Homekeeping Skills You Need to Know via Clean Mama

Keeping house is not instinctual for most people, it’s a learned behavior and habits that need to be repeated (all the time, unfortunately) to be effective. Here are 4 most-asked questions answered in true bossy-pants fashion. Try out my techniques and see what you think! Hopefully my methods are time-saving and effective for your homekeeping endeavors. Keep an eye out for more posts in this series. Happy homekeeping!

The Right Way to Vacuum

Use the five following tips in order to vacuum your carpet thoroughly.

  1. Use the crevice attachment on your vacuum first. Vacuum all the edges before the carpet.
  2. Vacuum horizontally first.
  3. Vacuum vertically next. By vacuuming the floor in opposite directions, you will assure that the carpet is lifted and any dirt, hair and pet dander is effectively removed.
  4. Vacuum beginning in the corner furthest from the door and vacuum your way out of the room. This will leave you with those satisfying vacuum lines.
  5. Use a carpet neutralizer if your carpet is in need of a little freshening. Try my favorite homemade recipe below. I love that it is free from artificial scents. You can also put a drop or two of essential oil on a cotton ball and put it in your vacuum’s canister or bag to freshen the air as you vacuum.

Carpet Freshener

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 10-20 drops essential oil
  • container with a shaker top

Mix, put in container with a shaker top. Sprinkle on carpet and let sit for 15 minutes to absorb odors and vacuum up.

The Right Way to Wash Pillows

Considering how much time and use pillows get, it sometimes doesn’t occur to people to wash them. There is no need to toss them or deal with clumpy, lumpy pillows anymore – just wash them! This method works great on feather or synthetic pillows, but take care with your foam pillows. You can wash foam pillows, but not dry them as the heat will cause them to fall apart and melt. Don’t forget about your throw pillows!

  1. Remove the pillowcase and pillow protector. If you aren’t using pillow protectors on your pillows, I highly recommend getting them. They keep surface stains and accidental spills from reaching your pillow.
  2. Set your washing machine to a gentle, warm wash. Make sure that it is on the largest capacity setting as well. I like to wash two pillows at a time to keep the load balanced, but no more than three to assure that they get as clean as possible. Use a gentle detergent as well. After the washer has completed the cycle, I like to do a quick rinse cycle to get all the detergent out as well as another spin cycle to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. The key to keeping your pillows in pristine condition is to avoid high heat when drying. If your pillows are foam, you will want to avoid the dryer and line dry. If your pillows are synthetic, you can dry on a low to medium heat. Down or feather pillows need less heat, so use your low or air setting. I like to check the dryer after about 30 minutes in order to check the pillows and make sure they are not settling in to the corner of the dryer. Put a tennis ball in a sock if you want a little extra fluffing of the fibers.

The Right Way to Do Laundry

The task of doing laundry is not a favorite for most. By the time one load of laundry is carefully folded and put away, the pile seems to multiply before long. Implement these five tips to help make laundry a bit less tedious and quicker.

  1. Do not overload your washer. While it is tempting to try squeeze those extra items in, your clothes will not get as clean and you will end up putting extra wear and tear in your washer and dryer.
  2. Use the recommended amount of detergent. Adding extra will not make your clothes any cleaner and will only add extra residue, causing your clothes to look dingier.
  3. Utilize the cold water feature on your washer. You can safely mix your light and dark loads when you wash and rinse in cold water. I recommend washing new brights with brights for at least three times to prevent bleeding. I wash sheets and towels separately on Saturdays and with hot water and the sanitize cycle. I typically wash kids clothes as one load mixed up whites and colors on cold and my husband and my clothing separately and as two loads each – one for darks and one for whites.
  4. Just say no to fabric softener! Fabric softener actually coats individual fibers and leaves a residue that causes clothes and fabrics to not get as clean. Try using vinegar in place of softener to fluff up those towels and clothing while deodorizing at the same time.
  5. There is no magic schedule or formula to solve laundry issues. My preference is to complete at least one load of laundry a day, from washing to putting away to prevent a pile-up. It’s much less overwhelming than staring down six laundry baskets on the weekend.

The Right Way to Clean Your Mattress

Cleaning your mattress is a task that many forget to do or put aside for another day. Considering how much time we spend sleeping, it’s important to take care of and clean your mattress in order to extend its lifespan and keep it fresh and clean.

  1. Rotate your mattress twice a year in order to keep the material well-distributed and help to wear evenly. Pillow top mattresses can be rotated 180 degrees while standard mattresses can be flipped and rotated.
  2. Use a quality, waterproof mattress pad. Not only will this protect your mattresses from stains and spills, but it will also help deter dust mites and dander. Wash your mattress pad on a regular basis.
  3. Vacuum your mattress on a regular basis. Use the crevice tool and vacuum the entire surface of your mattress, taking care to get into every crevice. Doing this will ensure that you rid your mattress of surface dust mites, dirt and dust.
  4. Surfaces stains should be tackled as soon as possible in order to prevent permanent damage. Use a clean, dry towel to remove as much of the stain as possible. Follow this up with using a little dish detergent or liquid soap and gently blot any remaining residue. Take care not to use too much liquid as you don’t want it to reach the foam or inner layers of your mattress. If you have a large or stubborn stain, you can use the upholstery cleaning tool on your carpet cleaner. Blot up extra moisture with a dry towel and use a fan if necessary to speed up the drying process.
  5. Mattress in need of a little freshening up? Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil and sprinkle on your mattress. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes and vacuum.