, but the reality is, other people can tell you live with an animal just by walking through the front door. Why? Because that’s when the smell hits them.

A house that smells of a pet doesn’t necessarily indicate bad housekeeping on the home owner’s part. Even the tidiest home maker can have a stinky pet. Because dogs and cats spend a lot of time laying and rolling around on the floor, their body odours permeate into the fibres.

Add to that the smell of pet accidents and well…things can get a bit gamey. If you’ve ever played host to house guests who wrinkle their noses upon entering your front door, perhaps what’s written here can help. Read on for tips for ridding your carpet of pet odours.

– Since most pet odours are due to accidents on the part of your pet, your first line of defence is to deal with the stains these accidents leave behind.

If a pet has left a stain due to urination, vomiting or defecation, you’ll need to deal with it, immediately. Just picking up the solid waste and swiping at the stain isn’t enough.

– You have to give the soiled area a good cleaning. This can be done with vinegar, which also makes a wonderful deodorizer, or mild dish soap. After the stain is completely gone, rinse by blotting with a damp rag or paper towel.

– Sometimes with pet urination, wicking can occur. This means the stain went deep down into the lower fibres of the carpet and has pooled at the bottom. You may feel you got the entire stain out, but in a few hours or even a day or two, the stain will magically reappear as the liquid rises up through the fibres to the top of the carpet. To eliminate wicking, take a thick towel or rag and place over the stain. Weigh it down with some books or other heavy items and leave it there for a few hours or even overnight. This should absorb all of the liquid. Clean the stain once again to make sure it’s all lifted.

– Avoid using a steamer to clean pet stains or a hair dryer to dry them. Heat causes stains and odours to set, making them virtually impossible to remove.

– Once a week or so, sprinkle a deodorizing powder on your carpet. This will help to keep your carpet smelling fresh. A more frugal option is to use baking soda. Baking soda doesn’t have an odour, so if scented deodorants aren’t for you, this is the alternative.

– Visit your local pet emporium for some good heavy duty pet smell removers. These are more expensive than those found in the supermarket, but this may be necessary if common household deodorants don’t work.

– Contact your vet for a recommendation. They have to contend with pet smells on a daily basis and will certainly have some advice or product recommendation.

– If you smell pet urine but can’t quite locate the stain, a black light may be in order. Be prepared for a rude awakening, however, as these lights will expose all your carpet’s impurities and may send you running for a professional.

– Don’t use ammonia or acid-based product to clean your carpet, a pet may mistake this scent for the smell of its own urine and continue to use your carpet as the bathroom.

– If none of the above methods work, contact a professional carpet cleaner. They’re experts and will have the stain removed and your carpet looking like new in no time.

Once the carpet is cleaned and freshened, it’s time to clear the air.

– An electric air purifier will remove pet odours still lingering in the air and keep your house smelling fresh.

– Letting a pot of vinegar simmer on your stove will also keep your house smelling fresh. The vinegar neutralizes, deodorizes and removes impurities from the air. The smell isn’t pleasant but it’s better than the alternative.

We love our pets. Unfortunately, they do have their stinky side. Most of us agree, however, that having a dog or a cat is worth the extra work it takes to keep our house smelling clean. If we train our pets properly and follow some guidelines for keeping the carpet smelling fresh, pet odours shouldn’t be an issue. Don’t put off adopting a pet because you’re afraid your house might smell. Once you experience the warmth and unconditional love that comes from owning a dog or cat, odour won’t even be an issue.

3. How to remove and clean rust stains from carpet

Rust. It’s unsightly and if we’re not careful it can appear in the unlikeliest of places. It’s bad enough when it shows up on our gardening tools and car parts, but when it’s brought into the house and shows up on our carpets, it’s time to draw the line.

When rust appears on our floors, it’s not something we can ignore. It’s to be expected outside, especially in the humid weather when oxidation occurs, but you can’t write off a stain on the rug as a trendy patina. When it comes to your carpet, shabby chic is most definitely a no-no. If you’ve become a victim of rusty carpet syndrome, never fear, help is on the way.

First, you’ll need to identify the source of the rust. If a piece of furniture or toy has left behind a stain, you need to remove the offending piece immediately or risk further damage to your rug. If the damage is coming from a window or other element of the home, some repair work may be necessary. Once the source is extricated, take a butter knife or other scraping tool and gently scrape off whatever surface rust you can. Be gentle because you don’t want to cause any additional wear to the fibres of your carpet. After you scrape away all you can, you’ll need to contend with what’s left behind. This can be done using any number of methods.

A mild detergent, such as dish detergent, (one containing no alkalis) is a good stain remover and is gentle on your carpet. Gently blot into the stain using a sponge or cloth. Don’t frantically rub at the stain as this will only cause the stain to spread and may weaken the fibres to boot. Rinse the sponge and blot with cool clean water.
Here are some inexpensive home remedies that also work for removing rust:
– Lemon juice mixed with a little salt will clean, freshen and brighten. Spray directly onto the carpet and let sit for a few hours. Afterwards, blot with a cool damp cloth.
– Make a paste of cream of tarter and water. Apply directly to the stain and let sit. Clean off with a damp sponge.
– Pour vinegar directly onto the carpet and let sit. After a couple of hours wipe with a damp cloth.
If none of these removal methods work, you have a couple of other options. The first is to go to your hardware store or supermarket and scan the shelves for appropriate rust removal agents. Before purchasing, be sure the product isn’t going to ruin your particular type of carpet. No matter what the label tells you, test some of the product first on a hidden area of your carpet. (Behind a wall unit, a closet floor or under furniture is probably your best bet.) Follow the instructions accordingly.
You can also contact your carpet’s manufacturer who may have a solution as well. If worse comes to worse contact a professional carpet cleaner. Make sure that he or she is aware of the problem prior to making the appointment. The last thing you want is to pay for expensive carpet cleaning only to find out the stain can’t be removed after all.
Don’t let unsightly rust stains ruin your carpet, if you act quickly and follow some simple steps, it will soon look as good as new.

4. How to remove and clean blood from carpet

Accidents happen everyday, especially if you have children. And sometimes it means getting a blood stain on your carpet. From a scraped knee to a bloody nose, sometimes this type of stain can’t be helped. Unfortunately, blood is made up of iron and proteins, and it’s one of the most difficult stains to remove.
If you get even a drop of blood on your carpet, you should clean it up right away. That’s one of the secrets of removing it. Fresh blood is easier to clean up as opposed to set in stains. Another secret is, never, ever use hot water on a blood stain. Hot water actually sets the stain instead of helping to remove it.
So how do you remove blood from carpet? There are several ways that can work successfully, so let’s take a look at the best ideas:
1. Saturate the blood stain with cold tap water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then use clean, absorbent rags to blot it up. Do not wipe across it with the rag! Instead, take the rag and press it down on the stain. Then, lift the rag, fold it over and use a clean side. Repeat this process until all of the blood is gone.
Some people believe that using tonic water is even better than cold tap water for removing blood from a carpet or other fabric.
You can also saturate the blood with water, then, after waiting a few minutes, use a handheld extractor to suck the water and stain up. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum to do the job too.
If this doesn’t remove all of the blood, you can try placing a little hydrogen peroxide on it. Allow it to bubble a few minutes, and then blot it up with a clean, absorbent rag.
Hydrogen peroxide works like bleach in that it lightens hair, et cetera. However, since most solutions that you buy off a store shelf is only five percent strong, it probably won’t lighten or otherwise harm your carpet.
2. You can also try blotting the fresh blood up with a clean rag or a sponge. Then, mix up a strong solution of one cup of cold tap water with one tablespoon of household ammonia. Beware! The ammonia fumes are strong and should not be inhaled! Spray the blood stain with the solution until it is saturated. Let the ammonia set for a few minutes, then use a second clean rag to blot up the liquid along with the stain.
3. Spray or pour some pre wash laundry cleaner on the blood stain. Rub it into the stain well by using your finger. Let it set for a few minutes, then use an old sponge to lightly scrub the blood. (Never use a brush as it can break up the carpet fibers!) Then, saturate the area with cold tap water. Use a clean, absorbent rag to blot the pre wash cleaner, water, and blood stain up.
There are also many types of carpet cleaner on the market today that you can try. Usually, though, they are designed only to clean up light to moderate dirt and grime from your carpet. They are not generally designed to clean up tough stains such as blood.
Before you spend your money on a carpet cleaner, be sure that you read the label to find out what it does and does not do.

5. Simplify doing laundry

Laundry is one of those chores that many people have a love-hate affair. Who does not love the fresh, clean smell of newly done laundry, or, the feel of crawling into bed on crisp, freshly laundered sheets? The same people who hate the thought of sorting the whites from the colours, transferring wet clothes to a dryer, and sorting out any items that need to be dried flat, and then have to fold, or put on hangars, the same clothes once they are dry, and put them in their respective drawers and closets!
Advantages abound when it comes to doing laundry today then even a few years ago. With the growing market of organizational items and homes being built with complete laundry ‘centres’, the word no longer needs to send the majority of us running for the hills.
Simplifying the overall time and labour spent can greatly reduce our dislike of this chore. Start by breaking it down into three stages, before, during, and after the actual washing and drying.
Evaluate where you do your laundry. Are your washer and dryer in a convenient location to incoming and outgoing laundry? Laundry rooms were often grouped together with a kitchen or relegated to the basement, but many of us now realize that a laundry center on the same floor as our bedrooms make much more sense. Is it feasible to move them if they are not in a realistic spot, and if the answer is no, what else can be done to save steps.

A laundry chute is an option that can often be added without too much hassle, but I recommend having a contractor come in for such an undertaking. Small things can also help with the task of laundry, such as ‘Sock pro’ sorters that you use to match socks. Even pre-teens can learn to take off their socks and slide them into one of these convenient rings before tossing them into the dirty clothes hamper. A pack of safety pins will also work, and the nice thing about either of these methods is that you will not have to match socks again if you can train all the household members to use them.

A laundry basket, sectioned and on wheels, for each family member is a great way to cut down on sorting if used properly. Again, even some of the youngest family members can learn how to separate clothes. The amount of time you use teaching, will be greatly rewarded in the reduced time you will have to use for sorting for many years to come.
Again, time spent learning will be rewarded down the line, no pun intended. Learn how different wash cycles work for different types of fabrics, why not every item of clothing can be dried in a dryer, and know what items need to go directly to a drying rack. Be as organized with pre-theaters, laundry soaps, bleach, dryer sheets, etc., as you can be. Stocking up on items is great, but if you have to store them in an area away from where you use them, forgetting that you have them can be an easy thing to do.

Shelving for supplies and a table that is at a comfortable height to either stand in front of, or to pull a stool up to for folding, can be the greatest gift you give yourself in a laundry area.
One more time, delegation to other family members, is time you spent ‘not’ on laundry. Find a system that works and stick with it. If you are more comfortable putting everyone’s clean items away, go ahead and do it, but if you can teach others to either pick up laundry at given times directly from the laundry area, or by dropping off their sectioned laundry carts into their rooms, then do it.

The main thing is to stick with whatever system works for you. If you do it one way one week, then switch the following week, only to do something else the time after that, you are only creating work.

6. How to clean vertical blinds

Vertical blinds are a popular choice for covering windows. Unlike horizontal blinds, they have the appearance of draperies, and can be made to control light and even temperature within a room. Vertical blinds are good for large windows and work especially well for sliding patio doors and French doors since they can be pulled to one side just like draperies. Vertical blinds hang on hooks on a head rail and are threaded through a spacer chain at the bottom. They can be purchased in different types of materials, including fabric, vinyl, aluminium, and wood, and are easy to maintain. Here are some tips for cleaning your vertical blinds.
Routine maintenance of vertical blinds is important; if the blinds become heavily soiled, the cleaning process will be much more difficult and time-consuming. If you have purchased new blinds, begin a regular cleaning schedule to keep the blinds in good condition. Although vertical blinds do not show dust as much as horizontal blinds, they should be dusted regularly with a feather duster or vacuumed. An attachment for the vacuum made especially for vertical blinds is available; it resembles a thick fork and fits any vacuum hose.

The attachment fits between two vanes and cleans as it slides down the length of the blinds. Used frequently, the attachment will keep your blinds dust-free.
Sometimes, if routine maintenance is not performed, or if a home is purchased with soiled blinds already in place, vertical blinds will require heavy cleaning. Although it is possible to clean blinds while they are still hanging, it is a messy process that requires protecting the windows behind the blinds and the floor underneath them. Removing the vanes will allow you to do a more thorough cleaning job and is not difficult, although it does require some time. You will have to take each vane off of its hook, and then disconnect each from the chain at the bottom. Fabric vanes may have a weight in a pocket at the bottom of the vane; this should be removed before cleaning.
Vinyl or aluminium blinds can be cleaned with a sponge and soap and water. Although vertical blinds are usually fairly sturdy, be careful not to bend them sharply or treat them too roughly. If the blinds are heavily soiled, dust them first, then begin on one end and scrub them with a sponge, working down to the other end. Rinse with clean water after scrubbing. This job can be done easily outdoors on a nice day with the help of a garden hose, and the blinds will dry quickly in the sun. If you have white blinds, you may want to add a little bleach to the soap and water for added whiteness.

Do not use abrasive cleaners on the blinds as they may be scratched. If you have to clean your blinds indoors, the bathtub is a good place to do the job. Dry each slat with a towel before rehanging.
Vertical blinds made of fabric can sometimes be cleaned in a washing machine; be sure to check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions first. If they are machine washable, put them through a cold wash on the delicate cycle, using liquid detergent made for fine washables. If there are heavy stains on the fabric, spray the spots first with a spot cleaner or pre-wash treatment. Do not dry the blinds in a clothes dryer; hang them to dry. If the blinds are a little wrinkled after washing, light steaming should remove the wrinkles. After rehanging, replace the weights in the bottom of the vanes. If your fabric blinds cannot be washed in a machine, you will have to spot clean them. Vacuum thoroughly, and then spray stains with a spot cleaner. Brush the spot with a small brush or cloth. Spot cleaning can be done whenever needed while the blinds are still hanging.
Wooden and faux wood blinds can be vacuumed and then cleaned with a damp cloth or micro fibre cloth. For added shine and to remove grime, use furniture polish or lemon oil on the wood. Wooden blinds are easily cleaned while still hanging. While vacuuming all types of vertical blinds or cleaning hanging blinds, make sure to open the blinds one way, clean, and then open them so they face the other way, and clean that side. This is important so that both sides of the blinds will be cleaned.

After cleaning, your vertical blinds will be like new again.

7. Deep clean carpeting

How to clean carpet

No matter how well you keep your carpet cleaned, there will come a day when you need to deep clean your rugs. Of course, you can always bring in a professional rug cleaner, but why not do it yourself and save the money? There are different ways to do this, and each has good and bad points.
1. Shampoo – The first method of deep rug cleaning is shampooing, and it is the most common. If you don’t own a shampooer, then you can rent one from a hardware store or even grocery stores. They have some bad points, however. They generally leave a lot of water in the carpet, and they deposit a certain amount of detergent residue. It can take a long time for the carpet to dry. Sometimes the rental staff suggests that you spray a foam on the rug, let it dry to a powder, and vacuum it up.
2. Steam cleaning – This should be called hot water extraction, because the shampoo equipment sprays a jet of hot cleaning solution into the carpet at high pressure. Then it is immediately sucked up with a power vacuum. The best one of these is mounted on a truck. They have the most pressure and do a great job. There are a few things to look out for, like what kind of shape your carpet is in, because the vacuum could suck up some of the carpet fibers. If you have some really bad spots on your carpet, spray ten or fifteen minutes ahead of time, using chemical spot remover.

That way the product will have time to work beforehand, and when you work on it, the spot will come right out.
3. Absorbent compound cleaning – This method involves an absorbent powder that is impregnated with solvents and detergents. Then you spread the compound on the floor either by hand or by machine. Wait until it dries, and then vacuum it up. This is one of the best ways to clean your carpet because your floor won’t get very wet, and it does not take very long to dry. But it does cost the most.
4. Combination systems – This is the best way to deep clean your carpet because it won’t cost as much as using absorbent compounds. They shampoo the heavy traffic area and then use the extraction system to pick up all the water. Some extractions have a built-in agitation head that brushes between the injection and vacuuming up of the water. This method lets you take advantage of the best features of both systems.
Should you do it yourself or hire a professional? If you are busy, tired, or unsure, you might want to hire someone unless you have free time on your hands. By the time you rent the equipment and buy the shampoo and chemicals you will need, you might not be saving very much money. Professional equipment always seems to do a better job. The equipment has more power than smaller units available for personal rental, and the cleaning staff knows how to use the equipment better because they do it every day.
Even if you hire someone else, at least you now have an idea about the possible methods they might use, and you will know whether they are doing the job they should be doing.

8. Remove hard stains

Even busy housekeepers may have to take time to examine stains that are hard to clean. Each of the following stains may be tough to remove, and you may have to spend some time cleaning them.
Graffiti may require several different methods of cleaning because sometimes the vandals use spray paint, a marking pen, ink, crayon, or fingernail polish. If you are lucky and the wall or floor surface has already been sealed, the job will be much easier. A janitorial supply store can sell you a graffiti remover that will remove markings and more if the surface was sealed before the damage occurred. But if the surface was not sealed, any graffiti remover will only be partially effective. Make sure when you use chemicals to give them time to work.

When cleaning concrete or blocks, you can also use a scraper, wire brush, or sandpaper. Sandpaper or sometimes paint thinner works well on paint if you are careful. If you want to save a lot of time and effort, just put a fresh coat of paint over the graffiti.
Here is a list of materials that you should not put graffiti remover on unless the label says it is okay: plastic, paint, or varnish. Then you may need to sandblast it or use sandpaper to remove the graffiti.
Efflorescence is that white powdery residue found on basement walls. It is caused by moisture being forced through the porous concrete by hydrostatic pressure. Efflorescence is the worst where there are cracks in the foundation. When the moisture evaporates, the white minerals will remain. You might want to see about having cracks in the foundation fixed. You can try to take a cleaning brush and water to remove the graffiti, and if that does not work, try using detergent in the water, and scrub it again. If that is ineffective, use phosphoric acid and nine parts water. Neutralize the substance with an eighth of a cup of baking soda and a gallon of water. If the stains persist, use one part muriatic acid and ten parts water.
Soak the spot with water, and then apply the solution with a scrub brush. After it stops bubbling, wash the wall with one part ammonia and two parts water. Then rinse the area with plain water. See about getting your foundation walls fixed, as well as having the walls sealed and painted.
Scrub asphalt with hot water and scouring powder. If that does not work, try a poultice of lighter fluid and whiting or undiluted citrus cleaner and daub the surface with a cloth. If necessary, you can also rub or wipe the area.
For dried paint, use sandpaper or steel wool. If you are careful, you can use paint thinner. If it was sealed before you got paint on it, be careful not to ruin the surface.
Keep your walls, floors, ceilings, fences, and driveways clear, and clean them with a little help from a wide range of suitable cleaning products. If you are not sure which one to use, check at the hardware store or a home supply dealer.

9. Keep your shower stall clean

How to clean your shower

No one really likes to clean the shower. We do it because we must. Applying elbow grease and cleanser to those grimy stains and mouldy corners can put a damper on even the most promising of days.
If you can’t get out of cleaning the shower, at least make it easier on yourself. Spend less time doing work when you take steps to keep the shower tidy between weekly cleaning.
1. Make sure everyone wrings (or shakes) out and hangs up used wash cloths, loofahs, body brushes, and other cleansing utensils. Leaving damp items lying around will only allow them to mildew and grow mould. Check the towel racks to make sure they are clear and ready for use when everyone takes showers.

Teach the kids how to wring excess moisture from their wash cloths, and spread them on the towel rack to dry. The same goes for towels. Don’t let anything, even bath toys or dirty clothes, remain on the floor, as these become a breeding ground for germs.
2. Rinse the shower walls after each use. A quick spray-down helps to get rid of soap scum, shaving debris, and hair conditioning residue that can attract insects and putrefy if left unattended. Someone’s injury or wound may seep or drain, adding another reason for rinsing the area after every shower. It is a good idea to likewise rinse out wash cloths or bathing utensils each time before hanging them up to dry.
3. Keep lids on bathing and hair products. Containers of shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, body lotion, and liquid soap can spill and leave puddles or even stains when they are allowed to sit open without their lids properly in place. Avoid this problem by ensuring that everything is covered tightly or put away where it belongs, such as disposable razors, to keep accidents from happening that can lead to messy shower stalls.
4. Wipe down the shower door or curtain after each use. Keep a scrub cloth under the bathroom sink or near the shower so you can quickly wipe off the door or curtain to eliminate excessive moisture, splashes of bathing products, or cumulative steam from the heat and moisture. Maintaining a clean, dry area will help to cut down on germs, bacteria, and viruses that can spread from one user to another.
5. Keep the bathroom well-lit and well-ventilated. This means that you should raise the shades or open the blinds during the daytime so natural sunlight can come through the windows (if you have them) to help absorb moisture and destroy light-sensitive germs. Venting the bathroom by opening windows or running the exhaust fan can reduce airborne moulds and circulate fresh air that will help to prevent the growth of fungus and mildew. Open windows in good weather (with screens of course), and run the fan a few minutes after each shower in the winter.
You also may want to hang a fern in the bathroom. A fern will absorb odors and germs by replacing them with oxygen. Following a few basic steps like these can help you keep the shower stall fresher and cleaner between scrubbing.

10. Home cleaning products check-list

When cleaning a house, there are a few essential products that can be used in more rooms than one. For instance, disposable sweeper cloths can be used on any linoleum or hardwood floor in the house. Also, bleach can be used on most bathroom and kitchen fixtures to disinfect, and also on your laundry to remove stains and body soil. One last essential product is an all-purpose spray or wipes, which are a safe household cleaner and can be used on many different counter tops and different fixtures. Remember, always read the directions on any cleaner, and never mix any chemicals together.
A bathroom is probably the messiest room in the house. There are many different products that make is fast and simple to clean.
Bathroom cleanser – for shower, bathtub, sink, and the outside of your toilet
Disinfectant toilet bowl cleanser – cleans and disinfects inside of toilet
Glass cleaner – to clean any mirrors and windows in your bathroom
Bleach- you may want to bleach the inside of your toilet or bathtub
Mop or sweeper – to clean and disinfect your bathroom floor
Toilet brush – to scrub the inside of your toilet
Sponge – to scrub out toilets and sinks
Paper towels – to help wash your windows and mirrors
In a kitchen you have to be very careful with fresh meat. It is easy to contact different diseases if you do not clean up properly. It is recommended that you disinfect your kitchen often. There are many different products that are simple to use.
Disinfecting spray or wipes – to clean and disinfect your counter tops, refrigerator, stove, and microwave
Antibacterial dish soap – to clean and disinfect your dishes
Bleach – to clean and disinfect the inside of your sink, and your kitchen floor
Mop or sweeper – to clean floors, linoleum or hardwood
When cleaning your bedroom or living room, it is best to start with the furniture, then bedding, (pillows, shams, sheets), and then the floors last. This way, whatever you are dusting off your furniture or shaking off your bedding, can be cleaned off the floor last. It is also ideal to wash your bedding often, to get rid of body soil.
Bedroom and Living Room
Furniture polish – to clean and protect your wooden furniture
Fabric refresher – eliminates odours of fabrics due to smoke and pets
Colour safe bleach – to clean and rid your bedding of body soil
Carpet deodorizer – refreshes the carpet, and eliminates odours of pets and smoke
Laundry Room
When cleaning your laundry room, you often are dealing with a lot of dirt and lint on the floors. It is also a good idea to clean the outside and lids of your washer and drier.
Mop or sweeper – to clean lint and dirt off the floor
Disinfecting spray or wipes – to clean the outside and lids of your washer and drier
Furniture polish – to wipe off any laundry shelves
When cleaning your house, make sure to be thorough in every room. It is a good idea to wash the handles and knobs of your sinks and toilets, and wipe off door knobs to eliminate germs. This will cut down on sicknesses and make a happier, healthier family!

11. Clean, de-clutter, organize bathroom

How to clean your bedroom

Making your bathroom a clean, clutter-free and well-organized space often looks like an insurmountable challenge on the surface. But you can make the job manageable — even downright pleasurable — if you follow these 4 simple guidelines.
1. Un-clutter first. Don’t start by sorting and tossing. Just get everything out of your way.
2. Clean everything, top to bottom, left to right.
3. Use it, re-use it or lose it.
4. Simplify.
Have everything handy that you’ll need to do the job. You’ll need such cleaning items as:
* Broom and dustpan
* Dust mop and wet mop
* At least four boxes or clean pails
* At least one sturdy scrub brush
* A box of disposable gloves
* A gallon of bleach
* Your favorite cleaning supplies
* Long-handled brush to clean toilet
* Commercial or herbal disinfectants
* Bag of rags
* Paper towels
* Window and mirror cleaner or white vinegar
* Wood polish (for doors, moldings)
And I always keep a little jar of old toothbrushes handy to scrub those spots that bigger brushes can’t reach.
1. Un-clutter: Everything and everybody … OUT!
It’s a fact that you can’t clean properly with something or someone in your way, so remove all barriers to your progress in cleaning the bathroom. Send the kids to a movie or to the mall. Unless you’re cleaning with herbal solutions, you’ll be using some fairly hair-raising chemicals and you don’t want youngsters around them.
Remember those four boxes or pails you gathered with your cleaning supplies? Put them to work. Label the first one “necessaries,” the second one, “niceties,” and the third one “need-accessible.” The fourth one is “re-use.” Into these boxes go only the items you can see out around you, on counters, in the shower, on windowsills and on open shelves, so this should be a quick first-sort. Don’t forget to take the tissue box and toilet paper off the rack.
Take your boxes out of the bathroom and as far down the hallway as you can put them for the time being. Next, take down window curtains, shower curtains and anything hanging on hooks, racks or on the floor, including rugs and tank sets. Out it all goes, into the hallway or adjoining room.

You can toss the dry items into the hamper, or even into the laundry, if you promise to take just two minutes from the task at hand. And out go the scale, the hamper, the waste basket, the baby tub, the hanging shower shelves or racks, the massagers.
2. Clean like a fiend
Do the big jobs first. Top to bottom, left to right, section by section. Start by running your dust mop across the ceiling before washing it with detergent and water. Take down and clean out the ceiling fixtures, wipe down ceiling fans and vents, and then start on that section’s walls and appliances, such as the shower, tub, commode, vanity and large items such as towel racks and robe-warmers.
As you reach the bottom of your section, spray a little cleaner along the edge of the floor and give it a little scrub with your toothbrush. That’s where grime tends to hide and build up. Loosening it now will make your floor-scrubbing later go a lot more quickly. You’ll want to treat any mildew you find with a solution of one part bleach to two parts water. Consider using herbal rosemary disinfectant in the sinks, for a sweet and fresh scent that is sure to perk your hard-working spirit right up.
Continue left to right, section by section, until you’ve cleaned everything but the floor. When you’re done with the walls, appliances and counters, wash the windows and mirrors. When all else is washed and clean, sweep and wash the floor, from the furthest inside corner out toward the door. When you’re done with the floor, wash thoroughly all the items you removed from your bathroom that you plant to put back.
3. Use it, re-use or lose it
While the floor is drying, start working your way through the bottles, tubes and boxes of “stuff” you hauled off counters, trays and shelves before you cleaned. Make a vow to only touch each item once. Assuming your bathroom has a medicine chest, you’ll want to keep your medicines, health supplies and deodorants inside it. There’s no need to have your mouthwash and birth control pills out on the counter every day.
In your “necessaries” box you’ll place those items that are used daily: shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, brushes, combs, bathroom tissue and so on. You’re the best judge of what’s necessary — things left “out” as opposed to stored or stashed — in your own bathroom. In your “niceties” box will go perfumes, powders, make-up, hair accessories, and cosmetic aids.
In your “need-accessible” box are extras to replace the necessaries: bathroom tissue, Band Aids, baby wipes, extra tubes of toothpaste. You should also keep an extra light bulb in there, as well as a candle and candleholder, for those powerless emergencies. All along the sorting way, when you find something you can give away or throw away, do it. That’s what the re-use box is for. That nice box of scented soaps would make a terrific gift for the domestic violence shelter. The homeless shelter could always use half-a-dozen travel-size tubes of toothpaste. Anything that’s past its listed expiration date is a throw-away.
4. Simplify
In re-ordering a spotless bathroom, you should pledge to simplify choices to help avoid a major de-cluttering effort in the future. This element of the chore goes to the golden rule of housekeeping: A place for everything, and everything in its place. If you really believe more storage space or more shower caddies will do the trick, by all means invest in them. But more isn’t always less. Here are some quick ways to simplify your bathroom clutter:
* Consolidate where possible. This is the one time you may violate your one-touch rule. It’s not necessary to have four partially filled bottles of shampoo or conditioner. Combine them and toss the empties into the recycling bin.
* Basket. Line a few baskets with pieces of fabric or left-over quilting squares, and group small items, tubes, cosmetics and pieces of jewelry into them.
* Buy in bulk. Get the large-sized liquid soaps, shampoos and gels, and transfer to a smaller bottle as needed. You’ll find you have far, far fewer bottles this way.
In the end, you’ll have a place for everything if you just have less stuff. When your chore is completed, and your bathroom is fit for royalty, and your towels and rugs are fresh, fluffy and warm from the dryer, treat yourself to a long, hot bubble bath, accompanied by some relaxing music, scented candles and your favorite book. Take an hour to luxuriate in a task well done.

12. How to get rid of hair around the house

How to clean your house

It seems like hair from our combs and brushes gets stuck in everything. A sink full of hair is not particularly attractive when guests come to visit. Even people that do not own a pet can have a lot of loose hair lying on the furniture or floor.
Hair can be harder to clean than what many folks think. In addition, pet hair can be a big problem because it will stick to your clothes. When you dress up and go out in public, it can turn off a date or a potential employer when it appears you don’t keep yourself clean.
To clean fabric and upholstery, buy a pet rake and go over the area with light, even stokes. You can use packing tape that is wrapped around your hand to pick up hair also.
For hair on your carpet, use a vacuum with a good beater brush or roller brush because another type of vacuum will not have enough lift to pick up all the hair, which has strong static cling. You can buy a lint brush for your clothes and for your curtains. Hardware stores often carry handy gadgets for pulling up loose hair around the house or in your car. Most of these cost just a few dollars.
The best way to clean up hair in the bathtub is to tear off a piece of toilet tissue and squeeze it into a ball. Then dampen it and wipe up all the visible loose hair in the tub. The strands will cling to the dampened tissue, so after you are done wiping it up, you can toss the tissue into the trash can. Then wash out the tub with cleanser and water.
In the bathroom, when you comb your hair or wash it in the shower, you loose quite a bit of hair in the drain. That is one reason why your water in the basin will start draining slower and slower until there is only one way to fix it. You will have to pull out the sink stopper. Turn it counter clockwise. After unscrewing the stopper, lift it out and you should see about five or six inches of matted hair. Clean this out and wipe off the stopper.

If your sink is still draining slowly, then plug the overflow with a wet cloth and put your plunger over the drain and run enough water to cover the rubber part of the plunger. Push the plunger up and down very quickly. This will ensure that your drain is clear. Now you can screw your stopper back in clockwise.
To clean baseboards and woodwork, take a damp paper towel or cleaning cloth to wipe around the edges or over the surfaces; the moisture will attract and hold loose hair. Hair is very light and will float, so if you want to keep your house hair-free, prevent hair from entering your filters or the heating and cooling system.
It is amazing how much cleaner your rooms and vehicle will feel after using damp tissue, sticky tape, a sweeper, or a lint brush to remove pet and human hair. Take a few moments to complete this task so that your clothes and living area remain hair-free.

13. Vinegar for household cleaning

How to clean your home using vinegar

Vinegar is a multi-purpose product. It can be used for literally thousands of tasks. You can use it for health purposes, for beauty (hair and bath), food and cooking, gardening, and house cleaning.
House cleaning is one important use for vinegar. Using vinegar instead of other products that contain harsh chemical can be a great choice for the health of your family. Why expose yourself and your family to harsh chemicals contained in cleaning products when you have a safer alternative that works just as well or better than other cleaners. There are several advantages to using vinegar instead of other cleaning products. One, it is a natural substance and is safer and healthier. Another advantage is that it is less expensive than commercial cleaners and it is readily available.
Here are five ways you can use vinegar in your household cleaning routine:
Window cleaning: Mix with water or use full strength to clean windows, glass and mirrors. Dry with crumpled newspaper to get a fresh streak free shine every time. It removes water spots and dirt for cleaning windows indoors and outside.
Floor cleaner: It is safe on your no wax vinyl, wood and tile floors. It removes dirt and build-up while leaving the floor looking clean and shiny. Add a ½ cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water and mop up those dirty, messy floors with ease. You can also use it in the spray mops for quick clean-ups.
Dishes/dishwasher: Use vinegar in your dishwasher to remove build-up from the dish washing detergent or use it as a rinse aid to leave your dishes streak-free. Run a cup of vinegar through a full dish washing cycle once a month to clean and deodorize your dishwasher. Also you can use it in the sink in hot water with dish soap to remove soap build-up and water deposits from glassware.
Oven Cleaner: Use vinegar as a final rinse when you are cleaning your oven with the harsh alkali cleaners that stay in your oven and stink-up your kitchen when you use the newly cleaned oven after you scrub. Wipe the entire oven with vinegar to remove the chemical build-up and to freshen and polish the inside of the oven after a deep cleaning. It can also be used on self-cleaning ovens.
Washing Walls: Vinegar can remove harsh stains from walls with ease. It can remove nicotine stains if you have smokers or pen and crayon from little ones. Use vinegar just to wipe down your walls for normal washing; it absorbs odours and cleans the walls without striping the paint. Vinegar is a natural neutraliser, so it wills fresh the air and leaves your house smelling clean.
The cleaning tips I listed above are just a few of the household items and appliances that you can clean using vinegar.

Vinegar can be used to safely clean just about anything in your home. Vinegar is one of the oldest cleaning products. It has been used for generations to keep things looking clean and smelling fresh.

There are different kinds of vinegar you can purchase. The two that work best for house cleaning are distilled white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. If you can protect your family’s health, use a natural cleaner that actually works and keeps your house looking and smelling clean. Why not use it for all of your household cleaning needs?

14. How to clean your own home

Take a walk down your supermarket’s cleaning supplies aisle, and what do you see? Probably shelves upon shelves of expensive chemicals for cleaning different areas of your home and garden. If you took the advice of marketing executives and sales people and purchased different items to clean sinks, floors, walls, stoves and every other area of your home, you’d go bankrupt.

There are inexpensive solutions to pricey cleaning products, however, and these can be made from cheap supermarket staples you’re likely to already have in your kitchen cabinets.
Window Cleaners – If you’d like your windows to sparkle, don’t buy blue or green tinted solution from the grocery store. Instead, mix one part vinegar to two parts water and pour into a spray bottle to apply.

For an extra strength window solution, try mixing three tablespoons of ammonia to one part vinegar and two cups of water. For lint free windows, use coffee filters or newspaper to clean instead of a cloth.
Carpet deodorizer -If your carpet and furniture are starting to smell of pet and people odours, including cigarette and cooking smells, try baking soda. There are many powders on the market that can be sprinkled on furniture and rugs to neutralize odours, but these can be costly. Instead, use baking soda. Apply liberally to the carpet, leave on for a couple of hours and vacuum.
Stain removers – If you spill on carpets, furniture or clothing and a stain is left behind, don’t panic. Make up a solution of one part vinegar, one part mild dish washing liquid and two parts water. Pour this onto the stain and blot until the stain is lifted. For a greasy stain, first pour baking soda or cornstarch directly on the stain and leave for an hour to absorb the grease. Vacuum the powder and use your home made spot cleaner for any residue left behind.
Fabric Softener – Why buy dryer sheets or fabric softening liquid when you have a much cheaper, not to mention environmentally friendly, method already in your cabinets. Mix one part baking soda to two parts vinegar and run through your washing machine’s rinse cycle. Your clothes will come out soft and smelling fresh.
Clean mildew from shower and tub – mix one part vinegar and one part water and pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto walls and tile and wipe with a sponge to remove.
Scouring powder – Combine equal parts salt and baking soda. This makes a great scrub for the kitchen and bath.
All Purpose Household Cleaner – For a product that cleans walls, counters, floors and many other areas, try filling a large jug with one half gallon water, one half cup of vinegar and one quarter cup of baking soda. This can be poured into spray bottles and stored for a couple of months.
Air freshener – Rather than purchase a floral or woodland scented air freshener that will only mask the odors in your home, try this homemade odor neutralizer: Mix two cups vinegar to one half cup water and pour into a saucepan. Simmer until the liquid is almost gone. The vinegar will help to clean and deodorize the air in your home.
Grout cleaner – Clean dirt and mildew out of bathroom or kitchen grout with a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide to one part water. Spray this onto the grout and let it sit for 30 minutes. Sponge off and repeat if necessary.
Why purchase expensive cleaning supplies when your pantry hosts an array of products, which not only make wonderful household cleaners, but which are environmentally friendly as well. Try one today, what have you got to lose?

15. How to clean your oven

Your grandmother, equipped with only a home made cleanser, a few rags and elbow grease, probably spent all day on the job of cleaning her oven. Nowadays, cleaning all kinds of ovens is easier thanks to the variety of self-cleaning and continuous cleaning ovens, easy-to-clean microwaves, and a wide selection of effective oven cleaners. Of course, part of the trick to keeping your oven clean is maintenance, which means preventing spills and taking care of them before they become cooked onto oven surfaces.
Wiping out the oven daily after use can save you the tough scrubbing involved in monthly cleaning. One tip is to cover spills with a little salt so they will come right off after cooking. If you are cooking something that you think might overflow (and if you can’t divide the mixture into two separate pans) cover the bottom of the oven with aluminium foil and make sure that it doesn’t touch the electric coils.
No matter how careful you are about preventing spills, every oven needs a good cleaning on a regular basis. Continuous cleaning ovens just need an occasional wiping down with a rag soaked in dish soap and warm water. The continuous cleaning ovens prevent spills from clinging onto their surfaces and are the easiest ovens to maintain.
Self-cleaning ovens are also user friendly, but don’t let the name fool you; there is some time and effort required in making sure they are clean. To clean a “self-cleaning” oven, take out the wire oven racks and soak them in warm, soapy water. Every self-cleaning oven has its own set of instructions, but the basic procedure is to set the timer to cleaning mode and the oven will do the job in 2-6 hours.

There will be smoke and fumes, so open the window to give your home proper ventilation. After the oven has cooled down from the cleaning process, wipe the insides clean with a damp, soapy cloth and dry. There will be a grey, ashy residue on the sides and on the bottom of the oven. Clean inside the door of the oven and don’t forget the seal surrounding the door. Rinse the gasket with a sponge, the exterior of the oven with a kitchen cleanser, and the window of the oven with glass cleaner.

Some bird owners have reported bird deaths after using self-cleaning ovens, even when the birds were not in the same room as the oven. Although the effects of self-cleaning oven fumes on birds have yet to be tested, if you are a concerned pet owner, ask your veterinarian before using cleaning mode on self-cleaning ovens.
If you have a conventional oven, the job isn’t quite as easy, but powerful cleansers make the job less of a headache than it was for your grandmother. To protect your skin, use rubber gloves and make sure the room is well-ventilated. Some cleansers work overnight, and some can be scrubbed off after 15 minutes, so read the instructions on the can or the bottle of your oven cleaner.

Take out the oven racks and soak them in soapy water. For optimal results, heat the oven to 200 degrees before using the spray. Warming the oven loosens debris and aids the cleaning process. While the oven is pre-heating, cover the floor and surfaces with newspaper to absorb splashes of black liquid. Turn off oven and spray the inside surfaces, but avoid the heating elements and places where scrubbing is difficult. Let the cleaner work for the required period of time.

Cover your hands with rubber gloves and scrub with an oven pad or sponge. For stubborn spots, use a plastic scraper; do not use a metal scraper or it will make scratches in the surface of the oven. Rinse out the pad or sponge with every wiping motion. Make sure that the oven cleaner is rinsed off well and completely removed from the oven. Dry the insides with another rag. Use a wool pad, if necessary, to get residue off of the oven racks. Dry the racks well and replace.

Clean the oven door and the surfaces with kitchen cleaner and the oven window with glass cleaner.
If, for some reason, you would rather not use a commercial oven cleaner, you can use ammonia for comparable results. Remove oven racks and pre-heat the oven. Place a half a cup of ammonia at the bottom of the oven and let it sit overnight. In the morning, you can begin scrubbing your oven. Ammonia should only be used to clean electric ovens. For mild but effective cleaning, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
With the microwave convenient cooking revolution came convenient cleaning. All you need to do to clean a microwave oven is a damp, soapy cloth. The glass should be cleaned with glass cleaner and for the buttons, use antibacterial spray.
Whichever oven you need to clean, remember that cooking in a clean oven means healthier and tastier food.

17. Barbecue grill cleaning recommendations

It’s summer time and the living is easy! One part of easy living in warmer months is cooking outside on the barbecue grill. Whether it runs on charcoal or gas, getting the grease and smells of cooking out of the kitchen eliminates lots of hassle on warm summer days.

Eventually, however, even that grill needs to be cleaned. What are the best ways to clean a barbecue grill? These tips are designed to make the job as effortless as possible.
First, it’s imperative to adhere to a couple of very important safety tips when cleaning your barbecue grill. Make sure any hot, used coals are removed from the grill. Disconnect any gas or electric lines. Never attempt to clean a grill when the surface or interior is still hot—or even warm. Aside from getting burned, some cleaning products react differently when used in warm conditions, and may cause unhealthy fumes.
Grill brushes are handy tools for cleaning the actual cooking rack. Purchased in cooking or department stores, they have a wooden, plastic or metal handle and the brush is made of steel wool or coarse wire. These brushes work well for scraping off any burned on food or residue from the cooking rack. They are also a good way to begin the barbecue grill cleaning process. Note: If the rack in your barbecue grill states it is coated with a non-stick finish—do not use the aforementioned grill cleaning brush.

It will scratch and remove non-stick finishes.
There are actual products made for cleaning barbecue grills. In the household cleaning aisle of your local grocery or department store, you may in fact find a solution touted as being the newest and fastest way to clean your grill. Do they work? Some grill enthusiasts feel they do—however, they do require users to follow the package instructions and to do a bit of pre-cleaning such as scraping residue with the grill cleaning brush. These products aren’t cheap, however. There is a more cost effective way.
Compare the price of a name brand barbecue grill cleaner and that of a store brand oven cleaner. Buy the oven cleaner. Obviously most oven cleaners are designed to work inside on most oven surfaces. Using this outside on your barbecue grill will save you from most of the unpleasant fumes caused by using this product. Again, start by removing residue from the grill rack. Remove the briquettes and sweep out the base of the grill with a whisk broom or a hand held vacuum cleaner.

Spray the cleaning product on the base, rack and inside the lid. Close the lid tightly over the grill and wait at least a half hour—or according to package directions. Using a putty knife or an old spatula—again only if on a non-stick surface—scrape the cleaning product and dirty residue form each portion of the barbecue grill. Wipe up the surfaces with paper towels. Now spray each area with an all purpose cleaner or glass cleaner and wipe again with paper towels. Leave the top off the grill and the briquettes and rack out for at least an hour. This will allow any leftover cleaning fumes to dissipate. Now it’s safe to reassemble your barbecue grill and prepare for your next outside feast.
Bon appetite!

18. Cleaning techniques to reduce environment allergies

Allergic symptoms—sneezing, runny noses, scratchy throats, wheezing, watery eyes and congestion—are often associated with outdoor irritants like pollen. What many people don’t realize is that there are plenty of triggers that can set off allergies before you ever step outside of your home. While recent innovations like HEPA filters have helped battle indoor allergens, their hefty price tags prevent many people from being able to afford them.

Luckily, there are measures you can take to prevent indoor allergens before they become a problem. Read on to understand what causes your indoor allergies and for highly effective cleaning techniques that will prevent them.
More people are allergic to dust mites, tiny bugs invisible to the naked eye, than any other household allergen. These minuscule insects thrive on dead human skin cells, which we constantly shed. What is worse is that humans are not allergic to the mites themselves–we are allergic to their feces, which are found in plenitude wherever the mites set up house.
While furniture and carpets are places that dust mites sometimes dwell, beds are their favourite habitats. Plastic casings for your mattress and pillows are now widely available in stores.

These cases are simple to put on and are highly effective because mites aren’t able to dig down into the depths of your mattress.
Also, washing your bedding more frequently is a great way to keep the mites at bay. You should wash your sheets and pillow covers in hot water at least once a week, more often if your allergy problem is particularly severe. Finally, don’t ignore your comforter or duvet cover, even if they are dry clean only. These items should be cleaned at least every two months, more frequently if you’re able. Buy a spare so your bed won’t be bare during those trips to the cleaners.
Once you have cleared your bed of critters, there are other cleaning techniques you can use around the rest of the house. If you have ceiling fans, make sure that you clean them thoroughly at least once a week. Vacuum furniture regularly, even obsessively (this goes double if you have pets!). Ditch your drapes or curtains, as they are havens for mites; shades are a much better choice and have the added benefit of being easier to clean.
Pets are another primary source of indoor allergies. Cats and dogs, especially those with long hair, harbor all kinds of potential allergens (like dander and saliva). Carpets and rugs trap these particles, which can be difficult to vacuum. Hardwood floors are the best option for pet owners because the hair does not bind to them.
Frequent vacuuming is another great way to battle pet allergies. (Wearing a mask while you vacuum will prevent sneezing fits and other symptoms.) You can also wash your animal every week or so, but be sure to consult your vet for products that won’t dry their sensitive skin. Finally, keep your bedroom off-limits. If your dog or cat gains access to your clothes and bedding, then your allergies will be worse and far more difficult to shake.
Indoor mould is another common indoor allergen. It proliferates in moist areas. Poorly ventilated bathrooms, basements, or any room that has faulty piping is an at-risk area. Use a dehumidifier in these areas and clean them often with bleach. Dry environments are at risk, too, if you happen to use a humidifier. Using humidifiers on low settings is okay if you change the water every day or so to prevent the bacteria and mould.
Whether your personal trigger is mites, pets or mould, the single best way to cope with indoor allergies is to de-clutter. More stuff simply means more places for allergens to lurk. Set aside a weekend or two to get rid of things you don’t need. Use minimalism as your guiding design philosophy. You’ll feel better and have fewer things to clean.

19. When and how to use fabric softener

Fabric softener is one of those things we don’t think much about, but use frequently. How does it work? How is it used?
Fabric softener is essentially a chemical cocktail that helps soften the fibres in textiles. It makes them feel less harsh and has anti-soiling and anti-staining properties. With such names as Diethylenetriamine, Aminoethylethanolamine and Triethylenetetramine, these chemicals sound like something out of a science-fiction movie, but they are mostly byproducts of animal fats.
Fabric softeners come in two types: liquids and dryer sheets. The liquid softeners are added to the rinse water for each load of clothes. Dryer sheets are paper or sponge-like pieces that are coated with the dry softener and are added to the dryer for every load.
Some liquid softeners tout that they will leave clothes brighter and prevent discolouration from chlorine. These claims must, of course, be evaluated by each person.
Fabric softeners are used in any form to help make clothing feel softer and to prevent static cling. Anyone who has unloaded a batch of towels from the dryer in winter knows exactly what static cling is.

Dryer sheets lubricate the textile fibers to reduce static electricity generated by the drying process. Liquid softeners serve much the same purpose.
There is a great amount of information about fabric softeners on the Internet, and while browsing, a person will undoubtedly come up on Web sites saying the chemicals in fabric softeners are dangerous and can cause a whole host of illnesses and allergies. There is no doubt that some people are allergic to the chemicals and/or dyes in fabric softener.

They can cause rashes or upper respiratory distress. Some manufacturers have started producing dye and fragrance-free liquid fabric softeners in response to this problem. Some small companies also produce a vegetable-based, dye and fragrance-free softener that is biodegradable and less likely to cause allergic reactions.
There are also some ways of softening the laundry without using any kind of commercial fabric softener. Vinegar and baking soda soften the fibers naturally. A person can add one-fourth cup baking soda to the load at the beginning of the wash cycle, and then a half-cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
Another home recipe suggests diluting 1 cup of glycerin in a gallon of water and using one-half cup of the mixture per load of laundry. Still another method uses three parts water to one part commercial hair conditioner.
Fabric softener should only be used with standard fabrics. Fine washables such as linen or silk should not have any kind of fabric softeners used on them, if they are machine washable. The chemicals can destroy the look and feel of a fabric like linen, and dull colors in silk.

However, most standard cotton and polyester blends are safe with the use of fabric softener. Dryer sheets are a blessing for socks and towels, since these items seem to be most susceptible to static cling. Liquid fabric softener can also usually be diluted to one-fourth strength in order make it last. There is usually no discernible loss of softness or increase in static cling when the softener is diluted.
Each person needs to decide whether using a commercial fabric softener is appropriate. Those with allergies or very sensitive skin may want to consider a home recipe, since they are made of ingredients that are readily available. People also need to remember to keep the fabric softener from their fine or delicate washables, especially linen and silk.
20. Spring cleaning tips and hints for organizing your house

Today, spring cleaning is not the necessity it once was. Homes heated with coal, wood, oil, or gas all winter long, were coated with soot and smoke. Walls, carpets, draperies, ceilings, and everything in the house—even in the drawers–had to be scrubbed, washed, and restored to their pre-winter state.
Fortunately, modern heating systems are much cleaner and don’t leave us with a mess in the springtime. Nevertheless, the tradition of spring cleaning is one that shouldn’t be forgotten, for all homes require yearly maintenance and thorough cleaning, and springtime, with its newness and energy, seems to be the perfect time to do so.
It’s best to plan your spring cleaning as soon as you stop using heat after the winter. This way you can open all of the windows and air out rooms that have become stuffy. You can also air out mattresses and bedding if you’ve turned off the heat.
Not all households will require the same tasks to achieve a clean, well-maintained home. You’ll need to customize your spring cleaning check-list to fit your home’s needs. Use the following list and descriptions to help you decide which chores you’ll need to include in your whole-house deep cleaning.
–Wash blankets, comforters, quilts: If you don’t have a front-loading washing machine without an agitator, you’ll want to take these large items to a Laundromat or dry cleaner. An agitator can rip and ruin comforters and quilts.
–Go through closets and remove clothing that hasn’t been worn in a year. Switch out seasonal clothing (put away winter clothes and press and hang summer clothes)
–Throw out or donate to charity unused items: This applies to all areas of the home, not just clothes closets. Go through toys, games, kitchen wares, bookshelves, and especially the garage. Your home will feel much roomier and less cluttered after this step.
–Clean and polish silver, jewelry, brass, etc: You’re much more likely to use and wear these items if they’re kept looking nice.
–Clean chandeliers and light fixtures: For ceiling fixtures, take down the glass part, wash them, shine them with Windex, and put them back. Don’t forget outdoor light fixtures; they’re often littered with spider webs and dead bugs.
–Clean walls and ceilings: Many flat latex paints are difficult if not impossible to wash. If your flat painted walls are dingy, you’ll probably just need to repaint them. If your walls are painted with semi-gloss or gloss latex paint, however, you can wash them to get rid of the dinginess. Lay drop cloths on the floor to protect your floors, carpets, and furniture. Thoroughly vacuum or walls and ceilings before washing. Use a sturdy step ladder to get to the ceiling. Use a diluted, mild detergent, such as Spic-and-Span or Mr. Clean. Use a second bucket of clear water for rinsing. Don’t do the whole wall or ceiling at once. Just do a couple of square yards at a time and rinse it before moving on.
–Clean the basement and garage: This is a dusty job, but you will find great satisfaction in getting everything organized and cleaned up.
–Vacuum books: Books collect a lot of dust while they sit on your shelves. Using the crevice tool on your vacuum, run the vacuum over the exposed edges of your books. This helps preserve them.
–Move heavy appliance, such as the range, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and clean underneath them.
–Shampoo rugs and upholstery: You can rent carpet cleaners, but they leave huge amounts of water underneath your carpet. If you live in a humid climate, the residual soapy water will probably mildew. You’re better off calling a professional who has the equipment to leave your carpets relatively dry.
–Clean lampshades: Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to clean your shades. If your fabric shades need additional cleaning, you can use a mild detergent on a clean cloth to remove stains.
–Empty and clean all drawers, closets, and cabinets: Wash the shelves and doors and throw out items you no longer use.
–Wash window blinds and shades: You can purchase special tools for this job, or you can take them down and scrub them, making sure you thoroughly rinse and dry them before putting them back up.
–Wash or dry-clean all curtains and draperies: Curtains and draperies accumulate a lot of dust over the year. Bathroom and kitchen curtains may need to be washed more often than annually or semi-annually.
–Organize CDs, photos, and videos
–Organize household business papers and throw away ones you don’t need any more.
–Update household inventory: If your home owner’s insurance requires and inventory, make sure you’ve added items that have been purchased in the last year.
–Review insurance: Is your insurance still adequate? Are you over insured? It’s good to review this once a year.
A thorough yearly cleaning in the springtime will help your household run more smoothly day-to-day, and it gives you a standard to live by. Besides, having the entire house spic-and-span at the same time is a wonderful feeling. Why not shoot for it once a year?

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