Time-Saving Household Cleaning Tricks
By Arianne Cohen
A Crumb-Free Toaster
1. Unplug it, always.
2. Remove the crumb drawer and wash it in the sink with hot soapy water. (Hint: In upright toasters, there’s often a plastictabbed drawer hidden at the bottom.)
3. Tip the toaster over a garbage pail and gently shake it out. Crumbs from years ago will emerge.
4. With a damp old toothbrush, carefully scrub off remaining grime and stubborn crumbs from the heat coils. Shake it out again.
5. Let the toaster dry out completely (I can’t stress this enough for safety purposes) before plugging it in again.
Why do it? Dirty toasters are not only inefficient, but also a fire hazard.Perfect Mirrors
1. With warm water, scrub off obvious streaks and staining with a sponge, not a cloth.
2. Dip crumpled newspaper in a solution of 1 part white vinegar, 5 parts warm water.
3. Wipe in big circles, moving left to right, top to bottom. Switch newspaper pages as needed.
4. Wipe with a dry piece of newspaper, and smile at your streak-free mirror.
Why do it? Mirrors are the most looked-at item in the house!Sparkling Toilets
1. Empty out the bowl. Do this by either turning off the water supply knob behind the toilet (remember, rightytighty) and flushing, or pulling on gloves and using a small plastic container to empty the water into a bucket.
2. Apply toilet bowl cleaner under the rim so that it coats the entire bowl. Bleach and water will work fine.
3. Go clean the rest of the bathroom.
4. Come back and scrub with a handled scrub brush.
5. Turn the water back on and flush to refill the bowl.
Why do it? Cleaning gets more difficult the longer you wait.Put a Duvet Back in Its Cover in 24 Seconds
1. Fold the duvet cover into quarters so one long opening is facing you.
2. Fold the duvet into quarters.
3. Slide the duvet, long crease first, into the opening of the duvet cover.
4. With your fingers, hold the two open corners of the duvet cover, along with the duvet corners. Shake it out.
5. Look at your perfect duvet. Do your happy dance.Dust-Free Lampshades
In most cases, a thorough dusting followed by vacuuming with a soft-brush vacuum extension will do the job. If you want to clean the shade, add a little bit of mild detergent to a bucket of water. Dip a cloth in the solution and wring well. Quickly wipe one small area of the shade at a time. (Do not soak the shade, since trim and colors could run!) Wipe each area with a cloth dipped in clear water and wrung out. Blot dry with dry towels.Store Your Winter Clothes Safely
1. Empty the whole closet (yep!), and wipe it down and vacuum it. There’s a first time for everything.
2. Look for two kinds of clothes to donate: stuff you don’t wear and multiples of items. Sweatpants may be comfy, but do you really need four pairs?
3. Hang lighter-weight spring and summer clothing in the front.
4. Clean any winter clothes that aren’t 100 percent clean. Have winter coats and woolens dry-cleaned. This is crucial before storage, as dirt attracts bugs. Keep clean clothes in hanging fabric bags, not dry-cleaner bags.
5. Fill the remaining back-ofcloset and drawer space with light winter clothes.
6. Store the rest by loosely folding clothing into boxes (plastic or cardboard), carefully labeling each box. Roll items that you don’t want to crease, such as linen. Don’t wrap clothing in plastic; let the fabric breathe. Wrap delicates in a cotton sheet or cotton pillowcase.
7. Store wool and silk items (which moths also like!) together in airtight plastic containers, with plenty of moth repellent—or, if you’re concerned about chemicals, natural moth sachets.
8. Store boxes under your bed or in a cool, dry room. (A guest bedroom is ideal.) Avoid hot attic spaces.
Why do it? A spacious closet is a breath of fresh air, and fabrics actually survive longer when not crammed into a hot closet.
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