Your smoke detector can be both a nuisance and a lifesaver. Keep it on a maintenance schedule not only by replacing the backup battery, but also by opening it up and using canned air to clean it out. If you have a fireplace, cleaning is especially important, because the inside of the detector will build up with soot. If your detector goes off randomly for no reason, don't just assume it is faulty. It probably just has cobwebs, dust or soot on or around the sensor. Test your detector after each cleaning by lighting a match under it.
The easiest way to clean your fireplace is to use a small, two-gallon wet vac. This prevents the ash from entering into the air, getting on you, and also getting on your cleaning equipment. It is nearly impossible to get the soot out of anything. Use the wet vac only for that purpose and make sure to put a paper towel over the filter to preserve the motor. Of course, you want to make sure there is a bag in your vacuum before you start.
Color-coded microfiber cloths can save both time and money. Each room of your home should have a separate cloth, and each chemical used should be set to a certain color. For example, all yellow cloths could be for a bleach product, and all blue cloths could be for an ammonia product. Color-code your dust cloths as well, especially if you use furniture polish. Both the cloths used for stainless steel cleaning and dusting can be kept in their own plastic bag to save them from getting wet. This will also save money on each application of cleaner or polish.
Whether you're cleaning glass, finished wood or any shiny surface, the key to keeping the streaks away is to make sure the surface dries immediately. With a wood floor, it can be a bit tricky, because it is such a large surface. There are several pros and cons on what to use on a wooden floor. You can usually use any wood floor or general purpose cleaner as long as your mop is at least 80 percent dry. Ring mops work exceptionally well for this purpose.
Plastic spray bottles come in handy for just about any liquid cleaner. For a quick kitchen table and counter cleaner, have a ready-made bottle containing dish detergent and water. It can be a waste of time to walk back and forth from the counters and tables to the sink. Just take a clean dishcloth and the spray bottle with you and save the steps. Store your spray bottles either under every sink or in every room that needs water to clean something. You will feel more willing to clean an area if you don't have to go hunting for supplies.
Do you have an odor coming from your microwave every time you use it? In a large, one-quart microwave-safe bowl, combine one cup of water, two tablespoons of baking soda, and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Microwave these ingredients on high for 3 to 5 minutes. Stubborn odors may require more time. The mixture will bubble up, so make sure the bowl is large enough that it won't spill all over your microwave.
Coffee stains can be tough. Whether it's a mug, coffee pot or ring on a table, save time and effort by using vinegar to take care of the stains. After each application, make sure to rinse the vinegar thoroughly from both the cloth and the surface that you are cleaning.
A thorough cleaning job on the back of your toilet seat where the bolts are can seem like a daunting task. To make it easier and more pleasant, spray the back, including the top and bottom of the bolts with a mixture of oxygen cleaner and a pleasant-smelling general purpose cleaner. Unscrew the bolts to get a more thorough clean. Be sure to be gentle when putting it back together so that you don't crack either the bolts or the back of the toilet bowl.