Keep Your Home Clean and Fresh and Save Money with Homemade Cleaning Products

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Are you in a pinch for some glass cleaner or sink scrub and you’re in a hurry to make the house presentable for some unexpected guests. Chances are good that you already have what you need to make your home sparkle and smell fresh. Here are some quick home cleaning remedies.

Make your own all purpose cleaner and deodorizer: Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 quart warm water. Pour it onto a clean sponge and wipe.

Clean your glass. Combine 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup white vinegar or cider vinegar, 1/4 rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of lemon juice for a fresh scent. Spray on paper towel or soft cloth and wipe. Don’t use this to clean windows on a hot, sunny day as you risk the solution drying quickly and leaving streaks.

Make lemonade with your lemons:

Combine lemon and salt to shine your chrome faucets.

Rub lemon juice on your cutting boards to help stains fade. Let it sit overnight to really work and then rinse in the morning. As a bonus – this kills some germs, too.

Scrub grout with lemon juice and an old toothbrush.

Put a half a lemon on a small plate in your refrigerator to remove odors; change weekly.

Do more with your dryer sheets. Dryer sheets can help you remove baked on food from pots and pans. Place a dryer sheet in the pot, fill with water and let it sit overnight. Then sponge off in the morning. The antistatic agent weakens the bond between the stuck-on food and the surface of the pan, while the fabric softener works to loosen the food.

Does your toilet need a quick cleaning? Drop two antacid tablets in the bowl. Let them soak for 20 minutes and scrub with a brush and flush. A can of cola works also, if you pour it in and let it soak for an hour before scrubbing.

Combat mold and mildew on tiles and shower curtains. Make a paste of lemon juice and baking powder. Spread it on, leave it for two hours and rinse.

Dust with a paintbrush. A dry paintbrush with bristles that are at least 3 inches long can be used to dust the surface and grooves of your knickknacks. You can use a pastry brush for framed photos and to reach places that are difficult as it’s softer.

Clean your bud vases with rice. To wash a narrow vase, pour in 2 tablespoons of dry rice and 1/2 cup water. Cover with your hand, shake vigorously and rinse.

Spray some hairspray. Spray hairspray on painted walls and wipe immediately to remove marker from walls. eed to remove crayon? Scrub with a toothpaste covered toothbrush or massage baking soda on it with a damp mircofiber cloth.

A little lemon, some baking soda, a hint of vinegar….you’re good to go with your clean home!  Happy home making!

Lighten the Load: Some Tips for De-Cluttering Your Home

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De-Cluttering – It is both an art and a science. Making sure you keep what you need and really want, and finding a good home for things you don’t is harder than it sounds. If you are getting ready to move, it’s time to de-clutter. If you’re already in your home, it’s also time to de-clutter! Here are some simple tips to make this task a little easier.

Decide what is trash and what is treasure. If you have been saving a t-shirt from a fundraiser in 1994 and it no longer fits or smells like the gym, it’s trash. If you have a handwritten letter from your great grandmother, that is probably a treasure. This first step is hard because you have to determine what is important to you.

Determine what to do with what you’re getting rid of. You have a few choices – Donate items to a reputable donation center such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army or your favorite charity; sell items; give them to friends or family; or throw them away.

If you have valuable items and you’d like to sell them, you have a few options. You could bring everything out for a garage sale, or, you can list them online. Craigslist is the obvious choice for selling large items such as furniture or appliances that you don’t want to ship. Ebay or Craigslist can work for smaller items. A lot of people post items on Facebook, as well.

Go digital. If you have photos, home videos, or scrapbook items you want to store but want to take up less space, go digital. You can scan these items yourself or you can have them professionally scanned saving you hours but costing you some money.

Once you have gotten rid of things, you want to make sure you are always clutter free. Try these tips:

When you get something new, get rid of something old. One new blouse in, one item of clothing you never wear out. A new kitchen gadget in, an old kitchen gadget out.

Is there something you can’t decide if you will use again? Give it an “expiration date.” Mark your calendar and if you have not used that item by the expiration date, get rid of it.

Do you buy on impulse? Wait 48 hours before buying something. You may realize in 48 hours that you really don’t need it after all.

And get rid of some of these items. You really don’t need them:

  • The extra buttons that came with your new sweater. You know – the buttons you put in the drawer with the rest of the buttons.
  • Old t-shirts, gym towels and socks that you really will never wear to the gym again.
  • Holiday cards – Unless there is a sentimental value to these cards, you’re probably not going to read them again.
  • Old wall calendars.
  • Ticket stubs and receipts (that are not for tax purposes). Why are you keeping these anyway?
  • The magazines you are going to get to some day.
  • Invitations to events that have past; party favors
  • Recipes you tried but didn’t like.
  • Books that weren’t life changing and you’re not going to read again.
  • Storage containers that no longer have their lids.
  • Instructions for appliances you know how to use.
  • Old computer cords.
  • The packets of condiments you picked up at Chinese food restaurants and fast food restaurants.

Feel the difference when you lighten the load!

Clear Out the Clutter Before You Put Away Your Holiday Decorations

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The best way to stay organized in the new year is to head into the year ready to go! Cleaning up holiday clutter (and clutter from the rest of the year) can be easy and fun. Here are some tips to cut clutter and get organized.

For every one new item you bring in, get rid of two. If you get a new holiday ornament, pick two that have no sentimental value that you really don’t love to get rid of. If you get a new DVD as a gift, find two that you never watch and get rid or them. Did kids get new clothes? It’s a sure bet that they have clothing they don’t wear or have outgrown. The same is true for toys. In with the new, out with the old. Many of these items will be welcome at Goodwill or another recycling store, and you can get a tax write off to boot.

Fill boxes that packages came in with items to discard. Instead of recycling or throwing away shipping boxes, pack them with items you can recycle or discard. It’s a fun game and a challenge for the family. How many toys, outgrown clothes, old decorations or things you just don’t love, can you fit into a box? You’re not using these items anymore but they still have a lot of life left in them. You have the boxes, now it’s time to fill them.

Celebrate a Japanese tradition. Who knew that when you de-clutter, you could also be teaching about a different culture? In Japan, clearing clutter and cleaning at the end of the year is a big part of the Japanese New Year tradition. Because each year is separate and distinct, the Japanese observe Ousouji by cleaning the home from top to bottom to ring the new year in with a clean state of mind and to invite prosperity.

Do you really want the white elephant gift? By definition, the white elephant gift is one that you have no use for and would never pick for yourself. The gift exchanges are worth a laugh, but decide now if you are going to be glad you kept that moose paper towel holder or the dribble coffee mug in May.

Take an extra step when storing holiday decorations. Don’t just toss holiday decorations in crates and shove them in the closet with the intention of going through them next year. Now is the time to get rid of the lights that don’t work and the snowman whose corncob pipe and button nose fell off years ago. Keep the decorations that mean a lot to you and that still work when you plug them in. Get rid of the items that are broken, missing parts, or just squished. Get more holiday storage tips by clicking here.

There are lots of fun, creative and easy ways to de-clutter at the end of the year to start off the new year in style.

Ready for Fall Cleaning? Here are Some Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall and Winter

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Summer is coming to a brisk end, and fall is almost here. Yes – Fall means crisp days, long walks, the changing leaves and the best autumn vegetables. But it also means we’ll be closing up our homes and spending more time inside. Now is the time to clean your home and make it cozy for family time inside. Here are some fall chores to make your home the space you want it to be. You don’t have to do all of these. Pick a couple to get started. Check them off the list as you go, and you’ll see that getting ready for a new season is not so hard.

Wash all your windows. All you need is a bottle of glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Do this on a cloudy day so you can see any streaks.

Clean your window treatments. Dust wooden blinds and use a damp cloth or your microfiber cloth. You can vacuum canvas, cotton or fabric treatments. Use a low setting and an attachment. If your cloth treatments are really dirty, check the cleaning instructions and go from there.

Wash your walls and dust the trim along the walls and the windowsills. Dust, wash, rinse and dry painted or paneled walls. Start in the kitchen and bathroom and go from there.

Dust ceiling lights and ceiling fans. These collect a lot of dust and are often forgotten.

Dust your air vents or vacuum them with an attachment.

Clean your refrigerator coil. Click here for more refrigerator cleaning tips, if you’re really ambitious.

Vacuum and shampoo your carpets or treat yourself to a professional cleaning.

Clean out those closets. What didn’t you wear this past season? Do you need to keep it or can you donate it?

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries.

Replace your furnace filters.

Clean the chimney or have it professionally cleaned.

This may seem like a lot to do, but you will be glad you did when winter is here and you’re cozy, warm and safe inside!

Don’t Flush Your Time Away: Tips for Keeping a Clean Bathroom

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Don’t flush another weekend day away in the bathroom. Make cleaning the bathroom easy and make keeping your bathroom clean throughout the week a snap, with these tips.

Start at night. Before you go to bed at night, wipe down your sink, tub, faucets, toilet and other surfaces. Make this task easy by keeping disposable bathroom wipes under your sink or hidden somewhere in your bathroom. Make a quick wipe down the last thing you do before you go to bed. Then when you wake up in the morning, you’re welcomed by a fresh bathroom that rather than one that is covered in toothpaste spatters, dust or hair.

Use your fans. Stop mildew from forming in your bathrooms by increasing your air circulation. Use fans during the shower and for about a half hour after. Other options are to use your air conditioner in the summer, use a dehumidifier and/or open your windows in the bathroom.

Get rid of mildew easily. If you have grout in your bathroom – and many of us do – mildew can form in it easily. The grout absorbs oils from shampoo, conditioners an soaps and spread on the tiles it surrounds. Mix 10 parts of water with 1 part bleach and scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Then clean with a pH-neutral cleaner like Simply Green or Meyers Multisurface to remove the bleach.

Give your tub a scrub. Combine equal amounts of cream of tartar and baking soda with enough lemon juice to make a paste. Rub the mixture into the stain with your fingers or a soft cloth. Let sit for a half hour, then rinse well with water. Your tub stains will go down the drain!

Give your cleaning products a chance to work for you. Let your cleaning products do the hard labor. Sometimes they need to be on the surfaces they are going to clean for a bit before you start to scrub. For example, bleach will do the hard work if you pour a cup into the toilet bowl, brush around the sides and under the rim and then let it set for five or more minutes before flushing and rinsing. You can move onto your next job as the toilet seems to clean itself.

Keep drains from clogging. Once every month give your pipes a good preventative cleaning to keep them clear of grease, oil and hair clogs. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup white vinegar. The mixture will foam up. Let stand for a few minutes to dissolve fatty acids, then pour boiling water down the drain to wash out any clogs.

Get your cabinets and drawers in order. Clean out your drawers, medicine cabinet and other storage spaces and then use the space! You’ll see your bathroom is clutter-free and instantly more clean looking when the things that were on your counter are put neatly away.

Don’t reserve dryer sheets just for the laundry room. You can use them to quickly and easily nab hair and dust bunnies from the floor without dragging out the vacuum cleaner.

Don’t swear by the bar of soap. Replace bar soap with liquid soap with a pump at the sink. Eliminating the grimy soap dish with help your sink and counter top stay cleaner.

Let your showers rain down. If a shower head becomes clogged with mineral deposits, fill a plastic bag with undiluted white vinegar and place the bag over the head so it is submerged and seal the bag with a rubber band. Soak overnight and then scrub the face with a toothbrush.

No one likes to clean the bathroom, but everyone likes a clean bathroom! Share these tips with your friends and make house cleaning less of a chore.

Vinegar Keeps Your Home Clean and Fresh, Inexpensively!

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Keep it clean with vinegar. Vinegar is one of the most versatile items we keep in our kitchens and can save you money or provide you with a cleaner when you are in a pinch. Here are some tips on when and where to use vinegar and when and where NOT to use vinegar.

In Your Kitchen
In the Fridge: You don’t want to spray chemicals in your refrigerator, so use a 50-50 vinegar-water mix. Keep a spray bottle of the mixture in your refrigerator for a quick clean up at any time.

Down the Drain: Pour a little vinegar onto a scrub brush that fits down the drain. Sprinkle a little baking soda on the brush and scrub to remove the odors and any build up.

In the Microwave: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 2-3 minutes until it boils. Wipe your microwave clean when the mixture is safe to touch.

On Reusable Plastic Containers: Wipe a coating of vinegar on the plastic containers stained with spaghetti sauce, soup or any other leftovers you stored. Let them sit for an hour or two, and wash as usual. Good as new!

In the Bathroom
In the Toilet: Pour a cup of vinegar in the toilet. Let sit overnight. The next morning, sprinkle with baking soda, scrub, then flush. If the toilet is really stained, you may need to empty the water first.

Down the Drain or in the Tub: Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar around a closed drain and let sit several hours. Scrub to remove buildup. Drain and rinse.

In the Shower: Bring vinegar to a boil, then wipe it on the walls and shower door. Keep them damp by wiping them down every 5 to 8 minutes for 30 minutes. Then, dampen a non scratch sponge in vinegar, sprinkle with baking soda, and scrub. Rinse. You can watch germs, stains, mold and more disappear.

On the Shower Head: Pour some vinegar into a plastic bag, and secure it to your shower head with a twist-tie. Make sure there’s enough vinegar so the bottom part of the shower head is submerged. Leave the bag on overnight. Remove the next morning before showering.

As a Disinfectant
Wipe it on: Use a 50-50 vinegar-water mix to wipe down telephones, doorknobs, faucet handles and more.

What NOT to Clean with Vinegar
As versatile as vinegar is, there are still some things you don’t want to use vinegar to clean.

Do not use vinegar on granite and marble counter tops. The acid in vinegar can ruin natural stone. Use a mild dish soap and warm water.

Do not use vinegar on stone floor tiles. The acid in vinegar (and lemons) can ruin the floors. Use a special stone soap.

Do not use vinegar to clean egg. If you are the victim of the old egg throw, don’t use vinegar to try to clean egg off your car or home. It will cause the egg to coagulate and it will be even more difficult to clean.

Do not use vinegar to clean your iron. It can seriously damage the internal pieces of an iron. Follow the instructions that come with the iron to clean it properly.

Do not use vinegar to clean hardwood floors. Some people say they use vinegar solutions to seal and clean their floors and it works great. Others say it damages their floors. Why take chances?

Use vinegar where you can for  clean house and for some money savings.