In addition to cleaning wood floors, Murphy Oil Soap makes a great laundry pre-spotter, especially on organic stains like grass or blood.
Bleach is not a “cure all” for housecleaning. It typically doesn’t work on floor grout, for example, or rust stains. Use the right cleaner for these areas and spots.
For hard water stains around your faucets, use CLR or Lime-Away. You can also buy muriatic acid at the hardware or home supply store, and cut it with water, but be careful of doing this. Muriatic acid is highly toxic and has heavy fumes; you may be better off purchasing the other products mentioned and using those.
Wipe down mini-blinds with a damp fabric softener sheet. This eliminates the static that causes dust to stick. The same trick works for TV and monitor screens.
Many stains should be addressed with products designed specifically for them, for example, pet stains. If your pet has soiled your carpet or furniture, purchase a product from your pet supply store for just such problems and use them according to the directions on their label. Don’t think that regular carpet or upholstery cleaners will do the job – usually these just aren’t strong enough.
Squeegee water off shower walls and doors after every use or wipe them down with a towel; this prevents mold and soap scum buildup. Keep the squeegee in the shower for such use. For tile walls or frosted shower doors, apply a light coating of lemon oil periodically to help prevent build-up. For a porcelain tub, apply a light coat of boat or car wax to the sides (never the bottom) of the tub.
Any wood floor can be cleaned with a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with a gallon of warm water. Never get wood floors too wet or allow them to dry naturally. Finished wood floors often can be cleaned just with water. However, the finish will eventually wear off, and you’ll either have to re-finish the floors or start waxing them. Additionally, if you do not dry the wood floors after cleaning them, the water will leave unsightly marks.
When it comes to marble or granite, such as for countertops, always clean them according to the manufacturer’s directions, usually available from the company that installs them. Never use anything other than what’s recommended, or anything abrasive, such as powdered cleansers, steel wool, metal scrapers, wire brushes, and so on. These products are porous and still sensitive, and can be scratched.
Wooden cabinets in the kitchen probably will do well with a mild degreaser. Laminate cabinets can be washed with a degreaser or a product like Fantastik. Make sure you wash around the handles especially, where there is a buildup of not only kitchen grease, but oils from your hands as well.
Cleaning the face of a fireplace is a project that demands patience. Fireplace stone and brick may be hard, but they’re also porous. This means it has plenty of tiny holes for soil to accumulate in.
Cleansers designed specifically for fireplaces are available at most home stores. You can even purchase ones with a slight tint to them, to bring your older fireplace back to life. Make sure the floor around the fireplace is covered with a drop-cloth, as these tinted cleansers can stain other surfaces.
The best way to clean windows, or any large expanse of glass, is with a squeegee. It does a faster and better job. You need a professional-quality squeegee and a window wand. If you’ll be cleaning high windows, you also will need an extension pole. The basic process is simple – apply the cleaning solution with the window wand and pull the dirt and water off with the squeegee.