Cleaning/Household Hacks and Tips
Last year was a horrible year for sickness in our home, and I felt the need to scrub everything to avoid further illness. Since I am now preparing for the upcoming “sick season,” I have decided to share some natural cleaning tips that may help you. My mother brought over a hand-me-down book that has TONS of ideas to help clean, organize, and simplify your life. There will be multiple posts related to the tips from this book, but it will be organized in sections.
This book has a copyright date of 1986. Believe it or not, sometimes in this fast-paced world we live in; it is helpful to get back to the basics.
As I began flipping through this book, I realized that there are so many different things that you can do to help yourself out. Before all of the commercial cleaners and “hot new” products, there was simplicity and things were “greener.” You could use the most basic products and household objects to get the job done! I am here to help bring these natural cleaning solutions and tips back in your life. Oh…..and don’t forget, many times the option that takes very little additional effort, is the one that is cheaper and healthier in the long run.
ALL OF THE BELOW INFORMATION IS TAKEN FROM A PRINTED BOOK, AND THEY ARE NOT MY IDEAS! I AM SIMPLY TAKING THE IDEAS THAT I FOUND HELPFUL, AND SHARING THEM.
The book is titled Favorite Helpful Household Hints
by: the editors of Consumer Guide
Whole-House Care and Cleaning
Supplies and How To Use Them
1. Eliminate tiny scratches on glass by rubbing toothpaste on them.
2. For wax that has dripped onto wooden surfaces; blow dry and then wipe away with a paper towel. Then rinse the area with a mixture of vinegar and water. DRY WELL!
3. When the tube on a spray bottle doesn’t reach the liquid because most of the liquid has been used up, drop marbles into the bottle until the liquid rises enough to cover the end of the tube.
4. Instead of buying dust cloths chemically treated to “attract” dust, you can make your own from cheesecloth. Dip the cloth in a solution of two cups of water and one quarter cup of lemon oil and allow it to dry before using.
5. It may not sound like fun, but you’ll do yourself a favor over the long haul if you clean the attachment brushes and rollers on your vacuum cleaner regularly. Lint and thread buildup will hamper the appliance’s performance over time.
6. To make an all-purpose soft soap, shave two cups of hard bar soap into a large pot, add a gallon of water, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the soap. Simmer on low heat for ten minutes, then let the soap cool partially before pouring into clean containers
Carpets and Upholstery
7. Acid stains on a carpet or on upholstery should be immediately diluted and neutralized with baking soda and water, or with club soda. The same solutions will also keep vomit stains from setting.
8. If someone spills an alcoholic drink on carpet or upholstery, quickly dilute the spot with cold water so that the alcohol doesn’t have time to attack the dyes. If red wine is the culprit, dilute it with white wine, then clean the spot with cold water and cover it with table salt. Wait ten minutes, the vacuum up the salt.
9. If there’s candle wax on carpet or upholstery, put an ice cube in a plastic bag and hold it against the wax. When the wax becomes brittle, chip it away with a dull knife.
10. OR… place a blotter (such as an old rag) over the spot of wax and press with a warm iron until the blotter absorbs the melted wax. Move the blotter frequently so that it doesn’t get over-saturated.
11. Dampen blood stains on carpet or upholstery with cold water. (Hot water sets the stains.) Then apply carpet or upholstery shampoo and follow this treatment by applying dry-cleaning fluid.
12. Absorb butter stains an other greasy household stains on carpet or upholstery with cornmeal.
13. Use hairspray to lift ballpoint ink from carpet or upholstery.
14. OR…. sprinkle stains (ink) with salt. As ink is absorbed, brush the salt away and repeat as necessary.
15. Just as fabric softener takes static cling out of your laundry, it can remove static “shock” from your carpet. Spray your carpet lightly with a mix of five parts water and one part liquid softener and you won’t have to worry about shocks when you touch metallic objects.
16. Rugs will last longer if you occasionally rotate them to change area of wear, or if you rearrange furniture to alter traffic patterns.
17. If your pets have accidents on your carpet or upholstery, blot the stains with water, then clean with club soda. A mix of equal parts of white vinegar and water is also effective.
18. If your carpet sweeper misses lint, string, and other small debris, just dampen the brushes.
Floors and Floor Coverings
19. A pencil eraser is often effective in removing scuff marks left by shoe heels on resilient flooring.
20. Instead of using commercial preparations, you can “wax” a floor by washing it with warm water to which you have added two tablespoons of furniture polish and a half cup of vinegar.
21. Rather than wax floors on your hands and knees, stand and use a long-handled paint roller. A roller not only speeds up the waxing process, it makes it easy to reach under a radiator or built-in furniture.
22. When washing highly waxed floors between waxings, use a solution of one cup of fabric softener in a half pail of water to prevent dulling the shine.
23. A few drops of vinegar in the water to clean the kitchen floor will help remove particles from cooking grease that has settled from the air.
Windows and Window Treatments
24. A liquid cleaner for glass windows can be made from two cups of water, two tablespoons of liquid dishwashing detergent, and two cups of isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70%). Stir until thoroughly mixed and then pour into a clean spray bottle. The alcohol keeps the cleaner from freezing on the panes in cold weather.
25. Cloudy days are preferable to sunny days for washing because direct sunlight dries cleaning solutions before you can polish the glass properly.
26. Wash one side of a window in horizontal strokes, and the opposite side in vertical strokes. That way you will know which side a streak is on.
27. To give an extra shine to window glass, polish it with well-washed cotton T-Shirts or old diapers.
28. Polish windows to a sparkling shine with crumpled-up newspaper. The paper also leaves a film that’s resistant to dirt.
29. Rubbing a clean blackboard eraser over a freshly washed (and dried) window gives it a diamond-bright shine.
Shades, Blinds, and Screens
30. If you’re interrupted while cleaning venetian blinds, clasp a clothespin to the last slat you cleaned so that you’ll know where you left off.
31. To prevent venetian blind tapes from shrinking when cleaned, rehang the blinds before the tapes are dry.
32. Another way to wash venetian blinds is to hang them from a clothesline and hose them down. You can also wash them under the shower. Use mild soap and water.
33. To install a new venetian blind cord, tape or sew the end of the new one to the old one, Slowly pull out the old cord and you’ll pull the new one into place at the same time.
Walls and Wall Coverings
34. To prevent water from running down your arm when washing walls, fashion a bracelet from a sponge or washcloth held in place with a thick rubber band.
35. It’s best to wash walls from the bottom up; otherwise, water trickling over the dry, unwashed areas creates hard-to-remove streaks.
36. You can make washing walls less of a wet, messy task by decreasing the amount of water and using an eggbeater to make thick suds.
37. For cleaning rough textured walls, old nylon stockings or socks are better than sponges or cloths because they won’t tear and leave difficult-to-remove bits and pieces on the surface.
Cleaning The Bathroom
38. To make your bathroom walls sparkle, rub the ceramic tile with car wax and buff after ten minutes.
39. An old nylon stocking rolled into a ball becomes a nonscratch scrub pad for cleaning the sink and tub.
40. Clean a rubber or vinyl bathtub mat by tossing it into the washer with bath towels. The terry cloth scrubs the mat, and everything comes out clean.
41. Having trouble getting mineral deposits off a shower head? Remove the head, take it apart, and soak it in vinegar. Then brush deposits loose with an old toothbrush. Clean the holes by poking them with a wire, pin, or toothpick.
42. Lemon oil will remove water spots on metal frames around shower doors and enclosures.
43. Glass shower doors will sparkle again if you clean them once a week with white vinegar.
44. Treat wooden towel racks with an occasional application of furniture polish to bring up the shine and give a protective coating.
45. Rubbing alcohol will wipe away hair-spray haze on a mirror.
46. You can defog a bathroom mirror quickly by spraying it with hot air from a hair dryer.
47. Mirrors in your bathroom won’t steam up if you run an inch of cold water in the bathtub before adding hot water.
48. Cola that has gone flat can be spilled into the toilet bowl and left for an hour. The soft drink will clean the bowl.
49. Treat leather-bound books periodically with a light oil so that the leather won’t dry out and crack.
50. If you arrange books at the front of shelves, air will be able to circulate and prevent mustiness.
51. Protect books from direct sunlight, which can fade the bindings and cause them to deteriorate.
52. To remove grease stains from books rub the affected areas with soft white bread.
53. Sprinkle damp book pages with talcum powder or cornstarch until the moisture is absorbed, then shake or brush the powder away.
Pictures and Art
54. When cleaning picture glass, carefully dust the glass, and then polish it with tissues sold for cleaning eyeglasses Avoid liquid cleaners because they could seep under the edge of the glass and spoil the photo or artwork.
55. To wash fragile items without breaking them, put them on a tray in the sink and spray them first with window cleaner or foam bathroom cleaner, then with warm water. Air dry on a towel.
56. You can wash knickknacks more quickly then you can dust them. Swish them in water containing a touch of liquid detergent, rinse, and drain on a towel. If you want to be sure every crevice is dry, use a hair dryer.
57. Always keep ivory objects where light can reach them, because steady darkness causes ivory to yellow.
58. To clean a yellowing ivory object, cut a lemon in half, dip it in salt, and rub it over the ivory surface. When the surface is dry, wipe it with a damp cloth, then buff dry for a bright finish.
59. To clean tarnished silver, place the items in a glass dish, add a piece of aluminum foil, and cover with a quart of hot water mixed with one tablespoon of baking soda. A reaction between the foil and the silver will remove any tarnish. Don’t use this process on raised designs, however. You’ll lose the dark accents of the sculpture.
60. If silver candlesticks accumulate wax drippings,place them in the freezer; when the wax freezes you’ll be able to peel it off.
61. An easy way to clean silver is with ordinary baking soda. Make a paste from three parts soda to one part water. Using a soft cloth, rub the paste gently on the silver surface. Tarnish will disappear rapidly. After rinsing, buff the silver with a soft cloth to bring up the shine.
62. Silver polish that has hardened can be revived in no time: Add a very little warm water an mix until the polish is the consistency of cream.
63. If candle wax has dripped on a table or cloth, hold an ice cube against the wax until it’s brittle, and then pry it off with a knife or your fingernail.
64. To get rid of stale cigarette or cigar smoke, leave a dish of vinegar or ammonia in the room overnight. It also helps to dampen a towel with diluted vinegar and wave it through the room.
65. Some sturdy fabric flowers may be freshened when shaken in a paper bag with dry cut oats, cornmeal, or salt. More delicate blossoms should be treated according to the fabric from which they are made.
66. It is possible to clean a chandelier without taking it down; here’s how. In a glass, mix a solution of one part denatured alcohol and three parts water. Cover the floor or table under the chandelier with newspaper or plastic and set up a ladder so that you can reach the pendants. Individually submerge the crystals in the glass for a few moments, swishing them back and forth a little, and then simply let them air dry.
I hope that you have found something in the post that you will be able to use! 🙂
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