Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living - July 2016

Create and maintain a clean environment of your very own.

Cleaning Small Space Cleaning Tips Cleaning with Toothbrush

5 Things to Clean with Your Toothbrush

gec_toothbrush

If you thought your toothbrush was just for brushing your teeth, think again.  This powerful little scrubbing tool is the perfect cleaning weapon for fighting the dirt and grime that tends to collect in small spaces (we’re talking to you, hairdryer vent!). Here are 5 things you can clean with your toothbrush:

**Caution:  Be sure you are using an old toothbrush for these cleaning duties.  You don’t want to shine your pearly whites with the same brush that is cleaning the gunk from the sink.

 

Hairdryer Vent
Just like the vents in your clothes dryer, your hairdryer vent catches lint with each and every use, which can actually cause it to take longer to dry your hair.  Cosmopolitan suggests using a toothbrush to de-lint the vent.  Click here for more details.

Gas Stove
According to Apartment Therapy, a small amount of dish soap added to the bristles of a toothbrush is the perfect way to scrub away the stubborn grease stains on your range. Click here for complete details on cleaning your gas stove.

Tile Grout
An old toothbrush is the exact tool you need for scrubbing the dirt off of your tile grout.  You can create a great cleaner of baking soda, water, vinegar and dish soap that will leave your tile looking like new.  Click here for details from The Contractor Chronicles.

Faucets & Drains
Another great tip from Apartment Therapy is to use your toothbrush to clean those hard-to-reach spots of your sink:  faucets and handles (they are also your most used spots!).  While you’re at it, you can also use the toothbrush to clean the gunk away from your drains as well. Click here for more cleaning details.

Water Tray
If you have a fridge with a water or ice dispenser, you have a water tray.  That little tray where everything falls is probably filled with dirt and debris—especially after a busy summer. After soaking it in vinegar, scrub away the grime with your toothbrush.  Click here for details from Embroitique.

 

Talk to us:  Other than your teeth, what are you cleaning with your toothbrush?

 

 

feature image courtesy of flickr cc/Bookis Smuin

Cleaning Stainless Steel Cleaning Tips Kitchen Cleaning Tips

How to Keep Stainless Steel Smudge-Proof

GEC_StainlessSteel

You love your stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, but during the summer months when your home is filled with a little more activity than usual, you may not be so fond of how those appliances are looking.  While stainless steel tends to attract fingerprints, there are a few tips that will help you keep those appliances polished and clean.

Jessica of mom4real.com recommends starting the process with vinegar (doesn’t all good cleaning begin with vinegar–see our suggestion for fluffier towels here).  Spray down your stainless steel with vinegar and then wipe it clean. Soda water also works well in cleaning stainless steel.

Next, apply a very light coating of mineral oil and polish off the fingerprints, suggests Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.  Make sure the coating is light–avoid any buildup that will make the appliance “tacky and attract more dirt.”  Also, avoid using food-based oils such as vegetable or olive which can turn rancid.

If you don’t have any mineral oil in the house, head to your garage for an alternative solution. Melissa from Theappierhomemaker.com has a secret “smudge-free” weapon: Turtle Wax.  Using a clean cloth or paper towel apply the Turtle Wax in a light coat and buff to shine with a microfiber cloth.

You should repeat the cleaning and buffing process as part of your normal weekly or biweekly cleaning routine, adds Stephanie Mitchell from Demand Media.  This keeps the “buffer layer intact” and prevents new fingerprints and smudges from accumulating.

 

Talk to us:  What is your trick for keeping stainless steel appliances smudge-free?

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/leigh wolf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Towels Fresh Laundry Tips Washing Towels

4 Ways to Keep Towels Fresh

GEC_Towels

With an increase in outdoor activities and an increase in visitors, our towel usage tends to go up a bit during the summer months. Before you literally “throw in the towel” and give up on trying to have soft, fluffy goodness all summer long, try these tips:

 

Hang Your Towels
Hang wet towels to dry as soon as you are done with them–this goes for right out of the shower as well as right out of the pool. “Hang properly, which means in as thin a layer as possible,” suggests Modern Mrs. Darcy.  “The towels need to dry quickly so mildew and mold don’t have the opportunity to form.”

 

Grab the Vinegar
Here’s the the truth about smelly towels: accumulation of detergent and fabric softeners in the fibers makes it harder for towels to absorb water and to dry effectively.  Add 1 cup of vinegar to your next load of towels–no detergent, just vinegar.  If your towels are still not as fresh as you would like, do a follow up wash using 1/2 cup of baking soda instead of the vinegar. The vinegar and baking soda will get rid of detergent residue and keep your towels absorbent.

 

Give them a Shake
As soon as you take your towels out of the washer, give them a shake. “This will help fluff the terry loops that aid absorbency,” suggests Better Homes and Gardens.  After giving them a good shake, toss towels immediately into the dryer and make sure they are completely dry before folding them. Try to avoid “over drying” your towels by making sure your dryer’s moisture sensor is clean and working properly–click here for tips.

 

Throw in Some Tennis Balls
Avoid using fabric softener and instead toss in some clean tennis balls to bounce around with your towels in the dryer.  “As the balls bounce around, they’ll beat out any lumps and fluff your towels,” says author Donna Smallin Kuper. In addition, many believe adding the tennis balls makes items in the dryer dry faster. 

 

Talk to us:  What do you do to keep your towels fresh and clean all summer long?

 

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Michael Coghlan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cleaning Tips leaving home vacation tips

Do These 5 Things Before Going On Vacation

 

VacationChecklist

Nothing is better than getting away for a week or two (or even a long weekend!), especially during the summer.  While you may have created your packing list—and are checking it twice—we’re already thinking about your return home.  Extend the rest and relaxation of your vacation by doing these 5 things before you head out the door.

 

Put Things on Hold
Nothing says “I’m not home” more than a pile of newspapers or mail by your front door.  Contact your local newspaper to put a vacation hold on your daily delivery and also jump on the USPS website to request a hold on your mail. This gives you a little more time to ease back into reality without being overwhelmed by paper and envelopes.

 

Clean Your Fridge
To avoid coming home to a not-so-vacation-like smell, clean out your fridge of any perishable items.  This is also a good time to just do a quick overall fridge clean (get tips here) and perhaps freeze a meal you can prepare on your first night back home.  Do not forget to take out the trash once the fridge is clean–those wonderful perishable items you took out of the fridge will smell even worse after sitting in a trashcan all week.

 

Do the Wash
In addition to getting all you laundry done (including folded and put away), you also will want to wash your sheets.  “We often don’t think about washing our sheets before we leave, but there’s nothing more inviting than a fresh bed after we get back from our weary travels,” writes PopSugar.

 

Unplug—Literally
While you are headed out to do a little unplugging of your own, be sure to unplug and turn off everything at home.  This includes lights, electronics, computers and garage door openers.  Yes, garage door openers—should someone break into your garage, they may also be able to get into your home.  Click here for some tips on how to secure your garage door.

 

Toss Baking Soda Down Your Drains
BrightNest suggests sprinkling a little baking soda in your toilet bowl and drains before heading out the door to “avoid being greeted by the nasty stench of stagnant water” when you get home.  In addition, flush vinegar through your garbage disposal before you leave.

 

Of course, the best way to transition back into the real world from your vacation, is to come home to a clean house.  Consider hiring a cleaning company to do a fresh clean a day or two before your return–or, schedule it for your first day back.

 

 

Talk to us:  What is the one thing you always do before you leave for vacation?

 

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Thomas Beck

 

Firework Cleanup Fourth of July July 4th

Keeping Things Safe and Clean This Fourth of July

GEC_FireworkCleanup

Are you ready for a festive and fun Fourth of July weekend?  If your weekend includes fireworks, we want to encourage you to plan now for the post-fun cleanup.  Why?  In 2014, an estimated 10,500 firework injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments with nearly half of those injuries happening to individuals under the age of 20.

In an effort to be better safe than sorry, here are 3 things you need to have on hand for the post-Fourth of July cleanup:

 

Broom
Have a broom nearby on your porch or deck to be used to sweep up any debris that might be left behind after your celebration.  While you may be tempted to sweep up after every round of fireworks, it is suggested you wait until the end of the evening and let the items on the ground have a chance to cool before sweeping them up and tossing them into a bucket of water (see below).

Bucket of Water
A bucket of water serves two purposes: 1) It can put out an unexpected fire and 2) It can be used as an immediate “garbage can” for firework debris. Sweep up the wrappings, packaging and other debris and toss them into the bucket of water to ensure they will be completely extinguished. You can also use this as a place to house the “dud” fireworks—which should never be re-lit.

Coffee Can
Even after the flame is gone, sparkler wires are really hot—in other words, do not toss them in a nearby trashcan.  Instead take a coffee can or soup can, fill it with dirt or sand, and put your used sparkler wires in it.  When you leave, simply take the entire can with you.

 

Leave both the water bucket and coffee can outside—away from any buildings or combustible materials—until the next day.  Then, you can toss them in your regular outdoor trashcan.

 

Talk to us:  Where will you be celebrating July 4th this weekend?

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Kain Road Cul de Sac