If you’re like many homeowners, you make good on a regular cleaning schedule. So maybe you skip dusting once in a while, but your house is pretty clean, right? But the dirtiest places in your home might be hiding in plain sight. We’re talking about your cleaning tools! In order to get the most out of them, they need a good sprucing up too. Your household tools can suffer from a buildup of dirt, grease, and grime, making your cleaning efforts far less effective. In fact, every time you use them, you could just be spreading the “gunk” around your home. Here are a few quick-and-easy final steps to add to your cleaning routine that will make all the difference in your efforts to keep your home sparkling fresh.
Soak Those Sponges
Dirty sponges aren’t just smelly, they can also harbor germs. Banish them with a five-minute soak in a solution of ¾ cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. You can also run sponges through the dishwasher on the normal setting, or microwave a damp sponge on high for one to two minutes.
Throw in the (Dish) Towel
Kitchen towels get damp, dirty, and downright smelly over time. The solution: Frequent machine-washing on the hottest cycle. For extra cleaning power, set the machine for an at least one-hour soak cycle, adding a cup of white vinegar to the water along with the usual amount of laundry detergent. Repeat monthly to keep towels odor-free.
Clean Sponge Mop Heads
After using a sponge mop, rinse it well in hot water. Then, mix a solution of one-half cup of chlorine bleach and one gallon of hot water. Add the sponge head and allow to soak for five to ten minutes. Rinse well and allow to air dry.
Remove Trapped Dirt
Take the broom outside and run the bristles over the edge of a step to whisk away trapped dirt.
Dust You Must
Dust, cobwebs, and small particles can become trapped in a duster, hampering its effectiveness. Dislodge debris by sticking the duster in a paper bag with rock salt and shaking vigorously for two to three minutes. Empty out the rock salt and dust into the trash, and shake off the duster outside to remove any remaining particles.
How to Clean Dusters
Unless you use disposable dusters every time you clean, your feather, microfiber, or wool fiber dusters must be cleaned after every use. These cleaning methods work for each type.
What You Need
- Dishwashing liquid
- Warm water
- Large bucket or sink
Remove Embedded Dust
If the duster looks soiled or isn’t picking up dust as well as it once did, mix a solution of warm water and a bit of dishwashing liquid. Swish the duster through the mixture for several minutes. Rinse with warm water until it runs clear of any soapy residue.
Gently squeeze out excess water and hang to drip dry. When the fibers or feathers are dry, rotate the handle between the palms of your hands to restore the proper shape.
Clean Your Lint Trap
Even if you empty your dryer’s lint trap before each load, chances are there is still lint buildup around the area that could potentially start a fire. That’s why it’s important to deep clean the area once in a while. Here’s the best method we’ve found for cleaning out your lint trap. Wrap a clean rag around one end of a paint stir stick. Remove the lint trap and clean out the area with the rag-covered stick. To help the rag pick up the lint, dampen it with water first.
Keep Your Toilet Brush Germ-Free
Toilet brushes are relegated to a filthy task, and the thought of what’s left on that brush made me a little queasy. So I put a splash of Pine-Sol in the bottom of the brush container. Not only does this help to deodorize my bathroom, but it also disinfects the toilet brush
Citrus Peels and Ice Cubes for a Stinky Disposer
You garbage disposal is great for cleaning up food in the sink. But if your disposer has developed an odor, it may be holding on to bits of rotted food. Here’s how to clean it out:
- With the water running at about half throttle, drop in orange or lemon peels. Run the disposer for five seconds. Citric acid from the peels softens crusty waste and attacks smelly bacteria. Give the acid about 15 minutes to do its work.
- Turn on the water and the disposer and drop in a few ice cubes. Flying shards of ice work like a sandblaster inside the disposer.
- Run the water until the bowl is about half full. Then pull the stopper and turn on the disposer to flush it out.
You’d think your dishwasher, post dishwashing, would already be clean. But you’d be wrong! Food bits find their way into all the nooks and crannies of your dishwasher, leading to bad smells and eventually poor cleaning of your dishes.
Once you’re done cleaning the house, your cleaning supplies need a place to stay clean and organized too. Pick up a pack of S-hooks at a home center and turn wire shelving into a rack designated for cleaning gear.
Scrub brushes are the go-to tools for fighting baked-on grease and gunk, but a tough session of grime-fighting can leave the bristles pretty mucked up. Rinse in hot water after each use, and gently knead the bristles to dislodge debris. Allow the brush to dry sitting upright in the dish drainer, or hanging from a hook. Brushes can also be run through the dishwasher on the normal setting.
Cloths and dishrags
Wash regular cloths in the washing machine with some baking soda to cut through deep stains. Wash them separately from clothing or anything you value, as the dirt and grime from past use can rub off into other fabrics.
If you have rags with grease stains, try washing them with a can of coke. Just pour a full can into your washing machine along with laundry detergent and run your machine on a heavy-duty cycle. The phosphoric acid in cola dissolves grease.