Housecleaning tricks from TCS

Some tricks we learned from running a Baltimore cleaning service for 14 years

Room Freshener
Put lavender packets inside clothes and linen drawers to stop moths and keep contents smelling fresh.
Place a drop of your essential oil directly onto the wood in dresser drawers. The wood absorbs the oil and releases the scent gradually.
Hang packs of aromatic herbs from door handlers or in a sunny window.
Pack a pillow with pine needles, then put it among the sofa pillows to freshen the den. Place a porous pottery jar filled with essential oil near a sunny window. The heat will dissipate the oil, releasing the scent. Replace oil often.
Simmer a blend of cloves, cinnamon sticks, and dried orange peel in 4 cups of water to give a warm scent to your home on winter days.
Top a light bulb with a drop of your favorite essential oil. The heat from the bulb will release the aroma for hours and hours.

Pine Floors
Washing soda,  is an inexpensive and effective cleansing agent that quickly cuts grease and removes stubborn stains. Mix with soap and salt, to make an excellent cleanser for hard floor surfaces. •
½ cup soap flakes • ¼ cup washing soda (sodium carbonate, look into bulk purchases) • 1 cup salt • 2 cups water • 2 tsp pine essential oil
1. In a saucepan, place the soap, washing soda, salt, and water and heat gently, stirring until soap, soda, and salt have dissolved.
2. Cool mixture to lukewarm, then add the essential oil. Stir well and pour into a jar.
3. Pour two to three tablespoons of the mixture into half a bucket of hot water, stirring well. For large areas, you may need to double the amount.
4. After cleaning, rinse the floor with half a bucket of water into which you have poured a cup of white vinegar.

Oven Cleaner
For rough, baked-on grease, use this remedy. •
1 Baking soda 16 oz • ¼ cup washing soda
1. Mix the ingredients.
2. Wet the floor and walls of the oven and generously sprinkle the mixture on the surface. Repeat and let sit overnight.
3. In the morning, wipe the mixture and the grease away, rinsing to remove any filmy residue.
4. For stubborn, burned-on stains, scour with salt and an abrasive pad.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Clean your toilet bowl without harmful chlorine! For no-scrub convenience, simply pour in and leave overnight. •
1 cup borax • ½ cup white vinegar
1. Flush the toilet to wet the bowl.
2. Sprinkle the borax around the toilet bowl, and drizzle with the vinegar. Leave for several hours before scrubbing with a toilet brush.

Glass Cleanser
Use crumpled newspaper instead of paper towels for lint-free results. • ¼ cup white vinegar • 1 tablespoon cornstarch • 2 cups warm water

Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well to dissolve cornstarch. Spray onto glass surface. Wipe dry with a clean cloth or newspapers, buff to a streak-free finish.