So, you’ve invested a lot in your home! You may have hired an interior designer who helped you design the kitchen of your dreams or assisted with selecting gorgeous furniture. You may have splurged on a really nice mattress, or went all in on the countertops of your dreams. Once your project is all said and done, do you know how to maintain it? Can you keep your white kitchen white and your furniture clutter free? If you know me personally, you may know that I'm a little bit of a neat freak. I believe a clean home is a happy home. With the new year just behind us, what better time to take up some new cleaning habits? From your favorite clean-freak interior designer, here are six secret tips for keeping your house looking like new!
Keep your white kitchen white! White cabinets that you can’t seem to keep clean? To keep your cabinets from turning yellow over time, here’s some tips. Combine 1 cup of vinegar with 2 cups of warm water and 1 tbs of baking soda. Use this concoction to give you cabinets a monthly wipe down, and they’ll stay white as the day you got them! You can also use warm water and Dawn dish soap, but don’t ever use abrasive chemicals or Brillo pads on painted cabinetry.
*Note: if you do noticeably spill something on your cabinetry, wipe it down right away as things such as spaghetti sauce or mustard can permanently stain the finish.
Storage galore : if you’re prone to clutter, and you love to hoard things like magazines, trinkets, or even if you have a growing family and you need more places to put STUFF, the coffee table is a great place to do it. But not just any coffee table, because who wants to sit on their couch and look at a bunch of clutter on top? Investing in a coffee table that either has a shelf underneath (great for stacks and stacks of magazines!) or a lid (think – storage ottoman!) is perfect. You can even put baskets on the bottom shelf for a tidier look. It keeps your beloved items close, but gives you a place to stick everything when company rings the doorbell.
Crest White Strips for your backsplash! White tiles with white grout? I spec it all the time, and here’s what I tell my clients for keeping it bright as new – combine baking soda and white cleaning vinegar with water to create a pasta. After applying to your grout, use a spray bottle with vinegar to spray a light coat on top. Scrub with a scouring pad and viola! Good as new!
Diva countertops: Maintaining countertops can be such a hassle. Every type has to be treated differently. Some (like granite) should be re-sealed every couple of years. Some (like marble) should never be used in a kitchen because they stain so badly, and some (like laminate) should never have a hot pot placed directly on them. It’s important to know what kind of countertops you have and how to clean them. For natural stone, acids or abrasives will actually etch the stone, but you can use hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of ammonia added to safely remove tough stains.
Steam your dreaded microwave: We’ve all been there. You’re microwaving your lunch, and it boils over. Sure, we can be told – always cover your food in the microwave to prevent spillage. Or – wipe down your microwave after each use to keep it sparkling like new! But – who has time for that? Here’s how I’ve cleaned my microwave for years, and it works every time! Heat 1 cup of water and ½ a freshly squeezed lemon on high for 2-3 minutes. Sit back and relax while the steam from the hot water does all the work. It’s recommended to allow water to sit for at least 5 minutes. While the hot water will loosen all the grime on the interior walls, the lemon removes odors. After 5 minutes, use a sponge to wipe all the cooked on food away, and follow up with white vinegar to disinfect.
Maintain your mattress! Let’s face it – mattresses aren’t cheap, and if you’re like most people, you only replace yours every – say – 10 years? That’s a lot of time for dirt, sweat, grime, dust mites, and bed bugs to infiltrate your mattress. The best idea when it comes to keeping your mattress clean is being proactive. Purchase a good mattress pad. While some pads guarantee they protect again liquids such as sweat from permeating, others literally create an air tight seal (with a zipped casing) that keep out bed bugs and dust mites. Think about it – you spend a third of your life on your mattress. Splurge in one that’s right for your body, and then invest in the proper precautions to protect it!
Note* it also helps to flip/turn your mattress twice a year. An easy way to remember this is to always flip it at the beginning and end of daylight savings time
Smelly sink: If you have a garbage disposal, you’ve probably figured out that sometimes your sink can get smelly. So, while you’re cleaning your grout or your microwave, why not do some preventative cleaning on the garbage disposal? Sprinkle ½ a cup of baking soda down and add 1 cup of white vinegar. After a view minutes, pour 4 cups of boiling water down the drain and throw in half a lemon (hey! It can even be the other half of the one you used to clean the microwave!). Turn on the garbage disposal and enjoy the clean lemony scent.
Come on! Your house is too pretty to be dirty. Give it some love, and it will love you back.