Archive for the ‘Cleaning tips’ Category

How clean is your bathtub?

Sunday, February 8, 2009 5:59 Comments Off on How clean is your bathtub?

You know how a bathtub can look fairly clean, simply because of shampoo and body wash being used in it frequently.  Usually, it is a huge buildup of soap scum, or a more obvious sign, such as mildew, that gets us bringing out the cleaning supplies.  But how many of us can say we really gave the bathtub a good scrub as opposed to a quick once over?

Want to know why you should be giving your bathtub the good scrub down?  The Hygiene Council tested family bathtubs and found that the germ that is most commonly responsible for that staph infections was found in over 1/4 of the bathtubs tested… while that same germ was only found in 6% of garbage cans!

And the rest of your bathroom?  Well, for starters, the toilet seat has LESS bacteria on it than your bathroom sink and sink faucet. 

So doesn’t this weekend sound like a really great time to clean the bathroom?  And don’t forget we have a ton of bathroom cleaner recipes you can make, if you prefer to clean your bathroom without using a ton of the chemical laden commercial cleaners.

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Are you wasting water when you run your dishwasher?

Friday, December 26, 2008 6:42 1 Comment

Think back to when you put those dirty dishes from Christmas dinner into the dishwasher… or other recent days you’ve used the dishwasher.  How many dishes did you pre-rinse before putting into the dishwasher.  If you rinsed any, you rinsed too many!

Dishwashers today (those manufactured since 1995 or so)  are designed to clean dishes even when they haven’t been pre-rinsed to “look” clean.  Now think about how much water you used to rinse those dishes… that was just wasted water, not to mention how much money that cost you, especially if you are in the habit of pre-rinsing dishes with hot water.

Are you certain that your dishes won’t come out looking nearly as clean?  Do a test run one evening without rinsing anything, and see the result… chances are pretty good that everything will come out just as sparkly clean as if you pre-rinsed too.  And don’t forget that many dishwashers also have a “pots and pans” or “heavy duty” cycle… and yes, these cycles will still use less additional water than pre-rinsing would use!

It is also worth hauling out the manual to check and see what the optimum loading instructions are – sometimes dishes that aren’t getting cleaned well enough in the dishwasher is simply because the dishes aren’t loaded correctly to provide optimum dish cleaning performance.  This is especially valuable if you tend to go through a lot of bowls.

Do you not use enough dishes to run a load every day?  Check to see if your dishwasher has a “rinse and hold” cycle on it that will do a quick rinse of the dishes without running a regular cycle, giving the dishes a pre-rinse to prevent the dishes from become crusty with dried food. 

Following these tips will keep you from wasting water when it comes to cleaning your dishes.  Try it and become convinced, and stop the extra work pre-rinsing routine today!

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Are you wasting money on your dish soap?

Thursday, December 11, 2008 7:55 Comments Off on Are you wasting money on your dish soap?

Think you are bieng frugal enough with your dish washing by buying dish soap when it is on sale and with a coupon?  Well, you could be even MORE frugal!

Did you know that many women are using far more dish soap for their handwashing than they really need to be using?  Think about the generous amount you squirt into your sink or that dirty pot.  Next time, reduce the amount of dish soap you squirt by half, and see if the dishes are just as clean as with the more generous squirt.

And as an added bonus, super soapy water takes that much more water to rinse of dishes (since there is not only an abundance of suds, but they often keep sudsing up while you are trying to rinse them off), meaning that you will ALSO be saving on your water consumption bill as well as your water heater electricity (or gas) usage, because you won’t be using as muhc hot water too!

So, how much dish soap are you using?  And what did you discover when you used just half the amount.

And as a bonus tip, also try using just 1/4 of the amount you usually use… you could also find that you only need that much to get your dishes clean!

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Make your own oven cleaner without the heavy chemicals

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 23:46 2 Comments

If you dread cleaning your oven because of those chemical-heavy oven cleaners (you cannot touch it with bare skin, breathe the fumes!) not to mention the expensiveness of it, here is a tip for you so your oven can be sparkly and shiny clean inside for all the holiday baking and the Christmas ham or turkey.  And it is so much easier than the standard “hot water, soap, and a ton of elbow grease” method that many women do simply because of the safety issues with the oven cleaner chemicals.

First, start with a cold oven, so do it on a night you aren’t using your oven.  Fill a medium plastic bowl to the halfway mark with ammonia.  Set it on the rack and allow it to sit ovenight in a closed oven – just the cold oven, do NOT use the clean oven cycle on the oven if you have one.  In the morning, remove the bowl, wipe down all sides of the oven (the ammonia loosens all that baked on icky stuff), then give it a quick wash with hot water and soap, but with not nearly as much elbow grease as you would have used had you skipped the overnight ammonia trick.

You will now have a clean and sparkly oven, without those harsh oven cleaners, and without having to use the super hot clean oven setting on the oven!

This was posted under category: Cleaning tips

Removing sticky labels and price stickers

Monday, December 8, 2008 18:27 Comments Off on Removing sticky labels and price stickers

Whenever Christmas comes around, I always seem to buy a ton of gifts that have really sticky labels and pricing stickers stuck to them pretty well, and there is always leftover adhesive left behind too.  So if you have a stubborn label to remove and don’t want to purchase an adhesive sticker remover product like GooGone, here are some tricks to try.

Hair dryer
Blow the hairdryer onto the label for a couple of moments to heat up the adhesive and make it easier to remove those stuck on stickers.

Baby oil
Put a small amount of baby oil on a paper towel or cotton pad and soak the label with it.  Let sit for a few minutes and then peel off.  You can also soak the label after letting the baby oil set, then rub the label off.

Nail polish remover
Don’t use your expensive nail polish remover for this one!  But soak a paper towel or cotton pad with nail polish remover, saturate sticker, and remove.

Razor blade scraper
Allow label to soak with hot water, baby oil or nail polihs remover, then slowly and very carefully scrape the sticker off.  Be aware this may scratch the surface, so only do it where scratches won’t matter (such as the bottom of a drinking glass).

With these tips, you should be able to remove any label you come across without having to buy the special label remover.

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Quick tricks to increase the life span of your carpet

Saturday, November 22, 2008 1:30 Comments Off on Quick tricks to increase the life span of your carpet

If you have had to replace carpet in the past few years, you know just how expensive it can be!  There are fortunately some tricks to keep your carpet looking newer and lasting much longer.  Here are some things you can do to ensure your carpet has a longer life span

Take off the shoes
Yes, what your mother had nagged about you as a child really works.  Shoes add to the war and tear of the carpet, even if they are perfectly clean.  Make it a rule to never wear shoes in the house, even if they look perfectly clean on the bottoms.

Wear slippers or socks
Have a look at your child’s bare feet and you will probably be amazed at just how grubby they actually are, even when you think they haven’t been walking anywhere in bare feet other than just inside.  And not only that, since feet sweat, walking barefoot on carpet can deposit sweat and oils on the carpet too.  So keep everyone in socks or slippers when walking inside.

Rearrange the furniture
Carpet wears out in those heavy traffic areas first, so make a point of arranging furniture and other decor items around so that the same path doesn’t become completely worn out.  Switch around where the coffee table and sofas are, or move where the kitchen table is regularly (and it also helps to prevent one place having a concentration of spilled food if you have a messy toddler!)  if it is a hallway, place a plan or small table on one side, then switch sides every month or two. Christmas time is a great time to switch up, since most living rooms will be accommodating a large Christmas tree too.

Vacuum at least weekly
The longer dirt sits on carpet, the more opportunity it has to become ground in.  So make sure you regularly vacuum, with a once-a-week routine ideal.  And if you have a shedding pet, you will need to up that to twice or more a week.

Steam clean or hire cleaners
Once or twice a year either steam clean the carpets yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.  Keep your eye out for coupons in your coupon inserts, you will often find discount coupons available for a free room done or a bonus sofa cleaning when the carpets are done.

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How to quickly freshen up clothing

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 1:35 Comments Off on How to quickly freshen up clothing

Do you want to quickly freshen up an article of clothing, but don’t have time to run it through the washing machine and dryer.  The longtime standby was the throw the clothing in with a dryer sheet, but this can be expensive, not to mention it can leave a waxy feel on your clothing afterward.  But there is something easier to do that will leave your clothes smelling wonderful.

Take a clean washcloth and put a drop or two of essential or fragrance oil in the scent of your choice.  Pop it into the dryer with the clothing and let it run for 5-10 minutes.  When you remove the clothing, it will smell great!

You can try a variety of scents depending on your mood.  You can also use this method if you love your clothes being scented when you take them out of the dryer, but you don’t neccessarily want to use a dryer sheet to get the job done.

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How to save time doing the dishes

Friday, November 7, 2008 0:03 3 Comments

Let’s face it, doing dishes is a chore, even when we have a dishwasher.  Want to cut down on the amount of time it takes to do dishes?  Here are some tips…

  • Empty your dishwasher as soon as the dishes are dry.  It is far easier to load an empty dishwasher as you go, then to simply dump them in the sink for three days because no one has emptied out the clean dishes yet.
  • Making a recipe that calls for multiple measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board for veggies as well as one for meat, not to mention the various pots and pans you are cooking it all in?  As long as you won’t trip over the door, leave the dishwasher open, and pop each item you use immediately into the dishwasher, rather than putting them all in the sink first.
  • Are your kids starting to get better at putting dishes in the dishwasher, but you have discovered that dirty plate from the spaghetti dinner in the dishwasher among the clean dishes?  Use some of the kid’s alphabet magnets, one D and one C.  Then if the dishes are dirty, put the D on the front of the door, and when you start the dishwasher, swap out the D for the C.
  • Divide up the utinsels before you put them in the dishwasher.  So all the knives are in one section, the forks in the other, etc.  Just be careful when you put the spoons in that they don’t all “spoon” each other.
  • Run the dishwasher at night, so you won’t heat up your house in the summer, and so you can keep filling it up right up til bedtime, so that last glass can be put in it.

By following these tips, you can help make the whole doing dishes chore less of a chore.  Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to assign the emptying of the dishwasher to one of your kids 😉

This was posted under category: Cleaning tips

Why you should clean your dryer lint screen

Thursday, November 6, 2008 3:45 Comments Off on Why you should clean your dryer lint screen

Do you use fabric softener when you do your laundry?  And have you ever given your dryer’s lint screen a clean?  If not, you are adding to your electricity bill each and every month.

Part of what makes a dryer dry clothes is the air flow that circulates the hot air to the outside of the house, which is channeled through the link screen.  This is why it is important to remove the lint from the lint screen before using the dryer each time, because otherwise the circulation isn’t as good and it takes longer to dry – not to mention the potential fire hazard if lint is left in the lint trap through multiple dry cycles.

Now, take out your lint trap and pour water into it… you would expect water would pour through it, but in actuality, chances are it is acting more like a thick cheesecloth and it is slowly dripping through… this is because the coating from fabric softener sheets also coat the lint trap, causing air to not circulate as well. 

Using a stiff brush, wash your lint trap with hot, soap water, allow to dry and then insert back into your dryer.  You should notice an immediate difference in how quickly your washing machine dries clothes.

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How to clean an espresso or coffee grinder

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 2:07 Comments Off on How to clean an espresso or coffee grinder

Coffee grinders are notoriously difficult to clean because most parts cannot be washed with water.  And washing with a damp cloth often leaves coffee streaks everywhere and leaves your grinder looking far dirtier than it was when you started.

Because the coffee dust is dry, you can simply take a pastry brush or a clean unused makeup brush and brush the inside of the coffee grinder.  It will easily brush all the dust and coffee particles from the inside and especially around the hard-to-reach grinder blades, which could be dangerous to clean otherwise.

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