Linda is hands-on involved in home improvement projects, organization, storage and house cleaning tips and ideas.
Ten-hut! Fall in soldiers and get ready to learn some valuable cleaning tricks of the trade that will make your house cleaning basic training a veritable breeze. It’s that time of year when most of us are more than ready say goodbye to winter.
The house has been closed up for months and you’re anxious to air it out, freshen things up and get everything sparkling clean. Whether you are preparing for a full-fledged top-to-bottom spring cleaning or simply need some help with weekly chores these secrets from the professionals will make the job and your life much easier.
Battle of the Scrub
One of the most demanding and least favorite chores around the house is scrubbing bathroom surfaces. First thing to remember is to always wear rubber gloves when using any type of cleaner. Since the bathroom is full of bacteria keep a separate pair of gloves in the bathroom and kitchen so you don’t cross contaminate surfaces.
Another smart trick is to use paper towels or disinfecting wipes that you can toss in the trash when you’re done. Stay away from porous sponges as they are notorious for breeding germs. Microfiber cloths are a good alternative. After each use wash them with soap and hot water to kill the nasties.
Use an all-purpose cleaning spray that will work in the bath and kitchen. Avoid loading up with specialized cleaners for each room and surface. You’ll save tons of money and simplify the cleaning process. Don’t get in a hurry when cleaning sinks, tubs and toilets. Spray your cleaning product and allow it to sit for at least three to five minutes before wiping. For stubborn grime and guck it may take an additional application to get it sanitized and sparkling clean.
Give your back a break by purchasing a telescoping shower scrubber. This gadget is a true lifesaver. You can stand upright and clean the shower floor, walls and get to all those hard-to-reach areas that collect soap scum, mildew and hard water spots. There are many designs from which to choose depending on your needs and budget.
Mop Up Enemy Grime
You’ve probably owned a number of mops over the years and might have a favorite but we’ve found the best mop head made from microfiber. The grabby texture of the fabric picks up everything from tiny debris to stray hairs without any effort. Sponge mops don’t stand a chance against microfiber. When you've finished, microfiber cleans up easily and dries quickly. Cloth rope mops are difficult to rinse out and often take several days to dry.
To make the task easier,run a broom around the room before mopping. This will remove larger dirt, hair and food particles. Don’t try to mop the entire floor at once. Divide and conquer by mopping in smaller sections. After each section, rinse your mop and move on to the next area.
Each floor surface requires a different cleaning product and technique. Cleaning sealed hardwood floors requires only warm water in order to protect the sheen. If you have unfinished hardwood floors avoid water completely. Simply dust mop or vacuum.
Laminate floors will warp if they become soaked. Soapy detergents also dull the finish. Use a damp mop with warm water or a specially formulated cleaning product recommended by the manufacturer.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are the easiest to clean. All you need is a mop with warm water and a cleaner like mild detergent or a white vinegar and water solution.
Natural stone floors are equally easy. Installers recommend cleaning these natural surfaces with a few drops of stone floor cleaner or mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Just make sure the stone and tile grout is completely sealed prior to wet mopping.
Give a Dust Salute
Your best bet for dusting is with microfiber rags or electrostatic wands. They trap dirt and grab dust better than any other fabric. You can use them dry or if you have a severe dust problem lightly spritz the rag with water or a dusting spray. Start high in the room and work toward the floor. Dust tall bookcases, ceiling fans, ledges and light fixtures before moving to lower surfaces. To keep allergens at bay dusting is best performed every week or every other week.
One of the worst dust offenders are ceiling fan blades. At the end of each season you'll probably notice a black line of dust accumulated along the leading edge of each blade. Using an extendable duster will cause dust to fly all over the room. Instead use a wet cloth, old towel or pillowcase. Place it over the blade, slide it off the end and catch the dust in the damp fabric. In between use your extendable static wand to keep the dust under control.
During your annual spring clean air duster is great to blow the dust off your chandeliers. If you don’t have compressed air use your hair dryer on its low setting. You’ll need a heavy duty extension cord to avoid a fire hazard. While you’re at it wipe all your lamp bulbs with a damp microfiber cloth when they are cool.
Don’t forget lampshades. Swipe them with a clean microfiber rag or a sticky lint roller to grab dust and pet hair. This is also a great thing for upholstered furniture if you don’t have a special vacuum attachment.
The Vacuum Drill
Do you know the proper way to vacuum? Here are a few tips we want to share that will make your old vacuuming routine a thing of the past. Wait until you're almost done then do a thorough whole house vacuum. This final step will remove all the dust and debris from your previous chores. Start with window coverings, move to upholstered furniture and end with the carpet and hard-surface floors.
Before you begin make sure your bag or canister is clean and free of dirt. Remove wrapped hair from the beater bar and make sure filters are rinsed clean and completely dry. Pick up things that could get lodged in the mechanism like small toys, paper clips or loose coins.
Use your upholstery attachment to vacuum curtains, shades or blinds. Move on using the upholstery brush on heavy nap upholstery. The regular hose nozzle is fine for cleaning short nap or smooth fabric furniture. Remove sofa and chair cushions and vacuum the back, arms and base. Vacuum each side of the cushions and flip and rotate to reduce wear and tear.
Go up your stair treads using the crevice tool along the risers, tread edges and corners. As you move down the stairs vacuum each tread surface. Complete your vacuuming drill with area rugs and carpet making multiple passes to pick up everything embedded within the fibers.
Overlap the strokes in a single direction and then change 90 degrees and perform the same overlapping motion in the other direction. Concentrate on high-traffic areas. Give the room a quick and final once over in both directions.
More Boot Camp Cleaning Exercises
1. Clean chrome kitchen items with cream of tartar.
2. Heat up fresh lemon juice and slices to clean the microwave inside.
3. Tie a towel on a broom to get into difficult places.
4. Unclog your shower head and coffee maker with diluted vinegar.
5. Gently wipe television, computer and smartphone screens with coffee filters.
6. Baking soda will clean your stainless steel sink.
7. Before you start to clean it, check the cleaning tag on your sofa or area rug.
8. Put towels under heavy furniture to easily move it on a hard surface floor.
9. Dust your computer keyboard with cotton swabs.
10. A squeegee is a great tool for removing pet hair from upholstery and carpets.
11. Use old socks for dusting mitts.
12. Wipe your crusted ceramic stovetop with a wet dryer sheet.
© 2019 Linda Chechar
Start a Conversation!
Liz Westwood from UK on March 02, 2019:
That's helpful to know. Thanks for the answer.
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 02, 2019:
Liz -- I've been moving toward natural products but there are still stubborn things like calcium deposits that require chemical cleaners. I've tried white vinegar and it removes water spots on my shower tiles, stainless kitchen sink and the coffee maker carafe. I use a combination of natural ingredients, chemical and antibacterial household cleaners.
Liz Westwood from UK on March 02, 2019:
There are some great tips here. I have learned to spray and leave bathroom surfaces a few minutes from experience. What is your take on natural cleaning products? Many say that manufactured cleaning products are bad for consumers and the environment. I have heard that white vinegar is effective on shower screens. What do you think?