Cleaning Doesn’t Have To Be A Chore
Cleaning is our favorite subject. We love the fact that we can tout having more cleaning formulas and concoctions in our home maintenance bag of tricks than M&M’s has candies. But even more important than the formulas themselves is “how” and “when” you clean. Sometimes just a little encouragement is all it takes to solve a problem. We hope that the following tips will help to eliminate the bulk of your cleaning woes.
Cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore. Unfortunately, through our own procrastination, it often becomes a major undertaking and sometimes even an insurmountable challenge. What most of us don’t realize is how much damage we do to our own property by not keeping it clean and well organized. This isn’t about being a Virgo. It is about saving time and money. It is about changing certain simple life-style habits that can make all the difference.
Cleaning is basically a “pay now” or “pay later” proposition. The fact is that what you don’t clean today will be there tomorrow along with what you don’t clean the next day – and so on. Most of us know this, and we still procrastinate. We do this not realizing the ramifications of what we will have to face down the road. Sometimes we wait so long and let grit and grime build up so thick that the dirt becomes almost “fossilized”. Once it’s at this stage we often find ourselves worrying about damaging the surface we’re trying to get it clean – or – being completely surprised by the damage is usually done during cleaning.
All those layers of scum – what’s a person to do? You probably don’t want to hear this, but the best time to clean anything is now – the sooner the better. When it comes to stains in leather, food on an appliance, coffee on the carpet, water marks on the shower door. No matter what the cleaning challenge, cleaning immediately – at least sooner than later – can mean the difference between removing the stain – or not – or being the difference between “a mild wipe down and hours and hours of scrubbing.
Did you know that you don’t need a cleaner to keep your shower immaculate? All you need is a squeegee. That’s right! If you squeegee down the shower – before you get out and dry off – there will never be a build up of water marks or lime and your shower will always look clean and new. Yes, it makes good sense to occasionally clean with a disinfectant to make sure things are sanitary, but sanitary and down-right crud build up are two different things. As lime deposits lay on a surface they eat away at the finish. We once cleaned a showerhead by soaking it over night in vinegar. The result was a perfectly clean fixture. Unfortunately, there was no finish left in those locations where the lime build-up had been the worst. The choice left was simple: Live with a ruined finish or go out and purchase another showerhead. Today, with plumbing fixtures costing literally hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars it is wise not to wait to clean.
You can’t always count on removing a stain. However, the sooner you attack the problem the better the chance of removal. And the rules are always the same: Pat the surface with a soft, clean, white, absorbent cloth. We like to call this the “kitty litter” step. Then apply a mild cleaning agent (different for every stain), rinse with water and pat dry with another soft, clean, white absorbent cloth. It is agreed by most experts that if a stain can be removed at all attempt at removal should be made while the stain is still “wet”.
As grit and grime build up the task of removal becomes more complex. We are forced to turn to strong solvents or those that contain abrasives. Both solvents and abrasives are dangerous. Solvents are a danger to we humans and abrasives are a danger to the surface upon which they are used.
Abrasive cleaners work really well and are certainly easy to use, but rubbing a surface with what is essentially “sandpaper” will eventually dull the surface or cause the color to fade or change – or both. Also, once a smoothly finished surface has been dulled with an abrasive – in many cases – its pores are opened to attack by dirt. This means that the surface can get dirty more easily and more quickly. Bottom line –waiting for scum to build up to make it worth cleaning and then rubbing and scrubbing with an abrasive to meet the added challenge of multiple hardened layers can leave you with a damaged surface that is more likely to get dirty a lot easier.
Solvents on the other hand are very gentle if used on the correct surface, but this isn’t true for the person who uses them. Many solvents can burn your lungs or eyes and can dry skin to the point that wounds can occur. We aren’t against the safe use of solvents, but they do have their down side.
So, when we quote a formula that uses, say vinegar, to eliminate lime build up – keep in mind that what lurks below the lime may be a damaged finish. On the other hand, by regularly wiping down your show with a squeegee and your shower faucet and showerhead with a clean cloth then there will be no build up and harsh chemicals will not be needed. It is a habit that is reasonably easy to acquire and the beautiful finishes in your home will continue to look new for as long as you have them.
For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.