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All it takes is a sponge and a little elbow grease, right? Actually, there's more to it than that. Many people believe that keeping an immaculate house involves many tedious hours spent scrubbing on hands and knees. Whether you're scrubbing a floor or a tub or a countertop, use the right tools and techniques to get the job done.
Use our handy tips from "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook" to keep all of your surfaces sparkling.
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Ask Yourself: Is It Scrubbable?
Only surfaces that can stand up to lots of moisture should be scrubbed. Wood floors and ungrouted tile (such as vinyl or linoleum), for example, should never be scrubbed.
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Watch Your Cleaner Labels
If you choose to use an abrasive cleaner, purchase one labeled "mildly abrasive" or "safe for acrylics or fiberglass" and "chlorine free," which will help ensure they are gentle.
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Always start with the mildest cleaning product before moving on to stronger products or stronger concentrations of cleaning solution.
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Use Heavy-Duty Cleaner for Heavy-Duty Stains
Scouring powders contain abrasives designed to wear away dirt and grease -- and in the process can wear away the surface you're trying to maintain. To minimize wear, reserve cleaners, even liquid cleaners, which are gentler than powdered ones, for stubborn stains or buildup.
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More Is Not Always More
Some cleaning products are designed to be used full strength, while others are meant to be diluted. Always read and follow label directions. Use only the recommended amount; more will not guarantee a cleaner surface -- it will only leave behind residue that can attract dirt and grime.
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Warm Up the Water
Most detergents work best in warm to hot water, but be sure to read the label instructions.
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Keep the Soap Sudsy
Use a scrub brush or a nylon scrub pad to agitate the cleaning solution on the surface you're tending to. If the brush drags, add more solution.
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Use a Light Touch
Agitate in circular motions using light pressure. If you find yourself pressing as hard as you can, you probably need a brush with stiffer bristles or a more abrasive pad.
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Let the Cleanser Do the Work
After scrubbing, let the cleaning solution sit for a few minutes to emulsify, or dissolve, stubborn dirt.
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Swipe It Twice
Rinse the surface well with a clean, damp cloth, and dry it with another clean cloth.
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Care for Your Brushes
After each use, rinse brushes thoroughly to remove any particles of food or dirt. Do not soak brushes to clean them; doing so can weaken or dislodge bristles. To prevent them from becoming moldy or sour, allow bristles to dry before storing them -- dry them bristle up or hanging from a hook to prevent the bristles from warping.
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