Repair & Maintenance

House cleaning tips - part two

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Here are some simple, yet effective, ways to clean your home.
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There's no need to buy expensive and sometimes not so environmentally safe cleaners.

The mix-it-yourself cleaners listed below use environmentally friendly ingredients that you are likely to have right in your home. You'll not only being save yourself some big bucks on commercial cleaners, but you'll also be helping to save the environment. You'll be astounded how simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar do such a fabulous cleaning job on a variety of surfaces. Another great article is, natural cleaning supplies, it offers more natural cleaning supply tips that will be environmentally friendly as well as financially friendly. Note: If you're not sure a solution is right for the surface, test it on a small area first.

Glass cleaner - Great for windows and mirrors 2 cups water 1/2 cup white or cider vinegar 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (70 percent concentration) 1 to 2 drops of orange essential oil, which gives the solution a lovely smell (optional)

How to use: Combine ingredients and store in a spray bottle. Spray some solution on a paper towel or soft cloth first, then on the glass. To get smudge-free glass, rub vertically on one side and horizontally on the other. Hint: Don't clean windows on a hot, sunny day, because the solution will dry too quickly and leave lots of streaks.

Heavy-duty scrub - great for: Rust stains on porcelain or enamel sinks and tubs Half a lemon 1/2 cup borax (a laundry booster; find it in the detergent aisle)

How to use: Dip lemon into borax and scrub surface; rinse. (Not safe for marble or granite.)

Grease cleaner - great for: oven hoods, grills

1/2 cup sudsy ammonia mixed with enough water to fill a one-gallon container. (Sudsy ammonia, which has detergent in it, helps remove tough grime.)

How to use: Dip sponge or mop in solution and wipe over surface, then rinse area with clear water.

All-purpose cleaner and deodorizer - great for kitchen counters, appliances, and inside the refrigerator

4 tablespoons baking soda 1 quart warm water How to use: Pour solution on a clean sponge and wipe.

Special-Purpose Cleaners house cleaning tips for special surfaces

1. Last-resort clothing stain remover 1 gallon hot water 1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent 1 cup regular liquid chlorine bleach (not ultra or concentrate) How to use: Use only on badly stained washable or bleachable garments. Mix and pour ingredients into a stainless steel, plastic, or enamel bowl (not aluminum). Soak garment for 15 to 20 minutes. If stain is still there, let it soak a bit longer, then wash garment as usual.

2. White-ring remover One part white non-gel toothpaste to one part baking soda

How to use: Dampen a cloth with water, add toothpaste mixture, and rub with the grain to buff over the ring. Then take a dry cloth and wipe off. Use another soft cloth for a final shine. Polish as you normally would. Not safe for unfinished wood, lacquer, or antiques.

3. Dishwasher stain remover 1/4 cup powdered lemon or orange drink

How to use: To remove rust from the inside walls, pour the powder (which contains citric acid or citric acid crystals) into the detergent cup and then run a regular cycle. Repeat as necessary.

4. Marble cleaner Mild dishwashing liquid (non-citrus-scented) Warm water How to use: Mix a drop or two of detergent with 2 cups warm water. Sponge over marble and rinse completely to remove any soap residue. Buff with a soft cloth; do not let the marble air-dry.

Caution: Never use vinegar, lemon, or any other acidic cleaner on marble or granite surfaces; it will eat into the stone.

5.Brass cleaner White vinegar or lemon juice Table salt

How to use: For non-lacquered brass, dampen a sponge with vinegar or lemon juice, then sprinkle on salt. Lightly rub over surface. Rinse thoroughly with water, then dry well immediately with a clean soft cloth.

Safety Tip

Never combine ammonia-based cleaners with chlorine bleach or products containing bleach, such as powdered dishwasher detergent. The fumes they'll create are extremely dangerous.

Of all the house cleaning tips, this is the most important! Before doing any mixing, read the product labels first.

Happy cleaning!

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