The Basic Cleaning Closet (cleaningcloset)

UNL Extension – helping you turn knowledge into "know how"

The Basic Cleaning Closet

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Whether you're establishing a new household or getting your existing one in order, having the right cleaning supplies on-hand will make your cleaning tasks faster and easier. If killing germs is your goal, be sure the label says "disinfectant" or "sanitizer."

* All-purpose spray cleaner: Designed for quick cleanup on smaller washable areas, such as around switch plates, chrome fixtures and greasy surfaces, such as appliances and stove tops.

* All-purpose powder or liquid cleaner: Mixed with water, these are most often used on large washable surfaces, such as floors, painted walls, countertops and woodwork.

* Abrasive cleanser: These are designed to remove relatively heavy amounts of soil in a small area and contain a kind of built-in elbow grease that helps reduce the need for hard rubbing. They're available in powder, gel or scouring-pad forms.

* Nonabrasive cleanser: These cleansers are for gentle cleaning on hard surfaces that are easily scratched, including porcelain sinks and ceramic tile.

* Chlorine bleach: An effective disinfectant that kills bacteria, viruses and fungi, including molds and mildew.

* Disinfectant wipes: A convenient way to clean hard surfaces such as countertops, sinks, windows and toilets.

* Glass cleaner: For easy wipe-down of mirrors, shower doors, glass table-tops and glass-covered photos and artwork. Spray the cleaner on a clean cloth or paper towel, rather than directly onto the surface.

* Mildew stain remover: Removes stains in grout lines and other places where mold and mildew can appear. As a substitute, mix a solution of 3/4 cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.

* Furniture dusting product: Choose a product that will capture the dust. Choices include microfiber cloths, electrostatic cloths and dusters, dusting sprays and polishes. Dusting with a dry cloth just spreads the dust around.

* Toilet-bowl cleaner: Choices include drop-in toilet cleaners that dispense cleaning solution into the water when the toilet is flushed; liquid or powdered cleaners that are designed to remove stains in the bowl; and disposable cleaning systems that eliminate the need for a reusable brush.

* Silver or metal polish: Take inventory of the metals in your home and select the appropriate polish(es).

* Specialty cleaners: Take inventory of the surfaces in your home, including stone surfaces, floor finishes, leather upholstery and non-self-cleaning ovens. Cleaners specially formulated for these surfaces can do a better job and prolong the life of the surface.

Do you know what's in your cleaning closet? Are the products still usable? Check your cleaning supplies and have the right products for the job. Keep the environment in mind when selecting and using products. It is not necessary to have all of the products listed, only purchase the ones you need and will use. Also dispose of products in the proper manner. Always read product labels and follow the direction for use.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was added April 2009 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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