Simple Green is a multi-purpose, environmentally friendly cleaner. (Sunshine Makers Inc.)
Cleaning and maintaining all the surfaces in your home is important to keep it looking good. From kitchen countertops to your dining room table or shower tiles, you need to use the proper products and methods when cleaning your surfaces to make the job easier and give you the results you want.
In most homes, the surfaces of your wood furniture often need the most care. But too often homeowners use products that leave a wax build-up. Fortunately, there are products available to both clean and maintain the wood and bring it back to life.
First, dust all your wood surfaces before cleaning them. I recommend using a microfiber cloth or a lamb’s wool duster instead of a cotton rag because they attract dust better.
In the winter, the lack of humidity in the home can really dry out your wood furniture and leave it looking dull and weathered. To revitalize it, first clean the wood with Doozy Pre-Cleaner, and then wipe on Doozy Polish, (888) 851-8500, www.doozy.com. If your house is blessed with wide crown moldings or wood paneling, Hagerty USA makes Vernax, (800) 348-5162, www.hagertyusa.com, a specialty product designed to feed dried-out wood.
If you have those annoying white water rings on your wood tables, you can use Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Number 9 Swirl Remover 2.0, (888) 888-3143, www.meguiars.com, to first clean the surface and then follow up with Doozy Polish. If the wood is dull, you can use a product like Restore-A-Finish from Howard, (805) 227-1000, www.howardproducts.com, to revive the wood.
Your kitchen cabinets can also become dirty and dull. For varnished wood kitchen cabinets that are dull, you can also use Doozy Pre-Cleaner applied with a microfiber cloth and then finish with Doozy Polish, just like you do with other wood furniture. If your cabinets have developed stickiness on the surface from cooking steam and residue, first use Contractors Solvent by Orange-Sol, (800) 279-8822, www.orange-sol.com, to clean the cabinets, and then apply Doozy.
Other surfaces in the kitchen get dirty thanks to all the spills and food stains they are subjected to. To deep clean, polish and seal Corian, Formica or similar countertops, use Hope’s Counter Top Polish, (800) 325-4026, www.hopecompany.com. If you have granite or quartz counter tops, you can usually clean them with a sponge and water or by using a mild detergent. You can also use Hope’s Perfect Granite Daily Cleaner.
For the exterior of your appliances, use mild cleaners you can find at most hardware stores like Simple Green, (800) 228-0709, www.simplegreen.com; Formula 409, (800) 227-1860, www.formula409.com; or even Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, (800) 248-1612, www.mrclean.com, to get rid of the dirt and spots that can accumulate.
In the bathrooms, bathtubs, sinks and shower stalls can be cleaned with Works Tub and Shower Cleaner, www.theworkscleans.com. If mold is a problem on shower tiles, use Mold Armor 2X Instant Mold & Mildew Stain Remover, www.moldarmor.com, or Concrobium Mold Control, www.concrobium.com.
The most visible and yet overlooked surfaces in your home are the walls and ceilings. The best way to wash your walls is still the old-fashioned way, which is to use 4 ounces of tri-sodium phosphate per gallon of very warm water. Start washing from the bottom and move up the wall. For the ceiling, wash the width of the room. Remember to rinse often with clean water and change out with fresh solution after each wall and ceiling.
By keeping all your interior home surfaces clean and maintained, it increases the inside “curb appeal” of your home. And if you use the right products, you won’t need to spend an entire weekend doing it. Now that is something you can brag about.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail email@example.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The “Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.