Many of us thoroughly clean our homes at least once a year. This may include cleaning upholstery, shampooing carpets, polishing floors and washing woodwork, window sills and door frame tops. Spring is a common season to roll up our sleeves and get busy on these tasks.
Becoming organized will make a top-to-bottom house cleaning easier and faster. Check cabinets and other storage locations to be sure you have all the necessary cleaners, polishes and other supplies. It’s also a good idea to check cleaning equipment to be sure it’s in good condition. Next, put kitchen and bath cleaning supplies in an easy-to-carry bucket and place dusting and other supplies in another one.
You can easily make inexpensive home cleaners from products already on hand or those you buy from a grocery, hardware or drug store. Use common sense when working with and handling do-it-yourself cleaners. They are dangerous only when improperly stored, combined or misused.
Remember to never mix chlorine bleach or any cleaner containing chlorine with ammonia, toilet bowl cleaner or rust remover because the mixture produces a harmful gas. Always read labels to find out what ingredients products contain and for special cautions. You should always keep strong acids away from your skin and eyes, and wear rubber gloves when using strong alkalis.
To be on the safe side, never store any cleaners in soft drink bottles or other containers that could be mistaken for something else. The worst places to store cleaners are locations that are accessible to children and pets such as under kitchen and bathroom sinks and other low cabinets.
When doing a major house cleaning, take one room at a time and use a cleaning pattern such as top to bottom, left to right. This will keep you from overlooking anything. First dust and wipe down everything using a damp or treated dusting cloth to keep dry dust from settling back down on surfaces. Periodically changing the furnace filter also will help control dust.
Leave vacuuming and cleaning floors until last. Be sure to move chairs, tables, chests of drawers and appliances to clean under and behind them.
If you notice musty odors from drawers in old furniture, remove the contents and let drawers air for several days. Put the drawers in the sun for two or more hours if possible. Also, place the chest on its back so the sun will shine on inside surfaces. Then, wash all unfinished surfaces with a solution of half vinegar and half water and dry with a soft towel. If an odor persists, spray unfinished areas with a disinfectant cleaner; keep drawers closed to allow the cleaner to penetrate corners, and let the drawers air well before replacing contents.
You can put potpourri, fabric-softener sheets or unwrapped bars of soap in drawers to give a pleasant fragrance.
When you’ve finished cleaning, sit down, relax and enjoy your clean home.
Cleaning is a ritual that will burn some calories. While cleaning may not be vigorous physical activity, it can burn a decent amount of calories, especially if you have not been very active this winter. The number of calories some common household chores burn is listed below. These calories are for a person of average weight (150 pounds). Your calories burned may be more or less depending on your weight.
• 20 minutes vacuuming, 56 calories
• 30 minutes folding laundry, 75 calories
• 30 minutes dusting , 80 calories
• 20 minutes washing the car, 102 calories
• 30 minutes mopping, 153 calories
• 60 minutes gardening , 324 calories
Other household and lawn chores, such as pruning, putting away dishes, mulching and removing cobwebs, work different muscle groups and burn calories. So don’t think of cleaning as only a chance to freshen and improve your home and lawn, but a chance to rejuvenate your body.
For more information, contact the Harlan office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service at 573-4464.
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