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How To Clean Quick Tips & Tutorials: {Household}

Posted By Tipnut On July 21, 2008 @ 6:33 am In General | 13 Comments

  • SuppliesLouvers & Venetian Blinds: Use a soft paint brush to get in and wipe away the dirt in between louvers (slats) and venetian blinds. If you do this regularly, the paint brush technique should be enough to prevent a grime buildup that will need more scrubbing power.
  • Remember Your Hair Tools: Soak combs, brushes, curlers and hair accessories (that are washable) in a sink full of warm water and a few capfuls of shampoo. Swoosh around and let soak then rinse well. Make sure to remove as much of the hair first before immersing in the water. This helps remove all the oil and hairspray/gunk buildup.
  • Carpet Pest Control: This is especially useful when moving into a new apartment or rental place before moving the furniture in. For pest control in carpets, vacuum the area thoroughly then sprinkle a generous layer of 20 Mule Team Borax over the carpet surface. With a broom, sweep the powder over the carpet so that it’s covered completely with Borax. Break up all clumps. Leave the room alone for 7 days, allow no foot traffic. After 7 days, vacuum well. The bugs and eggs should be dead & gone.
  • Vacuuming Under Dressers: Dressers can be heavy to move but if you’d like to vacuum underneath, just pull out the bottom dresser drawers and you’ll be able to fit the vacuum hose in the empty space.
  • Shiny Shower Doors: Try rubbing baby oil or shaving cream on your clean shower doors to keep them shiny and fog free. Shaving cream can also be used to remove built up soap scum on shower doors, walls and fixtures. Did You Know: Using car wax on shower walls and tiles helps prevent hard water deposit buildup and spots? Don’t wax a bathtub or shower floor though as it makes things too slippery and can cause injury.
  • Try Artgum Erasers for Touchups: If you have random dirt spots of gunk or grease streaks on places such as walls, overhead stove fans and appliances that your cleaners aren’t removing very effectively–try rubbing the gunky spot with an artgum eraser. These are handy little things to keep in your homemaking toolkit!
  • Glass Bits: Tiny, shattered shards and bits of glass can be picked up easily by patting the area with a piece of fresh bread (or a bun). Fold a piece of bread in half so you have some extra padding before pressing down and dabbing on the glass bits–you don’t want to cut yourself.

Grime Busters For Outside:

  • VehicleMechanical Grease Remover: Drizzle some olive or vegetable oil over dirty hands that are covered in grease (from vehicle repairs, mechanical parts, etc.). Work the oil in a bit by rubbing it all over then wash hands in hot soapy water as usual. The grease will come off much easier.
  • Tree Sap & Tar Remover: Got the tacky car blues with tree sap or tar spots? Try a simple trick by using mayonnaise. Rub a blob of it on the affected spot, let sit for a couple minutes, then gently rub the mayo into the sap (or tar) until it dissolves. Once the spots are removed, sponge well with water and car soap. You could also try baking soda and water or mineral spirits.
  • Windshield Bug Scrub Recipe: Mix 70/30 (approx) Baking Soda and Liquid Dish Detergent until you have a paste. Dab a wet sponge into the paste to get a good glob of it then scrub the windshield. Rinse off well. Liquid dish detergent isn’t recommended for use on car paint, so keep this recipe for the windshield only. For car hoods and bumpers, use a soap recommended for use on car paint.
  • White Plastic Patio Furniture: Mix 1 gallon hot water with 1/4 cup dishwashing detergent, sponge mix onto furniture and leave sit for about 15 minutes. Scrub off then rinse with water. Only good for white plastic since the detergent could bleach colored plastic.
  • Garden Pots: Wash grime away on both plastic and clay garden pots with a 50/50 water and vinegar solution.
  • Grubby Hands: Working the yard without gloves can make your hands really dirty, here’s an easy recipe to remove the grime–Splash some ReaLemon in your hands and scrub in hot soap and water. Gets the dirt off lickety-split. Can also use fresh lemon juice.
  • Car Seat Stains: For small stains in car upholstery, try giving it a shot of shaving cream to lift the stain. Test small area first for color fastness.

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Here are a few quick step-by-step tutorials showing how to clean a deep freeze, ceiling fans and lampshades. I’ll be adding more to this page over time, enjoy!

Freezers

Depending on use, freezers should be thoroughly emptied and washed a couple times of year. Spring (April) and fall (October) is a good plan since it will be fresh and organized right before the holidays, and then again during spring cleaning.

FreezerFirst:

  • Throw out all old or undated food items that you aren’t sure about.
  • If you have the manufacture booklet or manual on hand, review their instructions first.

The best time to do this job is when food stocks are low.

  • Remove all items from the freezer and store in coolers or in the refrigerator to keep from thawing.
  • Defrost. Unplug it, remove any baskets, racks and removable parts. Keep the top lid open and allow the appliance to come to room temperature. If there is ice buildup on the inside walls, allow to melt naturally. You’ll have water on the bottom once it’s melted. Remove that first before getting started.
  • Once the appliance is at room temperature, wipe down the inside well with warm soapy water (mild dishwashing liquid is fine). Remove all food bits and crumbs. Don’t forget to do the inside of the lid as well as the seal–make sure to wipe each groove/fold in the seal well, it’s a perfect trap for gunk.
  • After you’ve thoroughly washed it with soapy water and all food particles have been removed, do a quick rinse wipe with a solution of baking soda and warm water (about 2 TBS of baking soda per quart of warm water) or vinegar and water. This helps remove the soap residue as well as freshens things up. Wipe everything down inside with a cloth to dry.
  • Pull the appliance out and sweep or vacuum the floor underneath. Also carefully vacuum the back coils if exposed.
  • Again using warm soapy water, wipe down the back and outside of the appliance (not the coils). Dry with a cloth. Push back into place, close lid and plug it in to turn back on.
  • Wash all items that you removed earlier, the baskets, racks and removable items in a sink of warm soapy water. Dry well. Put back in place.
  • Once it’s cold again, place food items back inside.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling FanRegular Weekly Maintenance:

  • Use dusting mitts, fresh cloths or cover your hands in socks turned inside out, lightly spray with cleaner and run your hands along the edges of each blade (as well as the top and bottom).

By doing this weekly you won’t have to worry about grime and grease buildup.

If it’s been awhile since you last tackled the job, try this:

  • First turn off the power to the fan. Also read the instructions that came with it before starting–some recommend not using soap or solutions of any kind.
  • If you have a soft brush attachment for your vacuum, you can use that to remove the dust.
  • If the blades have grease buildup or are grimy, first dip the mitts or socks in household cleaner or warm, soapy water and squeeze out excess (you don’t want any liquid dripping in case it warps them or gets into the motor) then gently scrub out the grime spots. Make sure to use one hand to stabilize the ends when wiping–be careful when handling so you don’t break it.
  • If it has lights, carefully remove each globe and wash gently in soapy water, then rinse. If the glass is thin or fragile, allow to air dry instead of towel drying. Once they’re completely dry, reattach carefully–making sure each screw is located properly around the raised lip. Make sure each light cover is secure and not loose or wobbling before removing hand and moving on to the next one.
  • If you notice dust around the motor, lightly wipe with a dusting cloth or carefully vacuum–get as close as you can with the vacuum but do not touch the base.
  • Once everything’s back in place, turn it on and look for any wobbling. If there is, turn off the power and tighten the screws where needed.

Lampshades

Do you keep the plastic packaging on your lampshades to make cleanup easier? It’s easy enough to wipe the plastic down with a damp cloth, but the plastic wrap doesn’t fit everyone’s sense of style. Also, be aware that the plastic may be a fire hazard because of the heat the light bulb generates.

LampTips:

  • If you regularly dust the shades with a feather duster, this will prevent dust buildup but sometimes the dirt and dust still finds a way to accumulate in pockets–especially around the seams and crevices if it’s pleated.
  • Brush with a whisk broom or a soft baby’s brush. The bristles on a baby’s brush are soft enough to not damage the shade but strong enough to brush off any dirt and dust buildup.
  • If you have a brush attachment for your vacuum, using this can do the trick too. Just vacuum gently.
  • For heavy buildup, wet a white cotton cloth with soapy water (use a gentle soap), squeeze it out to remove as much water as possible, then wipe the cloth shade.

For spots and stain removal, try this recipe (test a hidden area first):

Stain Remover Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup gentle liquid dish detergent + 1/4 tsp household ammonia + 1/2 tsp vinegar + 2 cups warm water.
  • Whip the ingredients with a blender until they foam, then use a sponge to dab the foam into the stains.
  • Wipe with a damp cloth then use a hairdryer on the cool setting to dry shade.

Did You Know: The shades should be rotated regularly to avoid sun damage and fading?


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