It’s time to pull on your gloves and get to work.
Don’t overlook the convenience of this hardworking appliance. It can take on unusual things, like your glass light-fixture globes, plastic toys, toothbrush holders, and so much more. Just choose a gentle cycle and skip the heated dry.
Wait for an overcast day and start on the shady side of the house: Direct sun may dry the cleanser before you can wipe it off, leaving streaks. And use vertical strokes on one side of a window and horizontal ones on the other — this way, when you spot a streak, you’ll know which side it’s on. As for dusting, wait for a sunny day, when particles will be easier to see.
You’ll trap the most dirt by using two mats, one outside the door and one inside. But if they’re dirty, they won’t do the job: Hose off and air-dry mats, and vacuum indoor ones on both sides — vacuuming the back will push trapped dirt out onto the floor where it will be easier to pick up.
Like your lamp shades and drapes! Put your dryer to work and toss drapes, curtains, and even throw pillows in the dryer for 15 minutes on the “air-only” cycle, then rehang immediately to prevent wrinkles. Another spot to tackle? Your lampshade. Speed up the process with a lint roller.
Removing pesky pet hair from upholstery and drapes is tedious, and cleaning a lint brush is a nightmare. But all you need are rubber gloves to rid your furniture of fur — just pull on your traditional gloves, dampen them and collect the problem fuzz.
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to pay attention to the thing under the sheets. Press firmly with your vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean the sides.Then, spot-clean stains with upholstery cleaner or mild suds. After spraying, let dry, then sanitize with a disinfectant spray like Lysol.
Sticky kitchen grime is a mix of dust and grease that’s invisible until it builds up. Run the exhaust hood over your range every time you cook to keep grease from settling. To de-gunk, we like “cabinet cream.” It cuts through dirt and leaves wood moisturized. Do an extra pass around door and drawer pulls and other places where grease collects.
Word to the wise: If the food from your plates doesn’t make it out of your machine, it might start to smell (yuck). So remove food bits from around the filter (below the lower spray arm), then pop it out and rinse it thoroughly under hot water. Run a cycle with a machine cleaner — like Cascade Dishwasher Cleaner — about once a month to keep the appliance fresh.
To make this surface sparkle again (see ya, fingerprints), mix a solution of 1 teaspoon dish detergent and 1 quart hot tap water. Using a microfiber cloth, rub the detergent solution onto the marks in small sections (it will take a little elbow grease), going with the grain. Rinse with clean hot water only, and dry immediately with a clean cloth.
Use a blast of steam from your iron to disguise imprints — just hold the iron above the area, press the “steam burst” button several times, then fluff. Another option? Heloise, our cleaning guru, recommends putting an ice cube in each indention, letting cubes slowly melting, then lifting carpet fibers back up with a spool. According to Fluff Designs, the water encourages the fibers to swell and return to their original shape.
Yes, you have to clean your cleaners. Replace the bag, clean the dust cup, and replace or wash the filters. Snip threads snarled in the brush with scissors or a seam ripper. For the best carpet cleaning in the future, set your vacuum’s nozzle to the lowest level that lets you push it comfortably. For bare floors, turn off the rotating brush or use the bare-floor brush attachment.
Your course of action will depend on the drawer: If it’s in your closet, toss clothes you haven’t worn in a year. If it’s in your kitchen, suck up dust and debris with the your vacuum’s nozzle. Genius, we know.
Another cleaner that needs cleaned! Help your broom help you by getting rid of dust bunnies that end up getting stuck to bristles. To do this, swish the broom head around in warm, soapy water, or vacuum it with a handheld attachment (then be sure to clean out the attachment).
According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 10,000 home fires begin in laundry rooms annually (yikes!). You should already be removing the fuzz from your dryer’s filter after every load. For the lint that gets stuck deeper inside your machine, pull out the crevice tool on your vacuum and suck up the debris once every year or as soon — or as soon as you notice your clothes aren’t drying as well.
Stained spaces between your tile are a serious eyesore. To fix that up quick, mix 3/4 cup household chlorine bleach with 1 gallon water. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Use a stiff brush to apply to one small area at a time. Be careful not to let the liquid spatter onto surrounding surfaces. Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub and rinse.
Before you start to notice an odor in your appliance, disinfect it with distilled white vinegar and baking soda. Run the machine with hot water, add the cleaning agents (for top-loading machines, 3 to 4 cups of vinegar to ½ cup of baking soda; for front loading, 1/4 cup of vinegar to 4 tablespoons of baking soda), and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes after running. Restart the machine, let the water drain, wipe down, and air dry.
If you think that nasty red mark is permanent, you’re wrong. Run the cut side of a lemon over the boardto remove food stains and smells. Want an extra cleaning oomph? Sprinkle it with salt or baking soda first.
Cloth or sturdy plastic grocery bags are great alternatives to wasteful plastic, but they’re no different than other fabrics in terms of care. Run your reusable bags through the washer regularly to remove any lingering food bacteria, turning them inside out before you toss them in. Pay attention to the bag’s fabric when selecting a dryer setting.
Enough with the tomato sauce stains — this trick will make cleaning ’em up easier: Place a 4-cup large microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup of water and a chopped-up lemon, lime, or orange or several tablespoons of vinegar inside. Turn the appliance on high for several minutes or until the solution boils and the window is steamy, then let it sit to cool for 15 minutes before opening the door. Remove and wipe out the inside and outside with a sponge.
Honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if you said you’ve never cleaned this guy — but it’s actually really easy. Heloise suggests you suck out any crumbs or dirt using the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner. If that doesn’t work, aim a hair dryer at the slots to blow any crud out or get a 12-inch pipe cleaner and work gently to insert it into each slot; swirl it around there to collect dust and grime.
To freshen drains (not unclog them) and help keep them free-flowing, mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup table salt. Pour the mixture down the drain, followed by 1 cup heated vinegar. It will foam and bubble. Let it stand for 15 minutes — longer does not work any better. Follow by running hot tap water for at least 15 to 30 seconds. This is especially good for seldom-used drains, like in a guest bathroom.
You’re not going to believe us when we tell you what you should use: ketchup! The acid in your favorite French fry condiment helps dissolve tarnish on copper pots and other copper cooking accessories. Just massage the red sauce over the surface and add a pinch of salt to your polish if you come across exceptionally stubborn spots.
That means magazines and catalogs, makeup you never use, coffee mugs that only collect dust, and unused hangers. You don’t need ’em, they don’t (or shouldn’t) have any emotional connections, and they’re just making your home way more cluttered. It’s time for a trip to the recycling bin and second-hand store — or even eBay (these random home items are worth big money!).
After gently chipping off any loose pieces from your range, liberally spritz burnt-on food with ammonia from a spray bottle. Then sprinkle some baking soda and add just a few drops of white vinegar. Let it bubble for a minute or two, then whisk away the grime with a scrub sponge.
Heating ducts and air conditioning vents, that is. Don’t let these air circulators blow dust through your home. Carolyn Forte, director of the GH Institute Cleaning Lab, advises using the soft brush (the one with the bristles) to keep these spaces clean.
With warm weather almost here, it’s time to get your outdoor furniture ready for use. To do this, add a squirt of dish detergent to a bowl of warm water, then wipe down tables and chairs. Finish it all off with a spray of water from the garden hose.
You probably wipe down your fridge’s interior shelving on the regular already, but don’t forget about the rest. Pop out the door shelves and bins, and wash in warm, soapy water to get rid of food bacteria and spillage.
And wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe while you’re at it. About half all women’s bags have fecal bacteria on them — and so we’re pretty sure that fact speaks for itself.
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