Tips and Tricks

Light Switches
I was standing by the study talking to my other half and I noticed the light switch was dirty and the switchplate had dirt splats on it.  Well, not to be one to let dirt win the battle, I grabbed an old toothbrush, my bottle of Method All-purpose cleaner, and a sheet of Viva. I sprayed the toothbrush and carefully, so as not to shock myself, scrubbed the On/Off switch and then sprayed the paper towel and wiped off the splats. Now, I know I didn’t get dirt on it…hmmm, wonder who did? Check out your switches and switchplates.

Cleaning glassware

Gee, I guess I’m really into sparkling glass, be it mirrors, windows, glass in frames, etc., but here’s another one – check out the glasses in your hutch, buffet, or cabinets. Do they have a film? To be sure they don’t, wash one and hold it up against another one and see if there’s a difference. Chances are, if you haven’t washed them in over a year, you’ll see a film. Nothing looks good in dull glasses and it’s not appetizing to hand someone a glass of wine in a filmy glass.

Along those lines, don’t store scented anything in your china cupboard, hutch, buffet, kitchen cabinets, etc. You may not notice it, but others will. Wine and other beverages served in a glass that has a hint of evergreen or very berry scented candles is not pleasing.

And before I forget, don’t forget about cleaning the OTHER kind of glasses, the ones you wear. You’ll see the world so much better and brighter with clean glasses. I know, I know, I’m a neat freak, but when I’m talking to someone who’s wearing smudged eye wear, it takes alllll my strength not to grab them and run to the nearest sink. A little dish liquid and water makes a huge difference.

Cleaning the bric-a-brac

Have you ever purchased a picture frame and just popped in the photo and stuck it on a shelf? Hmmmm, I’d have cleaned the glass first. Okay, call me a neat freak. I am. I admit it. Interestingly, even new glass in frames gets a film on it, just from sitting or hanging around. Every now and then, you need to take a good look at your glass-framed photos and prints. Chances are they have a film, either on the inside or out. Just as a test, take the glass out of a frame at your house and hold it up to the light. Look at those edges and I bet you’ll see dust or dinge. A little window cleaner and you’ll see those images a whole lot better.

The safest way to clean glass from frames? Place a towel on a flat surface and use it as the backdrop for removing, cleaning, and refitting the glass.

Other dusty items are the knick-knacks, bric-a-brac, chotskies, accessories, or whatever you wish to call them. It’s amazing how much dust can collect on them, when they’re just sitting around doing nothing but looking attractive. A little water with a tiny bit of  mild dish detergent should have them looking like new. Now, you can’t dip everything…so use caution, but most glass items can be rinsed off. If you don’t feel you can give them a dip, use a soft paintbrush or lambswool duster to give them once over.

Safest way to clean bric-a-brac? If you can actually place the item(s) in dish water, put a folded hand towel in the bottom of the sink prior to filling it and only wash one item at a time. Make sure bottoms of the items are totally dry before placing on wood furniture. If possible, after towel-drying, lay them on their side to let the bottom completely dry.

Cleaning the Toilet

Okay, it’s one of those jobs no one likes doing, but it has to be done. I have been using Comet Cleanser for years and years. It works just fine. Sprinkle a little in, swish it around (not with a brush that has metal in it! Those wire brushes rust and scratch the bowl. Not a good look), and flush. It’s the only reason I use cleanser. It has no place on sinks or tubs. It just damages the surface, unless you are using Bon Ami or a non-abrasive product.

I have just started using Method toilet bowl cleaner and I like that, too. It’s a lot more expensive than Comet, but it has a nice fragrance.

Looking for a green and safe way to remove hairspray counters and surfaces? Try a small amount of Arm and Hammer baking soda. Wet a cloth or sponge, sprinkle the baking soda on the surface, and rub. Should take care of the problem!

Light fixtures
This is an often overlooked area. Take a walk around your house or apartment and look up. Are there dead bugs in the fixtures? Is the clear glass hazy? Can you see visible dust around the rim? What about the vanes on your ceiling fan? When I was looking at my house as a buyer, I noticed the white ceiling fan vanes had a black layer of dust clinging to the tops. My realtor got on the phone and asked the owners to clean it. When we came back for the second look (and if at allllll possible, I recommend a second look), the vanes were dirt free.

How do you clean the fixtures? Wear an outfit that has pockets, climb up a ladder, and hold the bottom of the overhead fixture while unscrewing the screws. Drop the screws in your pocket for safekeeping. Wash the globe or fixture in warm dishwater, rinse thoroughly, and dry immediately with a lint-free towel. Replace, turn on the light, and marvel at how much brighter the space looks.

Refrigerator drip tray
Ever notice any yellow-ish calcium build up on the drip tray from the water dispenser? The best way to remove it, is to put the tray in the sink and fill it with white vinegar. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes and you should be able to wipe it clean. If the tray is white, it may be stained, but the crusty build up should be gone. If not, try another round of vinegar.


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