A Small Guide to Cleaning Almost Everything in Your Home

Rarely do you hear someone get excited about cleaning the house. It is time consuming, exhausting, and most of all, frustrating when you scrub and scrub but the stains refuse to budge. But don’t give up. Here is a small guide to cleaning those tricky spaces with surprising tools.

The Kitchen

  • Lemon juice can reinvigorate your knives that are covered with rust spots.
  • Vinegar + baking soda = a saviour for burned pots and pans.
  • Rubbing your brass pots and pans with ketchup will keep them looking as good as new.
  • Oil is the secret ingredient when it comes to cleaning a cast iron pan.
  • Coffee grinders can look as good as new if you run rice through a cycle.
  • Good old baking soda and water will keep your crockpot looking like new.
  • Raw potatoes or apples can clean hard-to-scrub cheese graters.
  • Vinegar and a toothbrush can keep your coffee maker clean and happy.
  • Use rice, water and a little dish soap to clean strangely shaped bottles.
  • Use an eraser or baby oil to remove scuff marks from linoleum.
  • Clean your kitchen sponges by microwaving them for one minute.

The Living Room

  • Use coffee grounds to clean up hard stains or pet litter and remove any lasting smell.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to clean leather sofas and microfiber couches.

The Bathroom

  • Just use some regular dish soap and olive oil to clean your makeup brushes.
  • The magical rubbing alcohol rears its head again when it comes to hair supplies. Just dab a little bit on a cotton ball to clean your curling iron or hair straightener.
  • Believe it or not, your hairbrush can be a hot germy mess. Use another comb to get out stray hairs, and then soak the brush in a lukewarm shampoo and water mixture.
  • If your shower curtain is beginning to get mouldy and unusable, just throw it in the machine with some bath towels and baking soda.
  • Fill a plastic bag with vinegar and tie it around your shower head to clean any build-up. Just leave it overnight for a squeaky clean finish.
  • Dip your toothbrush in some mouthwash to disinfect it.

The Bedroom

  • Is your mattress yellow and musty? Just sprinkle a little baking soda and essential oils to leave it so fresh and so clean.
  • Borax, laundry detergent, and natural bleach are all you need to turn yellowed pillows white again.
  • Put small stuffed animals inside a sock and wash them with the rest of the laundry. It will be clean and germ-free, without any eyes or buttons falling off.

Tips for Keeping Red Ants Away from Your Home

While not all ants are bad – some of them do good things for the environment by eating the larvae of fleas, bed bugs, flies and silverfish – red ants are a different story, particularly fire ants outside the city or in rural areas. You need to keep them out of the garden, and certainly your home. Here are 5 helpful tips for getting rid of red ants:

Look out for scouts

Forever in search of new food sources, red ants will send out a single ant as a scout. So if you see even one single ant around, take care to remove it quickly. Once the scout ant has found some food source, it will head back to the nest, leaving behind a trail of pheromones which will act as a guide for all the other food gathering ants. Sooner or later you will see a whole line of ants crawling along the same exact path.

Search out the nest

If red ants have invaded your house, the surest way to get rid of them is by finding and destroying the nest. However, this is not always possible as some ant nests are inaccessible or difficult to locate. If you are able to locate the nest, consider treating it with insecticide, especially if the infestation is extensive.

Natural remedies

If you prefer to go the natural route, boiling water is one of the most common home remedies for killing ants. Just follow the ant trail and pour boiling water into the trail entrance. It will kill any ant that comes in contact with it. Another way is to sprinkle some corn meal around the trail entrance. Ants will eat the corn meal and it will expand in their stomachs and kill them.

Protect your home

While ants in the home may be merely unpleasant, some ant species, such as red ants and fire ants, can do real damage. Similar to termites, fire ants will destroy wood. While they do not eat wood like termites do, they bore into it to enlarge their nests. Left untreated, damage can be substantial over time. Red ants or fire ants can be killed by leaving out poisonous bait for them, which they will drag back into their nest.

Ants in your garden

Even if your home is ant-free, you may still be confronted with them in your garden. A number of options are available, both natural and chemical, to help you get rid of ants, whether they have invaded your rock garden, your flower beds or your paths. Consider natural methods first, especially if you have young children or pets running around. Coffee grounds spread around your garden are an effective deterrent, as is cinnamon sprinkled about your plants.

A Good Paint Job Will Greatly Beautify Your Bathroom

Bathrooms have surpassed kitchens as the most frequently remodeled room in the house. Replacing the tile or fixtures calls for a professional, but if you just want a new look, a coat of fresh paint can do the trick. Because bathrooms are exposed to moisture and high humidity, there are a few tricks to getting a good paint job, including using a paint that resists mildew. Depending on the size of your bathroom, you may want to paint it a lighter color to open it up or a darker color to add intimacy. But whichever color you choose, make sure you pick the right paint and prep the room properly.

Pick the right finish

Interior paints come in flat/matte, satin/eggshell, and semi-gloss finishes. For a bathroom, satin or semi-gloss paints are a good choice. Semi-gloss paints, commonly used for trim, are generally the easiest to clean, and formulated to stand up to stains. But they reflect light, may highlight imperfections in the wall, and are more likely than satin to become dull when they’ve been scrubbed. If you’re painting an area that will be scrubbed a lot, or you’ve patched any cracks or have sheetrock seams you’d rather not accentuate, consider a satin finish.

Wash the walls

Whether you see it or not, mildew may be on your walls and can bleed through the new paint or prevent it from adhering properly. Before painting, clean the walls with bleach and water. Then rinse clean and wait for them to dry completely before painting.

Use self-priming paint

With many of today’s paints, you can skip applying separate coats of primer and paint and use a one-coat self-priming paint. But don’t overspread the paint. If you use a roller, you should be able to cover about a 2-foot-square section of wall before dipping the roller again.

Protect areas you don’t want to paint

With all the nooks and crannies, small bathrooms can be a challenge to paint. Apply painter’s tape to the edges of areas you don’t want painted. Use a sash brush with a tapered tip. Unlike those on a flat brush, the bristles are cut at a diagonal, making the brush easier to control.

Apply and let dry

Regardless of some manufacturers’ claims, you should give any newly painted bathroom a full 24 hours to dry before using the shower. Otherwise, the paint may become soft and run.

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