How to properly clean wood furniture

Most people know that polishing their wood furniture will extend the life of the piece and keep it looking beautiful, but a more thorough cleaning should be given once or twice a year to keep the build-up of dirt and furniture polish from changing the color of the wood or filling in any detail work. Use 1/2 cup of mild soap or an oil soap, such as Murphy’s, dissolved in a gallon of water. Use a cloth dampened with the soap mixture to scrub the wood gently, following the grain. Use a toothbrush or a cotton swab to gently scrub small areas or carvings.

TLC for Scratches and Water Spots

Once you’ve scrubbed the entire piece, use a clean cloth with clear water to rinse away the soap. Use a dry, soft towel to buff the furniture dry. This is a perfect time to check for scratches and water rings before you finish your cleaning.

To fix scratches, use this easy technique: mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with an equal part vegetable oil. Use a clean cloth to rub this mixture into the scratch, moving with the direction of the scratch. For extra-deep or noticeable scratches, try rubbing a crayon that matches the wood along the scratch and then scraping away the excess with your fingernail. Or try this old wives’ tale – rub the scratch with a shelled walnut!

To remove water rings easily, rub with a cloth dipped in mayonnaise. Sounds silly, but it really works!

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Who Knew There Was So Much To Say About Dust ~ Major Culprit for Feline Thyroid Disorder ~ Four Winds Healthy Home Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning

Who knew dust was so complicated.

And why should it be different on that account, than any other constant in our lives. So what exactly is dust and how does it affect us? Does it matter where it lands? Evidently so. The evidence stacks up the claim that the dust that settles on your television is far more dangerous than the dust on the coffee table in the same room.

Apparently dust in outer space is considered far more primitive than dust here on earth. “Who cares” we mutter as we dust on. But in these matters, content is king. According to William Bray on “The Mad Scientist Network, he states “…household dust is composed of primarily things like human’s skin and hair, waxes, pollen, mold, fungi lichen, (and in the disco ’70;s lots and lots of polyester), foam, rubber,…” He just goes on and on. Where are dust mites on his list? Absent as they and their feces are considered to be a by-product of the dust itself. Dust mites are responsible for allergies, asthma, and other aliments, A Danish dust mite study released in April of 2008 discovered that no product currently on the market has a significant impact on the symptoms described by many patients. In fact, most of these products, even the mattress covers and pillow covers that are mass marketed leave behind allergens and a chemical foot print which further aggravated asthma and causes multiple allergic reaction of their own accord.

However the most dangerous dust in my book is the chemical kind. From asbestos, of course, but also from many common household synthetic chemical compounds such as dyes, cosmetics, furniture, paints, stains, plastics, and even ice cream. TV dust contains flame retardant chemicals which are considered quite harmful in general, and specifically, are believed to be endocrine disrupters. The name for these particular chemicals are called PBDE’s in short hand. But more importantly, I now know why the TV always has the most dust – it happens when the flame retardants inherent in the television set components heat up. Many in the scientific community are very concerned when we all switch to digital signals. That technical progression will ensure greater use of flame retardants, and it takes many years for them to dissolve.

If all this wasn’t enough, household dust is the major culprit for feline thyroid disease. Cats are constantly grooming themselves and they ingest more of the harmful PBDE’s, the flame retardant chemicals that are found in carpets, upholstery, and their very own bedding than we can imagine.

So what can we do now:

Dust and carefully wipe down all surfaces regularly with a damp microfiber cloth. Wash it and reuse. Boring but effective. This is the cornerstone of green cleaning.

Wipe the TV front and back after every prolonged use with a damp microfiber cloth.

Do not use any additional cleaning or polishing agents while dusting. The point it so remove the dust, not create a climate where dust will be attracted to various product residue as well as create chemical off gassing. You will save money as well!

Regularly vacuum your upholstery, draperies, and carpeted

areas. Vacuum your mattress every few months. Get it steamed cleaned, front, back and sides every 18 months. Cover your mattress and pillows with non-chemical fabric covers.

Don’t use clay based kitty liter and brush your cat regularly. Consider cutting/shaving your cat’s fur once in awhile. Mend any pet bedding that a rip or tear as soon as possible.

Change your AC filters regularly, and get your air ducts cleaned and sanitized with plant based solutions rather than chemical sanitizers.

Open your windows to help remove ongoing out gassing and VOC’s from ordinary household chemicals and objects. Yes, it may bring in a bit of that dreaded dust but the pay off is greater in terms of your health and well being.

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Practical ways to keep your house clean and safe

People have learned to keep their houses clean in order to ward off disease and infection. To help us do this, we have created a wide variety of cleaning products and disinfectants. The problem is that our zeal to be clean has gone too far. Today, the cleaner is frequently more dangerous than the things we are trying to clean up. Many common household products contain alcohols, ammonia, bleach, formaldehyde, and lye. These substances can cause nausea, vomiting, inflammation and burning of the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory system, and are linked with neurological, liver and kidney damage, blindness, asthma, and cancer. Fortunately, we can achieve a level of cleanliness which is both hygienic for children as well as esthetically pleasing for adults without using hazardous household cleaners and disinfectants. You can either make your own household cleaners and disinfectants from a variety of common, less toxic household ingredients, or you can purchase less toxic commercial brands in stores. In addition to making your child’s environment safer, most of these less toxic alternatives will also save you money. And, if your child likes mixing and making things, you can combine housecleaning with a supervised play activity for your child.

For years, the Barnett family lived like most Americans. Then, in 2004, they got an unexpected wake-up call that changed the way they clean their home and treat the environment. Sloan and Roger say they began to notice their son Spencer’s health problems when he was just 3 years old. At first, Sloan says her son coughed continuously. One day his heart was racing, so she rushed him to the emergency room. “I don’t think we knew whether we were going to lose him or not,” Roger says. “They told us that he had a respiratory issue. They thought he might be developing asthma.” Sloan says she began researching chemicals that can irritate the lungs and found them in a startling location…inside her home. According to a physician, some household products—like bathroom cleaners, disinfectants, floor cleaners and oven cleaners—contain toxic chemicals that can trigger an asthma attack. As soon as the Barnetts learned that cleaning products can be hazardous to their health, Sloan says they cleaned out their cabinets and made their home a place where everyone could breathe easier.

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Bathroom Cleaning Tips

Cleaning the bathroom can be one of the most overwhelming (and, let’s be honest, gross) chores in the house. But, with a few easy stay-tidy tips, bathroom cleaning can be a manageable part of your house-cleaning and tasks you can share with everyone under your roof.

This one is so easy; we’re almost embarrassed to call it a tip. The last person in the house to use the bathroom each morning and night is on sink and counter wipe-down duty — if they’re tall enough to reach the sink. We’re not calling for a full scrub, but if your family wants to cut down on major cleanings, it’s wise to make sure all the soap, toothpaste and mouthwash makes it down the drain after every use. A quick wipe off with a paper towel (or even a tissue) will go miles towards keeping the basin and counter clean.

Your bathroom is not a free for all. It’s so easy to let styling tools, magazines, bath toys and more take over every open space in your bathroom. It’s easy to cut down on cleaning if you have a place for everything before you even start. Keep a basket for the toys near the tub (or get a suction cup one to hang on the wall) and a pretty box under the sink for your styling tools, and be sure to use them! And find a new home for your magazines, please.

Stash a rag, glass cleaner and daily shower spray (or use white vinegar) under your sink or in a basket behind your toilet. With cleaning tools so close at hand, you don’t have any excuses not to wipe down the sink, spray the shower and give your mirror a quick once over. Spots (of who knows what) on your mirror can make your bathroom look a lot messier than it really is, so wipe them off!

Just like cats and dogs, people shed too. Hair can collect in all sorts of places, and hold dust and dirt. Do a daily check around shower and sink drains, the base of the toilet, corners of the room and any other spot debris might collect. Pick them up! (A wet tissue can help make this task easier.) If you let the hair stay, your drains can clog and the hair and dust bunnies will grow into a much bigger cleaning job.

If you have a shower curtain, make sure you always keep it pulled all the way across so it can dry evenly. A wrinkle or two here and there can collect mold or mildew. If you have a door, check to make sure water isn’t pooling anywhere and give it a quick wipe-down. Mold and grime can grow easily in wet spots.

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Fall on the Horizon

Who says spring is the only season for cleaning and getting organized? With fall on the horizon, it’s time to break out those scarves, boots and sweaters – and find space for them all at the same time. You can easily reuse items you already have around the house and have left over from summer (even pool noodles!) to get organized on the cheap.

Jené Luciani, lifestyle expert and author of “The Bra Book”, shares clever tricks that’ll have your closet in great shape:

Pencil pouches Stock up on those clear pencil pouches while they’re on sale to store medications that typically clutter up a medicine cabinet or linen closet. Organize by “ailment” (like headache meds in one pouch) or by family member! These also work great as travel toiletry bags (for going through airport security) and are as easy to clean as makeup pouches!

Plastic shower curtain rings Use plastic shower curtain rings from the $1 Store on your closet bar or hanger to store handbags! When switching from one purse to another, it’s annoying to transfer everything over, so get a Pouchee Ultimate Purse Organizer, which allows you to pull out your neatly organized items and transfer them, all in one swipe! In larger handbags, roll up thin sweaters and put them inside – it’ll help keep the leather in shape and protect your sweaters and turtlenecks from getting stretched out ($38, Pouchee.com).

It’s also time to break out those scarves, which you can organize with cheap plastic shower curtain hooks – or just hang them on a clothes hanger (Scarf hangers, $5.99, Marshalls.com; Scarves, $25, KarmaGifts.com).

Pool noodles Reuse those old pool noodles by cutting them in half and stuffing them into midi and tall boots to help them keep their shape throughout the season! One liter seltzer bottles also work great for this purpose.

Kitchen utensils As a great solution for storing accessories and jewelry (which can so easily become a tangled mess), use old kitchen utensils like rolling pins to creatively store bracelets, and muffin pans to store rings and other trinkets and display on your vanity! For the necklaces and earrings, I found a cool decorative cork board – another multi-purpose item – and used decorative bejeweled push pins ($4.99 a package, Michael’s) to hang and display necklaces and earrings. Stud earrings can just be pushed right in!

Toilet paper rolls For a tidy way to store tights that also prevents them from tangling, snagging or stretching out, roll them up into toilet paper rolls – yes, toilet paper rolls! – then write what pair they are with sharpie, and store in drawers!

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10 ways to clean up

  1. Define your cleaning terms. Understand that there are several levels of cleaning. The ‘light’ version involves dusting, making beds, fluffing pillows, straightening up magazines, etc. The ‘deep’ version involves scrubbing floors, washing windows, cleaning light fixtures, etc. There is also ‘organizing,’ which involves drawers, cabinets and shelves. Understand which you are undertaking before you begin.
  2. Understand your rooms. Every room does not require the same level of attention or the same frequency of cleaning. Bathrooms must be tackled on a very regular basis, while the living room requires a lighter touch. Spend some time understanding what you will need to attend to in each room. Create a checklist for each room and determine what the cleaning needs will be and how often you will do them.
  3. Multitask. When you are watching television and it does not require your total attention, organize a drawer or sort through magazines. You can get a lot of little tasks done during commercial breaks.
  4. Dress the part. Don’t start cleaning in your ‘good’ clothes or your nightgown. I like to wear sweatpants and an old T-shirt with a good pair of shoes.
  5. Set a time limit. Give yourself a specific amount of time that will be dedicated to cleaning. One hour of all-out cleaning is good exercise, and keeps things moving.
  6. Combine similar tasks. When you clean bathrooms, clean all of them. Bathrooms require specific cleaners, so clean all sinks, etc., at the same time.
  7. Add a little happiness. Whether it is a souvenir dish towel from a fabulous trip, or some flowers or a lovely candle, be sure to add a personal touch of beauty to the process.
  8. Check your lighting. Always make sure that your light bulbs are working. A room looks a lot better when the lights are on!
  9. Look out for handprints! Don’t forget to clean telephone receivers, switch plates, doors and handles.
  10. Top to bottom. If you are ‘deep’ cleaning, begin with overhead vents and light fixtures and work your way down to the floors. Dust and dirt fall down — don’t clean surfaces twice.

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30 Quick & Easy Cleaning Tips By Woman’s Day

You love a spotless house—but you don’t want to spend the bulk of your time actually cleaning. Well, fret no more. We talked to seven experts who gave us some of their best methods to make chores easier, more effective and much less time-consuming, so you can have a tidy, sparkling home in no time flat. Even Mom would approve.

In The Kitchen

Circle Your Way Around: Always begin on the right side of your stove, then move clockwise around the room. The stove is typically the dirtiest part of the kitchen, so ending with it keeps you from spreading dirt and grease. (First, soak drip pans and knobs in warm soapy water. By the time you’ve worked your way around, they’ll be easier to clean.)

Sanitize the Sink: It’s hard to believe, but your dirty kitchen sink has more bacteria than your toilet seat. Use a product labeled as an EPA-registered disinfectant, or make your own. To disinfect, clean your sink with soap and water first, then spray a mist of vinegar followed by a mist of hydrogen peroxide, and let air-dry. (Don’t mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together—spray one after the other.) If your sink is stainless steel, make it sparkle afterward by putting a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and buffing. This prevents water buildup, which deters mold and keeps the sink looking clean longer.

Do Dishwasher Duty:: Once a week, shake baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe around the machine’s edges to remove stuck-on food or stains. To clean the inside, run an empty cycle with Dishwasher Magic, a product designed to kill bacteria like E.coli. “During cold and flu season, add a quarter-cup of bleach to the regular dish cycle to kill bacteria,” says Laura Dellutri. The dishes will be safe and sanitized after the rinse cycle is finished.

Love Your Oven: Keep the heart of your kitchen clean by lining the bottom with a nonstick ovenliner. It can be wiped with a paper towel, put in the dishwasher, and reused over and over.

Disinfect the Disposal: To get rid of odors, drop in a cut-up lemon, some salt and a few ice cubes. The lemon deodorizes, and the ice and salt clean away residue. Or try Disposer Care (DisposerCare.com), which is specifically designed for the job.

Crumple Paper Towels…Forever: Use microfiber cloths instead. When wet, they sanitize and clean floors, counters, glass and tile, and eliminate the need for other cleaning products. They’re reusable (machine-wash, hang to dry) and cost about $5 for a two-pack.

Clean as You Go: Linda Cobb suggests filling your sink with hot soapy water as you start dinner. “Place used dishes and pans in the filled sink so they’ll be soaking while you eat,” she says. Also, wipe up any spills immediately—don’t give sauces, oils or spices a chance to sit around.

Zap the Sponge: We all know that sponges can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Disinfect yours every night by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute. When it’s shredded and smelly, replace it.

Bathroom Boosters

Make Doors Shine: Rubbing a teaspoon of lemon oil on glass shower doors twice a month causes water to bead up and roll off. Or, try Rain-X Original Glass Treatment, a car-care product made to keep rainwater off your windshield. Use it twice a year.

Get a Cleaner Liner: Mold and mildew attacking your shower curtain liner? Throw it in the wash with a few towels, which will help scrub it clean, then hang it back up to dry.

Tame the Toilet: Drop a teaspoon of Tang Drink Mix in the bowl. The citric acid acts like a scrubber…and it’s nontoxic, in case the dog takes a sip. Let it sit for a few minutes, then swish and flush. And if you cringe at the idea of getting splashed by toilet water (ugh!), Donna Smallin suggests pushing the toilet brush in and out of the trap before you begin. This lowers the water level, allowing you to safely swish away.

Corral Strays: Keep drains free of hair and clogs by using a product like Drano or Liquid-Plumr to make sure potential clogs are gone, then pour boiling water down drains once a week to keep problem-free. Get rid of those annoying stray hairs on the floor by sweeping them up with a damp wad of toilet paper every morning.

Use Bedtime as Clean Time: While the kids are washing up at night, wipe down the tub, toilet and mirrors, and toss out clutter. When they’re finished, quickly wipe down the sink and floor. Bathroom done.

Sweeping Solutions

Cleaning should always be done top to bottom. That way, any crumbs or dust that fall to the floor while you’re working get picked up last. And believe it or not, there’s a right way to sweep.

Pick the Right Broom: For indoors, choose one with finer bristles to pick up smaller dirt particles. For outdoors, go for stronger, stiffer bristles, which work better to clear porous surfaces.

Get Swept Away: To sweep, hold the broom like a canoe paddle, with one hand on top of the handle and the other toward the middle. Push your hands in opposite directions to get the most out of every sweeping stroke. Sweep from the outside in so that you don’t miss any spots, and move the dirt to the center of the room, where it will be easy to pick up.

Super Storage: Store brooms with the handle down. It makes them easier to find and protects the bristles.

Banish Dust Bunnies: Pick the proper dustpan. Minimize that annoying line of dust by choosing a dustpan with a rubber edge.

Bedroom Secrets

Start with the Bed: If your bed is made, your bedroom looks neat, says Marla Cilley. When you wake up, pull the covers up to your chin, then scissor-kick your way out of bed so it’ll be half made. Finish the job before you walk away.

Address Your Drawers: Most women have drawers full of clothes they don’t wear, and their dresser tops then become repositories for things they can’t store. Get rid of things you haven’t worn in a year and vow to put away your clean laundry each week.

Keep Just the Essentials: Have a “pamper basket” next to your bed with a book, some moisturizer, your knitting or something else you like to do in bed, says Cilley. Then keep your clock, a lamp and a box of tissues on your nightstand. That’s it.

Conquer Laundry

Stave Off Static: Since fabric softener and dryer sheets can strip towels of their absorbency, add ¼ cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle or throw two (new, clean) tennis balls in your dryer to get rid of static electricity, soften fabrics and eliminate the need for dryer sheets.

Switch on the Cold: Most everything can be washed in cold water (better for your bills and the environment). But use the hottest water possible for sheets, towels and underwear. Take special care with undergarments, putting them in the dryer as soon as possible to stop bacteria growth while they sit damp in the washer.

Mess-a-Laneous

Time It: If you actually time how long it takes to do certain chores, you won’t mind them as much, says Cilley. Believe it or not, most chores only take 10 minutes.

Multitask: Sarah Aguirre makes tasks go faster by doing two things at once. While on the phone, she folds laundry, fluffs pillows, picks up stray magazines and books, does dishes, sweeps or dusts.

Know the Hot Spots: Papers, odd toys and other things usually pile up on the dining room table or kitchen counter. Once you’ve got your table cleaned off, file papers or toss them. “One piece of paper multiplies like rabbits,” Cilley says.

Go Corner to Corner: When you’re vacuuming, begin in the farthest corner and work toward the door, using slow, repetitive front-to-back motions in an overlapping sequence, says Julie Rosenblum. As you look over the freshly vacuumed floor, you shouldn’t see any footprints.

Velcro Away Clutter: Label the bottom of each electronic game controller (Xbox, for example), and then Velcro it to the console, suggests Linda Cobb. You’ll never search for them again.

Make a Lost-and-Found: Every house needs one. Use a cute vintage lunch box or lidded storage container to stash lost game pieces, stray screws and buttons, and similar small items. When you need the item, you’ll know where to look first.

Do Quick Rescues: Do a 5-minute sweep through each room, taking a laundry basket with you. Place in it anything that doesn’t belong in that room, then put away the stuff that does belong there.

Stop Clutter at the Front Door: Mount a plastic or cloth shoe rack inside your front entry closet door, and use it to stash all kinds of living room and family room miscellany—toys, hats, gloves, magazines. You can even designate one of the pockets for mail you’re not sure whether to save or toss.

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