It’s such a great feeling. Opening the door and walking into a clean home. I know, life gets busy and sometimes cleaning gets pushed to the side. There are times when we just say to ourselves — I’ll get to it tomorrow.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles MacPherson – aka Charles The Butler. He’s been on many talk shows over the years and is the man behind Charles MacPherson Associates, specializing in educating and recruiting domestic staff for private residential clients. If you ever really want to get yourself organized and get your house cleaning on a schedule, I highly recommend reading his book “The Butler Speaks”. It will help you make your household schedule run like clockwork! If I learned anything from Charles, it’s that having the right tools and know-how at hand will help you make quick work of your household tasks.
Working in real estate, I visit a lot of homes in various states of cleanliness, (Tip: One of the most important things you can do if you want to sell your home quickly is to make sure it’s squeaky clean!). Of course, even the cleanest of homes can benefit from a deep cleaning before going on the market (much like detailing a car), but keeping a regular cleaning schedule in place year round will keep your home looking it’s best all the time.
I put together my 8 favourite cleaning tips and hacks for keeping your home looking its best.
Tub & Shower Cleaner
Let’s face it, sometimes cleaning the tub and shower can be a daunting task. Soap scum can require some fairly heavy-duty scrubbing. Try this the next time you have to tackle the tub:
What you’ll need:
- A spray bottle (pick one up at the local dollar store)
- 2 parts white vinegar
- 1 part dishwashing liquid
Measure out the vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it up in the microwave until it is hot. Pour the heated vinegar into the spray bottle (be careful!!). Add the dishwashing liquid and gently shake it to mix.
Take your freshly brewed cleaning spray, spray your shower walls and tub and leave it for some time. The longer the better – an hour or so is great and requires less scrubbing. After it sits use a light scrubbing brush to clean. It should scrub away easily. Tip: When spraying the tub and shower walls a light spraying will do. The dish liquid will create lots of suds if you use too much! Also, while the cleanser is doing its thing, be sure to have the bathroom fan going or if you have a bathroom window, just have it open bit for ventilation.
Clean Your Ceiling Fan
Are you like me? When you walk into a room with a ceiling fan do you look up to see if there’s dust accumulated on the blades? Ok, it’s a thing with me, and one that’s easily remedied. This is my favourite method for cleaning ceiling fans.
You will need:
- A pillowcase
- A ladder or step-stool
- Your favourite spray cleaner for dusting
Spray the inside of your pillowcase with dusting spray. Then being careful, step up and cover the fan blades, one at a time with the pillowcase. Grasp the fan blade with the pillowcase and slide it along the length of the blade. That will clean off all of the dust and dirt and will keep the dirt inside the pillowcase and prevent it from falling onto your table or bed or floor below.
Kitchen Cabinets need cleaning? No problem!
Kitchen cabinets can get kind of grimy. Between general kitchen grease and those pesky handprints around the handles and edges of the cabinets, kitchen cabinets need an occasional scrub. Believe it or not, the best way to tackle this oily grime is with …. wait for it … more oil!
What you’ll need:
- 1 part vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
- 2 parts baking soda
Mix the vegetable oil and baking soda in a small container. Then, either using your fingers or a cloth, rub the mixture into the surface you want to clean. If you need to get into edges and corners, use an old toothbrush. Once you’ve applied the oil and baking soda mixture, wipe it clean with a warm, damp cloth.
Steam Clean Your Microwave
- Small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup
- 1 lemon
- Cleaning rag
Start with a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Pour in 1/2 to 1 cup of water. Take one lemon and slice it in half. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the water, then place both halves of the lemon into the bowl too. Now microwave your lemon and water for 3 minutes on high or until the water boils. Shut the microwave off but leave the bowl in the microwave for approximately 5 minutes more and let the steam do its work. The steam from the lemon water will loosen up all of that cooked on mess. Remove the bowl and wipe your microwave clean! You’ll have a sparkling clean microwave and a really fresh smell in the kitchen!
Need to Clean the Windows?
Forego the store bought, bottled window cleaner and use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the windows. (Tip: Use a wet squeegee for best results)
Make Sure You Do Your Cleaning From The Top-Down
I know I sound like Captain Obvious here, but attack your cleaning chores from the top down, ie: dust before vacuuming, clean countertops before sweeping the floor, etc. It’ll save you from having to clean things after you’ve already cleaned them.
Protect Your Hands
Whether you’re using store bought cleaning products or simple things like vinegar, lemon and water, cleaning can be tough on the skin. Wear protective gloves when you’re doing your cleaning. Your hands will thank you!
Who says cleaning has to be a miserable task? Put together a playlist with your favourite music and treat your cleaning like exercise. You’ll have more fun and you can even skip going to the gym on cleaning day!
There you have my Top 8 Favourite Cleaning Tips, but here’s one more that might be worth considering. I have a friend who used to hire a cleaning person once every two weeks. Instead of hiring a cleaning service, they decided to dedicate specific days and times to cleaning and set up a bank account and deposited into the account the amount of money they would have paid to a professional. This has become their vacation fund. Just an idea 🙂
Sharon Caddy is a Sales Representative with RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc. www.sharoncaddy.com