A Cleaning Checklist

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Although most of us try to work in a few household chores when we get time, it is a good idea to have a checklist for supplies and equipment to make sure everything is ready to use when needed. Here is a checklist that you may want to post for keeping track of your cleaning needs.

For sinks, tubs, shower enclosures, counters, basins

Keep a supply of common baking soda that can be sprinkled on stains and left several minutes before rubbing in and then rinsing away. Or you can buy a commercial brand of powdered cleanser, such as Comet, for porcelain bowls or countertop areas. Just be careful not to scratch a soft surface.

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Keep a supply of clean scrub cloths that can be recycled, or you can buy the disposable brand. Never use steel wool on these areas. Check the directions of any product you decide to use to be sure it conforms to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Do not mix cleaning products, especially anything containing bleach or ammonia.

Get floor-cleaning supplies for every room

For wood floors, tile, linoleum, and many other hard floors, try an oil soap unless the container specifically advises against it for the type of floor you have. You also can use a mild detergent that is geared for floors as long as it does not leave a slippery residue.

You also should keep on hand a wax stripper and floor wax, along with the appropriate mops, buckets, and buffing cloths. Be careful not to use wax on floors where older or disabled people might slip. For rugs and carpets, use an electric vacuum sweeper with the correct size of collection bags unless it uses a plastic cup.

Buy a new broom and mop every three or four months

These can absorb dirt and dust that is hard to remove, so it will be laid down the next time you clean with them. A broom’s straw will bend and lose its shape over time, meaning that it will become less effective at picking up dust and dirt. A cheap straw broom is fine, along with an inexpensive sponge mop unless you prefer another type. You also will need a dustpan and perhaps a whisk broom for hard-to-reach areas.

Stock an all-purpose sanitizer

Stock an all-purpose sanitizer or deodorizer that can be squirted or sprayed onto a variety of surfaces. Use it for areas like the toilet, sink, some counter space, laundry hampers, pet areas, trash bins, and other locations where germs and bacteria tend to collect. Don’t overuse or misuse this product, which can cause side effects or possible problems. Follow the product directions for correct usage.

Don’t forget spot removers or stain bleachers

Sometimes you don’t have time to shampoo an entire carpet or scrub the kitchen floor. Instead, keep an easy-to-use spot remover, with paper towels or scrub cloths, for a quick clean-up of random spills or spotting. When company comes, most of the dirt will be removed in the visible areas.

Stash furniture-cleaning items

Beeswax or furniture polish for hardwood tables or cabinets is helpful, along with a feather duster for other hard surfaces. Don’t overdo the polish or wax, as it can build up over time and create a dull finish that may be difficult to remove.

Always keep a few extra plastic trash bags on hand for the spontaneous closet-cleaning tasks that happen to get done or other miscellaneous items of clutter.

Antibacterial soap for washing hands after cleaning and dust masks while cleaning, along with gloves for hand protection, are additional assets that may prove useful. Housecleaning can go very quickly and smoothly when you have everything you need on hand.

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