January 24th, 2017

Get a head start on Spring Cleaning with a New Years Cleaning Headstart! Courtesy of usnews.com

Get a jump on Spring Cleaning this year with a New Years Cleaning head start!
Many of us start feeling that urge to deep clean our homes once spring rolls around. In fact, the “Spring Cleaning” ritual is practically hard-wired into most homeowners’ minds. But think about this…why spend so much time cleaning right when the weather turns nice? Why not do it now, when we’re stuck indoors anyway?

Snow and rock salt is tracked inside every day from your kids and family, the fireplace is circulating ashes, the heat’s running constantly, and with no open windows, all that dust is just hovering around. Having a deeply cleaned home is great for your abode and your psyche.

1. Clean Your Furnace

Change your furnace filter once a month. This helps in making your home more energy efficient and keeps your air cleaner. And don’t forget to look at the furnace itself. If it’s coated in dust and grime, or if there are dust bunnies circulating around underneath, make sure to vacuum them up.

2. Deep Clean Your Carpet and Floors

I don’t know about you, but I live in Michigan and my floors get trashed in the winter. Salt collects in between every carpet fiber, and the hardwood floors take on an unpleasant whitish sheen from melting salt water. To combat this, take the time to steam clean your carpet and scrub the floors. If you don’t have a place for snowy boots and shoes, put out a couple of cookie sheets (the kind with the raised edge) for them to drain by the door. This will help keep that mess off the floors.

3. Dust

Homes get very dusty in the winter because the air is so warm and dry. Dust your home’s surfaces from top to bottom to help keep the dust to a manageable level. Don’t forget ceiling fan blades, the tops of window moldings, and the tops of books – all of which are often overlooked and can collect dust easily.  Also, give your lighting fixtures a good dusting. Dust easily collects on them during the winter too, and can make your indoor light look dingy. This will make a big difference in brightening things up. Many people also opt to get their home’s air ducts professionally cleaned. This will not only drastically reduce the amount of dust, germs and allergens floating around, but it can also help your furnace run more efficiently.

4. Clean the Windows

If you have a fireplace or burn candles, your windows likely sport a thin film of soot on the inside, which can block precious sun. Give all your windows a good wipe down. I use vinegar mixed with water, and it works great.

5. Clean the Kitchen Ceiling

Think I’m kidding here? Your kitchen ceiling likely has a film of funk on it without you realizing it, mainly from all the moisture, fumes and smoke resulting from cooking. The same goes for the walls, especially those around the stove. Mix a small amount of mild dish soap in a bucket of warm water and gently scrub with a sponge, using only a minimum amount of water (not enough to drip). Of course, if you notice any discoloration or streaking, stop immediately.

Final Thoughts

I recently gave my own house a thorough, deep cleaning because of the after effects of winter. It proved to be great for me both mentally and physically. I got great exercise, and it felt wonderful to be in a clean and bright house. Have you deep cleaned your home lately?  Do you have any hardcore cleaning tips that help you cut through the mess?

Heather Levin contributes to the Money Crashers personal finance blog, and writes about green living and ideas for saving money on The Greenest Dollar.

November 17, 2016

Gratitude is the most important of all human emotions, and by far the most life changing!
Zig Ziglar tells the story of a woman who called and asked if he would meet with her and help her with her problems at work. He told her that he wasn’t a counselor but that he would meet with her. They met behind the stage, shortly before Ziglar was to speak. She was full of negative emotions. She told him, I hate those people at work, I don’t like my job, I don’t like the people, I don’t like anything. He told her he could help her if she was willing. He told her to get out a piece of paper and write down all the things she liked about her job. She didn’t move. He told her, if you aren’t willing to work on this it has been a pleasure this interview is over. She reluctantly got out a piece of paper. He asked for a list of things she liked about her job. She said, that’s easy I don’t like nothing about my job. He asked, do they pay you for working there? From there they found a number of other things that were really nice about her job. He said what I want you to do is take this paper and tonight before you go to bed, stand in front of the mirror and read the list saying I like my job because and list reason one. Then say I like my job because and list reason two. Go all the way down the list. In the morning repeat the process and take the paper with you because you will find other things you like to add to your list. Six weeks later, Zig was back in Birmingham doing a follow up seminar on sales and this dear lady was sitting in the front row. She was smiling so big she could have eaten a banana sideways. She ran up to him afterwards, Mr Ziglar, Mr Ziglar, you won’t believe it all the people at work have changed. He didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was her that had changed.

Gratitude with literally change your life if you are willing to follow this same simple procedure.

November 10, 2016

Fall is a wonderful time but Old Man Winter is just around the corner

Here is a list to help you be prepared:

Clean off your roof valleys and gutters (water damns can cause water leaks that can lead to expensive repairs.)
Change your furnace air filter-or clean it (this saves energy and assures that you are breathing fresh clean air.)
Blow out your underground sprinklers.
Disconnect outside water hose spigots (even if they are frost free they will freeze and break if a hose is hooked to them and they are full of water.)
Plant fall bulbs.
Cover your garden or flower beds with leaves or other compost so they are put away for the winter.
Clean and put away Spring and Summer items so they are out of the way all winter when you won’t be using them.
Get your carpets cleaned to have a nice fresh indoor environment for the long winter ahead.

Squirrels prepare shouldn’t you?

August 9, 2016

I mixed up a solution of one part Dawn dish soap and on part vinegar, sprayed it on half my tub (so I could compare the two sides for more clear results). About an hour later, I came in with a rag, wiped that side down, and this is what I found: Score! I did not scrub one tiny bit and my tub is sparkling white. I could actually see the line down the middle where the solution touched the tub.

July 15, 2016

Spruce up your shower. On a wet microfiber cloth sprinkle a small amount of baking soda and a couple drops of dish washing liquid. Work the cloth between your hands to create a lather and use the cloth to scrub shower walls. For shower floors, sprinkle baking soda across the floor, squirt dish washing liquid over the baking soda in a “S” motion, scrub the floor with a wet brush. Rinse all shower services with warm water. Wipe down the walls and floor with a microfiber cloth. Clean shower curtains with a damp microfiber cloth sprinkled with baking soda; rinse with hot water.

June 8, 2016

Hospitals, where cleanliness is a life or death matter, confirm that microfiber cleaning products do a better job. This may sound like hype, but it’s true, according to studies performed by hospitals. Microfibers are tiny strands (usually less than one-tenth the thickness of a human hair) that are sliced into even smaller strands and woven into fabric. Those tiny strands reach into crevices and provide millions little pockets within the fabric to hold dirt particles. The strands also have sharp scouring edges, so microfiber cloths often clean effectively with out chemicals of even water (you can use cleansers or water if you choose). When used dry, microfiber cloths generate static electricity, which attracts and holds dust. To clean out all that dirt, just toss microfiber items in the washing machine. You can use microfiber products to dust furniture, clean glass, mop floors or even wash your car-or anything else.

May 25, 2016

Vinyl siding usually cleans up easily with nothing more than soap and water,and a yearly scrubbing with keep it looking new. For basic cleaning, use general-purpose cleaner mixed with warm water. Apply it with a soft bristle brush, scrubbing the full length of each lap. Start at the bottom to avoid streaking, and rinse off each section with a garden hose before it dries.

April 26, 2016

Recently we had a pretty foul odor in out office sink. I don’t know exactly what is was. We tried a number of solutions. We ended up using baking soda and vinegar. We mixed up some baking soda water (one cup per gallon) and poured down the drain until we figured enough had filled the trap. We the added vinegar. It bubbled like crazy, doing that ph neutralization thing that was so cool to me as a kid (we used to make volcanoes- hey my dad is a phd chemist),and low and behold that awful odor was totally gone. Try it yourself if you are having trouble with a smelly or slow drain.

May 12, 2015

Who doesn’t love a good smelling bathroom? An easy set it and forget it way to keep your bathroom smelling fresh without having to run in every hour with the Febreeze is found in essential oils. By placing a few drops of your favorite essential oils in the inner roll core of your toilet paper, your bathroom will have a great scent without being overpowering or requiring a lot of maintenance.

April 14, 2015

Who doesn’t love quick and easy cleaning? Fill a handled sponge with a 50/50 mixture of dish-washing liquid and white vinegar and keep it in your shower. When you’re done with your shower, you can give it a quick scrub. The steam and heat will help loosen any grime making it a perfect time to check cleaning the shower off of your list.

March 27, 2015

Coca Cola cleans! Yes, you read that right, our cleaning tip of the month revolves around Coca Cola! At some point or another we’ve been told that Coke is bad for our teeth because it is not only full of sugar, but is acidic. That acidity is what makes it such a great, yet unexpected, cleaning agent. Here are a couple ways that Coke can be used around the house:

1) Driveway stains. For stubborn stains that just refuse to leave, you can pour a can or bottle of Coca Cola over it and let it sit for a few hours. You can then use a hose and rinse it all off.

2) Rust. Coca Cola is full of acid, which means it does a fantastic job of removing rust from a variety of materials such as golf clubs or pennies.

3) Corrosion. On occasion, car batteries will get a build up of corrosion that impedes connection and can cause your car to not start. No worries! After ensuring your vehicle is off, you can pour a can of Coke onto the battery connections to remove the corrosion and your car will start again!

4) Toilets. Bathroom cleaning is always the worst, but by simply pouring a can of Coke into your toilet, letting it sit, and flushing it away you can get it clean without having to do the dirty work.

March 17, 2015

Taking out the trash always seems to be a chore no one wants to do, and forgetting to replace the trash bag happens more than we would probably like to admit. To make things easier on yourself, fold a few trash bags flat and lay them in the bottom of your trash can. This way, when the bag comes out, there’s one waiting right there to replace it! This is also helpful if guests are coming to visit or if you’re having a BBQ or party. If someone helps out with clean up, they don’t have to find someone to ask or search the cupboards.

March 6, 2015

We love our pets, but let’s face it, the hair they leave behind on our carpets and couches isn’t so great. This month’s tip is a quick and easy cleaning hack to help keep pet hair under control and off your floors! Most of us know how wonderful a squeegee is to clean the shower or windows, but running it across the carpet will help loosen the hair making it much easier to vacuum up after picking up the larger bits of loose hair.

February 19, 2015

While leather is great for upholstery as spills and messes can easily be cleaned off of it, it is important to note that there are several types of leathers, and those different type can have different finishes which makes it very important to care for leather based on what it is. The IICRC website recommends having leather cleaned by certified technicians who will be able to identify the products that will best suit the specific type of leather in your home, rather than using a “one size fits all” product for a DIY clean.

December 23, 2014

One of the most often overlooked carpet cleaning tips involves drying. Drying thoroughly before continuing regular use can prevent new stains from quickly setting in or indentations from settling into the pile.