Household Cleaning Tips

 How common and everyday household products can help you handle most of the cleaning problems in your home!

Cleaning Tips

Baking Soda

Cleans, deodorises, softens water, scours
• Odour eater socks - soak freshly washed socks for 30 minutes in 4 litres of warm water and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Spin out in the washer and dry. Do not rinse out the solution.
• To Polish Silver -  use baking soda on a damp cloth.
• With a damp cloth -  remove heel marks from hard floors.
• Easy remove burnt food from casseroles - fill dish with hot water add 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and allow to soak.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice works like disinfectant, nature bleach, and effective against most household bacteria
• To remove fruit based stains, apply undiluted lemon juice to clothes, allow to soak for 30 minutes and launder.
• To remove rust from clothes, apply undiluted lemon juice and lay in the sun.
• Brass copper - clean with salt and lemon juice. On a half lemon, sprinkle salt and rub brass or copper, rinse thoroughly. You can also mix salt and bottled lemon juice together.
• Shine chrome - apply lemon juice and buff to shine.
• In a hurry, use a used dryer fabric softener sheet on a dry fixture. As you know you can remove with lemon juice stains from hands, too.
• Using like a bleach - mix 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup of white vinegar in 4 litres of warm water and soak clothes for 15 minutes prior washing.

White Vinegar

White Vinegar:  cuts grease, removes mildew, odours, some stains and wax build-up
Borax: cleans, deodorises, disinfects, softens water,cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors
• With diluted white vinegar (75 % water to 25 % Vinegar) spray on carpets to neutralize pet urine odour.
• With Paste of Baking Soda and vinegar, clean stainless steel sinks. It works great!
• Combining a 1/4 cup of white vinegar with 1 litre of water makes a Window Cleaner in a spray bottle.
• Cleaning Windows Lightly Soiled Windows: 1 cup of vinegar and 4 litres of warm water.
• Extremely Dirty Windows: 1 tablespoon household ammonia, 3 tablespoons denatured alcohol / or vinegar and 1 litre of warm water.
• To save money and get good results dry and polish glass with crumpled newspaper, but do not use this method on plastic glazing.
• With 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, add 2 cups of water – making an Air Freshener in a spray bottle. Shake well before using.
• Combine a 1/2 cup white vinegar to 4 litres of warm water to clean vinyl floors.
• With 1/2 cup Baking Soda and 1/2 cup white vinegar poured down the drain monthly, keeps the drains free flowing. Cover the drain for 15 minutes (it will foam) after pouring in Baking Soda and vinegar. Then flush with cold water.
• With solution of half vinegar and half water clean mirrors. Never spray water onto mirror. Moisture ruins the silvering on the mirror – resulting in dark spots.
• Combing 1 cup Borax and 1 cup vinegar makes an excellent toilet cleaner. Pour the vinegar over the stained area, then sprinkle the Borax over the vinegar. Let soak for 2 hours, then brush and flush.
• Never use vinegar on ceramic tiled floors. It is acidic and will eventually etch the grout.
• Never use a sponge mop on ceramic tile floor. It works like a squeegee, depositing the dirty water into the grout tracks. Use a rag or chamois - type mop.
• Ceramic tiles are not porous, you can clean effectively with warm water.
• A good neutral cleaner is 4 litres of warm water, 2 tablespoons of ammonia and 1 tablespoon of borax.

Wood Furniture

• Mixing a small amount of vinegar with an equal measure of olive oil is an effective cleaner for most wood surfaces.
• Using coaster, placemats, tablecloths is the best defence for your wood furniture.
• Wiping up any spill – especially liquids – right away is of paramount importance.
• Wood furniture needs to be dusted frequently and cleaned regularly.
• Mild detergent and a damp cloth are as effective as almost any commercial product. Commercial polishes, wood cleaners are necessary in only some cases.
• If in doubt, consult an expert.

Deodorizing the Microwave

For the very worst odours, place vanilla extract in a bowl for at least 30 seconds’, and microwave.  Leave the door closed for 12 hours, after, remove the vanilla and wipe down the inside of the microwave.

Carbonated Water/Soda Water

The best emergency spotter is Carbonated and/or Soda Water
• Carbonated water will remove coffee, red wine, soft drinks, and tea stains.
• Lifts any solids off clothes or carpet - pour on the carbonated water, blotting with an old rag until all the colour from the spill is removed. 
• Blot carpet easily by folding a rag and standing on it, turning the rag as it absorbs moisture and discoloration from the spill.
• If you spill on your clothes in a restaurant, ask for a little carbonated water or soda water and use your napkin to blot the stain until it is removed.
• The carbonation in the water brings the offending spill to the surface so that you can blot it up. Sprinkling the stained area liberally with salt (but not too much - or you'll be vacuuming salt up for weeks) will help prevent staining.
• Carbonated water will even work on many old stains, too.

Cleaning Chopping Blocks/Boards

• If you have wooden chopping blocks, you must give them special care. Protect them from spills by coating with a thin film of olive oil and allow to soak in for a few minutes. Rub dry with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. Repeat several times. Do not use the board for 24 hours after oiling. 
• To remove stains, sand lightly with a fine grade sandpaper and re-oil.
• To remove onion, garlic or other odours, rub with a slice of lemon or orange, sprinkle lightly with salt and wipe immediately with paper towel or soft lint-free cloth.

Coffeemaker - Cleaner

• You never want to use soap to clean a coffee machine because it leaves a film that affects the coffee taste!  Instead mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and run through the machine. Let it run through its cycle, then refill with clean water, and repeat.
• Monthly cleaning should be sufficient, unless you have extremely hard-water.  There the mineral build up inside your coffee maker is more of a problem.

Iron - Cleanout

If your steam iron no longer steams, it might be clogged with mineral deposits. Try cleaning with vinegar in the water reservoir, then set the iron flat on an oven rack, adjust the heat setting to "STEAM", and plug in the iron. By the time the vinegar is steamed out, your iron should be clean.

Refrigerator Test

Does your refrigerator have a leaky door gasket?
• Test the gasket by closing the door on a paper bill. If the bill slips out when you tug on it, either the gasket needs replacing or the door needs some adjusting.

Did You Know...

• To make your sponges like new, soak them in salt water overnight, then wash with your towels in the washing machine. Wring out sponges and allow to air dry.
• Gold is very easy to clean using a solution of a few drops of dish soap and water - dip your gold and brush lightly with a toothbrush and rinse.

Cleaning Schedule Advantages

Try to develop a regular cleaning schedule to keep your home consistently clean - it's not as daunting as it sounds! The benefits include:
• Sticking to a realistic home cleaning schedule allows you to feel less stressed - as neat and tidy isn't too far out of reach!
• More opportunities to be hospitable when unexpected visitors drop in - your house won't look like a wreck!
• Gives you extra time to spend with family and friends.
• Your house will be a healthier environment.
• You will not be so worried about a specific problem – like dust on your shelves – when you know it will be taken care of at a later time.
• Most cleaning is easier when done regularly, rather than waiting for it to get dirty.
• Almost all items or surfaces will last longer and look better when lightly cleaned regularly rather than harshly scrubbed infrequently.
• Regular cleaning of many items – carpets, furniture and wood - will delay or eliminate the need for expensive, professional cleaning or restoration.
• You won't burn yourself out on cleaning by trying to get it all done at once.

Finding the Right Cleaning Service

For some people, house cleaning is simply not something they can or want to do. The alternative is to hire a professional, which allows you the time to do the things you ENJOY doing! Here are some hints for choosing the right service:
• Decide what areas of your home needs to be cleaned before choosing a cleaning service.
• Be specific about how often you wish them to visit, ie: weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or one-time assistance on special occasions.
• Contact the potential services to ask if their employees have undertaken background checks and hold a current Police Clearance Check.
• Ask your field of candidates to provide you with a free consultation.
• Avoid letting the "cheapest price" be your determining factor.
• Ask what kind of chemicals the service uses during its cleaning process, or if supplying your own, establish what supplies you will be providing.
• Choose a cleaning service that provides a guarantee of satisfaction.