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Cleaning Tips and Tricks

As far as some people are concerned, the word cleaning is on an equal level with words like death camp, diet, surgery, torture, and dentist. But I have found that if you have a plan, a little self-discipline, and a sense of humor, even the worst job isn't too bad! Here are a few things that have helped save me time and money when it comes to house cleaning.

  1. Cleaning one room at a time, clean left to right and top to bottom, placing anything out of order in the room in a box or laundry basket. Put the items away when you are done cleaning the room. In the beginning, if you have lots of clutter you are cleaning up, have a box for each room of the house. DO ONE THING AT A TIME!
  2. Purchase a lamb's wool duster for household dusting. They have natural lanolin in them, which makes dust cling easily, and the long handle makes reaching even ceiling fans easy.
  3. Have several times during the day that you have a five or ten-minute pick-up. This gives you an opportunity to put things back into place before the big mess evolves. Along with this, take time every night before you go to bed to make sure everything is in its place.
  4. Keep in mind that a little bit of work every day will save you a lot of work on one or two days a week. If you do a light vacuuming every day, you can get away with only one really good thorough vacuuming every 2 or 3 weeks.
  5. Spray stains or staining spills immediately. Things are much harder to get up once they set and harden.
  6. Make a list of all the things that have to be done, and decide what jobs can be turned into chores for the children. The sooner the work gets done, the sooner all of you can enjoy time together.
  7. When cleaning bathrooms, start by spraying the sink, tub, and toilet with the cleaner, and then let it sit and start working while you clean other things (like emptying the trash).
  8. Do not keep clutter lying around, it just collects dust and makes things look messy.
    Note: Check out the page with organization tips for more ideas.

Some great recipes for homemade cleaners that work great and will save you money!

Generic Tilex (mix and use in a spray bottle)
1 part bleach
9 parts water
1 part Dawn Dish Soap (or brand with surfactants and NO ammonia)

Carpet Deodorizer
Fill a jar with baking soda. Add essential oil (your choice of fragrance and amount), one drop at a time. Stir so it doesn't clump. Sprinkle on carpet and leave for 10-20 minutes before vacuuming.

All Purpose Cleaners
These all purpose cleaners are convenient to use when placed in a spray bottle.

  • 3 tsp liquid soap & one gallon water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar & one gallon water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice & one gallon water
  • 1/4 cup Borax & one gallon water

Oven Cleaner

  • Sprinkle salt on spills immediately
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Steel wool
    Clean grease with rag and vinegar. Sprinkle salt on spills. Let it set for a few minutes, then scrape the spill and wash the area clean. For stubborn spots, use baking soda and steel wool.

Drain Cleaner
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar
Pour baking soda, then vinegar down drain. Close drain until bubbling stops. Pour boiling water. If the clog remains, use a plunger or snake. If all else fails, take the elbow off the pipe.

Mildew & Lime Deposit Remover
1/2 cup white vinegar
Warm water
1/2 cup Borax
Dissolve borax in water, add vinegar. Make a fresh batch for each use.

Window Cleaner (mix and use in a spray bottle)
1/2 cup vinegar
1 gallon warm water
OR, USE THIS RECIPE:
2 parts ammonia
1 part rubbing alcohol
9 parts water

Disinfectant
1/4 cup Borax
1/2 gallon water
OR USE THIS RECIPE:
1 part bleach
9 parts water

Ant Killer (NOT child safe!! Use any poison to kill insects with caution!!!)
Powdered Sugar
Borax
Combine in equal parts and sprinkle in places where they crawl.

Microwave Cleaner
Place 2 small, medium lemons (cut in half)with a cup of water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minutes and remove bowl. Wipe out microwave. The same thing can be accomplished with equal parts water and white vinegar (but lemons smell better). If your microwave is encrusted with lots of food residue that is old, it won't be so easy the first time.


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