Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Cleaning

For some reason when that sun starts shining in my windows and the snow is dripping off my roof, it totally makes me want to spring clean. Or maybe it's that I'm finally into the 2nd trimester and not spending every spare second hunched over the toilet and my house is a complete disaster...
Either way, since I've spent so much time over the years being someone else's professional "cleaning lady" I thought I'd share a few of my favorite products and cleaning ideas! Some are great for regular cleaning, and some are my deep cleaning "must haves" since that's mostly what I did.
For the kitchen you have to get this: Greased Lighting. It's amazing for any old greasy sticky mess. (Some Wal-marts don't have it, but I've seen it at Ace Hardware). Be sure to spray it on and let it soak for about 5 minutes... I swear it does 90% of the work for you. Pull the knobs off of your stove and soak them in this and scrub behind them with an old toothbrush. Your vent hood (don't let it drip into your eyes! Ouch! ...been there), back splashes, and diluted for wood cupboard doors, you name it. It's like magic.
Also, for your kitchen this little machine is amazing.

I have the Shark brand, but any steam cleaner will make you a happy woman. Seriously, it's so much fun to use! I especially love it for cleaning out the fridge/freezer because it melts away all those icky sticky messes because it stays HOT! Plus it gets into every little crack and crevice. Todd uses it all the time to detail the cars. I've steamed wallpaper off with it, cleaned nasty grout, stove tops (after they were soaked in Greased Lighting), bathrooms, you name it. Love!
My last "must have" for the kitchen is this:
Razor blade scraper. Soak it, scrape it all away. I use it weekly to clean my flat top stove. Also great for windows (tape residue, paint over spray, or super sticky jelly fingerprints). Just be careful to always keep it pressed flat or you could really do some damage!
Ladies, stop buying Windex now! It leaves a streaky mess. I always use an aerosol glass cleaner (sorry ozone!) This is my favorite brand because my grandparents bought it and it smells like their house!
...but when I can't find it look in the automotive section of the store and buy any of their aerosol brands. It just doesn't leave streaks or residue, and after you're done cleaning that bathroom mirror rub your paper towel over your faucets and they will shine, baby shine! Todd's even used it to clean the chrome on his motorcycle.

While we're in the bathroom, these are my secret weapons for hard water:
Scrubbing Bubbles +

Magic Eraser =
no more hard water spots or ring around the tub! Just spray on the Scrubbing Bubbles and let soak (noticing a trend here?) then rub with the Magic Eraser. TA-DA!
(Tip for Magic Eraser: it will last a lot longer if you don't dip the whole thing in water. Just run one edge or a corner under the water and it does just fine!) I'm sure I don't need to preach the wonderfulness of the Magic Eraser to you gals, it really is magic. Be careful on some plastics, though (scratched up the window of my microwave once) and new paint (6 months +).
I also like to use Soft Scrub with Bleach in the tub, but hate the bleachy smell and spots I always seem to get on my shirt. But it works awesome (so it's something I use more for deep cleaning instead of weekly clean).

Hard water ring in your toilet? Use a regular cheap-o Pumice Stone (you can get them with handles in with the cleaning supplies, but I usually go for the bargain and look for them in the foot care section of the store).

I know it's super scary, but just muster up your courage and go to. It scratches off the hard water ring, but is softer than whatever your toilet is made of and doesn't hurt it at all. I promise! I've been using this one for a long time (gotta love Idaho's super hard water) and it's totally safe for the potty. You can use it on some tubs, but they need to be porcelain and not plastic, so be careful on that one. Sinks are usually fine too.

For almost all other cleaning everywhere else I use regular 'ole Lysol. I'll just add it to a mop bucket with hot water for mopping floors, or to wash walls, all cabinetry (inside and out), etc. or diluted in a spray bottle for counter tops and such. Pretty much anything and everything in my house has wiped down with this stuff. Disinfect, baby.

Except I hate to mop. Ech. So for my home I got this for Christmas last year: the Shark steam mop.

"Ahhhhhh!!!" (do you hear that choir of heavenly angels singing?!?) Love that it uses just water (cheap!), love that it sanitizes, love that the pads are machine washable, love that it gets that hairspray buildup goop off your bathroom floor like a snap! (I know you know what I'm talking about!) LOVE! Don't love that it leaves streaks on my wood laminate floor that you can only see in front of my big double glass doors. Grr... but everything I've tried so far does. Rag mops, Swiffer mop (HATED!!!), blah. Anybody have any ideas on that one for me? It seriously makes me crazy.

So that's just a few of my favorite (cleaning) things. I would love to hear all your secrets and favorite products too!

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