Let’s face it: cleaning your home can be a major frustration. There are spills to clean up. Endless surfaces to dust. Rugs to vacuum. Add all this to the busy life you lead with work, family, and friends, and it’s no wonder you need quick and effective tips on housecleaning.
That’s exactly where “Clean It! A to Z Guide to Cleaning Everything” comes into play!
From tough stains to delicate surfaces, from cherished family heirlooms that need restoration to common, everyday objects that can be recycled and reused, there are 667 topics, organized alphabetically, for your convenience in this special housecleaning guide.
What’s more, the cheaper and eco-friendly methods you’ll find in this guide are generally preferred whenever possible. We did this to ensure you don't throw good money down the drain on high-end commercial products, when the solution was right in front of you all the time.
So, what do you need in order to keep your home spotless and your family safe and healthy? Everybody should have a healthy stock of laundry detergent (at least one mild, for delicate garments, and a heavy-duty one), two types of dish detergent (a non-abrasive and an abrasive detergent), stain remover, white vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, ammonia, bleach, rubbing alcohol, and an oven cleaner. Make sure you store these products away from the reach of children, since many are toxic.
Before we get into these cleaning tips, it's important to learn how to use these items responsibly in order to protect yourself against accidents. For instance, bleach should never be combined with ammonia, as it releases toxic fumes. Many substances, such as kerosene or turpentine, are highly flammable. Oven cleaners are very effective on stains, but they're also very damaging to your skin. Lye causes severe chemical burns, and should never come in contact with skin. Your closet of cleaning supplies should therefore also include several pairs of gloves, latex ones, but also a chemical-resistant pair, safety glasses, and clothing that cover your hands and legs completely, and a first-aid kit, just in case.
You also need a collection of sponges (soft and abrasive), brushes, paintbrushes, and wire brushes, rags and cloths – in particular micro-fiber, lint-free cloths, which can save you hours of work – mops and dusters, cotton swabs, and several buckets of different sizes. Do not forget to clean these items regularly; otherwise you'll just be transferring germs to the cleaned objects!
Last but not least, there comes a time when you have to accept that an object is beyond rescue. Some spots that appear to be stains are in fact scratches or deep damage that cannot be removed. In other cases, the material is so delicate that any scrubbing will completely ruin the object. Finally, every cleaner has to admit that once in a while you come across a stain that simply beats the most advanced techniques in the world. There's no shame in turning to professional help when you need it, and there's no reason to sweat and scrub for hours when you're dealing with an item that should have been replaced years ago.
In the end, the key to maintaining a spotless house is to combine patience and common sense. Be prepared to wash, rinse, repeat many times, but not to the point where you end up spending twenty hours a day with the mop and the sponge!