29 June, 2011

Things that make life easier...

Here are some little tips and tricks for cleaning up around the home that I use and find very helpful! Most of these, I learned from growing up with my amazing mom, but some I picked up in magazine articles and I can't imagine myself doing things any other way after I learned them. Hopefully these help you too!

Use an empty bottle from your dish soap (washing up liquid), for washing floors.

Just put the product you use for doing floors in your bottle with water, and squirt all over the area you're about to mop. I find this very effective in keeping my water from getting too sudsy and leaving a residue on the floor. Also, it's fun to do! Reminds me of water fights we used to have as kids.

- When cleaning your microwave, place a measuring cup (or something microwave safe, and with a handle) filled halfway with water into the microwave, and heat on high for 2-5 minutes - depending on how dirty your microwave is. The steam from the water will loosen "baked on" foods and make your job a lot easier.

- To remove soap scum buildup from glass shower doors and tile, I use window cleaner containing ammonia. Warm it up a little first, then spray it on all over the shower door or tile (close the door), and let it soak for a few minutes. Come back with a sponge that has a rough, scrubby side and scrub in a circular motion. Rinse off the area, and wipe with a dry towel to see if you need to repeat. I usually only have to do this twice at maximum, depending on how scummy my shower is. Ammonia breaks down the fats in soap, so goodbye soap scum!

soap scum
(click photo to view source)

- To remove candle wax from fabrics, first be sure that your fabric can withstand heat from an iron. Place some recycled cotton paper towels (3 layers at most) on your stain. Preheat your iron to its hottest dry setting (no steam!) and place the iron over the paper towels. The wax is melted and absorbed by the paper towels.

- To clean blood from cotton fabric (I haven't experience with other fabrics in this respect), place the affected area in a bowl or basin, and pour hydrogen peroxide over the stain. I find it best to cover the stain and let it soak for several minutes - up to half an hour. After it soaks, I scrub the fabric with itself and rinse. Usually the stain is gone at this point. If not, repeat the process. This works best on new stains, but I've had success removing older stains as well. I think it just depends on the fabric.

- Dust before vacuuming.

Maximum Efficiency

(click image to view source)

- Before washing pillows (polyester filled), make sure to mend any holes or tears. When I wash pillows, I always make sure to wash two at a time or the washer will become unbalanced. If I have a white towel or two, I stick them in with the pillows for good measure. I wash them on a heavy cycle with an extra rinse. Just before putting them in the dryer, I fluff them to pull apart all the fibres inside the pillows, and place them in the dryer with tennis balls to keep the pillows fluffy. I bet homemade felt balls would work just as well, and give you peace of mind if you worry about the tennis ball emitting a smell. Nowadays, I've started placing lavender sachets into the dryer with my pillows for a lovely scent.

- You can use lavender oil mixed with water (you shake them together in a spray bottle or just a regular bottle with a rag) to wet-dust around your home. It helps deter moths and spiders, as well as smells fantastic!

What are some of your housecleaning secrets?


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