Spring Cleaning

Wouldn't it be nice if cleaning only happened once a year? Spring cleaning is an long-standing annual tradition that can have both physical and mental benefits. It's an opportunity to declutter, deep clean, and organize your living space, leading to a healthier and more productive environment. By following a plan, gathering the necessary supplies, and involving the whole family, you can make spring cleaning a manageable and enjoyable task. For some.

If you don't have time or energy for a whole house spring cleaning, focus on what bothers you most. My kitchen exploits included cleaning out the pantry, organizing spices, and cleaning out the fridge.  For most of us cleaning is an ongoing battle and the more we can routinize, delegate, or hack it the better.

If you never learned about the dangers of combining certain cleaners, especially combining bleach or ammonia with each other (it makes mustard gas), or other substances like vinegar or rubbing alcohol, watch this Tik ToK video from a former EMT. Show it to your older children. It is quick. Please.

For list lovers, consider this spring cleaning checklist and this weekly cleaning checklist in this 120 page cleaning checklist/journal.

In this issue, we are focusing on overlooked areas of daily cleaning that can have a big impact on the family, including pets. Every month we will continue to add articles and recommendations to making house cleaning easier. Tell us about your cleaning secrets at sisters@kooksisters.com

Cleaning Your Mobile Phone

Thank you to Uncle Bill for suggesting this topic.

Have you ever thought about how many germs and bacteria your mobile phone carries around? Now imagine the germs on your kids' phones. Germs can live on glass/solid surfaces for up to 96 hours and our phones can carry more bacteria than a public toilet seat! Yikes! That's why it's important to regularly clean your mobile phone. 

When we use our phones, we often hold them close to our faces, which increases the risk of transferring the bacteria the phone picks up from to our skin. This can lead to illnesses, infections, and even acne.

Daily cleaning of your phone can help your health and extend the devices lifespan. Grime that accumulate on your phone over time can damage the screen and other components. By cleaning your phone regularly, you can help to prevent this damage and prolong the life of your device.

How to Clean Your Mobile Phone

It's important to use methods that won't damage your phone or void your warranty. Here are some simple and effective ways to clean your phone:

One of the easiest ways to clean your phone is to use a microfiber cloth. These cloths are gentle and won't scratch the surface of your phone. Simply wipe your phone down with the cloth to remove dirt and grime. Dampen with the homemade mixture of alcohol and water below as needed to remove stuck-on grime.

If your phone is particularly dirty, you may want to use a cleaning solution. However, it's important to use a solution that won't damage your phone. One way to ensure the cleaning solution is safe is to use electronic wipes, alcohol prep pads, or alcohol based lens cleaning wipes.  

A homemade mixture of equal parts water and isopropyl alcohol is a safe and effective solution as long as the mixture is applied carefully to avoid too much fluid on the phone. Dampen a microfiber cloth with the solution and wipe your phone down. I clean my phone with an eyeglass lens wipe once I use the alcohol-based wipe to clean my glasses. 

If you're concerned about germs and bacteria on your phone, you can use disinfecting wipes to clean it. Be sure to use wipes that are safe for use on electronic devices. Look for wipes that are labeled "electronics-safe" or "phone-safe."

When cleaning your phone, it's important to avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the screen or other components. Avoid using bleach, ammonia, and caustic or abrasive household cleaners, as these are too harsh for your phone.

Don't forget to clean your phone case too! Your phone case can also accumulate dirt and bacteria, so be sure to clean it regularly. You can use a microfiber cloth, cleaning solution, or disinfecting wipes to clean your case. If goo is stuck on, try scrubbing with an old toothbrush or a no-scratch cleaning sponge.

Regularly cleaning your mobile phone is an important part of maintaining good hygiene and prolonging the life of your device. By using gentle cleaning methods you can keep your phone clean and germ-free. 

What else needs this sanitizing treatment?

TV remotes, keyboards and mouses need regular cleaning to combat germs and build up. For a family cleaning once a week is needed, at least once a month for less used devices. Alcohol wipes are a quick way to clean. If needed use cotton swabs to get into crevices. Remove batteries before cleaning.

When traveling, remember to bring those sanitizing alcohol wipes for hands, the hotel remote and more. A study by the University of Houston found that the TV remote in hotels was the filthiest thing in the hotel room, also about twenty times dirtier than a toilet seat. 

As my daughter would say "Stop talking about that Mom. It's disgusting."

You're welcome.

Cleaning Your Pet Bowls

According to Vets and the FDA, Pet food bowls for wet pet food should be cleaned after each use. Water bowls and dry food bowls should be cleaned daily.

The easiest bowls to clean are stainless steel, and they are available for cats and dogs in many sizes. Wash them in dishwashing liquid (we use Seventh Generation) and hot water. You may also empty, rinse, and wash in the dishwasher. Stainless steel food and water bowls are non-porous and dishwasher safe.

Since we feed our cat and dog each twice a day they each own four bowls for meals. 

Maytag recommends washing human dishes and animal dishes separately. I'm not trying to be controversial here, but we wash out our pet bowls and run them with our human dishes using hot water and a heated dry.  We are literally living on the edge here.

Lets face it, no one likes to do laundry.  It is an unending task, especially with kids in the house! However, fresh clothes and soft linens are an everyday luxury we all appreciate.  Here are a few tips to keep the piles moving, and keep your family looking (and smelling) their best.

Click here or above to tap into our collective advice for keeping the whole family looking good.

The Daily Slosh: Dishwashing

Dishes can be a point of contention with families, couples, and roommates. Having a schedule, a standard way of doing things, and good products makes this a bit easier. Here is our routing:

Everyone brings their dirty dish to the sink, cleans it off, rinses it, and puts it in the dishwasher.

The person who cooks washes the pans and knives by hand because it's usually me and I want them cleaned carefully.  Stove top pans, especially cast iron, and good knives, do not go in the dishwasher.

My husband rearranges the dishes in the dishwasher because only he loads them correctly and he sets the delay timer so they run while we are asleep.

We take turns unloading although it is mostly my husband.

We both agree on the products we buy for dishes. This is our best plan after 42 years of wedded bliss.

Why we love these products

While we have used other dishwasher detergents before, the one that works best for us is Cascade Platinum. Since the pandemic, we have eaten at home more, and have to run dishes every night, and unload in the morning. 

Cascade Platinum has been our go-to dishwasher detergent for years. 

Cascade Advantages

Cascade Disadvantages

We just started using Seventh Generation Seventh Generation Power+ Dishwasher Detergent Packs and we were surprised that we liked it as well as the Cascade. The packaging is more eco-friendly as is the detergent. Seventh Generation Dishwasher packets have the same advantages as the Cascade, and like Cascade it is a premium product at a premium price.

Seventh Generation Dishwashing liquid is a newer favorite over the last five years. 



For Stuck-on, burnt on food

Try adding about 1/4c white vinegar to each quart of water. For burned on messes in stainless steel cook wear, you can leave a dryer sheet in the pot of water overnight to break up the burnt on food. A paste of baking soda or washing soda and water can be used as a scrubbing agent. Adding vinegar after applying the paste causes a harmless foaming reaction.