Ask The Ex­perts

How to run your house­hold more ef­fi­ciently, from top to bot­tom

Good Housekeeping (Philippines) - - News -

House­hold Help & Clean­ing Tips

QThey say mo­bile phones are dirt­ier than a toi­let seat. What’s the best way to clean them?

It’s pos­si­ble since we hold our mo­bile phones all the time and our hands can har­bor all kinds of germs. Some peo­ple buy a spe­cial phone clean­ing spray to ster­il­ize their mo­bile phones, but you can ac­tu­ally make your own clean­ing so­lu­tion. Mix equal parts dis­tilled wa­ter and white vine­gar (or rub­bing al­co­hol) in­side a small spray bot­tle. It is im­por­tant to use dis­tilled wa­ter and not tap wa­ter be­cause the min­er­als in the lat­ter may leave some residue on your phone’s screen. Spray a lit­tle bit of this so­lu­tion on a mi­crofiber cloth and gen­tly wipe your phone with the cloth. Never spray di­rectly on the phone or screen. I would rec­om­mend us­ing only mi­crofiber cloth as any­thing else may scratch your phone’s screen. —Marivic Aram­bulo

QHow should I clean clean­ing im­ple­ments like sponges, rags, and mops?

For floor mops, it is best to wash them in a pail filled with wa­ter and 1 cup of dis­tilled white vine­gar (DWV), es­pe­cially af­ter use in the kitchen. The kitchen har­bors all kinds of bac­te­ria, so it is not enough to merely clean mops used in this part of the house— they must be dis­in­fected as well. And DWV is a good nat­u­ral dis­in­fec­tant. Af­ter dis­in­fect­ing, place the mop in an area where it can dry com­pletely. A wet mop breeds bac­te­ria so al­ways make sure to keep it in an up­right po­si­tion, with its head on top, when you store it.

Kitchen sponges, mean­while, must be soaked in a bowl of wa­ter mixed with le­mon juice, then placed in a microwave set to high for 1 minute to dry. (Never microwave a dry sponge.) The heat from the microwave will kill all kinds of nasty bac­te­ria in the sponge. Wipe the in­sides of the microwave af­ter use.

Lastly, to clean rags, just hand- or ma­chine-wash them like you would your reg­u­lar clothes, us­ing deter­gent. —Marivic Aram­bulo


QI find it too ex­pen­sive to have drapes cus­tom-made. Though blinds are more af­ford­able, they some­times fail to add char­ac­ter to a space. What else can I do to spruce up my win­dows?

If you want to get the ad­van­tage of both drapes and blinds, you might want to look into ver­ti­cal fabric blinds. They are as easy to main­tain as reg­u­lar blinds, but can pro­vide al­most as much drama for your space as drapes can. You can visit a win­dow blinds shop at any home and build­ing de­pot to see the cur­tain blinds your­self. Keep in mind, though, that blinds are ma­chine-made with pre­fab­ri­cated parts. You will need to work within the bound­aries of a store’s cat­a­log when se­lect­ing col­ors or pat­terns. I hope your win­dows get the treat­ment they de­serve!

—Jovy Ra­belas MAID MAT­TERS

QI’ve no­ticed that my maid al­ways waits for me to tell her what to do, even for the small­est things. How can I train her to take more ini­tia­tive?

The best way to train your house­hold staff is to give them a check­list of their chores (daily, weekly, monthly) and ac­tu­ally show them what it means. If you have to bring your maid around your home to ac­tu­ally show her, this will be most ef­fec­tive. Some maids come into our homes with­out know­ing what is ex­pected of them. The check­list helps them do their job well and makes ex­pec­ta­tions from both par­ties clearer. —Chris­tine Araneta-fer­reira

QI caught the yaya of one of my son’s class­mates bul­ly­ing him when I went to fetch him from school one af­ter­noon. What’s the best way to han­dle this?

It would be best to first ask your son about the cir­cum­stances that could have caused this yaya to bully him. Re­mem­ber that there will al­ways be two sides to a story. Then talk to the yaya’s em­ployer as soon as pos­si­ble. By pro­vid­ing as many facts about the sit­u­a­tion, the em­ployer will be able to han­dle it and talk to the yaya bet­ter. Also, em­power your son and teach him how to han­dle sim­i­lar bul­ly­ing sit­u­a­tions on his own. Give him the right words, so he will know how to re­act. —Chris­tine Araneta-fer­reira

QMy daugh­ter’s yaya is very good at her job. My only con­cern is that she never owns up to her mis­takes or speaks up when some­thing goes wrong. How can I en­cour­age her to show more ac­count­abil­ity?

Most Filipino em­ploy­ees, whether in our homes or com­pa­nies, are very ten­ta­tive about speak­ing their minds to their bosses. It’s in­grained in our cul­ture. What usu­ally helps is if you don’t rep­ri­mand her when she makes a mis­take. Ask her ques­tions that will al­low her to speak up. Some­times you need to help her find the right words to ex­press her­self. She may not say sorry but in­stead, “pasen­sya” (a word that is so overused in our coun­try), and so, it is im­por­tant to ed­u­cate her about the value of own­ing up and apol­o­giz­ing for her mis­takes. Al­ter­nately, let her know when she does a good job as this will build up her con­fi­dence. —Chris­tine Araneta-fer­reira

Clean your pho when­ever you can. It po­ten­tially har­bors lots of germs—think about where it’s b e

Ver­ti­cal fabric blinds are a great al­ter­na­tive to cus­tom drapes.

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