The Cleaning Routine

It would be an understatement to say that I am in a deep cleaning phase…like cleaning the grout between your kitchen floor tiles with a tooth brush at 9pm kind of phase.  (It does look good tho!)

This cleaning phase coupled with my love for organization has created the cleaning routine.  I have been following this loosely, but needed something more organized for the deep cleaning and maintenance of.  Take only part of this (i.e. – evening routine) and it will help tackle your day. I have also stumbled onto some cleaning tips that are too good not to share.  That said, I haven’t been taking pictures, just cleaning my heart out so please excuse the lack of visuals.

For those who have housekeepers and still find yourself needing to clean certain items or some daily  maintenance, the information below will help as well.  Take only one section of the information and the information will still be helpful.  (Warning, long a detailed post!)

 Cleaning Routine

15 MINUTE MORNING

The key here is to wake up before the household and have 15 minutes to tackle some household items.  Only give yourself 15 minutes.  Time yourself if you have to, but make this 15 minutes of productive cleaning/organizing time and you will be surprised at what you can accomplish!  …Yes, this may require you to wake up 15 minutes earlier, but is instrumental in being proactive instead of reactive.

In my household tackling the clean dishes and a quick wipe down of the bathrooms is key.  Not to mention getting a load of laundry in the washer since we do at least a load of wash a day!  If you have different priority areas in your home, focus on those in the am or if it is after everyone leaves, even better!

 

EVENING

After dinner, tackle the dishes and load the dishwasher.  Don’t let the food crust on (and make it harder to get off).  Leaving them until morning only adds to the craziness and puts you in a reactive mode.

Prep anything for the next day.  Make your morning less hectic, whether it is making lunches or putting out clothes for the next day.  These small steps will streamline your am routine.

Tackle any spills or carpet stains during dinner or as they happen to make an easier overall clean up.  (Spot cleaner recommended below.)  Sweep the kitchen floors to minimize carrying around food, etc on the bottom of socks or soles that may have fallen during dinner preparation or the meal itself.

Fold laundry while watching TV and have baskets for each person so they can bring up their own stuff.  Not just clean clothes either.  Put in this basket anything they may have left lying around downstairs so they can bring up in the evening and put away.

DAILY/ROTATING CHORE

I try and tackle the daily chore in the am, but put this on your schedule where it best suits (am, pm or weekend).  Or split is up, downstairs one month for the rotating chores and upstairs for the next month.  In the beginning, it will take longer to do a deep clean of each of these, but will be easier moving forward to maintain.

I find that cleaning certain things can be seasonal (i.e. – blinds more often in the summer because of the pollen, the oven weekly in the winter but monthly (if that) in the summer, etc.).  So, keep that in mind as you go through the cleaning routine — if you haven’t used the oven in a month and it is already clean, then skip it.

For certain chores, the thought is to tackle a room instead of spending hours on only one aspect and if the next day you realized you missed something, don’t worry about it.  You will come back to it in a week or few weeks depending on the task.  The point is to routinely clean (including deep cleaning) and keep moving so that it doesn’t take half a day to just clean one item…because who has time for that?

In all this cleaning, I have discovered some tricks that make these tasks easier and without chemicals to achieve.

FLOORS

Use whatever product you like to clean your floors.  But if you are looking for some suggestions that don’t use chemicals and are very effective, look no further:

  • Tile Floors: Heavy duty floor cleaner that also works well on grease and contains items you already have in your home.

    Favorite Cleaning Products?

    Favorite Cleaning Products

  • Grout: Now you want to know about 9pm extravaganza.  I sprinkled some baking soda on the grout so it was covered and then sprayed some vinegar on it.  Waited 5 minutes and brushed it out with a toothbrush.  Wipe with rag and may need to wash floors to get all baking soda removed.  Worked great and cleaned up the grout from the dishwasher explosion.  (Don’t ask.)
  • Spot Carpet Cleaner: Blogger, LizzyWrites has a great solution.  Blot up the liquid.  Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch to absorb any remaining moisture.  Using a mixture of one tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and two cups warm water – sponge the stain with the solution. With a clean rag, blot until all the liquid is absorbed.  Sponge off with cold water and dry.

SHOWER/TOILETS/SINKS

Bathrooms are a haven for mold due to the high moisture level.  The key is to eliminate dampness so that mold doesn’t grow.  I was lucky in my last place where I had a tiny bathroom and good ventilation.  I currently have the opposite with poor ventilation so bleach/vinegar and I are friends.

When cleaning the toilets, make sure to get the base and all around the bowl — not just the lid, seat, top of bowl and inside the bowl.  You would be surprised at what you clean.

When cleaning out the sink, make sure to take out the plug and clean it regularly.  This is where mold builds up and regular maintenance will keep it at bay.  This also goes for the drain.

Suggestions:

  • Shower: Spray shower and tub with vinegar (undiluted) and let dry in your weekly maintenance.  This not only deodorizes, but stops future growth.
    • If you have mold in your shower tiles, use the grout method above, but leave on for an hour or more.
    • Another option is to fill a scrub brush with 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 Dawn (blue label) and scrub after every use of the shower.  It is great to clean the sink as well.  Here is the link to with full directions.  It is a great maintenance method that cleans mold and soap scum.
  • Toilet: Use 10% Bleach/ 90% water mixture in a spray bottle.  It is the most effective way to clean your toilet and eliminates mold spores.  I should also reveal that my Mom is a retired research chemist and was very particular about the products we used in our house.  She swears by this.
    • Use this solution for grout or other area’s in the bathroom that have mold.  Let sit for 10 minutes, rinse off and dry.
  • Drain: Clear out the drain (sink or tub) with a contractor trick.  Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain, followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Plug with a rag, wait 30 minutes and then pour a kettle of boiling water down drain.  May need to repeat if it doesn’t completely clear it initially, but this is a tried and true method.
    • Do regular maintenance with the baking soda/vinegar and snake drain when you have to as to avoid calls to the plumber.  I was also told by plumbers NEVER to use Drano or similar products as it only will do long term damage to your drain.  The key is to be proactive maintenance instead of reactive.

DUST/VARNISH

Dust and varnish with your usual cleaners.  Make sure to address any water marks on wood furniture.

Suggestions:

  • Water Mark: Use a hair dryer to dry out.  If the mark is older, with a cloth or paper towel, rub mayonnaise into the mark and remove with a clean towel.  May need to let sit for an hour depending on the mark.  Works like a charm on my antiques when coasters aren’t used.

MICROWAVE, OVEN AND REFRIGERATOR

Ahh, the kitchen.  The hub of most activity in my house and also where the most attention is needed.

  • Microwave: I usually just microwaved a cup of water for 5 minutes to ‘steam clean’ and wipe down…but found this blogger who suggested adding a cup of vinegar as well.  I am liking the addition of vinegar for the deodorizing and sanitizing.
  • Oven Hood (if not stainless steal): use a paste of baking soda and water to clean the grease off the hood.  It truly works wonders.  (If stainless steal go to the stainless steal appliances below.)  If wood, then clean as you would your cabinets.
  • Oven Vent: Bring a large pot of water to boil and add filter.  Add a 1/2 cup of baking soda a tablespoon at a time.  Boil for 5 or more minutes.  Thank you Manly Housekeeper for the trick!
  • Gas Burner Grates: Great trick with just 1/4 cup ammonia and a ziploc bag.  Full description here.
  • Glass Stove Top: To keep the glass stove top clean, it needs to be cleaned immediately once the cook top cools.  I have been using a non-green product Weiman Glass Cook Top Cleaner coupled with lots of elbow grease that works great.  I have tried the baking soda damp rag or baking soda vinegar solutions and they haven’t worked for me.  So until then, I will continue to use Weiman Glass Cook Top Cleaner and test other homeopathic alternatives.
  • (Inside) Oven Cleaner : Cover bottom of oven with baking soda and sprinkle or spray vinegar so it is all wet but not saturated.  (If too wet, add more baking soda.)  Let sit for approximately 20 minutes and then wipe with damp cloth.  Make sure to wipe down again if white residue remains.  I also used this method for the oven door and it worked well.  It did take some scrubbing, but it certainly did the trick (without having to breath all the chemical fumes and still scrub!)
  • Oven Racks: Make a paste using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and put on oven racks.  Let sit for 20 minutes and scrub off with SOS pad.  Works wonders.
  • Stainless Steel Appliances: I have been using a non-green product Zep Commercial Stainless Steel Cleaner that does a great job, but since my pregnancy have been trying to suss out other homeopathic alternatives
    • Vinegar – spray on and wipe away with a paper towel.  It does a great job of getting the grease and other residue.  For tougher spots, I pour a little baking soda onto a damp paper towel and rub (following the grain of the stainless steel).  I dampen the paper towel with vinegar, not water as to minimize streaks.
    • Oil (i.e. – corn oil, vegetable oil) – good way to bring back shine to your stainless steel appliances.  Just dab a little onto a paper towel or clean rag and rub on the stainless steel (following the grain).  Note – if the stainless steel is dirty, the oil will not remove it, but highlight it.

VERTICAL BLINDS

This has been a long time nemeses as I couldn’t find an effective way of getting the pollen off.  I have purchased special dusters, etc and no avail.  Well, now I find the trick!

  • Blinds: Put hand into an old (clean) sock, dab with rubbing with alcohol and with index finger and thumb, clean blind line by line.  (I don’t take the blinds off, but you can if it is easier for you.)
    • For maintenance or areas of the country where you don’t have high pollen in the warm months, then vacuuming works well too.  Thank you again Manly Housekeeper for pointing this trick out.

MISCELLANEOUS TRICKS

De-tarnished Silverware

 

I stumbled upon this trick via pinterest and need to share.  (The link was faulty so I can’t give credit to whoever originally posted this, but THANK YOU!)

  • De-tarnish Silverware: I formerly used a mixture of salt and lemon juice to make my silver shiny.  It also took a lot of elbow grease and time, but worked.  I now found another way that I love — line a bucket with aluminum foil.  Add 1/2 cup table salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, fill with hot water and add all the silver that needs cleaning.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Rinse and clean with soap and water.  Some pieces may need a little scrubbing with soap and water after.  This is now my new method!
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One Response to “The Cleaning Routine”

  1. gogle says:

    Awesome post.

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