Tips & Tricks: Going the Extra Clean Mile

Whether you clean your home or hire someone else to do it, we can all agree that a clean home is better than a dirty one.  Sometimes being clean just doesn't cut it, though.  For me, is a lot like salad dressing - good, but better when there is a bit extra.

Here are a few of my favorite products for going the extra mile to a clean home, whether it is cleaning the actual cleaning equipment or ridding the space of funk.

Dishwasher:  I know people who do not have a dishwasher, and I have no idea how they do it.  I'd probably eat on paper plates for the rest of my life if I did not have one.  It saves me time and my manicure, though I haven't had one of those in months.  Over time, though, it can get an unpleasant smell.  The best solution to rid it of funk is Finish Dishwasher Cleaner.  Between washes, when the the machine is empty, plop it in, set it on the heaviest wash, and let it do its thing.  No more residue or smell! 

Disposal:  There was a home inspector that told me once that you should never put any food down your disposal.  This is ridiculous.  Sure, you don't want to put a whole turkey carcase down the drain, but food scraps are perfectly fine.  You are probably more likely to get bugs from food sitting in your trash than you are to end up with a broken disposal from putting last night leftovers down the drain.  If you find that you are getting a little bit of a smell from repeated use or perhaps just had salmon for dinner, just grab some Plink.  As one of my clients recently put it - "Those little things smell so good, I want to eat them."  Seriously, they are that amazing.

Washing Machine:  I live alone, do laundry every other week, and keep the lid up on my washer when it isn't in use.  You can pretty well assume that machine smells just fine.  This might not be the case for those of you who do laundry more frequently or forget to keep the door open between washes.  If you want your machine to actually clean your clothing, then you need to clean it first.  The best option is Clorox Washing Machine Cleaner.  There are a few other brands out there, but this one is the best.  Just be sure you read the box carefully - some are only made for he machines.

Laundry:  Arm & Hammer's Wet Dryer Sheets are the crack of household products.  I can't find it anywhere in town, but I always check the laundry section of any store I am in just to be sure they haven't decided to start stocking their shelves with them.  You might be asking yourself why anyone would use a WET dryer sheet.  It is because your clothing comes out softer, fresher and static free.  I use fragrance free fabric softner, don't put it in when I wash my towels, and I hate dryer sheets.  So, when I say these are awesome, you better believe it!  These guys are your new best friend.  Lavender & Vanilla is my go-to scent, but they also come in Classic Fresh.  On a side note, have you ever needed to quickly freshen a pair of jeans you want to wear just one more time before they see the wash (or get out last night's smokey bar stench)?   These will be your new best friend

Microwave:  I have yet to find a product I like that you can simply stick in the microwave to make it smell good.  Most smell like cleaning products - and that is not what I want when I am cooking food.  So, I stick to what my mom taught me as a kid - mix vanilla extract and water in a microwave safe measuring cup then put in the microwave.  The results are heavenly.  The recipe is one cup of extract and three cups of water.  Place in microwave for 10 minutes, and the boiling water will leave things smelling amazing.  If you don't like the smell of vanilla, then you can use any other extract - lemon, peppermint, etc.  I prefer the vanilla, because I can save money by buying the lifetime sized bottle sold at Costco. 

Entire Kitchen:  Ever walk in Williams Sonoma and wish you could recreate the smell in your own abode?  You can with this concoction.  Take a large pot and fill with 2/3 water, a sliced lemon, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a few sprigs of rosemary (packages in the grocery store's produce section if you do not have a garden).  You'll want to let it simmer for the entire day.  If you can only do this for a short amount of time, then store mix in fridge for use later.  It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days (any longer and you'll need to pour out, use a Plink, and get a good pot cleaner).  Just keep in mind that the longer you let it simmer, the better your kitchen will smell.

Throughout the Home: Wallflowers are the best.  Forget all the others, because once you have used their scents you won't want to switch to anything else.  My go-to for fall is Salty Caramel, which makes me hungry just thinking about it.  My mom uses the Apple scent - if she had a dollar for everyone that said her house smelled amazing, she could afford a personal chef to cook her an actual apple pie everyday for the rest of her life.  It smells that good, I swear. 

Do you have anything extra tips to bring your home to the next level?

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