Are you looking to keep your home cleaner, longer? Let me rephrase, are you hoping to keep your home cleaner for longer? Use these hacks to make the time spent cleaning have a lasting effect with less effort. Here are 7 ways to keep your spring-clean home fresh all year long.
1. Use Humidity to Defy Dust
Low humidity levels cause static electricity. Not only does static attract dust, but it also makes it stick, so it’s difficult to remove. High humidity causes problems too — it’s an ideal environment for dust mites. These microscopic critters are a double threat: They’re a common allergen, and they contribute to dust production. There are as many as 19,000 dust mites in half a teaspoon of house dust, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Yuck!
What to do: Keep your home’s humidity level between 40% and 50%. That’ll eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth. You can measure your home’s humidity with a hydrometer. These small devices can be purchased at your local drugstore.
Tip: About 80% of dirt in homes walks in from the outside. Stop dirt with a bristly doormat before it’s tracked inside.
2. Apply a Car Product to Keep Shower Doors Scum-Free
You can eliminate soap scum build-up by coating your glass shower doors with a rain-repellent product made for car windshields. When applied to glass, products like these create an invisible barrier that causes water, oils, and debris (like soap suds) to bead and roll off.
What to do: Find this product anywhere that sells basic auto supplies. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when water stops beading on shower doors. Keep in mind, windshield rain repellants were made to treat glass, not plastic, so only use on glass doors.
Another option: Automatic shower cleaners claim to let you clean your shower and tub less frequently — like every 30 days. After you finish bathing, the gadget will douse your shower and tub with a cleanser that prevents soap scum build-up while combating mold and mildew. You can buy automatic shower cleaners at most big-brand retailers, like Target and Walmart.
3. Seal Your Stone Countertops
Natural stone countertops, including granite and marble, are porous, so if they’re not sealed, liquids like red wine, juice, or even soy sauce can stain them. A countertop sealer repels stains by causing spills to bead instead of being absorbed. Most countertops are sealed when installed, but the sealant does wear down.
What to do: To keep your countertops in tip-top shape, re-apply sealer twice a year. To see if you need a fresh coat, pour a tiny bit of water on your natural stone countertop. If the water doesn’t bead or doesn’t stay beaded for two to three minutes, it’s time to reseal.
Tip: Shopping for stone countertops? Slabs with lots of swirls or veins tend to be more porous, and, therefore harder to keep clean.
4. Use Protectants on Furniture and Carpets
Protective furniture sprays and carpet sealants, like Scotchgard and Ultra-Guard, guard against inevitable spills by causing liquids to bead on the surface instead of being absorbed. Some of these products also protect fabrics from fading and resist mold, mildew, and bacteria.
What to do: Apply the appropriate sealer once a year after a deep upholstery and carpet cleaning.
5.Clean Your Oven the Old-Fashioned Way
Forget oven cleaners that promise an easy job. Most cleaners give off noxious fumes and make a horrible mess. The primary ingredient in many oven cleaners is lye, which can burn your eyes and your skin; it’s usually fatal if swallowed.
What to do: Use a wet pumice stone to scrape off dirt and grease. It’s faster than oven cleaner and toxin-free.
Tip: Need to wipe your range or anything else down? You can bust filth faster by heating up a clean, damp sponge or cloth in a microwave for 30 seconds before wiping with or without a cleaning product. Make sure to put rubber gloves on before you pick up that hot sponge.
6. Do Quick Touch-Ups
Little cleaning projects prevent filth from building up. When you spot clean daily, you can prevent smudges from staining, banish dust bunnies, and even combat allergens.
What to do: Create a spot-cleaning kit so you can address small, dirty situations in mere minutes.
Tip: Keep stored items cleaner longer by shutting closets, cabinets, and drawers, so circulating dust and dirt can’t get in.
7. Update Your Light Bulbs
Okay, it's not really cleaning, but good lighting can make you and your home look and feel great. Plus, if you haven’t already switched to energy efficient light bulbs, now is the time. New lighting standards took effect in 2012, and money-saving options such as halogen incandescent, CFL, and LED lightbulbs are readily available today. Newer energy-saving lightbulbs provide the choices in colors and light levels you’ve come to expect. They can help turn a dark and drab room into a bright sanctuary that mimics natural light.
What to do: By replacing your home's five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save about $45 each year. For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR. Learn more about your lighting choices.
Don’t let all of your hard work go down the drain. These cleaning hacks will save you time and don’t require having any harmful chemicals in your home. Which tip will you try today?