Yes, I rock out this much when I clean. Image – via GIPHY
Oh For The Love Of Cleaning, Get A Room!
I love cleaning. This love for cleaning started at an early age. One of the best gifts I give to friends who are expecting, is deep cleaning their home a few weeks before their due date.
We moved a few times in our lifetime out of rentals and each time the landlord asked if I wanted to professionally clean their units as a side hustle. I’m flattered! But, I think if cleaning was a job I would get paid for, I wouldn’t find it as enjoyable. Cleaning is therapeutic!
Since I’ve been cleaning for almost 30 years (yup, and I’m still a millennial), I know a lot of tips and tricks! I am going to share with you my favorite cleaning hacks and how I safely store my cleaning products to keep them away from pets and kiddos!
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Let’s Hit The Most Used Place First: Kitchen Cleaning!
One would assume bathrooms are the most used or dirtiest room in a home.
Nope – it’s the kitchen!
Think about it, we are touching the fridge door to take food in and out at least 3 times a day.
We are bringing in dirty grocery bags and placing them on counters (please don’t do this, keep grocery bags and purses on the floors).
On weekends, I’m clearing breakfast plates, wiping the crumbs away and setting it up with an activity to keep my kid busy for a few hours. As soon as I finish cleaning up that Pinterest masterpiece or fail, I’m setting up the table to eat again!
Cleaning Kitchen Surfaces with Water, Vinegar, Dawn Dish Soap & Disinfecting Wipes
It’s easy to neglect cleaning surfaces. You just have to make cleaning easy and convenient.
I make it a priority to wipe down the surfaces after each activity or meal with a simple water/vinegar mix and a cloth.
I bought a simple 32oz spray bottle, fill half with water, add a drop of dawn dish soap and fill the other half with distilled white vinegar.
For cleaning cloths back in the day, I bought a few packs like this set on amazon.com, but now I just look for real-estate sales. It’s amazing how you can walk away with garbage bags full of washcloths, hand towels and bath towels and only spend quarters! Who cares if it’s somebody’s old bath towel?! Duh, you wash it before you use it!
And to be honest, some of those towels are nicer than our towels we are still using from when we first got married.
For cleaning up after raw meat or to give a deeper scrub on counter surfaces, I use disinfecting wipes.
I also frequently take out items in my fridge and wipe down the shelves in the fridge because again – we are bringing products that have been touched by many other hands and resting in dirty shopping carts, and putting them right in our fridge! Oh for germs!!!
Cleaning the Kitchen Microwave!
In college, I had a roommate that refused to cover her food when she warmed it up in the microwave.
You name it.
It was blown up all over MY freaking microwave.
Naturally, we didn’t get along due to her messy habits, as well as there were many other reasons.
Let me introduce the best microwave cleaning hack: boiling water.
In a microwavable bowl or cup, heat water for 4-6 minutes. Your microwave will experience a lovely sauna of steam cleaning. Be careful when you take the water cup out to not burn yourself. And proceed to just wipe down your microwave!
I wear gloves and dip the cleaning cloth in the hot water to give it a little more extra heat with my scrub. You can also use vinegar sprays or disinfectant wipes if you feel like your microwave still needs to be sanitized.
Cleaning the Kitchen Stove Top & Oven
So far in my lifetime, we’ve used 3 different types of stove tops. Each I’ve had to clean differently.
Ugly, Metal Drip Pans
The first stove top we encountered was very old, with gross burners. It was a rental unit and they placed foil around the metal frames, also known as the drip pans (I know, these are so cheap to replace. You literally spend more money on foil wrapping these up).
But whatever. If you want to be that cheap and not replace your burnt pans, then soak them in really hot water, with dish soap, for about a half an hour.
Take them out while they are still warm, spritz with vinegar, and sprinkle baking soda on top. Let them fizzle for a minute or so, then place a hot, wet towel on top of them. Let them sit for about an hour (don’t let them dry out or you start all over again) and scrub with a non-scratch sponge. If you don’t care if you scratch the pans, then yes use the round, stainless steel scrubbers!
Smooth Top Ranges
The next stove top we had was a glass, flat surface. Sure, you can use wet with warm water, spritz with vinegar and baking soda method again. But, my favorite (and quickest) product was “Cook Top Cleaning Creme for Smooth Top Ranges.”
Basically, you clear all food/debris off your range as best as you can with your cleaning cloth or sponge. Then when the surface is a little dryer, squirt the cleaning cream all over the top and rub it around over the nasty areas. Let the cream rest on the surface for a minute or two, then go crazy rubbing it with your sponge or rag.
It’ll shine so purrrrty!
Gas Stove Tops
This was a new ballgame for me when we moved into a new home. I’ve never been around gas stoves before (nor knew how to cook off of them) and they burn extremely hot!
Like, in my current cookware set I can fry meat on the lowest setting! Overall, this has been the easiest surface to clean. I mainly use hot water that I have boiled in the microwave above, and wipe it down with my cleaning cloth. Or use my vinegar/water spray mix.
The burner top lids are a little different for me. I haven’t played around enough with these to figure out how exactly I should clean these to get some burn stains off of them.
I tried soaking in warm soapy water, but didn’t get great results. So, I am up for suggestions! And will update this post when I have successfully cleaned mine better. As far as the grates (the metal frames on which your pans reside), I do let these soak in, soapy water and scrub with a sponge.
Cleaning Inside The Oven & Introducing The Best De-greaser Ever: Jungle Jake Cleaner.
You know what sucks? Forgetting to stab your potatoes and sweet potatoes enough so they don’t explode in the oven.
I am notorious for exploding all forms of potatoes. For instance, this is the remaining amount of a sweet potato in my oven.
It kept smoking and setting our smoke alarm off so I thought I’d finally better clean it out with my favorite cleaning product: Jungle Jake Cleaner and Degreaser.
We mainly use this on our oven and popcorn maker, but it has multiple uses. It’s non-toxic, non-flammable, biodegradable, non-abrasive, non-corrosive and non-phosphate.
Don’t get me wrong – anytime you ingest cleaners or get them in your eyes is a very bad thing and one should always exercise caution when using them!
But, Jungle Jake is one of the more gentle, high functioning cleaning products out there.
You can buy Jungle Jake from your local animal or farm supply store. I think it’s about half the price if you buy locally instead of purchasing on amazon.com.
Here’s a few pics of before and after. I’m a ping pong ball cleaner. Meaning, I start in one area, and I magically bounce and start cleaning another before I finish one area. You’ll see. Oops.
Overall, Jungle Jake is my fav de-greaser and it works wonders on surfaces that have been burnt or oiled. It’s highly concentrated, so you can dilute it with water and use a small amount for most cleaning activities.
Moving On – How To Clean Kitchen Sinks:
The cheap, simple concept of water, vinegar and baking soda works wonders for the kitchen sink. After I have washed dishes and scrubbed as best as I can with my dish cloth, I then drain the water and spritz with vinegar. Sprinkling baking soda adds a nice cleaning fizzle. I let this stay on for about 5 minutes then scrub off. Voila. Clean!
But, it won’t be shiny. That’s OK for me. I’m really not into impressing people with my shiny kitchen sink, but if you want a glossy metal look, you can rub baby oil with a cleaning cloth or even lemon or vegetable oil are natural solutions.
They also make stainless steel wipes which I have used when moving out of rentals and want to make sure I get my deposit back!
How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances
Daily, I use my vinegar/water spray bottle and cleaning cloth to wipe the surfaces down of my frequently touched stainless steel appliances.
However, it doesn’t leave them the shiniest. The best (and stinkiest) product I have for using on my appliances (when the in-laws come over) is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner.
Here’s a few before/after pics of my dirty appliances.
What I like most about the stainless steel foam cleaner is that it leaves almost a protective, glossy coating.
You probably shouldn’t be using it if you have kids or pets that lick your appliances. Just sayin. Our dog did that.
Cleaning Wood Surfaces
Lemon oil cleaner has always been my jam when it comes to cleaning kitchen chairs, cabinets, bookcases, etc. I recently discovered Formby’s and by far, it’s my fav!
It may look a little greasy when you initially put it on, but just rub it in with a cleaning cloth (I wear gloves as I really don’t want this product on my skin). Again, I wouldn’t recommend if your kids or pets lick your furniture.
Overall, it will remove grime and keep the health of your wood furniture pieces!
Cleaning Hard Surface Floors:
When we had a dog, I never had to clean my floors! It was amazing this beast who just licked every crumb!
It wasn’t until we had a kiddo come along who started crawling around, and getting the dog’s hair in his fingers, where I’m like, “OK, we need to clean floors…daily.”
I felt my floors were sanitized and it picked up all the hair really well! Plus, the microfiber pads are machine washable so you never have to buy replacement cleaning pads.
The Best Vacuum For Carpeted Floors
I actually really don’t like carpet. After having a pet that would once in a while randomly throw up (likely, from all the misc. crumbs he was eating off our kitchen floor) and due to allergies, carpets are NOT my favorite.
But what do ya do when you have a house that has ’em?
You vacuum frequently.
Daily if you have a pet.
At least once a week if you have a baby.
Vacuums are another item I seem to go through quite a bit over the years! We’ve bought the expensive Dyson, and after that stopped sucking, bought a cheaper Shark. And I love it!
The head is smaller than my Dyson, but I believe that’s intentional to get a higher power suction? I’ve had mine for 3 years and it’s going strong. If something were to happen to it, I would buy it again! For $120, it’s not a bad price!
How To Remove Stains From Carpeted Floors:
The best way to get out carpeted stains in my opinion is to soak with vinegar water, sprinkle on baking soda and scrub.
Our dog knocked a whole bowl of spaghetti sauce off of the counter one time, let it roll into the living room, where he proceeded to lick it into the carpet in a trail about 5 feet long. It was a disaster, but no stains! Oh – and it was white carpet in that house we were in! Gah – I know!
I currently pay a carpet cleaning service to clean my carpets once a year (I know, I should do this on my own but I have to cut time somewhere!).
Our daycare provider does have her own carpet shampooer which she frequently uses and loves. So, I’ll likely jump on board some year to save some costs and do my own as well.
Let’s Go Clean The Bathroom!
For bathroom counter surfaces, I follow the same procedures as my kitchen counter surfaces (water/vinegar spray and disinfectant wipes).
How To Clean The Soap Scum Ring In A Bathtub:
One would generally assume a guy’s bathroom is the hardest to keep clean. Nope – it’s mine. I like to take baths to relax and de-stress. My makeup, shave gel and my other bath bomb products leave a horrible scummy ring around my tub.
After a shower or bath (make sure the tub/shower is wet) I spray either a scrub free bleach, or Scrub Free oxy cleaner. I let it sit on here for a few minutes (until I put my contacts in and brush my teeth) and then wipe off with a disinfectant wipe or a cleaning cloth.
I’m embarrassed, but here’s my before and after pics of my bathtub with a soap scum ring. TMI. I know. Welcome.
How To Clean Bathroom Mirrors
Spray on. Wipe off.
How To Clean Toilets
Here’s an area where I do have a hack or two. You know those darn fuzzies that magically appear on top of in, and all around the toilet? If you try and wipe them with a dry paper towel, they never get picked up. If you try and wipe them with a disinfectant wipe, you just smear them around.
However, if you take the paper towel that you just used to clean the bathroom mirror off with, it picks up all the fuzzies amazingly! (Do not reuse paper towel after wiping your toilet. Throw away!).
I then use a disinfectant wipe after I got all the fuzzies off.
I flush the toilet once to make sure the inside of the bowl is all wet, then I squirt some Toilet Bowl Cleaner around the curve inside. I let it sit in here for about 10 minutes. Then flush again and wipe/scrub if needed with a disinfectant wipe and wearing a disposable glove.
How To Safely Store Bathroom Cleaning Supplies
To make cleaning bathrooms easy and convenient, I keep all the basic bathroom cleaning supplies in each bathroom if possible.
DO NOT store your cleaning products under sinks! If possible, use a shelf if have a bathroom closet, or hang a shelf on your wall.
If you must store them under your sink, or in a cabinet that can be open by children and pets, please use a baby safety lock. Cleaning products stored improperly pose a hazard and are easily accessible to kids and pets.
Also, in our old home, our dishwasher malfunctioned and flooded my kitchen. Mainly under my sink. All my paper towels and cleaning products were soaked. And gross. I basically keep as little as possible under my sinks now due to safety and in case we need to access pipes. #LessonLearned
Do Not Store Paint Under Your Sinks Or In Rooms With Fluctuating Temperatures
Oops. Looks like I’m storing some paint currently under the kitchen sink.
If you have boys in your house that like to play indoor sports, I’m constantly fixing a mark or ding on a wall.
But, I should be storing this in the garage (if you have a garage that doesn’t fluctuate temps) or in my basement in the furnace room which stays cool due to a cement floor.
Other Safe Storage Tips
I’m all for making cleaning products accessible, easy and convenient, but also safe.
Safely Storing Dishwasher Packs
Dishwasher packs are one of the most dangerous products in your kitchen.
They can be ingested easily by pets and kids!
The best place to store these is high, out of reach by all.
We keep ours in the highest shelf above the dishwasher. I actually have to jump up on the counter a little bit to grab these down. I know that if my kid was a monkey, he still wouldn’t be able to get these!
Safely Storing Cleaning Products
One of the reasons we chose the house we did, is because off the kitchen is a giant walk in pantry. I think the intent of this space was a canning room maybe? You can probably fit 5 Americans, or 10 Asians, in there.
But, it’s a great place to store items I purchase in bulk, as well as my cleaning products on a high shelf.
Fire extinguishers actually should not be stored by stoves or under sinks in kitchen (likely too close to the location if you had a kitchen fire!).
We keep ours in this room as I’d be able to get to it within a couple steps. The height is about the same height as my head (I’m 5’5″).
Ideally, you don’t want to be reaching cleaning products from too high above your head (in case you have an accident and it dumps on your head).
Use a ladder if you can’t safely reach your cleaning products.
Again, if you don’t have a pantry with shelves, try and put in some wall-hanging cabinets. In our previous home, we built some up above our washer and dryer. It served as a great, safe location for all our cleaning products. I even put a baby safety lock on it just in case my kid got wild!
For this room, we can shut the door, as well as put in a safety child door knob cover if we felt this is needed.
Safely Storing Kitchen Knives, Scissors And Other Sharp Objects
I removed all of our sharp objects out of our kitchen drawers, and either hung them up on the kitchen walls, or put them in containers on the kitchen counter.
My kid is old enough to dig in drawers now, but at least I know the most dangerous items are stored far away from his reach. He would have to push a chair really far across the kitchen in order to reach this!
I leave pull-out drawers mainly for Tupperware containers, towels and cleaning cloths. PS – this provides hours of entertainment for babies!
Wrap-Up: Cleaning and Safe Storage In Your Home
Cleaning is one of my favorite topics! I could talk (or write) about it all day! These were just a few of my favorite cleaning activities in our home.
I hope you always consider safety as a factor when bringing chemicals and objects that could be harmful to your loved ones and pets into your home.
Do you have any favorite cleaning or safe storage hacks that you do in your home? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email or comment below!
Below is a list of all my fav products I mentioned above for quick reference.
Thanks and have a great day!
My Favorite Cleaning Products For My Home:
- Baking Soda
- Cook Top Cleaning Creme for Smooth Top Ranges
- Dawn dish soap
- De-greaser & Cleaner – Jungle Jake
- Disinfecting wipes
- Dishwasher packs
- Dishwasher Rinse Aid
- Gloves – Disposable
- Gloves – Rubber
- Lemon Oil
- Paper Towels
- Scrub Free bathroom cleaner
- Shark steam mop
- Shark vacuum
- Sponges – non-scratch
- Sponges – stainless steel
- Stainless Steel Wipes
- Stainless Steel Cleaner – Spray Foam; Weiman’s
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner