In article by Freshhome, the author explains the health benefits of a clean home. “A clean home leaves fewer places for germs and bacteria to hide. Plus, dust and allergens build up in carpeting, bedding and upholstery over time, contributing to worsened allergies and asthma. In short, the health benefits of a clean home are obvious. If you want to keep yourself and your family healthy, cleaning on a regular basis is a must. Don’t just vacuum and dust, either. Think about decluttering your surfaces. The more items you have, the harder it is to dust and sanitize. A streamlined aesthetic makes it easier to keep everything truly clean, helping your health. If you’re ready to get started, here are the nine germiest areas in your home to tackle ASAP.”
Below you will find some cleaning and/or home product suggestions that you can use in your rental property. You can find these products at your local Walmart or Home Depot locations, or online at Amazon and Costco. The list is in alphabetical order based on area to be cleaned (ex: carpets, driveway, etc.)
According to an article by the American Lung association “carpets may trap pollutants like dust mites, pet dander, cockroach allergens, particle pollution, lead, mold spores, pesticides, dirt and dust. Toxic gases in the air can stick to small particles that settle into carpets. These pollutants may become airborne during renovations, vacuuming or even daily activities like walking on the carpet. In the home, children are more likely to be exposed to pollution in carpets. They spend time playing on the floor and place their hands in their mouths. If a large area is covered in carpet, it may be very difficult to remove indoor air pollutants and allergens.”
DEODORIZING CARPET - Baking soda is a proven odor absorber, it’s cheap, easy, and all-natural. Its particles go deep into the carpet to the base to absorb and neutralize odors and can then be lifted out with a vacuum, leaving you with a carpet that smells like nothing. It’s a dry deodorizer so you don’t have to worry about over-saturating your carpet (or other upholstery) and potentially getting water stains, generating mold and bacteria (if it doesn’t dry out), or attracting dirt if someone in your household steps on the carpet before it’s dry.
Deep Clean Your Carpet Without a Machine. Buying or renting a carpet cleaning machine to steam clean your carpets is probably the best way to clean your carpets, but it’s not the only way. With a vacuum and a few items, you can find at home, you can get the job done. Grab a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush (the largest you have, and rubber works best) and a spray bottle.
Prepare a mixture water and a small amount of detergent. Get salt (any type works), baking soda, and a few old towels or rags. Start by mixing up a tiny bit of soap (1/8th teaspoon, though you can just eyeball a small amount) with the water in the spray bottle. Don’t shake it, but let it mix. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the area you want to deep clean; you don’t need to cover it completely. Spray mixture of soapy water lightly over the same area. Let it sit for a few minutes. Brush the carpet in one direction with your brush. This will accumulate hair and debris for you to pick up easily. If there’s still hair/dirt, move 90 degrees a different direction and start again. Press the towels into the carpet, letting them saturate with water. After the area is mostly dry, lightly spray the carpet once more with plain water. Again, press the cloth towels into the carpet. This method is completely safe to use with children and pets. For carpet stains or high traffic areas, spot clean with Folex or Resolve.
Link for Folex: Amazon
Link for Resolve: Amazon
TUFF STUFF - Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner delivers powerful cleaning for tough jobs. Its deep cleaning foaming action lifts dirt and helps restores true color and appearance. Perfect for cleaning any washable or painted surface. Especially effective for cleaning vinyl and fabric upholstery, floor mats, carpets and chrome.
Link for Tuff Stuff: Amazon
Caring for Counter Tops
Don’t use harsh or abrasive cleaners and/or sponges. Windex or acidic cleaners (like vinegar, lemon, lime; or anything with ammonia or bleach) should be avoided. Frequent use of these chemicals will dull and weaken the sealant over time. Basically, the harsher the cleaner, the quicker it will break down the sealant. Be gentle with cleaning the granite. Use warm water, a mild or gentle dish soap, and a dish cloth or microfiber cloth for daily wipe-downs. You only need warm water, a mild/gentle dish soap, dish cloth, and a clean microfiber or terrycloth towel. Fill the sink with warm soapy water, wet cloth, and wipe all counters. Dry and buff with the clean microfiber or terrycloth towel to avoid streaks. To periodically disinfect, remove soap residue, and restore the shine to the granite, mix a solution of 50:50 water and isopropyl alcohol. Spray the solution onto the granite and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Rinse with water and dry with a microfiber cloth.
Link for Granite Gold: Amazon
Use to remove stains on tile, grout, porcelain, good ‘ol fashion products work best. A combination of Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Dish Soap. Ingredients: 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp dish soap.
Directions: Mix together the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. Spoon mixture onto grout, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse. Tips from the Pros.
- Give the grout cleaner some dwell time. You’ll get the best results if you allow your favorite cleaner some time to work (also called dwell time) before you start scrubbing. When cleaning tile grout, let the cleaner sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes then scrub out the dirt.
- Use a small, firm brush to scrub grout lines. Grout is porous meaning it has minute spaces or holes that liquid can pass through. These tiny spaces are great traps for dirt and grime. Scrubbing grout with small firm brush will loosen this dirt making it easier to mop or wipe up. (I use a cheap toothbrush to scrub my grout.)
- Scrub first then mop. After scrubbing the grout clean give the entire tile floor a final once over with a mop (or damp cloth). Use warm water with a few drops of dish detergent or a gentle floor cleaner. This final swipe will rinse off any remaining grout cleaner and leave the entire floor shiny.
HOT STEAMER – Steam cleans, sanitizes, and deodorizes. Perfect to use on tile, window and door frames, and so much more. Steam cleaning kills 99.9 percent of bacteria, germs and dust mites. It cleans, removes dirt, loosens stains, and powers through grease and grime without the elbow grease needed in traditional cleaning. This means less time scrubbing. Steam removes odors from soft surfaces such as mattresses, carpets and upholstery. Steam cleaners are chemical free. No need for chemicals or detergents when steam cleaning. Steam is a versatile cleaner as it can be used on just about any hard or soft surface through the home. It’s a great cleaning tool from floor to ceiling - sealed flooring (hardwood, tile, natural stone, laminate, vinyl), toilet and surrounding area, counter tops, oven, stove top, pet bedding, mattresses, upholstery, children’s toys, refrigerator, pantry shelves, and laundry areas. Steam cleaning is economical and environmentally friendly.
Link for Hot Steamer: Amazon
Best to use Citrus (orange and lemon) scents.
Deodorizers are great for eliminating food odors, pet odors, and more. Use a Citrus scent so as to no over whelm guests in your home with strong perfume smells.
Link to Deodorizers: Amazon
SANI STICKS – Cleaner, deodorizer, and clog preventer. A powerful, safe, and efficient way to eliminate odors from drains and helps to prevent clog backups in sinks and showers. Its non-toxic and is gentle and safe on septic tanks and comes in multiple scents. One Stick is all it takes. Sani-sticks are made with power, natural enzymes. Each stick slowly releases a concentrated blend of powerful enzymes that will eliminate organic deposits and grease build up for 30 days. Just one stick per month. Sani-sticks are round, thin, and only 6.3 inches long, making them perfect for home or office use. They are 100% safe for all types of plumbing. The stick rests in the pipe-trap and slowly releases a blend of enzymes that break down food, grease, oil, and other organic materials. Because they are non-toxic and use enzymes to clean, they are safe to use in all drains. Instead of calling the plumber or snaking the drain, just use one stick a month in all the drains to keep the water flowing and drains smelling fresh.
Link for Sani Sticks: Amazon
CHOMP PULL IT OUT CONCRETE STAIN REMOVER – Uses a deep penetrating formula to lift stains from porous flooring surfaces like concrete and brick. It is effective on oil or petroleum-based stains (transmission fluid, brake fluid, etc.) commonly found on concrete and paver driveways, garage floors, parking lots, and drive-through lanes. Simple & Safe. Unlike other stain removers that use harmful chemical compounds to attack tough oil and grease stains, Pull It Out stain remover helps to address these problems safely and simply. Although it goes a long way in removing difficult stains from concrete and other porous surfaces, Pull It Out does not contain bleach, acid, or other potentially hazardous materials. This cleaning formula is convenient and easy to use. Simply pour a small amount of the formula onto any oily or petroleum-based stain to cover it and allow it to dry. As it dries, the pull it out formula draws out the contamination causing the stain. Once the cleaning formula is dry, you can easily brush it away like chalk dust, revealing a stain-free, safer surface.
Link for Chomp: Amazon
Cleaning the Kitchen Sink and More
We believe in the power of Bars Keepers Friend cleaner. This mighty cleaning product works on your kitchen sink (one the germiest places in the house) to bathroom toilets and everything in between. We have used it for years to clean our office kitchen and most employees use it their homes. Click on the link to their website to find suggestions on how and where to use Bars Keepers Friend.
Link to Bar Keepers Friend: Amazon
Another powerful tool in the kitchen is Dawn Dish Soap. It’s one of the toughest grease fighting detergents around, there is a reason that they use it to help wild life during oil spills. It’s tough on grease but gentle on the animals and the humans. Here is a great article full of tips and tricks for using Dawn around the house. Everything from keeping the ants away to repelling aphids on your rose bushes, and pesky stains on your kids’ clothes.
Caring for Showers
Glass Shower Doors and Walls
Turtle Wax or Boat Wax - Spread a thin coat of wax on your glass shower doors and shower walls. Please note: DO NOT put on the floor or shower shelves. You will slip and fall, and your items will fall off the shower shelf. Buff the walls and doors with a lint free cloth to remove any access. The wax will repeal the water making it much easier to clean your shower. Repeat this process every 3 months to keep the water repealing.
Link for Turtle Wax: Amazon
CLR - Calcium Lime Rust, more commonly known as CLR, is a household cleaning product used for dissolving stains, such as calcium, lime, and iron oxide deposits.
Link for CLR: Amazon
Caring for Toilets
No one likes to clean a toilet, but it’s one of those things that has to be done, regularly. When having this unpleasant task, most people tend to focus on the interior. But every inch needs to be cleaned. Grab your favorite disinfecting spray and liberally spray the entire exterior of the toilet, including harder to reach areas like the back of the base and the underside of the seat. Also spray the walls behind and beside the toilet. Then let the cleaner sit for at least five minutes. Many people spray and then immediately wipe away, but you have to give the cleaners time to do their thing. While you’re waiting, move on to the toilet’s interior.
You can always mix your own batch of toilet bowl cleaner using 1 cup table salt, 1 cup baking soda, and 1 cup oxygen bleach (such as Oxi-Clean). When it’s time to tidy the bathroom, grab the mixture and sprinkle the toilet bowl liberally. The baking soda removes any gunky build-up, the salt is a natural abrasive for scrubbing, and the oxygen bleach cleans and disinfects. Also try pouring one cup of baking soda and one cup of distilled white vinegar directly into the toilet bowl for similar sanitized and sparkling results. If you’d rather use your favorite store-bought solution, look for brands that rely on hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach, rather than chlorine bleach, which can be a lung irritant. If you rather stick with chlorine bleach, make sure to prop open a window and wear gloves when using. Whichever toilet bowl cleaner you prefer, use generously and remember to apply some under the bowl’s rim. Then, while you’re waiting 5 to 10 minutes for those suds to fully work, turn your attention back to the toilet’s exterior and wipe completely.
Link for Clorox: Amazon
Caring for Walls
Got kids? Then you NEED Mr. Clean Magic Erasers in your cleaning arsenal. They work magic on tough dirt, grime, and marks. Adding water activates the surface of the sponge making them ready to wipe away grime. It is reusable for several uses although it does begin to disintegrate with repeated uses. Cleaning marks off walls is actually! Magic Eraser makes marks on walls virtually disappear as well as scuffs, fingerprints, pencil marks, among other things. The eraser works by scrubbing at the surface with tiny hard threads. You should not use on highly glossy or satin finishes. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is not appropriate for paneling or wood finished surfaces. It will strip away the surface and create damages.
Caring for Windows
Vinegar is a miracle from nature. Completely non-toxic and anti-bacterial, vinegar is actually beneficial to any surface it touches. It safely kills germs and is much more economical than chemical cleaning solutions. It’s not even harmful when accidentally inhaled or ingested. (If you’ve got kids, you’ll love that part).
The acidic composition of vinegar acts quickly to break down the kind of film that frequently accumulates on glass surfaces. When you wash a window using a solution that contains vinegar, the results will almost always be free from streaks and sparkling clean. Mix one-part hot water to one-part distilled vinegar. Sponge cleaning: Moisten the window, using the solution, then clean. If using a Squeegee, make sure to always dampen the squeegee first, and clean from the top down, wiping the edge of the squeegee after every stroke. Clean only when there is no direct sun on the windows. Rinse and dry the window frames immediately to avoid any damage.
Links for Vinegar: Amazon
Joy Soap is another product you can safely use on windows. Mix a couple of drops of Joy with water and spray on Windows and wipe off with a paper towel or lint free cloth and you will have sparkly windows.
Links for Joy Soap: Amazon
Caring for Wood Surfaces
WOOD FINISH STAIN MARKERS – Repairs and restores color, scratches, and worn areas with any wood surfaces within minutes. There are 6 unique shades that can easily be found for your wood repair.
Link to Marker: Home Depot
Caring for Wood Floors
FOR WOOD LAMINATE FLOORS - Wipe up wet spills immediately. Water and laminate wood equals Disaster. Place mats under your furry friend’s water bowl and consider a mat under your baby’s high chair. Don’t use anything that promotes a shine. These cause waxy buildup that is very difficult to remove. Avoid pine scented cleaners. These cleaners leave a dull, soapy residue. Do not use Murphy’s Oil. It leaves major streaks on laminate. Do not use traditional wet mopping on laminate floors. No stiletto heels, trim pet nails, place furniture pads under all table and chair legs. To maintain those floors, sweep often. A soft-bristle broom can get up most of the pet hair, dust and dirt that collects on your floor, also use a soft-brush attachment on your vacuum. Use a damp mop. Less water will seep in between the laminate seams. Use hot water and a few drops of dish soap. Get your steam cleaner and mop occasionally for very deep cleaning. Not daily, though, because the repeated use of steam can cause the laminate to buckle. Don’t use ammonia, which can strip protective sealant. A Swiffer mop works well for wood laminate floors.
Link for Swiffer: Amazon