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You’ve just got the keys from your realtor and are entering your new home for the first time. You are all excited to finally move into your new place. Sadly, that “clean and swept” provision that your realtor had requested means something entirely different to you than the previous owner. The floors may be swept but far from clean. You can’t sweep the toilets or sinks and they are filthy. Everything needs a good cleaning – from the kitchen to the bathrooms, to all the rooms!
You can go about this several ways: Hire a cleaning service, which can be expensive, time consuming and probably won’t do as good a job as you would and let’s face it, they probably use the harshest commercial grade chemicals you can find. Personally I don’t care for the smell of several different forms of “lemon scented” cleaner, Pine Sol and the like. You want to have a clean house that smells naturally clean and don’t want to breathe in all those nasty chemicals, especially if you have small children, pets or allergic reactions to certain chemicals.
I think everyone today should have a social and moral responsibility to good ol’ mother earth…after all…she looks after us. Limit as much phosphates as you can, it creates algae blooms and chokes out other marine life. Bleach is probably one of the worst offenders. Not only does it kill germs and bacteria, which are necessary for sewage and septic systems; but it also creates halogens and hydrocarbons that react with our own atmosphere. It’s also a really harsh smell and not good to breathe in. Whenever possible do not use chlorine bleach!
Believe it or not there are lots of natural cleaners out there that do just as good a job or better and they’ll also save you money. A great cleaner used prior the chemical revolution of the 50’s was plain old baking soda. Baking soda never hurt anyone or anything. Vinegar is another great organic cleaner. Combine the two and you can clean almost anything.
Using vinegar (acid) and Baking soda (abrasive) will clean most stains from toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. Combining the two creates a foaming action and releases harmless carbon dioxide gas. Remember your early science class? Kind of like that and the kids love watching things foam up.
If you have stubborn stains on the toilet (everyone does) try this trick. Turn off the toilet water supply (little valve behind the toilet) flush the toilet to remove most of the water (sponge out the rest). Then get cleaning vinegar (it’s a little stronger than regular cooking vinegar) and pour it in the toilet. After that, take a bunch of toilet paper and soak it in the same vinegar and stick it around the inside of the toilet bowl. Leave it like this for several hours or overnight. Then simply turn the valve back on and flush the toilet. You will find the stains gone….even that pesky hard water ring. Did the hard water ring at the top of the bowl not completely disappear? Here’s another great trick few people know. Go to your local hardware store and buy a pumice stone (sometimes you can get these in your local pharmacy for scrubbing your feet). They are inexpensive and work great. Just use the stone like a pencil eraser and scrub out the stubborn ring…you’ll be amazed at how well this works. It is better than any commercial cleaner out there!
The foaming action of mixing baking soda and vinegar is great at cleaning your drains. Just like a commercial cleaner but without the hydrochloric acid gas being produced…scary! Just dump a half cup of baking soda in the drain and then pour in a couple ounces of vinegar. Cap the drain with the drain plug until the fizzing stops. This keeps the carbon dioxide in the drain. When the fizzing stops, run hot water down the drain for several minutes. They’ll be as clean as a whistle and no need for the hydrochloric acid cleaner…yuck!
Use just straight vinegar on these. Soak a cloth or rag in the cleaning vinegar and drape it over the faucet. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Leave it on longer if they are really strong old stains. Vinegar as an acid will dissolve the hard water spots which are alkaline.
Use the cleaning vinegar straight, not diluted. Use a spray bottle with straight vinegar and spray all the walls and floors of the shower or tub and let stand 10-15 minutes. Then use the shower wand or rags soaked in clean warm water to rinse the vinegar away. If you have stubborn stains, try scrubbing with baking soda and rinsing with the vinegar.
Save money and be Green. Use vinegar and water to clean your windows. However sometimes vinegar won’t work on certain dirty windows. If the vinegar and water mix don’t work, try an Ammonia and water mix. The reason could be the type of dirt on the windows. Ammonia is Alkaline and a much better choice for cleaning the kitchen window, which may have fat deposits on it form cooking. Instead of wasting rolls of paper towel to clean your windows, use newspaper. You probably have bails of it lying around from unpacking. Take newspaper and fold it in half (like it comes) and then rip the seam off …now you have two sheets to clean with.
If there is mold or mildew, it’s because of too much humidity, lack of sunlight and/or heat. Start by disinfecting the area with Borax and Vinegar. Keep the area clean and allow more air movement, sunlight and more heat into the area. Following this and persistent cleaning will eliminate the mold or mildew growth. Use the Borax and Vinegar for disinfecting just about anything. It’s a mild and effective concoction.
Having a clean and disinfected new home is a great way to discourage ants and roaches. Eliminate any food sources and you eliminate them. This can be easier said than done though. The best way to get rid of ants and roaches (most types) is borax. Place a few drops of borax in a small square of tinfoil and place in areas you see the ants or roaches.
Keep the borax fresh by changing it every few days. You may need to do this for up to 2 weeks but the ants will eventually carry the borax back to the nest and kill the entire colony (same for roaches).
By now your new home should be clean; water spots gone, drains clean and clear, toilets shiny, showers and tubs sparkling, disinfected and free of bugs. The best part is that you saved a lot of money on cleaning supplies and helped save the environment…not to mention the health of you and your family.
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