How To Green Clean Like A Professional: 10 Expert Tips You Must Try

Words like sustainable, eco-friendly and green get thrown around a lot these days and you’ve probably heard the term green cleaning. Green cleaning simply means using products that are not only safe for you but also safe for the environment and don’t emit any pollutants when used.

To learn how to green clean like a professional, follow these 10 helpful tips that will not only change how you clean but will get your apartment looking spick and span in no time.

1. Become best friends with baking soda Baking soda in a jar. Baking soda in a jar.

Bicarbonate of soda, well known as baking soda, is a must-have for anyone looking to green clean their apartment. Great for neutralizing odors and deep cleaning, baking soda is extremely versatile as a cleaning aid. Here’s how to green clean like a professional with baking soda:

  • Carpets and rugs: Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets and let it sit for 15-20 minutes! The baking soda will fight odor and absorb any moisturize — revitalizing your carpet.
  • Garbage can: If your garbage can is giving off an unpleasant odor or you’re really going after a deep clean in your apartment, sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda into your trash can (before you put a new trash bag in it) or directly into the trash bag itself.
  • Mattresses: If a pet or a child has an accident in bed, baking soda is an easy remedy to help dry and deodorize your mattress. First, remove sheets from the bed and soak up any wetness on the mattress. Liberally add baking soda to the impacted area and let it sit for 90 minutes. Afterward, just vacuum up the baking soda!
  • Pots and pans: Get rid of unwanted burnt food and grime with baking soda! Just fill your problematic pot or pan with water and some baking soda and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

2. Naturally remove mold

Sponge removing mold and grease.

Sponge removing mold and grease.

Kill mold the natural way (and avoid whipping out the chlorine bleach). Mix a little soap and water to scrub away any mold or grime. Need a little more help besides elbow grease? Make a no-fail solution with 2 teaspoons tea tree oil and 2 cups of water. Tea tree is a natural fungicide and this particular solution will get rid of mold and any mildew!

3. Stains, be gone!

Cleaning up stains.

Cleaning up stains.

If you want to green clean your carpet or rugs, these easy hacks will help you remove blotches, dirt and residue. For a spill that just happened, splash soda water directly onto the spill and gingerly blot with a towel (opt for a real towel, instead of a paper towel).

Need to clean up a stain that has already set into the surface? Pour hydrogen peroxide on a clean cloth and press directly into the stain. Saturate the stain with the hydrogen peroxide and then let the spot sit for about 15 minutes. Blot with another clean cloth. Repeat as necessary!

4. Recycle and reuse old clothes and towels

Old linens being used as rags.

Old linens being used as rags.

If you’re looking to make an impact with your green cleaning, consider no longer using paper towels. Every day, over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste occurs in the U.S. and on average, Americans use around 13 billion (yes, billion) pounds of paper towels each year.

Go through old clothes — especially T-shirts — and cut them to your desired towel size. Instead of using paper towels, opt for these clothing scraps to help wipe up spills.

Not ready to give up paper towels completely? Swap to 100-percent-recycled paper towels instead!

5. Get zesty

Lemons being used as a household cleaner.

Lemons being used as a household cleaner.

Lemons are a key ingredient when learning how to green clean. Antibacterial and antiseptic, this zesty fruit works overtime. Here’s how to green clean like a pro with this citrus fruit.

  • Counters: Spray lemon juice onto your countertops for a natural disinfectant. The citric acid will help fight tough stains and lift any dirt and grime!
  • Cutting boards: To keep any wooden cutting board in tip-top shape, sprinkle salt on your board and use half of a cut lemon to scrub the salt and surface of the board. Voila! Good as new.
  • Dishwasher: Cut up lemon wedges or fill a dishwasher-safe container with a cup or two of lemon juice. Load your dishwasher as normal, but know the lemon will work overtime on your plates and glasses!
  • Drain: Cut up lemon wedges or lemon rinds and run them through your garbage disposal — this will deodorize your drain and get rid of any lingering scents!
  • Furniture: Mix two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice together to make your own DIY furniture polish! Apply this sparkling polish to wood tables and chairs.
  • Grout: Let the acidity from a lemon restore grout — just spray lemon juice on the affected area and let it seep in for 15 minutes!
  • Microwave: Bring a microwave-safe bowl of water and lemon juice to boil in your microwave. Let the steam from the citrus-infused water coat the microwave for a few minutes and then wipe down the walls and the plate of your microwave to remove any food residue or caked-on gunk!
  • Oven: Rid your oven of buildup by mixing together water and lemon juice in an oven-safe baking dish. Set your oven to 250 degrees for about 35 minutes and then let your oven cool. Take a sponge or cloth and wipe any remaining interior grime and food build up!
  • Pans: Remove grease easily with the help of lemon! Just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to soapy dishwater.
  • Refrigerator: Smell something off in your fridge? Cut a lemon in half and leave it in your fridge for about an hour! The lemon will absorb any icky smells.
  • Windows, mirrors and doors: Mix lemon juice and water together in a spray bottle and spray these areas of the house liberally for a streak-free sparkle!

6. Stock up on white distilled vinegar Vinegar in bottles for household cleaning.Vinegar in bottles for household cleaning.

Similar to lemons, vinegar is one of the most popular household items that can help you green clean. When we talk about using vinegar, white distilled vinegar is the vinegar of choice. If you’re hoping to learn how to green clean with vinegar, try these helpful tips:

  • Bathtub: Get rid of bathtub film by wiping the ring around your tub with vinegar and baking soda.
  • Blinds: Keep your window blinds in top shape by mixing a cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda with 3 cups of warm water. Soak your sponge or cloth in this mixture and then wipe the solution over your blinds.
  • Coffee maker: If you have an automatic coffee maker, get it squeaky clean and ready to brew a perfect cup of coffee by cleaning it with vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse your coffee pot out thoroughly before your next use!
  • Laundry: Adding vinegar into your laundry can help remove stains (like deodorant), freshen up clothes and keep colors vibrant and strong.
  • Refrigerator: Wipe down the interior and exterior of your fridge with equal parts vinegar and water!
  • Shower: Wipe down your shower door and walls with a vinegar-soaked sponge to remove residue.
  • Stainless steel appliances: If you want to remove fingerprints or smudges on stainless steel appliances in your kitchen or home, simply apply a small amount of vinegar to the surface of the appliance and wipe it with a soft cloth.
  • Toilet: Add two to three cups of vinegar into your toilet bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes before flushing — this is an easy toilet deodorizer. Additionally, if you have stubborn stains, pour in the vinegar and use your toilet bowl scrubber to vigorously scrub away any scum.
  • Windows: Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water and then either spray your mix onto the window or pour some onto a soft cloth and rub away any film, streaks or dirt.

7. Boil a simmer pot

Woman making a simmer pot on the stove and stirring it.

Woman making a simmer pot on the stove and stirring it.

If you live for the smell of clean (you know, the scent that only really comes from cleaning products) — try a green alternative and create a simmer pot. Simmer pots, also known as stove top potpourri, naturally enhance your apartment’s aroma.

First off, simply bring a pot of water and your chosen simmer pot ingredients to a boil on your stove. Then reduce heat to a low simmer and enjoy the scented water wafting through your kitchen and home. Try some of these popular simmer pot ingredients as you learn how to green clean your apartment:

  • Apples
  • Bay leaves
  • Berries
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • Cranberries
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ginger
  • Lemon slices or peels
  • Lime slices or peels
  • Mint leaves
  • Nutmeg
  • Orange slices or peels
  • Pine needles
  • Rosemary
  • Star anise
  • Vanilla

8. Leave artificial fragrances and dyes out of your laundry

Fresh laundry being carried away

Fresh laundry being carried away

“When it comes to cleaning your clothes, always opt for a home laundry detergent that doesn’t include artificial fragrances and dyes,” says Mike Bleier, owner of The Green Cleaner. “At my home, I really like Seventh Generation Free & Clear. For your dry cleaning and delicates, make sure you find a truly green dry cleaner that offers 100 percent wet-cleaning as an option — it’s the most environmentally sustainable choice out there.”

9. Praise and prune your plants

Woman wiping down a plant.

Woman wiping down a plant.

Since plants do an excellent job at naturally purifying the air in your apartment, it’s critical to keep them happy! To ensure your houseplants stay strong and useful for many moons to come — follow these easy steps as you learn how to green clean your houseplants.

  • Prune your flora: Cut away any dead stems or leaves
  • Dust regularly: Wipe down the leaves of your plants with a soft cloth and remove any debris or dirt
  • Carefully spray the leaves: Mix water with a drop or two of non-toxic eco-friendly dish soap and gently spray it on your plant leaves. This will easily eliminate grease and dirt build-up. Make sure to wipe the leaves dry so soap residue doesn’t form.

10. Toss toxins

Toxins being tossed out of a cleaning drawer.

Toxins being tossed out of a cleaning drawer.

With these new green cleaning hacks in mind, now is a perfect time to head to your cleaning cabinet to remove any products that are toxic, not biodegradable or dangerous to the environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), products that include ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorous chemicals are hazardous to the environment, so plan to toss those, too.

Once you clear out your cleaning cabinet and you’re ready to stock it back up. Plan to purchase green cleaning products that are non-toxic, biodegradable and made from renewable resources (not petroleum).

Additionally, to ensure your new products fall into the green cleaning category, look for the following three things:

  • Green Seal: The original green cleaning certification (established in 1989)
  • Safer Choice: An EPA certification that ensures the product “contains only the safest possible ingredients”
  • Ecologo: A certification issued by Underwriters Laboratories, which is a leader in developing safety standards

Lastly, check out the Environmental Working Group. This nonprofit offers a comprehensive guide to healthy and green cleaning with over 2,000 featured products.

Learning how to green clean is worth it

While turning away from traditional cleaners like bleach and antibacterial sprays may seem difficult at first, once you learn the fundamentals of green cleaning — it’s easy to tackle household chores and cleaning responsibilities in a sustainable, more natural way.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

When Should I Turn My Heat On in My Apartment?

Put on a sweater. Take off a sweater. One person’s “I’m too hot” is another person’s “Turn up the freaking heat.”

When it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside, coming indoors to a 75-degree apartment feels great. But in winter, forget about it — 75 degrees can feel like a sauna. Some of that has to do with relativity (just in comparison to the outdoor temp), some with your own body’s sensitivity and some with humidity (less moisture means the air feels cooler, so 65 degrees feels hotter in summer than it does in winter).

And of course, if finances are on your mind, you know that putting on the heat means an increase in your utility bill. Your heating system makes up about 29 percent of your bill.

There’s a lot to weigh before you decide when you should turn your heat on.

When to crank up the heat

Once you get out of bed and your feet hit the cold floor and you need an extra layer of clothing just to wander around your place, you know it’s time to turn on the heat. That magic moment is different for everyone.

But you might also want to consider energy and utility costs as you figure out when to turn on the heat and how hot to make it.

Thermostat

Thermostat

What is the best temperature to set your heat?

Basically, you want to be like Goldilocks, not too hot, not too cold. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommended thermostat settings for us humans are usually between 68.5 and 75 degrees in winter and 75 to 80.5 degrees in summer.

Older folks often like it warmer and need to keep it warmer indoors to remain healthy, according to the National Institute on Aging. Those over 65 can lose body heat faster, and other changes in the body can make it difficult to be aware of getting cold. Just being in a very cold house can lead to hypothermia.

In addition, regardless of age, even if you like it warm during the day, it’s better to cool things down while you’re sleeping. The best temp for a good night’s sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees. Our body temps naturally warm up in the late afternoon and decline at about 5 a.m. As your body’s temperature drops, it signals to the brain that it’s time for sleep. A cool room can encourage that.

While you’re sleeping, you can also save money. Simply turning your thermostat back from its normal setting by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day means you can save about 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills. Energy.gov says that you can save energy in the winter by “setting the thermostat to 68 degrees while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home.”

And Energy.gov clears up this common misconception: Your furnace works harder to warm a space up after it’s been lowered. Not true. “During winter, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature.”

What to do before turning on the heat for the first time?

You know how you feel after vacation, rested and a bit logy. If your heating system, which has been idle for months, could talk it would likely say, “I feel you.”

Be kind and set up your system for success by cleaning up around the furnace. Make sure to brush away leaves and other debris that might be around the furnace vents on the outside of the house.

Inside, there are some DIY projects to make sure your furnace is in good condition, such as changing the filter, making sure the exhaust flue is clear, flushing out drain lines and examining the ductwork.

Change the air filters

This will not only make your system run more efficiently it will keep dust, dirt and bacteria from entering your air space. And if you’re likely to forget this step or don’t have the time to do it, you can find an air filter subscription service that automatically delivers filters to your door.

Arrange for an inspection

If DIY isn’t your thing, contact a professional to make sure your furnace is in working condition. Proper maintenance will keep you feeling more comfortable and will extend the life of your system.

Test the thermostat

Make sure it’s on and that the batteries are working and do a practice run before the weather gets too cold.

Seal gaps around doors and windows

Investing in some caulk and weatherstripping and doing a few hours of work are going to help keep out the draft and save you money over time since your heating system can operate more efficiently.

Furnace repair man

Furnace repair man

What if the heat doesn’t turn on?

You flip the switch to the heat setting and expect to hear a thrumming noise or feel the delicious warmth coming out of the vent at your feet. But it’s not happening! There’s no reason to put up with the teeth-chattering cold. Here are some things to consider:

Check the thermostat’s batteries

Dead batteries mean you won’t be able to see the thermostat’s display. They should be easy to replace. Check the thermostat’s reference guide if you run into trouble.

Clean your thermostat

Dust, bugs and nicotine all can collect inside the thermostat. Pop the cover and blow or gently wipe away the grime.

Check the breaker box

You may have a loss of power. If a breaker is tripped, reset it. Or, there might be a broken fuse that needs replacing.

Make sure the thermostat is set below the current temperature

This will lead to one of those smack the forehead “duh” moments, but no one has to know about it.

Finally, if no one’s been giving the furnace a little TLC over the years, it might be that the system is on its way out. You can do some DIY clean-up, contact a professional or get in touch with your landlord. “It’s really cold and the heat’s not working,” is a sentence you don’t want to have to utter.

The heat is on

Once you’ve decided it’s time to close the windows and crank the heat, you can save money and save energy by investing in a programmable thermostat so you can preset a schedule. This way, your home automatically stays warm while you’re there during the day and cools down when you’re out or at night. If you’re going on vacation this winter, set your thermostat to 55 degrees and you won’t have to worry about pipes freezing.

Of course, there are alternatives to commandeering your thermostat. Think about cozy throws, chunky sweaters, snuggies, hot beverages and, of course, snuggling up with someone.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

What Are Cobwebs and Why Are They in My Apartment?

With Halloween around the corner, it’s hard to avoid creepy images of dusty old cobwebs. But cobwebs are not just relegated to haunted houses. Look around your apartment — in the space between the bulb and a lampshade, under your desk, beneath the sofa. They’re everywhere. How did they get there and how can you get rid of them? First, let’s break cobwebs down.

What are cobwebs?

Yes, spider webs and cobwebs are related. But not all spider webs are cobwebs. To add further confusion, the word “cobweb” comes from the Middle English, coppeweb, with coppe being the word for spider.

Over time, people have come to refer to the elegant, neat and tidy web occupied by a spider as a spider web and to refer to any abandoned, dusty web as a cobweb.

So, what are cobwebs, exactly? In science lingo, the word “cobweb” is specifically used to describe the messy, tangled three-dimensional web produced by spiders in the families Theridiidae (for example, cobweb spiders, tangled web spiders, comb-footed spiders) and Linyphiidae (aka money spiders or sheet weavers).

spider on cobweb

spider on cobweb

What’s the difference between a cobweb and a spider web?

According to the World Spider Catalogue (you just knew there’d be such a thing), there are 49,657 species of spiders in the world. That number changes as new spiders are discovered.

Different spiders create different webs from silk spun in different shapes. Cobwebs are tangle webs, which are asymmetrical and look like a bunch of jumbled threads supported by a base. They consist of major ampullate silk and are “gum-footed” or sticky. They often collect dust and dirt and trap prey.

Spider webs are more sophisticated structures that appear two-dimensional. Their web designs vary from sheet, spiral orb, funnel or tubular to tent. Depending on the spider’s species, they may up to three of four types of silk to make the webs.

How do cobwebs form?

Spiders hang out and eat insects, which is a good thing. When the food source stops, the spider is likely to pick up and leave. But the web remains.

And they can last a long time. If you took the ratio of strength-to-density, spider silk is stronger than steel, and it can stretch a lot before it snaps.

If the web is in a hidden spot in your apartment, all that sticky silk will attract dust and dirt. And then you’ve got a cobweb of the sort you see sprouting from skulls conveniently sitting on desktops in horror films.

vacuuming up cobwebs

vacuuming up cobwebs

How do I get rid of cobwebs?

Not to judge, but cobwebs make your space look and feel unkempt. The easiest way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up. For high webs, try using a long-handled duster or a broom handle covered in a sock – but then vacuum them up.

If they’re attached to curtains, you should throw them in the wash or use a lint roller to pick up the cobweb.

Sometimes there are cobwebs outside your windows. Vacuum those if you can or run water over them to wash them away.

How do I prevent cobwebs from coming back?

Spiders like to set up shop where they are left alone, where they can spin their webs and grab their food. Unused rooms with lots of clutter make ideal spots. Keep rooms as neat, clean and decluttered as you can.

Get to know your duster and use it often. Dust light bulbs, lampshades, plant leaves and other spots that might not get your regular attention.

You might also try spraying peppermint essential oil or vinegar mixed with water in the corners. The overpowering scent might make spiders set up shop elsewhere.

Spiders get into your house or apartment through vents, windows and doors. If it’s possible, seal the areas around your windows to keep any unwanted pests from entering. The added bonus is that you’ll be warmer this winter.

If you think you have too many cobwebs or too many spiders, you might have an infestation and you should call an exterminator.

A win-win on cobwebs

Even if you don’t want to live with spiders or walk into a cobweb in the middle of the night, it’s good to keep in mind that spiders are beneficial. They eat insects (one spider can eat up to 2,000 insects a year), which keeps those pesky creatures out of our homes and away from our food crops.

If you don’t want too many spiders hanging around, making your place unpleasant for them — keeping it clean, sealed from the outside and free of insects — makes it more pleasant for you.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

5 Easy Ways to Clean a Litter Box in an Apartment

Cat owners are fiercely devoted to their fur babies. It’s all about the purrs and cuddles, the cute play time and the long naps. Unfortunately, it’s also about the poop. A cat’s toilet, a.k.a. their littler box, is right there, all the time. It’s up to you to deal with it on a regular basis, which can be pretty often if you live in a small space. Knowing how to clean a litter box in an apartment without making more of a mess — or a stink — is essential.

The good news, most cats only use their littler box to go “No. 2” once a day. The bad news, it doesn’t smell like roses. To keep things in check, here are some ideal ways on to easily clean out a litter box regularly without it become inconvenient.

Take the self-cleaning route

self cleaning litterbox

self cleaning litterbox

Before you even begin contemplating how to clean a litter box in an apartment, consider not having to do it at all. There are self-cleaning litter boxes for the right price, ready to make your life infinitely easier.

The biggest hiccup to this modern convenience, though, is the price tag. Owning a pet in an apartment is costly enough. You may not want to spend a few hundred dollars for a littler box and the special litter it requires.

Installation is actually also tricky. A basic litter box doesn’t have a lot of requirements as far as where you put it. (It’s a box, it can go anywhere.) A self-cleaning litter box, however needs a plug, a cold-water line and a toilet or washing machine drain. Without all these components, the box can’t wash and clean itself. Not all apartments will have enough space to allow you to give you litter box this type of access.

If you can get beyond the speed bumps of cost and installation, though, this is without a doubt a modern marvel when it comes to litter box cleaning. It’s all automatic. The litter box scoops its own waste and washes itself. Special litter is dust-free and washable, too. No more manual scooping, hunched over your cat’s dirty clumps of waste. It’s an attractive thought.

Make your litter box disposable

cardboard litterbox

cardboard litterbox

For those of us who can’t afford to automate every aspect of our lives, another way to make cleaning your litter box easier is to make it disposable. Either with an actual disposable box or litter liner, you can save yourself a lot of time cleaning the litter box by not having to scoop it every time.

With these options, when you’re ready to do a deep clean, you just throw everything out, or transform the liner into its own garbage bag. Then, you’re ready to start over with a totally clean litter box that you didn’t have to scrub.

Many disposable littler boxes are made from biodegradable materials, so even though there’s an extra cost involved — and more waste — what you’re throwing out regularly isn’t bad for the environment.

If you want a less expensive option that works the same, skip the fancy litter box liners and go with a simple trash bag. Large kitchen bags will fit over a standard box easily. You can double-bag your box to make sure there are no unwanted rips when you remove the litter, as well. Just make sure to put the trash bags on your littler box inside out for proper removal.

Go with a less-is-more approach

metal litterbox

metal litterbox

Probably the easiest way to keep your litter box area cleaner, and make it less of a chore to deal with, is to watch your litter levels. Cats don’t like a lot of litter in their box — two to three inches is an ideal amount.

You’ll know when you have too much litter in the litter box from your cat’s behavior. They’ll begin to slip and slide while in the box. It’s because they’re having a hard time getting their footing, so they’ll appear shaky and off balance.

Cats are also more likely to fling litter out of the box when there’s too much there. Sometimes they won’t walk all the way into the box either, which means they could have an accident.

If you notice any of these behaviors, make sure to take some litter out. It will spare you having a bigger mess to clean up than what’s getting deposited into the box itself.

Use flushable litter

cleaning a litterbox

cleaning a litterbox

Flushable litter is a great way to avoid having used litter going from box to trash bag to trash. Each step is another opportunity for excess litter to spill all over the floor, after all. Flushable litter is great if you aren’t living in an apartment that’s on septic. Only certain types are septic-safe. It’s also important to remember to flush small amounts at a time to avoid clogs.

Even with these stipulations, there are a variety of flushable litters out there, made from all types of ingredients. You can find flushable litter made from:

  • corn
  • cassava
  • wheat
  • pine or other wood chips
  • nut shells
  • recycled paper
  • green tea

It’s a pretty extensive list for something like cat litter, but it makes cleaning a litter box in an apartment much easier. For this set-up to work, the box should go in the bathroom. Keeping your litter box as close to the toilet as possible means the scoop will travel the shortest distance to dispose of your cat’s waste; all without the need for garbage bags and trails of used litter.

Do a weekly clean

cat in basket

cat in basket

Cleaning a litter box is about more than scooping every day. You also need to include a cleaning of the actual box in your regular routine. Once a week is best to help with lingering pet odors. It also ensures your fur baby has fresh litter on a regular basis.

To clean your litter box:

  • Empty it out completely. Consider all the litter inside used.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  • Wash with regular dish soap and a disposable sponge (you aren’t going to want to use it again after this).
  • Make sure you remove any lingering clumps of litter.
  • Wipe the box dry before putting fresh litter back in.

Making it a priority to keep the entire litter box clean is something your cat will appreciate. Think about how much time they spend bathing themselves.

Making the litter box less of a chore

Bringing a sweet, new kitty home is one of the best things ever and you’re probably not thinking about a litter box in that moment. However, once they’re settled, it becomes something you deal with daily. Take the hassle out of keeping your apartment smelling good and your kitty happy with any of these helpful methods to clean a litter box in an apartment.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Dry Clothes Without a Dryer

We all need to have more than clean clothes — they need to be dry, too! But living in an apartment can mean you have limited space for both a washer and a dryer and you may only want to have one of them. Or, you need to pay to rent an in-unit dryer or to use one at a laundry facility, which can really add up over time. Plus, dryers use a lot of energy.

But whether you don’t have a dryer at home, you’re trying to save money at the laundromat or you want to be a little more eco-friendly, there are plenty of ways to dry your clothes. Here are a few tips for how to dry clothes without a dryer.

1. Spin dry in a washing machine

You can get most of the water out of your clothes by placing them into a washing machine on a high spin setting. This may not get them 100 percent dry, but it will get them pretty darn close. You can also purchase a separate spin dryer that’s made to spin at even higher speeds than a washing machine, so your clothes will end up even drier!

Pro tip: Doing fewer items at a time will get the clothes drier than if you have a large batch to spin.

hanging clothes to dry without a dryer

hanging clothes to dry without a dryer

2. Hang dry your wet clothes

A classic method, hanging clothes to dry has been used for ages. Hang your clothes up wherever you can — a drying rack, a clothesline, the back of a chair or anywhere else you can find.

To make the drying process faster, be strategic about how you do it. That might mean opening the window to allow better airflow in your laundry room, placing a fan near the clothes or hanging them close (but not too close!) to a heat source, like a radiator or heating vent.

And if the weather and your space allow, you can hang clothes to dry outside on a balcony or in a backyard.

Pro tip: Use clothespins to hold your items in place, especially if you’re hanging them outside. You don’t want your clothes to blow away!

3. Roll clothes in a bath towel

A pretty simple method for drying your clothes is using a plain bath towel. Use your hands to wring the water out of a clothing item. Lay down a dry bath towel, then spread the clothing item onto the towel, so both are as flat as possible. Then, roll the towel up to encase the clothing item and twist the opposite ends of the towel. The towel will absorb the moisture from the clothing.

Pro tip: You can also put the rolled towel onto a hard surface, like countertop or floor, and apply pressure with your hands to get even more water out of it.

use a hair dryer to dry clothes without a dryer

use a hair dryer to dry clothes without a dryer

4. Try a hairdryer

Hairdryers will dry more than just your hair! Using a hairdryer is a great fix for when you need a single piece of clothing to dry quickly. Just hang the item on a hanger or towel rack and blow-dry it.

Pro tip: Be sure to hold the hairdryer at least six inches away as a safety precaution.

5. Use a towel and iron

You can essentially heat the moisture out of your clothing by laying it flat, placing a dry towel on top of it and ironing on top of the towel. You may need to switch out the towel and run the iron over it a few times to get all of the water out of your clothes.

Pro tip: Don’t let the iron sit for too long in one spot on the towel and make sure you don’t put the iron directly on wet clothing. This could leave burn marks and cause tearing. So, keep that towel in place and keep that iron moving.

hang clothes in the sun to dry clothes without a dryer

hang clothes in the sun to dry clothes without a dryer

6. Tap the power of the sun

If you live somewhere that gets lots of sun, it’s one of the quickest ways to dry clothing. Lay your clothing on a flat surface that’s completely exposed to sunlight — this could be on a table, chair seat or even the floor of your patio (make sure it’s clean!). Or, you can hang it on a clothesline outside.

Pro tip: Don’t leave clothing in the sun for too long, or else the colors might fade. Bring in your clothing once it’s dry and try not to let it sit out any longer.

A dryer isn’t a necessity

While dryers can be nice in many cases, they certainly aren’t necessary. Once you figure out how to dry clothes without a dryer, you might not even miss having one. Save yourself the space and money, while also saving the environment and dry your clothes using an alternative method.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home

You don’t have to spend a fortune to outfit your guest bedroom; instead, opt for a few fresh, affordable pieces to make your guests feel at home when they visit. The rest is all about hospitality – i.e., how you make them feel while they’re staying in your house. In addition to the suggestions below, show your guests where to find everything they’ll need – water glasses, extra towels and coffee mugs – so they don’t have to look through all of your cabinets.

Arrange Something Fresh

If a female is going to stay in your guest room, she will appreciate a bouquet of fresh flowers on the nightstand to make her feel more relaxed. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a fresh arrangement with the following: three or five white roses mixed with baby’s breath, carnations, Gerber daisies cut short or hydrangeas from your yard. If your guest is male, he might appreciate a potted plant on the dresser.

Read more: Breathe New Life Into Your Apartment with Houseplants

Have Clean, Soft Linens

Wash the bed linens, including the duvet cover or bedspread of your guest bed. Try to make the bed with 350- or 400-thread count linens, which you can purchase for cheap at discount fashion stores, such as TJ Maxx or Home Goods, or warehouse clubs such as Sam’s Club, Costco or BJ’s. Provide your guests with extra pillows and an extra blanket in case they get chilly during the night, and put one set of clean, folded towels per guest in the guest bedroom or, the guest bathroom -if you have one, so your company doesn’t have to search for them.

Read more: In-Laws Visiting? 15 Ways to Tidy Up in No Time

Make Space and Storage

Clean out at least one drawer and the top of the dresser if your guests are staying more than a few days. Clear space in the closet for them to hang clothes, and provide a few empty hangers. You can possibly find a used luggage rack at Goodwill or the Salvation Army to allow your guests to place their opened suitcase on top, which is more convenient than bending over to search through a bag on the floor.

Read more: Celebrity Closet Cues: Style Your Small Space Like a Rock Star

Provide Appropriate Toiletries

In addition to the usual hand soap, bath soap and lotion in your guest bathroom, arrange shampoo and conditioner for normal hair, shower gel, unscented shaving cream, an extra razor, two new toothbrushes and toothpaste for your guests, just in case they forgot anything. You might also want to provide miniature packages of ibuprofen and a water glass, if their trip required long hours in a cramped car. Guests tend to use lots of toilet paper, so make sure there are extra rolls available in the bathroom they’re using.

Read More: 9 Bathroom Storage Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of

Indulge in the Extras

Provide an alarm clock for your guests, and set it at the correct time before they arrive. If figuring out how to set the alarm on the clock is complicated, provide a set of instructions for them and place it under the alarm clock. If you have a television in your guest room, make sure the cable is hooked up, and lay the remote control on the bedside table so guests can easily locate it. Purchase an extra hamper for the guest bathroom or bedroom so they don’t wonder where to put their used towels, and make sure there is a trash can in the guest bedroom, bathroom or both. Make sure there’s a lamp on the bedside table, and turn it on before guests arrive so the room appears warm and soothing. And, of course, chocolates on guests’ pillows are always appreciated.

Read more: 6 Budget-Friendly Alternatives to Cable

Prepare Something Homemade

You don’t have to whip up a four-course dinner to make your guests feel more comfortable. Instead, have a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies ready when they arrive, and tell them they can help themselves to them while they’re staying with you. If you’re not into cooking, you can always pop store bought cookie dough in the oven, or arrange a fruit and cheese platter with local cheeses and grapes.

Read more: Save Time and Money by Preparing Meals at Home

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Saving Money on Utilities

When it comes to monthly expenses, there are some costs you don’t think can get lower, like a utility bill.

But with some awareness, a bit of effort and a few phone calls, you might be surprised at how much you can knock down utility costs that once seemed set in stone.

Shop for the best rate

Though you may not have a choice in who handles your water or electricity, some apartment communities will give you a choice in which gas company you can use. Gas companies are always competing for your business, trying to undercut the other’s per-therm price. Many carriers even offer cash incentives for switching over and/or programs that let you lock in a per-therm rate.

For phone and cable, there are also savings to be had. Take a look at your bill and examine all the features that come with your service. If you have channels you don’t watch or phone features you don’t need, call your service provider and see if you can go with a simpler plan at a cheaper rate. Or investigate other providers to see if changing companies will drive down the price.

Look for bundled deals in which your phone, cable, and DSL are handled by a single company and you could significantly cut your bill. Another option is to do away with your land-line entirely and use your cell phone instead. Don’t forget to shop for the best cell phone plan as well.

Waste not, pay not

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there are always ways to use less everything. Energy Star appliances, low-flow toilets, and water-wise showerheads are just a few things you can install to cut water use. Collect water in rain barrels and buckets in the shower and use that to water your plants. Wash larger loads of clothes and use cold water instead of warm, saving you energy and water! Minimize the settings on your dishwasher;  do you really need to use the heated drying, extra rinse, and tough scrub cycles?

We are accustomed to having computers, lights, televisions and stereos on even when we don’t need them. Turn things off when you’re not in front of them and turn out the lights in the rooms you’re not using. You’ll be amazed at the satisfaction, savings and welcome silence these simple efforts provide.

It’s really not hard to cut utility costs, even those you assumed couldn’t budge. With some awareness and effort, your consumption and monthly bills will begin to drop.

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Cleaning Essentials for Your Apartment

No one likes to clean, especially if you’ve just moved into your new apartment and want to explore your neighborhood. But you can make it easier by arming yourself with the right cleaning supplies and tools, which will have your apartment looking spic and span in no time. Then, when you make friends with people in your neighborhood, you’ll have no qualms about inviting them over to check out your new space and have a drink. Here is a list of the 17 essential cleaning supplies you’ll need for your new home.

Cleaners

  • All-purpose grease cleaner: One of the most stubborn messes is grease, so having a cleaner made for the task will save you a lot of headaches.
  • Wood cleaner: This helps polish wood furniture and keep dust away from ceiling fans, vents and more
  • Mild abrasive bathroom cleaner with bleach: You need something strong for cleaning the shower, tub, toilet, sink and grout
  • Glass cleaner: There’s only so much you can handle streaks on your windows, and it can be hard to find cleaners that leave the windows completely clear. You can make your own by mixing 2 to 3 tablespoons of white vinegar with 3 cups water
  • Dishwashing liquid: A drop of this and a cup of water creates an instant spot cleaner for carpets and upholstered furniture – along with the obvious use for cleaning dishes.
  • Baking soda: Mix it with lemon juice for a scrub or sprinkle it on carpets before you vacuum to absorb odors, among many other tricks you can learn.
  • White vinegar: You can make a lot of good cleaning solutions by mixing vinegar with something else. Having some around is almost always useful.
  • Isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide: Similar to vinegar, these are often mixed with other things to make good cleaning solutions.

Read more: Tips to Tame Your Cluttered Room of Shame and Cheap Green Cleaning

  • A caddy: Having this will make it much easier to carry your cleaning supplies around the house. It also helps you avoid having to run back and forth to get what you forgot.
  • Broom, dustpan, and mop: These are crucial for cleaning up anything on hardwood or tile floors.
  • Microfiber sweeper: If you have pets, this will do wonders for getting pet hair off of your floors.
  • Vacuum cleaner: These are crucial if you have carpets, but even hardwood and tile floors can use a good vacuuming from time to time.
  • Rubber gloves: You really don’t want to get the mess all over your hands and forearms. This is especially useful when using bleach or other chemicals that can harm your skin.

Kitchen

  • Scrub brush: One of many tools to help get stubborn grease and other substances off your dishes. This can also handle a lot of cleaning and brushing tasks in other areas as well.
  • Dish cloth: Even if you use a dishwasher to dry your dishes, you’ll want something to dry dishes in a pinch.
  • Scrubbing pads and steel wool: These are needed when you have particularly strong grease that a standard brush or sponge won’t do anything to.
  • Cloth and paper towels: You have to clean up spills with something.
  • Plastic scraper: One of many tools made for getting really stubborn grease off of your pots and pans.
  • Sponges: These are essential for doing dishes. Just make sure to have a lot of them – they quickly become infested with a lot of bacteria, so replacing them consistently is vital.
  • Antibacterial wipes: There’s a lot of bacteria in raw food. After you cook or do the dishes, wipe down the countertops to keep the bacteria from building up.

Read more: Green Tips for Natural Kitchen Cleaning

Bathroom

  • Toilet brush: It should be obvious that toilets are a mess, so get a brush made specifically for cleaning them.
  • Toothbrush: No, not yours. Get one with hard, rigid bristles to make it easier to scrub stains out of grout.
  • Grout brush: Sometimes, the toothbrush just won’t cut it and you need something made just for the task.

 Read more: Bathroom Hacks without Chemicals

Living room

  • Lint roller: These aren’t just for your clothes. Running them over your couch and other fabric surfaces will get a lot of hard to deal with lint out of the way.
  • Duster: Something with a long handle will let you get the top of furniture that you’d otherwise miss most of the time. Either feather or microfiber will work well for most situations.

There’s always more that you can buy, but these essentials will cover the most common situations, and even some of the more uncommon ones.

Related: How to Clean Your Cleaning Tools

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10 Cheap Ways to Keep Cool in Your Apartment

To keep cool this summer, you could blast the air conditioning nonstop, but that will leave you with cooling bills that may give you the chills – and not in a good way.

Air conditioning is expensive, and not every apartment has it. Whether it’s by choice or forced on you, there are a number of ways to keep heat at bay during the summer. You’re probably already doing some of them, like running the ceiling fans, but there’s more that you can do to keep cool without abusing your air conditioner.

1.  Focus on cooling yourself, not the apartment: All these tips are built on this idea, but it deserves to be pointed out. Air conditioning cools the whole apartment, but your comfort depends on how you feel. It’s okay if the temperature is high, so long as you feel cool.

2.  Use ice packs (or other cold items): Freeze an ice pack and place it underneath you on the couch or bed. Keep it in a pocket while you’re walking or lounging around the apartment. Keeping it close to you will cool you down considerably. In a pinch, you can use frozen food, such as a bag of peas or popsicles, just be cautious of the mess they can make.

Read more: How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

3. Freeze your sheets and clothes: Place your sheets and pillowcases in the freezer a few hours before bedtime, and make your bed with them right before you get in.  The same trick will work for clothes, so while you can’t open the freezer to cool the room, you can use it to cool your clothes.

4. Take a cold bath or shower: If the thought of getting into a cold bath makes you sweat, fill it first with lukewarm or room temperature water, and get in. Gradually let the lukewarm water out and refill it with cold water until you’re in a mostly cold bath. You’ll feel cool for a long time afterwards.

5. Eat cool foods: Running the stove or oven just warms up the room. Instead, try to eat cold foods that don’t need to be cooked. Not only do you avoid creating more heat, but they also help cool you off.  Popsicles and other ice cream are really helpful for this, and who doesn’t want an excuse to eat more ice cream?

6. Wear cooler clothes: If you’re home alone, go without clothes or walk around in your underwear or a bathing suit. Otherwise, wear natural fabrics such as linen, cotton and silk. These breathe better than man-made materials, such as rayon, polyester and other artificial fibers. Athletic wear is an exception and can wick moisture away from your body. Looser clothes also tend to breathe better than tighter clothes.

Read more: Tips for Airing Out Your Apartment

7.  Close and cover windows and doors: Leaving windows open lets in warm air, and just leaving the blinds open lets in sunlight, which also warms up the room. At least close the blinds, if not putting up lined drapes or aluminum foil to reflect sunlight out of the room. Also, focus on just the part of the apartment you’re going to be in. Closing off parts of the apartment cuts down on air circulation, but that’s a benefit if most of the air that can circulate is warm air.

8. Set up fans cleverly: If you have multiple fans, set them up so that they intersect on you, the air hitting you from multiple directions. Make sure that your ceiling fan is set to counterclockwise, drawing the warm air upwards. Fill and freeze jugs of water, placing them behind fans (with a towel under the jug to absorb the water) to blow cool air at you. It’s helpful to have a fan blowing air at you, but setting it up properly can make a really big difference.

9. Drink ice water: Cooling down starts on the inside, so downing several glasses of ice-cold water will really put the chill on. Drink one ounce of water for every two pounds of your body weight. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink at least 75 ounces, or a little more than nine eight-ounce glasses, of water per day.

10. Use mint or menthol products: Smear cooling topical ointments with medicated vapors (such as Vicks VapoRub) or peppermint lotion on your skin. Bathe with peppermint soap, use lip balm with peppermint oil and brush your teeth with something minty. Mint refreshes the skin and leaves a nice cooling sensation.

11. Go somewhere with air conditioning: Just because you don’t want to run the air conditioner doesn’t mean that no one is. If a day is particularly unbearable, that could be the time to find somewhere else to go. Grocery stores, especially in the dairy aisle, are somewhere you probably need to go anyway, so why not now? You can also go to a grocery store, a friend’s house, or make it an outing to a movie theater. Wherever it is, someone else is paying for the air conditioning, and you get to really relax and embrace the cold.

Read more: Top Tips for Staying Cool This Summer

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Give Your Apartment Medicine Cabinet a Check-Up

Colds and the flu usually strike at the end of winter or beginning of spring. Are you and your medicine cabinet prepared to handle another cold, allergy and cough season?

In addition to readying you for spring, cleaning out your medicine cabinet also ensures you get rid of dangerous or outdated medicines. First, know what to get rid of. Throw out expired and old medicines and consolidate nearly empty bottles and duplicates to get rid of clutter. Don’t leave old pills lying out in open trash cans and available to the curious hands and noses of young children and pets; dispose of them securely

Next, inventory what you have and learn what to add, especially if you’re living in cold-prone, windy areas. Make sure you have the following items in your medicine cabinet:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Primarily known as a pain reliever, acetaminophen is also a fever-reducer.

Aloe vera: This soothing, oft-green gel treats burns.

Antihistamine (Benadryl): This over-the-counter medication calms allergy symptoms such as nasal inflammation, sneezing, runny noses and eye irritation. It’s also a lifesaver for allergic reactions and bug bites.

Antiseptics: Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol clean cuts and scrapes to help prevent infection.

Antiseptic creams or ointments (Neosporin): These prevent infection in cuts and scrapes and reduce scarring.

Bandages: Stock up on bandages in various sizes so you can cover and protect any wound.

Cold, cough and flu medicines: So you’re not treating symptoms you don’t have, purchase different over-the-counter cold, cough and flu medications, such as decongestants (for coughs), expectorants and cough suppressants, depending on the symptoms you typically have.

Read more of our health-related posts:

Cortisone cream: This topical ointment reduces inflammation and calms itchy insect bites and rashes.

Gauze bandages and adhesive tape: These two items are crucial for covering larger wounds.

Heating and cooling packs: Ice reduces fevers and swelling, while heat eases cramps and stomach aches.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin): This pain reliever also reduces inflammation and swelling.

Medicine dropper or medicine cup: You need some accurate medical-use measure for dispensing liquid medications.

Nose spray: Decongestant nasal sprays quickly open up nasal passages by constricting blood vessels in the lining of the nose. Saline sprays help moisturize dry or irritated nostrils.

Thermometer: Purchase a digital or chemical-dot thermometer for checking temperatures, and know which temperatures are too high for all ages.

Tweezers: Find good tweezers with more pointy ends for removing splinters or ticks.

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Source: apartmentguide.com