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... for Cleaning House   Page 1  2

Almost no one likes to clean up, but there's great benefits.  Your life will be less cluttered, you're less likely to lose things, your family will be healthier and also, housework relieves tension and burns calories!  It's actually good exercise.  Here's ten rules for doing it right:

1.    Sooner is better than later.  Clean up spills and messes as soon as they happen.  Try to wash stained clothing right away, or use spot remover on dry-cleanable items.  Urine or wine stains come out easier with a dose of club soda; blood stains bleach out with hydrogen peroxide (blot or rinse afterwards).  For stinky messes, germicidal foaming cleaner not only cleans, but hides, deodorizes and sanitizes as well.  Use a sweeper to pick up ashes, sand, or food from carpets or rugs as soon immediately; later they will penetrate the fibers and abrade or stain the rug.  Clean splots on carpets immediately before they leave a permanent stain.  Spot clean traffic areas on rugs and hard-surface floors - spray-on cleaners work great!  Put pans, baked on casserole dishes and other items that may stick on to soak as soon as possible with a little degreaser.

2.    Set your priorities.   If you're short of time, try putting clutter on surfaces away.  If callers are due, concentrate on the entrance, living room and guest bedroom.  If your children are expecting guests, concentrate on the family room.  Overnighters appreciate an airing and dusting of the guest bedroom and a clean bathroom.  Diners admire a clean dining area and kitchen.  If you are liable to be interrupted and have to stop, go for the nastiest room.  Otherwise for overall cleaning, start with the furthest reach of the house and work toward the center. 

Don't forget the steps and/or porch or outside entry, including mats.  Keeping these clean makes coming home more welcoming, and helps keep the house cleaner.

3.    Clean from the top down (except when you need to clean from the bottom up!).  Some people (including my late husband, sweep first.  By the time all the rest of the cleaning is done, the floor is dirty again.  Get rid of cobwebs and dust on walls and ceilings is first.  Clean ceiling fans. Then do blinds, windows, high furniture. Then clean lower furniture, empty wastebaskets, then do the floor.  Sweep or dust mop before you mop with water! 

Exception:  when washing a wall or other vertical unsealed or really dirty surface, start at the bottom and work up to avoid staining.

4.    Dust first, wash later.   Use vacuums or dusters to remove all possible dust.  Always use duster spray to help the dust cling so you can shake it off outside; otherwise you are just redistributing it.  Change filters in air conditioners or air cleaners. Then wash and polish so surfaces will stay dust-free as long as possible.  

Spray on cleaning compounds, then go to another surface for a minute or two so the solutions can loosen soil.  Don't let them dry on.  When you go back, you'll find grime and grease has dissolved and loosened. 

Vacuum or dust with a feather or lambswool duster items such as lampshades, delicate ornaments, paintings or other fragile items.  Don't forget silk or other artificial plants; dusty ones make the whole house look tacky.

5.    Better safe than sorry!  Read labels.  Test strong cleaners in an inconspicuous spot before using on visible surfaces, especially on new items you haven't cleaned before. Always try the gentlest approach first to preserve the beauty of your furnishings. 

Don't mix chemicals!!!  This can be dangerous.  Use rubber gloves, even eye protection and a breathing mask when needed.  Dig a little soap under your nails before you begin.  And wear old clothing! Page 1  2

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