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MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2007
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Cleaning by the book

The editors of "Real Simple Cleaning" (Real Simple Books, $21.95), leave us no excuse not to stay spring clean during any season of the year. Did you know ketchup can shine faucets?

A cleaning kit from 'Real Simple Cleaning.'
itAP photo/Real Simple Books
A cleaning kit from "Real Simple Cleaning."
Writer Kathleen Squires and photographer Monica Buck do, and they've produced a crisply organized text following the pristine design of parent Real Simple magazine.

Short of time? Follow the 10-minute-clean routine in the laundry room while the spin cycle runs out.

For recaulking bathroom tile, you'll put on rain boots, fill the tub with water and stand in it — don't worry, the book takes you step-by-step through the rest of the drill.

One person's spick-and-span is another's squalor, Kristin van Ogtrop, Real Simple's managing editor, says in the introduction. "Whether you want to cover just the basics (floors, windows) or spend hours on every nook (inside the oven, anyone?), this book has a cleaning strategy for you."

As for all those tools piled high in hardware stores, Squires says, "there's a gizmo on the shelf for nearly every cleaning problem, most promising to work miracles while you lift nary a finger."

But what really works and which do you really need?

Squires lists just 20 components, not forgetting a vacuum and baking soda, for a cleaning kit that will clean your entire place; she lays out cleaning plans for every room in the house, and advises on removing stains and organizing closets.

Some of the full-page photos accompanying the text look scarily bleached out, but most of us will not go that far in our zeal to clean.

The Associated Press

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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