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Five Easy Secrets to Shine Your Home or Office

Window washing and de-cluttering tips, plus 3 cleaning "secrets" that will give you the most sparkle in the least time.

Window Washing

Inside and out, nothing makes your home or workplace sparkle like clean windows. In winter, window cleaning allows in the maximum amount of light to brighten your home or commercial space. In sunnier months, streaks and grime on dirty windows become more noticeable in the sunlight. You may have gotten used to the film of dirt on your windows, so take a close look. Sparkling clean windows will make a great first impression on newcomers.

If you have time to do it yourself, Atlanta residential and commercial window cleaners Sunshine Window Cleaning suggest using a simple squeegee and homemade cleaning solution. Window cleaning products sold in the grocery or hardware store tend to attract dirt more quickly than solutions you can mix up yourself. Your biggest investment should be in stable ladders that will prevent falls and are the right height to reach all windows, interior and exterior.

This is a task a professional window washer can do more thoroughly, safely and in much less time. Go here for a free estimate for Atlanta residential or commercial window cleaning.

Clean out the Clutter

Start with the entrance then the second most-used room and so on until you have done all rooms one by one. Label 4 big boxes or bins with these 4 categories:

  • Trash- include any item that you do not need or want, but that cannot be donated or sold. Damaged and broken items should be included in the trash if they are not worth someone buying and repairing.

  • Give Away - Be generous. Think about the uses someone else might get out of the items vs. the use it gets in your home buried in cabinets or closets. You could sell this stuff at a garage sale but they are very time-consuming. Giving to a charity frees up your time for a better use.

  • Storage- Put items in here that you cannot part with but do not need on a regular basis. Make an inventory of the items as you box them. Group similar items together. Get tips on proper storage forout-of-season clothing.

  • Put Away- These are items that you will need, but not every day, like tools, specialty cleaners or holiday decorations. Monitor yourself don't keep anything that is no longer truly useful. Try to come up with a convenient storage solution for what you do keep.

Shiny Sink 101

A clean sink is the central factor that will keep your whole kitchen cleaner and more in order. Here's the formula:

  • Run some very hot water into the sink and fill it to the rim. If you have a two-sided sink, only do one side at a time. Then, pour a cup of household bleach into the hot water. Let it sit for one hour. Now, pull the plug with a pair of tongs. If you don't have tongs, then scoop some of the water out of the sink into the other sink and use your hand to pull the plug. Make sure you wear gloves so the bleach doesn't irritate your skin, and don't get the bleach water on your clothes.

  • Rinse your sink well.

  • Use some powdered cleanser (Comet, Ajax, or baking soda) and scrub your sink. Be sure to rinse ALL of the cleanser from the sink.

  • Take a sharp edge, such as a butter knife, and clean around the rim of the sink, just like you would clean dirt out from under your fingernails.

  • Clean around the faucets. You may need an old toothbrush or dental floss.

  • Use Windex or car wax to polish your whole sink to a lustrous shine.

  • Now, every time you run water in your sink, take your clean dishtowel and dry it out (I lay out a clean one every night as part of my before-bed routine). Before you know it, you will be doing this everytime you leave your kitchen! No more water spots. You will have a clean and shiny sink!

Eventually this should inspire you and the rest of the family to clear the counters and keep the rest of the kitchen clean and tidy as well!

Scrubbing Bathrooms, Shower Doors and Tiles

Bathrooms are an easy cleaning target because their small size and hard surfaces guarantee big results in a short time. Another reason to attack your nasty grout and soap film is that if they're ignored for too long, mold and mildew can seep into the grout, and there may be no way to remove it. A buildup of soap scum can discolor ceramic and stone tile.

Step 1: Spray tile walls with an all-purpose cleaner, then go at them with a stiff-bristle scrub brush (Bar Brush, $9, For heavy soap scum, mold, and mildew, use a stronger cleaner, like Marblelife Maxout Tile and Grout (from $10, When it comes to grout lines, Leigh Gansberg, director of housekeeping at the Carlyle hotel, in New York City, swears by the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge ($3, Just dampen it and rub it over the grout, the cleaner is inside the sponge. If you prefer an eco-friendly version, try the Stain Eraser ($17,

Step 2: Use glass cleaner on shower doors or, if you're dealing with serious soap scum or hard-water spots, undiluted white vinegar that has been heated to boiling. Use a microfiber cloth or, for gentle abrasion, a no scratch scrubbing sponge. A trick for shower-door tracks: Pour a little vinegar into the track, let sit for a few minutes, then rub with the scrub brush and towel-dry. No need to rinse. After a shower or two, the vinegar smell will be gone.

Shine Metal Surfaces with Baby Oil

Here's a way to add a lot of sparkle with minimal effort or cost. Most baby oils' key ingredient is mineral oil, which is a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. A super-thin layer of this liquid plastic can definitely shine up dull metallic surfaces.

Start by removing dirt from chrome or stainless steel surfaces like faucets, sinks, and appliances with a cotton cloth dampened with warm water, and allow the surfaces to dry for a minute or two before proceeding.

Next, take a dry cotton cloth and apply just a dab of oil - too much and your surfaces will begreasy and more likely to attract future dirt.

Rub the surface evenly - the oil should spread easily and your shine should come through without too much elbow grease. Wipe away excess oil and buff, using a paper towel or another clean cloth.

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