Sweep every evening to prevent the buildup of dust, grime, and grit tracked in from the outdoors, which can scratch a floor's surface. Next, enhance the floor's finish a few times a year with a cleanser specially formulated for the material, whether wood, stone, tile, or linoleum.
One of the most persistent issues pet owners face is animal hair -- on floors, furniture, and clothing. Place an old towel or sheet wherever your pet likes to rest, and periodically shake it outside to remove most of the hair before tossing it in the washing machine. Grooming your pet regularly will also help diminish the problem.
Here's a nontoxic but effective way to clean your tub: Add one teaspoon of liquid soap and several drops of an antibacterial essential oil (such as tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, or peppermint) to one cup of baking soda. Add just enough water to form a paste, and use it with a sponge or brush to scour bathtub surfaces.
Invest in a rubber-edged squeegee, which is quicker and more effective than cloth or newspaper. To start, dip a sponge into a bucket of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Wet the window with the sponge and rub dirt away. Next, dampen the squeegee and, starting at an upper corner, draw it down from top to bottom. Repeat, overlapping strokes and wiping rubber edge with your sponge after each stroke.
Brighten tile grout with baking soda, which cleans the grout without scratching tiles. Because baking soda quickly loses its abrasive properties in water, it's best to wet grout first, then apply soda with a brush by scrubbing small sections at a time.
Prevent grease and grime from building up by cleaning cabinets weekly with a sponge and soapy water. Most surfaces respond well to this mild cleanser -- simply rinse with a damp sponge, and dry with a clean, absorbent cloth to stop streaks from occurring. (For wooden cabinets, use a product specifically designed for natural materials.) Keep hinges, handles, and pulls grit free by wiping routinely with a damp sponge.
Every few months, wash the interior (including removable shelves and drawers) with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water. For stubborn spills, allow the solution to sit on the stain until it softens, then use a toothbrush to scrub nooks and crannies.
Divide your closet into zones and use three short rods to organize your clothing. Hang dresses, robes, and coats from one high rod; hang blouses and short items from another high rod; and hang skirts and folded slacks from a low rod below. Group clothes by color to easily keep track of what you have. Stack cubbies across the closet floor to create space for shoes. Make sure any shelves are adjustable, and line them with smooth vinyl matting to avoid snagging cloth. Cut the matting to fit each shelf, and fasten it with double-sided tape.
Use an open-shelf rolling cart to immediately file paperwork in cane baskets that function as in and out trays. Prop the telephone on top to allow for more workspace on the desk. Keep track of important notes, invitations, and bills to be paid with binder clips hung from cup hooks screwed into a wall.
Never wash down comforters in a washing machine; they won't dry properly and will lose their light, fluffy shape. Three or four times a year, hang your comforter on a clothesline and air it out in bright sunlight on a dry, windy day. If you do this regularly, your comforter will need to be dry-cleaned only once every 7 to 10 years.
Keep the comforter covered with a duvet cover to protect it from the oils in your skin; these break down fabric, making it brittle and staining it yellow. Wash the duvet cover once a week. If, however, you use a flat sheet as well as a duvet cover, you won't have to wash the duvet cover quite as often. If your comforter does have a problem area, you can spot-wash it using a mild liquid detergent. But be sparing; if you use too much detergent, you wonâ€™t be able to get the suds out.