4 cleaning tool tips for a greener home

June 30, 2015

You need surprisingly few cleaning tools for your home. Before rushing to the store to buy them, consider using things you already have on hand. To help, here are four handy tips for a greener, cleaner home.

4 cleaning tool tips for a greener home

1. Recycle what you have at home

Most of these easy-to-find items are lurking in drawers and at the bottom of closets if you dig around a little.

  • Cut to usable sizes old T-shirts and cotton towels for a constant supply of absorbent cleaning cloths.
  • Pull single cotton or wool socks on your hand and use as a duster.
  • Use a toothbrush to clean around taps and hard-to-access areas.
  • Keep spray bottles on hand for homemade cleaning solutions.
  • Use shaving brushes and paint brushes for dusting delicate items.
  • Keep spray bottles on hand for homemade cleaning solutions.

2. Know what to buy new

Go for quality, if budget permits, for results you'll notice when you clean.

  • Long-handled soft broom: more expensive brooms with good-quality bristles pick up the dirt better and last longer.
  • Dustpan and brush: buy several and store near high-activity areas ready for quick clean-ups.
  • Long-handled sponge mop and bucket: choose good-quality mops with sturdy replaceable heads.
  • For the kitchen: washing-up brush, vegetable scrubbing brush and a fine steel wool scourer.
  • For the bathroom: toilet brush and bucket.

3. Try cleaning with microfibre

Because of the way the fibres are arranged, microfibre cloths pick up dirt without the addition of chemical cleansers. They're more absorbent than natural textiles, pick up and hold dirt and grease without scratching, are easy to use on almost any surface and can be washed and used repeatedly.

Start with an all-purpose cloth or mitt

  • There are a variety of grades for different applications, from cleaning glass to washing cars.

Buy wisely

  • The most expensive microfibre cloth is not necessarily the best, but the very cheapest do tend to be inferior.

Avoid fabric softeners when laundering microfibre cloths

  • Fabric softeners smooth the fibres, rendering them useless.
  • Also avoid tumble-drying.

Clean your windows with a microfibre cloth

  • They're most effective just after coming out of the washing machine. They'll be at just the right dampness after the spin cycle.

Damp microfibre cloths can help remove bacteria

  • Wipe the surface dry after use as an extra precaution.

4. Buy a vacuum that works for you

A weekly vacuum will pick up dust before it turns to grime. It can alsokeep dust mites and carpet beetles at bay. Before buying your next vacuum, consider:

  • Higher wattage vacuum cleaners don't necessarily have a more powerful suction.
  • Ask for a demonstration and make sure the machine you choose suits the surfaces you want to clean.
  • Do you want a bag or non-bag system? Disposable paper bags make less mess than canisters or fabric bags, but are less cost-effective.
  • Ask about the filter system, especially if anyone in your family is asthmatic or suffers from allergies. The best filters, known as HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, capture tiny particles of dust and allergens that would otherwise be blown back into the air through the vacuum's exhaust system – but can be very costly to replace.
  • Certain models have a gauge that alerts you when the bag or canister needs replacing.
  • Look for models with a variable power button, which allows you to use less suction on delicate items.
  • A powerhead attachment will use more energy, but will increase carpet cleaning efficiency.
  • If you clean mostly carpet, look for a cleaner that offers pile adjustment. This saves wear and tear on your carpet and the vacuum motor.

With these simple tips and tricks you can take your cleaning to a new level and save money while you're at it.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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