10 Annoying Cleaning Hassles Made Easier
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Out Spot!1 of 11
By Sarah Aires for Woman's Day
It’s called housework for good reason. But some of the most maddening tasks—like straining your back to scrub your tub or chipping away at food stuck to stove burner grates—don’t have to be as awful. Click through to discover solutions to the ten biggest cleaning aggravations, so it takes less effort to keep your home tidy.
Stove-Top Cooking2 of 11
Stove tops can be nearly impossible to clean with elbow grease alone. Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid, a residential cleaning company, suggests a soak for your burner grates: Slip each one into a gallon-size, resealable plastic bag. Pour in ¼ cup liquid ammonia and seal the bag. The ammonia will break down what’s caked on—even grease. Five hours later, remove the grates and wipe them down with a clean wet, sponge. “They’ll be as good as new,” Roberts assures.
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Smudged Stainless3 of 11
The most chic kitchen appliance surface is also the toughest to keep looking nice (unless you like visible fingerprints). While there are a plethora of stainless-steel cleaners on the market, Roberts suggests trying baby oil. “It works the same for a fraction of the cost,” she says. To get that shine, add enough baby oil to dampen a clean, lint-free cloth. Using pressure, wipe the appliance with the grain to remove spots.
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Streaky Glass4 of 11
You think you did a great job cleaning the windows when hours later, they dry to reveal unsightly smudges, which can block sunlight. And your just-sprayed mirrors don’t look any better. Luckily, you may have all the ingredients for a better cleanser. “For non-smearing mirrors or windows, try a combination of 1 gallon of water, ½ cup of vinegar, ½ cup of rubbing alcohol and about 2 squirts of dish soap,” says Roberts. Put the solution on the glass and then broadly swipe a newspaper from side to side for a streak-free shine.
Product Overload5 of 11
Sure, multi-surface cleaners can tackle tubs and tiles, but what about carpets and furniture? SC Johnson’s Smart Twist cleaning system holds three different products at a time, so you bring one spray bottle to each room—not a few. Turn the dial to select the concentrated cartridge, and then spray out water mixed with Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, Fantastik, Pledge or Shout. The sprayer comes with three different cartridges, which each last as long as full-size bottles (but use less plastic). Visit SCJGreenChoices.com to buy.
Tile Trauma6 of 11
Fallen strands seem to adhere to the floor, sloshing around when mopped or swept instead of coming off. “Microfiber mops are our favorite floor-cleaning tool,” says Roberts. “This type of cloth is electromagnetic, making it easier to grasp and lift fine and short hairs.” One more suggestion: “Keep a small handheld vacuum in your bathroom.”
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Mis-Firing Sprayer7 of 11
Plenty of perfectly useful cleaning products get tossed when the mechanism inside the bottle can’t reach the small amount of liquid left. Avoid lost funds (and fighting with bottles) with Smart Tube technology, available on Tilex, Formula 409, Clorox and Clean Up cleansers. While other cleaners have straw-like attachments, this device is built into the bottle and extends to the very bottom to reach the last drop of solution. Visit Clorox.com for prices and stores.
Soggy Sleeves8 of 11
Wet arms or clothes are part of the deal when you’re mopping or scrubbing, right? Not with Arm Length Rubber Gloves from QCIdirect.com. The textured palms make it easy to grip what you need to grab and the elastic by the elbows keep the gloves from slipping down or letting in water.
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Hard-to-Reach Areas9 of 11
It takes a contortionist to clean all the corners of the bathtub. Cut some of the stretching and bending with the Tile Tub Scrubber. The handle extends to 36 inches and the scrub head swivels for maximum maneuvering.
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Smelly Containers10 of 11
Store garlic or onions in plastic tubs, and even repeated dishwasher runs can’t eliminate the smell in the empty containers. Bruce Lubin, author of Who Knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems, has an unconventional trick: “To remove odors from dishes, bottles or plastic containers for good, add a teaspoon of any yellow mustard to hot water and let the item soak in the mixture for five minutes,” he says. Properties in mustard actually lift odors from plastic. Wash as you normally would after, and you won’t have to worry about mustard-scented Tupperware either.
Water & Wood11 of 11
Someone forgot to use a coaster (again), and now you have an unsightly water ring to show for it. Roberts’s secret for removing water marks from wood furniture? “Mix equal parts baking soda and white cream toothpaste. Dip a clean, white cloth into the mixture and gently buff the marks in a circular motion for a few minutes. Wipe clean and follow it with furniture polish.” If that doesn’t work, rub mayonnaise (yes, really!) on the stain and let it sit overnight. Wipe the spot with a dry towel the next morning and your hardwood coffee table will be spotless.