House cleaning is no easy task. There are many places where dust and dirt settle that are never given enough TLC. Many of these items can be cleaned with things you have around the house, such as baking soda and vinegar, making it less abrasive and better for the environment.
Take the stress out of keeping a spotless home. Here are a few easy tricks to keep your house at its best.
Appliances tend to be overlooked, especially ones designed to help the cleaning process. It’s important to stay on top of basic tasks, such as dishwashing and cabinet upkeep. Aside from day-to-day tasks, are you cleaning your appliances as well? With some common household items, your appliances can look and work like new.
Keeping a bowl of fresh lemons in the kitchen looks great and is beneficial, especially when it comes to cleaning the microwave. To start, pour a half cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice in the water. Place it in the microwave and set for three to five minutes. The steam will loosen tough stains and get into all the corners you can’t. Let the water stand for about five minutes, then wipe clean. Your microwave will smell fresh and free of any food residue.
2. Stove & Stove Hood Filter
When it comes to cooking, even with the best intentions, food ends up going everywhere on the stovetop. Food and built up grease can even be considered to be a fire hazard, making it even more important to clean your stovetop and stove hood regularly. Begin by brushing off any loose pieces of food or crumbs. If you’re working with a gas stove, you’ll need to remove the grates. Sprinkle the surface with baking soda and spray on hydrogen peroxide from a labeled spray bottle. The combination fights tough grease stains and makes it easy to wipe clean.
Next up is the stove hood filter. Can you remember the last time it had a good cleaning? Grab your largest pot and bring water to a boil. Very slowly, add a half cup of baking soda. Place the hood filter in the pot for about 10 minutes and watch the mixture get to work. Wipe dry with a microfiber cloth and reattach.
Though many newer ovens have a self-cleaning feature, you may have to break out the cleaning supplies for older models. Put away the harsh cleaners and turn to a natural solution. To start, take out oven racks and let them soak in the sink with hot water and dish soap while you take care of the oven.
With a damp rag, get rid of any burnt food pieces or ash on the bottom or sides. Spray with water and cover with baking soda, focusing on the bottom where majority of the food. Do not turn the oven on, but let it sit for two to four hours and a paste will form. Wipe off the paste with a sponge and your stove will be sparkling! By using a natural solution, you avoid damaging the coating inside the oven.
4. Washing Machine (Top-Loading)
This may sound strange as “washing” is in the name, however, these machines need a washing of their own to function well and keep clothes clean. These instructions are specifically for top-loading machines, but can be adapted depending on the washing machine you have by utilizing the detergent tray.
To clean, you need a quart of vinegar and a cup of baking soda. It’s important to keep the tub empty, so search around for any socks that may be hiding from your last load of laundry.
Fill the tub with the highest and hottest water setting. When full, add vinegar. Shut the lid and let the washer do the work mixing the vinegar and water for about a minute. Add baking soda and allow it to soak for one to two hours. As the tub soaks, wash any knobs and pulls. When time is up, allow the laundry cycle to finish. Run one clothes-free cycle after the cleaning mixture has drained and wipe down any leftover residue.
Another item that needs attention is the dishwasher. If you missed it, check out a few interesting ways to clean this helpful kitchen appliance.
Other Household Items
Once the appliances have had a good scrub, focus your attention on some of the areas in the house that often get forgotten.
5. Windows & Blinds
Certain types of blinds, such as aluminum or plastic, tend to attract dust, making maintenance important. Getting between each slat can be tricky if you don’t have the appropriate tools. Find a pair of cloth gloves, ones that are a tighter fit and put on. Dip fingers into equal parts vinegar and warm water. Then run your fingers across both sides of slat on the window blinds. When you're done, use that same cleaning solution and rag to clean the tracks. Wash and dry when done to prepare for another use.
6. Air Vent Covers
Air vent covers can harbor dust, fur and dirt, making it unpleasant for the look and feel of your home. And if you have allergies, you’ll want to make vent cover cleaning a part of your routine.
Start by turning off your HVAC to avoid spreading any dust around. Vacuum around the area to remove any lose dust or cobwebs. Depending on how big your vent covers are, you'll want to prepare your washing area. This could be a bathtub, kitchen sink or utility basin. Create a “bubble bath” for the covers by filling the tub with warm water and adding a small amount of dish soap. Unscrew the covers and let them soak for about an hour. Wipe dry with a microfiber cloth to catch any extra dust. Replace when dry.
If you're concerned about your air quality, call a pro to have a comprehensive vent and duct cleaning.
7. Carpet Care
Sure, you break out the vacuum every week, but that won’t take out stains. Many products are harsh and tend to discolor carpet, leaving it in worse shape than it was. Club soda can be used to effectively remove stains. Simply spray the area you wish to clean, let sit for five to seven minutes, and dry. When drying, it’s important to use a cloth and gently blot as opposed to scrub to avoid spreading the stain. If it’s a tougher stain, repeat the steps and cover with a baking soda and water paste. Mix 3-parts baking soda and 1-part water to create the paste and apply. Let it sit for two to three hours and wipe clean with a fresh, damp rag.
However, this method is not a cure-all. Some stains take special treatment, depending on type and how long they’ve been sitting. Some methods are worth trying, like using ice to eliminate a chewing gum stain. Evaluate the area to see what method will work best.
Create A Home Maintenance Checklist
All of the above items and more are important. Take some time to observe how often you use certain appliances or foot-traffic in a certain area to determine how often you need to repeat the routine. It’s recommended that air vent covers are cleaned twice a year, while appliance deep cleaning will depend on how frequently they are used. Add a schedule to your home maintenance checklist so you never forget a cleaning.
As the old saying goes, a clean home is a happy home. These are just a few ideas of everyday items that could use a good scrub. Add them to your to-do list to keep your household running smoothly.
Remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by this list, call a pro!