Homes 101: Proper Housekeeping

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Many tasks in housekeeping can be more easily managed with a basic understanding of the pH scale

  • Every chemical has an acidity or alkalinity on a scale of 1 to 14
    • pH Scale
    • Acids will break apart in water to form positively charged hydrogen ions
    • Bases will break apart in water to form negatively charged hydroxide ions
    • Acids and bases put together create reactions that can range from harmless neutralizing to releasing fatally poisonous gases
  • Here are a few examples:
    • 0.0 – Hydrochloric Acid
    • 0.3 – Battery Acid (Sulfuric Acid)
    • 1.5-3.5 – Gastric Acid (Stomach Acid)
    • 2.0-2.6 – Lemon Juice
    • 2.8 – Vinegar
    • 2.5-4.5 – Soft Drinks
    • 3.3-3.9 – Apples
    • 4.0 – Wine & Beer
    • 4.2 – Orange Juice
    • 4.5 – Tomatoes
    • <4.9 – Acid Rain
    • 5.0 – Boric Acid
    • 5.0 – Black Coffee
    • 5.0-5.5 – Clean Rain
    • 6.1 – Aloe Vera
    • 6.2 – Corn
    • 6.5-8.0 – Drinking Water
    • 6.7 – Milk
    • 7.0 – Pure Water
    • 7.2 – Tea
    • 7.4 – Human Blood
    • 8.0 – Sea Water
    • 8.4 – Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)
    • 9.0 – Egg Whites
    • 9.3 – Borax
    • 10.0 – Laundry Detergent
    • 10.2 – Milk of Magnesia
    • 11.5 – Ammonia
    • 12.0 – Soapy Water
    • 12.4 – Lime (Calcium Hydroxide)
    • 12.6 – Bleach
    • 13.5 – Lye (Soap Ingredient)
    • 14.0 – Sodium Hydroxide

Every residence has a number of things to keep up on

  •  Weekly tasks don’t need to be done every week, but should be frequent
    • Clean out all food preparation appliances used in the last week
      • Toaster, blender, stove/oven, microwave, grill
    • Clean the outside of the refrigerator
    • Wipe down all kitchen and bathroom surfaces
    • Vacuum, sweep and mop all indoor flooring
    • Clean bathroom toilets, sinks, showers, shower curtains
  • Monthly tasks should be done consistently to avoid too much buildup and exponentially more work
    • Clear out the refrigerator and wipe it down
    • Wash the trash cans and sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of them
    • Dust the furniture and tops of surfaces
    • Wash the cars
    • Prune all foliage
    • Water all indoor plants
    • Organize the budget and pay the bills
  • Every 3-4 months has a few larger tasks that build up
    • Clean the inside and outside of all windows and mirrors
    • Polish all furniture
    • Change the water filter, if you have one
    • If you have a dryer, clean the duct that runs from the dryer to the vent
    • Check for termites, mice and other pests
  • Twice a year there are some rare tasks that need to be done
    • Vacuum the couches
    • Clean out any air conditioner and fan filters
    • Place a new container of baking soda in the refrigerator
    • Drain the water heater tank to reduce sediment
    • Check and clean the refrigerator gasket and replace it if necessary
    • Clean the roof’s gutters and down-spouts
    • Pressure wash the decks, drive and walks
    • Replace the refrigerator’s water filter
    • Replace the batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Once every year, some things need to get done
    • Anytime when it can be done
      • Visually check that the fire extinguisher still works
      • Clean the window screens
      • Check window wells and cellar ways for debris and damage
      • Clean and seal indoor tile and grout
      • Check for masonry holes or cracks and tuck-point as needed
      • Recaulk joints between tiling and other materials
      • Seal drives and walks
      • Pressure wash walls and siding
      • Walk exterior perimeter of home and check for potential critter entry points
      • Vacuum and clean carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
      • Inspect all power plugs and replace as needed
      • Check wood surfaces for paint failure and damage
      • If you have a septic tank, pump it and inspect it
      • Have a professional check fire extinguisher
      • Check for wasp and hornet nests around the property
      • Check for leaks in toilets and sinks
    • The start of spring has a few things to get done
      • Have a professional check the air conditioner and personally check the condensate drain hose
      • Prepare receipts for taxes
    • When the air conditioner starts getting used instead of the heating unit, adjust the ceiling fan blades to push downward
    • At the start of fall, have a professional inspect and clean the fireplace and check the heating unit
    • When the heating unit starts getting used instead of the air conditioner, adjust the ceiling fan blades to push upward
    • Winter has a few large tasks that might be very urgent
      • Check water lines, insulation and anything else that is vulnerable to cold
      • Disconnect all hoses from hose bibs, drain and store
      • Drain all exterior faucets and protect them with covers
      • Ensure all water supply cutoff valves are accessible in case of burst pipes
      • Turn off and drain the irrigation systems
  • There are also some tasks that need to be done every other year or as needed
    • Shampoo the couches and carpet
    • Renew any licenses for professional work or licensing
    • Get any required vehicle smog checks

There are many little tricks to improve how efficiently and affordably you can clean

  • Surfaces
    • Most dirty surfaces can be cleaned with a solution of 1/4 cup of baking soda mixed with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste
    • Permanent marker on walls can be removed by rubbing toothpaste or hair spray into it
    • Permanent marker on carpet can be removed by rubbing white vinegar into it
    • Ink stains on carpet can be removed by rubbing WD-40 into it
    • Permanent marker on wood can be removed by rubbing rubbing alcohol into it
    • Red wine stains on carpet can be removed by applying shaving cream and letting it sit for a few minutes
  • Clothing
    • Wrinkled clothes can be flattened by hanging the clothes on the towel rack while showering to remove most of the creases
    • To get rid of sweat stains on clothing
      • Spray the stains with lemon juice before washing
      • Rub a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, Dawn dish soap and baking soda into the stains before washing
    • To get rid of blood stains, rub Coca Cola into it
    • To get rid of deodorant stains on clothing, rub dryer sheets or nylon tights over the stain
    • Permanent marker on clothes can be removed by rubbing hand sanitizer onto it
    • Ink stains can be removed by applying toothpaste onto it and letting it dry before washing it or by rubbing WD-40 into it
    • Red wine stains on clothing can be removed by applying shaving cream and letting it sit for a few minutes
  • Other stains
    • Bird poop on a car can be cleaned by scrubbing Canada Dry into it
  • Freshening up the room
    • If a room is filled with cigarette smoke, spin a wet towel around quickly while walking around the room
  • Fixing household items
    • To undo oxidation on metal (rust), soak it overnight in vinegar and salt
    • To restore tarnished silver, put it in a container where it touches aluminum in some way, mix boiling hot water with baking soda, then pour it into container and let it sit
    • If plastic has faded, rub lemon juice on its surface and expose it to sunlight
    • If a plasma TV has had an image burned onto it, turn the TV to static and keep it on for a day
    • Electronics submerged in water can be fixed by either putting in a bag of rice or putting in a cooler with Damp Rid for a day

Every single home will need tools to repair it

  • The following are what everyone who lives in a home needs
    • It may be advantageous to have 40 different versions of a tool depending on occupation, specialty or personal skills
  • Wrenches
    • Crescent/Adjustable Wrench Set – for pretty much everything that can’t use a fitted wrench
    • Ratcheting Wrench Set – very important for engines
      • American
      • Metric
    • Socket Wrench Set – especially important for large engines
      • American
      • Metric
    • Spark Plug Sockets – very necessary specialty part for engines
    • Flare Nut Wrench Set – meant to grip softer materials
  • Pliers
    • Locking Pliers – adjustable to any size and locks in place
    • Needle Nose Pliers – for small crevices
    • Bent Nose Pliers – for hard-to-reach places
    • Diagonal Pliers – for cutting vertically
    • End Cutter Pliers – for cutting horizontally
    • Short Nose Pliers – for more power and control
  • Hack Saw – for most materials
  • Wood Saw – for cutting wood
  • Hammer – especially useful when most other tools fail
  • Screwdriver Set – different sizes for different uses
    • Philips
    • Flathead
  • Power Drill & Bit Set – the only necessary power tool

When placing furniture in your home, pay attention to interior design

  • Think about how people will walk as they enter the room
    • Consider how they will sit and the pathways they will walk
    • Imagine how one, two, three and more people will use the space and interact
  • Look at the visual focus of the room
    • It will be where all of the “lines” intersect in the room
      • Place a nice centerpiece or conversation topic starter at that focus point
    • Incorporate soft geometry into the room to inspire people to relax
    • Keep any clutter hotspots visually away from where they eyes immediately go in the room
  • There should be enough light to make the room feel safe and inviting
    • Get lamps for decoration if the windows can’t let in enough light
  • Potted plants add a nice atmosphere to any room
  • Take advantage of every room for the house’s design, even closed-off doorways and small closets
  • Upgrade the furniture with simple hardware store ideas
Next: Homes 102: When Moving