Don’t let your home get run down!
If you know me then there is a good chance that you have seen my house. If so then you know that I have a fairly messy house. So, while I may not strike you as the authority on the subject of house cleaning, I have had a lot of reasons to spend time doing more than my fair share of research on the subject. While absorbing this info there was one thing that seemed to be a common thread throughout numerous house cleaning subjects. It is very important that you have the right tools to work with when you are trying to clean something.
When I was in my early 20’s I was a supervisor at a huge mega-plex movie theater. We used to have massive jugs of simple green, degreaser, hand soap, and various other cleaning products stored around the theater. One day I was sent to check on a pair of employees who were working a concession stand located in a satellite auditorium that was about 100 feet away in a separate building. I was told that they had a catastrophic popcorn machine failure that caused a puddle of oil to spill all over the floor. I was able to fix the leaking oil and the machine but the two employees were having no luck cleaning up the oil. They used a mop to push most of it down a drain but the floor was dangerously slippery. At this point the management was calling and asking for updates and wondering what was taking so long. The employees said they had been working at it but the floor was still slippery. I asked the employees what they were mopping with and they said that they were using degreaser because they didn’t have any simple green, and the orange degreaser seemed logical to them.
I emptied the mop bucket and wrung out the mop and started all over again with some hot water a detergent similar to dish soap. The employees seemed amazed that the soap worked so much better at lifting the oil off of the floor. I explained to them that it is important to know what the products were designed for and what they can and cannot do.
Cleaning your house, or just about anything for that matter, is not very different from the floor of that concession stand. Most people know that to clean your carpet you use a good vacuum cleaner and you shampoo the carpet from time to time. Most people know that you Swiffer or mop the floors that are not carpet. There are a few things in your house that have less obvious cleaning tools or procedures.
Windows seem like a no-brainer. Windex is a really good way to keep windows and mirrors clean. But if you have any super big windows or sliding doors then windex may not be enough. I recommend a good Squeegee.
The Squeegee was invented in the 1800s to clean off wooden decks but most people hear Squeegee and rightly think of the hand held variety that are found in most decent gas stations. I prefer a Squeegee with a scrubbing sponge on the reverse side of the rubber blade. It can save you time but some people have trouble keeping it from dripping on the clean finished parts of their window. There are various techniques for using a squeegee but I have always thought that people who recommend one over the other were just expressing simple preferences. A good Squeegee can make a glass surface look really great and it can save you a lot of time from all the scrubbing and drying by hand.
Small electronics like cell phones, tablets, and laptops are not always easy to clean. Naturally the challenge with these items comes from their intolerance to liquids. You can get you laptops very clean by vigorously wiping the keys and other surfaces down with an alcohol wipe. The same alcohol prep pad or sterile wipes that you would use in a first aid kit will do wonders to remove all kinds of gunk off your laptop. For screens on your tablets, and particularly for your phones, you should try using a microfiber cloth.
They work well to keep the screen clean on a day to day basis, but if you need extra cleaning power wet a small corner of the cloth and use it first before finishing with the rest of the cloth.
I carry a microfiber cloth everywhere I go. Cotton swabs or Q-tips are very useful for cleaning the hard to reach areas in many electronic devices.
Many years ago I got my hands on a big box of medical cotton swabs. The ones with the long wooden body are much more useful because you can get a lot more leverage on them. I used them to clean paint out of my paintball gear but now years later I am still finding use for them.
As a side note, I wanted to add that it has never been easier to buy a water resistant phone than it is right now. Several companies including Samsung, Sony, and Apple all have phone options with an IP rating of 57 or higher.
With these phones it is safe to rinse your phone off in the sink whenever you want.
Many major appliances like refrigerators don’t need anything special to keep them clean. I have lost count how many times I have forgotten about a soda can that was placed in the freezer to get cold faster only to end up emptying the freezer and scrubbing down the walls.
It’s a frustrating experience but by no means is it complex or difficult. Dish soap and warm water with a sponge or wash cloth will clean most appliances and even kitchen cabinets. The stove top can be a little tricky and you might have to resort to Ajax, Simple Green, or Oxyclean. The one appliance I wanted to mention is the dryer. Out of a fear of burning my house down, I have always been good about cleaning the lint trap from my dryer before almost every cycle.
I have been told that it is important to check the exhaust vent too. According to the USFA, Thousands of dryers cause fire damage to homes every year. A lot of those fires could be prevented if the lint trap was cleaned. If you get actual grim built up in the drum of the dryer you will probably need to get a strong brush and get up inside of the dryer.
Hopefully these tips will be useful to you. When you have the right tools and the right procedure to clean things, it makes the cleaning a lot easier and you will find yourself more willing to make a productive routine. I don’t know if cleanliness is next to godliness but it is much better than wallowing in your own filth.