Category Archives: DIY

7 Great Cleaning Uses for Vinegar

  1. Unclog A Drain Using Vinegar – Mix 1/2 cup dry baking soda and 1/2 cup of salt together and pour down the drain.  Add one cup of vinegar into the drain, and allow to foam.  Set a kettle on to boil, and slowly pour into the drain.  The drain should run clear, but repeat the process for tough clogs.
  2. Spot Clean Leather Upholstery Using White Vinegar. – Simply spray on at full strength and buff with a soft cloth until clean and dry.
  3. Remove Water Rings from Wood Furniture – Mix 1 part White Vinegar to 1 part Olive Oil, and apply to the affected area with a soft cloth.  Rub WITH the grain, and then buff dry and clean with a clean cloth.
  4. Clean the Metal Plate of your Iron – Using equal amounts of vinegar and salt, scrub cold iron plate with this paste.
  5. Freshen Stinky Shoes – Believe it or not, you can revive stinky shoes by spraying the inside of stinky sneakers with white vinegar, and then placing them in a paper bag in the freezer for several hours.  Place in a sunny warm spot to dry.

    Great Uses for Vinegar
    Freshen Stinky Shoes with Vinegar
  6. Remove Sticky Residue – If your kiddo has covered your sofa in stickers, or your teenager has managed to get gum on the carpet, use a rag dipped in white vinegar to treat the affected area.
  7. Polish Silver – Soak silverware in a solution of 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 2 teaspoons of baking soda for approximately 2 1/2 hours.  Rinse with cool water and dry immediately.

Whether it’s pets that have tracked mud on your leather, a busy toddler with a pack of stickers, or a teenager with stinky tennis shoes, vinegar can help!  We hope these tips make keeping your home fresh and clean just a little bit easier.  Need more cleaning help?  Call National Dusters Today! 612-324-0283

Freshening Indoor Air Naturally

If you or a member of your household has respiratory issues, or if you’re concerned about the danger of burning incense or spilling liquid wax, there are other ways to freshen the air in your home naturally!

Here’s some of our favorites:

Put coffee grounds through the garbage disposal occasionally, and even at the bottom of a new garbage bag in the kitchen to freshen these typically stinky areas.

Dried herbs and flowers including rosemary, lavender and roses  are a great way to provide a subtle hint of outdoor freshness in your bedroom, office, or any other areas where you need to relax and feel clear-headed.

Did you know that houseplants actually help clean the air? They DO! Wow, just having a few great indoor houseplants can help increase the amount oxygen and fresh air in your home or office, and they provide a touch of beauty too!

Simmering potpourri is a great way to “personalize” your air freshening.  Rummage through your refrigerator and spice rack, and put some of your favorite flavors in a pot of simmering water.  Using your favorite scent combinations like apple and cinnamon, oranges and cloves, or mint and lemon, you’ll be surprised how much you’ll enjoy  the natural scent of ingredients you already have right in your kitchen.

Vinegar is a great way to get rid of food smells and combat bacteria at the same time.  A solution of white vinegar to four parts water in a spray bottle can be spritzed into the air to combat strong odors like onion and garlic.

Do you have a great idea for a natural air freshener?  We’d love to hear about it.  In the meantime, we wish you a fresh, clean happy home!  Your friends at National Dusters.

Area Rug Cleaning Tips

Area rugs can really bring a room together and are often heirlooms that can hold treasured family memories.  Unfortunately, they also hold the dust, pet dander and grime from constant use.  Even though valuable area rugs should get a good deep cleaning from a professional occasionally,  there are steps you can take to keep your area rug looking and smelling fresh between deep cleans.

The first step to cleaning your area rug is remove pet fur / hair with a soft-bristled brush and vacuum both sides of the rug.
It’s best to do this on a warm, sunny day with no humidity as this will allow you to work on the rug in a clean outdoor space such as a driveway or patio.
Once you’ve give the area rug a good going over with a vacuum, and all surface dirt, dust, and pet hair has been removed, prepare a gentle cleaning solution using either a few drops of mild dish detergent in some water, or use a solution of 1 teaspoon of dish soap and 1 teaspoon of vinegar in 1 quart of lukewarm / room-temperature water.
NEVER USE HOT WATER on an area rug as this may cause shrinkage.
Test the solution on a small inconspicuous area of the rug to make sure dyes won’t run.
If the rug proves to be colorfast, go ahead and apply the cleaning solution by blotting the rug with a soft cloth soaked in the cleaning solution. NEVER SCRUB or rub hard as this may damage the fibers of the carpet, causing them to mat.
Work in small areas at a time, allowing the solution to set for 5 minutes or so, and then apply some water using another cloth to rinse the cleaning solution away.
Blot the wet area with a towel, and use a shop vac or hand-held vac on the backside of the carpet to remove as much moisture as possible.
Allow the rug to dry completely, flipping if necessary to ensure the carpet is completely dry before brining indoors.

Most valuable area rugs and accent carpets need to be professionally cleaned at least every 18 months (more if they are in high-traffic areas, or in homes with smoke or pets), but a gentle cleaning between visits to the professionals can keep all the area rugs and carpets in your home smelling fresh and looking their best.

What You Can Do If Your Hardwood Floors Have Flooded

A plumbing leak or flood can quickly have a detrimental affect on hardwood flooring.  The key to minimizing damage to your floor is quickly extracting as much water as possible.  First things first immediately turn off the water in your home to prevent further water accumulation.  Once you’re certain the source of the leak is stopped,  you can begin drying out the area.
Step 1: Prepare the space for water extraction.
Before you can begin drying the space, you should move all furniture to another room to avoid further damage to your hardwood floors.
Step 2: Begin right away.
If you want to increase the chances of salvaging the hardwood floors in your home, you have to dry the space as quickly as possible. The longer water is left to sit, the greater the risk for mold and mildew growth in the space.

  • Use a shopvac with a wet and dry function, quickly remove any standing water from the space.
  • Use towels and blankets to mop up water quickly. Using multiple techniques may expedite the dry out process.
  • Gather fans and dehumidifiers from around your home. Use this equipment to further encourage drying of the space.

Step 3: Clean the flooring thoroughly.
Water accumulation can leave behind dirt and bacteria that can be harmful to the wood flooring in your home. Because of this, hardwood floors must always be cleaned thoroughly after a water damage event.  Using a stiff scrub brush and a mild cleaning product with disinfectant, scrub every inch of your floor. Follow up by completely drying your flooring and then using a mop and mild floor cleaner to remove any remaining disinfectant from the floor.
Step 4: Continue drying your floors for 24 hours.
Even if your flooring appears to be dry, it may still have undetected dampness. Hardwood floor is especially susceptible to water penetration. If any moisture remains, this puts your home at risk for mold and mildew growth. We recommend that homeowners continue drying out their floors for 24 hours after the water damage event with fans and dehumidifiers

Post Holiday Clean Up

All the gifts have been opened and plenty of delicious food has been enjoyed, and now you’re left with the task of “un-decorating.”  It can be a depressing task, not just because the holidays are over, but because it can seem overwhelming.

Here are some great tips for post-holiday clean up that can help you be organized and ready to go for next year’s festivities.

A good rule of thumb is “get one, toss two.”  If new pots and pans were a gift from the mother-in-law, don’t be offended!  Just pack those old, stained mis-matched ones in a box and drop at the local thrift store.  Have you been storing all those boxes that gifts came in?  Go ahead and use those as you clear away the clutter.

Recycle those Christmas Cards.  It’s great to hear from everyone, and for those of us who are sentimental, it’s hard to just toss those cards, so why not look up some cute recycling ideas on Pintrest?  Cards can be cut and used for gift-tags next year, or made into little ornaments.

Coordinate the take-down with your local municipal collection schedule.  Most cities have holiday solid waste pick up schedules posted on their websites, and this can be helpful information to avoid having boxes and trees curbside for an extended period of time.

Once everything is taken down and safely stored away, it’s time to give us a call at National Dusters and get a deep clean.  You’ve used and abused your oven, microwave and fridge for the past six weeks, so let us give those appliances a little TLC with a good deep clean.  We’ll dust away the tinsel and pine needles, freshen the floorboards, and get your home spic-n-span for the upcoming new year.

Call us today at 612-387-8377

Best wishes for a prosperous New Year from your friends at National Dusters.

Preparing Your Kitchen for Holiday Cooking

We’re almost there, ready to spend a couple days in the kitchen making delicious food to enjoy with those we hold dear.  Every good cook knows that the perfect meal starts with a clean kitchen.  But this year, don’t just “clean” – “clean OUT!”  Restore your kitchen to a clean, organized state by asking some simple questions:
Do I use it?
Do I love it?
Do I need it?
The goal here is to end up with dishes, cookware and utinsels that will serve your needs, and nothing that will cause unnecessary clutter.  Don’t be stingy when deciding to toss, recycle or donate.  What needs to go?  Anything that’s chipped, stained, extra, or completely unused.  Storage containers that have no lids, and lids that have no bottoms need to go, and if course any food that is expired or that you’ve had in the pantry for a year or more.
When it comes to cleaning out service and flatware, it’s ok if you don’t end up with matching sets of dishes, service, and flatware – ecclectic is IN!  The key is to end up with ENOUGH and not too much.  It’s ok to mix and match, and define your own style as you prepare to entertain and delight your guests during the holidays.
Of course you want sanitary conditions in your kitchen, but de-clutter is a great way to start to get ready to ENJOY the holiday festivities.  Happy Cleaning, and Happy Holidays from your friends at National Dusters.

The Pots and Pans You Really Need

Whether you’re just starting out in a small apartment, or downsizing to an “empty nest,” organizing your kitchen is a great place to begin to organize your home.  With so many kitchen tools available on the market, it’s hard to know what you actually NEED; what’s actually worth taking up that valuable cupboard space.

Most cooking experts agree, the pots and pans you can do the most work with, and which will be the most versatile are:

  • 8″ non-stick skillet
  • 10″ stainless steel skillet
  • Large stainless steel stock pot
  • 12″ Cast Iron Skillet
  • 4 quart stainless steel sauce pot
  • Colander

With these items you can do everything from fry an egg and prepare stir-fry for four, to simmer delicious chili and traditional cornbread for eight.  Most of these items can serve dual purpose, like a glass bowl over the sauce pot can serve as a double boiler, and the cast-iron skillet can serve as baking pan for hearty beer and corn breads.

That myriad of selection at the local kitchen specialty store may be shiny and pretty, but if you get creative, you can do just as much with fewer tools and an organized kitchen!  Happy and Healthy Cooking from your friends at National Dusters.

Healthy Lunch Box

It’s back to school, and for most parents, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  With the kiddos going back to school, and you heading back to routine work, here are some healthy lunchbox ideas to keep them – and you- satisfied.

Put chunky chicken salad in a delicious whole wheat wrap, and garnish with some fresh greens.  Add some cherry tomatoes and corn chips with ranch for dipping on the side.

Have some bbq chicken left over from last night?  Shred and add a little extra sauce, place on an artisan or sesame seed bun and voila! Hearty, healthy lunch that will keep them full until they get home.  Put some broccoli florets on the side with spreadable cheese, and that’s a lunch that will put a smile on their face.

Who says you can’t have salmon cold? Of course you can.  Salmon is full of omega and protein, and will look appetizing sitting on a bed of lettuce leaves with some orange segments on the side.  Add some juicy cucumber spears on the side.

Don’t forget to throw in a little yummy for the little one too!  A cookie, a bag of healthy baked chips, or a little chocolate mini will perfectly compliment their healthy choices, and have them looking forward to lunch tomorrow!

From our National Dusters family to yours, stay healthy and stay happy!

Kitchen Cleaning Tips – From Cabinet to Countertop

Every kitchen needs a deep clean now and then. Sometimes, though it may appear clean, there’s deep seeded grime that you may not realize is a problem through daily use. Let’s get right into it and point out some great kitchen cleaning tips – from cabinet to countertop.

Cleaning Stone Countertops

Refresh your granite or stone. You can remove most coffee, juice or other stains with a hydrogen peroxide / water solution. Kitchen designer Florence Perchuk, says a few drops of ammonia added to this solution does the ultimate trick. For everyday wear and tear of your stone countertops, buff away small scratches with superfine dry steel wool called “grade 0000.”

Kitchen Cleaning Tips in Minneapolis
Photo Credit: http://www.designbuildpros.com/

What is the Best Way to Clean Grout?

One of the best home remedies out there is to mix baking soda and water together as a homemade cleaner. Pour half a cup of baking soda into 2 gallons of water. The baking soda cleaner should take most stains out of grout, as well. If there are tough stains, don’t flood the grout with a cleaner – that is not effective. For serious discoloration you need to call in a pro. Removing the grout is only necessary when it’s cracked and water can seep through and damage the floor underneath.

kitchen cleaning tips minneapolis
Photo Credit: http://howtospecialist.com/

How to Shine Your Kitchen Floors

The endless task of presenting your home in a brilliant fashion, starts with the gathering place for family, friends and company – the kitchen. So how do you keep those floors beautiful? Shine your kitchen floors with vinegar. For wood floors, get yourself a bucket and mix nine parts warm water to one part white vinegar. Its an inexpensive, age-old trick that makes your floors dazzle with sparkle!

kitchen cleaning tips - how to shine your wood floors
Photo Credit: http://www.housebeautiful.com/

How to Remove Tarnish from Brass, Pots & Pans

Wait for it… KETCHUP. That’s right, ketchup. Now there’s a better use for Americans to re-purpose their ketchup desires. And it won’t even matter if high fructose corn syrup is in it or not. To remove tarnish from copper and brass fixtures, pots, and pans, just dab some onto a soft cloth and gently rub. Finish by rinsing with warm water.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips - How to clean brass with ketchup
Photo Credit: http://www.whatsupfagans.com/

De-Gunk Your Cabinets

Every kitchen has this problem; cabinet “gunk”.  Bacon grease, boiling water, sautéing veggies, etc. It all gets in that wood and all over your hardware. What to do? This DIY cleaning staple is as widely known (or an unknown hidden gem..) as vinegar and baking soda.

Make a solution that is one part vegetable oil and two parts baking soda. This will result in a magical solution for cleaning gunky kitchen cabinets. Work the wood with a sponge, old toothbrush or maybe even your hands. Whatever works!

Kitchen cleaning tips - how to de-gunk cabinets
Photo Credit: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/

Little Unknown Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Now for the fun stuff; the stuff we use everyday that probably irritates you.

How to Clean Your Blender

This is a tip that has  cropped up on the internet. After you pour your smoothie or drink from your blender, take the pitcher straight to the sink. Put in a little water and a drop of dish soap, then put it back on the blender, and turn it on for 20 seconds. Rinse it out and you’re done. BOOM!

kitchen cleaning tips. how to clean your blender
Photo Credit: ISTOCK/ROCKY89

How to Power Clean Your Microwave

The quickest way to clean a microwave oven is to place a handful of wet paper towels inside and run it on High for about 3 minutes. The steam from the towels will soften everything sticking to the walls. Once the paper towels are safe to touch, simply pick them up and sue them to wipe the interior of the microwave down.

To deodorize the microwave, combine 1 cup of water with a half cup of lemon juice in a measuring cup or a mug and also heat it on high for about 3 minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes or so afterward and you’re now smelling sweet!

Kitchen cleaning tips. how to clean your microwave

How to Refresh Your Coffee Pot

Your coffee pot, we suspect, is the most used item in your home. If you have a glass pot in your setup, it can very quickly develop a brown haze all over, especially if you leave it warming for long periods of time. The quickest cure we can find to eliminating this grossness involves ice, salt and a lemon.

Fill the empty jug a quarter full of ice. Cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze two of the quarters into the jug. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. Swirl the mixture in the jug for 2 minutes and the inside surface will quickly come clean. Rinse it out; you’re ready to fuel up again!

kitchen cleaning tips - how to clean your coffee pot

Clean Your Cast Iron Pans

If you’re a Chef or cook of sorts, you know that you should never use liquid soap on a cast-iron pan and never scrub it with anything abrasive if you want to maintain its well-oiled nonstick surface. And you absolutely should NEVER run them through the dishwasher. So should you clean it?

One simple answer. SALT. If the pan will not rinse clean with water and a soft dishcloth, rub it with a few tablespoons of salt and a paper towel, and rinse. You can replenish the oil film by coating the inside surface of the pan with a dab of cooking oil.

kitchen cleaning tips - how to clean your cast iron pans
Photo Credit: ISTOCK/NICHOLAS MCCOMBER

These are some of our favorite DIY kitchen cleaning tips and solutions that are out there for you to try. However, all of this still begs the question… Do you have the time and energy to do all of this work?

National Dusters provides weekly and monthly maid services to help you in the kitchen and beyond with all of your household cleaning needs. We can even de-gunk the cabinet.. just ask 🙂

For Maid Service and Cleaning Companies in Minneapolis / St. Paul, Contact Us Today.