I was one of those kids who eagerly wanted to help her mom and dad with everything she saw them doing. This meant I learned a variety of things from how to boil my whites to cleaning spark plugs on a 68 Pontiac Tempest. I have learned what feels like a million cleaning tips over the years. Here are the top five that I feel have helped me clean smarter and cheaper!
Cleaning Smarter: 5 Quick Tips
1) When cleaning start at the top of a project and work down.
There is nothing worse then spending lots of time cleaning a floor to only then realize your next chore, like dusting the ceiling or brushing crumbs off a table, will only get that floor dirty again.
2) When dusting/cleaning a popcorn ceiling try using the brush attachment on your vacuum.
This one took a lot of trial and error and advice from a lot of friends & family. Growing up we never had popcorn ceilings because my mom hated cleaning them so I never learned any quick tips growing up. As an adult my aunt gave me some advice on how she cleaned hers from lint rolling the ceiling to using a peroxide or bleach solution to remove dirt stains. It wasn’t until I was using the brush attachment on my vacuum to get cob webs off a light fixture that I and an “AHAH!” Moment. Since then I have used my vacuum brush attachment for a variety of uses from ceilings to baseboards. The most common use for that brush attachment is upholstery and drapes/curtains.
3) Baking soda, Vinegar and Peroxide have more than the usual noted applications.
Baking soda has many functions from keeping enclosed area smelling fresh to using as an abrasive agent in scrubbing. The combination of baking soda with vinegar to clean a sink and keep drains smelling fresh is my favorite. Add a 1/4 cup of baking soda to a damp sink and scrub. Then pour in up to 2 cups of vinegar to wash the baking soda down the drain.
A move from the city to the country meant a change from sewer to septic and a re-thinking of cleaning agents we could use in our sinks, bathtubs and toilets. To be safe I did away with a lot of regular household cleaners opting for old fashioned homemade versions.
Vinegar is great to rinse out a litter box; add a cup to a load of really smelly laundry; and to clean windows. I keep a spray bottle filled with just vinegar to clean up floors and surfaces where an animal may have had an accident like hard wood or linoleum. Spray the area, let sit for a minute and then wipe up. Repeating this action once provides mental security that the area is clean.
The hardest cleaning agents to give up were for the bathroom. A good combination to fight soap scum is baking soda and vinegar but mold was a constant fight. Through some research, talking to my mom, and a happy accident around my bathroom sink I found out peroxide is good at treating mold and mold like scum. Squirt a good amount of peroxide on the area (watch it bubble) and leave it for up to ten minutes. Wipe the area and re-apply if needed. Sometimes a little baking soda is needed for some extra abrasiveness.
Each of these products has multiple applications for cleaning. If you are interested in learning more do a couple of google searches and check out websites for brand name versions of the products as those site are always good for that type of reference.
4) Turning dingy white into brighter whites by boiling them.
Several years back when I mentioned how I had a productive morning including boiling my whites I had several question marks and lots of curious friends. To me it was just another chore I had been doing since I was a kid. Admittedly it is a chore I neglect often but I also avoid owning white clothes and linens as much as possible.
Start with a large pasta pot, fill it half full with water and bring it to a boil. Then add a few items, making sure not to over crowd, ad some dish detergent like dawn, and boil for ten to 15 minutes. For really tough stains my mom used to add about a 1/2 cup of borax or cascade. She liked using cascade on baby items as she felt it gave a gentler touch.
Interested in reading more on this tip? Check out Organic Authority.
5) Why have two when one will do?
If time is money to you then organization and space are key to saving you time while cleaning. Why buy a new tool on the market that only has one application?
Thanks to the attachments on my vacuum I can clean the floors as well as baseboards and ceilings. Vacuums are great cob web removers and work better than most dusters that can get stuck to the ceiling! Investing in one with multiple tools/uses can save space, time and eventually money. Not all good vacuums have to cost an arm and a leg! Sometimes a model just costing $20 more than the basic one is all you need.
Another point here is that when I clean I want to easily find what I need to get the job done. I don’t want to dig through a bin of chemicals or a closet packed with brooms, vacuums of various sizes, and other cleaning tools. After making the move to have only a few household chemicals or cleaning supplies, I also organized my cleaning tools and got rid of things I no longer really used.
Truth is I don’t need more than a broom, mop, rags and vacuum, as well as a few cleaning agents. Each tool can be used for multiple projects.
- If I have to wash my walls (indoor or outside) my sponge mop and Swiffer wet helps with that.
- Sponge mops also work great on washing baseboards.
- My car brush works great on scrubbing the walls on our front porch.
- I do love using Mr. Clean magic erasers for getting rid of tough marks on the wall as well as dirt stains from the white parts of my sneakers!
- Q-tips and old toothbrushes are great for getting grime out of tight places! For an insanely tight place try using a toothpick.