This page contains multiple tips for cleaning your home and has been assembled by the experts at Chem-Dry Executive.
The trick to successfully keeping a spotless home is no trick at all. It is a systematic approach consisting of regular maintenance supplemented with a collection of reliable troubleshooting methods. If there is any trick to be had, it is to keep all procedures simple and affordable to ensure that they are done in a timely fashion. Luckily, smart housekeeping has existed since we have lived in caves so there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Our grandmother’s innovative spirits already tried and tested the following tips. Here is an array of safe, natural ways to keep your home in excellent condition using the contents of your cupboards.
Home Cleaning Toolkit
When it comes to cleaning products, you most likely have everything you need in your cupboards. If not, all the ingredients listed here are available at your local supermarket. In various combinations, these solutions are practical home cleaning substitutes for harsh and expensive pre-fabricated mixtures. Most of the items listed are acids with the exception of baking soda, which has an alkaline base.
- White distilled vinegar
Vinegar (acetic acid) has been used for centuries as the home’s miracle solution. It is environmentally safe and easy on the wallet. It eliminates mildew, removes stains, disinfects, dampens odours, cuts grease, cleans rust, shines leather, and even prevents frost on car windows. To make a general household cleaner, mix equal parts vinegar with water in a spray bottle.
- Baking soda
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is another key ingredient for keeping your home clean and safe from harmful, brand name chemical mixtures. It is an excellent non-abrasive scouring powder, stain remover, deodoriser, de-clogger, and metal polisher.
- Lemon juice/peel:
Lemons (citric acid) has strong acid content that makes them an excellent addition to your home cleaning kit. They are great deodorisers, whiteners, metal polishers, and stain removers.
- Rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) is an excellent cleaner but it’s quick to evaporate so it is best used on fast clean-up jobs. It is a natural disinfectant, degreaser, spot remover, residue remover, de-icer, and electronics cleaner.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide 3% is a great defence against germs and stains. Use to remove bloodstains, brighten dingy whites, and clean mould.
Home Cleaning Maintenance Schedule:
Ultimately, your house will always shine if you create and uphold a regular maintenance schedule. The trick is to keep it simple and realistic so that you actually follow through. In general, it’s best to clean one room at a time for a consistent and on-going sense of satisfaction.
Once a week:
Kitchen and Bathroom
- Appliances: Use baking soda as a general non-abrasive appliance cleaner for the top of stove, refrigerator, and other easily scratched appliance surfaces. Simply apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge and rinse off.
- Chopping block: Use a slice of lemon, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and freshen the surface. For hardier stains, squeeze lemon juice directly onto the area and leave it for 15 minutes. Wipe clean.
- Rubbish bins: Grind lemon slices or peels to freshen the units.
- Microwave: Use a mixture of ¼ cup vinegar and 1 cup water to clean. Microwave slices of lemon to freshen it up.
- Sink and Drain: Pour hot salt water down the drain (½ cup salt and 1 quart water heated, not boiled). Run the strainer basket through the dishwasher.
- Tile and porcelain: For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. Note: Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.
- Toilet Bowl: Pour mixture of ¼ cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar or one quart of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let sit for 1 hour, scrub with a brush then flush.
- Bedding: Wash them in hot water and a hot dryer cycle to kill all germs. Add vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to your wash to refresh dingy whites.
- Carpets: Sprinkle baking soda to freshen carpets then vacuum. However it is important that you get your carpets cleaned by professionals like Chem-Dry Executive throughout the year.
- Dust using a soft cotton or microfiber cloth.
- Washing Machine: After completing laundry, mix ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup water in a small bowl and put in the detergent container of your washing machine. Pour 2 cups vinegar into the drum and run a hot water load with normal settings. Good for breaking up mineral settings and combatting mould growth.
Floors: Most floors can be damp mopped with 1:1 vinegar water solution. Here are some additional formulas:
- Brick, stone, tile: Mix 1-cup vinegar and 1 gal. of water. Rinse with fresh water.
- Vinyl and linoleum: Mix 1-cup vinegar and a few drops of baby oil in 1 gal warm water.
- Wood (natural finish): Mix 1:1 vinegar and vegetable oil. Apply sparingly and rub in well.
- Wood (painted): Mix 1:1 vinegar and water or 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 gal hot water.
Once a month:
Kitchen and Bathroom
- Coffeemaker: Pour 1/4 of a cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water into unit and bring to a boil. After it cools, wipe with a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
- Dishwasher: Place a cup of vinegar upright on the empty dishwasher’s top rack. Run a full cycle using the hot-water setting.
- Mirrors: Use rubbing alcohol.
- Refrigerator: Wipe the inside with a 1:1 vinegar and water solution.
- Computer Keyboards and Mice: Swab your accessories with a clean cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol. Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean hard to reach spots.
Twice a year:
Kitchen and Bathroom
- Oven: Remove oven racks and soak them overnight in hot water with dishwasher soap. Remove knobs and wash by hand or in dishwasher. Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Make a thick paste by mixing ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup salt, and ¼ cup water. Use a sponge to moisten the oven interior then thickly spread the paste throughout. Be sure to avoid bare metal surfaces. Let the solution sit overnight. The following day, remove the paste using a dry cloth or spatula and wipe the oven clean. Use fine steel wool to gently scour any difficult spots.
- Dryer: It’s a good habit to clean the lint from the lint trap with each use to help prevent fire hazard. Every six months, vacuum the lint trap using the hose attachment and clean it with warm, soapy water. Wipe the inside of the dryer with a soft damp cloth.
- Mattress: Vacuum the mattress using an upholstery attachment. Remove stains with the stain appropriate solution. Be careful not to saturate the mattress. Flip your mattress and rotate it for even wear.
- Metals: Polish your metals to keep them looking their best. Use the following easy formulas:
- Aluminium: cream of tartar and water.
- Brass or bronze: lemon and baking soda solution, or vinegar and salt solution. Also try rubbing a dab of ketchup onto tarnished areas using a soft cloth.
- Chrome: vinegar, or aluminium foil shiny side out.
- Copper: baking soda or lemon juice. Also try rubbing a dab of ketchup onto tarnished areas using a soft cloth.
- Gold: toothpaste, or combine salt, vinegar, and flour into a paste.
- Silver: Boil one tsp. of baking soda and salt in a pan lined with aluminium foil. Submerge your silver and then polish with a soft, cotton cloth.
- Stainless steel: vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or lemon peel (rub directly).
- Pillows (Bed): Launder bed pillows in hot water on a gentle cycle. Use only liquid detergent because powder can leave a residue. Wash two pillows when possible to balance the load. Run the rinse cycle twice then air dry.
- Windows: Mix 2 tsp. vinegar with 1 gal. of warm water and apply with crumpled black and white newspaper (don’t use coloured print). Don’t overuse vinegar as it will etch the glass and eventually cloud it. For a squeegee finish, position it and pull down in a smooth stroke. Use a cloth to wipe excess liquid from the squeegee blade between strokes. Repeat, slightly overlapping each stroke, until the window is clean. To identify problem streaks, use the squeegee vertically on one side and horizontally on the other.
Once a year
Kitchen and Bathroom
- Grout: Clean and brighten your grout by spraying a 1:1 solution of water and chlorine bleach (never use bleach on coloured grout). Let it sit for 15 minutes and use a brush and clean water to remove the dirt.
- Carpet Cleaning: Get your carpets cleaned the eco friendly way by Chem-Dry Executive.
- Leather Furniture: use vinegar with a few drops of olive oil.
- Masonry: Wash interior masonry with a 1:1 vinegar and water solution.
- Walls: Wash walls with a general solution of 1 gal. of water and 2 tsp. baking soda. Be sure to test a spot in a corner first to ensure colour is not affected.
- Window Screens: Spray screens with a garden hose in the yard and let them air dry. Scrub them with a vinegar and water cleaning solution if necessary. Clean them in the bathtub if you have no yard. Remember to label where they go! Take this opportunity to clean the window frame too. Use a screwdriver wrapped with strips of soft cloth and dipped in soapy water to wash out the grime.
- Wood furniture (unvarnished): Mix 2 tsps. of lemon juice with 2 tsps. Of olive oil and lemon juice. Dab onto a soft cotton cloth, wringing it well to evenly spread the solution. Apply to the furniture using wide strokes in the direction of the wood grain.
- Wood furniture (varnished): Polish with a few drops of lemon oil mixed with 1/2 cup warm water in a spray bottle. Mist onto a soft cotton cloth dampening it only slightly. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture and finish with a soft dry soft cotton cloth.
Troubleshooting: Stains, Spots, Smudges, and Odours
- Berry stains: Run stain under cold water then squirt lemon juice directly on stains. Continue until removed.
- Blood stains: Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stained areas. Let it sit, check progress intermittently, then wash with cold water. Do a small test patch first.
- Carpet stains: If you are having trouble with stains in your carpet, don’t keep rubbing and damaging your carpet. Call Chem-Dry executive and you can be sure we will help you with the stain.
- Coffee and tea stains: Wipe stains from cups using vinegar on a sponge.
- Drain clogs: Pour ½ cup baking soda followed by 1-cup vinegar. Once the mixture finishes foaming, flush with hot water (plastic pipes) or boiling water (metal pipes). Rinse with cold water.
- Dry erase boards: Use rubbing alcohol to cut through the marker build-up.
- Floor shoe scuffmarks: Wipe off with rubbing alcohol.
- Lime Deposits: Squeeze fresh lemon juice directly onto bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Let it sit for a few minutes and wipe clean with a soft cloth. For lime deposits in a tea kettle, boil ½ cup vinegar and 2 cups water for a few minutes. Rinse well with clean water while kettle is still warm.
- Litter-box: Wipe the empty litter box with lemon juice to remove unwanted odours.
- Mould and Mildew: Use vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or lemon juice directly to the area. Let sit and then scrub away. For stubborn bathroom mould in tile grout, mix one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts water in a spray bottle and saturate the area. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.
- Oil and grease spots: Use vinegar or rubbing alcohol. For small spills on concrete, add baking soda and scrub with wet brush.
- Plastic food storage containers: Soak overnight in warm water and baking soda to deodorise.
- Pots and pans: Scour stains with baking soda. If that doesn’t do the job, soak the cookware in a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water. For ultra stubborn stains and grease, make a paste using equal parts hydrogen peroxide with baking soda for scrubbing away the mess. Let it sit, scrub, and then wash normally.
- Rust cleaner: Soak the object overnight and rinse.
- Stickers/label residue: Rub with vinegar or rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. For difficult removal, saturate and wait for 15 minutes then clean off.
- Wall scuffs: Use baking soda on a damp sponge when dealing with painted walls making sure to rub gently and clean with fresh water.
Using these quick tips will give you the clean, safe, sparkling home you desire without costing too much time or money. Happy cleaning!