Friday, March 29, 2019

3 Cleaning Secrets That Every Allergy-Sufferer Needs

For people with chronic allergies, a clean house is a must-have. What many people don’t know is that traditional cleaning methods may not be effective enough to reduce allergens and might even aggravate allergies instead of easing them. That’s why we’re going to talk about 3 golden pieces of cleaning knowledge specifically for those in need of a more hypoallergenic home.
Following this advice will help reduce the amount of pollen, mold spores, dust, and dander in your home that trigger annoying and uncomfortable allergy symptoms.
1. Invest in a well-sealed, quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
HEPA filters are designed to capture finer particles that would escape a normal vacuum cleaner. This makes them effective at trapping pet hair, dander, pollen, and even dust mites.
However, it isn’t enough for a vacuum cleaner to simply have a HEPA filter. If a vacuum cleaner leaks or if its gasket doesn’t seal properly, some of the particles being sucked up by the vacuum will escape back out into your air supply, making the HEPA filter useless.
In short, investing in a well-made vacuum cleaner can make a world of difference when it comes to trapping allergens.
2. Wash all of your bed linens weekly in water that’s at least 130 F.
The warm, humid environment of your bed makes it an inviting home for dust mites, as does the dander that collects on your bed linens. Dust mites feed primarily on human and pet dander, and they can cause allergic symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, postnasal drip, itchy eyes, and itchy throat.
Simply washing your bed linens will not be enough to remove these parasites. The water must be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to actually kill dust mites. It’s also wise to invest in dust-mite-proof covers for your pillows, mattress, and box spring.
3. Use your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to reduce moisture.
A moist environment welcomes mold growth, which in turn leads to more mold spores that can pollute your indoor air. Run your bathroom fan for 45 minutes to an hour after showering. Run your kitchen fan while cooking and for at least 15 minutes after cooking. Not only will your kitchen fan help eliminate excess moisture, but it will also help remove harmful byproducts produced by your oven and stove while in use.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

5 Bad Cleaning Habits to Break Right Now

We’re all guilty of a few bad cleaning habits. It might just be because they seem like the “easy” way of doing things or because we never even knew they were bad habits to begin with. Whatever the case may be, reversing bad cleaning habits can make maintaining a clean house a whole lot easier.
Are you guilty of any of these bad cleaning habits?
1. Using more cleaning product than directed
Aside from costing you more money in the long run, using an excessive amount of cleaning product can leave the surface you were trying to clean with residue, which then attracts dirt. Only use the amount of cleaning product recommended in the directions, or simply start out with less and use more if needed.
2. Not using the right cleaning product for the surface you want to clean
We’re sorry to have to tell you, Dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding: Windex is not an all-purpose household cleaner, much less a miracle cure for any ailment. Even gentler, homemade cleaning solutions can cause irreversible damage to some surfaces during cleaning. For instance, cleaning solutions with white vinegar can etch the stone of a marble countertop because of the vinegar’s high acidity.
3. Letting dishes “soak” in the sink
Always try to wash your dishes or load them into the dishwasher immediately after each meal. Allowing dirty dishes to pile up in your sink not only looks untidy, but it also attracts flies, ants, and cockroaches and encourages bacteria growth.
4. Scrubbing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher
In most scenarios, using your dishwasher as opposed to handwashing your dishes will save you time, water, and money, so that’s one reason to let your dishwasher do the “dirty work." Interestingly, your dishwasher will also have a harder time doing its job properly if there isn’t some kind of food residue left on your plates for its cleaning agent to interact with. Next time before you load the dishwasher, rinse larger food remnants off of your dishes but load them still a little dirty.
5. Letting papers pile up.
This can happen quickly due to the amount of junk mail that winds up in our mailboxes. Make it a habit to sort your mail daily and toss junk mail in with your recyclable garbage. Buy your household a small paper shredder for discarding bills that no longer need your attention or other documents that you don’t want to keep but that contain personally identifiable information. Better yet, switch to paperless invoices and statements whenever possible.

Monday, March 25, 2019

How to Make a Realistic House Cleaning Schedule

House cleaning can feel like a monotonous chore that you always run out of time to complete. If you’re wondering why it seems so much easier for some people (even your busier acquaintances with full-time jobs), the chances are that they’ve developed certain cleaning patterns or routines.
What’s the key to effectively building a cleaning routine into your life? The answer is simple: a cleaning schedule that works for you. That can sound a little intimidating to make if you’ve never created a cleaning schedule before, so here are three tips to help set you up for success.
Tip #1 - Don’t Overdo It
In our excitement to make new goals for ourselves, sometimes they end up being a bit loftier than what’s actually practical for us to achieve, given how busy we are on an almost daily basis. When creating cleaning tasks for yourself, dial it back a bit--make the tasks smaller and more “bite-sized” so that you can feel accomplished for completing them and less overwhelmed.
Tip #2 - Set Your Own Standards of Cleanliness (and Don’t Compare Yourself to Others)
What do we mean by this? If you’ve never had a cleaning schedule before and have already struggled with keeping a tidy home, have the expectation that you’ll be able to keep your home looking like an immaculate magazine photograph will inevitably leave you feeling disappointed.
Cleaning your home should be satisfying, and you should feel like you’re accomplishing something that improves your quality of life as well as the quality of life for those living with you. Aim to please yourself when you clean.
Tip #3 - Prioritize the Areas You’d Like to Clean
Since time is precious, when you clean, place a priority on the areas of your home:
  • That are most visible to you
  • Where you spend most of your time
For instance, if this is the kitchen, dining room, and living room, these cleaning tasks might be your top priorities:
  1. Sanitize and wipe down the kitchen counters, sink, and stove top.
  2. Clear off clutter from the dining table.
  3. Vacuum the living room couch and rug.
That’s not to say you should never clean the areas of your home that see less traffic. Those areas might only be cleaned once every month or two months, as opposed to weekly or biweekly.
There are plenty of house cleaning schedule templates available online, but remember to keep these three tips in mind when adjusting those templates to meet your needs. If you do, you’ll feel much more satisfied by cleaning, and you’ll feel better overall by how your home feels afterward.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Secret to Deep-Cleaning a Couch in 5 Steps

Just like your floor, your kitchen counters, and your bathroom sinks, your couch gets daily use. You use it, your kids use it, and maybe even your pets use it! Even so, many people don’t think about what kind of cleaning that a couch requires.
If your couch is overdue for a deep-cleaning (and let’s be honest--most of our couches are), here is how to do it in 5 steps.
1. Learn what cleaning method suits your upholstery.
In order to clean your couch properly, you have to first know what kind of material the upholstery is made of. The couch’s label should tell you this and should also include a list of codes to let you know what kind of cleaning can be performed upon the upholstery.
Here are the codes you’re likely to encounter on your couch’s label:
  • S: This means that you should only use a dry cleaning detergent.
  • WS: You can use either a steam vacuum with a mild detergent or use a dry cleaning detergent.
  • W: This means that water is okay to use for cleaning.
  • X: Only vacuum when you see this symbol. Don’t use any water.
2. Vacuum every inch.
Before deep cleaning, you’ll want to be sure to get rid of any hair, crumbs, fur, and other particles from your couch’s upholstery. Make sure to use your vacuum’s attachments so that you can get into the crannies and creases of your couch as well as its larger surfaces.
3. Disinfectant any non-upholstered parts.
Once your couch has been thoroughly vacuumed, wipe down any non-upholstered parts of your couch with a bleach-free disinfectant. It’s best to test a small spot first to make sure there are no other agents in the disinfectant that alter the color of the non-fabric parts.
4. Use baking soda to remove odors.
Baking soda is great for removing bad smells, and with all the moisture and bacteria couches can retain, it’s no wonder that they can begin to have a less-than-fresh odor after a while. That being said, you’ll want to test this step on a small, inconspicuous section of the upholstery to make sure that the baking soda doesn’t have a bleaching effect on it.
Once you’ve determined that the baking soda isn’t lightening your upholstery, it’s safe to use it on the rest of your couch. Sprinkle baking soda onto the area that needs deodorizing and spread it evenly with a bristle brush. Let the baking soda sit for a few hours before vacuuming it with your vacuum’s brush attachment.
5. Use water, white vinegar, and Castile soap for lingering odors and tough stains.
If your upholstery is able to get wet, create an all-natural upholstery cleaner and disinfectant for it to remove any stubborn odors or spots. Spray the solution onto the area in need, work it into the upholstery with a white cloth, then blot.
Vinegar Solution Recipe:
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of Castile soap (or substitute with 1 tablespoon of mild detergent)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Most Common Places People Forget to Clean in Their Homes

The time for spring cleaning has come! Whether you have your spring cleaning routine down perfectly or have no idea where to start, make sure that you don’t forget to tidy up these often-forgotten places in your home.
Coffee Maker
It’s not at all pleasant to think about, but if your coffee maker isn’t cleaned frequently enough, it can start to accumulate mold. What’s worse, that mold ends up in the coffee you drink and can make you sick.
Cleaning Suggestions:
  • To deep clean: instead of simply running water through the machine, run a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar through it. This will help because white vinegar is a natural disinfectant. Just make sure you run a water-only cycle through the machine afterward.
Curtains, Shades, and Blinds
As time goes on, your window coverings accumulate dust and other debris from indoors (like dander, pet fur, and mold). If you tend to leave your windows open frequently, your curtains will also collect debris from outside, including pollen, even if you use a window screen.
Cleaning Suggestions:
  • If your curtains are machine washable, toss them in the machine for the quickest cleaning.
  • If machine washing isn’t an option, you may be able to vacuum them using the fabric attachment--or just use a lint roller.
Ceiling Fans
Considering that the blades of your ceiling fans push air around your rooms, the last thing you want is for them to spread additional dust with the air they push. You may not be able to see the top of the blades, but trust us--if you haven’t dusted there before, there will be a fine collection of dust waiting for you.
Cleaning Suggestions:
  • There are dusters specifically shaped for ceiling fans that also have the extra reach that you may need when cleaning them.
  • If you’re able to reach your ceiling fan from a sturdy surface, you can sheathe the blades one at a time in an old pillowcase and wipe them down.
Like any other exposed surface in your home, lampshades can acquire quite a bit of dust over time, but they are seldom cleaned.
Cleaning Suggestions:
  • Roll a lint roller over the inside and outside of the lampshade, and use a hairdryer to blow out any dust that is hiding in the creases or pleats.
  • You can also use a dry dust cloth if the shape of the lampshade will not lend itself to lint-rolling.
Washing Machine
Don’t forget this one! After all, how can a washing machine properly wash your clothes if the machine itself isn’t clean?
Cleaning Suggestions:
  • If your machine comes with a self-wash cycle, simply use it following the instructions in the appliance’s manual. You’ll know if your machine has this because there will be a button or dial setting labeled something like “self-wash.”
  • If your machine does not self-wash, put in a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar in the machine on a cycle with hot water.
  • To keep your machine from getting musty, leave its lid open after each wash.