How to Clean House Gutters

How to Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily

Cleaning the gutters and downspouts of your house just comes with the territory of owning a home, but it doesn’t have to be a big chore. Although it’s not the most fun task, it isn’t that difficult, doesn’t take that long, and will help prevent damage to your roof and the eaves themselves. Plus, it helps make your house look nicer.

Why You Should Clean Your Gutters

If you don’t clean your gutters, major damage will eventually plague your house when rainwater cannot go down a blocked drain. That blocked water builds up and gets under your shingles or rooftop material, and

How to Clean House Gutters

How to Clean House Gutters

rots the wood of your roof, trim and siding, and water can even get into your house, which we all know is not good.

Downspouts that are clogged in fall and not cleaned before the snow falls can become a problem. During warm winter days or the spring when the snow melts, if the melt water cannot go down the drain, tis can cause a big ice lip to build up at the edge or your roof that not only prevents snow from sliding off your roof, but it also puts a massive amount of weight on your roof. This can lead to a damaged roof or even a collapsed roof.

Even if the roof eaves of your house don’t get clogged or overflow each season, it’s just not a good idea to leave decaying debris in your gutters, as it’s an invitation to mosquitoes and carpenter ants.

So no matter how busy or lazy you feel, the little effort it takes to clean your gutters can save you lots of headache and damage costs. It’s definitely worth the effort, and not worth the consequences if you don’t do it. So let’s get to it.

Get the Right Tools

  • Ladder
  • Gloves
  • Trowel or Hand Scoop
  • Trash bag or Bucket
  • Rope (if you do this alone)
  • Garden Hose

Be Safe

If your home is more than one story, you may need an extension ladder. But even if your house is only one story, you could get seriously hurt if you fall. So no matter how many stories you have, make sure your ladder is stable. Either use a stabilizer, or make sure you’re on level ground, or both.

Figure out how you’re going to get your trash bag or bucket down before you start. It will be heavy and awkward, but if you can hand it to someone, or lower it with a rope if you’re doing this job solo, you’ll want to have this planned out before you start. Don’t wait until you’re umpteen feet above the ground, on the roof, balancing a heavy bag, wondering what to do with it.

Gloves don’t just help keep your hands and nails clean, but they can protect your hand from sharp objects. Leather ones will protect your hands better than cloth, as well as keep them cleaner. Make sure they’re the right size so you can do this job safely and properly.

Where to Start

After you have all your tools in place, it’s best to start where the downspouts are, which is typically at the corners, but not always.

Start at the downspouts so you can avoid pushing debris down the downspout and further clogging it, by simply pushing debris away from the drain hole as you clean the gutters.

Do it Right

  1. Simply scoop the debris into your bag or bucket. Use your trowel for the big stuff, and you may need to use your hands for the small stuff and gunk stuck to the bottom. If the debris is wet, I recommend a
    How To Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily

    How To Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily

    bucket rather than a bag, unless you use an extra sturdy bag. Wet stuff is heavier than dry stuff, so you may not want to fill the bag all the way up.

  2. After all the larger debris is removed, rinse the gutter with your garden hose, spraying toward the direction of the nearest downspout.
  3. You will need to clear any downspouts that may be clogged. If you start by spraying water down the spout from the top, you may just compact the clog so it gets lodged in tighter and becomes harder to budge. The best way is to start at the bottom of the drain spout and shoot some water up so it hits the bottom of the clog by using the spray nozzle of your hose at the highest pressure setting. Then get on the roof and shoot water down the pipe from the top. If it’s a loose clog, this should clear it up. If this still doesn’t clear it up, you can use a plumber’s snake, or if the clog is near the top, any type of long pole, like the end of a rake, will do. Collect the clog at the bottom of the spout after it comes out and put it in your debris receptacle.

Follow all the above procedures for all your gutters and downspouts of your home, garage, or any outbuildings you have that have gutters.

And finally, dispose of all the debris you’ve collected by putting it in the trash, or more preferably, a compost pile. You may already have your own compost pile, or can start one, or often your local city offices can tell you where a free community compost trash receiving site is located.

And that’s How to Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily!

And now you can sit back and relax as you pat yourself on the back for taking care of business and keeping your property well taken care of. It’s okay to admire your own work, because not only do you now have clean gutters, but also peace of mind.

Prevent Future Problems

Use a stand-off or stabilizer, which not only keeps your ladder stable, but it also keeps your ladder from resting on, and thus possibly damaging or denting your gutters.

Inspect the gutters and downspouts now for any signs of damage. Look for holes, dents, or cracks. If you discover any signs of damage, repair them as soon as possible.

It’s best to clean the eaves and gutter spouts of in late spring or after nearby trees have finished shedding their leaves in the fall. If there copious amounts of trees or rain in your area, you should probably check your gutters more often.

Other Tips

Install leaf strainers inside the eave near the drain hole to prevent leaves from going down, and possibly clogging, your downspout.

You may want to consider installing guards that prevent the debris from sliding off your roof into your gutter in the first place. They won’t stop all falling leaves and branches from landing in your gutter, but can make your biannual gutter cleaning much more easy in the future.

Your local city yard refuse disposal site is also a great place to get free compost for your garden in the spring.

 

Laundry Boosters

What are Laundry Boosters

Laundry boosters are additives that you add to your washing machine to help make your regular laundry detergent more effective.

Laundry detergent boosters can be either organic homemade laundry soap or a store bought brand. There are a variety of recipes to make your own, and just like any laundry detergent, boosters came in many different brands, sizes, shapes, colors. Some are liquid and some are dry powder.

laundry boosters

Laundry Boosters

You can make or buy laundry boosters with all natural ingredients and essential oils for an all-natural scent, or ones that are infused with fragrances formulated in a lab. And all types offer an unscented version.

Most can be used on delicates, cotton, polyester, wool, other fabrics, and can sometimes even be used for other cleaning purposes. However, they’re usually not recommended for use on leather.

Why Use Laundry Boosters

Although you might think regular laundry detergent should get the job done, laundry boosters add a special touch to your help get your laundry even cleaner in the following ways:

  • Cleans away soil and dirt
  • Removes stains and grease
  • Helps prevent discoloration of your clothes
  • Helps keep whites brighter
  • Adds a little kick in your effort to eliminate odors.
  • Makes your clothes softer

I like to use boosters on all my loads of laundry, but they are especially useful for those extra “smelly” loads of laundry we all abhor, such as sweaty sports clothing, ‘soiled’ underwear, dirty diapers, pet bedding, well-used sneakers, etc.. Many are also designed to a super washing soda baby detergent that is gentle on extra sensitive skin.

How to Use Laundry Boosters

Be sure to use your booster with your regular laundry detergent, and don’t wash your laundry with a booster alone.

Each laundry booster product or recipe has its own instructions about quantity and timing, but usually you just add a little to the wash at the beginning of the wash cycle.

Many boosters are made for all washing machine types, but some are made for only top loading washing machines, and some are made specifically for HE (High Efficiency) washing machines. Again, read the label, but know that there is a booster out there for every type of machine, from front loading machines, to hand washing or other multi-purpose uses.

You will, of course, want to follow all your other laundry washing guidelines, such as washing wool only in cold water, and not mixing whites and color clothes in the same wash load. But generally speaking, most laundry boosters are made for cold, warm or hot water, and for all material types.

You’ll find laundry boosters that can be used on delicates, cotton, polyester, wool, other fabrics, and can sometimes even be used for other cleaning purposes. Most are color safe, but to be laundry safe, be sure to read that label.

Pre-Wash Tips

Laundry boosters also work great as a pre-wash treatment for grease stains by mixing it with a little water and rubbing your new laundry booster ‘paste’ into the stain.

You can also eliminate odors around your laundry basket, as stinky clothes are waiting to hit the wash by shaking certain types of laundry boosters lightly on the clothes before you wash them.

How Do Laundry Boosters Work?

Some say boosters work best with soft water, but doesn’t everything? Soft water makes soap bubble up more, and soft water makes everything, from skin to clothes, softer. But boosters actually act as a water softener, and thus, they are especially effective for use with hard water.

If your booster has baking soda in it, then the high pH of this alkaline substance helps soften your hard water, or make your soft water softer. This makes your laundry detergent more efficient and enhances its ability to remove dirt and stains. Plus, baking soda is a natural deodorizer and is great for removing foul odors.

If you’re a fan of Borax, you’ll find laundry booster is one many Borax uses you maybe didn’t know about.

Some boosters use ‘oxygen bleach’ that is well known for brightening laundry, as well as removing other household stains outside the laundry arena.

And yet some laundry boosters are loaded with active enzymes that act to help brighten your colored and white clothes alike.

So whatever you’re washing, you still need to shop around, depending on your ingredient preferences and laundry needs, but just about everyone can benefit form some sort of laundry booster or another.

 

How to Get Rid of Dust Mites

How to Get Rid of Dust Mites

dust mite allergies

Dust mite allergies

Learning how to get rid of dust mites is important in order to help control allergic reactions in your home.

Dust mites feed on organic materials such as flakes of shed human skin and flourish in the stable environment of dwellings. House dust mites are a common cause of asthma and allergic symptoms worldwide. The mite’s gut contains potent digestive enzymes that persist in their feces and are major inducers of allergic reactions. The mite’s exoskeleton can also contribute to allergic reactions. Here is a natural remedy for the control of dust mites.

dust mites

How to get rid of dust mites

Researchers at Alexandria University in Egypt found certain essential oils to be effective at killing dust mites, the invisible-unless-under-a-microscope creatures that tend to live in bedding, carpets, furniture and drapes. If you want to keep your allergies at bay, eucalyptus and clove were proven to be the most effective oils for eliminating household dust mites.

Here are three tips on how to get rid of dust mites:

  • Add around 10 drops of an oil in with your laundry detergent when you wash your sheets in hot water.
  • Fill a spray bottle with 1 quart of water and 20 drops of an oil to spray on upholstery.
  • Put baking soda in a sifter and add in 10 drops of an essential oil to shake across carpeting. Then leave the mixture on the floor for 30 minutes and vacuum it up.

    essential oils

    How to get rid of dust mites using essential oils

By learning how to get rid of dust mites, you can control and limit their impact in your home.

Cleaning Your Sneakers

Cleaning Your Sneakers

Getting your sneakers squeaky clean can be a challenge since cleaning your sneakers is not really the top of anyone’s to do list.  However, the state of your footwear says a lot about you so cleaning your sneakers should be an important part of your personal hygiene and appearance routine.

Smellimination

how to clean your sneakers, how to clean sneakers

Cleaning Your Sneakers

Sometimes you just need to take a break from wearing your cherished pair of sneakers and let air carry the smell out. If odors become extreme, here’s what you can try:

  • Remove the insoles of your shoes and shut them in a box containing baking soda. The strength of the odor determines how long the insoles need to be kept in there, but keep in mind that the longer they stay in there, the less odor they will have when you remove them. Set a time period yourself.
  • A quick easy trick is to remove insoles and let them dry out between uses, never wear the same shoes two days in a row (a great excuse to go buy some more shoes).  Letting them dry out between uses will help with the smell and help extend the life of the shoes.
  • There are many shoes sprays you can use as well, or fabric sprays like Lysol fabric mist.
  • Another quick tip is to stuff a dryer sheet into your shoes after use.

One product sneakerheads swear by is retaW’s sneaker spray. Made in Japan, the stuff has masculine spicy mint.

Laces

Laces deserve to be as clean as the rest of your sneakers. Clean them well and you may have people complimenting you on your “new” shoes.

dirty shoelaces

Cleaning Your Sneakers and dirty laces

If machine washing (likely the fastest and easiest method), wash them in cold water with like colours, in a pillowcase or a fabric bag meant for delicates so the laces don’t get tangled up in the other clothes or under the washing machine agitator.

If hand washing, fill the sink up with warm water and let the laces soak for 30-45 seconds.

Put a bar of soap to those laces when you remove them from the water and rub it thoroughly over the laces, making sure you cover all the dirtiness. If you lack a soap bar (or if that method doesn’t work for getting the stubborn dirt to leave), you can scrub the laces with a small amount of dish soap. After scrubbing the laces, let them soak again in the water for 30-45 seconds. Squeeze the water out of the laces and strategically lay them out on a towel to dry for maximum results.

For really dirty white laces you can soak in a bleach and water solution, but bleach will weaken the fibers and if the laces are so far gone that only bleach will work then maybe new laces are the best option.

If white laces still require more cleaning, you can sprinkle baking soda on them, scrub them thoroughly and let them soak for another 30 seconds before drying.

When it comes to laces, it is best to not wring your laces if they are flat in shape (like laces on Converse – most running shoe laces are round in shape). In order to get flat laces free of excess water, pinch the lace with your index finger and thumb and drag down the length of the lace to push the water out of the fabric.

Cleaning the Body of your Sneakers

It is best to clean sneakers as soon as possible after getting them dirty. If you clean them right away, you will often be successful at getting rid of all the dirt using just a cloth and water. For tougher challenges have a couple of different brushes on hand, even a clean toothbrush works.

Start with a clean bowl of water. Apply the solution (either your store bought solution or a mixture of dishsoap and water) onto the bristles of a wet brush. Dip the brush in the water and start scrubbing until the cleaner start to foam up. Wipe it clean. You could use any old towel or T-shirt, but if you use a microfiber towel, you’ll definitely have better results. There are some high-end sneaker cleaners you can use. Jason Markk makes a premium sneakers cleaner.

A quick method to clean shoes soles is to use a Magic eraser. Use a microfiber cloth and water to rinse any film after using the magic eraser. This is a great quick way to do a cleaning of the hard soles of any sneakers.

Be Sure to Brush

shoe brush

Cleaning your sneakers with soft bristle brush

What it really comes down to is the bristle. If you have a shoe with a cotton mesh upper, the mesh is going to pill up when you use a stiffer bristle, so have a couple of different softer and harder brushes on hand.

The brush definitely plays a huge part. It is recommended that you have both standard and hog bristle brushes because sometimes you need that extra stiffness of the bristle to really get in there and clean.

What To Do with Suede

cleaning your sneakers

Cleaning Suede Shoes or Sneakers

Suede protector is recommended for suede shoes. Before applying suede protector, be sure the shoes are clean and dry. Letting the shoes air dry for at least 24 hours is best. Then you’re good for about eight to ten months, depending on shoe usage. For materials like leather and suede, try a spray from a trusted source, like New Balance. However, all shoes stores will have good leather and suede protectors for shoes.

If your suede shoes get dirty in spite of suede protector, use a soft bristle brush to gently agitate the dirt off the shoe. Be sure the shoe and dirt are completely dry before doing this so you don’t spread the dirt around on the shoe instead of having it fall off.

The Ideal On-the-Go Solution

Always carry wet wipes in your car. Wet wipes are a very quick easy way to touch up stains as they happen.  If you drop something on your shoe at lunch, pull out a handy wet wipe and presto, shoe is clean and you don’t have to worry about the stain drying and setting making it harder to remove later.

 

If you own them, you need to be cleaning your sneakers. They will look better and last longer if taken care of.

 

How to Clean Stove Burner Pans

How to Clean Stove Burner Pans

If you have an electric stove with metal catch pans, here are some ideas on how to clean stove burner pans (how to clean stove element pans and how to clean gas stove burner tops as well)  and make them shine once more.

how to clean stove element pans, how to clean gas stove burner tops

How to Clean Stove Burner Pans

Throwing them in the dishwasher after a spill is likely the easiest way but if you are moving into a rental unit for example, where the cleaning has been poor and  you want to get the stove top cleanliness up to a high standard, here are some ways to do so.

Baked on food on a stove top or element pan is one of the most difficult things to clean. Soaking the pans is really your first and easiest choice for how to clean stove burner pans, using hot water and dish soap. Let soak as long as you can then use a scour pad to remove as much  cooked on food as possible.

An essential item to have in your kitchen is a kitchen scraper (hard plastic scraper – See below) that can be used to remove any cooked on food from cookie sheets to pots and pans. You can use the scraper on practically any surface with food gunk stuck on it. It is a good first choice before bringing out the heavy chemicals. Using oven cleaners or strong chemicals like ammonia should be your last resort.

kitchen scrapers

Kitchen Scrapers

Typically, oven cleaners contain lye (sodium hydroxide) which is corrosive and will damage exposed skin so always wear gloves when using these products.

Ammonia can also be used for heavy duty burnt on food removal. However, ammonia is toxic to aquatic animals and it is classified as dangerous for the environment. Always try to use good old fashioned elbow grease and less toxic chemicals first before bringing out the heavy guns.

That being said, sometimes just plain effort is just not enough. If that is the case for your element pans, try this for a speed cleaning tip, but only use one cleaning chemical or the other, NOT both:

  • Put  your element pans in a plastic bag and put a little ammonia OR oven cleaner (never use both) in the bag and seat it.
  • Leave overnight.
  • In a well ventilated area and wearing gloves, remove pans from bag and rinse well.
  • Scrub any remaining stuck on food with the kichen scrubber or plastic kitchen scraper.

Learning how to clean stove burner pans can help you keep your kitchen clean. It is easy to do if you just follow the above steps.

 

 

 

How to Clean a Toilet

How to Clean a Toilet

It is important to know how to clean a toilet properly.

Start with getting your cleaning supplies together.

Supplies:

how to clean a toilet

How to Clean a Toilet

  • Clean, dry cloths/rags
  • Glass or multi-surface cleaner
  • Toilet bowl cleanser (liquid or powder)
  • Toilet bowl brush

Steps for how to clean a toilet:

  1. Fold your cleaning cloth in quarters so you can rotate the cloth to a clean dry surface after you clean each area.
  2. Start with the handle and tank. Spray your glass or multi-surface cleaner on the surface and wipe with your dry cloth, cleaning the surface but being sure the surface isn’t too wet since you want to be able to polish the surface dry. Do not clean the lid, seat or any other area of the toilet before cleaning the handle and tank or you will be spreading around germs from the dirtier areas to the areas that typically aren’t as dirty.
  3. Move to the lid and seat. Apply your cleaner and use a clean, dry surface of your cloth to clean and polish dry. The seat is likely the most dirty surface and often you will have to use more cleaner and/or more cleaning cloths than with other parts of the toilet.
  4. On to the toilet bowl. Sprinkle cleanser in the bowl, making sure you cover the entire bowl, sides of the bowl included. Dip your brush in the toilet water to wet it then sprinkle cleanser on it as well. Scrub in a circular motion starting at the top of the bowl and working your way down to the bottom of the water in the bowl. Once done, shake the excess water off of your brush and flush the toilet afterwards to rid yourself of germs that could crawl back up onto the toilet. Remember to scrub under the rim of the bowl. Many people miss this area and as a result, it becomes an area for unpleasant guests to thrive. Also, scrubbing from top to bottom of the bowl is a more effective way of cleaning because the toilet water becomes cloudy and dirt-filled if you start at the bottom. Contaminated water is not a good way to remove germs.
  5. Finish by applying cleaner to the outside of the bowl and clean the front and sides of the bowl using the same technique.
  6. Using a clean, dry cloth, you can touch up and polish dry any area of the toilet where there is excess cleaner which should leave you with a sparkling fresh toilet.

With the proper supplies and technique, it should take no more than two to three minutes to clean a toilet.

how to clean a toilet

Pumice stone

If you have troublesome bowl stains that your standard cleaner cannot remove, using a commercial acid based bowl cleaner will usually do the trick. This can be found at any janitorial supply store. You can also use a pumice stone designed for toilet bowls if you don’t want to use harsh chemicals on tough stains.

Following the above steps on how to clean a toilet will keep it fresh and clean!

How to Clean Fruits and Vegetables

How to Clean Fruits and Vegetables

When thinking about how to clean fruits and vegetables, buying a bottle of cleaner that you see in the produce area of the grocery store may be an option. However, you can easily make your own mixture for a fraction of the cost.

cleaning fruits and vegetables

How to clean fruits and vegetables

You will need:

1 spray bottle (clean and never used with chemicals)

2 cups water

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp baking soda

 

Mix the ingredients in the spray bottle. The liquid will appear a bit foamy.

To clean fruits and vegetables, simply spray the liquid on the food. Let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse under cold, running water, using a soft scrub brush on the food if desired. And that’s how to clean fruits and vegetables.

How to Clean a Keurig

How to Clean a Keurig

Learning how to clean a keurig will prolong the life of the brewer and ensure it is operating properly.

How to Clean a Keurig Brewer

how to clean a keurig

How to Clean a Keurig

The external components of a Keurig can be cleaned with a soapy, damp, non-abrasive cloth. Do not immerse the brewer in water or any other liquid. The K-Cup holder, funnel, drip plate and drip tray are all dishwasher safe. The removable water reservoir and lid are NOT dishwasher safe so you should wash them by hand with warm, soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth. In order to ensure you don’t contaminate your water supply, ensure that no cleaning solutions or cleaners are in or near the water reservoir.

Be sure to perform a cleansing brew to ensure that the K-Cup holder is clean and clear of residue after brewing hot cocoa, Cafe Escapes or Perfect Iced Tea K-Cup varieties.

How to Clean a Keurig K-Cup Holder

Remove the K-Cup assembly. The K-Cup holder can be washed in the dishwasher. The funnel is also dishwasher safe. To clean the exit needle of coffee grounds or cocoa mix, insert a paper clip into the tube and move it around to loosen the clog and remove debris.

Descale your Brewer

Every 3-6 months, you should descale your Keurig. Although scale is harmless, it can hinder the operation of the brewer. Please see your Keurig instructions applicable to your particular unit.

Learning how to clean a Keurig brewing systems will allow you years of optimal use.

How to Clean a Retainer

How to Clean a Retainer

Since a retainer goes in your mouth, it is really important to know how to clean a retainer.

Methods for How to Clean a Retainer

how to clean a retainer

How to Clean a Retainer

The easiest way to for how to clean a retaineris with a toothbrush and toothpaste. A good time to clean your retainer is when you are brushing your teeth since you already have your toothbrush and toothpaste handy. Put a dab of toothpaste on the toothbrush and scrub all over the retainer. Rinse with clean water.

Another method for how to clean a retainer is with organic castille soap. This has been recommended by dentists. Use a squirt or two of organice castille soap in a small dish of water then soak the retainer. The main ingredients in castille soap are olive oil and coconut oil which do a great job of cleaning the retainer without using any chemicals.

Some orthodontists have a very simply recommendation for how to clean a retainer: soak the retainer in water and one denture cleaning tablet. Use two tablets if the retainer has buildup on it. Soak for 15 minutes then rinse.

Words of caution about how to clean a retainer: do not put the retainer in boiling water as this can damage the retainer, do not soak the retainer in mouthwash that has alcohol in it as this can dry out the retainer and cause it to crack. It is not recommended to use baking soda to clean a retainer because baking soda changes the pH of your mouth and a retainer has the potential to absorb and this puts your gums at risk of exposure.

Be sure to also clean your retainer case before putting your clean retainer away. Simply use warm soapy water to scrub all surfaces of the retainer case. Rinse with clean water and dry.

Dentists recommend that you never let your retainer dry out because tartar and biofilm can start bonding to the retainer. Keep your retainer in your mouth or in distilled water in your retainer case.

Knowing how to clean a retainer is an important part of having one.