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Frugal Cleaning Tips

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Cleaning Tools and Solutions


Baking Soda

If you put a box of Baking Soda in your refrigerator to keep it fresh, don't throw it out when you feel it is time for a new box. There is still plenty of "action" left in the soda. Use it to clean, or one of the many other ways you can use baking soda. 



Bathtubs

Here is a quick and fairly inexpensive way to clean your bathtub. Use shampoo. Shampoo will quickly dissolve any ring left around your tub. If you or your children like using bubble bath, rings around the tub shouldn't be a problem, and you will have to clean your tub less often.


Blinds

No need to buy fancy brushes to clean blinds and pleated window shades. Just use a clean, soft bristled paint brush. Use it only on your blinds, and shake out the dust when you are done. Another technique is to use a fabric softener sheet. If you keep the blinds free of dust, the dirt will not build up.


Brillo Pads

Get your money out of your Brillo pads by doing two things. First, cut them in half before you use them. Then, if they are not used up after your cleaning job, place them in a baggie. They should last for months.


Brooms

Want your broom to last a long time? Always store it with the bristles up.
If the bristles are made of plastic, you can clean them by soaking them in a bucket of water and mild detergent for 20 minutes. Rinse dry, and then store.


Carpets

Don't waste money on products to refresh your carpet. Baking soda will do the trick. Just sprinkle it on, wait 30 minutes, and then vacuum.

Here's a substitute for spot cleaner for your carpets. Try shaving cream. Spray it on and let it set a few minutes. Then lightly scrub it with a brush. Let dry, and then wash with soap and water.


Crayon Marks

Here is another things you can try to remove crayon marks from walls. Try baby oil. Just rub it on the spot, and see if that will loosen it so you can rub it off.


Disinfectant

You don't need to buy Lysol or another pricey cleaning product to disinfect your counter tops and bathroom. Just fill up a spray bottle with water, and add a small amount of bleach.


Fabric Freshener

Here is a good homemade alternative to the commercial fabric fresheners. Mix a few Tablespoons of fabric softener with about a quart of water and put it in a spray bottle. Shake well before using. You can also use vinegar. Add a few cupfuls to the bottom of a spray
bottle, and fill the rest with water. Vinegar doesn't smell good, but it will absorb odors, and the
vinegar smell goes away in a short time.


Pergo Cleaner

Don't waste your money buying expensive Pergo/laminate floor cleaners. Vinegar will do the job, without hurting your floor. Just dilute it with water, about half and half.


Refrigerators

Newspaper print as well as baking soda will absorb odors in your refrigerator.  You will just need to change to paper more often.


Ovens

While self-cleaning ovens are a great convenience, it will prolong the life of your oven if you don't use this feature. In order for your oven to clean itself, it must get very, very hot. This prematurely wears out the heating element. Here is an economical and easy way to clean your oven. Fill a glass pan with about a half inch of ammonia. Leave it in the oven over night with the door slightly ajar. This should loosen the grease so that you can remove it without a heavy oven cleaner.


Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a great item to have in your cupboard. Not only is it used for medicinal purposes, it is a great cleaner. It works especially well to clean stainless sinks and mirrors. It shines most everything, and doesn't leave streaks.


Scorch Marks

If you accidentally keep your iron on your fabric too long without moving it around, or have your iron too hot, you may scorch the fibers. If this happens, try this. Immediately put the fabric in a bucket of ice water. Let it soak for a day. Apply a stain remover and try washing it to see if it comes out.


Scouring Powder

Here is an easy way to cut down on the amount of scouring power you use. Just cover some of the holes on the top with a piece of tape. This is a really good idea if your kids help clean the house.


Shower Cleaner

Here is an easy way to clean the oily buildup in your bathroom around the shower, on tile, and on the glass doors. Use fabric softener sheets. Just rub down the area with the sheet, and it should take off the grime. You can also make Your own spray cleaner using vinegar and the product you put in your dishwasher to keep your glasses from spotting. Fill a medium size spray bottle with a cup of vinegar, and a couple Tbs. of the dishwasher rinsing fluid. Then top the bottle off with water.


Soap

If you don't have time to make your own liquid soap, at least take the time to make the soap you buy last longer. Dilute it with water, equal parts.


Sponges

Buy quality sponges, clean them often, and they will be free of germs and last for a long time. To clean them, first wet them, them put them in the microwave for one minute. Then run them through the dishwasher and hot air dry cycle.


Stainless Steel

Stainless steel appliances are hard to keep clean, and some of the cleaners are expensive. Here is something you can try that costs less. Use baby oil. Wipe it on, and buff.


Tile

If you have tile, either in your kitchen or bathroom, here is the most economical way to clean it. After washing the surface with a basic cleaning solution, use bleach. Use about 3 Tablespoons to a quart of water. Start with a wet surface, and wipe the bleach on with a sponge or rag. The longer you can keep it on the surface (especially the grout), the better chance to make the surface look fresh again. If this doesn't work, you can try plain vinegar or a commercial preparation- but in some cases the grout is so discolored you have no choice but to apply a new coat of grout.


Vacuum Cleaners

If you need to buy a new vacuum cleaner, think about buying one of the bagless ones. They have a lot of suction. They bring up so much lint and dust, it seems like they take up the carpet. You just empty the plastic bin, (and clean the filters) and you don't have to spend any more money on bags.

Here is a tip to clean those hard to reach ceiling areas which collect cobwebs, without spending any extra money. Use an empty tube from a roll of wrapping paper. Attach it to the end of your vacuum hose for extra length. It should provide enough suction to remove them.

Also, do not let the brush that spins tighten up with hair, thread, and other fibers it picks up from the carpet.  You will burn out the motor.  If you are going to vacuum a room with a lot of thread on the floor, like a sewing room, tie a piece of felt to the end of a yardstick, and run it around the floor first to pick up as many loose threads as possible.


Vinegar

Vinegar is great for removing scum. Add some vinegar to your dishwasher every few months. Not only will it clean the inside of the washer, it will help clean all the metal parts and hoses.


Vinyl Floors

If you've ever used ammonia on a no-wax vinyl floor out of frustration trying to get it clean, you know what that does to the surface of the floor. You simply can't use harsh chemicals or cleaners on a no stick floor without ruining the surface. One thing that may help you with the stubborn dirt is vinegar. Use it full strength on stubborn stains, and let it sit awhile before you rub it off. Dilute it in water for regular cleanings.


Walls - Here is a good solution to wash down walls



1 cup of ammonia
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda



Mix well in a bucket of warm water. This is a good solution, because you just wipe it on the walls, and they dry clean. You do not have to remove the cleaning solutions.


Windows - The most inexpensive way to wash your windows is to use a squeegee made for washing windows. They are inexpensive, and eliminate the need for paper to dry your windows. If you must use paper, use newsprint.


Wax

If you get wax on your carpet, here is the way to remove it. Place a paper towel over the spot, and then put an iron, set on medium heat, on top of it. The wax should come up and go into the paper towel.


Windows

Here is another alternative solution for washing your windows. Use automobile window washing fluid. It has an advantage in that it doesn't streak.

 

Techniques and Strategies

 


Air Freshener

Smell can be a wonderful, calming delight to the senses. I love the new scented oils that plug into an electric socket. Another way to get a nice aroma in your home is to use a fabric softener sheet. Just lay it over one of your heater vents, and when the fan comes on it will spread the scent.


Automobiles

You may save money washing your car yourself, but you waste a lot of water if you do it in the driveway. It may not look good, but if the soap you are using isn't harmful to the grass, pull your car on your lawn before you wash it.


Flannel

Be sure and keep a good supply of flannel in your cleaning closet. You can buy it by the yard when it goes on sale at the fabric store, and it does not cost much. Flannel is great for dusting. It picks up dust and doesn't let go of it. It is also easy on the finish of your wood. You can wrap it around long poles to dust high places, or run around your carpet to pick up thread or other strings that may catch on the beater brush of your vacuum. Best of all, when you are done, you can wash it and use it again.


Toothpaste

Be sure and put toothpaste in your cleaning caddy. With the addition of a little baking powder, is a powerful paste when you have a very stubborn spot to remove from a hard surface.


Trash Cans

Trash cans always seem to get dirty, even when you line them with plastic bags. Here is an easy way to keep them clean- especially the one under the kitchen sink. Use a two-can system. Most people have a bucket/can they use for water when mopping their floor. When it is time to mop the floor, empty the kitchen trash, and use it as your mop bucket, which will keep it clean. When you are done, place it in the utility room to dry, and replace the trash can under the sink with the clean one in the utility room. Just keep alternating the cans when you mop, and they will both keep clean.


Windows

Here's a simple, but often neglected tip. If you want your windows to stay cleaner longer, be sure and clean the screens when you clean the windows. You can spray them with a hose, or run paint roller brush over them to collect dust and grime.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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