Tag Archive | cleaning

Saturday Project: Spring Forward

thDon’t forget that this weekend is the time to “Spring Forward” for most of us in the USA. Set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight! This is also a great time of year to do some tasks that don’t get done regularly.

Check batteries in all smoke detectors. If you do not have a battery charge tester, replace all the batteries. Also, do a fire and tornado drill with the family. Be sure that everyone knows where to meet, and multiple ways out of the house from every room, especially the kids bedrooms.

Take this time to clean your bathroom vent fans and air returns. The covers often build up dust and grease, which can restrict their performance.

Check all your furnace filters and replace if needed. Make a note in your calendar to do this every month.

Finally, clean out your dryer lint. Even if you are emptying your lint trap every load, there is still lint clogging up your dryer. You can find instructional videos on YouTube for opening your dryer and really cleaning all the lint out. Just google your make and model and how to videos. Also, clean or change the vent hose than runs from your dryer to the wall. Get as much lint as possible out of the piping from the wall to the outside air release. You can do that from both the wall side and from outside your house. You can extend your vacuum hose by securely taping a wrapping paper tube (or several) to the end of the hose. Just make sure you use heavy-duty duct tape so that you don’t lose the hose extension in your wall.

The good news for many of us buried under snow or dealing with colder than normal temperatures is that this clock change means that Spring cannot be too far behind! Enjoy your extra morning vitamin D and sunshine!


Things You Should Clean, But Probably Don’t

cleaning crazyMost of us get the basics of cleaning…kitchen, bathrooms, dusting, floors. (For more on organizing your cleaning routine check out the daily chore list or the electronic version.) But, even when you keep these things current in your cleaning routine, you may be missing some of the germiest (that’s a word, right?) places in your home. Here are a few things you should be cleaning regularly and some tips for cleaning.

Tip – Get the kids involved! Race to see who can get finished first. Ask them to come up with things they think need cleaned that you don’t regularly do.

1. Baseboards and trim – Many of us dust the furniture and blinds, but what about the baseboards and trim? Consider using a dryer sheet to pick up the dust and help repel future dust.

2. Phones – Home and cell phones get very germy and dirty. Remove protective cases and clean everything with a disinfectant wipe or a vinegar & water solution (1:1). Do not use a wet cloth, just damp and rung out!

3. Remotes & Game Controllers –  same procedure as phones – wipe them down regularly

4. Light switches,  doorknobs, and locks – these come in contact with a lot of hands. Disinfect them regularly.

5. Drawer pulls – whether on cabinets or dressers, be sure to wipe them down regularly. We often do this in kitchens & bathrooms, but forget about dressers in bedrooms.

6. Vacuum Cleaner – Yes, clean the cleaner. Take the time once a quarter to dust off and clean up your vacuum, including washing the air filter (which can often be done in the dishwasher).

Borax and Sugar to Kill Ants

thRecently I posted about using vinegar and chalk to deter ants, but what happens with more aggressive ants who don’t seem to take the hint? A good way to rid your house of ants is to use borax and sugar. In a bowl mix 1 part borax to 3 parts sugar and dissolve fully in water. Soak cotton balls with the solution. Place the borax and sugar soaked cotton ball in the lid of a two-liter or 20 oz. soda in the area where you have seen the ants. Allow the ants to come to the cotton ball and feed. Resist the urge to kill them there. You want the ants to take the solution back to their home. Over 1-2 days you should notice that the ants stop coming. If they re-appear, simply repeat putting the cotton ball out. After 1-2 treatments the ants should be gone.

Extra solution can be stored in a peanut butter jar or other recycled container. Mark it well so people know it is not for eating. Because you are using borax, be sure to store the solution and place the cotton balls away from where kids can get into them.

Happy New Year!

new school year.001Ok, it isn’t really a new year, but back to school always feels like that chance to start over, much more so to me than January 1 actually. This year is the first year our kids are not actually starting a new grade in the fall (we “leveled up” in April, deciding to let the kids progress when they were ready and not holding them back until fall). Even with that, because my husband is a teacher, this time of year seems like a good point to hit “reset”!

Any major changes to chores or responsibilities are done at this time of year. We reevaluate kids responsibilities and privileges. We make decisions about what extra curricular, church, and social activities we will focus on this academic year. Each kid makes goals for the next 12 months.

This time of year is also a great time to do a whole home reset. If you haven’t, consider creating a family calendar.  Set up you home inventory. Do a house clearing out and cleaning from top to bottom.

Happy New (school) Year!

20 Different Ways to Use Dawn

dawn_drillsergeant_163x117If you regularly read this blog, it is no secret that I love Dawn dishwashing soap. Just a couple small drops clean everything and remove grease yet it is safe enough to use around kids and pets. We buy Dawn in bulk from the warehouse club and that lasts us over a year. You can’t beat the cost of a couple drops of Dawn diluted to clean everything!

Family Balance Sheet recently posted 20 Different Ways to Use Original Blue Dawn. This list is just the tip of the iceberg for Dawn uses, but a great start. I use Dawn in homemade floor cleaner,  bathroom cleaner, granite cleaner, cleaning make up brushes, as ice packs, jewelry cleaner, to remove laundry stains, and for a variety of other cleaning applications around the house.

Homemade Granite Cleaner

DSCN2574These days a lot of us have granite in our kitchens or bathrooms. Keeping granite counters clean can be an
expensive chore. Granite cleaners can be purchased for $7-$15 per small bottle. And if you are anything like us, we use our counters for everything from school to rolling dough and cutting pizzas, so they get messy. I have been looking for a good, less-chemical way to clean and not harm our counters. After trying out many recipes and ideas, here is what I like best:

  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (actually any alcohol will work) – This provides streak-free cleaning
  • 3 drops Dawn dishwashing soap – Yes the brand is important because it cuts grease and grime better than others. And yes, it really only takes 3 drops.
  • Water – this amount will vary from 1-2 cups, depending on how you keep the solution.

Many people suggest using a spray bottle but I have found that I like using an empty alcohol bottle. The bottles we get have a lid with a small hole for easy pouring. I put the alcohol and Dawn in the bottle and fill with water. Then I pour some our on the counters and use a soft cotton cloth to clean. I get fabulous results, with lots of shine and no streaking. In the picture you can see how shiny and clean the counters look!

Tea Tree Oil Spray: Natural Disinfectant

Tea Tree Oil is becoming increasingly popular for uses around the house. This amazing natural oil has incredible disinfectant properties. Tea Tree Oil can be used to make household cleaners that remove mold and mildew, as well as for various health purposes.

Tea Tree Oil Cleaning Spray:0060538881745_500X500

  • 2 tablespoons Tea Tree Oil
  • 2 cups of water

Combine in a spray bottle and use this as a bath and kitchen cleaner or anywhere mold or mildew occurs. You can also use this spray as a disinfectant on children’s toys, on anything where someone sick has been, and on doorknobs and other areas that get touched by a lot of people and harbor germs.