02/26/2014

Enemy in the Fridge, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 10:20 pm by cleaningproz

If you read our previous post, I’m pretty sure you don’t think mold is a good thing (except in a few select cheeses such as Brie and Gorgonzola.  Yum.)  But how do we keep mold from growing on food?

You may think refrigerating fresh produce is the best way to deter mold, but that’s actually the opposite of what you should do in many cases.  If you  the berries you bought at the supermarket were in the refrigerator case, pop them in the refrigerator as soon as you get home. If you bought tomatoes at room temperature, keep them out on the counter.

Exposing foods to different temperatures and changing levels of humidity can encourage mold growth. 

Remember the old adage, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch”?  Well, it happens to be true, but as I write this it seems pretty stupid, because  apples don’t come in bunches, do they?  But I digress.  If you are given to buying produce by the box or bag–think Costco size–it’s best to bring it home and spread it all out and inspect each one for discoloration or mushy places.  Throw any offenders into the trash, because they really will contaminate the whole bunch.

It is not a good idea to buy berries of any kind in bulk unless you’re going to use them right away.  Their soft skin and high moisture content make them especially susceptible to mold.  Buy only as much as you can use in the next few days.  And inspect the whole container before you use them.

Check the rubber door seal of your refrigerator.  If you see any telltale grey, wash the seal with a 50:50 vinegar and water solution.  Rinse thoroughly.  Also pay particular attention to any drawers or containers that have had moldy food in them.

Okay, so these last two posts have been kind of, well, yucky.  I’m not having any fun writing them either, if truth be told.  But this is all a part of housekeeping.  So we hope it’s been helpful.  If you’re just not “into” cleaning out your refrigerator, call a good housecleaning service and have them do it.  All the housekeeping tips in the world won’t substitute for getting the job done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02/12/2014

Enemy in the Fridge, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 9:12 pm by cleaningproz

It seems like every time we turn around someone is telling us how very afraid we must be.  Or is it just me…?

But if you or another in your house suffers from asthma, sinusitis  or allergies; or has a compromised immune system due to chronic illness (especially of the lungs), chemotherapy, etc. you do need to be very  afraid of a danger that lurks in your refrigerator.  Namely, mold.  You know, those greenish or blackish spots on top of the sour cream, the nasty grey fuzzy on your tomato.

Mold can also be growing without the telltale spots.  Yogurt, for instance, with a swelled container or slightly mildewy or fermented smell or off taste may well be moldy and can be particularly dangerous.  And it can literally grow overnight.

Some mold species even produce poisonous substances called mycotoxins.  The most dangerous of these is aflatoxin which is principally found in peanuts and grain in developing countries.  But if you buy a bag of peanuts and notice a moldy smell or blackened areas on any of the nuts or a foul taste, throw them away!  Aflatoxins are nothing to fool around with.

Now, no one likes to throw away food if they don’t have to.  It’s tempting to just remove the offending spots and eat what’s left.  And sometimes you can do that.  For instance, it’s safe to trim off mold on hard foods such as cheddar cheese, just cut off at least one inch all around the spot; but be sure to keep the knife away from the mold so it doesn’t contaminate the rest of the food.  The rest of the cheese is fine to eat.

But molds are filamentous organisms, which means they can have long thread-like filaments which can grow under the surface that you can’t see.  These threads grow rapidly in foods that have a high liquid content.  So it’s better to throw out the whole container rather than taking a chance.  The same is true for bread.  If one piece has mold on it (and just why is it always just one piece?) throw out the entire loaf.

Housekeeping entails so many things.  Keeping the refrigerator clean and organized is just one small facet.  And when we’re super busy it’s easy to neglect those things behind closed doors.  But dealing with mold is more than just good house cleaning.  It can be a matter of health.

Our next post will talk about preventing mold in the first place.  It’s worth a read.

Please, as always, weigh in on your experiences, suggestions or–God forbid–criticism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

04/26/2012

(Almost) Instant Bedroom Cleaning Tips

Posted in housecleaning tips, housekeeping tips, speed cleaning tagged , , , at 8:18 pm by cleaningproz

The one overarching, guiding principle in making quick work of housekeeping is this:  Neatness Counts! Neat and not-so-clean beats clean and not-so-neat every time. Even our housekeepers have been fooled by a neat house that looks clean even though layers of dirt may be hiding most everywhere! So pick up. Hang up. Straighten. De-clutter. You’ll be well on your way to a great looking house.

  • Make your bed. Always. Every day.  It’ll only take a minute (literally) and makes you feel so much better about your house and yourself.
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper. Don’t even think about throwing them on the floor! Ever.
  • Spend 30 seconds hanging up anything you’ve worn that day that’s good for another wearing. Your bedroom will look better and your clothes won’t be so wrinkled.
  • Empty the wastebasket. Fold a bunch of fresth trash liners and place them in the bottom of the receptacle to make quick work of this task next time.  By the way, an open top wastebasket is said to be bad feng shui.  If you can’t hide the wastebasket, check out one of those cute bullet shaped ones from Umbra on www.Amazon.com. They have a swing top and come in several fun colors.
  • Clear the top of your dresser. Use a basket or designate the top dresser drawer to stash clutter.

Each of these tasks take a minute or less, but oh, what a difference they make. Try it.

04/02/2012

Don’t Flush Those Wipes

Posted in housecleaning tips, housekeeping tips tagged , , , at 6:08 pm by cleaningproz

Disposable wipes make everyday house cleaning a breeze. And of course they’re indispensable for baby bottoms! But please don’t flush them down the toilet– even if they are labeled “flushable.”

The label simply means they will go down your toilet when flushed. What you need to be concerned about is what happens next.

Unlike toilet paper, wipes do not disintegrate in water. They stay pretty much intact as they travel through the sewer pipes and can get caught on roots or other debris, increasing the likelihood of a clog..

So, throw away any cleaning/disinfecting wipes, moist towelettes, personal hygiene products, etc., in the trash, never in your toilet.  Clogged sewer lines are ugly and expensive to fix. Trashing disposable wipes is such an easy way to prevent trouble.

02/09/2012

Housecleaning Help: How to Motivate Your Family to Help

Posted in housekeeping tips, How To tagged , , , , , at 11:47 pm by cleaningproz

We thought the following post was fun and had some good ideas for working with children.  It’s from our “online friends” at baglessvacuumcleaners.com. Check out their web site if you are in the market for a new vacuum. It’s loaded with good information.

For most of us,  home cleaning is our job and responsibility. Sure it’s great when the housekeeper arrives, but for the in-between days we would also like a clean home, no?!  For years I struggled with motivating my husband and children to help me keep a clean  house. As soon as I uttered the two magic words “cleanup time” they all disappeared. My daughter would find a book, the two middles would run outside to their bikes, and I would be left with the baby and the mess. I tried doing my usual motivational stuff like charts and giving monetary rewards, but after a week either it lost its appeal or the cost was too big. Thankfully, I have read up on effective parenting techniques and the ideas outlined below have inspired me.

  1. Clean with Them

Over the years that I have spent together with my children I have realized a rule when it comes to dealing with them. “A child would do anything to be together with Mom.” If you think you are dispensable in the home, think again. Your child will clean happily if allowed the chance to do it together with you. Now, I know it takes double the time and effort when a youngster wants to “help” but by doing it together the first couple of times you teach them how to do it right and then you can step back. Children that were taught how to keep a home clean will not grow up to be one of those spoiled brats that live in a dump while in college. They will have the skills and the know how to succeed. The greatest gift you can give your child is clean together with them.

  1. Make Cleaning Fun

All it takes is some creativity on Moms part for the fun to get started. You can convert any chore on your to do list into a fun and exciting project. Here are some ideas to get your creativity running.

  • Shows and plays. My children enjoy dressing up like anything they want and then using their imagination to clean their room in a fun way. I often join them in the festivities and we make up a show as we go along. (never forgetting the main goal)
  • Make liberal use of Soap and Water. All children enjoy the sensation of soap bubbles and water, so I make liberal use of it. If I have lots of little toys to wash like Lego pieces I’ll dump everything into the bathtub together with one lucky child. He gets to rinse every piece and throw it back into the container. If we are washing outdoor furniture I’ll spray everyone up with my outdoor hose after we are done cleaning.
  • Bang up some Noise. Young boys need the stimulation of loud sounds, so I take advantage of that. I will give the bagless canister vacuum cleaner to one of my boys and direct them to the carpet. They all fight for the privilege of using the bagless canister vacuum cleaner.

 [M1]

01/06/2012

Anti-bacterial Soaps: Unecessary and Dangerous

Posted in Green Cleaning, housekeeping tips tagged , , , , , at 8:43 pm by cleaningproz

Anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners have become quite the rage (read “marketing success”) haven’t they?  And it sounds so good. I mean, who doesn’t want to avoid germs these days?!  I mean, what’s a clean house all about?

But what if I told you that anti-bacterial soaps  have not been proven any more effective than regular soap in preventing infection among average consumers?  Would that make you stop and think?  Okay, so what if I also told you that the substances that make a soap anti-bacterial are actually herbicides, pesticides and fungicides?  Would that make you say, Whao?

Some of these “active ingredients” have been linked to some serious health problems including liver, kidney and digestive damage; behavioral problems in children; damage to the nervous system; and brain development and reproductive defects. Even more, overuse of these products can impair the body’s ability to fight off common infections.

The bacteria fighting agent, triclosan, is of particular concern. Unfortunately it is in all kinds of products from liquid soap to acne creams, toothpaste (!) to deodorant, and a slew of household products besides.  Look for triclosan on the labels of things you buy.  It may also be listed under the brand names of Microban, UltraFresh, Amicor and BioFresh. There’s a slew of information on the web about triclosan, but suffice it to say here, You don’t want it in your body if you can help it.

So, do you ever need to use anti-bacterial cleaners?  According to leading microbiologists, they are needed only when someone in a household is seriously ill or has low immunity.  Otherwise, plain old soap and warm water will do just fine.

What can you use instead?  For house cleaning, try soap and hot water,  hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, alcohol or lavender oil either by itself or suspended in a solution of mineral oil.  For hand soaps, try Trader Joe’s “Next to Godliness.”

Hope this helps.  Love to hear your comments!!

12/22/2011

Nine Tips on Organizing For a Stress-Free Holiday Season

Posted in housekeeping tips tagged , , , , , at 12:12 am by cleaningproz

I don’t know about you, but the Holidays always kind of sneak up on me every year.  No matter how early or late I start, it seems there’s always a neighbor or acquaintance I forgot to buy a gift for, or in making my Holiday food list I forget I need Sterno for the hot hors d’oeuvres, or I’m all out of colored tissue paper for the gift bags….  On and on. Can you identify with my angst?

So right after Christmas last year, I made a list of things to remember for Christmas 2011 and it’s made such a difference in how I approached the Holidays this year that I want to share it with you.  See what you think:

1. Who do I need to buy gifts for outside of my family? Friends/Neighbors? Co-workers? Service people (housekeeper, gardener, etc.)?  Other?

2. Do I need to restock any gift wrap supplies:  Paper? Ribbon? Tissue paper? Gift bags? Bows?  Gift tags? Boxes?

3. Do I need shipping supplies:  Paper? Tape? Labels?

4. Do I need to buy anything for decorating the house next year? For setting the table?  For serving?

5. Did I run out of anything else I need to replace?

6. Are there appointments I need to make?  Like getting your house cleaned, for instance ;-)

7. What worked or didn’t work this year in terms of food, activities, gifts?

8. Did I come across any Holiday decorating ideas this year that I’d like to try next year?  Better write them down before you forget!   =)

9.  Are there any gift ideas I want to remember for next year?  (Ditto the above!)

Now, the most important step: grab your calendar for next year (paper or otherwise!) and write down everything you’d like to remember, or set up a Holiday file (paper or otherwise!) and write reminders there.  Do it, or you’ll forget it!!

I know these aren’t exactly our usual housekeeping tips, but in the broadest sense of the word, I think they fit somehow. At any rate, I hope they’re helpful.  And may I be the first to wish you Happy Holidays 2012!!

What else should we add to this list?  Comments?  Suggestions? We’d love to hear from you!

    

     

12/02/2011

Speed Cleaning Tips: Cleaning In Between Housekeeper Visits

Posted in home and garden, housecleaning tips tagged , , , , , at 6:06 pm by cleaningproz

How much you clean between housekeeper visits depends on three things:  1) how often you have housekeeping service  2)  your standards  for an acceptably clean house and 3) the number of high maintenance items you have, like clear glass shower doors, for instance.  But most people find they don’t need to do a lot of cleaning in between times.

  • Keep everything well picked-up.  Try never to go to bed with a messy house.  Get the family involved!  A neat and tidy house automatically looks clean.  Plus, you’ll get a lot more for your housekeeping dollar if the surfaces are clear and ready to be cleaned.
  • Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters. Generally, you don’t have to move everything to clean underneath, but do keep the counters clean and shiney.
  • Clean kitchen sink and appliances as needed.
  • Wipe the spots off bathroom mirrors. Use Windex Wipes in each bathroom to take care of both mirrors and counters.
  • Sweep/vacuum floors. To preserve your carpets for years to come you must vacuum frequently.  If  that’s not an issue for you, you may not even run the vacuum between visits.   S ‘up to you.
  • Squeegee shower doors after each shower. The 30 seconds this takes means no soap buildup.  This too will save your housekeepers time, and you  money.
  • Dust if you have to. If dust allergies are an issue or your conscience demands you dust every day or two, for heaven’s sake buy a good quality lambswool duster (about $10.00 at most any hardware store).  Contrary to what some people think they do not “just spread the dust around,”  they actually attract dust by the natural oil found in lambswool. You won’t believe how easy dusting can be. ( On the other hand, some of us just think of dust as a wood preservative and don’t bother our pretty little heads about it!)

We realize there may be other things that are important to you to do between housekeeper visits, but these are the basics.

Comments?  Please add them below.  We love to hear from you.

 

11/18/2011

It’s All a Matter of Attitude: Making Housework More Enjoyable

Posted in home and garden, housecleaning tips tagged , , at 12:31 am by cleaningproz

Not long ago we came across the following words by one Henry Giles. Since he wrote more than 100 years ago he addressed his remarks to men only. We’ve taken the liberty of changing the gender for our purposes here.

Women must work. That is certain as the sun. But she may work gratefully…. or she may work as a machine. There is no work so rude, that she may not exalt it; no work so impassive, that she may not breathe life into it; no work so dull, that she may not enliven it.”

Take a minute to ponder the implications of those words for all the work you do.

What is your attitude towards housework? The very thought of it makes many a woman shudder. Drudgery. Boredom. Thankless. These are but a few of the words that may spring to mind. On the other hand, in our business we often hear the housekeepers we represent apologize for liking to clean. “I know you will think I’m crazy…,” they will say, or “I hate to admit it, but….”  It’s as if they are confessing to some gross personality disorder.

But, whether you love it or loathe it, there are probably times when your attitude towards house cleaning could stand a little adjustment. If we can learn to enjoy house cleaning more, chances are we will do it better and faster. Housework may seem dull, but with a little wit and imagination we can enliven it.

Cleaning is great exercise. Vigorous house cleaning gives your whole body of work out. If you become conscious of how you are moving, you could work on toning specific muscle groups. It may not replace your regular exercise program, but look at how much you’re accomplishing at the same time.

It can challenge your ingenuity. Think in terms of time-saving, energy-saving, and money-saving techniques and you’ll be amazed at how many new ways of doing things you will come up with.

You can gain a sense of accomplishment. Psychologists tell us that one of the major causes of job dissatisfaction in the modern world is that most people are involved in only small segments of any given job or project; they seldom see the whole. Thus, there is little feeling of pride or accomplishment. But whether you clean one room or the whole house, you have accomplished something tangible, you can see the results.

Housework is a change from the mental to the physical. A nice change of pace, especially if you sit at a desk all week.

Cleaning can provide the opportunity for meditation. Yes, it’s true! There is an aspect of yoga called “housewives meditation”–no, really! This comes about when you are so into the task at hand that you almost become a part of it. Anyone can do it with a little practice, and you will find it a refreshing, revitalizing experience.

You can use your housework time for planning, thinking through problems, dreaming. With our hectic pace, we never have enough time for thoughts such as these.

You can no doubt add ideas of your own to this list. And that very process will make your cleaning time more enjoyable. Try it. You’ll see.

If you live in the San Francisco East Bay, call The Clean Sweep.  We’ll transform your house without you so much as lifting a finger!  Our housekeepers have a great attitude towards house work!

Comments? Questions? We’d love to hear from you.

 

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11/04/2011

How to Erase Tough Toilet Stains

Posted in housecleaning tips, How To tagged , , at 9:56 pm by cleaningproz

Sometimes no matter what you do, a toilet bowl will just not come clean with regular cleaning. Try one of these easy methods:

  • Toss in 2-3 denture cleaning tablets or a can of cola. Let stand overnight.
  • Add 1/4 cup sodium acid sulfate from the pharmacy. Let stand 15 minutes and flush.
  • Pour a bucket of water into the bowl. The toilet will flush, but will not fill again. Now attack the stains with powdered cleanser.  If that is not effective use a pumice stone (available at any hardware store).
  • Extra fine steel wool or wet/dry sandpaper may be used for rust stains–but gently.  If the rust stains still will not come off, use Zud, available at any hardware store, but follow directions very carefully as it is very toxic.

Do you have any other suggestions?  We’d love to hear from you, dear reader.

How to Clean Like a Pro

Posted in cleaning services, home and garden, housecleaning tips tagged , , , , , , , at 7:22 pm by cleaningproz

It’s amazing how much a cleaning professional can get done in a short amount of time.  You could probably clean someone else’s house faster than your own home too.  Why is that?

Think about it:  if you were going to have someone clean your house, what would you do before they came?  Most people make a list of what they want done, get everything  picked up and the kids and pets out from underfoot.  Already, you’re seeing part of the problem, aren’t you. So here are some tips to clean like a pro:

A professional has a list to work from. So what do you want to accomplish on cleaning day?  Psychologists tell us that if you write things down the night before you’re more likely to do them.  So go ahead make a list for yourself.  And stick to it!

A professional doesn’t get sidetracked. Here’s where most of us fall short.  Distraction is your number one enemy!  And truth be told, you’d probably much rather sort through the magazines than, say, scrub the bathtub, but be resolute and stick to your list.  Make a mental note of projects that need to be done and move on.  Don’t get sidetracked.  Don’t even answer the phone, check your emails or Facebook!

A professional (usually) doesn’t have kids to  contend with. If at all possible, clean house when you don’t have little people around. Take them to a sitter, trade with a friend, get your husband to take them to the park.  Be creative.  But don’t try to clean and “mother” at the same time.

A professional (usually) starts with a house that’s straightened. Try to get the house picked up the night before.  Set out your cleaning supplies and list and you’ll be good to go the next morning.

A professional carries all the supplies from room to room. This is far more efficient than getting out and putting back supplies in each room.  And keep cleaning products to a bare minimum.  You don’t need special cleaners for each of your surfaces in spite of what advertisers say.  You’d be amazed at how much of your house can be cleaned with simple soap and hot water!

A professional isn’t interrupted.  Every break in your routine is a time robber.  It takes time to stop what you’re doing, time to start another task, time to complete that task and then more time to start again on what you were doing in the first place!

A professional must work within a certain time frame. Set your own time limit.  Try to improve your time a little each week.  This will keep you moving and on track.  And remember to take a 10-15 minute break somewhere in the middle of your routine.

A professional is paid for her work. Okay, so maybe no one is going to pay you for your efforts, but at least you can do something nice for yourself.  Whether it’s a chocolate chip cookie, time to read or a leisurely bubble bath, give yourself a reward.

If at all possible, give yourself a break every month or two and have a real pro come in and clean.  You’ll be amazed how much easier it is for you to maintain your house in between visits.

Of course, if you are in San Francisco’s East Bay, you need to call The Clean Sweep.  We’ll set you up with just the right professional!

10/20/2011

How to Pack a Suitcase So You Can Love Living Out of It for Weeks at a Time

Posted in housekeeping tips, How To tagged , , , , , at 10:00 pm by cleaningproz

Okay, so this post doesn’t exactly fit into our usual catagories of housekeeping tips, it won’t help you keep a clean house, but I believe I’ve finally come up with a way to organize a carry-on suitcase and to pack that suitcase so you can easily “live” out of that suitcase for at least a couple of weeks.

I started thinking about this a few months ago as I was planning a two-week, three-city trip to France.  I love to travel, but I hate living out of a suitcase.  And I refuse to take more than a carry-on size suitcase.

So here are my packing suggestions that allow you to get far more in your suitcase, and easily see the contents at a glance.

  • Roll all of you knit items–shirts, pants etc.–and place on the bottom of your suitcase leaving about 4″ of space at the wheel end of your suitcase. (This is the space you will eventually fill with shoes).
  • Lay  your non-knits in a flat layer on top of the rolled items. (Put tissue paper in the folds of anything that wrinkles badly).  Place  whatever you want to wear on the first day on the top of this layer along with any accessories needed.
  • Next place pajamas/nightie and toilet articles, etc. on top of this layer so you can access them easily without digging for them.
  •  Use zip lock bags for things like underwear, socks, pajamas–even make-up. Fill the bag, then press all the air out before sealing.  Now everything is organized and compact.
  • For larger items buy a few Space Bags at spacebags.com or Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco, Target or Walmart. These are clear plastic bags that you just fill and then roll (or sit on!) so as to express all the air, and zip closed.  They protect against dirt, bugs moisture and odor.  With a Space Bag you can easily pack a full-size pillow in your suitcase. (I did).  You may want to pack an extra bag for dirty laundry.
  • Buy 2-3 little spray bottles (wherever travel size toilet articles are sold).  One for fabric refresher the other for water. You’d be surprised how easily most wrinkles come out with a little spritz of water!  Ditto for baggy knees of knit pants.
  • Instead of slippers, pack an extra pair of socks. Use a sweater instead of a bathrobe.
  • Pack no more than three pairs of shoes, one on top of another, at the wheels end of the suitcase, so they stay put when you roll your suitcase.

The beauty of this method is that by just removing your second layer, you can see at a glance all the neatly rolled knit items underneath.  So you choose what you want to wear, put layer 2 back, and you’re on your way. Nothing gets messed up, there’s no reorganizing and repacking the suitcase like you have to do when everything is folded flat one on top of the other.

We’re willing to bet you have some good packing tips of your own. Please share!

09/23/2011

Housekeeping 101: A Dozen Time-Savers for Your Home

Posted in housekeeping tips tagged , , , , , , at 11:29 pm by cleaningproz

Here are a few of our favorite time-saving tips. Because we know that even if you have professional housekeeping help there’s still plenty of things to do in between visits.

  • Once every six months or so give your wood cutting boards a good oil-down with vegetable oil. Let it stand overnight and wipe off the residue in the morning. The oil keeps the board from staining.
  • Lint on your dark colored clothes?  Remove it by adding a cup of white vinegar to the wash, and stop putting white towels in with black shirts! Also your black clothes will not fade as fast if you wash them inside out.
  • Cleaning silk flower is easy. Just put them in a paper bag with some salt and shake, shake, shake. The salt with absorb the dust and leave your flowers looking like new.
  • Spray your Tupperware with Pam before pouring in a tomato-based sauce and there won’t be any stains!
  • To remove stuck-on food in your casserole dish, fill it with boiling water and add a few tablespoons of salt or baking soda. Let it stand overnight if necessary.
  • To remove rust from baking pans, scour them with a cut potato dipped in powdered cleanser.
  • Brown grease marks on your pots, chrome burner rings, etc. soak them in ammonia overnight.
  • To remove a water stain from a glass vase, simply fill with water and drop in a couple of Alka Seltzer tablets.
  • Get rid of the smell of garlic on your hands by rubbing them on stainless steel. Who thinks of these things??
  • Boiling a cup of water in your microwave oven will loosen the particles and all you have to do is give it a quick wipe.
  • Use liquid body wash in the shower instead of soap and never deal with soap build-up again. How easy is that?
  • Make quick work of getting out a blood stain by using hydrogen peroxide available at any drug store.

Okay, that’s our dozen for today. What housekeeping tips can you add?

09/09/2011

Six of Our Favorite House Cleaning Tips

Posted in housecleaning tips, housekeeping tips tagged , , , , , at 8:35 pm by cleaningproz

Who wants to spend more precious time than necessary doing household chores. Here are a few ways to make housekeeping faster and easier:

  • Sharpen scissors and pinking shears cutting through several layers of aluminum foil. Use the same method for can openers. It really works!
  • To quickly remove pet hair from clothes or furniture, rub them with old-fashioned rubber gloves (like some people wear for doing dishes). You can buy them at any super market. Dampen the gloves first for an even faster job.
  • Got a loose button? Dab some clear nail polish on top of the thread and let it dry. It will never come off.
  • To restore toilet bowls back to their shiny best, clean with old, flat Coke or Pepsi. To dissolve limescale, leave the soda overnight to soak.
  • Toss your soiled shower curtain in the washer with a couple of bath towels and the usual amount of detergent. Hang to dry.
  • Keep kitchen brushes and sponges clean a sweet-smelling by putting them on the top rack of the dishwasher every time you run it.

Please share your personal favorite housekeeping tips with our readers.

08/26/2011

One Light Bulb at a Time

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:28 pm by cleaningproz

This isn’t our usual house cleaning tips. At best it could be considered housekeeping tips. but I think this is so important I wanted to share it with you.

In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else–even their job. I recently received this as an email and am sharing it with you with a few minor changes:
“My grandson likes Hershey’s candy. I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more.

My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico … now I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything .

This past weekend I was at Kroger. I needed 60 W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets . I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand labeled, “Everyday Value .. ” I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats -they were the same except for the price. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me was the fact that the GE bulbs were made in Mexico and the Everyday Value brand was made in–get ready for this-
a company in Cleveland , Ohio .

So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day that are made right here ..

So on to another aisle – Bounce Dryer Sheets . .. . yep, you guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada. The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce sheets I have been using for years and at almost half the price!

My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA – the job you save may be your own or your neighbors!

If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others in your address book so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies!

(We should have awakened a decade ago .. . .. . . . )

Let’s get with the program . . . .. help our fellow Americans keep their jobs and create more jobs here in the U.S.A ..”

A high school physics teacher once told his students that one grasshopper on the track would not slow down a train, but a billion would!! Think about it..

We invite your comments.

 

08/12/2011

Deodorize, Prevent Mildew, Absorb Grease and More–With Kitty Litter??

Posted in housecleaning tips, housekeeping tips tagged , , , at 9:22 pm by cleaningproz

Yep, it’s true! Deodorize the ‘fridge with an open container of kitty litter. Place a sprinkle or two at the bottom of the garbage and/or diaper pail. Put kitty litter into a couple of knee-high nylon stockings, tie a knot in the stockings and place in your shoes to absorb any perspiration and make them smell nice and fresh.  Works in a laundry hamper too–especially if wet clothes or towels seem to mysteriously find their way in there.

Prevent mildew by placing an open container of kitty litter in a bathroom or closet. And make sure your camping gear is mildew free next summer, include a few socks of litter in the tent before stowing it for the winter.

A ten pound bag of kitty litter will absorb up to a gallon of oil, gasoline or paint. You just never know when this tip might come in handy.  ;-)  But an extension of this tip is: add a layer of litter at the bottom of your grill to prevent grease fires. (No more charcoal chicken).

And one last, totally random tip: pour litter down a mole hole to encourage those furry little destroyers to go elsewhere! It’s a kinder, gentler solution to a very annoying problem!  Kind of an outdoor housekeeping tip ;-).

Comments? Suggestions? Additional tips? We love your feedback!! 

07/29/2011

Bathroom Cleaning Made Simple

Posted in housecleaning tips, housekeeping tips, speed cleaning tagged , , , , , at 9:24 pm by cleaningproz

Bathroom cleaning is an integral part of keeping a clean house.  On that we can agree. But it doesn’t have to be a big chore if you do just a little bit every day or two.

  • Keep wipes on the vanity in each bathroom. There are a ton of them on the market. Windex, Clorox disinfecting, environmentally safe–you choose. Even baby wipes can be used
  • Every morning or two do a quick wipe down of the sink, faucet and vanity area. Wipe off any spots from the mirror. Every now and again swipe the fingerprints around the switch plate and the back of the door.
  • Keep the vanity as clutter-free a possible. If you prefer having lots of items on display, consider putting them all on a tray so they can be easily moved to clean.
  • Use liquid body wash instead of soap in the shower–no more soap scum on the glass shower doors! Wipe down the tile before you get out of the shower.
  • Give your kids sponges and let them wash the bath tub as the water drains out. If you use bubble bath the tub practically cleans itself.
  • Keep a toilet brush in a container next to the toilet. Swish the bowl a few times a week. If it needs more work, add cleaning agent or an Alka Seltzer tablet the night before and quickly clean it the next morning.
  • In between regular floor washing, put a few damp paper towels or cleaning cloth under your foot to clean the floor. Concentrate on the perimeter of the room where hair accumulates. I know this isn’t the housekeeping your mother taught you, but it works!
  • Never let any family member put wet towels on the floor. Ever!

All of these things can easily be done in just a couple of minutes a day. They’re easy to do and your bathroom always looks nice.

What ideas can you share to make bathroom maintainance easy and fast?

07/15/2011

More Time-Saving Laundry Tips

Posted in housekeeping tips tagged , , , , at 9:20 pm by cleaningproz

As promised here is another handful of housekeeping tips to reduce the time you spend in the laundry room.

  • Keep a bath towel in your laundry room to throw in the dryer with something that needs “ironing.” Set your dryer for a 10 minute spin, and you are good to go. (If the wrinkles are bad, lightly spray the item with water or put a damp wash cloth in the dryer with the item).
  • Clothes dry faster if you pop a tennis ball or two into the dryer with the wet clothes.
  • Have pants that can’t go through the dryer? Hang them upside down. The weight of the top of the pants–which is now at the bottom ;-)– will pull out all or most of the wrinkles.
  • Keep a bag or box in the laundry area for those lone socks that always seem to show up in the wash. At the end of the month you will have the joy of witnessing socks reunited with their mates. Hey, you’ve gotta get joy where you can find it!
  • Vinegar makes a superb fabric softener. Just pour a cup into the fabric softener section of your washer. Vinegar also makes your towels more absorbant, and actually deoderizes your wash too. (I know that’s counter-intuitive, but it’s true–trust me!)
  • Yes, you can keep your dark colored clothes from fading. Before the first wash set your washer to the small load setting and add 2 cups of salt and 2 cups of white vinegar to the water, agitate and then add the clothing item. Run it through the wash cycle and then launder as usual.

Now, it’s your turn. What makes “laundry day” easier for you? Please share.

07/01/2011

Time-Saving Laundry Tips

Posted in housekeeping tips, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 9:20 pm by cleaningproz

Laundry can be overwhelming to even the best of housekeepers.  You can keep a perfectly clean house and still be flummoxed by laundry.  Hope some of these suggestions are helpful.

  • No need to rinse the measuring cup on your liquid detergent, just throw it in the washer with the clothes and it will come out nice and clean. (I’ve even had one go through the dryer with no ill effects)!
  • Try a grease cutting liquid soap like Dawn as a pre-treatment for grease spots. Rub it in well, then launder as usual.  The beauty of this method is that it can stay on as long as you like before washing.
  • Whenever you have a potentially stubborn spot, pre-treat it then wash it in the hottest water safe for the fabric. Hang to dry.  Putting the item in the dryer will set the stain.
  • Fold the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. Then put it away as soon as it’s folded. It makes life so much easier.
  • Whenever possible, wash one persons clothes per load. Using cold water you can put whites and colored clothes together in one load.  You won’t believe how much time you will save sorting and putting clothes away. Tide makes a detergent especially formulated for cold water.
  • Add a half cup or so of baking soda to each wash load and decrease your detergent by half.  Your clothes will look better and smell right-off-the-clothes-line fresh because the baking soda eliminates soap residue. You can buy a large bag of baking soda–12 pounds, I think–at Costco or other warehouse stores.

In our next post, we’ll share a few more time-saving laundry tips. In the meantime, what helps you get through the laundry detail? Please share below.

05/26/2011

Pick the Right Plants for Cleaner Inside Air

Posted in housekeeping tips tagged , , at 10:53 pm by cleaningproz

Did you know you can breathe cleaner air inside your house by choosing the right houseplants? Not only do they reduce pollutants, but they also add needed humidity to guard against respiratory and allergic conditions.

Researchers have found that the right houseplants protect us from the negative effects of many common toxins found in our modern homes.  The leaves are able to absorb pollutants and send them to the roots, where they become food for microbes. Wow! Who knew?

The top ten best houseplants to clean the air and help your family to breathe are:

  1. Areca palm
  2. Reed palm
  3. Dwarf date palm
  4.  Boston fern
  5. Pothos
  6. English ivy
  7. Australian sword fern
  8. Peace lily
  9. Rubber plant
  10. Weeping fig

To get the most out of your plants use two or three per room and be sure there is plenty of space around each one for good air circulation. Keep the air moist by misting your plants. Avoid locations where there are drafts or sudden temperature changes. Since pollutants are absorbed through the leaves, keep the leaves dust free by gently wiping them with a damp cloth.

Breathe freely!

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