Most useful cleaning hints

Sink drain: To keep it sanitary and odor-free, pour in 1/2-cup baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar. After it foams, flush with hot water, then cold. Repeat once a month.

Kitchen counter tops: For stubborn stains, squeeze fresh lemon juice on the area and let soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Then sprinkle with baking soda and rub gently with a soft cloth. Rinse with water and dry.

Wood chopping blocks and plastic cutting boards: To disinfect, mix a solution of 2 to 3 tablespoons bleach to 1 quart of water and pour it over the wood. Wait a few minutes before rinsing well.

Stale carpet smell: Using a flour sifter, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda. Leave for 30 minutes, then vacuum. If you want to buy a new carpet, please, visit carpetwiseflooringamerica.com/carpet-flooring

Miniblinds: Slip a terry sock over your hand, spray it with all-purpose cleaner and dust.

Chandelier: For sparkle without drips, quick-clean the crystals with pre-moistened, alcohol-based towelettes.

Fiberglass tub: Any inexpensive hair shampoo makes a great, low-cost cleaner. Scrub away using an old stocking rolled into a ball as a cleaning pad.

Toilet: As a cleaning shortcut, drop in a few denture tablets and let them fizz. Swish with toilet brush.

Room freshener: Before you vacuum, add a handful of whole cloves or potpourri, or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or nutmeg, to the vacuum cleaner bag.

Musty closets: Keep a bowl of activated charcoal in the closet to absorb the moisture that creates the odor.

Lamp shades: Dust with a soft, clean paintbrush.

Silk flowers: Place flower-end first into a paper or plastic bag filled with 1/4-cup salt and shake a few times.

The best and cheapest way to dry windows you’ve just washed is with crumpled newspaper. The printer’s ink makes the glass sparkle.

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