Category Archives: cleaning tips

Quick Cleaning Tips

A lot of cleaning hacks and tips out there don’t work for our family. The products aren’t sold where we live. Sometimes the tips are faulty. Other times the hacks don’t work for us because we have well water. 

I found one trick for cleaning grime off of the cabinet doors, especially where fingers grab to open and close them. A simple washing soda, water, splash of vinegar and Dawn dish soap paste. All great cleaning ingredients. Scrub the area with a toothbrush or your finger tip and voila the grime is removed leaving you with pristine, looking like new cabinets. WRONG! 

I tested this on a few of our cabinets and the ones I tried it on ended up dirtier than the others, and faster! 

Look at the difference. So gross! Fail!!

Moving on…

Have you seen Magic White Erasers? Of course you have, unless you’ve been living under a rock. There are so many uses for these bad boys! My latest use is cleaning grease. Yep, grease. Our stove good gets gunked up and greasy. Of course I’m the “only one” who notices. I have tried sips and hot water, vinegar and Dawn, even the tip of cleaning grease with grease. This one you are suppose to be able to clean the grease off using oil and a rag. Sounded good in theory. Nope, didn’t work in my house. 

It was time to try something new. I had my trusty off-brand white erasers out cleaning fingerprints and smudges off of the walls when it hit me… this might just work! Yep I used the white eraser on the hood! It worked so well you guys, and it was EASY! Clean and easy? Psh sign me up! 

Seriously. Check those out! Forget harsh chemicals or mixing ingredients at home. Give me the white eraser any day! 

Another quick hack I’ll share with you is Dawnegar. I’ve mentioned mixing Dawn andvinegar before and not working. There are many other places it works fabulously, especially if you have hard well water like me. 

Well water leaves iron build ups which in turn looks like an orange rust. Over time it will take over your sinks, showers and tubs. Previously I would scrub my showers on cleaning day with various chemical products. They worked well but when a cleaning product comes with warnin labels such as “use in a ventilated area” or “wash hands immediately after use” I am a tad concerned. Little K is quick and likes to help me around the house. So he would be sticking his hands in the tub while in sprinkling or spraying the latest cleaning product. Not good. 

Enter Dawnegar, warm vinegar and Dawn blue dish soap mixed together. I use warm vinegar when creating the mix to help the soap mix well with the vinegar. Stick the solution in a scrub brush, like the ones used for washing dishes, and keep it in the shower. During your shower give the walls and floors a quick scrub and rinse off when you’re done! Do this once a week and no more iron or water build up in the shower! Done. 

Use these quick hacks to help get your cleaning done and enjoy your day! What are some quick and easy cleaning hacks you have tried and tested? 

Baking Soda + H2O2 vs BKF

Continuing on with my scrubbing and cleaning binge, I decided to pit two common scrubbers against each other in the battle of the cookie sheets! Admittedly we don’t buy the best or even the better cooking ware around here. We buy the off name brand  (sometimes store brand) products, EEKK I know! I think I figure if it’s this much effort to keep them clean, why spend so much money on expensive ones when they will be just as difficult to clean? The neat freak inside of me (continues to be buried down further as each day goes by) has been screaming out (heard as a whisper) to scrub our cookie and pizza sheets.

**Oh my heck I just had an ah ha moment! We have a stoneware pizza dish, and it is minimal upkeep and requires little effort to clean! What?! Does anyone own stoneware cookie sheets or really great cookie sheets? How is the maintenance?**

This last weekend the freak inside was let out to play. I have seen a recipe of baking soda and H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide, hello one molecule away from water?) which is suppose to scrub your gunk away on its own with minimal elbow grease. Of course I’m skeptical, did you read my last post about my floors? DSCN1980

This is my pizza sheet. Gross right? It has become this discolored over time… seasoned right? ugh. On here I used a suggestion of sprinkling baking soda, then H2O2 then a little more baking soda (it’s a good thing baking soda is cheap!) then let the magic happen on its own (see my disbelief now?) I covered the pan and let it sit for a few hours…

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This small amount came off with my finger rubbing the mixture off a little after an hour or so.

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I kept working at it and letting it sit more. Look at how gross the baking soda is getting! After checking a few spots here and there over the course of several hours I reapplied and let the mixture “do its magic” for what ended up being two days. This thing was gross! I finally scrubbed it all off today and while it is not 100% better this is absolutely an improvement.

 

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While the pizza pan was doing its thing, I did a test on two of my cookie sheets. These are no where near as gross as the pizza pan but still needing more than a good dose of elbow grease.

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Enter BKF (Bar Keepers Friend) and the aforementioned DIY concoction. I’ve used BKF in the bathroom many times and it definitely can clean up the iron laden water residue (albeit Dawnegar works best/easiest for the shower now)IMG_20160606_214259122

Applied said cleaners to different pans and let them both sit overnight. Even tho BKF says to apply and wipe off after a few minutes, I wanted to give them an equal opportunity to scrub. Ok I started to clean it and nothing was happening. Which one do you think will clean the gunk better?IMG_20160606_214310981_HDR

After an all night equal soak. They each received an equal, hardy five minute elbow grease scrub down and rinse. I am genuinely surprised at the results. Are you ready for this?

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I only cleaned them for five minutes each but I can see a difference! There is a clear winner here. I knew the DIY mix would work but I thought BKF would be better! I even started scrubbing the BKF pan first! Time to find a new use for the rest of my BKF and invest in baking soda and H2O2 for cleaning supplies.  For today’s challenge, DIY baking soda + H2O2 takes the win.

I will add the original post I found the suggestion for the DIY mix did not indicate quite so much scrubbing would be needed. Maybe it varies depending on the amount/type of gunk? Either way I’m happy to see my cookie sheets and pizza pan getting a renewed life.

Baking soda and vinegar

If you’re anything like me you are on Pinterest looking for new ideas for almost everything in life.
I’ll go there for new dinner ideas, cleaning inspiration, hair styles for S and basically anything to help make my life easier.

As you know I’ve been trying to purge our house. This also means trying to salvage items and cleaning with items on hand. Pinterest is GREAT for suggesting ways to refurbish and update your old dresser, with a $20 pint size jar of paint. Or recover your couch by making your own slip cover, out of fabric and supplies costing at least $50 (not to mention the headaches of making said slipcover, picking the perfect material, etc).

My point? Oh right… cleaning. I have found many tips on restoring your cookie sheets and removing the mystery stains on the carpets. Why do most of these DIY recipes consist of vinegar and/or baking soda? I get it, I do, they can be quite useful in cleaning some of those pesky stains.

Two years ago AJ and I went away for a night for Valentine’s Day. Our dog managed to throw up twice, in two different spots, within a foot of each other! I used on spot as a base and the other as my testing spot. You name it I tried it. A few things helped removed the color of the stain but none completely removed the stain. The blasted thing is still there! Here is what I tried:
ammonia + damp white cloth + iron
Baking soda + vinegar paste scrub
Dawn + vinegar + baking soda

Some other homemade mixes I can’t recall because none of them made much difference.

So when I read about LA’s Awesome at the dollar store would lift any stain I was willing to try it, especially since the latest mystery stain looks like dried blood. How is it kids can manage to make large spills, not notice and not know what it was?

Today I sprayed some of this yellow liquid onto two stains, waited, and scrubbed then blotted.

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As you can see from my before and after photos the smaller stain is mostly gone. The larger stain is more orange than rust now but even after running the carpet cleaner over it, the stain is still… well a stain.

So thanks Pinterest for more semi-helpful tips. Next up will be the baking soda + hydrogen peroxide for scrubbing cookie sheets!

Oven Cleaning

When was the last time you cleaned your oven? What do you use to clean it? How often do you clean it? Is it gas or electric? Do you have a self cleaning option?

Welcome to oven cleaning anonymous where we don’t judge how long it has been since you last cleaned your oven. Who really wants to get in there and clean the oven anyway? NOT ME! It has been at least 18 months since my oven was last good and cleaned. When it was cleaned I used Oven Off or Easy Off whatever that chemical clean oven in a can spray is called, lemon scented. Lemon scented chemicals…

Yesterday I decided enough was enough! I got off the bandwagon and pulled out all the stops (racks, pieces, doors, you get it). I pondered cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, or maybe even the chemical in a can, but then I remembered BKF! Yes Bar Keeper’s Friend! I have some on hand for getting the iron stains out of our bathroom (well water is spectacular for iron deposits). With cleaners, gloves, sponges and rags at hand I began taking apart the stove. First out were the racks and into a large trash bag with ammonia tied up and outside for a good soaking.

The bottom of my oven has what appears to be a lady scratched into the surface. This made me hesitate to use anything too abrasive as I didn’t want to make it worse. After three bowls of dirty water and barely making a dent I decided the sponge was too gentle. Out came the big guns, steel wool pads. First I used the softest I have 00, then upgraded to coarse, level 3 for removing paint and rust. Steel wool 03 and BKF was the ticket! Bye bye guck!

I didn’t get everything off as well as I had wanted but it was a definite start. To see the difference, the left side was after I had finished scrubbing and the right had not been touched yet. After scrubbing everything as well as I could (and breaking my oven light in the process) I put it all back together. I didn’t want to leave the chemicals in the oven so I ran the self cleaning option to burn any excess off. Hopefully it would also remove any stubborn stains I couldn’t get out with the elbow grease. It was my first time using a self cleaning option on an oven; I was not certain of what the results would be.

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That is one dang good looking clean oven! Now that I have scoured and completely cleaned the oven I will be using the self cleaning option more often. So much easier to keep something clean in the first place! UGH lesson learned on that one!

Mysteries of Cloth Diapering

This April we were blessed to add Killian to our little family, making us a family of five. He is such a bundle of joy but it has been five years since we had a baby and let’s face it, a lot has changed. We needed to make decisions on what and how to raise this little one. Along with sleeping and eating we needed to determine what diapers we would buy. Through a friend I learned about cloth diapers a few months prior and I began looking into using cloth diapers for this baby. With the cost of disposable diapers and the thought of adding more trash in his world’s land fills, cloth diapers was looking like the best option. Besides there are a ton of cute and fun prints on cloth diapers!

AJ was supportive but hesitant to begin our cloth diaper (CD) journey. I purchased a few used diapers here and there and had a good small stash to start.  Here we are four months into CDing and we love it! We have mostly pocket diapers for right now but are venturing into the various types and brands available.

The questions I am asked most are about rashes, changing time and laundry. IF he gets a rash it is because I did not change his diaper when it was full. He does not get a contact rash from the diapers we have been using or the inserts (don’t ever put microfiber inserts in direct contact with baby’s skin). The few times I have found a rash it has usually been from heat/sweat or rubbing because we didn’t check his leg holes. Coconut oil clears it right up and is gentle enough to use on the diapers.

Changing time: The amount of time it takes to change his diaper is about the same as a disposable. The only difficulties we run into are when he is being a wiggle worm, but that would be the same with disposables. If we are out and about I have a travel wet bag to place dirty diapers into until we can get home. Simple and easy.

Laundry: I do laundry for five people now, one of whom (my husband) goes through about two outfits a day on average (it use to be three). So one more load of laundry during the week really is not much different. Since we are still breastfeeding exclusively (aka: ebf), the poo is liquid and not much different than having to wash out pee. Diapers do require their own wash and drying cycle but so do whites, towels and jeans. It is not much more.

If you are interested or curious in cloth diapering I suggest trying it out. Find a local swap/sell group, get a few cloth to try out and see if you like them. If you don’t, well you either have spare diapers on hand or you can resell them. We sure enjoy this new adventure.

One project leads to another

Recently I’ve been doing little things around the house to clean it up and make it nicer. For example, I’ve been working on repainting our floor board heater covers with rust proof paint. This is a much longer and tedious task than what I thought when originally I set out to complete this task. But that is for another post another day.  The other thing I’ve been doing is painting our walls white. No they weren’t “painted” when we moved in but the people who lived here before us smoked, inside and they were older, and it was just gross. So when I can’t decide what color to paint a room or a wall it gets painted white. The most recent wall was in our dining/kitchen area and I did the window sills and frames as well. The room is so much brighter I knew I had to keep going. So I decided on Monday my bedroom windows were the next to get the paint treatment.

As I removed my curtains and prepped for painting I was mortified at what I saw up close to my window.

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I am mortified to even be posting these but I do it in the name of education! I dust about once a week which includes my window sills and baseboards. I even vacuum those areas before dusting. Somehow this has still managed to happen.

So I proceeded to think what I had in my arsenal that would work well at cleaning this gunk up. Vacuuming was not doing the whole job, obviously. So I went to my trusty vinegar in a spray bottle. I use it to clean almost everything around here.

I was having a difficult time getting at the cracks and nooks. I did not want to spend an entire afternoon working and cleaning these window sills. (If you’ve ever been to my house you know how many windows I have).  So when using vinegar on stubborn spots I pair it with baking soda (LOVE it). I did have to remove my screens all the way (or work with only one hand) which was fine because they needed to be wiped and hosed down. I poured a little baking soda in the corner and hard to get to areas then let it and vinegar do their bubble dance.

To reach in and get the gunk out I used q-tips. With a little twist, turn and swirl the gunk came right off and out! Next I used paper towels (thought about using rags but it was just too gross) and wiped the remaining excess off. Lastly (and this was the best part) I poured a cup of hot water on the window frame and watched it all wash away to the outside. Apparently the way windows are set in they have a ever so slight tilt down and out. AWESOME points to the person who made that happen.

After it was clean I dried up the remaining water spots and presto clean window sills/frames!

I do make it a habit to wipe these down at least every other day now as it is fall and the dust somehow makes its way here.

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Notes: Our windows fully move up and down, top and bottom so in order to “save the top portion from fully coming down behind the front window there are stoppers in the frame, I absolutely removed those to fully clean out the area.  Also the “gunk” left in the frame closest to the inside is actually dried up mess of caulking from when the windows were installed. UGH could they have at least wiped that up instead of letting it dry there! I cut out most of what I could and cleaned that area again but it didn’t all come off.

Spring Cleaning

There’s more than just the inside of the house there is the outside work too! Wit our tax refund this year we bought a power washer and did other things around the house but this was my favorite toy we bought this year. I cleaned off our deck and started cleaning off he house too. So fun!

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I also purchased a sonic duo – it’s suppose to be this great carpet cleaning device. We shall see how it all works out. I tested it in #2’s bedroom. What do you think?

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