Cleaning is probably one of the least desirable and most time-consuming household tasks of all. No matter how much people appreciate a sparkling house and spotless belongings, very few actually enjoy the endless burden of keeping their living space spic and span. That said, certain items definitely take more time and effort to clean than others—but many of the most notoriously difficult jobs can be accomplished quite easily with the help of some special tricks. Read on for some useful tips on how you can get just about everything in your home as clean as a whistle.
How to Clean Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals are great playmates for our little ones, but great pains to wash by hand. In most cases, however, these stuffed friends can be cleaned by a simple spin through the wash cycle. Just make sure that there are no rips or tears in the fabric before you throw the toy in the washing machine, since these defects can be aggravated in the wash cycle—spelling the end of your stuffed friend's life.
EHow: An instructional video on properly cleaning stuffed animals.
How to Clean Rattles and Teething Toys
Children put everything in their mouths, which makes it particularly important to clean things like rattles and teething toys frequently. These toys should be washed every single day, especially when they have been shared with other children. Many experts recommend cleaning these items with bleach and water—but parents who are uncomfortable with that can use the dishwasher as a simple alternative. Run your child's toys through the dishwasher cycle and allow them to dry. As long as they are not electronic and are water-resistant, this is a handy way to sanitize them quickly.
Kaboose: Tips for cleaning children’s toys.
How to Remove Writing From Plastic Toys
Most parents with little girls have dealt with writing on plastic toys, especially on the faces of once-beautiful dolls. Cuticle remover and rubbing alcohol have both proven very useful for removing ink from plastic. Just apply the chemical for 10 minutes, rub off the stain, and rinse the toy well.
The Queen of Clean's Complete Cleaning Guide: An excerpt on Google Books that explains how to remove ink from plastic.
How to Remove Candle Wax Stains
A candle wax stain may be a frustrating problem, but it is easier to solve than many people think. An iron should do the trick. Heat it up as if you were planning on ironing clothes, then put some paper towels on the wax stain and iron them. The wax should be absorbed by the towels, coming off the item. Just be careful not to do this near meltable or flammable items!
Mrs. Clean: Tips for removing candle wax.
How to Remove Odor From the Home
There is nothing like a nice clean home, but unpleasant odors can certainly kill the effect. Leaving vinegar or Pine-sol in small bowls around the house can absorb odors. Baking soda also works well, and there are certain powders designed for vacuuming that have the same effect.
Mrs. Clean: How to remove odors from the home.
How to Clean Your Barbecue Grill
Outdoor grills are fun to use, but they can be difficult to clean. Many people like to put some tin foil over the grid and turn the heat up. In most cases, this turns everything into ash, kind of like an oven's self-cleaning setting.
Komar.org: Tips and tricks for cleaning barbecue grills.
How to Clean Walls
Walls get dirty easily, especially when there are children in the home. Warm water and bleach works well on walls painted white, but anything oil-based should not be used, because it will show up shiny and be difficult to paint over.
About.com: Tips on cleaning just about any type of wall.
How to Clean the Shower, Tub, and Toilets
Tubs and showers can be notoriously hard to clean. They tend to build up lime and soap scum pretty quickly, and this can be unsightly. You want your bathing area to be clean. Scrubbing these deposits with a mixture of fabric softener and water and a microfiber cloth should do the trick, leaving your bathing area sparkling clean.
DIY Network: Tips on cleaning your bathroom like a professional.
How to Clean Grout
No matter what type of tile you have, your grout will probably get nasty very quickly—and dirty grout is unsightly, whether the problem is food stains, soap scum, or just plain mildew. Vinegar and baking soda with water work well for washing grout. So do cleaning agents like Lysol and Mr. Clean.
Do It Yourself: Grout-cleaning tips.
How to Clean Carpet
Carpet is one of the most difficult things to clean, and it seems to get dirty more easily than anything in the house. You may want to hire somebody to come in and clean it professionally. If not, you can rent a carpet cleaner from a local store and do the job yourself. For small spots, vinegar or club soda usually works very well.
How Stuff Works: Carpet-cleaning tips.
How to Clean Cement
Cleaning cement is not difficult. Whether you have a cement floor in your basement or a cement patio, a strong scrubbing brush and a soap-and-water solution should do the trick.
Yahoo! Voices: Tips for cleaning driveways, garages, etc.
How to Remove Grass Stains From Clothing
Grass stains are notoriously difficult to remove. In order to stand a chance against the grass stain, it is important to catch it early. Make sure to pre-treat the spot with a stain-remover. Use a sponge to blot the stain, and use rubbing alcohol or vinegar to remove it (except where silk is concerned). Then rinse the garment and run it through the wash. If all goes well, the stain will disappear.
Essortment: Other grass-stain-removal ideas.
How to Remove Chocolate From Clothing
Removing chocolate from clothing is simple: Scrub the stain with mild dish detergent and warm water. Then wash the garment as you normally would. The brown stains should come out very easily.
EHow: Removing chocolate stains from clothing.
Removing rust can prove difficult, whether it is on your washing machine, dishwasher, or clothing. For some tips on removing rust from dishwashers, check out this eHow feature. For tips on removing rust from clothes, check out this Wisegeek feature.