Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cleaning Up - Week 4: Cleaning Tips & Tricks

This week, we are going to focus on some of those odd cleaning jobs around the house. I checked out the web to see other people's solutions to some of these cleaning conundrums, tried them out, and have included my results and opinion on each one! 

Washing Pillows
First I removed the pillow cases and checked the tags to make sure my pillows could be machine washed. Then I set up my washer like I would for a normal wash. I set it on HOT, chose the Regular Heavy cycle, and added my detergent. I added 2 pillows to balance the load and ran them through two cycles, flipping the pillows over before the second cycle. To dry them, I set my dryer on low heat (per the instructions on the pillows), and put in two dryer balls. The yellow spots came out and the pillows were much fluffier than when I put them in. The pillows were also a little lopsided, like the filling moved around, but I think it is just the type of pillows we have. Overall, I was pleased with how they turned out. (The pictures really don't do it justice).

Cleaning Grout
I am not sure the grout in our house was ever cleaned by the previous owners and was looking pretty dingy. I found many different cleaning methods for cleaning grout (besides expensive smelly chemicals). I tried using baking soda and vinegar because that is what I had on hand. First I sprinkled baking soda onto the grout and spread it around to make sure it was completely covered. I filled a spray bottle with vinegar and sprayed it on the baking soda. I let it sit for a few minutes and then scrubbed with a grout brush. After I was done, I cleaned up with a combination of vacuuming and wiping with a rag multiple times. I did notice that it was very difficult to get ALL of the baking soda up. This process was VERY messy, but I was pleased with the results nonetheless.

Cleaning the Dishwasher
This one may have been the most disgusting for me to do. Our dishwasher is as old as our house (over 12 years) and I am not sure anyone ever cleaned it before. First I wiped it down with a wet rag (top, bottom, sides, even where the door meets the main compartment). Then, I filled a glass measuring cup with white vinegar and placed it in the middle of the top rack. It was the only dish in there. I ran the dishwasher like normal. When the cycle was finished, I wiped it down with a wet rag again. Overall, I felt like wiping it with a rag made more of a difference than the vinegar. I did not notice a strong vinegar smell. Our dishwasher has some rust spots that I could not get out, but oh well. I also read that some people just put the vinegar right in the bottom of the dishwasher.

Cleaning the Oven
The was the most frustrating task I attempted. First, I took out the shelves in the oven. Then I put some baking soda in a bowl (about 3/4 cup) and slowly added water while stirring occasionally. My goal was to get a paste the thickness of pancake batter. Then I smeared the paste all over the interior of the oven - door, glass, sides, back, and bottom. I left it on there for about 15 minutes and while I was waiting, cleaned the oven racks with soap and water. Then I wiped the oven clean with a damp cloth. Oh. My. Gosh. This was messier than cleaning the grout with baking soda! It took me about 15 minutes just to wipe it clean. I really don't feel like the baking soda "cleaned" more than wiping it down did. Oh well, it at least looks better than before I started!

Cleaning Plastic Shower Liners
I was hesitant on this one, but tried it anyways because our shower liner was pretty nasty! I put the shower liner in the washer with some old towels and about a cup of white vinegar. I put the water temp on HOT and regular cycle. I tried to make it so the towels were touching as much of the surface on the liner as possible. After it was done washing, I hung the liner back on the rod to dry. Overall, I could tell it got the soap scum off. It did get kind of wrinkled, but I am okay with that!

Cleaning the Microwave
One of my favorite tricks. Put a small bowl of water in the microwave and "cook" it for a few minutes (I usually do 5 minutes). Then remove the bowl and wipe the microwave clean! The steam loosens all the gunk.

Well, that concludes this series on cleaning. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. I had fun trying new things and getting motivated to clean up!

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