Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Deep Cleaning for Dummies



Deep Cleaning: We've all been there, trying to clean the house, when you see something needs to be done, but you don't quite know how to do it. Stain on the couch? Spill on the carpet? Kitchen smells a little funny? So you call your mom, post on Facebook, or do a little Googling. You get twenty different answers, and you're not sure what to try! This is a list of tried-and-true methods for tackling those odd jobs, and without buying expensive cleaners.

Baseboards: Take a Swiffer (wet or dry) and run it along the baseboards. Not just the bottom edge by the floor, but the top (by the wall) and the entire side. You don’t have to spend hours on your hands and knees scrubbing, they usually need only light dusting.

Blinds: For vinyl and plastic blinds, you can soak them in the tub. Just pull off at the top and drop in the tub as is. A little bleach will whiten them up, but a simple vinegar-water mix will disinfect and clean without leaving a residue. For heavy stains or grease (such as windows above a stove or sink), a simple wipe down with a rag after soaking should do the trick. To rinse, just drain the tub and turn on the shower. Lay on a towel to pat dry, then rehang. Do only one room at a time, so you know where they go and don’t end up with a house full of bare windows.

Carpets: For general cleaning, vacuuming usually will suffice. If a spill occurs, clean it as soon as possible. Blot it, don’t wipe, to avoid spreading the stain. For spills that leave a stain, mix 1 tbsp. mild laundry detergent, 1 tbsp. vinegar, and 1 quart of warm water.  Use a clean towel, blow on the spot, working from the outside in (again, to avoid spreading the stain).

Copper Bottom Pots and Pans
: Take ½ a lemon, sprinkle with salt, and scrub gently to remove tarnish without damaging the finish.
Silver Candlesticks: To remove melted on candle wax without ruining the finish, freeze the candlesticks and gently peel off the wax. If you cannot get the edge to peel, cover a wooden craft stick or cuticle remover with a soft cloth and scrape the wax off.

Metal Faucet: Have buildup on your faucet? Rub with a lemon to remove any tarnish, water spots and other buildup.
Silver: to gently polish silver, rub with toothpaste. Be sure to the old fashioned white paste, not gel.
Rusty Sink: To remove rust and tarnish from sinks, brass, copper, and stainless steel, mix lemon juice and salt to form a paste. Scrub it on and rinse off.
Mineral Deposits: For sinks and faucets with mineral deposits, sponge on lemon juice, let it soak, then scrub off.
Garbage Disposal: To remove unpleasant odors from lingering in the garbage disposal, toss in a lemon and grind it.
Dishwasher: To remove soap buildup, rub chrome with a lemon. To disinfect and remove soap buildup from the internal parts, run a hot cycle with vinegar in the soap dispenser.
Stove Top and Oven Spills: Mix lemon juice, water and baking soda to form a paste. Apply to spills and let it soak for 15 minutes. Scrub off and rinse.
Windows: To clean and disinfect windows (doggy slobber and toddler nose prints are common), mix 2 tbsp. lemon juice, ½ cup white vinegar, 1 quart of warm water and clean as usual.
Homemade Air Freshener: Boil several pieces of lemon or oranges, add 1 teaspoon each of whole cloves and rosemary leaves.

Kitchen Air: To clean air in the kitchen (burnt popcorn, last night’s fish), heat the oven to 300*F. Place whole lemon on center rack. “Cook” for 15 minutes, with oven door slightly ajar. (Be sure to keep a close eye on children and pets in the area)

Wooden Cutting Board: Rub with lemon after normal cleaning to remove onion, garlic and fish smells.

Microwave: Fill a glass bowl with warm water and piece of orange or lemon. Cook for 2-3 minutes. This will not only remove the smells from the microwave, but also loosens any burnt on food. Simply wipe with a damp towel to remove baked on crud inside.

Vinyl/Linoleum: To remove scuff marks, rub on toothpaste and wipe with a damp cloth. Add baking soda for more scrubbing power. (Again, use the old fashioned white paste, not the gel toothpaste)
Potty Stains: Anybody with pets and toddlers will occasionally get a potty stain on the carpet. Work shaving cream into the stain, rinse, and blot dry. Also helps remove odors.
Vinyl Furniture: Remove water marks by applying toothpaste with a damp cloth.
Dusting Grooves: For hard to clean grooves, such as details in a table leg, dip a Q-tip in furniture polish.
Glass Tables: For superficial scratches on glass, apply toothpaste, let it dry, then wipe with a soft, dry cloth.
Piano Keys: To remove stains from piano keys, apply toothpaste with a soft toothbrush, and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Upholstery: To remove stains from upholstery, spray on a small amount of shaving cream, work in with fingers or soft brush, sponge off excess and blot dry.
Jagged Wicker: To polish and soften jagged wicker edges, apply clear nail polish.
Dirty Vases: To clean inside impossibly thin vases, fill with warm water and drop in two antacid tablets.
Toilet Bowl: Vinegar can remove and prevent stains, as well as disinfects. Add baking soda to scrub tough stains
Oven Vents: Apply vinegar with a small toothbrush to remove grease and odors.