• How to Clean Your House on a Budget

    Dealing with household stains and odors can be a real pain.  If you’re tired of spending money on multiple chemical-filled products that take up valuable space and don’t work as well you’d hoped, here are a few tips for dealing with some of our most common problems.


    Stains (non carpet)

    Coffee stains can be removed with a paste made of baking soda and water.

    For red wine spills, saturate the stain with regular table salt as soon as the spill happens and let it sit for a couple of hours before washing in cold water.  You can also pour white wine on the red wine stain and wash appropriately.


    Blot grease/oil stains with dishwashing detergent if you catch them quickly.  If the stain has had time to soak in, use one part vinegar mixed with two parts water to treat the stain before washing.


    Lipstick and ink stains can be removed by spraying the area with hairspray or rubbing alcohol followed by blotting the area with a colorfast cloth or paper towel.  Repeat the spray/blot process until the stain is gone or mostly gone, and then wash.  If lipstick stains seem especially tough, follow a few spray/blot cycles by scrubbing with some dishwashing soap.


    For blood stains, hydrogen peroxide will do the trick.  Just make sure the stained item is bleachable.


    Carpet stains

    To remove mud, let it dry completely and remove as much as you can with a knife or other scraper.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of dish or hand soap (without bleach or lanolin) to one quart of water.  Add this mixture to a spray bottle, then spray, rub, and blot.  A cheap steam cleaner can also help with various carpet (and upholstery) stains.

    Rust stains on carpet can be removed by spraying a vinegar/water solution onto the stain and letting it sit for a few minutes.  Next, clean the spot with a sponge or brush and warm, soapy water.  For tougher stains, spray on enough lemon juice to thoroughly wet the area without wetting the padding underneath.  Let this sit for five minutes or so and then blot with a paper towel.


    To remove oil/grease stains from carpet, scrape and blot to remove as much as you can.  Next, pour some rubbing alcohol onto a colorfast cloth or paper towel and blot until the stain is removed.


    Other hard-to-clean messes

    Vinyl and plastic shower curtains are usually machine washable.  Add a cup of bleach, a cup of detergent, and a few dirty towels (they’ll help scrub off the scum).  Use the gentle cycle on warm or hot, remove the curtain immediately after the spin cycle, and allow to drip dry.

    Mix three teaspoons of vinegar with one quart of warm water to clean windows.  Use a spray bottle to apply the solution to the window and wipe with crumpled newspapers.  To avoid streaking, don’t clean windows when the sun is shining directly on them.


    Hard water deposits on glassware can be removed by scrubbing white toothpaste on the glass and then rinsing thoroughly.


    Using the above tips can be a start to eliminating some of the clutter and expense of countless chemical-filled, ineffective cleaners.

Pita Pushes: The Best Steam Cleaners Ever

Keeping our home’s many surfaces clean can seem like a daunting and endless task.  For many years, harsh chemicals have been the most popular option for serious cleaning and disinfecting.  These cleaners, though, can be tough on hands, rough on your sinuses, and unsafe for food surfaces, not to mention children and pets.  You also have to be careful not to mix certain chemicals with one another (bleach and ammonia, most notably).  Many people are turning more and more toward steam as a way to clean and disinfect most surfaces in the home.  Manufacturers have caught on to the demand for safer and gentler cleaning alternatives, resulting in an increasing number of steam mops for floors, handheld steamers for hard surfaces and upholstery, and carpet steam cleaners that are more affordable than ever.

When it comes to cleaning bare floors, steam mops are the easiest, cleanest, and most effective way to go.  Traditional mops rely on small ropes or cloth strips that are hard to clean after tough jobs and tend to “shed” all over your floors and in the washing machine (if they’re machine washable at all).  These mops rely on a bucket of water that gets dirty before you’re done and are generally lousy at scrubbing stuck-on messes.  Sponge heads sometimes have scrubbing edges, but they still rely on a dirty bucket of water to get your floor clean.  Steam mops rely on microfiber or terrycloth-like heads that are easier to clean when you’re done and won’t leave bits of themselves behind.  Additionally, a little water in the mop’s reservoir that’s converted to steam is the only cleaning fluid you need–no harsh chemicals.  For tougher messes, you can just let the steam penetrate the gunk for a few extra seconds.  No bucket of dirty water, no wringing, and no harsh fumes.  Using steam mops is not only a safer way to go, but will also save you money on floor cleaning products.  Check out quick cleaning hacks for reviews of several steam mops for various flooring types (as well as some info on handheld and canister models).


When it comes to countertops and upholstery, there are quite a few handheld steamers available today.  A small reservoir holds water and contains a heating element of some sort to quickly turn your water into powerful steam.  Most cleaners come with various attachments and nozzles that will allow you to work on broader surfaces or get into corners for maximum cleaning.  On your countertops, handheld steamers allow you to clean and sanitize without bleach or other harsh chemicals.  When it comes to upholstery, steam can be the best way to get out existing stains and keep new spills from turning into stains.  Just be sure to check the furniture manufacturer’s recommendations before using a steamer, as some fabrics and/or dyes might not be suitable for steam cleaning.  If you’re looking for the best handheld steam cleaner for hard surfaces and upholstery, this site reviews a few different models and gives pros and cons of each.

If you have carpet, you might know that regular vacuuming with a good vacuum cleaner is important, but not always enough, even if you vacuum every day (and I know I’m happy with myself for vacuuming once a week!).  A good steam cleaner in your carpet-cleaning arsenal can take your cleaning to the next level.  A steam cleaner can also be a great way to deal with spills before they become stains.  Steam cleaners for carpet typically rely on rotating or otherwise moving roller brushes to help lift dirt and work the steam (and often some kind of cleaning solution) into the carpet to break down ground-in dirt.  One tank holds clean water, and another collects the dirty (you might be shocked at just how dirty) water.  Some carpet cleaners are equipped to handle smaller spot cleaning as well as full cleaning.  Just make sure you know how long the manufacturer recommends to allow for proper drying of your carpet before you open it back up to traffic.  Visit http://steamclean.reviews/best-carpet-steamers-cleaners/ for top contenders, including pros and cons, of models designed to handle your carpet-cleaning needs.