Keeping a pet friendly home

You may well have been fortunate enough to welcome a new pet into your home. You’ve probably also heard that people who have pets generally live longer, have lower blood pressure, are less stressed. However, the domestic house cleaners, know that pet owners generally have more housecleaning chores, too. And cleanliness is critical, not just because of unpleasant pet odours, but also for good health. The good news is that there are lots of ways to keep a pet’s home as clean as can be!

The task of keeping your house clean when you have pets can be divided into daily maintenance to keep hair and dust levels down and occasional clean-ups after an accident. Since most dogs and cats shed their hair, proper grooming is the first and most effective step in keeping down dust and hair in the house.

Here are some effective ways by to keep a pet-friendly home clean:

– Choose a designated sleeping area for your pets – a bed they can call their own. Hair will be more contained to just one area.

– Place carpet underlay beneath the pet’s dishes to keep them from sliding around and spilling.

– Try to shake out your pet’s bedding on a daily basis, clean around its bed twice a week, and launder its bed once a week.

– To keep cats from using your furniture as a scratching post, spray the arms and legs of the sofa with perfume – they don’t like this.

– Keeping a scratching post for cats and try to teach cats to use it.

– If pets lie on furniture, use washable covers if possible to protect against animal hair and soiling.

– Microfibre mops are effective at picking up hair and dust balls from the floor.

– To pick up pet hair from furniture, try Scotch or masking tape rolled backwards around your fingers. A pair of rubber gloves, a chamois, or a damp cloth will also do the trick.

– Special vacuum cleaners have features that remove animal hair. Also since hair seems to gather around the edges of furniture, use an edging tool or the straight hose to get those spots first, then vacuum the rest of the furniture.

– Hair rakes, available from the pet shop, will remove much of the hair before vacuuming to keep things gentle on carpets.

– Gauze or cheesecloth placed over air vents keeps hair from circulating through the ductwork (if you have air conditioning for example), making it easier to keep dust down.

Reduce the time you spend in the laundry room

– Keep a bath towel in your laundry room to throw in the dryer with something that needs “ironing.” Set your dryer for a 10 minute spin, and you are good to go. (If the wrinkles are bad, lightly spray the item with water or put a damp wash cloth in the dryer with the item).

– Clothes dry faster if you pop a tennis ball or two into the dryer with the wet clothes.

– Have trousers that can’t go through the dryer? Hang them upside down. The weight of the top of the trousers–which is now at the bottom ;-)– will pull out all or most of the wrinkles.

– Keep a bag or box in the laundry area for those lone socks that always seem to show up in the wash. At the end of the month you will have the joy of witnessing socks reunited with their mates. Hey, you’ve gotta get joy where you can find it!

– Yes, you can keep your dark coloured clothes from fading. Before the first wash set your washer to the small load setting and add 2 cups of salt and 2 cups of white vinegar to the water, agitate and then add the clothing item. Run it through the wash cycle and then launder as usual.

How To Remove Sticky Residue From Marble

Yes, marble is a stone, but it is surprisingly soft which makes it very susceptible to damage. Minimize the risk of scratches by avoiding using tools like a metal spatula blade or butter knife to remove sticky residue. Try this tip instead:

What You Need: Cooking oil (canola or olive work great!)

– Pour a good amount of oil over the sticky residue and lightly work it in with your finger. Once you’ve completely covered the area, start to work up the edges of any tape or other residue with your fingernail. Continue doing this until all sticky residue has been removed.
– Follow up by rinsing the area with warm water.

And your done!

Vacuuming Tips

– Change the vacuum bag as recommended by the manufacturer to maintain maximum suction.

– If your vacuum has poor suction it might be the result of a blocked hose. To check for a blockage, disconnect the hose and drop a penny down it. If the penny falls out, it is unlikely that your hose is the problem.

– A small hand-held vacuum with a beater bar is useful for vacuuming upholstery and carpeted stairs.

– Check beneath furniture before vacuuming to ensure you do not vacuum up small items such as toys, jewellery, coins, etc.

10 Handy Dusting Tips

So in no particular order, here you go:

10 – Ceiling fans and light fixtures – use a bendable duster to do this, you won’t need a ladder (unless you have really high ceilings), you can bend to suit any light configuration (including a ceiling fan, just bend 90 degrees), and you can remove the cover and machine wash. I got this one at Wal Mart and it cost me under 8 bucks.

9 – Corners, moldings and door frames – spiderwebs and dust aplenty here. This area usually goes ignored, but here’s the laziest, easiest way to do it. Grab a mop pole and old sport sock, flip the sock inside out and place over the end of the mop pole. Now, you’ve got an amazing high-duster! You can also use microfiber cloth secured around the pole with an elastic band.

8 – Walls – we get asked this a lot. I personally don’t dust my walls, but if it is something that needs to be done, you can simply use a flat head mop (like a Swiffer) and use a Microfiber cloth sprayed with a bit of water. No need to use an expensive product here! Simply work the tool up and down the wall using a ‘W’ pattern to save time and energy and to ensure you are covering the entire space.

7 – Bathroom vents – these get super dusty – they run for a long time and suck up tons of dust. The next time you’re cleaning, use your vacuum with brush attachment to suck up the dust. Now, your vents won’t look like those of a mechanic’s shop.

6 – Baseboards – revert to trick # 9, use a mop pole with a cloth or old sock attached to it, lightly sprayed. No more bending down, no more tough work. This makes the job so much easier and also allows you to access hard-to-reach areas like behind furniture.

5 – Delicate items – to clean ornaments, antique pieces, silk flowers or small delicate trinkets, lightly mist a small paintbrush and use that to do detailed dusting.

4 – Dust in the right direction – dust is like snow; it falls from the top to the bottom. So, when dusting, start with the highest items and work your way down to the lowest. If you don’t, you’ll have to repeat your work. Another good thing to keep in mind is to work in a spiral formation – working clockwise tackle all four corners and mouldings, then move down and dust all tops of frames, etc, lower again to dust all table tops and finally all baseboards. Then vacuum. Do you see how this allows no dust to fall on an already cleaned area?

3 – Use microfiber cloths – I’ve been spouting off about them for years. I can’t understand why you would dust with anything else – it makes you spend more time cleaning! A microfiber cloth is electrostatically charged, meaning it literally attracts dust. It is also highly absorbent so it can last longer during your cleaning task. They won’t leave lint or dust behind and leave surfaces streak-free.

2 – Clean your ducts every 5 years. That’s a huge source of dust and allergens and if you have had renovations recently or have lived in the house after someone else has, this is the ultimate form of dusting. A vehicle will come by and vacuum your vents out, leaving no residual dust in the home environment due to dirty vents.

1 – To vacuum delicate areas or areas where you can’t see, vacuum with a pantyhose covered dust brush. The nozzle can now collect dust while using a dust brush without running the risk of sucking up valuables or items you don’t want vacuumed up!

Bathroom Cleaning tips

Learn simple techniques for keeping your bathroom sparkling!

– Use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas around soap holders, taps and drains.
– Add a fabric softener sheet to bins to avoid odours.
– Foggy mirrors can be restored, by rubbing a small amount of glycerin onto the surface.
– A small window squeegee used on tiled walls after each shower will slow the formation of water spots.
– To unclog lime scale from showerheads, remove and soak the head in boiling water and vinegar.
– It will be much easier and less time consuming to clean the bathroom if it is done on a regular basis as this will prevent the build-up of mildew and soap scum.


Organisation tips and habits

Recruit your children to help with a basic house clean. This will help develop good organisational habits and reduce the stress caused by reminding children to tidy their room. Try to make it fun.

A toy chest at the end of your child’s bed is an ideal place to store toys and games. Plastic bins or baskets can be placed in a closet or underneath the bed.

Always tidy a room, before cleaning it. Take any dirty dishes to the kitchen, pick up toys from the floor, collect newspapers and place in the recycling bin.

Make sure your house cleaning kit includes all the essential supplies and materials needed to clean each room. Store in a bucket or basket that can be carried from room to room.

Make up a separate bathroom cleaning kit, to keep all the supplies together. Again store in a bucket or basket, but be sure to store it out of reach of small children.

Place perfume and other personal care items in a decorative basket or on a tray, rather than sitting individually on your dressing table.

Establish a house rule that if you take something out of a cupboard or toy box, you must put it away once you have finished with it. This will reduce the amount of time spent picking items up and putting them away before a clean.

Take items that have not been used for a long time to a charity shop or car boot sale.

Re-evaluate magazine/newspaper subscriptions and cancel those you no longer read. This is an easy way to save money and time by de-cluttering your home.

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