Remember, plants get dusty too. You can clean small plants in the kitchen sink, and
larger ones enjoy a shower in the bathroom.
Always disinfect doorknobs, switchplates and telephones. They collect germs from
everyone who touches them.
Remove hair spray from a mirror with a little rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth.
Linen closets can be a jumbled mess, especially when you have children making
their own beds. Organize bed linens in sets. Fold flat sheet in half twice lengthwise,
then fold fitted sheet the same way and lay it on top of the flat folded sheet. Add one
or two pillow cases folded long ways and roll them all together into a neat roll.
Whoever is making the bed can grab only a roll instead of rummaging around and
making a mess.
Spray broom or dust mop with you favorite furniture polish and the dust and dirt will
be easier to collect when you sweep.
Freshen curtains in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet and a damp towel.
If you can't reach the cobwebs with your feather duster, use the detached vacuum
wand as an extension.
Spray furniture polish on hard to clean ashtrays. Ashes then dump out without
If You've Got Allergies
* Air condition your home.
* Keep bathrooms free of mold and mildew.
* Avoid pets or restrict them to certain areas.
* Damp mop hard surfaces regularly.
* Enclose your fireplace.
* Fluff drapes and rugs in dryer to remove dust.
* Use your exhaust fans.
* Vacuum mattresses.
* Don't allow smoking in your home.
* Replace furnace filters frequently.
* Vacuum everything once a week.
* Invest in an ozone-free air cleaner.
Odor and Moisture Removal
To get rid of odor you have to remove the source, not just cover the odor up with
perfumed air freshener. Clean up and disinfect. Kill the germs that cause most
household odors. The quicker you get after odors, the easier they are to remove.
Mix Your Own Cleaning Solutions
* Ammonia, diluted with 3 parts water in an empty spray bottle can be used to clean
windows, appliances and countertops. Full strength it can remove wax build-up from
the kitchen floor.
* An excellent way to scour copper and brass is 1/2 cup vinegar mixed with 1
* Full strength pine oil is great for deodorizing garbage cans, and scrubbing the
kitchen and bathroom floor.
* Baking soda can be used instead of scouring powder and also removes stains and
odors from refrigerators and coffee pots.
* A sprinkle of dry baking soda before vacuuming will freshen the carpeting. Try it as
a deodorizer for diaper pails and kitty litter.
Get to them quickly with a solution of dish detergent and water.
Cleaning Up After Pets
Removing pet hair
On carpeting, use a vacuum with a good beater brush or brush roll. Plain vacuums
don't generate sufficient lift to pick up all the pet hair from the floor.
Speed removal of pet hair from fabrics and upholstery with a pet rake, a brush with
crimped nylon bristles. Use light, even strokes to remove the hair. Velour brushes,
tape rollers and even tape wrapped around your hand also will work. Both pet supply
and home stores sell "pet sponges," which are used dry on both upholstery and
carpets. They can be an especially good option for hard-to-reach corners and
edges where hair tends to collect. As long as dampness won't harm the fabric, you
can also use a slightly dampened sponge or even the rubber bottom of a clean
To remove a pet urine stain, dilute the spot using a cloth dampened with water.
Then, clean the area with an acid solution consisting of one quart water mixed with
one teaspoon white vinegar.
If necessary, you can apply a pet bacteria/enzyme digester according to the
directions. You can find these products at any pet store; they effectively counter
both the stain and the odor. Even if the stain has disappeared or our human noses
can no longer smell anything, a pet will repeatedly return to the same spot if he can
still smell his own odor. Here are some other hints:
* Be sure to use enough bacteria/enzyme digester to penetrate the carpet and pad.
* Keep in mind that digesters work well but slowly. Leave the solution on as long as
* After applying the solution, cover with plastic and step on the spot several times
until the area is well saturated.
* Keep the plastic on the entire time the digester is working to make sure the spot
doesn't dry out.
If the stain is older, it may be nearly impossible to remove, but try the digester. If the
site has seen multiple accidents, the bacteria breaking down the stain may actually
create a superalkaline state that interferes with the digester's intended action. In this
case, follow these steps:
* After the bacteria digester has been working for about four hours, neutralize the
spot by mixing a solution of one cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water.
* Rinse the area with the vinegar solution.
* Apply a fresh batch of bacteria/enzyme digester solution.
You might also try buying a hypodermic needle from your local pharmacy and filling it
with your favorite perfume or potpourri. You'll need to inject both the carpet and the
pad for it to work. If you still have a problem, have the carpet cleaned by extraction. It
may even be necessary to replace the pad underneath.
If your pet has an upset stomach on your carpet, cleanup may be trickier. The
extremely acidic nature of vomit can cause the acid dyes in the carpet to move,
permanently damaging the carpet. Dyes in your pet's food or medicine may also
combine with the strong stomach acid to stain your flooring. That's why it's essential
to neutralize or at least dilute the acid as quickly as possible to minimize damage. To
bring the carpet back to a neutral pH:
* Treat the affected area using a professional carpet detergent.
* Rinse the area with clean hot water.
* Extract the soiled solutions away from the carpet.
If the stains cannot be removed, carpet dyeing may be a good option. While not as
permanent as factory dyeing, spot dyeing will solve the problem of bleached carpet.