Thursday, April 19, 2012

10 Tough Cleaning Solutions

It's that time of year when many of you are starting to work on your spring cleaning lists. I recently took an unscientific poll of my friends to gather up some of their most dreaded chores around the house. Boy did they have some tough ones! Lucky for you and for them, I've rounded up all the solutions here in one place.

1. Cleaning Baseboards

These seem to be one of the worst places in the house to collect dust and grime and for those with bad backs, one of the hardest to clean. I've found a great solution! If you have a Swiffer mop, it becomes an easy task.

I attached a Clorox wipe (since I didn't have any Swiffer wet cloths on hand) to the mop and wiped down the baseboards to get of the really tough grime. Then followed up by attaching a dryer sheet to the Swiffer mop and wiped them down again. This gets off the remaining dust and is supposed to help repel dust.

It takes some time to do all the baseboards but was much easier than the bucket and rag that I used to do. You can do this with out the Swiffer mop too, just use the wipes and dryer sheets by themselves.

2. Cleaning Candles

Candles are another place in the house that collect all kinds of dust and seem impossible to clean. There is a quick and easy way to get all the gross stuff off of them. If you have an old pair of pantyhose or knee highs, go ahead and grab them.

How to clean candles

Take your dirty candle and gently rub the pantyhose across the candle to remove the dust and dirt. Be careful not to break the wick. A bit of mine broke off but it was just the excess burnt part at the top. You'll be left with a super dirty pair of pantyhose and a nice clean candle! Plus all that black mess on the glass was easy to wipe off too!

How to clean candles

How to clean candles

How to clean candles

3. Cleaning Grout

There are a few great solutions for cleaning dirty grout. My favorite way and probably the best solution I have to getting it sparkling clean is Clorox Clean-up with Bleach. You just spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes and the rinse it off. It works like magic. Just be sure to wear something you don't mind getting bleach on - that's how I ended up bleaching my black sweatshirt - and gloves!

Another of my favorite methods is Comet or Bar Keepers Friend both in the powdered form. You can make a nice paste out of them and scrub it into the parts of the grout that need cleaning. Then rinse it off. You just have to be sure to rinse really well to get all of the paste off.

4. Removing Mildew

After a damp winter, it's very common to find mildew and mold along windows and walls, as well as in stored clothing and bathrooms.

Thrifty Living gives great solutions for how to remove mold and mildew from just about every situation.

My favorite product for removing mold or mildew in the bathroom is HDX Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Cleaner. It is one of the most effective products I've found and it's very inexpensive. Be sure to keep the room well ventilated and wear gloves. 

5. Cleaning Linoleum

Linoleum is a bear to get clean, especially if you have a white or light colored floor. It seems that all the little grooves seem to pick up dirt and never let it go. The best solution I've used for this is hot water and bleach. I mixed up a big bucket and mopped the floor in small sections. Then used a plastic scrub brush (also from the Dollar Store) to scrub any really bad sections clean. I followed this by rinsing the floor with clean water and then used Pledge Floor Care Finish to seal it all up. The floors have stayed much, much cleaner and I have only had to do light mopping since.

6. Cleaning & Restoring Leather Furniture

I love the look and feel of leather furniture. I dream of having an office in my house with all my bookcases and some nice leather chairs to read on. Oh it would be nice! But cleaning them, that's a whole other story. If something spilled on them, it's not like you can just pick up the chair and take it in to the dry cleaners. 

If your leather furniture is showing signs of wear and age, you will love what The Boatwright Family shows us how to do.Their leather looks like new again!

And for a general guide on cleaning all sorts of stains on leather check out How to Clean Stuff.

7. Removing the Toilet Ring

The dreaded toilet ring! So unsightly and to matter how much scrubbing you do with the toilet brush, it just won't come out. Well there is a simple, chemical-free solution - Pumie Scouring Stick. I can usually find it at Walmart in the cleaning department.

This stick is amazing! It scrubs away hard water stains on porcelain without scratching or damaging the surface. You can also use it on sinks, tubs and so many household things. I'm always amazed at what this can get clean that chemicals can't.

8. Cleaning Stove Burners

This is an amazing trick! To get your stove burners nice and clean, Easy Off Oven Cleaner is your best friend. Be sure to use gloves and then spray your stove top and burners with Easy Off. Follow the directions on the package as far as how long to leave it on your stove. Then rinse. It may take a bit of scrubbing to get the tough parts off but in the end, you will have a sparkling clean stove. 

Check out the full tutorial here: How to Clean Stove Burners

How to clean stove burners; clean stove with easy off

How to clean stove burners; clean stove with easy off

9. Household Drains

It seems to be a regular occurrence that the drains in my bathroom get backed up. I swear I lose more hair in a day than my sister's cats but somehow still seem to have SO MUCH hair! We always keep a bottle of Drano in the cupboard and it works like magic.

For those that like to use natural cleaners as opposed to things like Drano when tubs and sinks get horribly backed up, The Manly Housekeeper has some of the best tips to keep your drains flowing freely that I have ever seen.

10. Cleaning Window & Sliding Door Tracks

These always seem to collect so much gunk and are so hard to wipe out! I found a great trick for getting all that stuff out. Use a flat head screwdriver to scrape as much of the dirt and grime loose as you can. Then use the brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner to clean it out. You may need to repeat this step a few times. Once all the dirt is out of the track, wipe it clean with a rag or Clorox wipe. Let it dry and lubricate the track with a bit of WD-40.

How to clean sliding door track, How to clean window track

How to clean sliding door track, How to clean window track

Now go take a nap or have a cocktail - that was a lot of cleaning!

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  1. Thanks so much for these tips! I pinned my fav and will get started spring cleaning:)

    Hugs, Jen @ f5

  2. These are great tips!!! I've been bookmarking all the great cleaning tips floating around right now. Thanks for sharing these, I'm definitely adding these to my bookmarks. Check these out, I've been going thru these this week.

  3. LOVE the idea to use the screwdriver on the door track - it works!!! Tried it today. THANK YOU! :)