Thursday, June 7, 2018

Cleaning Different Types of Floors

An Independent Living Skills Post

The most useful tools for cleaning most types of floors are a vacuum, broom and mop (either wet or dry). You might also want to consider using a scrub brush or rags with a bucket.


For Carpeted Floors and Rugs
Vacuuming removes inevitable dirt best from these fabric surfaces. For stains, use a commercial carpet and upholstery cleaning product.

For Wood Floors
Living room with wood floor chairs and cabinet

Proper cleaning of wood floors depends on their surface treatment. Are they surface-sealed? Or are they oil- or penetrating-sealed? To tell, rub your finger across the floor and look for a smudge. No smudge means the floors are surface-sealed. If there is one, the floors are oil-or penetrating sealed.
Surface-sealed: Use mild dish soap, white vinegar or ammonia diluted with warm water. Or try glass cleaner. Do NOT use hot water.
Oil- or penetrating-sealed: Use a broom or dry mop to remove large debris, then vacuum. NEVER use floor products with acrylic or water-based waxes.

For Linoleum and Laminate Floors
To preserve the surface of these floors, DO NOT use hot water, abrasives, solvent-based products or waxes. Clean linoleum or laminate floors with a dry or damp mop. If you feel you do need a cleaning solution, use a small amount of diluted ammonia or a weak vinegar solution.

For Tile and Stone Floors
NEVER use brush roll vacuums or abrasive cleaning products on tile or stone; it will leave scratches. Follow directions for the particular floor product. For stains, use diluted dish soap or oxygen or chlorine bleach.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Keep Drains Clear and Clean

An Independent Living Skills Post

Sink and bathroom drains and the kitchen garbage disposal may become clogged and unable to drain properly. They also sometimes have an unpleasant smell. Here’s how to avoid these problems using only common kitchen ingredients.

Stainless steel kitchen sink with plants in window
Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Sink

In addition to clogged drains, stainless steel sinks show water spots. To remove them, be sure all dishes are out of the sink and any visible food particles or other material is removed from the drain.
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Piece of orange or lemon peel
1. Wet a soft sponge. Sprinkle the entire sink surface with baking soda. Rub it in a circular motion to softly clean the surface.
2. Rinse the sink with a drizzle of vinegar. Baking soda and vinegar will fizz, cleaning and disinfecting at the same time.
3. Use the skin (not white) side of a piece of orange or lemon peel to rub around the entire sink. This will help deodorize the sink basin.

Cleaning the Garbage Disposal

For your safety, turn off the fuse or the source of electricity to the garbage disposal unit. You do not want it to accidentally turn on when your fingers or tools are inside!

Use tongs or chopsticks if you can to remove any material visible inside the disposal.
Flush the drain line: 1. Plug the sink.
2. Turn the fuse back on or reconnect the electricity.
3. Fill the sink with about four inches of water.
4. Turn on the disposal as you remove the sink plug. Pulling the water through the drain line should rinse it out.
If it’s still a bit slow draining: 
1. Pour ¼ cup of baking soda into the drain.
2. Pour on 2 Tablespoons of vinegar.
3. Turn on the water.
4. Run the disposal as it fizzes for about a count of ten.
To freshen the smell of the disposal, put a few home-made disposal refresher tablets (recipe below) or some citrus rinds inside, turn on the water, and run the disposal.

Ridding Sink or Bathtub Drains of Clogs
White simple bathtub with towel on basket beside it
Don’t wait until a drain is clogged to clean it out. You can add this strategy to your weekly cleaning routine and avoid clogs entirely.
Weekly drain cleaning:
1. In a small bowl, stir together
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup cream of tartar. 
2. Bring 2 cups of water to a full boil.
3. Meanwhile, wipe around the drain with a paper towel. Clean any yucky stuff out of the drain that you can pull out with your fingers or other tools.
4. Pour half the powdered mixture down the drain. Pour in the boiling water and let it work on the pipes for about an hour. Then rinse with cool water.
5. If the drain is still a bit clogged, repeat.
For a larger clog:
1. Pour 1 cup baking soda down the drain.
2. Pour on 1 cup vinegar to create a fizz.
3. Let it set overnight.
4. In the morning, pour 2 cups boiling water down the drain.
5. Then rinse with cool water.
For the most stubborn clogs:
1. Fill the sink or tub halfway up with warm water.
2. Use the toilet plunger to clear out the clog.
Home-Made Disposal Refresher Tablets Recipe
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap
1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the baking soda and salt. You don’t want lumps.
2. Grate the lemon peel onto the dry ingredients.
3. Then add the liquid dish soap.
4. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Keep stirring the mixture and adding lemon juice until it resembles coarse sand. (This will take about 3 Tbsp of lemon juice.)
5. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, foil, or wax paper.
6. Use a teaspoon measure or other small scoop or spoon to mold the mixture. Tap these rounds out onto the covered cookie sheet.
7. Allow the rounds to dry overnight.
8. Store the dried refresher rounds in a sealed container.