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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Twenty Things Most People Forget To Clean

When you think of cleaning, you generally think of cleaning the bathroom, dusting, vacuuming, mopping, doing the dishes. And the majority of our cleaning time is spent on these things. But there are some secret things that a lot of us forget.

Growing up, my Dad didn't do any cleaning. That wasn't his thing. His wife and 3 daughters did it. My Dad was a wonderful father and great husband, hard working and capable. He did his part going to work every day, doing repairs around the house, working in the yard, building or remodeling, keeping a garden. But cleaning was one thing he didn't do and therefore has no training in it. My Mother has dementia now and it rests on him. So, now I'm sure he wishes he had learned some of this stuff.

Here are twenty household things to add to your list to clean

1) Fans. You would think that running fans all the time would mean that dust and dirt wouldn't be able to adhere to it. But, as we all know, fans get real dusty and dirty. So when they are on, they are directing dust and allergens in whatever direction you have it pointed.

How do you clean them? The box fans will have phillips head screws all around the grill which makes it a pain to disassemble to clean. I love these round Lasko fans. No screws! You can disassemble pretty easily. Then I take the blades and the grills to the bathtub. With hot water, antibacterial dish detergent and soft brush you can have it clean in a couple of minutes. Rinse and re-assemble. Pretty easy, it just takes a few minutes. My fans need to be cleaned about every 3 months. I run them a lot.

2. Lamp shades. My brass lamps get Windexed every time I dust. The lamp shades get vacuumed about every 3 months. You take your vacuum cleaner and put the brush on the end, open the handle opening so it reduces the suction a little. Then vacuum gently. Every once in awhile you can take the shade off the lamp and take it to the sink. Using a soft bristle brush, warm water and a little Woolite, you can wash the shade. Then use the spray nozzle to gently rinse. Let sit for about 10 mins in the dish drain to let most of the water drip off. Then it's ready to be put it back on the lamp. Turn the lamp on and the heat from the bulb will quickly dry it.

3) Chandelier and other light fixtures. Every spring I clean my dining room chandelier. You can get chanelier cleaner. I got mine at Lowes. It's fast drying. I either put white cotton socks on my hands or use a cotton rag. Make sure the light is turned off. I place a beach towel on the table underneath the chandelier and then spritz it good with the chandelier cleaner and start polishing each cup and crystal. Since the spray dries quickly you may have to reapply to sections. Don't forget to polish the bulbs. My chandelier usually takes 10 mins to clean.

For other light fixtures you may have to remove globes. Turn light fixture off, wait for it to cool. Remove the bulb, twist the screws that hold the globes in place and remove the globes. Wash them in dish detergent in the sink, rinse and dry. Spritz Chandelier cleaner (or Windex) on the brass/chrome and polish. If your fixture is painted or matte finish, use a damp sponge to wipe the dust off. Put the globes back on, tighten the screws, put in the lightbulbs and now it should gleam and sparkle.

4) Televisions.  Your TV screens can get quite dusty but so does the back and the pedestal. For all plastic parts, just use a damp rag to dust. For the screens itself, use special screen cleaner. You can get it from Amazon.com, home improvement store, an electronics big box store, maybe even Walmart. Use a soft cotton rag and the screen cleaner and gentle polish the screen of your flat screen TV, or computer monitor. You should also use a damp rag to dust any other electronics such as DVD players, computers, printers, clocks, speakers, etc.

5) Stove vent hoods.  Mine is stainless steel. I have stainless steel cleaner that I got at the home improvement store in the cleaning department. First I remove the vented plates. I use a good degreaser like Mean Green to remove grease. I spray the vented plates good and rinse off with hot water. I do it often enough and the degreaser is so good that it's all I have to do. For the rest of the vent hood, spritz with degreaser and wipe down. Then be sure to thoroughly rinse your sponge or dishrag and go over the vent hood again. Rinsing each time, you should wipe it several more times to get as much of the degreaser off the hood. You don't want to leave a film of the degreaser on it. Then wipe dry and use the stainless steel cleaner to finish it off. This stainless steel cleaner helps with the fingerprint problem and leaves it looking uniformly polished.

6) Trash cans. A lot of people don't think about washing their trashcans. I happen to have white trash cans and it helps me see problems like drips, stains, coffee grounds, etc.

I take the can out, use some Mean Green (or Dollar Tree's Totally Awesome) cleaner and give it a good wash. If your can is in bad shape, try taking it out and use the garden hose or take it to the bathtub. Once you've cleaned it up and rinsed it, use some paper towels to dry it thoroughly. Put a fresh trash bag in. In my case I have an apparatus in my kitchen cabinet that holds the trash can and it rolls in and out like a drawer. So, while the trashcan is out, I clean the pull, the sliders and the floor of the cabinet. If it needs vacuuming, I do that. Otherwise it just takes a damp rag to wipe everything down.

7) Light switches. We replaced all our light switch covers and outlet covers with new brass ones when we moved in. So I use glass cleaner to polish them when they need it.

It's particularly important to clean them with an antibacterial spray if there is sickness in your house. How many hands touch those switches in a day? So they can get pretty germy.

8) Doorknobs. Doorknobs can also be pretty germy. People don't even think about them as they go in and out. Use window cleaner to polish them or spray with a germicidal spray if there is sickness in your home.

9) Microwave. Some people don't seem to see the mess in their microwaves but it's there and it shouldn't be. The first tip is to ALWAYS cover whatever you put in the microwave. That takes care of a good bit of the splatter problems. It's so simple, just put a paper towel over it. But there are going to sometimes be spills and splatters. So the second tip is to put a cup of water in the microwave and bring it to a boil in the microwave. This lets steam loosen up any food. Then wipe it out thoroughly. If you have a rotating platter, take it out and wash it in dish detergent. If your microwave has a stainless steel interior like mine, you can spritz with window cleaner and polish.

10) The washing machine detergent dispenser.  This drawer can get pretty goopy with all the liquid detergents, softener, etc. It can even get mildewed. Use a degreaser and a brush and sponge to clean it.

While you are at it, wipe down the entire appliance: top, front, sides... whatever you can reach. It gets dusty. For the front loading washing machines, you need to regularly check the lint catcher AND run a load with a washing machine cleaner. No clothes, just the special cleaner. They tend to mildew around the door seal which can cause musty smelling clothes. Use some bleach on a rag and try to clean the rubber seal. Once you are through with the washing machine, go over to the dryer. Pull out the lint screen and remove all lint. Then take it to the sink and gently wash it with a vinegar and water solution. This gets rid of the softener buildup on it. You can purchase a long, hard bristled, flexible brush at Walmart. Use this to stick down in the lint area to loosen any lint that is building up in the machine. This lint can catch on fire. Once you've loosened it up, get the vacuum cleaner and put the wand on the end and stick it in the lint area to vacuum out the lint you loosened up. Be sure to wipe the dryer down on the outside and around the door inside. If you have a long dryer vent hose, keep an eye on it as well. Build up of lint can be a problem. Mine happens to be rather short. But if your vent hose is long, you may need to take it apart and clean it or replace it to protect yourself from fire.

11) Remotes. Another germ catcher. I use a damp sponge and an antibacterial kitchen cleaner (usually bleach based). I spritz it on the sponge and thoroughly wipe down the remotes. If someone is sick and using the phone, remotes, doorknobs, etc then you want to do this once a day until they are well again to keep from spreading the germs. You don't want to submerge these remotes or get them so wet that it ruins them. Just wipe them gently and place them upside down until they are dry.

12) Can openers. As you open cans, the liquid in the cans will get on the can opener pieces. They need to be cleaned regularly. The handle part that has the blade on it, can be removed from the appliance itself. From there you can put it in the dishwasher or wash them in your sink with dish detergent. Be sure to wipe the wheel too and give it a good wipe down. It takes about a minute.

13) Builtin cabinets. Whether it's your bathroom or kitchen cabinets, or other builtins, they will need to be cleaned. Twice a year I clean all my cabinets. Then I wipe down spots as I see them in between times. For my wooden cabinets (that are not painted), I use a little Murphy's Oil Soap and water. I use a degreaser on the handles. If they are intricate, you can use a little brush on them. If using the degreaser, be sure to rinse your sponge and wipe the handles over and over again a few times to remove any film of cleaner. Otherwise, every time you use the drawer, the remaining degreaser will just pick up dirt from your hands and leave it on the cabinet or drawer pull. If there is illness in your home, spray your cabinet pulls once a day with Lysol spray to keep the germs down.

After cleaning the handles and wiping down the doors and fronts, I let them dry. Then, once a year, I apply an oil for wood on them. If your cabinets are painted, then use a little cleaner in some water to wipe them down with.

14) All the items on your bathroom sink. Toothbrush holders, soap dish or liquid soap dispenser, perfume bottles or other makeup and dispensing bottles and jars. They get so dusty so quick in the bathroom due to lint from towels and clothes, powder, hairspray, etc. I make a dish pan of soapy water and start dumping things in it and washing them all down like I'm washing dishes. If there is illness in your family, pour some isopropyl alcohol over your toothbrushes once a day to keep from getting sick or to keep from re-infecting yourself.

15) Hairbrush and Combs.  If your brush is full of hair, it's time to replace it or clean it. You may need to do it more often if you use hairspray or gels. It builds up on the brush and combs. Take a comb and use it to begin pulling the hair out. Toss the hair in a trashcan (NOT down the drain unless you want a hair clog). Once the hair is removed, take a container and put hot water and some shampoo in it and place your brush and combs in it. Let them soak. Then scrub them clean, rinse and let dry.

16) Towel bars and toilet paper holders. Use an antibacterial kitchen cleaner to clean with a damp rag or sponge. Dry off with paper towels. If they are metal, use some window cleaner and spritz them down and polish.

17)  Showerhead. Anything in the water areas of your bathroom can have bacteria growing because it regularly gets wet or damp and the warm water can breed bacteria and mildew. It can get in the air via the steam from a hot shower and therefore into your sinuses. So regularly use a vinegar/water solution and a brush. Scrub your shower head.

18) Refrigerator seal. It goes without saying that a refrigerator will get dirty and need cleaning. But when you clean it, don't overlook the seal around the door. It can get mildew. Use a bleach and water solution and a sponge. The sponge seems to get in the folds of the seal easier than a rag or wipe. Gently pull the folds apart and apply the bleach/water solution to it. Go all the way around. If you find any parts that are pulling away from the door, you might want to glue it back.

19) Hanging pictures. Use glass cleaner to polish the glass. Spray it on your paper towel and not directly on the glass. If the frame is wooden, then use a microfiber cloth and spray some furniture polish on it and wipe the frame. If it's painted or metal, use a damp sponge. You want your pictures to sparkle. If your picture has been professionally framed, then it is sealed and the insides of the picture frame won't get dusty for a long time. But if it's not professionally sealed, it can get dusty inside the frames. So every now and again, you may need to carefully take it apart and polish the inside of the glass.

20) Upholstery.  You need to regularly (for a heavy used room, I suggest every 2 weeks) to vacuum your upholstery. Take the cushions off and vacuum the cushions, under the cushions, in the crevices, the backs and sides. Be sure to vacuum UNDER the couch and chairs too. Take a heavy trash bag, place the pillows in the trash bag and put the vacuum cleaner handle inside. Gather the trash bag around the handle tightly and turn on the vacuum cleaner. This will suck out the air and begin to compress the pillows. You should be able to get it them nearly compressed flat. Then release and plump the pillows. When you are through vacuuming the upholstery, spritz with Febreze and let dry.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

English Cottage Home Decorating

When you think of an English home, we think of thatched cottages...

...square brick or rock country farm homes...

...and the elegant manor homes...

We know, realistically, that British homes are just as diverse as American homes but we like to stereotype. How do you decorate in English Country or English Cottage? From what I found on the Internet you can pick some things out that would give you guidance.

We tend to think of the English cottage as being very old and families have lived many generations in them so there would be layers of stuff. Let's think about what we think of as English Country.

Fox hunting
Horseback riding boots
English saddles
Rain coats (or slickers)
Wellington boots
Walking sticks
Decorative plates
Low beams and low ceilings
Aga stoves
Cozy, snug
Club chairs

This is a short list of the things you think of when you think of English Country. Here are photos that depict English Cottage home decor or English Country home decor.

Now let's look at some English Manor home decorating ideas. Manor homes bring to mind TALL ceilings, large rooms and more formal decor.

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