Five Simple Cleaning Tips For Irritating Chores

The chore is stupid–it takes forever, and there’s no good reason for it!

Behold:  Five Delightfully Simple Cleaning Tips For Irritating Chores

Learn more from the Masters at The Family Handyman by clicking here. 

Cutting Grease:

Heat sponge in the microwave first
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Heat sponge in the microwave first

Grease and dirt build up on kitchen cabinets over time. To clean your cabinets, first heat a slightly damp sponge or cloth in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds until it’s hot. Put on a pair of rubber gloves, spray the cabinets with an all-purpose cleaner containing orange oil ($4), then wipe off the cleaner with the hot sponge.

Wipe cabinets with all purpose cleaner
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Wipe cabinets with all purpose cleaner

For stubborn spots, let the cleaner sit for five minutes first. Wipe in the direction of the wood grain. Rinse and reheat the sponge as it becomes saturated. Then wipe the cabinets with a cool, damp cloth. The orange oil leaves a shiny coating. This works for any wood or metal surface.

 

Scum-proof your shower doors

Treat doors with water repellent product
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Treat doors with water repellent product

Keeping shower doors clean and streak free is a challenge—unless you know the pros’ secrets. Start by cleaning any mold, mildew or streaks off the glass with a glass cleaner. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($1) to get into the cracks in textured glass. Scrape off tough buildup with a razor blade. Dry the doors with a cloth.

Treat the doors with a product like Aquapel ($8; autobodydepot.com) or Rain-X ($5 at auto parts stores and home centers). These glass treatments form an invisible film on the glass to increase water repellency, causing water and soap to bead up and run off the glass. (Squeegee off the water after bathing to keep soap scum from building up again.) Spray or wipe on the glass treatment, then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Overspray won’t harm surrounding surfaces. The products repel water for six months.

 

Blow Out The Garage

Ditch the broom
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Ditch the broom

Forget the broom—clean out the garage with a leaf blower. It’s fast (about five minutes), you don’t have to move heavy stuff, and you can clean work surfaces and shelves along with the floor. First put away papers or anything else that you don’t want blown away. Open the overhead door. Put on a dust mask, earplugs and safety glasses, then turn on the leaf blower and blow out the dust and debris. Use the leaf blower to get under workbenches and to clean off the benches themselves. If you don’t own a leaf blower, you may be able to use your shop vacuum by connecting the hose to the exhaust port. This cleaning method works great for screen porches, too.

Remove pet hair with duct tape

Better than vacuuming
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Better than vacuuming

That’s right. Yet another use for duct tape—cleaning. The stickiness of duct tape makes it perfect for a makeshift pet hair remover and this method is faster than vacuuming. It also works on seats in vehicles. A sponge or cloth wrapped with duct tape works great for getting into corners.

Wrap duct tape around a paint roller
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Wrap duct tape around a paint roller

Wrap duct tape around a paint roller cover, sticky side out. Roll the paint cover over furniture or carpet to pick up the pet hair. Add more tape as the surface gets full of hair.

Clean a computer keyboard and screen

Photo 1: Blow away dirt
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Photo 1: Blow away dirt

Use compressed air to remove dirt and lint from the keys and the keyboard housing.

Photo 2: Swab the keys
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Photo 2: Swab the keys

Clean greasy dirt off the computer keys with cotton swabs and a solution of alcohol and water.

Computers seem to be a magnet for dust, lint and sticky fingers, but unlike with household appliances, you can’t just douse them with all-purpose cleaner and scrub them clean. However, you can get them sparkling in just a few minutes with the right products and techniques.

The first step is to turn off the computer and disconnect the power. If you’re cleaning a laptop, take out the battery. Moisten part of a soft, lint-free cloth (not a paper towel) with water and gently wipe the screen, first with the damp part, then with the dry part. After you’re finished with the screen, wipe the keys and the housing down. Some manufacturers also offer or recommend special wipes or cleaning solutions, but check first at the manufacturer’s Web site or the place you bought the computer before using any product that’s not specifically recommended for your type of computer.

Next, clean the keyboard (Photo 1). Tip the keyboard up and shake out the crumbs, then blow out the keys with a can of compressed gases (about $5 at office supply or hardware stores). The compressed gases aren’t just air, so keep the cans away from children.

Use a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water to clean tough spots. Dip a cotton swab in the solution, then pat off the excess water on a paper towel so it doesn’t drip between the keys. Wipe the surface and edges of the keys, changing swabs frequently (Photo 2).

Some types of desktop computers with wired keyboards have keys that can be pried off one at a time (gently) with a letter opener. But don’t do this with laptops or wireless keyboards. Always check with the manufacturer first, because if you do this with the wrong keyboard you could destroy it. And then snap a photo before you start so you know where the keys go.

 

 

 

 

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