Fixtures, tiles, and mirrors

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Updated: 4/13/2007 10:48 am
You probably don't notice how much grime accumulates around light switch and electrical fixtures until you take them off and see the brown ring on the wall. Since fixtures are held on by only a few screws, they're easy to remove, wash in soapy water, and replace. Make sure you dry them thoroughly. While they're off, wipe away the stains with a damp cloth. Another household fixture that can build up dirt without your noticing is a ceiling fan. Try to wipe them every week or so. Clean them with an all-purpose cleaner every few months. Light fixtures should be dusted regularly and the glass covers washed occasionally in hot, soapy water. Be sure to rinse and dry them thoroughly before putting them back up. Kitchen and bathroom tiles can be cleaned with any standard spray-on cleaner. If the grout between them is stained or mildewed, use a solution of a quarter-cup chlorine bleach to a quart of warm water to clean them. An old toothbrush makes a handy scrubbing tool Wear rubber gloves and old clothes whenever you use chlorine bleach. Acoustical tiles shouldn't be washed, only dusted or vacuumed. Mirrors can be cleaned with standard glass cleaners or a tablespoon of ammonia in a quart of water. A 50-50 mix of vinegar and water also works. Don't spray the mirror directly. Instead, wet a paper towel or cloth with the cleaning mixture and rub the surface, then wipe dry with paper towels or crumpled newspaper. If you see a spot where the mirrored surface has worn off the back of the mirror, tape a piece of aluminum foil behind the hole.
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