Let’s tackle the in-depth, do-it-yourself cleaning projects.
Walls: The walls are covered with a winter’s worth of grease, dirt and all-around yuck. You can make painted walls a couple of shades lighter with a good cleaning. Use 2 ounces dry measure of trisodium phosphate (TSP) per gallon of water. If the kitchen walls are greasy, add 1/2 cup of household ammonia per gallon of the TSP solution. You can also use Dirtex instead of TSP.
Wall washing is an excellent two-person job. Each person should be equipped with a 2 1/2-gallon bucket, a long-handled sponge mop, rubber gloves and goggles. One person’s bucket is filled with the cleaning solution. The other person’s bucket is filled with rinse water. The long-handled sponge mops keep you from having to bend, stretch, or climb a ladder. Start from the bottom and work up. The first person applies a liberal amount of cleaning solution. After letting the solution work for a couple of minutes, the second person finishes the job with the rinse water. Change the rinse water at least every wall.
Cabinets & counter tops: Use a 2-ounce-per-gallon solution of Simple Green or Clear Magic to get rid of the stickies. Follow up with a thin coat of Doozy Furniture Polish by Mr. Furniture Finish Products. It’s a secret weapon used by the pros and will bring back the luster to counter tops.
Wallpaper: Mix up a 40- or 50-to-1 solution of a general purpose cleaner such as Simple Green or Clear Magic (that’s about 2 ounces of cleaning solution to a bucket of water) and put it in a spray bottle. Spritz on and wipe off.
Clean delicate wallpaper and lampshades with the brush attachment to the vacuum cleaner. If very dirty, wipe them down with the Soot & Dirt Remover sponge. This sponge can also be used for cleaning acoustical tiles or any surface you want to clean without water.
Vinyl flooring: Use a 50-to-1 solution of Simple Green. If you have to strip wax or acrylic build-up I suggest New Beginnings Floor Cleaner and Stripper by Armstrong. To put the shine back on, apply Armstrong’s Shine Keeper.
Hardwood floors: For light cleaning just spritz on liquid glass cleaner WITHOUT AMMONIA and damp mop. Do not use any product with ammonia. It can damage your expensive hardwood. For tougher work use a specialized cleaning product such as Clean ’n Strip Wood Cleaner by Bruce or Enforcer Products’ Hardwood Floor.
Tile & grout: Clean the tile with a general cleaner or a specialized tile cleaner like Armstrong Floor Cleaner for No Wax & Ceramic Tile Floors.
Clean grout with a specialized grout cleaner from Tile Helper, Tile Pro, Aqua Mix or SCI (Stone Care International). Then seal the grout with a liquid penetrating grout sealer by the same company.
Grout is best cleaned on hands and knees with a cuticle brush. This is strong stuff so wear rubber gloves and goggles. Dip the brush into the cleaner and scrub the grout, then rinse with water. When clean and dry, seal with a liquid penetrating grout sealer. The sealer closes the profile of the grout and keeps it looking good longer.
Windows: To clean inside windows use a solution of 4 ounces of household ammonia and 1 teaspoon of liquid hand dish washing detergent to a gallon of water. Apply with a sponge, then remove the solution with a squeegee. Wipe up drips from sills with an old bath towel.
If the temperature is over 50 and you have really dirty windows outside, use 2 ounces of TSP, 4 ounces of white vinegar and a gallon of water.
Where to find products: Most of these cleaners are available at good hardware stores and home centers. You’ll also find strippers and specialized cleaning products at cleaning supply stores.
Good Luck from ‘The Crew.’