Spick and span

Tips to keep your home fresh, clean naturally

Michelle Stuckey
January 27, 2012 at 9:35 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Spick and span
Courtesy photo
With the unusually warm winter weather, many residents are starting to pick up their brooms and feather dusters to get rid of cobwebs and dust from the past few months.

But if a house is not cleaned properly to begin with, it could mean more work, more often for cleaners.

Cherie Fabro, owner of Professional Maid Services in Luling, said that there specific ways that professionals clean to make sure there is no dirt left behind.

"Everything should always be started from the top," Fabro said. "Clean high to low so that everything can fall to the bottom – the last thing to clean is always the floor."

Fabro said another good practice is to start cleaning by wiping down walls, corners, baseboards and doors, and then work into the furniture areas to dust and clean.

She said that fans and air vents are common dust and pet hair traps and should be cleaned often to prevent allergies, especially in the upcoming spring weather.

"Cleaning keeps you out of the doctor’s office, especially when the times change with weather and pollen comes up in the air," Fabro said. "You want to be able to come inside and not have to deal with all that."

For the environmentally-conscious cleaner, there are plenty of ways to keep your home spick-and-span without harsh chemicals.

Baking soda, vinegar and water can make a bigger dent in dirt than you may think.

Deniese Zeringue, with the LSU AgCenter, suggests these solutions for replacing household cleaning chemicals:

Multi-purpose cleaner

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. This cleaner can be used on multiple surfaces throughout the home, from kitchen counters and bathroom vanities to stove tops and windows.

Bathtubs and sinks

Spray undiluted vinegar onto tubs and sinks. Then, sprinkle baking soda onto a damp cloth and wipe over the surfaces before rinsing with water. The baking soda can remove soap scum and lime scale deposits and the vinegar will make the tub shine.


To unclog a drain, pour half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar down. Leave the solution in the drain for 10 minutes before flushing with boiling water.

Stainless steel and chrome

To make these metals really shine again, wipe with a damp cloth sprinkled with baking soda and buff with a dry cloth.

Wood polish

Mix a small amount of olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice. Rub the solution onto wooden furniture, wait a few minutes and polish off with a soft, dry cloth.


Immediately rub greasy food spills off of upholstery using a half-and-half mix of baking soda and salt. Leave the solution on overnight and vacuum up in the morning.

Oven cleaner

Mix up a thick paste of baking soda and water. Spread on the inside of the oven and leave overnight to loosen grease and grim before scrubbing the next morning.


Put lemon juice and water in a microwaveable bowl and nuke it for a minute or two. The steam in the microwave will loosen dirt and grime and make it easy to wipe away.


Line your sink or bucket with aluminum foil then put in a tarnished silver item. Pour in boiling water, a cup of baking soda and a dash of salt. Let the item sit in the solution for a few minutes.


Soak rusted items in undiluted white vinegar overnight.


Once your home is clutter- and dirt-free, get rid of the vinegar smell naturally by boiling cinnamon, cloves or other herbs on the stove.

If you decide to nix your old chemical cleaners, make sure to wait for the parish’s Hazardous Household Materials Collection Day to dispose of them properly. Find out more at www.hhmcd.com.

If you do use chemical cleaning agents, Zeringue said it is important to keep windows open for fresh air as often as possible. Because of good insulations in most homes, toxic fumes can stay in the air longer. Allowing that air to escape allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out.


How to properly dispose of...

Bicycles, toys, bagged leaves, grass clippings:

These items can be collected with the regular garbage provided they do not exceed 4 feet in length, 2 feet in diameter or weigh more than 75 pounds. They can be placed next to the regular garbage can.


Large appliances, such as refrigerators:

These can be collected once per week. Call SDT at 1(877)747-4374 for pick-up service.



Any Best Buy will take electronics for free recycling, regardless of where they were originally purchased. For information and a list of what is accepted, visit www.bestbuy.com/recycling.


Hazardous material, such as oil, tires and paint:

A Household Hazardous Materials Collection Day is held each year in the spring. To find out more information, including when the next collection day is, visit www.hhmcd.com.


Overflow garbage that will not fit in can:

Any extra household garbage that will not fit in the cart may be bagged and placed on the ground next to the cart.


Part 1 of a series on overhauling your home.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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