Tuesday, January 24, 2012

cleaning house

I like to think that Spring is coming soon after the New Year begins.  Usually this means that I start my garden seedlings far too early.  This year, however, I'm focusing on cleaning house.  As I go through my cleaning chores, I'll pass on any money saving hints that we use.

I use a swiffer on all of my carpet-less floors.  Yikes, those cloths can be expensive, even when buying the off-brand.  If you must use the cloths, use both sides before discarding.  I don't even bother with the cloths anymore.  Instead, I use my ratty washcloths or rough rags.  They clip in just as easily as the disposable cloths, but can be tossed in the laundry and used over and over.  I use rags and my swiffer as a mop, too.  For heavy cleaning, I don't bother clipping the rag to the swiffer, I just swish it in my mop bucket, wring it out a little and toss it on the floor.  The swiffer holds it well enough to mop with only pressure on the handle.  For touch-ups between regular cleanings I keep a spray bottle with diluted floor cleaner.  A few sprays and a quick wipe of a rag on my swiffer and the floors keep their shine.

Another thing that makes cents - wash your clothes in cold water.  The detergents don't care if the water is hot or cold, but washing in cold keeps you from running your water heater - and that's a huge chunk of any power bill.  If you can manage it, switch to an on-demand water heater.  We are waiting for our tank style heater to die before switching over, but going by friends who have already made the change, we'll really see the savings on the bill each month.

Nothing bugs me quite like spotty mirrors.  No need to spend a lot on glass cleaner, though.  Put vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use that instead.  Wipe the mirrors down with newspaper instead of paper towels and you'll save even more.

We have dogs, and I have to admit that I'm kind of hooked on Febreeze to tackle some of the stronger odors - like when they decide to romp through damp grass and have that lovely wet-dog smell when they come inside.  When I want to make the whole house smell better, instead of spraying around an air-freshener, I put a small saucepan of water on to boil.  Drop in a cinnamon stick and a few cloves and your house will smell spicy and fresh without any effort at all.  Just make sure you don't boil away all the water!  That wouldn't smell nice at all.  Another idea for making the house smell nice is to bake a batch of cookies or a cake - or even make a pot of spiced tea.  The advantage of these methods is getting to nibble on the results while enjoying your nice-smelling house.

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