Fact Finder: House Cleaning 101

March 10, 2010 

As the famous quote says..."There is no place like home" but what if your home is a colossal and dirty mess?

How do you right this sinking ship? Ignore it? Live out of the cleanest room in your home? Channel Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie and blink it away?


Follow the pointers below to get your entire house sparkling and keep it that way.

Where to Begin?

A dirty home can be a daunting task, just looking at it and knowing where to being can be overwhelming. As with any task take one step at at a time. In this case tackle one room at a time.

Let's Begin With the Kitchen...

• Start by removing small appliances like the coffeemaker and the toaster off of the counters, grime and bacteria may be lurking under them.

-Clean the counters and the sinks by spraying disinfectant* on them and allowing a brief period of soaking to dissovle the germs and bacteria. Next scrub the sink and wipe down the counters. Finish by drying both with a cotton cloth.

-Wipe down larger appliances with a mild disinfectant. Pay speical attention to the refrigerator door handle which is often a bacteria friendly spot.

-Finally sweep the floor to remove hair and dust before mopping. With both sweeping and mopping you now have more choices. For example the Swiffer Sweeper* offers both wet and dry options for your floors. You can use the dry cloths instead of sweeping and the wet cloths instead of mopping.

Next Let's Tackle the Family/Living Room...

• Is this CLUTTER CENTRAL in your home? The gathering spot for all the stuff that never makes it upstairs or to other rooms in your home?

If so let's start by clearing the clutter...

-Walk the room with a basket or bag and gather items that don't belong such as toys, shoes, books and other out-of-place items for later redistribution.

-Vacuum or dry mop the floor. Dirt buildup can harm both carpet and hardwood floors.

-Give the room a quick dusting using an electrostatic or microfiber cloth or a textured duster* that will trap dust. The traditional feather duster, in the end, only spreads the dust around.

-Finally fluff pillows on furniture and fold any blankets or throws, this instantly makes the room look more organized.

Take a Deep Breath... It's Time for Bathroom Duty ...

• Germs, mold and mildew love this room but never fear the "wipes" revolution is here and it makes sanitizing your bathroom relatively easy.

-Start by squirting bowl cleaner* in the toilet and around its inside edges, allow it to soak while you...

Grab a package of wipes...

-First wipe down the sink and its fixtures.

-Grab a fresh wipe and head for the toilet, wipe the top of the seat, then the entire outside of the toilet, finish by lifting the seat and wiping it as well the rim beneath the seat.

-Grab another wipe cleaning the edge and the side of the tub.

-Remember that soaking toilet, grab your toilet brush and give it a good scrubbing.

-Finish by wet mopping the floor using Swiffer or your favorite brand of wet cloths for the floor.

Last Stop...the Bedroom...

• For all your hard work in the other rooms, this room is your reward and should be relatively easy to clean. Dust will probably be your biggest issue, so you'll want to stir it (dust) up, so to speak, and then tackle it with a combination of dusting/sweeping/mopping, etc.

-Start with the bed...shake out the covers including the fitted sheet. Pull up one corner of the fitted sheet shake; pull back down over mattress. Shake out the cover sheet as well tucking it back as you normally would. Before you replace the comforter, duvet, etc spray the bed with *Febreze Fabric Refresher.

-Next you'll want to vacuum or dry mop the floor, you'll be stirring up a lot of dust so hold off on dusting furniture, picture frames and other bedroom items.

-Finish up by dusting with a textured duster such as as *Swiffer. Start at one end of the room and work your way around moving from one piece of furniture to the next to ensure that you dust everything.

*101's Favorite Cleaning Products

• Febreze Fabric Refresher- how did the cleaning world exist without this solution which seems to neutralize odors in practically everything? It comes in several scents and the Décor Collection just dropped offering a decorative bottle to blend with your home furnishings.

Greenworks Natural Dilutable Cleaner by Clorox-Use this all purpose cleaner for the daily bathroom and kitchen wipe down. Mix it and water with the spray bottles you already own; you'll love the lather and the money you'll save by mixing it yourself.

Read my Cleaning Up Column on Clorox Greenworks!

• Greenworks Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner by Clorox- use this cleaner to scape away rust, mineral deposits and hard water and it's 99.99% natural, what more could you ask for.

• Method All Surface Cleaner Cucumber Scent- non-toxic, all-purpose, biodegradeable, clean your home and be green-conscious all at the same time.

• Method All Surface Wipes French Lavender Scent- rack up more green conscious points with these great-smelling, all purpose, biodegradable wipes.

• Swiffer- this product line might be the answer to all you cleaning needs featuring dusters as well as dry and wet mops.

On Keeping it Clean

So...you've done all this cleaning, everything is sparkling, how do you maintain your clean "bling"? It's pretty simple, do a little bit everyday.

In each room of your home pick a focal point to keep clean. This will encourage you to keep other areas clean as well.

• Keep the kitchen sink clean, either wash the dishes or load them into the dishwasher out of sight. If the sink is full of dirty dishes this makes the kitchen look untidy.

• Keep the sofa clean, fluff the pillows, fold blankets/throws, put books and magazines in their proper place. This takes all of five minutes to do and who knows you might be inspired to spend another five minutes dusting.

• Keep the bathroom sink clean, make it a daily habit to wipe down the sink, an ideal time to do this is after you've brushed your teeth.

• Keep the vanity area clean and free of clutter. If storage is an issue put toiletries in wicker baskets rather then keeping them loose on the counter.

• Make your bed soon after getting up. Out with the notion that there is no need to make it because you'll only mess it up again. With the bed neatly made you'll feel inspired to tidy up your nightstand and hang up your clothes.

Source: www.realsimple.com

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