Dust Bunnies of Erie features house cleaning Tips and Tricks from Erie Maids. This is the down and dirty on how to up and clean your home quickly, easily, and effectively.

Remove-Mold-and-Mildew

Get Rid of Mold & Mildew in the Bathroom

If you’re having trouble getting rid of mold & mildew, you’re not alone. Mold & mildew thrives in dark, damp places with high humidity and low ventilation, so it’s the bane of every bathroom cleaner.

Mold & mildew will grow in the shower, on the tub, tiles, walls and floor. It grows quickly in areas with standing water, but given enough time and the right conditions, mold & mildew will even grow on shower curtains and painted walls too.

Soap scum, skin and body oils (yuck!), and any other decaying material- even rotting wood or certain chemicals will fuel its growth in the right environment.

Here’s exactly how to clean it all up and keep it from coming back!

Regular Cleaning:

Vinegar and Water:

Mold & mildew will not grow in an acidic environment. Plain white vinegar is a mild acid, it kills mold & mildew and makes the environment less hospitable for further growth.

Because vinegar is a natural deodorizer, once it dries the bathroom will not just look better, it will smell better too.

Start by using a mixture of 50/50 white vinegar and water. Pour ½ cup of each into a spray bottle and shake. Spray on all of the surfaces in the shower, let stand for 5 to 10 minutes and then wipe it all down with a damp sponge.

Heavy Duty Cleaning:

Vinegar Only:

If you are cleaning a heavy build up, use 100 percent undiluted plain white vinegar. Pour it in a spray bottle, spray the shower and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Use a pot scrubber with plastic bristles, grout brush or an old toothbrush to clean it up before rinsing and wiping it down.

Chlorine Bleach:

Dilute ¼ to ½ cup of household bleach per each gallon of water used. Spray on the tiles and scrub with a plastic bristle brush. When you are finished scrubbing, rinse completely to remove all traces because any remaining bleach will make surfaces very slippery.

Note: Use caution when using bleach. Bleach is highly alkaline and will burn you just as easily as an acid will. Wear a pair of rubber gloves and protective goggles to keep any splashes out of your eyes.

If you’re working in a very small bathroom without much air circulation, turn on the fan, open a window and you might want to wear a mask.

Never mix bleach with any other cleaner especially ammonia, as this will create potentially deadly fumes.

Preventing Mold & Mildew:

There are things you can do to prevent mold & mildew regrowth. The way to do this is to change the environmental conditions in the bathroom: reduce dampness, increase air circulation and light.

1. Reduce Humidity: Use the fan when bathing or showering, and leave it after you are finished until all traces of dampness are removed from the air.

2. Increase Light: Keep the light on, open the window curtains to let the daylight in.

3. Increase Air Flow: Open the window if you can to let some fresh air in. This will increase air circulation which reduces odors as well.

4. Keep it Dry: If you make it a habit to dry the tub or shower after using it the mold & mildew will not have a chance to grow. A small squeegee is really helpful in removing all traces of water after showing.

5. Keep it Clean: An after shower wipe down also removes remaining debris on the shower or tub walls and floor so there will not be a food source for it to grow on.

REMOVE-MOLD-&-MILDEW

 

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Cleaning Products

10 Must Have Cleaning Products

10 Must Have Cleaning ProductsThe 10 must have cleaning products cover a multitude of cleaning solutions from windows to counter tops to wood floors, tile floors, carpeting, furniture, clothing and more. The amount of cleaning you have to do may seem daunting, but these ten products will help you conquer the task.

Checklist: 10 Must Have Cleaning Products

Each of the products that made it to this list all have something in common: they are common, household products and tools. Window cleaner is just window cleaner, until you run out. The dishwasher is a dishwasher, until it does not work or the mop head is flattened and unusable. When they break down or run out, you realize just how much you rely on them.

Cleaning Appliances

1. Vacuum Cleaner

The vacuum cleaner is the most basic of the cleaning tools at your disposal. It is ideal for picking up loose dirt, hair and more from your carpeted and non-carpeted areas. Vacuum cleaner attachments let you clean the furniture, catching up crumbs, hair (human and pet), dust and dirt, refreshing as you go. For pet owners, a vacuum cleaner is a necessary cleaning product to keep the animal hair under control, particularly for heavy shedders.

2. Dishwasher

Not everyone has a dishwasher, but the cleaning product is one that saves you time and effort, while also helping you to sanitize everything from baby bottles to toothbrushes. When the dishwasher breaks down or cleans improperly, you may find food stuck to your dishes and glasses that are cloudy. The time saving cleaning appliance lets you rinse off your dishes, glasses, pots and pans and wash them as one load. Modern devices have energy saving features that help reduce the amount of water and power you use.

3. Washing Machine

Anyone who wears clothes, uses blankets, towels and other linen or cloth based products will appreciate the treasure of a washing machine. You can get by without a clothes dryer by hanging clothes on a line or on a drying rack. Without a washing machine in the house your alternatives are a Laundromat where a load of laundry can cost as much as two dollars and fifty cents (and that doesn’t include detergents or softeners) or to wash clothes by hand, which is simply not practical in the modern world.

4. Mop (Wet and Dry)

Whether you have tile, wood or linoleum floors, a mop is a cleaning product you cannot live without. Wet mops, like a Swiffer Wet Jet, provide the cleaner and a cleaning pad so that you can clean up the ground in dirt and stains from the floor. Standard mops come in flat head or rag mop. You use them in conjunction with hot water and soaps designed for floor cleaning. Mops may also be used when waxing or just dusting the floor. When you are dusting, you want a dry mop. Mechanized steam mops are becoming more popular, allowing you to “wet mop” the floor without the bucket and backbreaking labor.

5. Broom

A broom is one cleaning product that is handy to have around for sweeping up dust and debris inside and outside the home. Many households keep two brooms, one wide broom designed to sweep heavy debris (usually outdoors) and one standard broom with a shorter base and stiffer bristles for sweeping indoors. Brooms are useful for cleaning up broken glass, glitter and dry product spills on uncarpeted floor.

Cleaning Products

Cleaning products range from store bought items such as window cleaner, wood polish and bleach are some of the standard cleaning products you need under your sink.

6. Window Cleaner

You want a clean windows without streaking. Window cleaners often contain an ammonia base to cut through dirt, dust and oil that accumulate on glass. Because glass is clear and shows every streak, raindrop, fingerprint and paw print that touches them, cleaning them with water alone is just not enough.

7. White Vinegar

White vinegar is one of the most versatile cleaning products you can own. With vinegar solutions, you can remove stains, clean glass windows, remove pet odor from carpets and much more. Using vinegar is a non-toxic solution for your household cleaning needs.

8. Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the best house cleaning remedies you can have. Keep an open box in the refrigerator to reduce stale odors or put a layer of baking soda on the bottom of a cat litter box to neutralize the smell of cat urine. You can use baking soda to deep clean your pots, your pans, your bathtub and your drains.

9. Wood Polish

Wood polish comes in multiple product sizes including pre-treated rags that remove dust and allergens from wood surfaces. Standard wood polishes gather up dust, and then leave a shine. They also add a thin layer of protection to the surface of the wood, giving it that glossy appearance. When you’re cleaning a room, wood polish is ideal for all wood surfaces from chair backs to tables, desks and trim.

10. Bleach

Bleach and bleach products are highly toxic, but necessary for sanitizing surfaces and cleaning white surfaces particularly in the bathroom (bathtub, toilet, sinks).Oxy clean may be used a substitute for brightening white surfaces as well as removing stains from white clothing. The downside of bleach is that if you get it on any colored surfaces, it will leave white spots so use it sparingly. The disinfecting properties of bleach allow you to sanitize door handles and common surfaces when people are sick to prevent the spread of illness.


Using the 10 must have cleaning products are save you time and energy when it comes to getting your chores done and your house cleaned.

Original Source: I Love to know

Cleaning in between housekeeping visits

Cleaning In Between Visits

Cleaning in between visits

  1. Your cleaning in between visits can depend on three things:  1) how often you have housekeeping service  2)  your standards  for an acceptably clean house and 3) the number of high maintenance items you have, like clear glass shower doors, for instance.  But most people find they don’t need to do a lot of cleaning in between times.
  • Keep everything well picked-up.  Try never to go to bed with a messy house.  Get the family involved!  A neat and tidy house automatically looks clean.  Plus, you’ll get a lot more for your housekeeping dollar if the surfaces are clear and ready to be cleaned.
  • Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters. Generally, you don’t have to move everything to clean underneath, but do keep the counters clean and shiney.
  • Clean kitchen sink and appliances as needed.
  • Wipe the spots off bathroom mirrors. Use Windex Wipes in each bathroom to take care of both mirrors and counters.
  • Sweep/vacuum floors. To preserve your carpets for years to come you must vacuum frequently.  If  that’s not an issue for you, you may not even run the vacuum between visits.   S ‘up to you.
  • Squeegee shower doors after each shower. The 30 seconds this takes means no soap buildup.  This too will save your housekeepers time, and you  money.
  • Dust if you have to. If dust allergies are an issue or your conscience demands you dust every day or two, for heaven’s sake buy a good quality lambswool duster (about $10.00 at most any hardware store).  Contrary to what some people think they do not “just spread the dust around,”  they actually attract dust by the natural oil found in lambswool. You won’t believe how easy dusting can be. ( On the other hand, some of us just think of dust as a wood preservative and don’t bother our pretty little heads about it!)

We realize there may be other things that are important to you to do between housekeeper visits, but these are the basics.

Can I Trust My Cleaner

Can I Trust My Cleaner?

Can I Trust My Cleaner

When you invite an outsider into your home, you do need to have a certain amount of distrust for them, simply because of the day and age that we live in. With so many people out there just waiting to steal our hard earned cash, out identities and even more, it makes sense to have an opinion of someone before you even have the chance to know them, and although this is unfortunate, you can never really be sure of just who you are dealing with.

When it comes to inviting a cleaner into your home to do the things that you just don’t have the time to do, you must remember that you can’t really judge them right from the very beginning of your relationship. By all means do your background research, but try not to make it obvious that their presence within your home is not entirely trusted; this just gives off a bad vibe, and is likely to result in them quitting before they have even started.

There are more than a few tips that you can use to ensure that you can trust your cleaner:

  • If you are going to be using a cleaning company, make sure that you use one that is reputable and reliable. There are plenty of ways to do your research, and for the most part, the internet has become a very valuable resource. Look for reviews on the cleaning company and ask if they perform background searches on the staff that they hire. If they do not, it is probably wise to look elsewhere. They will more than likely ask for references before they hire anyone, of course, and you are well within your right to ask to have a peek at these before you choose to let anyone in your home.
  • For the first few days that the cleaner is working within your home, ask lots of questions. They will be expecting this usually anyway, so you shouldn’t be too concerned about it. They will know that they are working in a complete stranger’s home, and they know how they would react to such a situation if someone they didn’t know, were in their houses, so feel free to ask as many questions as you wish – just try not to make them too personal.
  • It is understandable, to both the cleaner, and the company that they work for, for you to want to be around for the first few days that they have started work in your home. You can explain to them exactly what it is that you want them to do, as well as getting a feel for them as a character. If you feel unsafe or unsure about anything, discuss this with the cleaning company, and if you have really bad vibes, you could always ask for a second opinion from your partner or a friend.

It does make sense that you would want to protect your biggest asset – your home, and in the case of hiring external people to work within it, there will always be a certain amount of risk. Of course, the more you educate yourself, the easier the process will be.

We here at Dust Bunnies of Erie have utilized all the tips mentioned above and invite you to do research on our company. We have been established in our community as a Professional Cleaning Company for just over 5 years. We are Fully Insured and Bonded through Erie Insurance which requires background checks on all of our personnel that would be going into a clients home. We will also provide both Professional and Personal References upon request.

Contact Us - Dust Bunnies of Erie

So, you have decided to use Dust Bunnies of Erie for your cleaning needs, whats next? You should decide on the frequency of cleaning needed for your home by reviewing our Residential Cleaning Services and Residential Cleaning Pricing. Once you have done your research and know exactly what your looking for, you may Contact Us by calling 814.898.2431 or my submitting a request for a FREE IN-Home Consultation. We look forward to working with you!

Kitchen-Cleaning-Tips

Cleaning your kitchen’s tough spots

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Even if your countertops are always immaculate and the dishes rarely pile up, chances are your kitchen has plenty of easily missed areas where dirt can accumulate. Use these great ideas to deep-clean those hard-to-reach places where grime builds up.

Cleaning the Refrigerator

Dust, debris and pet hair can build up behind the refrigerator vent, making it work less efficiently and increasing your energy bills. Check with your owner’s manual, but for many refrigerators, you can pull off the removable vent at the bottom of your refrigerator and use the crevice tool of your vacuum to vacuum the coils. Before you replace the vent, wash it or wipe it down with Windex® Multi-Surface Antibacterial.

As for the handles, which can quickly get grimy, use Windex® Multi-Surface Antibacterial and a soft cloth or paper towel to wipe them down, making sure not to miss the undersides of the handles and the area where the handle joins the door.

Cleaning the Stove

Drips and crumbs tend to gather in the space between the stove and the countertop. Debra Johnson of Merry Maids, a national cleaning service, suggests using a stiff brush to loosen and remove the crumbs. You can then wrap the bristles of the brush with a cloth dipped in warm, soapy water and sweep out the crevice again to clean and degrease the area.

If you have a range hood with a fan, the vent can quickly get grimy. Johnson suggests removing the filter at least every six months and giving it a good cleaning. If you have a carbon filter instead of a metal one, replace with a new filter as needed.

A soft-bristled toothbrush is a great tool for cleaning on and around the burners of the stove as well as in the area around the burners.

Remove the knobs, if possible, and then use the dry toothbrush to loosen crumbs before using Windex® Original Glass Wipes to wipe away remaining crumbs and residue.

Cleaning the Sink

A toothbrush is also just the right size to scour around the faucet knobs on your sink, in the crannies of the drain, or along the seam where the sink joins the counter. If the grout around the sink has been discolored, brighten it up with your cleaning toothbrush plus fantastik® All Purpose Cleaner With Bleach to remove stains like those from food, greasy soil and mold & mildew. (Since the toothbrush may cause splatters, be sure to wear old clothes.)

Cleaning the Microwave

For grease-spattered microwave interiors, boiling a cup of water with a few lemon slices in it for one minute in the microwave. The steam will soften stuck-on food, and then you can use clean water and a sponge to wipe away remaining grease and residue. To avoid possible injury from burns, be sure to allow the boiling water to cool for a few minutes before opening the microwave door and removing the container of water.

Cleaning Cabinets and drawers

If you reach into your drawer for the measuring spoons and come up with a handful of crumbs instead, it’s time to take action. Empty the drawer and use the corner nozzle on your vacuum hose to suck up crumbs, dust and other debris from every crevice and corner of the drawer.

For an extra-deep clean, take the drawers off their runners to vacuum behind them. Use Pledge® Multi Surface Wipes to get rid of even more dust. You can also use the wipes to clean and remove smears from the exteriors of your wooden cabinets.

(Reference: Original Post can be found at SC Johnson)

organize-clean-home

9 Tips to an Organized and Clean Home

9 Tips to an Organized and Clean HomeWith the fast pace of life it is easy to find yourself at the end of the week standing in the living room surrounded by clutter, pulling your hair out because you can’t find anything. This can easily happen after a move to a new home. It’s hard enough to work a full-time job, run a home, unpack all of those boxes and now you’re expected to organize?!

Organizing is well worth the time and energy put into it. It is something that you will do that will need a little maintenance and attention every once in awhile but the reward of having an organized home is great.

Let’s say, you lose your keys twice a week and it take you a half an hour running around your home to find them. That is an hour a week, and that ends up being 48 hours a year. You spend two days a year, just looking for your keys! If you live in your house for 15 years and continue to be unorganized in your home that could be an entire month you spent looking for your car keys. That is just wasted time that you could be spending with your family and making lasting memories.

Being proactive and organizing your home is the only way to make sure that when you need something you can find it and your beautiful new home doesn’t get overrun by clutter.

Here are 9 must have tips to an organized and clean home.

1. Designate an area for important documents and bills. Many times countertops and kitchen tables get overrun with the week’s mail. Keep an area out of site where these items can be kept.

2. Have an area inside a closet or somewhere near the door to have everything you need on hand right before you leave the house. This could be a shelf for your keys, or a standalone wardrobe for
coats and shoes. If these items don’t have a “home” they will wind up all over your new home!

3. For the showers in your home, have shower caddies or organizing shelves.

4. To keep countertop space in your bathrooms clear buy shower caddy organizers and keep everything under the sink. This way you can easily pull it out and it has all of your lotions, hair
products, and anything else you would need.
You can also by a small magnetic strip to put under bathroom counters to keep little things like tweezers.

5. Labels keep the home organized. In general labels are a great way all throughout your house to stay organized. Labeling allows you the ability to quickly assess if something is what you need or want and saves you a lot of time. You can label drawers, cabinets, containers and much more in your home.

6. Use hooks to keep things off of the floor. Hooks are great for closets and entryways. This allows members of the house to hang their backpacks, coats and anything else that usually gets tossed on the back of the couch or bed.

7. Keep laundry baskets in every closet. It is even better if you can invest in presorted laundry baskets for whites and darks.

8. Keep extra bags for wastebaskets and trashcans INSIDE the containers. This eliminates having to store the bags separately and having to run to different rooms to get extra.

9. Keep a basket by the stairs on each floor. This way anyone heading upstairs can grab anything that needs to taken to the other floor.

Clutter will always happen, even in an organized home. Organizing just helps keep the clutter to a minimum and allows everyone in the house to carry with their everyday activities without being hindered by having to look for something every time they need it.

Congratulations on your new home! We wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing anything you might have to add on this subject.

New-Year-2014

New Year 2014-New Leaf-Clean Home

New Year 2014-New Leaf-Clean HomeHappy New Year 2014! We at Dust Bunnies of Erie hope you had a lovely holiday season and truly wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous – and clean – 2014!

Did you know that keeping a clean and organized home contributes to your well being in many areas of life? In addition to health benefits (fewer allergens, reduced spread of germs), keeping a clean and organized home can also reduce stress, boost your energy level, and increase your overall sense of wellbeing!

In her bestselling book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin devotes a large portion of her first chapter to “tossing, restoring, and organizing” as part of her January goal to increase her energy level. She writes, “Household disorder was a constant drain on my energy….” and “…I craved an existence of order and serenity….” While Rubin focuses on clearing clutter, we at Dust Bunnies of Erie know that cleanliness goes hand-in-hand with household order!

And, licensed mental health counselor, Jennifer Baxt agrees! In an online article called, “Can Cleaning Help Maintain Good Mental Health?” she writes that most people tend to feel better after their living space is thoroughly cleaned. “The dirt, dust and clutter are done away with and the house has a fresher, more comfortable atmosphere that the person can feel happier and more relaxed in.”

So, if your new year goals include keeping a cleaner, more organized home, we hope you will let us help – whether on a regular weekly, biweekly, or monthly schedule, or for two to four deep cleanings per year. Call today, 814-898-2431, and come home to clean. You’ll be so glad you did!

New Year 2014-New Leaf-Clean HomeValentine’s Day is right around the corner! If you are still wondering what to give a special someone (sweetheart, parent, sibling, employee, coworker, or lovely friend), look no further! Dust Bunnies of Erie offers Valentine’s Day gift certificates! Nothing says ‘you are appreciated for all you do’ better than the gift of free time! Your Valentine will love having a sparkling home and the time to relax and enjoy it.

Call Dust Bunnies of Erie at 814-898-2431, or Order online and give that special someone the gift of a clean home. We will complete the certificates in the amount you wish and mail them directly to your recipients.

(We offer cleaning specials to our new and repeat customers for our Residential Cleaning Service. Contact us today to receive a home cleaning estimate and take advantage of our special offers. Please be sure to share our website with friends you think might benefit from our services!)

How to Clean Ceramic Tile Floors

How to Clean Ceramic Tile Floors

How to Clean Ceramic Tile Floors

Ceramic tiles are very popular as their features work well in today’s modern homes. Ceramic tiles vary in color, size, style, and of course the cost. They are very popular because of both their beauty and because they clean up easily. Whether the ceramic tiles are used on the floor or the wall, ceramic tile are easily maintained if you follow just a few standard procedures with our How to Clean Ceramic Tile Floors tips.

What is Ceramic Tile Made From?

Ceramic tiles are primarily made from clay silicates. To produce a ceramic tile, the clay mixture is baked at a very high temperature.

Glazed or Unglazed Tile?

Ceramic tiles can be purchased either glazed or unglazed. Unglazed tiles will require much more cleaning and maintenance because they do not have the hard outer shell which repels water and dirt. All tiles regardless of type should be cleaned regularly with water.

Glazed tile has a high shine and it is easier to clean.

Stained Grout

Grout holds ceramic tiles together. It is a type of glue, or actually cement and sand combined with acrylics and silicon. Grout, especially unsealed grout will collect dirt and grime and will stain easily.

If your grout has stained or discolor and the ceramic tile is dull, make a solution of 1/4 cup of mild detergent with 1 gallon of water. Take your sponge with the cleaning solution, and carefully scrub and clean the areas that are stained and dull. Once they are thoroughly clean wipe them dry with a cotton towel or cleaning rag.

For severely discolored and dirty tile and grout, where cleaning with detergent will not work, use a 50/50 cleaning solution of bleach and water to remove any dirt that is present.

General Cleaning

By cleaning ceramic tiles daily with plain water and drying them thoroughly with a clean towel or cloth, you will avoid any mold, mildew dirt and grime build up that will collect on it’s surface..

Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

Vacuum /Sweep your tile floors regularly. When cleaning ceramic tile, do not abrasive scouring powder. They will scratch and dull the shine on the ceramic tile surface. Unless your cleaning products label states specifically that it is safe for a tile surface, so not use it.

Wash Your Ceramic Tile Regularly

Vacuum /Sweep and Mop your ceramic tile floors regularly to remove any dirt. Use a very mild pH neutral diluted detergent recommended by the tile manufacturer always rinse well and wipe the floor dry to remove water spots and keep a high shine.

Wash Your Ceramic Tile Regularly

Vacuum /Sweep and Mop your ceramic tile floors regularly to remove any dirt. Use a very mild pH neutral diluted detergent recommended by the tile manufacturer always rinse well and wipe the floor dry to remove water spots and keep a high shine.

Do Not Use Any Ammonia Based Cleaners
Ammonia might discolor some types of grout.

Always Rinse Your Ceramic Tile Floor
After mopping you should thoroughly rinse your floor to remove any residue with clean, warm water.

Wipe Up Any Spills Right Away
Wipe up spills with an all-purpose cleaner. This also help reduce the chance of grout staining from spilled liquids.

Always Use A Sealer For The Grout
Use a silicone base grout sealer on all the grout between the tile. This will prevent discoloration from spilled liquids and keep the grout nice and clean looking. (this is important- dirt will become embedded if you do not)

(Reference: Original Post can be found at MRSCLEAN)

Easy cleanup for every room

Easy Cleanup Solutions for Every Room

Are you making mistakes when it comes to scrubbing, vacuuming, and disinfecting? Here’s some easy cleanup solutions on how to right your wrongs—quick as a (dust) bunny.

Kitchen

Easy Cleanup in the Kitchen

Easy Cleanup in the KitchenBad Habit: Using a Funky, Smelly Sponge
You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: You could be spreading mold and illness-causing bacteria around the kitchen.

Good practice: Replace your sponge every couple of weeks, and take care of it while it’s active. After each use, rinse the sponge in hot water and wring it out. At the end of the day, and after every raw-meat encounter, sterilize a wet sponge: Pop it in the microwave for one minute (the sponge must be wet—a dry one could catch fire), or run it through the dishwasher. For storage, use a soap dish with holes for drainage, or go with a homemade solution: Set the sponge on a saucer full of small rocks.

Bad Habit: Letting Drips and Drops Harden on the Stove
These splotches are a bummer to look at and can discolor stainless-steel and porcelain surfaces.

Good practice: Have the right cleaner at your fingertips, says Linda Cobb, the author of the Queen of Clean book series. Her advice: Fill an olive-oil cruet with water and a generous squirt of dish soap and keep it next to the stove. When you’re finished cooking and the stove has cooled, shake the cruet and drizzle the soapy water over any spots, removing the grates if necessary. Allow the solution to soften spills for about 10 minutes, then wipe the cooktop, the burners, and the grates with a damp sponge or cloth.

Bad Habit: Subjecting Wooden Spoons and Cutting Boards to the Dishwasher
Intense heat can make wood crack; detergent can lodge in crevices and end up in your oatmeal.

Good practice: Hand wash wooden pieces with soap and hot water, then let them air-dry before putting them away. To remove tomato stains or garlic and onion smells, rub with a lemon wedge, sprinkle on some kosher salt, and let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse. You can also treat wood to make it less prone to cracking or absorbing smells and stains. When wooden tools start to feel rough (once a month or so), buff with 400-grit wet-dry sandpaper, says John Whetstone, the owner of Whetstone Woodenware, in Silver Lake, Indiana. Next, using a soft cloth, rub in a food-safe mineral oil (John Taylor mineral oil, $10 for 12 ounces, amazon.com); leave it on for a few minutes so that it soaks in, then wipe off the excess.

Living Room

Easy Cleanup in the Living Room

Easy Cleanup in the Living RoomBad Habit: Taking the Same Route With the Vacuum Every Time
You need to shift the rug’s pile back and forth or you’ll miss ground-in dirt.

Good practice: Be sure to come at a carpet from different angles, says Mike Reed, the owner of Austonian Fine Rug and Carpet Care, in Austin, Texas. If you always start vacuuming in a particular spot, begin on the opposite side of the room on alternate weeks. Vacuum top to bottom with long, slow, overlapping strokes. Then, working crosswise, go back over it. In high-traffic areas, such as near a door or in front of the sofa, repeat these crosshatch steps, using short strokes.

Bad Habit: Ignoring Remotes or Video-Game Controls
Because they’re constantly handled, they can harbor the same bacteria and viruses as a kitchen sponge, says Kelly Reynolds, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona, in Tucson.

Good practice: Clean these devices, as well as computer keyboards, once a week with a well-wrung-out disinfecting wipe. While they’re still damp, suggests Julie Edelman, author of The Ultimate Accidental Housewife ($6, amazon.com), use a fresh eye-shadow applicator to swab around the buttons with rubbing alcohol. (Tackle it while you watch TV, or pay your industrious progeny to do the job for you.) Store these cootie-catchers in a lidded box or a drawer to minimize dust.

Bad Habit: Wiping Down Flat-Screen TVs With All-Purpose Cleaner
Cleaners that contain alcohol or ammonia can microscopically abrade screens, making them cloudy over time.

Good practice: Use microfiber cloths, which work without cleaning products and are less abrasive than cotton or paper towels. Once a week, clean the screen top to bottom, using long strokes (short strokes can cause smudging). For smears, barely moisten the cloth, wipe, then immediately follow with a dry cloth. If smudges remain, try an electronics cleaner (Monster Flatscreen ScreenClean, $12, monstercable.com), keeping in mind that no general cleaner is safe to use on TV screens, says Cobb. Never spray any liquid directly onto a screen or use a moist cloth on a warm screen (one that is on or that has recently been turned off); this can leave permanent streaks.

Bathroom

Easy Cleanup in the Bathroom

Easy Cleanup in the BathroomBad Habit: Stashing a Wet Toilet Brush in Its Holder
You don’t even want to know. The holder can serve as an incubator for bacteria linked to allergies, asthma, skin infections, and stomach flu, says Reynolds.

Good practice: Consider a brush with a disposable head, like the Clorox Toilet Wand ($8 for a starter kit, $5 for 10 refills, walmart.com). However, if you’re set on using a traditional brush, here’s a wash-and-dry solution: After cleaning the bowl with bleach, swirl the brush through the water and shake it out. Next, position the brush over the water, securing the handle in place with the seat so that the head is suspended over the bowl. Allow the brush to dry, then return it to the holder.

Bad Habit: Piling Moist Towels on Top of One Another on Hooks
When towels don’t dry within a few hours, mildew and bacteria, which thrive in moist environments, can breed.

Good practice: Make sure that your towels have ample space to air out. Are you short on hanging real estate? Consider a metal coatrack for the bathroom (Tjusig coatrack, $50,ikea.com for stores), which allows air to hit all sides, says Edelman. Or check out the bar-style stand-up and wall-mounted racks at holdnstorage.com. To deal with mildew, launder towels in hot water and six ounces of bleach (use all-fabric bleach for colors). Don’t overstuff the machine—the contents should have room to move around—and skip the liquid fabric softener, which can prevent detergent from penetrating and rinsing properly. Dry on high to kill any remaining bacteria.

Bedroom

Easy Cleanup in the Bedroom

Easy Cleanup in the BedroomBad Habit: Never Cleaning the Closet
A buildup of dust can attract moths. It doesn’t do your shoes any favors, either.

Good practice: Once a year, haul everything out and do a thorough cleaning. Use a long-reach duster (Microfiber telescoping duster, $18, containerstore.com) to sweep from the top down, starting with the ceiling. Hit shelves, then walls, then baseboards. Use the vacuum’s brush or crevice tool around the edges of the floor, then vacuum wall to wall. Before putting the clothes back, give them a quick shake, or go with a more serious treatment: Secure a nylon stocking over the vacuum’s upholstery tool with a rubber band and swipe garments, says Cobb. Going forward, clean the baseboards and the floor weekly to keep dust under control.

Laundry room

Easy Cleanup in the Laundry Room

Easy Cleanup in the Laundry RoomBad Habit: Letting Clothes Sit in the Dryer
They’ll wrinkle, forcing you to embrace the rumpled look or do extra ironing.

Good practice: If you won’t be there when the beeper goes off, put the dryer on extended tumble, which periodically tosses clothes, without heat, for a preset amount of time to prevent wrinkles. For dress shirts and pants, select permanent press, a setting that dries slowly, with low heat, and finishes with a cool-down period to minimize creases. (Some machines add an extended tumble to the end of the permanent-press cycle.) If your dryer doesn’t have these options, or if you forget to use them, fluff a wrinkled load by throwing in a damp towel and restarting the dryer, says Steve Boorstein, the author of The Clothing Doctor’s 99 Secrets to Cleaning & Clothing Care ($5, amazon.com).

 

Keep the Living Areas Clean Longer

Keep the Living Areas Clean Longer

Spend less time twisted up in vacuum cords and more time with your family by keeping your living areas cleaner longer with Dust Bunnies Tips and Tricks. You can start by following some of our simple guides below.

Keep the Living Areas Clean Longer

Artwork

Before rearranging paintings on walls, slip on white cotton gloves. Natural oils from your fingertips can seep onto artwork, damaging the color over time.

Floors

  • Eighty percent of dirt in the home is the dry, tracked-in kind. Set a doormat of toothed, bristly material, such as Astroturf, outside the door to leave dirt and grit where they belong―outdoors. (Muddy shoes can stay out there, too.)
  • Slice wine corks into disks and glue them to the bottoms of furniture and heavy pottery, or stick on adhesive felt pads. Dust settles into gouges made by furniture on floors and turns into grime, making it tougher to clean.

Furniture

  • Keep a dusting cloth in various handy places throughout your living spaces―on a nightstand, in a coffee-table drawer―so you can grab it to dust furniture anytime you notice an accumulation.
  • Opt for patterned upholstery, which conceals dirt better than solid fabric.
  • Wipe pets with a microfiber cloth, a dry-cleaning sponge, or a specialty pet wipe each day to reduce the amount of dander on the upholstery.

Light Fixtures

Once a week, mist a few squirts of room deodorizer on cool lightbulbs. (A note of caution: Moisture can seep into the light socket and damage the bulb, so spray from about a foot or so away.) The next time you turn the light on, the heat from the bulb will activate the scent.

Walls

Arrange furniture six inches from walls instead of flush against them so there will be fewer smudges from bumping to tend to later. You’ll also have easier access to dusty corners that need a visit from a dust mop.

Window Coverings

Open and close window treatments (blinds, curtains, shades) often to displace dust from the fabric instead of letting it sit until you get around to cleaning it. When it falls to the floor, run a dust mop over the surface.