Time-saving cleaning tips

by President, Board of REALTORS

Giving your home that fresh feeling takes some elbow grease, but these ideas make it easier to fight those dirty jobs faster and less often.

Defy Dust

You can combat dust by adjusting your home’s humidity level.

Low humidity levels cause static electricity. Not only does static attract dust, it makes it stick, so it’s difficult to remove. High humidity causes problems, too–it’s an ideal environment for dust mites. These microscopic critters are a double threat: They’re a common allergen, and they contribute to dust production.

Keep your home’s humidity level between 40% to 50%. That will eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth.

Keep your household vents dust free. Remove and wash them once a year with mild soap and water. After they’re clean and completely dry, apply a liberal coat of car wax; then buff.

Keep Glass Shower Doors Crystal Clear

You can eliminate soap scum build-up by coating your glass shower doors with a rain-repellant product made for car windshields.

When applied to glass, products like these create an invisible barrier that causes water, oils, and debris (like soap suds) to bead and roll off.

Find this product anywhere that sells basic auto supplies. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when water stops beading on shower doors. Keep in mind, windshield rain repellants were made to treat glass, not plastic.

Automatic shower cleaners claim to let you clean your shower and tub less frequently — like every 30 days. After you finish bathing, the gadget will douse your shower and tub with a cleanser that prevents soap scum build-up while combating mold and mildew. You can buy automatic shower cleaners at most big-brand retailers, like Target and Walmart.

Seal Your Stone Counter Tops

Natural stone counter tops, including granite and marble, are porous, so if they’re not sealed, liquids like red wine, juice, or soy sauce can stain them.

A counter top sealer repels stains by causing spills to bead instead of getting absorbed. Likely, your contractor sealed your counter top when it was installed.

To keep your counter tops in tip-top shape, re-apply sealer twice a year. To see if you need a fresh coat, pour a tiny bit of water on your natural stone counter top. If the water doesn’t bead or doesn’t stay beaded for two to three minutes, it’s time to reseal.

Protect Your Furniture and Carpets

Protective furniture sprays and carpet sealants guard against inevitable spills. Some of these products also protect fabrics from fading and resist mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Protective sprays and sealants, like Scotchgard and Ultra-Guard, cause liquids to bead on the surface instead of being absorbed.

Apply the appropriate sealer once a year after a deep upholstery and carpet cleaning.

Give Oven-Cleaning Products the Boot

Most cleaners give off noxious fumes and make a horrible mess.

The basic ingredient in many oven cleaners is lye, which can burn your eyes and your skin; it’s usually fatal if swallowed.

Use a wet pumice stone to scrape off dirt and grease. It’s faster than oven cleaner and toxin-free.

Need to wipe your range or anything else down? You can clean filth faster by heating up a clean, damp sponge or cloth in a microwave for 30 seconds before wiping with or without a cleaning product. Put on rubber gloves before you pick up that hot sponge.

Keep Things Tidy with Quick Touch-Ups

Small cleaning projects prevent filth from building up.

When you spot clean daily, you can prevent smudges from staining, banish dust bunnies, and even combat allergens.

Create a spot-cleaning kit so you can address small, dirty situations in minutes. Cleaning pads are great for eradicating dirty fingerprints on walls and light switches. Damp micro-cloths can reduce airborne dander when used daily to wipe down pets. Dry sweeper cloths can quickly pick up dust and dry dirt off floors, shelves, and electronics.

Keep stored items cleaner longer by shutting closets, cabinets, and drawers, so circulating dust and dirt can’t get in.

Ditch Your Outdated Low-Wattage Bulbs

Good lighting can make you and your home look and feel great.

A room lit with low-wattage incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents can look dark and dingy. “Daylight” bulbs brighten things up. These full-spectrum light bulbs mimic natural light, so they give better visual accuracy. Like sunlight, these bulbs can boost your mood.

When shopping for bulbs, look for those marked “daylight” that have a range between 5,000 to 6,500 kelvins.

Use a Cleaner Sweeper

Brooms hold on to dirt. Don’t push dirt around when you sweep. Use spray dusters to blow dust bunnies off brooms, and soapy water to get rid of the grime.

And remember, when it’s time to buy or sell a home, contact a REALTOR professional, a member of the ___________________ Board of REALTORS.