We know you know how to clean your home, but beyond the basics – mopping, laundry, vacuuming, etc. – are cleaning and organizing projects that are understandably dodged or altogether abandoned. Our 30-day guide to a cleaner and more comfortable home focuses on the more obscure cleaning and organizing strategies and ideas that can have a big impact on your home’s comfort level. And at a time when the cold weather starts to creep in, what’s better than having a cozy and comfortable house to come home to?
Day 15: Focus on cleaning all of the surfaces and objects in your home and car that hands are constantly touching.
Wipe down computer keyboards with a damp rag and a computer-safe cleaner. Do the same for your cell phone, your car steering wheel, light switches, door knobs, and the handle of your fridge and freezer.
Day 16: Turn your bathroom into a spa.
Buy some fresh eucalyptus and hang it from your shower rod. The combination of shower steam and the eucalyptus will not only make your bathroom smell incredible, but eucalyptus is known to have stress-relieving properties.
Day 17: Give your wooden furniture some love.
Remove water stains from your wooden furniture with this method – using a clean white t-shirt as a barrier, iron over the marks (turn off the steam setting) and the stains will disappear.
Day 18: Clean out your medicine cabinet.
Get rid of any products that you actually don’t use, not just things that you plan on getting around to using. If you can’t bear to throw out your rarely used products, store them in a less trafficky area so that they’re not cluttering up your cabinet.
Day 19: Place vases or pots of flower or other plants in every room of your home. As you might recall from biology class, plants produce oxygen, so picking up some pretty flowers or potted plants and placing them throughout your home is a great way to improve air quality. Plants have also been long acknowledged for their positive psychological benefits on the people that coexist with them.
Day 20: More furniture upkeep.
You’ve removed the water stains from your wooden furniture, but what about the scratches? Try running a shelled walnut over the scrapes and watch in amazement as they disappear.
Day 21: Clean all your ceiling fan blades today with a pillowcase.
Just slip each blade one at a time into the pillowcase, wipe off the dust, and when you’re done, shake out the debris and wash the pillowcase as you normally would.
Day 22: Focus on your glassware today with some white vinegar therapy.
Wipe glasses down with a rag or towel saturated with a bit of vinegar or add vinegar to the rinse aid compartment of your dishwasher. Your glasses will be shiny and look like new in no time!
Day 23: Try cleaning your windows with a different method.
Put five drops of dish detergent in a spray bottle and fill with water. Put three parts vinegar and one part water in a second spray bottle. Spray your windows first with the detergent water, wipe down with a cloth, and then spray with the vinegar mixture. Buff with a cloth and admire your pristinely clean windows.
Day 24: De-clutter your kitchen today.
Get rid of utensils, appliances, and dishes that you know you don’t really need and never use. Same goes for food that you’re never going to eat or cook with.
Day 25: Clean your iron.
a. Make a paste with 2 tablespoons of baking powder and 1 tablespoon of water.
b. Spread the paste onto the mineral plate.
c. Wipe down with a damp cloth.
d. Dip Q-tips in water and clean out the steam vents.
e. Fill the iron’s reservoir with water, turn it on its highest setting, and steam press a clean cloth for a few minutes.
Day 26: Focus on your fridge today.
Gently pull your fridge out from the wall, unplug it, sweep and mop the floor where the fridge normally is, wipe down the fridge’s coils, wipe down the back and sides of the fridge, wipe down the walls that the fridge normally touches, throw away expired food and food that you have no real intention of eating or cooking with, and wipe out the interior of the fridge with some natural cleaner and a rag.
Day 27: Tackle your air ducts.
When was the last time your home’s air ducts were cleaned? If it’s been more than three years, it’s time to have them looked at. Air ducts are the lungs of your home and maintaining them not only improves air quality, but makes your heating and cooling system more efficient. Schedule an inspection with a reputable air duct cleaning company today.
For a more thorough update on the state of your air ducts, defer to the professionals and schedule an air duct inspection.
Day 28: Get your bed ready for the coldest of the cold nights.
Outfit it with a down comforter, wool blankets, knit throws, and flannel sheets. Don’t be stingy with the cozy blankets and comfy pillows.
Day 29: Take care of stained leather furniture.
Mix one part lemon juice with one part cream of tartar, gently work the mixture in a circular movement with a cloth into the stain, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth. You may want to first test an inconspicuous area of leather just to make sure that the particular type and color of your leather piece will not have an adverse reaction to the cleaning paste.
Day 30: Wash your throw pillows.
Remove the pillow covers (which can be thrown in the washer), and place your pillows in a sink full of hot water or in the washing machine. Add some mild detergent, like Woolite, and if using a sink, gently wash and rinse several times (if using the washer, use the rinse cycle several times). Then gently remove excess water by pressing the pillows into a white terrycloth towel; when you don’t think you can draw out any more moisture yourself, throw the pillows in the dryer or let them air dry. Remember to fluff them up periodically throughout the drying process (or throw some tennis balls in the dryer.)