Your home is your castle.
It’s where you take your shoes off and let your hair down (or twist it up into a messy bun!).
A messy, dirty home is not all that easy to relax in, is it?
Believe it or not, there are some right ways – and wrong ways – to clean.
Here are 5 residential cleaning tips to keep your house in order.
Tip #1: You can’t OVER vacuum.
But you can UNDER vacuum – and that’s where the problems come in.
Vacuuming is one of the most important routines a homeowner can do to extend the life of their carpet – other than the recommended maintenance carpet cleaning.
There are all kinds of dirt, soil and pollutants floating around in the air.
When they settle on the carpet, the result is matted, broken-down fibers and dark, dirty, heavy-traffic patterns.
Once that happens, your only hope is a restoration cleaning or – in a worst-case scenario – replacement. Yikes.
But you don’t have to worry. Follow these vacuuming guidelines and save your carpet.
So, how often should your carpet be vacuumed?
It depends on the frequency of the traffic and where it comes from. Here’s a basic guide you can follow:
Rooms with light traffic
This would include rooms like your spare bedrooms and your living room.
You should vacuum traffic lanes once a week and the entire area (including under furniture and the edges of carpet) once a month.
Heavy traffic areas
Your family room, hallways and stairs fall under this category.
Vacuum these twice a week and the entire area (including under furniture and the edges of carpet) once per month.
Bonus tip: Take 3 passes with the vacuum in lighter soiled areas and up to 5-7 passes for heavily soiled areas. Changing the vacuum pattern will help “fluff” the fibers upright (Plus, this is a great time to try out new dance moves).
Always check with the manufacturer of the carpet to ensure you are within the guidelines of the warranty.
Tip #2: NEVER mix-and-match chemicals
There’s no nice way to say it: Stains suck.
You probably pull out the big guns to tackle those nasty, stubborn, set-in spots.
But you have to be careful as you perform your routine residential cleaning.
Certain combinations of chemicals can make you sick – or worse.
For example, the combination of bleach and ammonia creates a deadly gas.
Here are some of the less-dangerous-but-still-harmful effects of mixing chemicals that you could experience if you decide to play scientist:
Shortness of breath.
Irritation to the throat, nose, and eyes.
Pneumonia and fluid in the lungs.
Check out this helpful info from the state of Washington on chemical mixing.
Tip #3: Keep the color of your scrubbing pad in mind
You want your vinyl floors to be as clean as possible, so your instinct is to grab the closest scrubber as soon as you notice a spot.
But wait just a second – the wrong scrubber could scratch your floor’s surface.
Scrubbing pads and sponges have different abrasiveness levels.
White and blue are gentle, typically won't cause damage and are safe to use on most surfaces.
Green is more abrasive. These pads and sponges will scratch glass and other “hard” surfaces.
Brown and black pads are really abrasive and act like sandpaper. They’ll scratch almost everything they come into contact with.
Stick with white or blue pads to be safe. Use neutral cleaners instead of commercial abrasive cleaners like Comet or Barkeepers.
They don’t help to remove a stain and will most likely leave behind a damaged surface.
Tip #4: Use a special pad for your area rugs
You think you’re doing your wall-to-wall carpet a favor by covering it with an area rug to avoid wear and protect it from stains.
In reality, what you’ve done is caused yourself frustration.
The rug creeps, crawls and wrinkles – one would swear that the rug had grown legs.
There’s a way to stop the creepy-crawly rug.
There are special pads that keep the rug from sliding and protect the carpet underneath from the abrasive backing of the rug. (Over time, the back of the rug will cause fuzzing on carpet fibers.)
The side that lays on the carpet is soft, while the side of the pad that faces up is specialized to grip the rug and keep it from wrinkling, sliding and bunching.
We recommend the No-Muv pad that can be custom cut to fit perfectly under your rug.
Tip #5: Use the right solution to remove blood from carpet
Once the boo-boos are safely cleaned, kissed and bandaged, one problem remains: Blood on the entry rug and hall carpet.
Here’s how to handle this residential cleaning situation:
Scrape up the excess blood with a blunt knife.
Use a detergent solution ( recipe below), and, starting at the outer edge, blot dry using a white absorbent cloth.
Follow with the ammonia solution. Blot dry.
Detergent Solution: Hammond Knoll Spot Be Gone OR substitute one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent to 1/2 pint of warm water.
Ammonia Solution: One tablespoon of household ammonia to one cup of warm water. (Refrain from a stronger ammonia solution on wool carpet.)
Put these residential cleaning tips to work for you
Keeping your home in tip-top shape so it’s the haven you need is important.
With the right residential cleaning tips for handling some of the most common mishaps, you’re all set.
What has been your biggest cleaning challenge?