The Kitchen Zone

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Let the Queen of Clean Help You Conquer Tough Cleaning Jobs

(ARA) - Kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms that present the biggest cleaning challenges. They get a lot of use, and they are exposed to a lot of bacteria and germs. You may think you need a cabinet full of various cleaning products and an entire day to tackle these tough areas, but Linda Cobb, a.k.a. the Queen of Clean, begs to differ.

"Cleaning doesn't have to be a miserable experience," says The Queen of Clean, Linda Cobb, a New York Times best-selling author and host of DIY-Do It Yourself Network's series, Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean. "Don't get me wrong -- a good, thorough cleaning is work. However, there are some things you can do to make it a little easier."

Before you start cleaning, Cobb suggests getting organized by gathering all of your cleaning products and tools in one container that can be easily carried from room to room. One of her favorite tools is a roll of paper towels. "You can just use them and toss them," says the Queen. "You're not spreading dirt and germs around like you would if you used rags." Cobb recommends Sparkle paper towels because they are strong, absorbent and wipe dry fast. Plus, they're affordably priced.

Make sure you have everything you'll need before you start. . "You don't want to have to stop when you're on a roll to restock your supplies," says Cobb. Include plenty of strong trash bags, cloths, sponges and cleansers in your cleaning caddy. What you don't need is a big collection of expensive cleaning products. Cobb stresses that your cleaning products can and should do double duty -- you don't need a different product for each task. In fact, you can make your own cleaning products using ingredients you probably have in your cupboard already.

"There are so many products you can make yourself that clean really well and are inexpensive," says Cobb. She shares some of her favorites below.


Combine two quarts warm water and 1/2 cup corn starch. Wash windows with a sponge and dry with Sparkle paper towels. To make a quart for a spray bottle, use one quart warm water and 1/4 cup corn starch.

* All-purpose cleanser

Make your own cleanser by combining four parts baking soda and one part 20 Mule Team Borax laundry additive. Use it just as you would any other cleanser.

* Spray cleaner

This is perfect for most hard surfaces. Combine 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap, two tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon washing soda, one teaspoon 20 Mule Team Borax and two cups water. Shake well prior to using.

* Make sinks shine

To clean porcelain sinks and tubs, combine 20 Mule Team Borax and lemon juice into a moderately thick paste. Scrub porcelain sinks and tubs with the paste and rinse well. To tackle stains, leave paste on for a few hours or overnight. Wipe the sink dry with a strong, absorbent Sparkle paper towel and buff for a great shine.

Now that you're stocked up, make a plan. Cobb suggests cleaning from top to bottom, since dirt and dust from light fixtures, for example, will end up on the sink or the floor. Be sure to finish one task completely before moving on to the next. Play your favorite CD or radio station to help you set the pace.

Cobb says that incorporating some household chores into a daily routine can help "weekend warrior" cleaners, who feel like cleaning robs them of their leisure time. Do one room, or even a section of a room each day and when the weekend rolls around, you won't feel overwhelmed," says Cobb.

And remember, you don't need a lot of expensive products in fancy bottles to make your home a castle.

For more information on Linda Cobb and her books, visit To find out about her new show on the DIY Network, For more information on Sparkle paper towels, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

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