If there’s one thing I’ve learned while working at Real Simple, it’s that a successful day of cleaning is reliant on great, effective products. (OK, and maybe an upbeat playlist, too!) As the products editor, I’m always on the hunt for experts' go-to picks that will save time and make life a little easier. I recently tapped the professionals at Fairy, a housekeeping service in New York City and San Francisco, for their secret weapon that quickly gets a house spick-and-span.
Now, I had anticipated them spilling the beans about some magical product I had never heard of, something pricey, or one that’s only available wholesale and difficult to find at a retailer. But reader, you know what they said their go-to is? Good old Formula 409 Multi Surface Cleaner. Yes, the one in the white and red bottle with the impossibly fresh scent.
So why do they like it so much? For one, they say it’s super effective for a variety of uses—from removing toilet stains, to cleaning gunk in ovens, to even polishing up a dull bathtub. They also said the smell is pleasant and that a bottle lasts and lasts. And it’s no wonder why one bottle goes a long way—apparently the experts at Formula 409 even suggest diluting the solution with water to wash floors.
Want one more pearl of cleaning wisdom? The cleaning experts at Fairy also mentioned the one task you should tackle if you're short on time but want to make your home feel instantly cleaner: do a quick vacuum. We're keeping this trick in mind for the next time guests stop by on short notice.
I’ve always been a firm believer that a clean, clutter-free home makes me a generally happier person. In fact, some of my friends consider me a pro at decluttering because I have no remorse when it comes to throwing things away—which is why I decided to pull together a thorough spring-cleaningchecklist. While some things like a closet revamp and bathroom cabinet “cleansing” session are key, spring-cleaning is about more than just getting rid of things. It’s about starting anew—lighter and cleaner.
Of course, we have faith in your basic cleaning skills, but there are little odds and ends you don’t do all the time that will get your place in great shape. Case in point: sanitizing things like doorknobs and light switches or checking cords on your electronics make such a difference. Below find our go-to spring-cleaning checklist that will help you start the season fresh. The best part? We go room by room so you don’t have to do it all at once. It’s time to take baby steps.
—Clean the oven
—Dust on top of cabinets
—Wipe off light fixtures (including those up high)
—Discard expired food items from the refrigerator and freezer; wipe down shelves
—Organize your pantry; purge expired items
—Clean the stovetop, including burners
— Wipe out the inside of the microwave
— Scrub and polish the floor
—Disinfect the counters, the sink, and any tiles
—Wipe out the inside of the trash can
—Clean the dishwasher (put a container filled with white vinegar on the top and run a cycle)
—Replace any water filters
—Wipe down and polish your cabinets
—Sharpen your kitchen knives
—Check your Tupperware and see if you need to order more
—Discard chipped plates, bowls, and glasses and purchase extras
—Clean baking pans and utensils you don’t use often
—Scrub out your blender really well
—Deep-clean all pots and pans
—Organize your pantry; restock with any new items
—Consider making room in your cupboards with shelf risers
THE LIVING ROOM
—Wash or dry-clean throw pillow covers and throw blankets; replace if necessary
—Dust the TV screen
—Wipe down side tables, coffee table, footstools, etc.
—Vacuum any area rugs
—Clean out crevices in your couch with a vacuum attachment
—Spot-treat your chairs and couches
—Check your electronics for frayed wires
—Replace batteries in remote controls if needed
—Clean any lightbulbs
—Sweep out your fireplace
THE DINING ROOM
—Clean your chandelier or light fixtures (including dusty cords)
—Dust the molding in the room
—Dry-clean any linens, including napkins and tablecloths
—Dust cabinets; polish
—Wash any table cushions and seat cushions
—Vacuum and clean the rug
—Wash and polish the floor
—Wipe down table and chairs; remove all dust
—Clean your china cabinet and any drawers
—Wash and polish silverware
THE HOME OFFICE
—Discard any old or unnecessary papers
—Organize items in folders and storage cabinets
—Wipe down the floor and any baseboards; polish floor
—Clean your desk and rearrange it in a way that makes sense for you
—Take stock of supplies like pens, folders, and staples; order more if needed
—Wipe down your chair (don’t forget the wheels)
—Take everything off of the bookshelf and wipe it down (donate old books)
—Use electrostatic dust cloths to clean your tech items
—Vacuum your desk chair
—Sanitize your phone, headset, etc.
—Clean tissue canisters and other containers
—Organize vanity and space above and below
—Clean toilet, including the top, side, and base
—Deep-clean the shower and tub
—Clean out any hampers and trash bins
—Wash out toothbrush canister (replace toothbrush)
—Wipe down towel hooks and racks
—Remove hair from drains using a tool
—Wash shower curtain and rehang; change liner
—Deep-clean tile and remove mold; clean grout if necessary
—Clean your toilet paper holder (so much dust settles at the top)
—Shine faucets; clean countertops; wipe mirror
—Discard expired makeup and products; replenish as needed
—Check linens; wash and replace as needed
—Wipe down shower caddies
—Sweep floor and mop
—Wash bath mat or replace
—Rotate your mattress
—Change your sheets; purchase new linens and discard old ones
—Wash your mattress cover
—Clean out your laundry hampers; disinfect
—Dry-clean throw pillow shams
—Dust any ceiling fans and wipe down air conditioner units and heating vents
—Remove frames from the walls and dust everything; replace
—Wipe out any storage bins in dressers, closets, etc.
—Treat wood furniture (that includes patching up scratches)
—Vacuum your mattress
—Clean under bed; move furniture as needed to do a thorough job
—Check pillows for fluffiness; replace when necessary
—Organize both dresser and closet; donate old items
—Wash the floor or vacuum (don’t forget area rugs)
—Wipe down mirrors and windows
—Clean the bed frame; headboard included
—Wash stuffed animals in children’s rooms
—Consider drawer organizers to keep essentials in sight
THE LAUNDRY ROOM
—Wipe down drying racks
—Do a deep-clean on both washer and dryer (a load with white vinegar in the washer works wonders)
—Empty the lint trap in the dryer
—Use bleach to clean the sink
—Organize shelves and closet space; wipe down
—Take stock of products; discard expired and order any essentials you are low on
—Deep-clean the floor—dust bunnies are common in this room
—Deep-clean behind appliances
—Clean out the inside of your iron and steamers; wipe down ironing board
—Wipe down hampers, hangers, etc.
—Dust off tools like vacuums and dust busters
—Clean the bottom of your broom; rinse out your dustpan
—Mop the floor
—Do a linen closet overhaul
—Dust the inside of your dryer hose with an extendable duster or a vacuum attachment
—Garden or landscape; add new plants
—Fix dents in your mailbox
—Clean out your shed/garage
—Have your roof cleaned
—Wipe down patio furniture and playground
—Get a new doormat (or clean yours)
Now that you have our ultimate spring-cleaning checklist, it’s time to put it to good use. Your home will be forever grateful.
More and more people are making the decision to go nontoxic, switching out their commercial beauty, hygiene, and home cleaning products for organic, sustainable options. If you've been contemplating making this lifestyle switch, Pricenomics' list of the most toxic household cleaning products may be a deciding factor.
First off, when you use a household cleaning product, you're actually releasing pollutants back into your home. "Many common cleaning products rely on petroleum-based manufacturing and release toxic compounds into your home," writes the data website. "The EPA broadly classifies these chemicals as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which includes airborne emissions like formaldehyde and car exhaust, as well as consumable compounds like ethanol and acetic acid." Yes, these chemicals can be found in your beauty and household cleaning products.
Exposure to VOCs, even in small quantities, can cause headaches; nausea; and eye, nose, and throat irritation, contributing to longer-term issues like allergies and asthma over time. In an effort to identify the worst offenders, Pricenomics partnered with its client Ode to Clean, a line of environmentally conscious cleaning products. Together, they tested the amount of VOCs released by the most common cleaning products when used. According to their findings, the products that release the most VOCs per use—and therefore could be considered the most toxic—are air-freshener sprays and cleaning wipes. So next time you're tidying up your home, you may want to keep this in mind. Head over to Pricenomics for the complete list of products.
If spring is in the air, don't let a musty house spoil it. Here are seven tips for giving the season the welcome it deserves.
The best refrigerator cleaner is a combination of salt and soda water. The bubbling action of the soda water combines with the abrasive texture of the salt to make a great cleaner.
The best way to get rid of lime buildup around the faucet it is to lay paper towels over the fixture, soak it with vinegar and let it set for an hour. The deposits will soften and become easier to remove.
Clean screens with a scrap of carpeting. It makes a powerful brush that removes all the dirt.
Clean windows with a rag and soapy water, and then dry them with another rag. You can also go to an auto-parts store and buy a windshield squeegee, which cleans very well.
If drapes are looking drab, take them out of the window, remove the hooks and run them through the air-fluff cycle in the dryer along with a wet towel (to draw off the dust) for 15 minutes. Hang them back in the windows immediately.
Clean the blades of a ceiling fan by covering them with a coat of furniture polish. Wipe off the excess and lightly buff.
Sometimes comforters, blankets and pillows don't need to be cleaned, but they do need to be aired out after a long winter in your closed-up home. Take them outside and hang them on a clothesline for a day.
If you’ve found yourself saying this a time or two, you probably had the best intentions, but not a plan to follow through. As with any resolution, you start out strong, but slowly fizzle out as time goes on.
This cleaning plan will help you distinguish a daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal cleaning schedule, and help you set organization goals. The best part about this plan is that even if you start to veer off course, you can jump back in at any time. The key to your success lies in the calendar. You must write out your cleaning plan for a month on a calendar, laminate it and post it somewhere where you will see it daily.
Daily There are a few quick, basic chores that need to be done on a daily basis to keep your home looking and feeling clean. I try to do tiny bits of cleaning as I go about my day, so I don’t have to do them later.
Examples of Daily Chores: Morning: Make bed, put dirty clothes in hamper, wipe down sinks and counters in the bathroom. Evening: Open mail and toss or organize as needed, wipe down sinks and counters in the kitchen, wash dishes, spot vacuum or sweep high traffic areas (if needed), and pick up toys and extra clutter around the house.
You can refer back to the “A Game Plan for Daily Cleaning” blog, for more tips. http://blog.maids.com/2012/a-game-plan-for-daily-cleaning/
Weekly Weekly chores usually have a specific day assigned to them. At my house, Saturday is laundry day and Sunday designated for the kitchen. By assigning a specific day to certain chores, you are creating a routine and will be more likely to keep up with your duties..
Examples of Weekly Chores: Day 1 – Bedrooms: Laundry, including linens Day 2 – Kitchen: Clean appliances (microwave, toaster, coffee maker), bleach the sink, scrub stovetop and disinfect counters, knobs and handles. Day 3 – Bathroom: Wipe down mirrors, wash curtains and rugs, deep clean shower walls and tub, bleach the sink, disinfect counter tops and scrub the toilet. Day 4 – Entire House: Dust furniture, deep vacuum, mop and sweep floors, and wipe down light switches. Day 5 – Paperwork: Sort out bills, throw away clutter, file important documents in a filing cabinet and take out the trash. Go through extra paperwork and toss or organize as needed. Day 6 –Organization Day
Monthly Once a week, you’re going to have to get down and dirty, and really clean something. Most monthly chores tend to get overlooked, which is why it’s great to have a visual reminder.
Examples of Monthly Chores: Week 1: Clean windows, floorboards, ceiling fans and decorative mirrors. Week 2: Clean the refrigerator (inside and out). Week 3: Vacuum furniture, walls and air vents. Week 4: Clean kids’ toys. Organize play areas, bookshelves and toy compartments. Or, clean office areas. Wipe down keyboard, mouse, and other desk supplies. Organize loose paperwork and files.
Organization Goals: If you have areas in your home that you desperately want organized, but can’t find the motivation to start a big project, then you’ll need to set an organization goal. Part of developing your goal is planning which days will be devoted to the task.
Example of an organization goal: I will go through the boxes in the attic. Frequency: I will spend 2 hours every Friday going through boxes. Estimated Timeframe: 3 months
Cleaning your oven doesn’t require harsh chemicals or a self-cleaning oven. You can get a naturally clean oven using just a few household ingredients.
There is a common misconception that getting your oven clean requires the use of harsh chemicals and a lot of time. The truth is, you only need a few ingredients that you already have in your kitchen pantry to make a super effective oven cleaning paste that works wonders on the inside of an oven.
INGREDIENTS FOR NATURAL OVEN CLEANER PASTE
1 Cup of Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons of Castile Soap
15 Drops of Orange Essential Oil
2 Tablespoons of Water
To start, spray the entire inside of the oven and the oven door down with distilled white vinegar to moisten the area and get it ready for scrubbing.
Add some of the Oven Cleaner Paste to a scrub sponge.
Scrub the inside of the entire oven and door with the oven cleaner paste.
The paste will work with the scrub sponge to remove any burned on foods or spills. If you have tough to remove spots, let some of the paste sit on the spot for 10 minutes, then come back and scrub the spot away.
Use a cloth or dish rag to remove all of the dirty paste, then wipe the inside of your oven down with warm water.
Take 1: If you're in full-blown fall-cleaning mode…
Apartment Therapy suggests cleaning your art supply or crafts area in order to "make your home and mind feel lighter." These areas of your home tend to accumulate the most clutter, and they are often strewn with unfinished projects (which are a feng shui no-no).
Take 2: If you're sick of finding your news through Facebook…
We hear you, and we've found a solution in Flipboard. The site basically aggregates the best articles on the internet and turns them into a "personal magazine" of all your interests. Create your own account, and enjoy web browsing sans political commentary from your high school graduating class.
Take 3: If you're looking to refresh your home for fall…
We're loving Paddywax's newest line of earth-inspired, matte-speckled ceramic candles. Dubbed the "Mesa" collection, each votive and dust cover doubles as a stackable cream and sugar pottery set once the candle is finished burning. Snag a set for $32.
Take 4: If Amber Lewis is one of your favorite interior designers…
Take 5: If you're more than ready for the turn of the season…
We assume you're beyond excited for the stunning fall foliage that's about to sweep our nation. To plan the ultimate fall foliage excursion, check out Apartment Therapy's interactive map to see when the colors will peak in your city.
Your afternoon pick-me-up:
Following Starbucks's and Le Pain Quotidien's lead, Pret a Manger is now on the turmeric latte train. The chain's brand-new drink is described as "a warm and earthy balance of organic almond milk, turmeric, and spices." Happy sipping!
The air quality in your home is important. Keeping dust, pollen, pet dander, and other irritants out of the air you breathe involves more than changing the air filter. What about the air ducts? Contaminants collect in the duct system too, and regular cleaning of the air channel is important.
Dirty HVAC systems consume more energy than clean ones. Older ductwork starts leaking and not only do irritants enter through cracks, but air escapes too. Dirty ductwork also impedes airflow that drives up energy bills as much as 20 percent. Plus, dirt stresses your system causing frequent breakdowns. Clean ductwork helps lower your utility bill and helps your HVAC unit last longer.
If someone in your home smokes that cigarette or cigar order hangs not only in the air but in the ductwork. Likewise, if you burned something on the stove, the smoke must go somewhere. These smells and other household odors collect in the ductwork and get circulated five to seven times per day, on average. Odors continue to plague your home long after you remove the offensive item.
Mold and mildew grow in your duct system especially if your home suffered recent water damage from flooding or foundation cracks. Home renovations and repair often lead to contaminants settling in your air system, and newly built homes need the air ducts cleaned before occupancy.
Call the Professional
Air duct cleaning is not an easy job. It needs special vacuum hoses and tools to reach throughout the system. This is not a do-it-yourself task. Contact your local HVAC company and schedule a professional cleaning. Have your system cleaned every three to five years and more often if your family suffers from severe allergies or asthma, includes a smoker, or you have pets that shed a lot.
Make sure you contact a certified HVAC technician for ductwork cleaning. Another helpful idea is to buy a high-quality air filter like the ones sold at home improvement stores. Look for pleated filters costing around $15. Not only do these last a little longer, these filters also catch more debris, including bacteria and viruses, before you breathe it in.
If you lead a busy lifestyle, you know the drill. You start off the week with a mostly clean and tidy house (depending on how many chores you achieved over the weekend). By midweek, though, you realize that you haven’t put away your dry-cleaning and haven’t folded your laundry. There’s a growing stack of mail in the hallway, a used gym bag by the door, a pile of fresh laundry on the bed, dirty dishes in the sink (and clean ones in the dishwasher that didn’t just finish its cycle). To top it off, your vanity looks as if a bomb went off in the beauty aisle at Saks. By Friday, the house is a full-blown disaster zone—that is, until you rest from your week, and tackle the massive (and much-needed) tidying up job. Then, the cycle starts all over again. Do yourself a favor, and adopt these clever daily housecleaning tips so you never have to spend precious weekend hours tidying up. We promise it’s quicker than you think.
Keep scrolling to study up on the housecleaning tips that will transform the state of your home.
In the morning:
Make the bed as soon as you get up. Making the bed first thing in the morning will kick-start your productivity levels and make it that much harder to crawl back into bed.
Wipe your bedside table each morning. Keep wipes near your bedside table, and give your bedside table a quick wipe when picking up your phone in the morning. That’s one less chore to tackle on the weekend.
Edit your closet as you go. Keep a hamper or bag in your closet where you can throw items of clothing that don’t work anymore as you’re getting ready in the morning. Sort through it once a month, and toss, donate, or sell.
Immediately rehang items you wore. Don’t just throw clothes on a chair if they can be worn once more before laundry day—hang them. Keep dry clean–ready items in a separate section of your closet.
Have a dedicated hamper for every person in your home. One hamper is not enough. Have a laundry basket for each person in your house, plus an extra one for linens. If you’re feeling extra organized, use hampers that have two baskets in each so you can separate whites in advance.
Start a wash cycle as soon as you get home. If you have enough laundry, start a wash cycle first thing in the evening so you have time to dry and fold. Don’t ever let unfolded laundry make it into your bedroom. Keep a folding area near your washer/dryer, and be ruthless about folding/ironing as soon as the drying cycle is done.
In the morning:
Spray your shower with cleaner after each shower. Give your shower a quick clean daily by spraying it with cleaner, quickly wiping surfaces, and letting it rinse out.
Hang towels on bars and robes on hooks. Your towels need to properly air-dry in order to be able to reuse them two to three times. Make sure they are properly hung to dry. If you’re a bathrobe person, a dedicated hook for it in the bathroom will make your space feel a little more like a hotel room.
Keep a laundry hamper in your bathroom for towels. Your bathroom is not a hotel; don’t leave towels on the floor or in the tub. If they’ve gone past their three-day use, quickly throw them in the hamper.
Clear your countertops of clutter. We get it, mornings get busy. Make a point at night to clear out and put away every product that was used to get ready in the morning.
Clean your toilet during your nighttime routine. The time you need to brush your teeth and wash your face is probably the exact time you need to let an average toilet cleaner product work before giving it a quick scrub. Use a wipe to quickly clean the seat. Doing this every other day will keep your toilet neat in between deep cleans.
Wipe down countertop after getting ready for bedtime. Once yournighttime beauty routine is done, give your bathroom countertops a quick wipe. Keep a stash of cleaning products in your vanity to make this process seamless.
In the morning:
Empty the dishwasher while you brew your coffee. It should be ready for your breakfast dishes so they don’t pile up in the sink and sit there all day.
When you notice a spill, clean it right away. It’s easier to notice tiny spills in broad daylight, so inspect your countertops and floors in the morning. While it’s easy to tell yourself oh, I’ll just take care of that when I clean this weekend, getting it done will get you into the habit of cleaning as you go.
Swap out your dish towel. It turns out that dish towels should be changed more often than we think, so get into the habit of swapping them out in the morning and tossing the old ones into the laundry basket.
Clean as you cook. There are two types of cooks in this world: Those who clean as they cook and those who don’t. Learn to be the former by starting with your prep work and cleaning that before you start cooking. Once your meal is ready, quickly rinse utensils before sitting down to eat. It will make it much easier to clean up after a meal.
Fill and start the dishwasher at night. Don’t leave it until the morning, no matter how tempting it is to go lie down in front of Game of Thrones.Do it during commercials if you must, but get it done.
Wipe countertops and cooking surfaces. Wipe down your counters and stove each night before you go to bed. Get into the habit of wiping the microwave after each use. You’ll love waking up to a spotless kitchen.
In the morning:
Keep baskets in every room. Once a day, do a quick walk-through of each space. Fill up your basket with accumulated clutter, and leave it by the door. Put each item back in its place first thing when you get home.
Wipe down your coffee table and side tables during commercial breaks. While watching your favorite show, there’s bound to be a moment when you have to endure the inevitable commercial break. Take the time to quickly wipe down your living room tables.
Fluff your pillows after each use. Get into the habit of fluffing your pillows when you turn the TV off. You wouldn’t leave your TV on all night, so why would you leave your pillows deflated?
In the morning:
Keep your bag, keys, and coat in the same spot. Make it easy to get out the door in the morning by having everything you need to organize in the same spot.
Take out the trash and recycling when you leave the house. You can alternate days between the two, but getting into this habit will prevent from having garbage pile up at home.
Keep a mail sorter in the entryway. Drop your mail in when you get in your house, and empty your tray once a week when paying bills. Unless you’re waiting for something urgent, most mail can wait a few days. That way you’ll keep everything in one spot and address it in bulk. Store paperwork immediately—or even better: Go paperless, and scan everything.
Immediately launder and store workout gear. Don’t leave your gym bag to linger. Sort the dirty clothes, and store away the rest.
When the clock springs forward, it signals a time for renewal, rejuvenation, and refreshing. Along with brighter weather and blossoming buds, spring gives us an opportunity to hit the reset button, and that includes some spring cleaning. Let’s be honest, though, even Southern women dread cleaning the entire house. But, fortunately, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or an intense scrubbing session. With a little spring in your step, you can easily put that extra hour of daylight to good use with this simple three-day cleaning guide. The benefits of cleaning on the weekend allow you to entertain guests for a late Sunday night dinner or free up your time on weekdays. So, get ready to roll up your sleeve, and wake up to a clean home when the alarm sounds on Monday.
Friday Evening: Get Ready
If you’ve had a long day at work or running errands, don’t worry. You won’t actually start cleaning until Saturday. Friday should be reserved for setting a plan in motion, buying the necessary supplies, and finding a place or organization where you can donate all the clothes and personal items you want to give a
Saturday: Get Set
Using a durable pair of cleaning gloves and wash cloths, wipe up the grease on the stovetop and in the bottom of the oven. You can spray the oven lightly with water and wipe it down with a damp rag.
Next, head to the bedroom. First, remove bed linens, mattress pads, and curtains that need to be washed. In addition to washing the sheets, curtains, and comforters, you’ll want to flip the mattresses and put clean, fresh linens on the beds.
Sweep the floors or vacuum carpets in each bedroom. Cobwebs can be found everywhere, from corners and baseboards to ceilings and corners, so make sure you vacuum and clean those hot spot areas thoroughly.
Dust and polish any nightstands, wood furniture, desks, or bookshelves in each room. If your bedroom has mirrors or glass tabletops, clean those too!
Then make your way to the bathrooms, and begin by removing the shower liners. If they’re washable, wash them on delicate cycle to get mold and mildew off the curtains, and hang to dry.
Reorganize bathroom cabinets and your closet. This includes donating items you don’t plan on wearing again to charity and tossing those barely-used tubes and expired makeup in the garbage.
Lastly, spray the shower, tub, and toilet with cleaner. Once the cleaning solution has set, wipe them down and rinse clean. Finish up by sweeping or mopping the bathroom floor. You can place or plug in a few air fresheners in the bedroom or bathroom to really freshen up your home.
Sunday: Go Full Steam Ahead
On Sunday, try to focus on the kitchen, entertaining areas, and living room.
way. Cleaning will be much easier and efficient when dividing the home into four sections: bedrooms, kitchen, living area, and bathrooms. But, you’ll want to spray the oven with cleaner on Friday night so it can soak overnight.
The stove should still be clean from the previous day’s wipe down, but if there are any stubborn stains remaining, use baking soda and a little elbow grease to clean the stove completely. Replace drip pans.
If necessary, defrost the freezer and wipe down shelves and the vegetable crisper.
Deep clean the microwave, removing grime, splatters, and food remnants from last night’s meal.
Wipe down all surfaces, kitchen counters, and center islands.
Are classroom messes making you miserable? Get students in on the act and straighten your classroom in no time at all. The ideas below are teacher-tested with excellent cleaning results!
Classroom Clean-Up Ideas
Linda, who teaches 1st Grade in Pacific, MO, adds a bit of magic to her clean-up routine. “I found that my little ones will be more willing to help clean up our classroom if we have some fun with it,” she explains. “I tell them that it is time to ‘call in the elves’ to help with the cleanup. Of course, the elves only come out and help with my students, so I turn my back and count to 30 (or more, depending on how messy the room is…) and when I turn around the kids are in their seats, the room is spotless, and the elves have magically disappeared! They love the idea that only they can get the elves to come out and help, and it works every time ! They even beg to “call in the elves” when it looks like the room needs tidying. This has never failed to get the class motivated for some cleanup.”
Keep your floors clean with this idea by Sarah, who teaches 3rd grade, in Kentucky. “I always had problems keeping my floor clean throughout the day and by the end of the day it was always messy. In order to get the students motivated to clean up the floor, I pick a mystery piece of trash. Sometimes I plant it in a place that is hard to find, or I pick something that is obvious. As soon as I announce that there is a mystery piece, the students race to pick up as much trash as they can find. If they find the mystery piece, they get a piece of candy. They are happy and I am happy because my floor is spotless!”
Stuck on You
Get students stuck on cleaning with this inexpensive and fun idea by Laurie, a 2nd Grade teacher, from Shannock, Rhode Island. “Clean up after messy cutting projects or even at the end of the day can go quicker when you give each child a masking tape bracelet. The children delight in cleaning up when picking up scraps with their bracelets!”
What are some of your favorite ways to motivate students to help you clean the classroom? Share them with us below!
Credit: Brandi Jordan, Really Good Stuff http://www.reallygoodstuff.com/community/classroom-clean-up/
Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to personal property and structures. Quick action is the only way to minimize the destruction. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, IICRC, is a globally recognized organization whose mission is to establish higher industry standards. As a referral source for consumers, IICRC certified firms are more likely to provide a faster, better service than non-certified competitors.
Restoration costs increase and damages escalate when the cleaning process is extended. By hastening the hiring process and using an IICRC certified technician, owners will be rewarded by having the damage stopped so repairs can begin.
What happens only minutes after the disaster?
Immediately after a fire, soot residue settles onto the property. Discoloration of porous materials is permanent, but other surfaces may be properly cleaned to remove the discoloration. Acidic soot begins staining other surfaces if not treated quickly.
Within hours all surfaces begin to suffer from fire and smoke damage. Wooden furniture may require refinishing. Metal begins to rust, pit and corrode. Painted walls begin to yellow. Clothing can become permanently stained. And finally, flooring may require refinishing or replacement.
If left untreated, within weeks the restoration process will take longer and cost more. Prolonged soot exposure permanently harms all surfaces and embeds in fibers. Replacement of property may be the best option at this point. The structure may continue deteriorating if not properly restored.
IICRC suggests the following steps after the incident:
Remember safety comes first. Do not enter the property without proper work gloves and appropriate respiratory protection. Exposure to soot residue causes respiratory distress and other medical emergencies.
Bring along a few box fans. Upon entering the property open the windows and place the box fans in the windows to force out the contaminated air and dust. Proper ventilation helps to prevent further smoke damage and reduces potential injury to people.
Remove loose smoke contamination with a professional dry cleaning soot sponge.
Clean every surface with soap and water. Begin at the top and work down to the floor. Be sure to get inside cabinets and cupboards.
Using a high efficiency vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter, vacuum upholstery and carpet. A good filtration system on a high efficiency vacuum prevents the soot from being blown back into the cleaned space. Clean or change the filter regularly.
Launder bedding, clothes, curtains, and other washable materials. An alkaline cleaner neutralizes the acid found in the soot. Fine materials should be professionally dry-cleaned by a dry-cleaner who is experienced in smoke damaged articles.
Clean the exterior walls and eaves using a water hose attached to the proper cleaner. Agitate and loosen stuck-on soot. The smoke damage to the outside of the property will continue until the soot is removed.
Though heavy residues require the assistance of professional restoration technicians, a certified technician may be contacted for any amount of smoke damage. Improper processes can further harm the property or belongings.
IICRC certified technicians have training and experience in the techniques needed to restore the property. If structural distortion or warping has occurred, it may be necessary to consult a general contractor. Luckily, most insurance companies will cover the cost of the restoration, less your deductible, so get started today to get the property back into original condition.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a certification and standard-setting nonprofit organization for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. The IICRC serves the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Japan, in partnership with regional and international trade associations. http://www.iicrc.org/what-after-smoke-damage-has-happened-a-140.html