Home Projects for the Valentine’s Day Honey-Do List

Dad does it all

Sure! Flowers are nice and dinner out is almost always a success. But if you really want to say, “I love you,” try one of these easy February home maintenance projects and show what it really means to love someone!

Freshen up the bedrooms.
Wash all of your sheets and blankets and run them through the sanitize cycle on your washing machine. Are your pillows able to go in the washer? Wash those, too! And any bed covers that can be washed should be and others should go to the dry cleaners. Fresh bedding makes for a fresher home.

Dust the places no one sees.
So we dust our table tops, shelves and book cases. But how often do we dust those places no one sees? February is the perfect month to dust the tops of door frames, dust window ledges and wall boards. Dust all the lamp shades and bulbs, too.You’ll be surprised at how much brighter everything looks because you do this task.

Clean your windows.
Let the winter sun warm your house up even more (or make it sparkle anyway!) by washing the windows. You may not be able to do the outside windows in the cold weather, but you’ll see an immediate improvement in your home, if you simply clean the insides of the windows. Dust the blinds and spot clean your curtains.

Clean under your furniture.
You don’t have to vacuum the entire house if you don’t want to (but you will when you start this project!), but move the couches and the chairs and tables and vacuum beneath them. If there’s a place that you usually work around, then now is the perfect time to move it and clean where no one sees.

Wipe the places that get touched a lot!
Take some time to clean the places that never get cleaned but should. Wipe down the legs of chairs and tables, door knobs and light switches, and the knobs on all cabinets and drawers. If you touch it to turn it on or off or to open or close something, clean it today!

Clean small kitchen appliances.
Do you have a spotless microwave and an oven so clean you are proud to leave the door open? Yet, if someone were to look at the bottom of your mixer, they’d see cake batter from two years ago? It’s time to clean your small kitchen appliances. Wipe down your mixers; change the filters on your coffee pot and run a water vinegar mix through it; shake out the toaster crumbs. What other appliances can you find to clean?

These are six Valentine’s Day Honey-Do jobs that will prove you love everyone in your home, and yourself, too! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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.

Clean Your Home with Household Items You Already Have on Hand

Dogs work is never done

Getting ready to do an annual fall cleaning and purge? You may have some items in your house that can do double duty – a lid may be a coaster; a sponge may be a furniture cleaner. Here are some household items that may have a second or third use, and they may just make your life a little easier.

No scrub pad? Use aluminum foil. Crumple a handful and scour to polish stainless steel pots – don’t use this on non-stick pots and pans, of course!

Use Pam or another cooking spray to dissolve soap scum. Spray your shower glass with cooking spray and leave for 30 minutes. The oil slides between the glass and the soap scum, making it easy to wash. Wipe off with soapy water (use a wet sponge with a drop of dish washing liquid).

Dog and cat hair on your furniture? Lightly dampen a sponge, and rub it across upholstery. It will easily lift pet hair.

Use baking soda to clean greasy dishes. Add two tablespoons of baking soda to the usual amount of dish washing liquid you use. It will give your detergent a powerful boost and easily clean greasy dishes.

Coffee can lids can keep your pantry and refrigerator clean. Use a plastic lid from a coffee can as a coaster. Slip it under containers that might drip – honey, jams/jellies, salad dressings. You’ve saved yourself from cleaning a sticky mess.

Dryer sheets can keep dust off your television and PC screens, which are electrically charged and attract dust. Dryer sheets remove dust and prevent it from resettling for several days. Polish glass screens with the sheets after they’ve been in the dryer, for a softer texture.

Feed your plants with water you’ve used to cook. If your water doesn’t have salt in it, it’s perfect for your plants after it’s cooled.

Freshen almost anything in your house with a cotton ball saturated with one of your favorite fragrances. Use an essential oil such as lavender, or use lemon juice or lemon, orange or cinnamon extract or vanilla. Try placing one in your vacuum cleaner to have the scent pushed throughout the room while you clean. You can also put a wet cotton ball on a shelf in your fridge to act as a deodorizer.

The good news about all of these tips is that they are easy to do and you most likely already have everything you need! They are sure to put the spring in your step when you’re spring cleaning.

Want more ideas? Check out 43 Truly Extraordinary Uses for Household Staples You Already Own.

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. 

Surprised by Unexpected Guests? Give Your Home a 20-Minute Quick Clean

Guests come to visit and see new house

Did you just get a text saying your old friend is in the neighborhood and she’s stopping by? You may not have a lot of time to freshen up your home, but maybe you don’t need it. Fake your way to a clean house with a 20-minute quick clean!

Does the smell of last night’s dinner still linger? Control some smells! Start by popping open some windows and turn on a fan to circulate the stale air. Then put some cookie dough in the oven – easy to do if you store some in your refrigerator to use in a pinch. You’ll get twice the bang for your buck a pleasant smelling house and sweet treats to share.

Clear the clutter. Now is the time for a “teen clean.” You remember those days, when you threw everything in a laundry basket and hid it in a closet. That works when you’re an adult, too.

Tidy your sitting space. The next place to tackle is the room you’ll be sitting in. Do a quick dusting, pick up any magazines, socks, cat toys, or whatever you find in the room that you wish wasn’t there. Toss them in the laundry basket. Work a room from right to left or left to right so you don’t miss anything and you have an easy pattern for success. Have five more minutes? Run a vacuum around this room and the hall leading to the room, and the entry way.

Disinfect with ease. You know those disinfectant wipes you store under your bathroom sink? Now’s the time to pull them out and run a few around the toilet and the sink (and even the tub!). Your bathroom will sparkle in no time. No wipes? Paper towel and an all-purpose spray will work just as well. And while you’re at it, empty the waste basket. And the last step? Put in a fresh hand towel, and make sure you have toilet paper and soap.

Do the dishes. Or at least move any dishes you have in the sink to the dishwasher. Dishwasher full? Empty it or wash the dishes by hand. In the end, you’ll wish you had emptied the dishwasher, so go ahead and get that done if you can.

And remember: A spouse and kids are the greatest Quick Clean helpers around.

And remember this, too: Don’t apologize if you’re house isn’t spotless. You weren’t anticipating guests.

And the best news of all: Your house is clean enough! You can take a break on the weekend (after you put the things in the laundry basket where they belong).