Monthly Archives: February 2017

How to Keep Your Home Clean for longer than 5 Minutes

So you’ve scrubbed every corner of your home until it’s sparkling. But what does it look like a few hours later? Chances are, not nearly as neat (and, for some of us, like a tornado came through). According to Becky Rapinchuk, the expert behind the blog Clean Mamaand the author of Simply Clean, the secret to ensuring your house stays relatively tidy between deep-cleans is to do a few quick chores every day to keep things in order. Before you turn in for the night, keep reading for your room-by-room to-do list.

In the living room

Every night, do a quick pickup of anything you spot out of place on the floor; think toys, TV remotes, old issues of AD. Then, turn your focus to the sofa, refolding throw blankets and fluffing up pillows. “A daily run-through-and-grab of any errant items is much easier than a weekly full-on cleanup,” explains Rapinchuk.

In the kitchen

“A clean sink is the symbol of a clean kitchen!” says Rapinchuk. “But in order for a sink to be clean, the dishes have to be done.” First things first: Make sure you’ve unloaded the dishwasher so there’s room for a new batch of dirty plates and cutlery. Once the last dish is put away after dinner, give the sink a scrub. “You’ll be happy in the morning that you don’t have a sink full of dishes staring back at you,” notes Rapinc​huk. Last, wipe down the counters to get rid of any pesky bacteria.

In the bathrooms

Wiping down your toothpaste-splattered counters every day is the secret to a bathroom that at least looks neat. But Rapinchuck also suggests keeping a squeegee on hand to remove soap scum from the tile after you shower, then immediately hanging your towels so they have a proper chance to dry. “This simple little habit will reap big results that will save you time in the long run,” she says.

In the bedrooms

Your mother was right about this one—you’ve got to make your bed. “Pull up the covers and put the pillows back on your bed when you get up, or before you leave the house,” says Rapinchuk. “This little step will pull your whole bedroom together.​” Next, gather dirty clothes off the ground and put them in a hamper. “Any objects on the floor should be picked up daily to avoid overwhelm and mess.”

Cleaning way for Things you normally forget

Vacuum, mop, dust—cleaning one’s home tends to be a checklist of the same tasks on repeat. But while you’re busy wiping down that same table for the fiftieth time, items you never thought to wash are under full assault by germs and dust mites. “I think that a lot of people have a regular rotation of things they clean in their house, but you tend to get in a rut,” says Joss & Main style director Donna Garlough. We grilled her on the most neglected household items:

Curtains

“It may not seem like they get terribly dirty, but they get a lot of household dust, pollen, and dander,” says Garlough. “And if you have a wood-burning fireplace, that can cause a lot of buildup.”

How to clean them: If your curtains are made of linen or silk with complicated detailing, head to the dry cleaner. But simple cotton ones with grommets can go straight in the washing machine. “I like to hang dry,” says Garlough. “I think they get less wrinkled.”

Throw Pillows

You know those throw pillows you rest your head on while binging on Netflix? They’re veritable dust bombs. But it’s not just the cover that needs cleaning; the insert is where dust mites accumulate.

How to clean them: Vacuuming throw pillows can loosen up all that dust, but the inserts themselves can benefit from a toss in the wash. Unexpectedly, inserts made of feathers are much more tolerable of washing than synthetics. Afterward, put them in the dryer on a low heat cycle so you don’t damage the fabric.

Outdoor furniture

Frequent weather exposure means more maintenance, particularly if the pieces are wood. In addition to the usual dust and spider webs, they can splinter and gather pollen after going unused for a couple months.

How to clean them: Use a homemade solution of vinegar and water to scrub wooden pieces before you oil them. If you have upholstered furniture, wipe it down with a wet rag at the beginning and end of the season.

Throw blankets

Most people fluff their pillows and call it a day. But that blanket you drape over the couch for cozy evenings? It’s probably filthy—particularly if you have pets, says Garlough.

How to clean them: Toss them in the wash. If they have tassels, use cold water on a delicate cycle.

Bath mats

The feet and shoes of every person that walks into your bathroom come in contact with your bath mat, yet usually they’re left in the unwashed abyss.

How to clean them: Throw the mats in the washing machine every couple of weeks, or at least once a month, Garlough suggests. If it has a rubber backing to avoid slipping, avoid the dryer and just drape it over a railing or clothesline

How to care for Wicker Furniture

Wicker furniture isn’t just for country houses anymore. Even the most minimalist of spaces can benefit from the addition of these warm natural-fiber pieces—that is, until they start to age. Left alone, the furniture will eventually become brittle, warped, and potentially too damaged to sit on. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; a few protective measures will go a long way, says Alison Davin of San Francisco interior design firm Jute Home. Here’s what you’ll need to do to ensure your beloved bench or perfect pair of armchairs never falls into disrepair.

Keep furniture inside

Although your wicker and rattan pieces probably look fantastic out on your deck, it’s best to use them indoors or on a completely protected porch, where they aren’t subject to the weather. “The sun causes the fibers to become dry and brittle and the glue joints to loosen,” Davin explains. “Conversely, too much moisture from dew, rain, and snow can cause the furniture’s rattan and hardwood frames to warp.”

Clean it like any other surface

“Wicker and rattan furniture should be kept as dust-free as possible by vacuuming it regularly using the soft-bristle brush attachment,” says Davin. “For dust and dirt in hard-to-reach crevices, try a new dry paintbrush.” If you live in a particularly arid climate, Davin suggests buffing your pieces with furniture polish to keep them supple: “Start at the top and work down, paying extra attention to crevices and any spots that are noticeably drier.” Of course, humidity isn’t great either—it can cause mold or mildew. If that’s the case, brush off the furniture, then clean it with a mixture of bleach and water. “Allow the furniture to dry completely,” says Davin, “ideally outside in direct sunlight on a windy day.”

But use water sparingly

“Remove any spills or dirt with a damp cloth and a small amount of diluted Murphy Oil Soap,” recommends Davin. “Some people spray wicker down with a hose and then clean it, but, in my experience, this extra water contributes to the breakdown of woven furniture over time.”

Comfort is key (literally)

Don’t sit directly on the wicker, says Davin: “Padded cushions will add years to the seats of wicker and rattan chairs, sofas and chaises.”