Summer’s just around the corner and spring-cleaning is behind us. That doesn’t mean we can just sail through the summer months dirt-free, however there are cleaning tricks to ease the load. All kinds of summer-based messes are in our midst. There’s the mud that gets tracked in from hiking or a trip to the lake. There is sand from the beach. There’s the stain on the floor from when –ahem- somebody dropped the barbecue tongs before it was cleaned.
Picnics, vacations and trips to the zoo are all in order. Taking out the trash is better now that it’s not freezing cold, but those trash cans smell nastier and nastier as the summer heat ramps up every day.
You’re going to need folding chairs, but they’ve been in the musty shed or garage all winter. You’re going to need luggage, but that’s been stored in the stale attic or crawl space for half a year.
All sorts of summer-based cleaning projects pop up, but they don’t magically just replace your regular cleaning tasks in your home. They just add to the pile.
We all want to enjoy our summers as best we can. Here are a few cleaning tidbits to help you get through the warmer months and extra cleaning projects with a littler less stress:
Alcohol Abuse No More:
Whining over spilled wine? I don’t blame you. It’s not like it’s just milk, you know.
Beer, wine, lemonade and juice are all on the beverage menu and can all cause stains when spilled. Outside furniture is a must for summer parties and family get-togethers but it also adds to the list of things that need to be cleaned.
Not to worry! Rubbing alcohol – the kind you don’t serve at parties, helps clean up stains on your upholstered patio furniture. Use a spray bottle, apply and blot. Rubbing alcohol dries faster than water so you can get back to your comfort-zone pretty quickly as well. You can also mix water, dish soap and hydrogen peroxide as a cleaning solution if you’re worried about rubbing alcohol fading your furniture’s colors (always read directions!).
The News Is Canned:
There is so much good food cooked over the summer months. Chicken on the grill, hot dogs on the grill, corn on the grill, stuffed peppers on the grill…I just love outdoor cooking. The thing is, the more you cook, the more you dispose of bones, fat, oils and other unusable parts such as corn husks or onion peels. If you don’t have a compost pile you have to throw these things in your trashcans. When the temperatures start to rise, things get nasty around the bins. Wash out your trashcans with hot, soapy water. Rinse with a hose. Let the cans dry completely then sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the cans. For an extra layer of odor prevention and general protection, place layers of newspaper on the bottom before you add a bag or liner.
Put A Sock In It. I Mean, “On It.”:
The summer sun feels great and I love being in it. That bright, warming light really does reveal all the dust that’s been collecting on your blinds and windowsills, though.
We’ve all lost socks in the dryer. We all have that one sock sitting in our closet because we think its partner will magically appear again one day.
It won’t. Turn that loner sock into a dust rag. Mix white vinegar and water in a bowl and dip your socked hand into the liquid. Then run your hand over the blinds gently to remove dust and sterilize them from bacteria or dust and allergen spores.
Use a dry, soft cloth to dry the blinds. That is, of course, unless that missing sock shows up all of a sudden…
The Essential, Essential Oils:
The bathroom stinks. It’s a fact of life that it does, at least to some degree. Heat and humidity make it worse so get an essential oil distiller and keep it in the bathroom. Essential oils are organic and safe. Add a few drops even inside your toilet paper roll so the fragrance comes out each time the room is used. For bathrooms I suggest clove or orange oils.
The Ring and the Blow Dryer:
School’s out. That means your kids will play outside more. It also means there will be more kids at your house. You have to feed them, too. Aaaand, they’ll be thirsty. Ok, it’s great and you love to see your kids and his or her friends playing and happy.
You just wish they’d use those coasters you set out on purpose.
Your hair dryer is not just for making you look gorgeous anymore. When soda can rings or other circled condensation forms on your tables or counters, grab that blow dryer and attack. It’s going to dry up quickly without risk of you rubbing in a stain. You can always add some coconut or olive oil or applicable furniture polish if need be to touch it up. Of course, you’ll also find bits of pieces of the dust they brought from the outside, so try to get the full picture of a clean house using a vacuum cleaner even if those little kids are present.
Clean Your Microwave with a Lemon
Nothing says “summer” like the neighbor kid’s lemonade stand. Of course you’re going to buy some! Right?
Lemonade is the back-porch, bring-a-family-together drink. It’s the first thing my grandmother offered me when I’d visit when younger. My other grandmother gave me a single-slice bologna sandwich and told me to be quiet so she could watch TV. Needless to say, I went to the lemonade nanny more.
Other than reflective anecdotes, what else are lemon juice and lemons, good for?
Deodorizing and sterilizing your microwaves after, again… –someone– put some pizza or spaghetti or soup in there without a cover.
Put some water in a microwave safe bowl, along with a few slices of lemon. You can also add salt and/or white vinegar. Heat it up on high until it boils and let the steam soak inside until it evaporates. Open the door and wipe down as usual.
Oh, and put a block on the WIFI for a couple of hours and pretend you don’t remember the password.
Behind Curtain Number Three:
I love reading. I had shelves and shelves full of amazing books. I love the feel of them being there, and what they stand for.
They are indeed quite a pain to clean, however. Dust loves to hide on top of books. Most bookshelves don’t come with doors or curtains, but that doesn’t mean you need to be denied!
Make your own by measuring the dimensions of each bookshelf and cutting fabric to be 1-inch in excess of that. Hem the bottom sides of the fabric by I inch. Then sew on inch-wide twill tape to the top part of your “book curtain” and attach it to the bottom of each applicable shelf.