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A Clean Sweep for the Holidays

Getting floors, countertops, and other surfaces clean and holiday-ready

icon surfacesAs the holidays approach and the festivities begin, cleaning migrates farther and farther down on that “to do” list. But with guests coming and going, cleaning isn’t something you want to let slide.

Before the holiday havoc begins, schedule a general cleaning session, paying special attention to kitchens and bathrooms, floors and furniture. Read cleaning product labels carefully to make sure you’re using them on the appropriate surfaces. Also pay careful attention to any cleaning instructions that are provided by a manufacturer, retailer or installation specialist. 

Wood floors: The vacuum cleaner and dust mop are generally the fastest and safest ways to clean wood floors. Wet mopping is generally not recommended.

Carpets: For carpets and large rugs, especially those with a deep pile, use an upright vacuum. Its rotating brushes are designed to agitate the dirt for optimum pickup. Because it’s easier to transport, use a canister style for stairs, bare floors and hard-to-get-at areas.

Countertops: Clutter is the number-one deterrent to clean countertops. So get it under control by developing a system. Open the mail over the trash basket or recycling bin so junk mail can get tossed immediately. Make a nightly sweep: Put newspapers in the recycling bin, current magazines in a magazine rack, dirty dishes in the dishwasher and food in the cupboards. An accordion file folder is a good way to organize bills and other mail that requires attention.

Porcelain surfaces (including sinks, toilets and bathtubs): Use a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner, then rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Ceramic tile: While the ceramic tile itself is easy to clean with a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner, the grout may require some special attention, particularly in the bathroom, where mold and mildew can appear. Use a mildew stain remover or a solution of ¾ chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. Gently scrub the grout with a soft bristle brush and then rinse thoroughly.

Glass (including mirrors, shower doors and glass table tops): Use a glass cleaner, a glass and multi-surface cleaner or a solution of ½ cup of ammonia to one gallon of water. Rinse with a clean, damp cloth and dry with a clean cloth, paper towels or a squeegee.

Upholstery: Vacuum thoroughly. Use a crevice tool to get in the creases and under the cushions where dust, crumbs and other debris tend to collect.

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Get a Handle on Holiday Cleaning

Nancy Bock, Senior Vice President, Education at the American Cleaning Institute offers these tips for making follow-up cleaning easier:

Put mats and throw rugs at all entryways. This will help prevent dirt from being tracked into your home. 

If your pets prefer the furniture to the floor, cover their favorite upholstered pieces with attractive, washable throws that can be whisked out of sight when guests arrive.

Keep a complete set of your favorite cleaning supplies on each floor of the house. They’ll always be within easy reach for touch-up cleaning.

Put a container of pop-up disposable wipes next to every bathroom and powder room sink. Encourage family members to use them every time they turn the tap water off.

Invest in a few small, hand-held vacuums (cordless or with a charger) and leave them in strategic places around your home. They are perfect for quick pickups and light vacuuming. 

Flushable bathroom wipes are good for touching up surfaces between deeper cleanings.