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07 - 13 Apr , 2012
The Worst Cleaning Jobs Made Easy
Clearing Dead Bugs From An Overhead FixtureThe quickest and smartest strategies for battling five universally despised tasks

Changing or Emptying the Vacuum Bag or Bin
Time It Takes: 5 to 10 minutes
Why It Matters: When the bag is more than half full, the vacuum loses suction. The fuller it gets, the harder the machine works. Eventually it could work so hard, the motor will burn out.
Step 1: Run the vacuum for 30 seconds to push any residual dirt in the machine into the bag. Unplug.
Step 2: If you have a disposable bag: Before pulling out the bag, stick a piece of duct tape over the hole where the bag connects to the vacuum. It will prevent a dust cloud from erupting in your face. If you have a reusable cloth bag or a plastic bin, put the bag or bin inside a garbage bag and shake out the dust. Rinse the bag or bin in hot water before reattaching or toss the bag in the washing machine, then let it air-dry.
Try To Do This: Every month or two if you have kids or pets; twice a year otherwise.

Clearing Dead Bugs From An Overhead Fixture
Time It Takes: 15 minutes
Why It Matters: The corpses pile up, especially in summer. They're not dangerous to your health, but who wants to look at them?
Step 1: Turn off the light and tape down the switch for safety. Wear an apron with pockets to stash supplies. With a screwdriver and a cotton cloth in your pocket, climb an extra-tall stepladder, which will get you eye to eye with the fixture. Unscrew the dome. Dust the bulb with the cloth.
Step 2: Climb back down and head to the kitchen. Dump any dead bugs into the trash. Line the sink with a large dish towel to prevent breakage and place the dome on top, open-side up. Fill with warm water and a squirt of dish soap and let soak.
Step 3: Wipe with a sponge, rinse, and dry.
Step 4: When it's dry, reattach the dome.
Try To Do This: Whenever you're sick of looking at the bugs.

De-crumbing The Toaster
Time It Takes: 5 to 10 minutes
Why It Matters: Besides being a mess, the crumbs can smoke, stinking up your kitchen and possibly setting off your smoke alarm.
For A Toaster
Step 1: Unplug and remove the crumb tray. Dump out the crumbs, then wash the tray with dish soap and wipe dry with a cotton cloth. Hold the toaster upside down over the trash can and gently tap out any remaining crumbs.

De-crumbing The Toaster

For A Toaster Oven

Step 1: Place a small oven-safe container filled with water inside the oven and heat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes to soften everything up. Unplug the oven and remove the crumb tray and the rack; dump out the crumbs. Use a plastic spatula to scrape off stuck-on morsels. Wash the tray and the rack with dish soap and wipe dry with a cotton cloth. Wipe the inside and the burners with a damp cloth Cleaning Ceiling-Fan Bladesand a drop of dish soap, then let dry.
Try To Do This: Every other month.

Cleaning Ceiling-Fan Blades
Time It Takes: 15 minutes
Why It Matters: When dust sits around, dust mites move in. They contribute to allergies and sinus infections. A dusty fan can send mites scattering to bedding and furniture, so it's actually a health risk.
Step 1: Tape down the fan's switch for safety.
Step 2: Spread drop cloths or old sheets on the floor and over any furniture under the fan. Try to cover a radius about twice as wide as the blades.
Step 3: Fill a spray bottle with water and 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and use it to spritz the inside of a cloth shoe bag or pillowcase. Put on a baseball cap.
Step 4: Standing on an extra-tall stepladder that puts you about a head above the blades, slip the bag or the pillowcase over each blade, pulling it back to trap dust. Use a cotton cloth for residual grime and to dust the base and the light fixture.  If, however, you have a very high ceiling that's out of range, for Scouring The Kitchen Trash Canexample 12 feet, use a ceiling-fan duster
Try To Do This: At the beginning and the end of fan season, or every other month if you use the fan year-round.

Scouring The Kitchen Trash Can
Time It Takes: 15 minutes
Why It Matters: When traces of food and liquid that escape the trash bag are left to fester, mold, mildew, and bacteria can grow, causing a nasty stench.
Step 1: Take the can outside and hose it down. Pat dry.
Step 2: Spray the can inside and out with a cleaner designed for pet messes; these products contain enzymes that kill bacteria and neutralise odours.
Step 3: Wearing rubber gloves, scrub the can with a toilet brush or a nylon-bristle broom. Rinse with the hose and towel-dry. Or, even better, let the can dry in the sun. The heat helps eradicate mold.
Try To Do This: Every other month or whenever the can smells funky.

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