Monday, May 17, 2010

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Tips (Easy and Affordable)

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron that contains more than 10 percent chromium. Stainless steel resists stains but occasionally dulls or will show oily finger prints. This steel is noted for its hardness and is used for utensils, tableware, sinks, counter tops and small appliances. In the process of making it, a little of the chromium in the alloy is used to form the hard oxide coating on the surface. If this is taken off, through corrosion or wear, the steel rusts like regular steel.

· Olive Oil: Rub stainless steel sinks with olive oil to remove streaks.

· Vinegar: To clean and polish stainless steel, simply moisten a cloth with undiluted white or cider vinegar and wipe clean. Can also be used to remove heat stains on stainless steel cutlery.

· Club Soda: Remove streaks or heat stains from stainless steel by rubbing with club soda.

Flatware: Wash by hand or in the dishwasher. Rinse off acid or salty foods if the stainless flatware is not to be washed soon. Do not spill dry dishwasher detergent on flatware, which is wet, as dark spots may result. Do not load stainless steel flatware in same basket section of dishwasher with silverware, as silver may be damaged.

Utensils: Do not let pans boil dry, or overheat on burner, which causes discoloration. Stainless steel pans on burners do not distribute heat evenly, and foods tend to stick in "hot spots," so careful stirring of foods is important. Pans with a copper bottom, or a "sandwich" layer of aluminum or copper hidden in the bottom overcome this problem.

Wash by hand or in dishwasher. If washed by hand, rinse well, and polish dry at once with soft dishtowel to avoid spots and streaks. Dishwasher washing and drying do not leave these spots and streaks; occasionally a bluish cast develops which can be removed with silver polish. Some foods (acidic, salt, milk and milk products) should be washed, or rinsed thoroughly off the surface of stainless steel promptly or else they tend to corrode it. Do not use harsh abrasives or steel wool on stainless steel. Cooked-on food or grease can be removed from stainless steel utensils by using a fine abrasive cleaning powder or a paste of baking soda and water, or a paste of ammonia and rotten stone. Commercial stainless steel cleaner is available.

Sinks: Perforated rubber or plastic mats in the sink will cut down on scratching and marking by pans and tableware. Wash with a solution of hand dish washing liquid detergent and water; or a solution of baking soda and water. Rinse and polish dry with paper towel or soft cloth. Never use scouring powders or steel wool, as they will scratch stainless steel. You can brighten the sink by polishing with a cloth dipped in vinegar, or in ammonia, or dampen sink and a sponge; sprinkle a little baking soda on sponge and rub sink gently; rinse. Then polish dry with paper towel. Though silver isn’t prone to bad breath, for some reason it’s at its best when cleaned with toothpaste. The method you employ for cleaning silver will depend on the item that you are dealing with, but most silver can be cleaned with either regular toothpaste or a mixture of baking soda and water.

Cleaning Silver with Toothpaste

White toothpaste is best for cleaning silver cutlery or the detail on silver serving dishes. Here are some simple steps to get your silver gleaming:

Dampen silver that needs to be cleaned

Spread toothpaste on an old, soft toothbrush

Brush toothpaste onto silver



Cleaning Jewelry

Silver jewelry can also be easily cleaned using items you have around the house. Tarnished silver rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets can sparkle like new with a simple combination of baking soda, tin foil and hot water.

Cleaning Silver with Baking Soda

If you'd like to save your toothpaste for your teeth, then try cleaning your silver with a bit of baking soda.

1. Line a large bowl or a small bucket with tinfoil with the shiny side facing outwards

2. Place silver items into the foil-lined container

3. Pour in hot water to cover the items that need to be cleaned

4. Add baking soda to the water until it begins to fizz

5. Allow the silver to soak for about half an hour

6. Remove the silver from the water

7. Rinse

8. Dry

Baking soda can also be used to clean large pieces of silver without using the dipping method that is explained above. For these larger pieces you will want to combine baking soda with water to form a paste. Dip a clean, damp sponge into the paste and rub it onto the silver. The longer you leave the paste on the silver, the more tarnish you will remove. Finish by rinsing the silver with hot water and drying.

You don’t have to dip into your retirement fund to purchase fancy products to clean your home. In fact, some of the very best cleaning products out there are probably already sitting in your kitchen!

Nature's Cleaner

Vinegar is a fantastic all-pupose cleaner. Buy a spray bottle from your local dollar store and fill it up halfway with water. Then top it up with vinegar to create a solution that will enable you to clean many, many things. Vinegar is a wonderful natural disinfectant and deodorizer. However, once you’ve made your wonder solution, test it first on an inconspicuous area—just in case.

Vinegar is safe to use on just about every surface and is cheap, too! Be careful, though: incorrectly diluted vinegar is acidic and can eat away at tile grout. Vinegar is also not safe to use on marble surfaces. Don't worry about your home smelling like vinegar. The smell is gone as soon as the vinegar dries. Some great uses for vinegar include:

Bathroom: Vinegar can clean the bathtub, toilet, sink, and countertops. Pure vinegar gets rid of rings in the toilet bowl. Flush the toilet to make the water level go down, then pour the undiluted vinegar around the inside of the rim. Scrub down the bowl. A vinegar/water solution is also a terrific substance with which to mop the floor. The substance will remove soap scum and hard water stains on your fixtures and tile.

 Kitchen: Use vinegar to clean the stovetop, appliances, countertops, and floor.

 Laundry Room: Vinegar works like a natural fabric softener, a wonderful alternative to the store-bought stuff if you have sensitive skin. Add a ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle instead of store bought fabric softener. Vinegar also breaks down laundry detergent more effectively.

Lemony Fresh

Another wonderful natural cleaning product is lemon juice. It’s great at dissolving soap scum and hard water deposits, as well as cleaning and shining brass and copper surfaces. Create a homemade cleaning paste by mixing lemon juice with vinegar and/or baking soda. Use the paste to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains.

Lemon juice can also work like a furniture polish. Mix 1 cup olive oil with a ½ cup of lemon juice to polish your hardwood furniture.

A Safer Abrasive

Finally, consider baking soda as an alternative to commercial abrasive cleansers. Use it to scrub surfaces. Baking soda is also a fantastic deodorizer. Place a box of it in the refrigerator or freezer to help absorb unpleasant odors.

There you have it: three seemingly ordinary kitchen ingredients that can work wonders as natural cleaning products!

(src:  My sole intention is to help other women like me in cleaning. This article was sitting on my laptop for quite sometime now so i decided to publish this. I have no idea from where i got it. )

One more tip exclusively mine. To wash thakurs (metal god idols made of Tamba) use lemon and salt and warm water. you will see miracle in front of your eyes..TRY..

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Landscaping Project

Yes I am a renovation freek. I love working on small home improvement projects. I do end up creatng a jeopardy instead of masterpiece but i love getting into it. First project i started was landscaping our front yard as well as the back one. My biggest help in this was my father-in-law who was there in every step of the way. He rather the masterpiece i designed.
GOAL: Our goal was to give front yard a welcoming a fancy look instead of plain grass and flowers.
IDEA: We decided to install bricks all along the pathway and around the tree that sits right in the middle of the yard as well as small area around lampost on extreme right corner of the house.
Point to be noted: I was 8 month pregnant when we started and we ended when i was almost 9 and half month .....:-) but it was great welcome for the new baby.
Preparation: It took longer than what i was thinking to pick the bricks. Even the decision of choosing the color took forever. We got red color bricks to go with our shutters which are maroon and got the whole lot of it loaded in our truck, unloaded them just to find that the color looks horrible with the stone that runs all the way from bottom to top along the front door. Anyways we loaded them back (we here is my cutie husband and my father-in-law and the one's who didn't like the color are me and my mother-in-law) and returned them and started to look all over again. Finally we found just perfect match for the work but little mmmmmmm much over budget but end result was extremely pleasing and satisfactory, so we were happy.
Work: Thanks to our high motivation and tiredness of waiting to get things done, we started as soon as we got the tiles....Designing was another challenge with no matching bricks to go on the corners. Firstly we made holes in the soil to get the tiles in and to make it sure that they will be held nicely. We laid bricks all over the pathway.

Installing Selectives T4 Maple 25 In. Wide Custom Closet Organizer

Don't get me wrong, I am not here to give you step by step instructions that are already included with the unit. I am here to save you from saying "Oh I wish I should have done that" after you are done installing. In a way, to provide you idea of loopholes and suggestions, to make your installation a satisfactory success. With every installation you learn one new step towards perfection..Here is what I learnt :-)

Preferably, If you have availability I would suggest two people for installation. Two brains work better anyways, IF both work in harmony :-) Me n Naveen (my luv) worked together to get it done. Important points:

  • Do your measurements properly.
  • Unit is very fragile and it can collapse very easily if you waver for a second. So don't let is stand alone even for a while else you will end up buying another one. Keep it flat on ground once you have fixed two halves.
  • Drilling, drilling and drilling is what you will need to be prepared. Charge your drill well, try to find studs, if you have option .... we didn't had this option :-( Its more secure if you can locate the studs and mount you unit on it. Use number 5 from left, for u can see in the image the one that has paint on it.

  • While installing the shelves, don't twist the screws too hard. They are fragile too, breaks very easily. But they are the best when it comes to support.

  • Let one person hold it to the wall and one do the drilling. Another important point, unit should be straight even if you have small wall trim running underneath, try NOT to push unit to the wall, just place it straight and forget the millimeters of space you may see behind the cabinets. Its more secure that way. 

  • Don't forget the door stopper. Use only ONE.

  • Very important point: We bought brackets that goes on top separately, so we missed it. Selectives brackets are 48" (no more or less)so prefer this distance on both sides. we had just 44" on both and i needed more space on one side. We ended up getting the brackets cut to fit...two trips to home depot.
  • Hidden expense. We already had a bracket installed on one side so I cut the bracket to fit the area. But ended up buying this bracket and screws to work with it. Second image shows the bracket support provided but not included with bracket from selectives (means you pay additional for supports :-))), but they look super cool.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Organizing Closets

I think the most daunting task is to organize and then maintain CLOSETS. The key to closet organization is too minimize clutter and maximize space. This is the second project we started in Year 2010. I will discuss first one later. We have two walk in closets. One in master bedroom and one is attached to kids room. The one in kids room is far from getting attention as both are tiny tots and it will take a while till they start making mess (In the closets). Other than that they create enough mess all around.
Anyways back to topic. I hated the idea of keeping all the clothing open on the shelvings provided with the house. Every time you pull a cloth, whole pile comes down. Luckily while browsing in HomeDepot I came across this fantastic clearance item. It was our anniversery on 22 nd of Jan ..We completed 6 beautiful years of togetherness...:-) Haaa I am so easy to waver from Topic. Every year we were gifting each other dresses, perfumes etc. But this time we decided to gift "closet organizers"..strange but we needed them more than piling up what we had.

We were lucky enough to find this deal ( we were not ready to spend fortune at the moment). So we created our special den at best price. Number one challenge we had. and think its true for most of walk in closets. One side of the closet is smaller than the other, plus we wanted to use any bracket we took out. So we started at the bigger side first. We found this wonderful product for wonderful price and it became our weekend project. I will explain installation steps later.

But as of now, this wonderful "Selectives" product solve the mess at one end. We wanted something wooden for smaller side too but couldn't find anything that fit best, so we ended up buying a Utility cabinet. It not as pretty but give us the room we wanted at the price we wanted. Assembly took me alone just one hour, but of course we both spend more than six hours assembling the "Selectives" unit.

At the end of the day we had our dream project ended on happy note. There was just one mistake but it was not a problem so it worked out great. I will explain assembly and things you should keep in mind if you are planning to get this unit.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some Background

I have been thinking and thinking what would be the most appealing article I could right from my life. Best I could come up is the thing I spend most of my time doing......ORGANIZING. Ha ha ....I am mother of two small tiny tots..and they keep me out of mind half the time. On the top of that I have been totally un-organized person throughout my life. I finally decide to overcome the curse of my mismanagement and geared up to get my time back (the time that i spend putting things back on place and searching for things i loose becoz of my mismanagement). So my quest for Being Organized started back in the beginning of last year. And its one thing that has been going on. I am sure its the never ending process but then it did helped me a tons, so I decided not to Quit ever. Though I have been failed many times, but I overcome hurdles and keep myself motivated by doing one project and then next and then next. Of course my husband and his pocket has been merciful to me and my silly projects. So, hats off to my cutie pie.