In addition to cleaning wood floors, Murphy Oil Soap makes a great laundry pre-spotter, especially on organic stains like grass or blood. Wet washable, colorfast fabric, add a drop of Murphy directly to the stain, squish through the fabric and wash as usual.
Visit www.murphyoilsoap.com for more cleaning tips.
No need to wax, just sweep and mop on a regular basis and they stay clean and shiny. Mop floors with clear water or just a dash of liquid dish soap. Be sure to change the water when it gets cloudy. Too much soap or dirty water will make floors dull or sticky.
Don’t use scrub pads on ceramic tile floors or you might scratch them.
Old grout may need cleaning with a wax stripper or heavy-duty cleaner plus a grout brush. Use a bleaching cleanser on tough spots. Once the grout is as clean as you can get it, rinse it well. When it’s thoroughly dry, apply a coat of masonry sealer so that it doesn’t absorb dirt in the future.
For mildewed grout in tubs or showers, use a grout brush with a 1:5 solution of chlorine bleach and water. Never use bleach in combination with any ammonia-based product and be sure the area is well-ventilated. When you’ve finished cleaning, rinse the area well to remove all traces of bleach.
Clean colored grout with a heavy-duty cleaner and a grout brush, but don’t use bleach because this may remove the color from the grout. Be sure never to use a bleaching solution on colored grout. A masonry sealer can be applied to clean, colored grout to ward off future stains.
Hard-water deposits are alkaline, so an acid-based cleaner is the best way to clean them. Phosphoric acid works well and is safe for most surfaces. Grocery store cleansers with phosphoric acid contain 4 percent to 6 percent acid. You can purchase lime scale removers at janitorial supply stores that contain 8 percent to 12 percent acid to get the job done faster. A higher concentration of acid is safe on most household surfaces as long as you rinse the surface to remove all traces of the acid after the cleaning is complete.
Let the acid sit for a few minutes after you apply it to let it work. Tough hard-water deposits may take more than one application. Scrub the applied areas with a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge. Make sure you read any manufacturer’s warnings before applying phosphoric acid solutions to surfaces in your home.
Regular vacuuming or sweeping is the best way to maintain the finish. Then damp mop with plain water or add just a drop of liquid dish soap. If the floor has some tough spots to clean, use a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge. This will keep soil from wearing away the surface. However, if time and traffic eventually dull the glossy top layer, you may want to add a floor finish or wax to restore the shine.
Choose any good commercial floor polish or try a self-polishing, metal-interlock floor finish available from a janitorial supply. Traffic areas may need finish applied more often than the rest of the floor. It’s a good idea to keep doormats at all the entrances to your home, as they will catch much of the dirt that could eventually damage your floors.
The type and quality of the paint greatly affects how you clean a wall and how easily dirt comes off. Generally, there are four types of paint finishes:
To remove pet hair from fabric or upholstery, try a pet rake (a brush with crimped nylon bristles), velour brush, tape roller or even tape wrapped around your hand. Use light, even strokes to remove the hair. Another option is to try the rubber bottom on a clean tennis shoe or a slightly dampened sponge (as long as the dampness won’t harm the upholstery).
To remove pet hair from carpet, use a vacuum with a good beater brush or brush roll. Plain vacuums don’t generate enough lift to remove all the pet hair from the floor.
First, blot up any liquid by putting towels or absorbent rags over the spot and stepping on them. Start with gentle pressure and increase it up to putting your full weight down. Change to fresh rags or towels, until no more liquid comes up.
For fresh stains, apply a bacteria/enzyme digester from a pet store, following the directions – it’s the only way to deal effectively with both the stain and the odor. Bacteria/enzyme digesters work slowly, so leave the solution on as long as the directions say. Urine has probably penetrated into the carpet and pad, so use enough solution to reach as far down as the stain. Apply the solution, put plastic over it, and step on the spot several times until the area is well saturated. Then, leave the plastic on the whole time the digester is working to make sure the spot doesn’t dry out.
Old or dry stains are difficult (sometimes even impossible) to remove, but try the bacteria/enzyme digester. If it’s a popular accident site, the bacteria may produce enough ammonia in the course of breaking down the stains to create a super-alkaline situation that interferes with its own action. In this case, you may need to neutralize the spot after the digester has been working for about four hours. Mix a solution of one cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water. Rinse the area with this solution and apply a fresh batch of bacteria/enzyme solution.
If the stain or odor remains, call a professional deodorizing specialist. A complete cure will probably involve cleaning the entire carpet by extraction and replacing the pad underneath, if not replacing the carpet.
Since preventing soap scum build-up is a lot easier than cleaning it, squeegee water off shower walls and doors after every use or wipe them down with a towel. For tile walls or frosted shower doors, apply a light coating of lemon oil periodically to help prevent build-up. For a porcelain tub, apply a light coat of boat or car wax to the sides (never the bottom) of the tub.
If it’s too late for prevention, use a degreasing agent and lots of elbow grease. Get a good alkaline soap scum remover at a janitorial supply store or dissolve a handful of automatic dishwasher detergent in a bucket of warm water. Cover the affected area completely and let your cleaning solution soak for at least 15 minutes. Do it right after a shower when the walls will be wet. After soaking, use a stiff scrub brush or a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge to clean the walls. You may need to soak and scrub a couple of times to get rid of all the build-up. Then rinse well with clear water.
To remove the wax from carpet or upholstery, you will need a plain brown paper bag and a steam iron. Paper grocery bags work well.
The manufacturers of Pergo recommend damp mopping at least once a week and sweeping or vacuuming with an attachment more often if you are concerned about scratches.
Do not use soaps or detergents because they may leave a film, dulling the floor. Difficult spots like nail polish, markers, tar and cigarette burns can be removed with acetone or nail polish remover. Pergo floors must never be waxed, polished, sanded or refinished.
If polished marble or granite is protected with floor finish, the finish must be buffed or burnished and periodically replaced to keep the surface protected and looking good.
Because marble and granite are sensitive and porous, they need to be cleaned with a neutral cleaner solution and then polished dry. Scratched and dull surfaces can be revived with a marble restorer (available from janitorial supply stores).
Cultured marble and certain types of granite are stronger than real marble and stone, but they do lose their luster after being cleaned for years. Clean with a spray bottle filled with all-purpose or disinfectant cleaner and a soft cloth. Always keep the area wet while working. Never use powdered cleansers, steel wool, metal scrapers or colored scrub pads on cultured marble or granite. If the surface is worn and looks dull even after cleaning, polishing compound may bring back the glow. A little appliance wax, car wax or silicone sealer will also help fill fine scratches and restore the shine.
Cleaning the face of a fireplace is a project that demands patience. Fireplace stone and brick may be hard, but they’re also porous. This means it has plenty of tiny holes for soil to accumulate in.
First, make sure the floor around the fireplace is well covered with dropcloths. Mix a solution of high-alkaline cleaner and one ounce of chlorine bleach per gallon of warm water. Wet the surface of the fireplace well with the solution, but don’t use so much that it runs. Dirty water running down the face may cause hard-to-remove streaks. Then scrub the solution in with a brush. You should see the suds getting dark and dirty as the buildup comes off. Rinse well. If the surface is shadowy, a light cleaning with a phosphoric acid cleaner may be enough to brighten it the rest of the way. Don’t use any acid stronger than phosphoric as it will damage the brick or stone.
If the results still aren’t satisfying, make a poultice of heavy-duty cleaner, bleach and diatomaceous earth and apply it to the areas needing attention. This should draw out any remaining residue. If necessary, repeat these steps until you get the result you want. The color of the brick or stone determines how aggressive your use of bleach can be. Heavy bleaching will whiten a dark surface and cause it to look out of place. You can use a stronger solution on white or light surfaces.
If you’re not comfortable taking these kinds of chances with your fireplace, you may want to call in a professional chimney sweep.
The best way to clean windows, or any large expanse of glass, is with a squeegee. It does a faster and better job.
You need a professional-quality squeegee and a window wand. If you’ll be cleaning high windows, you also will need an extension pole. The basic process is simple – apply the cleaning solution with the window wand and pull the dirt and water off with the squeegee.
Here are the details: