Allergies- Easing Sneezing: House Cleaning Tips (cont.)
Can you use tea for furniture?
Yes. Ring a cloth out until it is just damp, then wash and buff.
What about cleaning linoleum floors -- any great tips?
For cleaning linoleum floors use 1 gallon of warm water and 1 to 2 tablespoons
of 20 Mule Team borax. If you keep the water clean, no need to rinse.
What type of mop do you prefer? I hate string mops and sponge mops aren't so hot
I prefer a microfiber mop. I personally use an Act Natural mop that I have had
for six years. The beauty of these mops is that the head pulls off and is
machine washable and you use nothing but water to clean with. If you have tile,
never use a sponge mop. It acts like a squeegee and pulls the dirty water into
the tracks. I am not a fan of the new throwaway mops because of the cost
involved. If you are not changing the pad on those mops continuously, you are
cleaning with dirty water. And it is not unusual to spend $100 or more each year
for refills. When you buy a mop, look for a mop that has a handle that can
adjust to shoulder height. That will save your back.
What's a microfiber mop?
That refers to the material the washing surface is made of. For information on
microfiber, go to actnatural.net.
What do you think of those special disposable dust cloths? I use them to gather
the dog hair from the floor. They don't do much for the rest of the dirt, but
they're good for dog hair. I just hate to spend the money.
Vacuuming will gather the hair and contain it just as easily and won't cost you
anything. I am not a fan of anything disposable. It is manufacturers' way of
getting you to continue spending money with them.
Do the canister vacuum cleaners with filters really help?
Vacuum cleaners with filters are important. When buying a vacuum, look for a
true HEPA filter. To test to see if it's a true HEPA filter, remove the filter
and gently press with your fingernail. If it is HEPA, it will indent. If it is
just HEPA-like, or HEPA-type, it's more likely to be cardboard.
How often do you replace HEPA filters?
Some of them are lifetime, others will tell you in the vacuum directions when
they need to be replaced. It's important to read the vacuum instructions when
you buy it because each vacuum is a little different.
What about air purifiers?
An air cleaner can be a good thing. I use one myself; however, when you buy an
air cleaner, it should have a three-stage filter:
- A foam piece that catches the thick debris
- A HEPA filter that filters out very tiny particles
- And a charcoal filter for air freshening
If your cleaner comes with an ionizer, only run the ionizer for an hour or so
a day or every few days. If run continuously, an ionizer will collect and
contain so much dirt that it will actually be hanging on the walls and ceiling.
What's the easiest way to clean ceiling fans?
The easiest way to clean a ceiling fan is with a telescoping lamb's wool duster
or look for a fan cleaner that has a catch tray under it, like a little dust
pan, so that the dirt doesn't fall on the floor. To wash the blades, mix a
solution of 1 quart warm water, one small squirt of dishwashing liquid, and 1/4
cup of white vinegar. Putting white athletic socks on your hands, and ringing
them out in the solution, will allow you to quickly clean both sides of the
blades. And by gripping the blade with both hands, they won't spin.
Would that work for cleaning mini-blinds too?
To clean mini-blinds, dust with a lamb's wool duster frequently. To wash them,
make a solution of 1 gallon warm water, one squirt of liquid dish soap, 1
tablespoon washing soda, and 1 tablespoon of borax. If you want to do the blinds
hanging at the window, put the socks on your hands and wipe the blinds on one
side first and then reverse them and wipe the other side.
To clean off the window, hang the blinds from loops on a clothesline or between
two ladders. Spray the cleaner on, let it drip off, rinse with the hose on mist,
roughdry the blinds and re-hang immediately. Don't wash them in the bathtub. It
just makes another area for you to clean. That's my motto: if it's not dirty,
don't clean it!
Now that we have the dust off of the mini-blinds, how should we be cleaning the
For outside windows, combine two quarts of warm water and 1/2 cup of cornstarch.
Using a natural sponge, wash the window and buff dry with a paper towel. For
stubborn dirt on windows, such as mineral deposits, or greasy windshields, use 1
pint of rubbing alcohol, combined with 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap and 2
tablespoons of ammonia. There is no water in this recipe. Clean the window with
a nylon-covered scrubbing sponge, rinse, and buff. If you have streaks on the
window, erase them with a blackboard eraser.
For inside windows, use 50% rubbing alcohol, 50% water in a spray bottle and
buff with paper towels. Clean when the windows are not in the direct sun, and
never use window cleaner that has color in it inside the house. If the bottle
tips over, you have a stain even the Queen can't get out.
The beauty of your cleaning solutions is that they are made with things around
the house and are fragrance free. Some people with allergies are sensitive to
the perfumes used in so many cleaning products today. Although rubbing alcohol
and vinegar have an aroma, they are quite diluted in your solutions, aren't
That's the beauty of the things I recommend; they're things people already have
in their pantry. Generally they're safe, and they're inexpensive.