Archive for the ‘Household’ Category
Feng Shui (pronounced fung shway) is an ancient art and science that was developed in China over 3000 years ago. Based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature - particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with CHI (energy),it is believed that by balancing the energies in any given space you can assure health and good fortune.
Feng means WIND and shui means WATER. In Chinese culture, wind and water are associated with good health – and good feng shui stands for good health and good fortune while bad feng shui means bad luck or misfortune.
Ancient Chinese believed that the energy from the land could either make or break the kingdom – the yin and yang theory as well as the five feng shui elements are the basic aspects of feng shui that come from Taoism.
A compass (lo-pan) and the Ba-Gua are the tools used in a feng shui analysis. The Ba-Gua is an octagonal grid containing the symbols of the I Ching. The I Ching is the ancient oracle on which Feng Shui is based.
A feng shui compass (lo-pan) consists of concentric rings arranged around the magnetic needle. “Lo” means “everything” and pan” means “bowl” – which can be interpreted as the key to the mysteries of the universe.
Feng shui can be as simple or as complex as your own attitudes and your own good sense dictate. Not spiritual, not religious, but yet can be involved with the elements of both. It can be easily and effectively be adapted to our modern living environment.
You will not get overnight success, nor will you rid yourself of all life’s difficulties, but it can enhance your periods of good fortune, just as it can help and support you in times of misfortune and trouble.
Certain levels of feng shui are easy to understand and to apply – but the core knowledge takes years of study. Just like traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui is deep and complex.
Just like fresh air and clean water nourish our bodies, so does fresh, clean chi nourish our homes and our lives. When the flow of chi through our space is blocked, weak, or misdirected, our relationships, cash flow, creativity, health, and career can suffer. Chi wants to meander gracefully through a space – like a gentle breeze. If it flows too strongly, it becomes a hurricane – we are likely to feel as if we are trying to keep our heads above water. When chi is blocked, it becomes stale and stagnant – like a pond choked with algae and fallen leaves. You will feel tired, run-down, depressed, you cannot focus properly, and we are hampered in our efforts to move forward in life.
Not only is this true in our private lives but also in the corporate world. Poor feng shui can mean miscommunication in the work world between managers and employees, conflicts between team members and lack of support for key initiatives. The company can even have trouble keeping customers or attracting customers.
In the retail business, feng shui problems can block the flow of customers into the store, contribute to theft and staffing problems and have a general negative effect on the size and amounts of sales.
Feng shui provides the tools and guidelines for analyzing and correcting the flow of energy (chi) into and through our space. It uses the arrangement of rooms and the placement of furniture to create a smooth pathway for chi through a home, office or retail location. Blockages and other forms of negative chi are removed or counteracted in order to welcome opportunities and
Colors and shapes are associated with the five elements of feng shui -
Wood, fire, earth, metal and water. They are used to create movement, balance, or even portection, depending on the needs of the client. Paintings, photos, statuary and other accessories are chosen and placed to enhance and reinforce the client’s intention.
With feng shui we are reminded that everything is connected and that our physical surroundings have a significant impact on our mind, body and spirit. We need to take care of our environments so that we may be mindful caretakers of our lives.
If you are dissatisfied with various areas of your life, discover feng shui techniques and secrets that are easy to implement and will give you inner peace and happiness. Learn to attain what you really want in life – in love, health, prosperity – all by using feng shui,
Live you life in a beautiful environment of your own creation – click here to learn how.
Selling your home? Has it been sitting on the market for what seems to be forever? Do you really need to sell fast for an important reason?
Here’s a few tips to help you:
Contract a top sales agent that is going to work on YOUR behalf and not on behalf of the buyer. A good local agent that knows the neighborhood is your best bet.
Face it – everyone would love to sell their home for a million dollars but there are many factors involved when setting your selling price. Don’t list with an agent that is going to tell you to price your home so ridiculously high that no one will even pay attention to the for sale sign.
Discuss with your realtor the prices of homes in the area, and listen to their expert advice. Yes you can always come down on your price – just don’t over-price it too high. Your realtor can also give you various statistics of how fast homes are selling, what buyers are looking for and how your home compares to others in the vicinity.
Be flexible when pricing. What is your initial asking price? How long will you hold out before making a reduction? How much of a reduction are you willing to take?
Too stubborn for a realtor? Don’t want to pay their percentage for doing the work for you? You can try selling it yourself. Sure you are eliminating the agents’ commission – and you can put your property on the market for a lesser amount. Lower-priced home always sell faster. The lower the price – the faster it will sell.
Selling yourself makes you the real estate agent – so begin to work on your own behalf.
Start out by assessing your home by looking at it as if you were buying it.
Is it clean? Spacious? What is the condition of the floors and/or carpeting? What is the condition of the walls? How about the fixtures? Are your doors and windows in good repair and do they seal well? What is you indoor and/or outdoor paint job like? Roof? Gutters? Garage? Basement walls? Driveway and walkways? Heating and/or air conditioning units? Light fixtures and wall switches? All the electrical plugs working? Lead VS copper piping? Doorbells working? Sinks, tubs, showers and toilets all working properly?
Clean up the kitchen and bath – remove everything from the countertops. Potential buyers want to see the kitchen and bath – not a counter display of appliances, etc.
Keep your home – the rooms, closets, cupboards, pantry, basement, attic – all clutter free. This gives the potential buyer a chance to see your home and not your junk. Rent a storage unit to store things in. Would you buy a home so filled with clutter that you couldn’t see anything but clutter?
Have you done any major repair work or remodeling?
Your entryway to your home should look inviting. Landscape a bit to make it look more appealing.
How’s the lawn and fence look? Free of all clutter? Well maintained?
Before anyone will look at your house and do a walk-through they will do a drive-by.
Now for the pricing – it would be worth getting a professional appraisal.
Have an Open House and if possible, try to pre-screen prospective buyers.
You will need and attorney to protect your interests. A qualified real estate attorney will help you through complicated offers (those with a variety of conditions), act as an escrow agent to hold the down payment, evaluate the complex mortgages and/or leases with options to buy, review all contracts and handle your home closing process. Your attorney will also tell you what you need to disclose to the buyer before selling and will also help you to avoid inadvertently discriminating against any potential buyers.
Sometimes a title company will handle all aspects of the transaction and have in-house legal departments that can assist you with legal issues that may arise.
Banks today are not giving mortgages – so be willing to be the bank. Someone may want your home but may not be able to qualify for a loan. You can legally sell your home, carry the note as if you were the bank and offer instant qualifying to your buyers.
Be prepared with information on interest, monthly payments, late fees, insurance, taxes and anything else a buyer will be asking you.
Remember that if your buyers cannot qualify for a loan now – there is a very good chance that in a couple years they will be able to qualify for a loan with the bank and pay off their note with you.
Lastly – for those that believe in St. Joseph – and many swear by this – Purchase a St. Joseph Kit for selling your home. St. Joseph the Homeseller, patron saint of the happy home. According to Catholic folklore, a home where a St. Joseph statue is buried on the property will sell quickly and be blessed. Whether the house goes for the asking price, of course, is left to a higher authority. You can find the prayer on line if you are interested in trusting St. Joseph with the sale of your property.
You can sell your home in 21 days regardless of today’s economy and without being taken advantage of. You can use this system to avoid foreclosure, distressed sales, short-sale transactions, and much more – click here for more information.
Keeping a kitchen clean is a number one priority! It should be cleanest room in the house, but unfortunately, many times it’s not!
Here’s a few hints and tips to help keep a variety of kitchen “things” clean:
Let’s start with dirty skillets: Fill skillet with an inch or two of water (depending on the depth of the pan) and add a couple tablespoons of baking soda; bring to a simmer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides removing all cooked-on foods.
Clean your microwave by placing a microwavable cup filled with water in the microwave. Turn on high and let the water boil for a few minutes. Wipe out the entire microwave – it’ll be all clean with no scrubbing.
If your microwave has greasy spots in it, sprinkle the spots with cornstarch or baking powder; allow to sit a few minutes and wipe right out.
For extra-greasy dishes in the dishwasher – don’t add extra dishwasher detergent – too many suds can clog your dishwasher and it won’t be able to clean your dishes very well. Instead, sprinkle the bottom of the dishwasher with ½ cup baking soda before you run it. This will cut the grease and your dishes will come out clean.
To deodorize your dishwasher, add 1 cup of baking soda to the dishwasher when its empty and run the dishwasher. Once dried it will smell fresh.
If your dishwasher is looking a bit disgusting inside, place a bowl in the bottom rack of the dishwasher with 3 cups white vinegar
in it (no other dishes) and run it through a cycle – and shut off before the drying cycle.
If the refrigerator starts to smell bad and your box of baking soda doesn’t seem to be doing it’s job, empty your fridge and wipe down the sides and shelves with a clean rag dampened well with vanilla extract. You may have to use some elbow grease to get any stains out, but the smell will be gone.
Butcher block tables and counter tops pick up plenty of stains. Clean with a lemon and salt; just squeeze lemon juice on, sprinkle with salt and scrub with a piece of lemon to remove the stains.
Don’t scratch your kitchen counters with harsh scouring pads – grab an old pair (clean) of panty hose – cut off the legs and knot them off a couple times so you have something to scrub with.
Remove stains from stainless steel sinks by pouring hot water over the stain to loosen it, sprinkle with baking soda and let sit for a minute or two. Scrub gently with a soft sponge and rinse with hot water. Don’t use scoring pads.
Ammonia poured on a sponge will remove coffee and tea stains from stainless steel sinks. Rinse the sink and the sponge with hot water.
Wash sponges in your dishwasher to keep them fresh and make them last longer.
Sprinkle used sponges with baking soda after every use and rinse out completely before using again.
Prevent the rust stains from steel wools pads easily by scrunching a bit of aluminum foil and place in the scouring pad holder. Place the steel wool pad on the foil and the steel wool pad won’t rust.
Clean crayon off kitchen floors by heating with a hair dryer and wipe right up after the wax from the crayons has melted.
For a quick smell-killer in your kitchen trash can – for smelly fish, etc. pour a couple cups of kitty litter in the can to absorb the odors.
Keep a dryer sheet in the bottom of a clean kitchen trash can (place your trash can liners on top of it) to keep your trash can smelling fresh. Replace the dryer sheet every month or so when the fragrance is all gone.
When was the last time you cleaned your can opener? Hasn’t it opened tons of cans for you? Place hand can openers in hot soapy water and use a scrub brush on them to clean; rinse well. They will cut much better. For electric can openers, remove the cutter and scrub in hot soapy water; rinse and dry.
Do you use meat grinders and pasta machines that have the vise to hold them in place? Use a terry cloth kitchen towel between the vise and the work place to prevent scratching countertops.
Clean around faucets using an old toothbrush. You can also use an old toothbrush to clean the area where your skillet handles meet the skillet. Also, toothbrushes do a good job cleaning those skillets that have “ridged” bottoms that your dishcloth can’t get into.
Most laundry rooms are not very big and we have so much “stuff” these days. We all love to save money, so we usually buy the extra-large size of laundry detergent because we can save $$ that way. Sometimes those larger laundry bottles are more of a pain than anything else. Why not use a couple 2-litter plastic bottles (that have been cleaned thoroughly) and a funnel and transfer the detergent to smaller containers. They will store easier, save room, and you can handle them easier.
Many dishwashing detergents now have those plastic caps that you can remove and use for many other things. Placing one on a bottle filled with laundry detergent will give you an instant spot-removing treatment for some of those tough stains.
You can make your own presoak solution for stains. Just dilute some laundry detergent and water and keep in a spray bottle. Apply as a presoak with just a couple squirts.
For powdered laundry detergents – transfer them to a one-gallon plastic ice cream tub. This is good especially if you have a damp laundry area – it will keep your detergent from clumping.
Have you got an article of clothing or two that can be hand washed and must be hung to dry? And drip all over the place as well. Purchase an additional shower curtain rod – the type with the spring ends and do not need to be fastened to the walls permanently. Hand over your bathtub and let your laundered items drip into the tub.
Got old pillow cases? Cut 2 small holes in the hem and thread a long shoe/sneaker lace through the hemmed end of the pillow case. This will allow you to tie your new homemade laundry bag. Place delicates in it, stockings, etc. (use a couple if you need to) and toss right into the washer.
Need a good-quality laundry scoop for your powdered laundry detergent? Grab a handled mug – plastic is fine – or an old mug with a chip in it.
Save money and stop buying those expensive dryer sheets. Make your own. Pour about a teaspoon (now isn’t this a REAL moneysaver!!) on a clean rag and toss in the washer.
Make your laundry smell better after removing from the washing machine. Add a half-cup of white vinegar o the rinse cycle.
Do you “lose” socks in the dryer? Gotta love static cling! A few minutes before removing your laundry from the dryer, open the dryer door and toss a damp cloth in. That bit of extra moisture will cut down on the static electricity.
Here lies the body of………….
Died while cleaning her home……………..
Now do you want that on your headstone?
Is it possible – YES!
Any time you are using a cleaner (even if you have used it for years – companies change things and change ingredients) be sure to read the label entirely. If you see the word CAUSTIC, that means it can burn your skin. You will need to wear rubber gloves when handling such products.
If you are using harsh cleaners, be sure that the area you are working in is well-ventilated and avoid any gas or flames of any kind. You don’t need to blow up!
Vinegar is a great cleaner around the house – it can do so much. But did you know that vinegar should ONLY be store in GLASS bottles? WHEN VINEGAR COMES IN CONTACT WITH LEAD OR COPPER, IT CAN CREATE A DEADLY POISON. (did I shout it loud enough for you to hear?)
When cleaning your toilet bowl (for instance), never mix chlorine bleach with toilet bowl cleaners or ammonia. When combined, these chemicals can create chlorine gas – a potentially lethal substance.
Anytime you are using cleaners, be sure to seal the containers tight and store them in a well-ventilated area. Keep well out of the way of children and pets!
You can clean, disinfect and deodorize, remove stains, have clean, shiny surfaces, etc. all without the use of harsh cleaners.
Let’s take a look at natural cleaning products that you can easily use or make in your own home – saving time, money and energy and how to use these products to clean your home -
Summer time – we all use air conditioners. And they need to be cleaned. Turn off the air conditioner and pull the plug (always better safe than sorry!) Vacuum entirely and wash the filter with vinegar and water using ¼ cup white vinegar to 1 quart water.
For cleaning fans, dust, brush or vacuum; combine ¼ cup of vinegar in a quart of water and wipe with a soft cloth. Don’t let the liquid get into the fan.
Vacuum filters regularly to remove hair, dust, and mold from your heating and air conditioning systems. Hose down filters with water and allow to dry in the sunlight; dry thoroughly. If the filters become too dusty and moldy to clean – replace them.
Use a vacuum to clean your heating ducts. Remove the grates and vacuum away. If you home is too large, have a professional do the job. They will inspect for mold, leaves, debris and dust mites.
Humidifiers – Clean with equal parts of white vinegar and water.
Cooking with onions? How about a home-made air freshener? Dissolve ½ cup baking soda in 2 cups hot water and add ¼ cup of lemon juice. You can spray this into the air. You can also leave a cup of vinegar in a room to absorb odors.
Clean your barbecue stoves and grills by washing with a paste made from baking powder and water; follow with a vinegar and water rinse.
Clean the inside of your oven with ¼ cup baking soda mixed into a pint of water; follow with a white vinegar/water rinse using ¼ cup white vinegar to 1 quart of water.
Clean your range using your own homemade orange oil cleaner or lemon cleaner: boil orange or lemon peels in water for 45 minutes. Let cool and stand for a few days. Strain the liquid from the peel. Rub the liquid on your range, oven, or stove top. For a tough stain, rub the orange or lemon peel directly on the stain to dislodge it. Baking soda and water on a cloth also will do the job – as will white vinegar and water or borax and water on a cloth or sponge.
Make a paste of baking soda and water to clean your fridge; rinse with white vinegar mixed with water (equal amounts). Dry. Wash vegetable bins in the refrigerator with a paste of baking soda and water as well; rinse with a white vinegar/water solution (equal amounts). Dry.
Clean your washing machine by first rinsing the empty machine with a cup of white vinegar. Add baking soda to your laundry load and add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the final rinse. If your machine is stained, use white vinegar and salt to wipe around the inside. Milk or rubbing alcohol will remove ball point pen ink from your washer and dryer.
Use rubbing alcohol to clean stainless steel sinks, countertops, and many of your gadgets. Wipe dry – water destroys stainless steel and countertops – water spots metal. Keep drying up spills and wet spots. A bit of olive oil or other vegetable/mineral oil will shine up your stainless steel sink – wipe off excess oil. Keep the surface dry.
Clean your shower stall with a solution of white vinegar and salt. This will clean shower stalls and shower curtains. It will eat up mildew. Rinse with water and let dry in a well-aired room. Salt and white vinegar will also clean tile and grout; rinse off and let dry. Get rid of excess moisture in your bathroom by turning on a fan, opening a window or installing bathroom vents. Dry a wet shower curtain with a blow dryer – be careful – never stand in water with any electrical appliance.
White vinegar will clean your toilet. For tough stains, pour 1/2 cup baking powder in the toilet and brush stains; rinse with white vinegar. White vinegar and salt will remove tough mineral stains; flush quickly because the salt will eat into your pipes. Strong acids eat up porcelain. Never use a mixture of cleaning products, especially commercial cleaning products. The gas created by mixing them can be deadly. Use natural food products to dissolve calcium deposits. A teaspoon of cream of tartar mixed with a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide will remove mineral stains from metal surfaces. Since cream of tartar is expensive – stick to the white vinegar.
Clean indoor and outdoor trash cans as well as recycling bins with a mixture of baking soda and water; rinse with vinegar and water – all of equal measurements.
All glass items in your home can be washed in hot soapy water using dish detergent and rinsed with a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar to 1 quart of water. Any stains? Remove with baking soda.
Got some “well-used” baking pans that need cleaning? Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply and scour with a plastic scouring pad. Rinse and spray with a solution of vinegar and water. Cleans baked-on messes very easy.
Coffee and tea-stained cups and mugs? Keep a shaker jar of baking soda near your bottle of dish soap. Sprinkle in the cup or mug, rubs right out with your dish cloth.
Use baking soda on your pots and pans as well. Make a paste of baking soda and water and allow to set. Using a scouring pad, just rub off burnt-on foods. Plastic pads are fine – they won’t scratch your cookware (much better than steel wool pads).
Enamel teapots and coffee pots can be cleaned with a paste made of baking soda and water; apply inside and out; rinse with vinegar and water; wash in soapy water.
Baking soda and water cleans tea pots inside and out – vinegar and salt gets out mineral deposits – ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar mixed with ½ teaspoon hydrogen peroxide will remove mineral stains out of porcelain tea pots. Do a patch test first to how it affects metal or porcelain. The baking soda/water paste works well on stained metal tea pots.
Wooden cutting boards should be washed in hot soapy water after scrubbing with salt, or baking soda and vinegar. For tough stains, make a paste out of salt/baking soda and vinegar, apply and let sit for 30 minutes. Wash and rinse well; dry thoroughly.
To clean wood plates and salad sets, wipe out all food particles with a cloth or plastic pad dipped in a mixture of mild dish soap and water. Rinse out with a clean soft cloth. Dry right away. A bit of vegetable oil will protect the wooden plates and utensils.
Remember that is you put a damp wooden bowl or utensil away, it will soon turn black with mold and mildew. Never leave wooden bowls or utensils in the sun. Treat any dry, splintering, flaking or rough wood with vegetable oil or olive oil to “season or temper.” Blot out excess oil.
Baking soda and vinegar are great for cleaning your drains in your sinks. You can use salt and vinegar – but it needs to be flushed well with water – you never let salt sit in a drain – it will eat your pipes.
Clean your granite countertops and floors using a damp cloth soaked in mild dishwashing liquid and water. Rinse with a damp clean cloth.
Linoleum floors and vinyl floors don’t get along too well with water either. Always damp mop applying a small amount of water – never soak the floor. Never use alkalis such as ammonia or chlorine to clean your floors. This will crack the flooring and dissolve the flooring as well. Clean scuff marks or heavy dirt using a small amount of citrus-based cleaner such as orange oil on a cloth. You can also use a bit of baking soda on a sponge to remove heel and scuff marks.
Clean your wooden kitchen cabinets in your kitchen by polishing with linseed or jojoba oil. Newer kitchens may have cabinets that needs to be cleaned according to manufacturer’s directions. Follow the instructions.
Do you have blinds in your house? Dust your blinds and clean with a solution of ½ cup white vinegar mixed with 1 quart of water. If you need to use a mild dishwashing detergent and water, be sure to rinse with a solution of ¼ cup of white vinegar to 1 quart of water.
Use a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and water to clean your radiators. First dust and use a paint brush to get the dust out of the crevices and corners. Soak a cloth in the vinegar/water solution and clean.
Anytime of the year is the time to clean your beds. I’m not talking about changing your bed linens – I’m talking about cleaning your beds! Remove your box spring and mattress and vacuum your bed frame and all around your bed boards. Wipe down your bed frames with a water and white vinegar mixture. Clean wooden bed boards with linseed. This will even ward off mold. Vacuum your box spring and mattresses and make your bed. If it’s a nice day – just open the windows wide and let everything air out for a couple hours before re-assembling.
Wash your blankets before putting away for the season or for just washing, with mild soap and water, adding a little baking soda or borax to the water – usually about ¼ cup per load.
Vacuum pillows to remove dust mites, place in the clothes dryer and tumble on air without heating the pillow and stuffing. If you try to wash a pillow, the stuffing will clump make hard lumps. Foam pillows are the only ones you can wash. Dry thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew. Occasionally feather pillows can be washed, they will still clump and if not dried thoroughly will have mildew and mold growing inside. Always keep pillows dry and use pillow covers. Washing pillow covers is much easier.
For quilts, always check the washing instructions on the label. Many times a patchwork quilt will tear or the colors will bleed. Wash cotton quilts in warm water with ½ cup baking soda in a washing machine with a tub full of water. Add eight ounces of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Hand wash quilts whenever possible to prevent ripping, shrinking, curling, or color bleeding.
When was the last time you cleaned your dryer – and I don’t mean just the lint trap! Use your vacuum to pick up all lint and wash the screen in the lint trap with a soapy cloth; rinse with a damp rag. Do not let any water get into the lint filter slot. Clean often to reduce the risk of having a dryer fire. When lint traps get clogged and overheated or the vent gets stuffed up with dust and dirt – fires start. And speaking of the vent to the outside (another fire starter) will also need to be cleaned.
Your iron will accumulate minerals inside. You can easily dissolve these mineral deposits using equal parts of water and white vinegar. Use distilled water, not tap water in your iron.
Candle sticks are really easy to clean! Melt the was using a hairdryer set on the HOT setting (not on wooden candlestick holders – the wood will crack – use the WARM setting for those)
and remove the wax. For sterling/silver candlesticks – place them in the freezer to freeze the wax – pick off. You can also melt the wax in a microwave if your candleholders are glass. (See HOW TO GET RID OF CANDLE WAX)
For your glass coffee pots (coffee maker) you can combine ice cubes, salt and lemon wedges (never place ice cubes in a hot glass pot) and swish to remove coffee or tea stains. You can also use baking soda, salt and water. This method will also clean glass-lined carafes and glass thermos bottles.
Perculators (coffee pots) should be cleaned with baking soda, salt and white vinegar made into a paste; rinse well.
Dishes can be washed with baking soda, white vinegar and salt, rinse well. Plastic scouring pads do not scratch and will easily remove stuck-on foods.
Use baking soda to wash dishes in your dishwasher and add ½ cup white vinegar to the rinse water.
Ceramic countertops need to be wiped of any crumbs and food particles. Wash with hot soapy water, rinse and dry.
Clean laminated counters with white vinegar to remove most stains. Wipe with a damp cloth and rinse with plain water. A mild dishwashing detergent diluted with water will get rid of the acidity of the vinegar. NEVER allow full strength vinegar to dry or remain too long on a laminated surface.
Knives should be washed in a mixture of half white vinegar and half water or use mild dishwashing detergent. Never put vinegar on plastic handles. Dishwasher detergent will sometimes pit and rust blades. Oil knives with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel or soft cloth.
Cleaning ceramic floors is a bit trickier. Always vacuum or sweep to pick up dust, dirt, crumbs, and food particles. Mop your floor with a tablespoon of borax and two tablespoons ammonia to a bucket of water. NEVER use vinegar, salt, tea, lemon, olive oil, or baking powder to clean ceramic floor tiles or vinyl floors.
Wood flooring can be cleaned using ¼ cup white vinegar to one gallon of warm water. Mop and rinse with a dampened mop. Dry immediately. Polish with a bit of linseed oil on a cloth and buff to polish.
Dark hardwood floors must be vacuumed completely and can be damp mopped with a small amount of water and black tea (soak 3 tea bags in hot water and let cool). Use a very small amount of water on the floor and dry thoroughly. Rub a small amount of linseed or jojoba oil on the hardwood floor until it shines. Remove excess oil from floor, and dry the floor.
Never use black tea on light hardwood floors. Use a weaker tea (green tea or chamomile with a bit of water). Soak 3 tea bags in hot water and let cool. Use a very small amount of water on a hardwood floor. Dry thoroughly. Rub a small amount of linseed, Tung, or jojoba oil with a small cloth over the floor; remove any excess oil; dry well.
For polishing your hardwood floors – use linseed oil. Always allow washed wood floors to dry completely to prevent mildew. Then only use a little bit of linseed oil and polish twice.
Vinyl floors should be washed with a bucket of water with one tablespoon of borax added to it. Mop and allow to dry. Using soaps on vinyl floors can remove the shine coating that came with the new vinyl. You can even use plain water if your floors are cleaned regularly.
Let’s go back to the wooden floors for a moment – wooden floors can scratch easily. Remedy this by finding a crayon with the same hue as the floor color and fill in the scratches. Turn on your hairdryer (HIGH heat) and hold it on the floor until the crayon melts a bit from the warmth. Then buff with a clean soft cloth.
Furniture should be vacuumed, brushed and washed lightly without wetting too much using a damp cloth.
Upholstery needs to be vacuumed frequently and can be gently sponged down with unsweetened plain club soda. Lemon juice will also remove sweat and grease, or use ¼ cup white vinegar to 1 quart of water – sponge down using a sponge or clean cloth.
Upholstery that is heavily soiled, smelly or stained needs a professional upholstery cleaner. Upholstery that has been covered by fabric may only need a dusting/vacuuming. Using soap on upholstery only leaves white residue, lint, or dried powder stains. You can try a tablespoon of dry baking soda sprinkled on the fabric, then vacuumed off to get rid of odors.
For wooden furniture mix two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice. Do NOT use extra virgin olive oil. Dip a soft cloth into the mixture and rub in the direction of the grain of the wood. A toothbrush can get into narrow crevices. Rub with another clean (fresh) cloth until the wood shines.
Polish wooden furniture with linseed or jojoba oil (linseed oil is cheaper.) Teak oil can also be used for wooden furniture. Never use lemon oil on oak furniture. Always remove excess oil after leaving a thin coating of oil on for a few hours.
Polish teak with teak oil or a combination of Tung and linseed oil. Danish oil may also be used.
For metal furniture that may have rust stains – use a mixture of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide.
For furniture sealed with polyurethane, dust and wipe with a damp cloth using hot soapy water (dishwashing liquid).
For leather furniture, wipe with a damp cloth. If there are oil stains (or oil-based stains) on your leather furniture, dampen a soft cloth with a bit of milk and don’t rub too much. You can make your own leather conditioner by rubbing olive oil into worn leather; allow to sit for 30 minutes and wipe off with a soft polishing cloth. You can also condition leather furniture with lanolin and a dampened cloth; apply and let sit for a while; wipe off.
Plastic destroys leather - do not cover leather furniture with plastic covers. While you’re at it – never store leather jackets in plastic bags. Never pour oil on leather – use a soft rag. Never clean leather with alcohol.
If your futons’ material is washable, use ¼ cup baking soda and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Wood panels should be dusted and cleaned with oil soap or vegetable oil (Danish oil can be substituted) on a cloth. Don’t use furniture polish on wood panels. Wipe dry to avoid an oily residue that will leave more fingerprints and marks.
Naugahyde (vinyl-coated fabric) should be cleaned with a bit of linseed oil or olive oil on a soft cloth.
Wicker baskets can be gently washed with mild dish detergent and water; allow to air dry completely.
Wrought iron should be waxed to prevent rusting. Wash with hot water and use a rust-inhibiting paint.
For Oriental rugs you’ll need to know what the backing is made from and what the fibers are in the rug. Also, if you rub a damp cloth over the rug does it bleed? You will need to know also if it is colorfast before dry cleaning or washing. You need to be careful – you want your rug to shrink, bleed and curl up on you.
Some rugs need special attention and a professional cleaner; some can be steam-cleaned using water. Others can be vacuumed after sprinkling baking soda on them to get rid of odors.
Hand-made rugs can be moistened with a little water and brushed with a cloth. Don’t wash if the colors bleed.
For sheepskin rugs, cover the nozzle of your vacuum with an old knee high or light weight fabric to clean. Rub the backing of the rug with cornmeal (do this outdoors) and brush well. Keep water away from sheepskin rugs. If after doing a patch test, the fibers react well, you can use a wool cleaner. Sheepskin rugs can be cleaned with powders, meals, baking soda, or other dry means. Never put the rug in the dryer or use heat. Hang over a clothesline to air out; brush carefully – do not pull out the hairs.
Clean your silver with a solution of ½ cup baking soda to a gallon of water. For smaller jobs use two tablespoons baking soda to two quarts of water. You can line your sink or a baking dish with aluminum foil and fill with hot water; add one teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of baking powder to the hot water. Place silver in water and soak for 5 minutes. The tarnish will disappear. Rinse and dry; buff with a soft cloth.
For items that are silver or gold plated, dust using a soft cloth and also use a soft-bristled paint brush to get into crevices. Wash with a bit or warm water; dry and shine with a jewelry polishing cloth.
Wash pewter in plain water using a mixture of salt and white vinegar (equal parts) to remove mineral stains. White vinegar and salt mixtures also remove mineral stains from bathroom tile, grout, tile walls or floors, sinks, and toilets. Never leave a salt/vinegar solution on any surface for any length of time or remain in your toilet. On pewter, it’s applied and immediately removed. Keep pewter dry.
If you have ivory frames or other items made of ivory, dust the ivory so you don’t remove the patina. Keep ivory away from cleaners and any liquids.
Art objects made of turtle and tortoise shell can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth. Polish with a bit of mineral oil or olive oil. Dry borax on a clean cloth will also polish this.
Mother of pearl should be cleaned with a paste made from calcium and water or powdered chalk and water; clean gently with a soft cloth; dry thoroughly.
Dust or vacuum rubber items and wash in plain water; dry quickly. Rubber is destroyed by acidic solutions, dried soap, and rubbing with am op to get out stains.
Wash terra cotta with plain water; dry with a soft cloth.
Paper-based sculptures need to be vacuumed first; polish gently with a bit of linseed, jojoba, or olive oil.
Plastic toys can be wiped with a white vinegar/salt solution and rinsed with white vinegar and water. You can also make a paste with baking soda and water.
Wooden toys can be washed with soap and water – but must be dry immediately. Oil the wood to prevent mold and mildew. Wipe off excess oil and dry completely before storing.
Sea shells found on the beach need to be boiled for a few minutes; clean out any seaweed or “meat” on them. Dry on a cloth in the sunlight. Disinfect them with rubbing alcohol – soak for 5 minutes. Do a patch test first to make sure the alcohol doesn’t harm the shell. Seashells that have been purchased in a store is most likely coated with seals, colors, and lacquers. Dust them off. If cleaning is needed and they are stained – use a soft cloth or a small brush dipped in water to see if the colors bleed.
Dust lampshades using a clean paint brush with soft bristles or blow the dust off with a hair dryer on COOL.
Marble should be cleaned with a paste made from baking soda and water. You can also use dry cornmeal and wipe off. Marble is porous and is ruined by moisture. Use a dry dust cloth or mop. (Stone sealers sometimes wear off). If you need to use water – damped an soft cloth and dry quickly. Use a hairdryer to dry the marble. Soap on marble will leave a film and leaves permanent streaks – ruining it. If you have a marble floor in your bath – use a non-skid bath mat to keep the floor dry and check under the mat for water damage. BLOT dry – do not wipe. Wiping spreads the water streaks. You can test a very small spot of the marble with hydrogen peroxide to see if it removes the stain or makes it worse.
Window frames can be vacuumed; polish window frames with linseed oil on a cloth.
Wash windows and mirrors with a vinegar/water solution. Some will use rubbing alcohol – but rubbing alcohol is highly flammable. NEVER mix alcohol with vinegar – it’s one or the other. If using white vinegar and water – one part white vinegar to eight parts water. Back in the “old” days it was a mixture of half and half. Experiment to find the right strength for your use. NOTE: Never use vinegar on frames surrounding mirrors or windows.
Cleaning vases with narrow necks with bottle brushes is a good idea. Use a solution of white vinegar and water (equal parts). Or you can use denture-cleaning tablets in water to soak narrow-necked bottles, jars, and vases.
White vinegar or a small amount of baking powder dissolved in water will clean the inside of vases that are stained.
Dirty zippers? Oil the zipper with a dab of olive, sesame, linseed, jojoba, or any other vegetable, or mineral oil to make them slide smoother (do this after washing the garment or before sewing a new zipper into clothing.)
Use your garden hose to hose down your umbrellas; dry to prevent mold and mildew from forming and prevent rust on the spokes. Brush to remove dust. Wash with a solution of mild dishwashing detergent and water or white vinegar and water; rinse well. Oil spokes with a bit of mineral oil to ward off rust. Wipe off excess oil and dry.
Mildewed or moldy tiles can be washed with white vinegar and salt. Rinse with plain water and dry. Mildew in the grout can be cleaned with white vinegar and salt. If your tiles are painted with various paints – wash with plain water and dry.
Latex paint on walls should be washed with plain water. Alcohol will remove latex paint from the walls. Gentle dishwashing detergent and water is also safe. Do a test first if using dishwashing liquid to see if the paint is being removed.
Most wallpaper is coated with vinyl to keep soil from being absorbed. Wipe clean with a cloth moistened in a bit of warm water. Greasy areas can be blotted with cornstarch to absorb the grease. Allow the cornstarch to do its job; then brush away the cornstarch. Rubbing alcohol will remove crayon marks or ball point pen ink. Test a small area to be sure it doesn’t stain.
Most walls can be washed with a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar to a gallon of water.
Vacuum cleaners do the cleaning for us but they also have to be cleaned as well. Mop strings, rug fibers, hair – it all gets caught up in the rollers. Wet carpets cause damage and so do metal objects that get caught in the vacuum. And there are dust clogs. First pull the plug of the vacuum (better safe than sorry) and gently snake a mop handle into the hose without tearing to push out the dust clogs. Use a pair of scissors to cut the mop strings, hairs, etc. that have wrapped around the rollers and the rotating brush of uprights. Use large plastic bags to empty dirt from the vacuum cleaner bin or bag.
Lawn mowers need to be cleaned as well. Grass clippings build-up under the mower. Tip the mower on its side and scrape the bottom using a trowel or putty knife. This will make the airflow easily. NEVER hose down your mower – clean with a moist cloth. Don’t spill and highly flammable and toxic gasoline or oil onto your lawn!
Do you have pets?
Cat litter boxes can be washed with baking soda and water. Rinse with white vinegar and salt; rinse with water; wipe dry. Never use chlorine bleach to clean a cat litter box. Between the fumes from the bleach and the fumes from the ammonia in the cat urine you will have a deadly gas that can be fatal.
For pet dishes use stainless steel bowls and wash in hot soapy water; rinse with equal parts of white vinegar and water. For stains, make a paste of baking soda and water; rinse thoroughly.
Do you have a few too many cleaners in your kitchen that are used for just certain things that you need to clean? They just clutter up the area you keep your cleaning supplies, sometimes they are too old for you to get your use out of the price you paid, many are harsh and can cause reactions to the skin, eyes, or respiratory system.
How would you like to save some money, have more room and less clutter, and still be able to clean everything without using harsh chemicals? You don’t need fancy cleaners – a few basics and will be saving a lot of money and time!
Here’s a few hints that can help:
Still holding on to Grandma’s favorite silver that needs to be cleaned? No silver polish? Grab a tube of toothpaste (white toothpaste – not the gel), dip the silver in water, and squeeze some onto the silver, rub in gently with your fingers to make a foam, then simply rinse off the (toothpaste) foam and the tarnish. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
Baking soda is another great way to clean silver. Make a paste using a couple tablespoons of baking soda and mix with water to form a paste. Apply to the silver and let sit for 10 minutes, gently rub into the silver, rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.
Has you milk soured? Soak silver in sour milk for 30 minutes to loosen the tarnish, wash in soapy water, rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
Foil can work just as well. Line a cooking pan with foil and fill with cold water. Drop tarnished silver into the water for 2 to 3 minutes, remove and rinse off the tarnish.
Scour your countertops with baking soda. Just sprinkle on the countertops, and using a damp sponge or cleaning rag, clean your countertop clean. Also pour some baking soda down your sink drain with an equal amount of white vinegar to unclog your pipes.
Club soda is nice to remove stains on cloth napkins and dish towels. It makes a great soak for stained towels. Also use for cleaning and shining your stainless steel sink.
Salt is a wonderful mild scouring agent as well as an odor-eater. If your hands smell of fish or garlic, rub a little dry salt on your fingers to lift the odors right out. Sprinkle salt on warm spills in the oven; wipe away when the oven is cool. Add a little white vinegar to salt to clean copper and copper-bottom pots and pans.
Lemon is a mild acid as well as a great deodorizer. Sprinkle salt on a lemon wedge and use it to scrub and shine your sink. Use lemon juice to remove fish and onion odors from your hands. When done, grind the lemon wedges in your garbage disposal to clean the blades. Clean glass coffee pots from your coffee maker by placing ice cubes in the pot (not a hot pot!), add a few lemon wedges and pour in salt, swish around to remove coffee or tea stains. Rinse and wash in warm soapy water. Your pots will sparkle.
Flour combined with white vinegar makes an excellent brass polish.
Mix some cream of tartar with some boiling water (cream of tartar is a mild acid) and you will have a cleaner that will take some stains out of aluminum pots.
If you don’t have vinegar, use ketchup to clean you copper pots. Then wash in warm soapy water.
NOTE: Copper pots and bowls need to be cleaned BEFORE use as well as after use. The metal in these pans builds up toxins as they sit around. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the pot and sprinkle with a spoon of salt. If the piece of lemon turns green, that means the pot really needed to be cleaned. Wash with hot soapy water.
Keep a shaker jar of baking soda near your dish soap. When washing coffee cups or mugs that have coffee and tea stains in them, sprinkle some baking soda into the cup and wash with your dish cloth – removes the stains like magic.
The best cleaner you can have is a spray bottle of 1 cup white vinegar to 5 cups water. Use for cleaning windows, glasses, use to kill odors in food containers, clean mineral deposits off faucets, remove grease build up from oven walls, greasy stove tops and cook tops, clean floors – both linoleum and no-wax.
Best car wash solution – liquid dish soap, white vinegar and water in the bucket! You’ll be surprised just how clean your car comes!
One household item can do the job of many products – just click here.
The busiest room in the house is usually the kitchen. That is the heart of the home – where everyone sits, eats, visits and some even dye or perm hair in the kitchen, do homework, work on projects, etc.
And with all the appliances and gadgets that are available today, there is just not enough room for everything.
Without going into a big expense, and an easy way to recycle some things, you can organize some of your clutter and make things look much neater.
Let’s start with cooking utensils. Usually the drawer or drawers that hold all those cooking utensils are one big mess! No organization to those drawers at all. You are constantly fumbling through looking for one particular spatula or wooden spoon, or knife, or the ice cream scoop or the pizza cutter.
Start to save those waxed paper and plastic wrap boxes. Carefully remove and dispose of the metal cutting edge (if these is one), cut off the end flaps and the cover. Line up in your drawer and use to separate knives, cooking utensils, spoons, hand graters, silverware, barbecue skewers, etc. If you cannot remove the metal cutting edge, cover with duct tape so that you or anyone in your family don’t cut yourselves when reaching for something.
Small boxes can be used to hold all those twist ties that we use. Why have them scattered all over the drawer?
Still need a bit more room for those “every day” utensils that you want right at your fingertips? An old jug, pitcher, or small, tall pot can be decoratively placed on your countertop to hold the utensils you use on a daily basis. If it is not attractive, or the wrong color, paint or decorate to match your kitchen. If it happens to be quite light and made of thin material or plastic, you will not want it to tip as you remove utensils. Fill the bottom with some marbles to give it weight.
Do you like to cook and bake? Often looking for something to use in the freezer to hold a half cup or cup or something – like pumpkin puree, mashed bananas, etc? Recycle your yogurt containers. They are just the right size. Label, date and freeze. While you’re at it – 8 oz. of gravy, broth for recipes, juices, etc. will also freeze in those containers. Makes measuring much easier later on.
Recycle your plastic gallon ice cream tubs and plastic sherbet containers, whipped topping containers, etc. of all sizes. These are great to use for holding flours, sugars, brown sugar, rice, barley, couscous, cereals, powdered sugar, dry milk, etc. This is also helpful for anyone who has an ant problem every spring.
Save those glass jars that pasta sauces come in. You can use those in your freezer to freeze gravies, sauces, broths, homemade soups, etc. Pickle and olive jars are nice for shaking homemade salad dressings; also use for storing homemade crumbs for baking (refrigerated of course).
Need extra freezer space? When freezing portions of ground beef (for instance – in 1 pound packages for certain recipes), pat the meat out flat and place in freezer bags. Once frozen they will stack easier and will also thaw faster than a ball-shaped piece of frozen meat.
Use your gallon milk jugs to end under-the-sink clutter as well. cut off the tops and store your rubber gloves, sponges, bottle cleaners, dish mops, trash can liners, etc.
Cleaning upholstery is not an easy task. Upholstered furniture is comfy to sit on, and has a nice texture, but it’s porous material and it absorbs everything. Food and drink stains, perspiration, dead skin cells, hair, dirt and grime, nicotine, pet hairs, and what ever they brought into the house – you name it – your upholstered furniture will gladly collect it all for you. Easy in (the upholstery) tough time out (removing from the upholstery). And most of the time it is all ground into the fibers and below the surface.
Even odors (including the smell of cigarette smoke or cigar smoke) will stick to the upholstery.
Vacuuming is great for removing surface dust and surface dirt, crumbs, hairs, etc. on the surface of the upholstery. Never brush crumbs, dirt, etc. with force to push it deeper into the fabric. That makes is much harder to remove.
With a large family, pets and much traffic in the living area, you might want to invest in one of those little cleaning machines. They are usually lightweight, easy to handle, and they have all the attachments that will reach into all areas of your couch and chairs. This little machine will inject the fabric with a hot liquid cleaning solution and also vacuum it right up. With the first pass you will see a big difference. This will remove the dirt and grime and also will remove odors that have been trapped in your upholstery. You can even use the machine on your carpeting.
If you have a small stain, you can try a spot carpet cleaner that you apply to the stain, let sit a few minutes and rub off. Sometimes for small stains a spot remover will do the job – just follow the manufacturer’s directions on the container.
You can call a professional service to do carpets, furniture and draperies as well. Make sure they are reputable – some saturate your carpets and furniture so much that you cannot use them for a couple days.
Our sinks take such abuse! And stains love to stick to our sinks. Many of the stains are due to hard water and those are hard to remove. They also get “scuff” marks from large pots, pans and cookware.
Porcelain sinks do well with cleanser unless you have a stubborn stain that refuses to leave! And with age – cleanser doesn’t do the trick anymore.
Try the hot water and bleach soak. After scrubbing your sink with cleanser, rinse thoroughly and plug the sink. If you have to use a rubber stopper to keep the water in the sink – fine. Fill your sink with hot water and pour in a cup of bleach. Let sit for 3 minutes. If you have a dish drain in your sink – soak that too – it won’t hurt at all. Toss your dish cloths in as well – all stains come out and they look like new again. You can even soak your dish towels that are dingy looking or stained. While you’re at it – grab the dish cloth and wipe down your kitchen counters to kill any bacteria. Your sinks and countertops will be disinfected. Empty the sink and rinse well, rinse the dish cloths and/or towels. Allow to dry.
Stainless steel sinks can easily be cleaned with a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda. Just make a paste and rub in with a soft cloth so you don’t scratch the surface.
If you are making a favorite dish that calls for fresh squeezed lemon, save the squeezed half lemon to pass over any stains in your sink. Grapefruit works extremely well, is larger to work with than a lemon and is very acidic! Cut in half, place cut side down and rub the stains out using circular motions. If you have sensitive skin, you may have to wear rubber gloves because of the acid in the citrus. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and dry. If white spots still show after you have dried the sink, put a small amount of olive oil on a soft cloth and rub into the spits in the sink.
If you want to keep your stainless steel sink shiny and keep it protected, place olive oil on a soft cloth and shine it up.
Tips for removing stains:
For older sinks and tubs, there is a product called “The Works” that will work pretty good.
A scouring pad or a brillo pad will work on many stains.
White vinegar is a good cleaner.
Sometimes a toilet bowl cleaner can be used for the rust stains and tough stains in the sink or tub.
Lime Away is another good product to use.
Fill you sink with water and drop in a couple denture tablets.
If you like to scrub stains away, there are pumice-type scrubbers in the stores you can buy. These won’t scratch the finish on your sink or tub.
If you run out of cleanser, use baking powder. Another excellent cleaning product.
Keep old toothbrushes to scrub stains out. They are also good to use to clean around the faucets.
One thing you don’t need is a build-up of grease on your pots and pans. Not only is it unpleasant to look at but it is not safe to have a grease build-up on the outside of pots and pans you are cooking with over an open flame on your stove top.
Baked-on grease looks dirty. It give your pots and pans a greasy feel as well.
A little time and a little elbow grease can give your pans a new look.
An effective way to clean your stainless steel pots and pans and cookware is to place them in a large extra-heavy trash can liner. (And you thought I was going to say the sink!) Pour about ½ cup of ammonia into the bag and tie it very tightly. Set the bag outside – do not leave it in the house – the fumes are horrid! Leave the bag outside overnight or at least for 12 hours.
Open the bag outside and remove your pans. Place the trash can liner in the trash can outside and wash your pots and pans in hot soapy water. The stains should just wipe off. If your pans are in really bad shape – return to the bag, add more ammonia, tie tight and let it sit outside over night again.
If the outside of your pots and pans look absolutely disgusting and are caked with grease – spread a thick layer of newspaper on the table, turn your pots and pans upside down on the newspaper and spray with an oven cleaner. Or you can brush on the oven cleaner – depending on which your prefer. Open the windows and let the oven cleaner stay on for a while. Wash in hot soapy water. You may have to re-apply the oven cleaner again to remove the last of the grease.
A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is another remedy for greasy pots and pans. Apply the mixture using a dryer fabric softening sheet. This will remove built-up grease from your cookware. Wash in hot soapy water and dispose of the dryer sheet.
Greasy build-up can be prevented – just use your scouring pads and elbow grease after each time you use your cookware – scrubbing pots and pans inside and out.