A lot of the problems you run across when you’re trying to clean your home are ones that you really hate doing. Some of them probably either require a lot more work than you’d like, or they seem to take forever to accomplish. We’ve bunched together a few of these tricky problems and added some solutions you might not have thought of before. So, take a look, and let us know if any of these ideas help solve some of your “tricky” cleaning problems.

1) Clean windows streak-free

In a convenient bucket that is easily carried outside, add a quarter of warm water and mix in a half-cup of cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Take the bucket, a dry towel, and a medium-size sponge outside to the first window you plan to clean.

Sponge the solution onto the window, buff it with the dry towel, and go to the next window. You should notice that each of the windows will be sparkling clean and will no longer attract dust! That’s because they’ve become static-free because of the cornstarch.

Move back inside and, in a spray bottle, mix up a solution of 1/2 clean water and 1/2 rubbing alcohol and spray the inside of each window. Wipe the solution away with a dry towel or, even better, a school eraser to get rid of any streaks.

2) Remove Stove-top Grease

One of the easiest ways to remove stove-top grease is with baking soda and vinegar. First, remove the grates and soak each one in the sink with warm water and dishwashing soap. Sprinkle baking soda over the top of your stove-top and rub the entire area with a non-abrasive wet sponge. This will help break down the grease and soften any tough baked-on areas.

Combine some baking soda with dishwashing solution into a runny paste. Before applying the solution, try removing as much of any large clumps first. Apply the paste to each affected area and let the solution soak for about 10 minutes. Next, wipe the entire area down with a soft sponge, microfiber cloth, or paper towels until dry. If any areas don’t come completely clean the first time, repeat the process.

If your stove has a glass or ceramic top, baking soda may scratch the surface, so use a small amount of water mixed with dishwashing liquid. Apply the mixture to the affected areas and follow the directions above.

3) Rust rings in the toilet

Baking soda will come to your rescue again when cleaning your toilet bowl. Let the stained area dry by turning off the water and then spray it with white vinegar. Wait a few minutes until the vinegar saturates the stain, and then sprinkle the area with baking soda. Scrub the area with an old toothbrush or a ball of shredded aluminum foil, and the stain should disappear completely.

Be careful leaving metal shaving cans, hair sprays, or anything similar since the bottom will quickly rust and leave a stain. Store these items in a cabinet away from your sink or bathtub. Rust stains in your toilet are usually caused by iron-rich hard water. To prevent these kinds of stains, an iron filter or water softener will usually cure the problem.

4) Get rid of carpet smells from pets

If your loving pet has an accident on your nice, fresh carpet, take care of the problem as quickly as possible. If you have some club soda, pour it directly on the saturated area. If the problem is doggie poo, remove as much as possible and then use the club soda.

Take several paper towels and blot the area by standing on it so as much of the urine comes to the surface of the carpet and is absorbed by the paper. The carbonation helps to bubble up the urine, and the salts help the area from becoming stained.

Continue using fresh paper towels until as much of the liquid is removed. If some smell remains, repeat the process until all of the urine smell is gone. Then let the area air dry.

5) Cleaning kitchen sponges

To get your kitchen sponges fresh and bacteria-free, wash each sponge with soap and water and then rinse until all the soap is gone. Wet the sponge with warm water, and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Put the bowl in your microwave for about two minutes and it should be bacteria-free.

Remember that the sponge is going to be hot, and you can be burned, so after opening the oven, be careful to touch only the bowl when you remove it. Set the bowl down in a safe place for a few minutes until the sponge cools down.

As a bonus, the steam from the sponge will have loosened any baked-on food particles inside the oven. So, if needed, use a clean cloth or sponge and go over the inside of your microwave while the sponge is cooling.

6) Shower mold & mildew

To get rid of mold and mildew in the bathroom, mix one-part baking soda, one part borax, and one part hot water into a runny paste. Dip the end of a sponge or cloth into the paste, and lightly scrub every area where you see the mold and mildew.

Wait a few minutes for the paste to saturate the areas, and then rinse with fresh water. If any darkened area remains, rub in some new paste and wait about 10 minutes and flush with water.

You can also use the paste to clean affected areas of your sinks and the kitchen stove.

Combine one cup of baking soda, one cup borax, and one cup of hot water. Make it into a runny paste, then scrub and rinse. You can also use this for gunk In front of sinks and the stove.

If you have areas of your tub and shower where grout grime is really bad, try this solution. First, put on a pair of rubber gloves, and then mix up a 50-50 solution of baking soda and chlorine bleach together. Stir until it forms a glue-like paste and then pat the mixture with a knife or trowel onto the affected areas of the tiles. Let the mixture sit overnight, and the next morning, use a wet sponge or cloth to wipe the area clean. Rinse with cold water.

We hope these tips have helped solve a few of your “tricky” home cleaning problems! Please let us know how they’ve worked for you or if you have any additional thoughts about using any of them. We’re always delighted to hear from you!

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If you live in the Chicago metro area and are interested in learning more about our home cleaning services and how we can help you maintain a safe and healthy living environment, please give us a call. Our number is 708-599-7000. Or, contact us online, and we’ll give you a free house or office cleaning consultation.