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A Brighter Holiday

Household cleaning tips for the whole family

At holiday time, we all dream of a hearth and home that's sparkling clean and guest-ready, 24/7. Before the real world of shopping and socializing intervenes, check out some of these plan-ahead strategies from the American Cleaning Institute.

Coat Closet Cleanout: Make room for guests' gear. Remove out-of-season items. Launder or dry clean items and put them away. Sort through boots and shoes; store them in bins or hanging organizers. Add hooks for hats and scarves. Restock with hangers sturdy enough for winter coats.

Window Wonderland: Give the world a clear view of your lovely outdoor decorations by cleaning windows! New varieties of glass cleaners offer a range of fragrances, including berry, orange and lemon, to spice up your holiday cleaning.

Green and Clean: Houseplants deserve a holiday spruce-up. Wipe down broadleaf plants with a damp paper towel. For plants with
smaller leaves, mist with a spray bottle filled with room temperature water.

Road Rules: Protect your lawns and garden beds with driveway markers to keep snowplows, snowblowers and cars from straying
into unwanted places.

Quick Fixes: For hassle-free cleaning once the holidays are in full swing, keep these items close at hand:

  • Electrostatic dust cloths for spot dusting tabletops, TV screens, framed photos and knick knacks.
  • Toilet brushes with biodegradable pads are particularly handy when more guests mean more traffic in the bathroom. Just brush, then flush the pad away.
  • Disinfectant wipes at sink side in kitchens and bathrooms for quick clean up, and for disinfecting commonly touched, surfaces such as doorknobs and telephones.
  • Window wipes to make smudges on windows and mirrors disappear in a wink. Besides on glass, most are also safe to use on chrome, stainless steel, plastic and vinyl surfaces.