Sunday, December 16, 2007

I've Found It! The Perfect Cleaning Kit Container

Now, your cleaning kit container can be made out of just about anything. I use a great big old red bucket - it's sort of a rectangular thing, and it has a sturdy handle and I can fit all of my fave cleaning supplies in there, no sweat. (Well, when I start cleaning I might sweat...but no need for details, right?)

But, I've often searched for a cleaning kit container to recommend to other slobbos - one that I felt was JUST RIGHT. My search thus far has been rather unimpressive, and I've never found anything that inspired a great big, bad burst of cleaning. Until now!!!

This lovely creation was something I set eyes on a few weeks ago at the kitchen shop where I work, and I was instantly smitten. THIS Oxo Good Grips cleaning caddy would be the perfect recommendation for slobbos everywhere who were in need of a good cleaning kit caddy! Sadly, we quickly sold out (before I had the sense to buy one for myself!) - but you can get yours for only $7.99 via Amazon. An amazing bargain!

There are a variety of compartments to hold cleaning formulas, spray bottles, cloths and paper towels, a duster, and so on. It is a beautifully sturdy creation, so it will stand up to years of rough and tumble treatment during your cleaning bursts. I'm a big fan of Oxo Good Grips products, and this one takes the cake (or shall we say, takes the broom?) I hope a few of you will get one for yourself, and make good use of this beautiful cleaning caddy. Enjoy it!

P.S. The little photo in the ad does this caddy no justice at all! Click on the ad to see more pictures...

Sunday Morning - Got my Coffee - and a Tip for You Happy Slob Housecleaners

Hey all!

It's Sunday, and my coffee is just finishing perking...(hold on one moment, while I go grab a lovely fresh cup!)

There, that caffeine boost will likely help with inspiration for this post...I had a simple cleaning tip to share with you - and by TIP, I do mean a pointy wooden tip. Confused yet? Today's tip involves wooden skewers!

I've found that this inexpensive little kitchen must have (check out the other kitchen MUST HAVES that I swear by ) is a handy, efficient little cleaning tool. The other day I used one when cleaning up the kitchen sink, using that pointed tip to dig up all the disgusting grunge all around the edge of the sink. Let me tell you, it wasn't pretty what I managed to get out of the edge of the sink, but wow did the sink look great after! (Easy sink cleaning formula: scrub out the inside with baking soda and a wet cloth, rinse well; spray down with our Very Vinegar spray and wipe out with a paper towel. Occasionally do the skewer trick along the edges to get out all the dirt and grime that get stuck in those hard to reach areas.)

Wooden skewers are also handy for:
  • unclogging drains (especially if you have long hair like I do)
  • Cleaning edges of the stove
  • Cleaning edges and hard to reach little areas of almost any appliance in the kitchen!
  • Cleaning along edges of taps and faucets - it works really well

So that's my tippy/pointy tip for today! Stock up on a few packs of simple wooden skewers and keep them in your gorgeous cleaning kit. And, they only cost about a buck or two for a pack of 100, so they're inexpensive additions! Yay - we all love a good cleaning bargain.

If you have another use for wooden skewers, post a comment and tell us all about it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Laundry Tips and Hints from Readers

None of us exactly feel THRILLED to look at the ever growing piles of laundry in our laundry baskets. So, the best way to get the job done is to - well - DO IT already! Here are some fantastic fresh laundry hints from readers, and of course I just posted some of my favorite laundry hints at which should also inspire you.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to send in some laundry tips!

Keep you don't have to catch up!
from Lisa:
"The best thing to do with laundry to keep it flowing is keep it going! If you work outside your home, as I do, put a load in the washer in the morning as you're getting ready. When/if it's done before you leave, throw it in the dryer. When you get home, throw another load in the washer and fold the other at the dryer. If you keep it moving, you'll never get behind. It's always easier to keep up than catch up!"

Another Laundry/Vinegar Fan
from April in Texas:
"My favorite fabric softner is white vinegar! It is cheap, enviromentally friendly, and helps those colors stay bright."

Got Spots?
from "C":
"f your laundry is getting spots, cloudy marks, switch your powdered detergent to liquid."

Detergent Recommendation
from Robyn:
"For front loaders......... Have them buy Affresh!! Works great. Sell it at any Home Depot!"

Do Towels Last...and an overall cleaning motto that I love!
from Lisa:
"I like to wash towels last, at the end of the day.
Then when I am tired of doing laundry, I can just let them sit in the dryer until morning(or afternoon) and not worry about wrinkles because I have hopefully done the clothes that wrinkle earlier in the day.
My motto-do the hardest, crummiest jobs first and get them out of the way, then coast through the rest feeling
great accomplishment."

Amount of Detergent to Use
from Sandy:
"I read somewhere that you do not use more soap to clean better or more soap to more clothes, but you simply use the amount of detergent according to the water level you have chosen.

If you have not used this already, it has been useful information to me, as I have always thought you should put more detergent for extra dirty clothes. Too much detergent will cause your clothes to wear out faster and also if you see a lot of lint in the dryer, that is a sign that you are using too much soap. (I may have got this from you happyslob) THank you!!"

No, thank YOU Sandy! And all of you for these great tips!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hear Ye, Hear Ye - I KNOW You Need to Clean out the Closets

How do I know that you need to clean out a closet or two? Because I'm a happy slob too, of course, and I certainly know that I have an overflowing closet to conquer. So, this weekend I challenge ALL of you to tackle one overwhelming closet. I'm going to provide plenty of help on this challenging endeavour:

7 Tips on Cleaning and Organizing Your Closets will give you help and motivation to get going.

Turn on some toe-tappin' music to get your motivation and inspiration at a high, and then get started! You'll find plenty of help with the above help sheet to get you started and KEEP you going until that messy old closet is looking brand new and gorgeous.

Let me know how your closet conquering goes, slobbos!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Arrived Home from Ireland - Jet Lag Is a GREAT Excuse to avoid Housework!

Hey everyone,

We're back from Ireland! We had a fantastic time, and I am now completely in love with the place. The people were fantastic - friendly and with a very quirky sense of humor - and the scenery was astonishing. My poor husband did all the driving, and adjusting to driving on the other side of the road was tough at first, but by the end of it he was actually enjoying it! (How could you NOT? The country roads pass through everything from low mountains to stunning seaside views.)

I've also learned first hand how hard JET LAG can really hit a person. We've both been struggling to get back into this regular schedule. :) One handy thing, though, is that the jet lag has been a very handy excuse to NOT do my housework! (See, I told you I'm a recovering slob. I don't think I'll ever be truly cured!) But today I woke up and decided that enough was enough, and I'm writing this just after I popped in a large load of laundry. The laundry was piling up to such an extent that it was scaring my two cats. So, it was time to tackle it...

Meanwhile, I want to catch all of you up on some new cleaning ideas I had while away. (Yes, sad but true - I DID think of the blog and site while away in gorgeous Ireland!)

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'm Going to Ireland!

Hi all,

Things will be a tad quiet around here for the next while, as I'm going to Ireland!! I've always dreamt of going on a trip like this, and now it's coming true. :) I'm as giddy as a little kid!

Anyway, I'll try to share pics and stories about my adventures in the Emerald Isle as soon as I return.

Take care,

Fun Cleaning Tip for Burnt-on Popcorn (using Coca-Cola!)

Here's a quirky and effective cleaning tip if you or the kids get popcorn burnt onto the bottom of a pot. Thanks to Barb D. for sending this one in!

Hello. I came across your web site while I was looking for a way to kill the grass and weeds that are growing between the cement bricks in my sidewalk... I found some intresting things and thought I would pass one to you. If you have kids who like popcorn and are like mine who seem to forget to take it off the burner before it burns to the bottom of the pot and then dont scrub it clean I found this one to work. Pour some of that bottom of the bottle Coca Cola into the pot, enough to cover the burnt part and put it on the stove. Bring it to a boil and let it boil for a few minutes. There is something in the Coca Cola that will lift off the burnt material, it makes it a lot easier to scrub clean with little effort. If the food is burnt on it could take two tries.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Why You Hairy Little Beast, You! Or...Removing Pet Hair from Furniture, Floors and Yourself

Most of you know that I have two cats: one who's mild and sweet, although slightly skittish. (She's part calico, and apparently that's their nature.) The other who's neurotic and outspoken, yet with a real knack for sensing people's emotions. (She puts her paw on my chin comfortingly whenever I feel sad! It quite makes up for her less appealing qualities.)

But, personalities aside, these two share one thing in common - they shed like little beasties. If you have pets too, you'll understand all too well the dilemma of dealing with cat (or dog or rabbit) fur all around your home, your furniture, the floors and even yourself!

Here are a few handy tips to help. And as always, if you have a tried and true pet hair removal tip to share, then please send it on in to me, or just post your ideas here! And remember -- combing or brushing your pet's fur on a regular basis really WILL help with the whole shedding problem.

Getting Pet Hair off Furniture

  • Lint brushes can help - try rolling one on the furniture to pick up loose pet hair.
  • Grab that roll of packing tape (or duct tape also works). Roll a loop of it snugly around your fingers, and use to pick up hair wherever you see it.
  • A rubber glove that's been slightly moistened will pick up extra fur -- off of the furniture and your own clothing!
  • Some vaccuum cleaners (like Dyson) are particularly good at getting pet hair off of the furniture. I still haven't tried a Dyson myself, but I'd love to! If you have a Dyson - email me and let me know if it helps with pet hair.

Getting Pet Hair off the Floor

  • Again, a decent vaccuum cleaner helps. Clean out your vaccuum cleaner regularly to keep it working to its maximum potential.
  • A trick to freshen up the carpet AND grab a bit more of the pet hair off the floor while you vacuum - sprinkle some plain baking soda around the floors and let it sit for about twenty minutes or so. Then get to work vacuuming - you'll pick up more hair AND the baking soda will neutralize any pet odors left lingering in the floor.
  • Try attaching double-sided tape to a sponge-type floor mop, and use this to 'mop' the carpets clean of pet hair!
  • Get rid of the regular old-fashioned broom on even hard floors - a vacuum with a hard floor attachment is WAY more effective at cleaning than any broom I've found.

Getting Pet Hair off of Your Clothes

  • Lint brushes can help - try a few types to find the one that works best for you.
  • Again - rolls of packing tape make useful de-furrers on your clothes!
  • The same moistened rubber glove (just the yellow types that you use to do the dishes) that helped you get the pet fur off the sofa will also remove fur from your favorite jacket. The water helps to ball the fur up, so it's easy to just pluck off and remove.

Hope these tips help, pet lovers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Exciting is going to be in Woman's Day!

Make sure to pick up the November 1st issue of Woman's Day magazine, ya'll. (Ooh, when did I turn Southern? Must be the excitement affecting my accent!) In a marvelous little article by Pamela Kramer, you'll find some fun and helpful tips from yours truly! Let me know what you think of the article -- and big thanks again to Pamela for including me in the magazine.

And if YOU found the site and this blog thanks to the magazine...well, a big warm welcome to you! I try very hard to keep housecleaning a fun adventure, rather than a boring domestic chore. Feel free to post comments and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cleaning Q&A - How to Clean a Coffee Thermos

Cleaning Q&A
Today's Question: How to Clean a Coffee Thermos

I just received an email from George E that I wanted to share with all of you. He was asking a question that I thought many of you might want the answer to...

"Hi Christina,

Thank you for helping all of us to live a cleaner life while not costing us an arm or a leg.

I have a question regarding cleaning the white plastic parts of a glass coffee pot (lid) and a white plastic coffee thermos. I have looked on your web site as well as our own Arizona "Queen of Clean" but have not found any suggestions.

What suggestions do you have?

Thank you. keep up your very good work!

Warm regards,
George E."

Hi George,

First, thank you for such a nice email. I remember conversing via email with you before, and you're always a real gent. Now, on to your question -- how to clean those pesky (although entirely useful) Thermos containers!? So many of us rely on these to tote hot coffee or tea, or even hot soups and stews to work for our lunch. But, as you've noticed, they can be downright tricky to clean.

To find the best, and most helpful answer for you, George, I did a little research. I checked on the offical Thermos website, and found some of these tips that I think will come in very handy for you:

  1. First of all, use the gentlest cleanser possible for your Thermos® products, especially those made of stainless steel. Harsh, abrasive cleaners and scrubbers can tarnish Food Jars and drink containers, and could even begin to change the flavor of stored foods after a while. A dishwashing detergent or gentle all-purpose cleanser or soap that is safe for dishes should be sufficient (i.e. Joy, Dawn). If you have to use an abrasive pad, make sure that it's made out of plastic so that it won't scrape the inside of the product, and scrub lightly.
  2. Cleaning your Thermos® products will also be much easier if you clean after every use. If you've prepared a meal for a Food Jar, soak the jar for a few minutes before cleaning to remove any food residue that you may have difficulty removing with a washcloth. If you want to clean certain stains off of food containers, a soft toothbrush may do the trick; dip the brush in a little bit of detergent and gently scrub the rim and bottom of the cup to remove residue. Many people also use gentle baby's soap or hypo-allergenic laundry detergent along with or instead of dishwashing detergent to clean Thermos® products, because it preserves the shine of a Food Jar or mug, and can remove food easily.
  3. Cleaning smudges or fingerprints from your stainless steel Thermos® products is easy as well, since most smudges will come out by using slightly damp paper towel or a sponge. For extremely stubborn stains, try soaking the Thermos® product in warm water with detergent for a little while longer, then rinse again with water and vinegar or water and phosphoric acid. This helps to remove stubborn food stains like grape juice, tomato, and coffee stains. Soaking Thermos® products with warm water and baking soda, or even ammonia in some cases will get rid of tough stains.

Some of the Happy Slob's Additional Cleaning Tips:

  • The most stubborn part of cleaning a Thermos is, of course, getting a proper cleaning brush or sponge that can reach down to the bottom. I have found the perfect solution -- a wine decanter cleaner brush! Never heard of this? It does exactly what it's name implies -- cleans out wine decanters. It is a long, narrow cleaning sponge that is gentle to the delicate glass or crystal of wine decanters, therefore also making it perfect for your Thermos containers. You can find these to purchase online or at specialty wine shops, or even cooking shops. (We sell them at the store where I work, for instance.) I also happened to find some cleaning sponges/brushes especially for Thermos products! I'll post the pics to those too...

  • Cleaning stainless steel is a snap with my favorite commercial cleaner - Barkeepers Friend. I like the liquid version best, but the powder is so finely milled that it also will never scratch the delicate surface of stainless steel. Once you try this stuff, you'll be just as hooked as I am. (All Clad, the posh cookware brand, also recommends it for their top end pots and that also gives you assurance that this stuff really works.)
  • Cleaning stains is also easy -- just let some vinegar diluted with water (about half and half, more vinegar if it's a really tough stain) sit in the Thermos for about an hour or so. Then use the same wine decanter cleaning sponge/brush to scrub the stain away. :) Voila, clean Thermos -- ready to fill with your favorite hot drink!

Hope this helps, George, and everyone else who has ever faced this particular cleaning dilemma. Happy cleaning to you!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Happy Slob's Top 10 - Cleaning Tips and Hints and Motivation

Here are a few of my faves from the website, and I wanted to share with you guys! Enjoy...

  1. 7 Tips for Organizing and Cleaning Closets - because we ALL need help with this!
  2. Coffeepot Cleaning Tips (including one from a longtime waitress who KNOWS how to clean out a coffee pot or two...)
  3. How to Delegate Cleaning Tasks to Family Members (or Roommates) - YOU don't have to do it all yourself!
  4. Clean out the Dryer to Make it Run More Efficiently - and save yourself some money
  5. How to Get Rid of Mold - Ick, not the most pleasant cleaning task, but very important. Again, vinegar to the rescue!
  6. Removing Lipstick Stains - be gone you stubborn (if not beautifully tinted) stain!
  7. Finding Storage Space in Even the SMALLEST Spaces - I live in a small space, so some of these tips are straight from my heart!
  8. Healthy Air Fresheners - Recipes & Ideas - for a naturally lovely smelling home
  9. Carpet Freshening Up Powder - Battles even the nastiest pet odors, and more. And of course, it's natural!
  10. Bleach Alternatives because not all of us love the idea of cleaning with bleach.

Clogged Showerheads? Help Has Arrived - Cleaning Showerheads

There's nothing like it -- it's early in the morning, and you're barely awake. You haven't even managed to brew yourself a good strong cup of Java yet, but you're hanging on...because you know you'll step in to a refreshing, cool shower that will blast the last edges of sleepiness off of you! drag yourself into the shower, turn it on, and groan when all that manages to squeak out is a piddly stream. Refreshing shower!? More like a leaky faucet!

Don't worry, cleaning out your showerhead from the inside is amazingly simple and painless to do. And, the best reward of all is that the next time you climb into the shower all groggy and sleepified, you'll actually have a burst of refreshing water to start you well on your way! All this process takes is some of our favorite white vinegar, a plastic baggie, a heavy duty elastic band and a few minutes of your time.

How to Clean Your Rebellious Showerhead (for a renewed showering experience):
  • Fill the plastic baggie about halfway full with undiluted white vinegar.
  • Submerge your showerhead in the vinegar-filled baggie, using the rubber band to keep the baggie in place. Basically, the acid of the vinegar will eat away all the nasty built-up gunk and residue that is making your showerhead behave in such an unappealing way.
  • Let the mix sit on the showerhead for at least 15 minutes, even longer if it's badly clogged. (You CAN even leave the solution to sit and work overnight, but usually between 15 minutes and 45 minutes should do the trick.) (Even easier - some showerheads can be screwed off, and then you can just sit it in a plastic container of vinegar, without messing about with the rubber band at all!)
  • Completely rinse out the showerhead with cool water, and dry. If you find that it still is clogged, repeat the above process. I promise, it will work!

Have a cleaning question? An opinion about a new cleaning product? E-mail it to me at

Rah Rah - Have You Done YOUR Cleaning Burst Today?

The 'rah rah' is to get you guys good and motivated! All it takes is three steps to complete a cleaning burst - a 'burst' of energetic cleaning that gets an amazing amount accomplished in surprisingly little time.

  1. Set your timer for the time you can afford to spend. Don't be cheap though - set it for the amount of time you REALLY can afford. Let's say 10 minutes. (Need an amazing timer? My favorites are: West Bend Timer which clicks easily onto any pocket...or the CDN Big Digit Timer which is easy for anyone to easily see AND operate.)
  2. Grab your cleaning kit and get going! The time, it is a'wasting! Remember to tidy up all the areas that your family and/or friends see the most. A cleaning burst is NOT the time to spend organizing your forty-five boxes of craft supplies. No way, this is when we get down to some serious everyday tidying.
  3. Once that timer rings, you're done. Make it a goal to do at least one cleaning burst everyday. Your home will thank you.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A New Cleaning Recipe - Basic Baking Soda All-Purpose Spray with Essential Oils

Hello, and how is your Wednesday treating you? Here it's another beautiful sunny day - although (thankfully!) not as hot as it has been. It's perfect summertime weather, and I have my handy dandy glass of ice water always at hand.

Today I have a new and easy cleaning recipe for you to try. You already know that I'm a huge advocate of that orange box of baking soda. In fact, more than once I've recommended that we all buy mega size boxes of it at the warehouse store! (Or, perhaps we should all invest in baking soday shares, already!)

Anyway, today I have a simple new cleaning formula for you to make at home. This is a great all-purpose spray, and the idea was sent in by Jeannie. :) I just adjusted the recipe slightly. Enjoy, slobbos! And...personalize your cleaning spray with the essential oils I recommend at the end. And then label that bottle of cleaner as: "Igor's Super Powerful Natural Cleaner." Well, if your name happens to be Igor, that is...

Homemade Baking Soda Cleaning Spray
(Natural, organic, homemade cleaners)
3 tablespoons baking soda
About 1 quart of water

Optional Additions:

  • 15-20 drops of essential oil: orange, lemon, lavender or tea tree essential oil

Mix the water and baking soda together in a clean spray bottle that has an adjustable mist setting. (I like using a harder, direct spray when cleaning floors, for instance, and a lighter spray when cleaning countertops, etc.) Don't use a spray bottle that has previously been used to contain harmful chemicals.

Add the essential oils, if you plan on using them. I like adding essential oils to some of my homemade cleaners. Why? Because, they not only smell heavenly, but they also add powerful CLEANING PUNCH to the cleaner. Read on, and find out how essential oils work to keep your home cleaner and healthier. :)

For instance:

  • Lemon Essential Oil - Ahh, that sweet citrusy smell of lemon! Does anything compare to it? It'll wake you up as you, the lemon oil works as a natural disinfectant, so it works great on any surface that you want to disinfect in a healthy way. Another fantastic idea is to dilute some lemon EO and spray over your freshly cleaned bed linens. Smells divine!
  • Lavender Essential Oil - This is another all-time favorite of me, the Happy Slob! Lavender is another one of nature's helpful disinfectants. And that soothing smell just makes me relax and want to crawl up and read a good book. Urm...after I clean, of course! (You can also use a few drops of pure, undiluted lavender oil on your kitchen sponge and use it as a super disinfectant. Add a healthy sprinkling of baking soda or a bit of table salt to the sponge too, to give it some scrubby power.)
  • Orange Essential Oil - The sweetest smelling essential oil, in my humble opinion, orange oil remains one of my favorites. Adding this to the above baking soda spray makes it a powerful degreaser. Gorgeous! Your greasy stove won't know what hit it!
  • Tea Tree Oil - All behold the power of tea tree oil! Add 25 drops to the above mix and create another natural disinfectant spray (with no scary chemicals, thank you very much.) Another bonus? You can use the exact same recipe for an odor neutralizing spray in the bathroom, or anywhere else you need a good old-fashioned air freshener.

Look no farther! If you want to stock up on some of these lovely, natural cleaning oils, these are some of the best essential oil bargains I've found online for you. Enjoy! And make sure to get a few bottles for your Happy Slob cleaning pals, too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Dose of Cleaning Cheerfulness to Brighten Today's Chores

Here's a wonderful email from Debra that I just received. It brightened my day, and I wanted to share it with all of you!


I just love love love your site still,always something new and learn soo much. Just want to thank you for your time.
Happy Dance when I'm cleaning......Have a very cleanful day,


Awww, shucks, thanks Debra! Glad to know you're still having fun while you're doing your cleaning. See everyone - cleaning doesn't HAVE to be miserable. Turn on your favorite tunes, and get to it - a few minutes for a cleaning burst might even BRIGHTEN a gloomy mood. Give it a try! It's obviously working for Debra...

Two Simple and Unconventional Ways to Keep Your Dishcloths Clean and Fresh Smelling

Yick. I can't imagine anything yuckier smelling than a musty old dishcloth. It just fills the kitchen with a nasty odor.

No more stinky dishcloths, guaranteed! I just posted my two favorite dishcloth cleaning tips over on the Household Hints Blog. Enjoy no more stinky, downright offensive dishcloths, slobbos!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yes, Slobs CAN Grow A Houseplant or Two - Practically Un-killable Houseplants for Happy Slobs

This is still one of my favorite pages on the Happy Slob Site: Houseplants that Even I Can Grow!. Probably because I have a reputation as a true brown thumb - plants tend to whither up and die when I just look at them, for heaven's sake! But, these suggestions are fantastic...

5 Ways to Naturally Deodorize and Freshen Your Home - New Article Posted

Just for all of my Happy Slob Housecleaning readers, I've just written a new article on how to freshen and deodorize your home -- naturally! Take a look:

This is also in response to a few questions about this very subject - how to get your home smelling great naturally. Hope this helps all of you.

Friday, July 13, 2007

How to Clean Soap Scum from Tubs and Tiles with No Scrubbing

A very cool tip sent in by Happy Slob Housecleaner, Linda:

"I use baking soda and liquid fabric softener to remove soap scum from our showers and tubs. Dampen the rag, sprikle on the soda and then dip it into a small bowl of fabric softener. Scum comes right off no hard scrubbing needed!!"

If you guys would prefer a non-chemical type of tip, I would try this very same thing, only using pure white vinegar instead of the fabric softener. :) Might need to scrub a WEE little bit, but still a fantastic way to clean the tub. Thanks Linda, for the idea!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Easy Baking Soda Tip to Remove Laundry Stains

It doesn't get much easier to remove stubborn laundry stains than this. Simply pour a bit of baking soda (soda of bicarbonate to those of you Happy Slobs from around the world) into a small bowl. I have lots of handy little pinch bowls for just this purpose. Add just enough tap water to create a thick paste.

Here's the cool bit -- use an old toothbrush or small scrub brush to work the baking soda paste into laundry stains. Let sit for a while, and then launder as usual - a great, natural laundry stain remover!

P.S. If the garment is white - then try using fresh lemon juice with the baking soda to create a super fizzy, super tough stain fighter! I have a feeling the lemon juice might create a bleaching effect, so don't try this on colorful fabrics.

5 Surprising Cleaning Products from Your Pantry (and Medicine Cabinet)

5 Surprising Cleaning Products from Your Pantry
By Christina Spence
Please note: Feel free to re-print this article on your own site or blog...but please ensure that the credits listed at the bottom are included. Thanks, and enjoy my latest article!

Fabulous cleaning products don’t need to cost a fortune or be wrapped up in fancy packages to do a great job of cleaning your home. In fact, some of the most effective cleaners are likely hiding in your pantry, just waiting for you to give them a try. Here are five cleaning products that you can use everyday, that are already sitting in your pantry or medicine cabinet.

Baking Soda – I’m known as a bit of a baking soda nut! Why? This powerful little box may not look impressive, but it contains a serious multitasking cleaner. Use it as a powder cleanser, to neutralize odors naturally, and even to wash floors and walls.

Vinegar – This is the other top cleaning powerhouse that every home needs. I tend to buy MASSIVE jugs of this stuff, because I use it like a madwoman. Vinegar is a natural acid, meaning that it does a lot of the tougher cleaning jobs around your home – but at a fraction of the cost of commercial cleaners. Plus, it’s friendlier for you, your family AND the environment. Use it in natural cleaning formulas, to clean out the coffeemaker, to remove hard water stains, and much more. For dozens of way to use this amazing stuff, visit

Club soda – This is a surprisingly good glass and mirror cleaner! Either fresh or old unfizzy stuff will work fine. Just pour this into a clean spray bottle and use as you would any glass cleaner. Use a lint-free cloth or paper towel to give stainless steel surfaces a shine with this too.

Shaving cream – Surprise! Shaving cream is a surprisingly effective carpet and clothing stain remover. Just squeeze some out onto the stain (moisten first with a bit of cool water – never warm water, as that will set the stain) and use a scrubber brush to get it down deep into the fibers. Rinse and continue until stain is removed.

Lemon juice – Lemon juice (or other citrus juices such as orange juice) works great as a degreasing agent. Plus, it’s also a pretty darn wonderful disinfectant and stain remover. Dip a cut lemon into some baking soda or salt and use as the best smelling scrubber around – awesome for sinks and tubs. Or, make a paste of table salt and lemon juice and use as a pre treatment for tough laundry stains.

Christina is the Original Happy Slob – the author of: "The Happy Slob’s Guide to Housecleaning." If you hate to clean, drop by today to learn how thousands of slobs around the world are learning fast and easy (and laid back) tips to make cleaning less of a bore, and less of a chore! (And…the Daily Blog is at:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tea Towels- Suggestions and Ways to Use them (Besides the Obvious!)

Dishtowels are my favorite new obssession - I love getting new dishtowels at work (I work in a kitchen shop) and changing the look of my kitchen in a flash. One day bright green and blue, the next day polka dots! Hey, you can have fun with your kitchen towels - just because they're functional doesn't take the FUN out of them!

If you're looking for a truly durable and absorbent dish towel, try using flour sack towels. Your mothers and grandmothers (or maybe you yourself) used these years ago from the actual flour sacks, but now these amazing towels come in fun patterns and colors. So you get the beauty of a funky towel, while actually getting a towel that dries properly. What a concept!

Ideas on Using (and RE-Using) Your Tea Towels (Dish Towels):
  1. When they get old and ratty, don't throw them away! Re-use old kitchen towels as cleaning cloths - cut the towels into sections. Great for all-purpose cleaning and dusting.
  2. Re-use those same old towels as cheap Swiffer mop refills! When you're done, just shake the excess muck off, and then throw the dirty cloth in the laundry.
  3. Dish towels are also an easy alternative to a big, bulky dish drainer. Just put out a couple of tea towels on the countertop, and lay your dishes on there. Hang the cloth to dry when the dishes are finished drying (either the Happy Slob way - AIR DryinG!! - or else with human drying effort involved.)

My Favorite Kitchen Towels: (these are the exact ones we sell at work)

Or, here's a cute printed one with a COFFEE theme, still using flour sack material:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Using WD 40 to Clean Stainless Appliances

Cleaning Question of the Day:

Hey Christina:I heard that you can use WD-40 to clean stainless steel appliances, could you let me know if this is true or not.Thanks, Debby

Hey Debby,

Thanks for the email! I did a little research on your behalf to find out if WD40 if intended for cleaning stainless steel appliances. (I have white appliances, so I have never had to clean these babies myself!)

It appears that WD40 is more of a final step to use when you want to add shine to your stainless appliances, not to actually clean them. Here are some good tips from WikiHow on how to clean stainless (and then I have another suggestion for you at the end, too.):

  • Thoroughly clean the stainless steel surface using 2/3 Windex and 1/3 rubbing alcohol solution mixed together in a pump spray bottle. Wipe against the grain first, then with the grain. Clean and dry using a clean terry cloth towel.
  • Spray a thin coat of WD-40 in a zigzag down the surface.
  • Use a clean cloth, wipe against the grain over the total surface, then polish by rubbing with the grain until excess WD-40 is removed and surface shines. It should not be oily to the touch, however some residue is good. Remember to be careful using WD40 near your stove - it is a fire hazard!!

I love Bar Keepers Friend for keeping stainless steel pots and pans sparkling clean, and your stainless sinks too. I can't see why it wouldn't work beautifully on your stainless appliances! Give it a try and let me know how it goes, okay? It's an extra fine powdered cleanser (or there are liquid varieties available as well) that won't scratch stainless - that's why All-Clad and other posh cookware companies recommend it so highly!

Take care,


Too Good NOT to Share - Chocolate Microwave Pudding for One

:) Found a fantastic new recipe that I just had to share with all my Happy Slob pals. Craving a chocolatey treat? But, don't need to make a huge batch (which you'll just keep noshing on for days and days?) This chocolate micro pudding for one is perfect - totally rich and chocolatey, and simple enough to keep the ingredients on hand all the time, for when you need a boost of chocolate joy in your life!

Enough raving (and it really IS that good) - here's the easy recipe. I made mine in an 8-oz ramekin (custard cup). I liked it better once it had sat in the fridge and got thicker and even yummier, but warm was nice too.

(Or two...just double it up in a larger bowl...I'm sure it will work fine. :)

1 1/2 tsp. corn starch
pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1 oz. (1/4 cup) chocolate
Chocolate chips

Combine corn starch, salt and milk together in an 8 oz. custard cup. Add
chocolate chips. Cook 1:00 minute at 100% power until hot, but not
boiling. Stir until the melted chocolate chips are completely blended
with the milk mixture. Cook 45 seconds at 100% power more until just
beginning to boil.

Christina's Notes:
  • I would suggest using a bit more cornstarch, since my pudding didn't firm up quite as much as I would've liked it to. I'm going to try 2 teaspoons next time.
  • Instead of cooking the second time for 45 seconds straight, I had MUCH better results by stirring after 15 seconds and then repeating until the pudding took on a thickened consistency. The first try was a little disaster, but still a yummy one! The pudding boiled over in the microwave - ALL over the microwave. hehe Good thing I know our favorite microwave cleaning trick, huh?
  • And finally - adding a dollop (which happens to be one of my favorite words ever...just TRY to say dollop and not feel a bit happier!) of freshly whipped cream would take this from chocolate joy to chocolate ecstasy, I say!

Enjoy-- and yes, this has nothing to do with house cleaning whatsoever, but it IS a nice treat once you've tackled a decluttering project or two. ;)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's True, It's Really True - a Brand New, Fresh Issue of the Happy Slob Newsletter

Don't gasp too loud, it'll frighten the children and pets. Yes, I have created what I like to think of as a pretty fabulous new issue of the Happy Slob Newsletter. Lots of cleaning ideas, always fun and quirky, and a new slant on organizing the bathroom that all slobbos should appreciate.


Q-Tips - More than Just Clean Ears - Cleans the Bathroom Too

Q-Tips are a favorite of mine...I'm slightly obssessed with clean, goo-free ears. But, these handy little gizmos are also a Happy Slob Housecleaner's best friend! Keep a few in your cleaning kit, to get at the gunk that collects around sinks, or to clean other tiny little areas, like around taps and faucets.

Quirky New Product for Germophobes

I just got word that I'm going to be given a tester product to try - one that any of you germophobes out there will adore! It apparently allows you to flush the toilet with your - FOOT! No more touching nasty toilet handles with your hands, nope, you can get rid of the nasty business with this handy new gadget that you tap your foot on.

What WILL they think of next? I should receive the product - called Foot Flush - within the next week or so, and then I'll let all of you know how it works. My husband would love this one, since he's much more a germophobe than I am...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dusting Tip - Use a Fabric Softener Sheet to Dust the Electronics

You heard (read??) correctly - a used fabric softener sheet is the perfect little tool to use to clean your computer monitor screen, TV screen, stereos - and whatever other lovely little electronic gadgets you have laying around collecting dust. (Sorry, I'm so NOT in the know when it comes to that sort of thing!)

Hey, and it doesn't hurt that it also smells fantastic when you're done...

Do YOU have a Happy Slob Housecleaning tip you're just DYING to share with other slobbos? Submit it to me at and share your newfound cleaning genius with the world!

Crazy Cleaning Experiment of the Day: Using Lemon Kool Aid to Clean

I've heard some pretty funny cleaning rumors in my time - but none beats this one: That you can use Kool Aid drink mix to clean!

In a new Happy Slob series of cleaning experiments, I'll be trying out some quirky cleaning myths to see if there's really any truth to them. The Lemon Kool Aid is the first that I'll be trying...keep posted to see what I find out about this crazy cleaning idea!

P.S. Have you already tried this? Then let me know how it worked for you! I plan on using the Kool Aid to clean the toilet AND to clean out the dishwasher. Stay tuned for the results! If you want to give it a go too, then just remember to use UNsweetened Lemon Kool Aid only, or else it'll apparently tint the inside of your toilet and/or dishwasher a most unnatural shade of pink, green, or whatever you happen to use...

A Cleaning Quiz for ALL Happy Slobs - Find out if YOU Truly are a Happy Slob Housecleaner

Up until now, I've never published this "Are You Cleaning-ly Challenged?" Quiz anywhere except in my guide: The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning. But, I decided that with warmer weather upon us (meaning more sunlight to expose our homes for what they truly are - and yes, that DOES mean exposing the dust and the dirt!) we should all take this quiz...

Find out today if you are one of the thousands of Happy Slob Housecleaners who have decided to let go (a little) of their slobbish ways, to embrace a fun and new way of cleaning...

Take the test, and let me know what your results were! :)


Has cleaning become one of life’s greatest obstacles to you? Do you dread it more than your yearly physical? Find out if you’re Cleaningly Challenged. Ready with your pencil? Answer each question with a True or False.

1. The scent of lemon furniture polish sends me into fits of delight.
2. Who needs hobbies? I’d rather spend my free time cleaning the tub grout with
an old toothbrush.
3. I clean because it’s a soul-enhancing experience.
4. Washing dishes is more enjoyable than watching my favorite TV show.
5. Doing laundry is a snap. I could probably teach classes on stain removal and
advanced laundry techniques.
6. I can’t remember the last time I cleaned out the refrigerator. I have some
leftovers in there that were fresh when Reagan was in office.
7. Of course I wash the toilets! I flush them, don’t I?
8. My shower drain is beginning to look like a hairy, scary science experiment.
9. Dust in my home has become less a nuisance, and more a decorating
10. Vacuuming causes noise pollution, and I like to think of myself as quite an

If you answered FALSE to questions 1-5 and TRUE to questions 6-10 (or if the
majority were answered in such a way) then you can safely say that you’re
Cleaningly Challenged like the rest of us happy slobs!

But, don't feel gloomy! That's the whole reason I wrote the Happy Slob's Housecleaning Guide - so that even people like you and I can clean - in less time and with less effort, but with better results! Hop over now to get your own copy of the cleaning e-guide that is sweeping the Internet...

Yes, I AM a Slob - Show me the Way to a Happier, Cleaner Home!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring Cleaning Time - Tips and Hints for Slobs

Hi all,

I haven't forgotten about you! April is just an exceptionally busy month for me, and I've barely been on the computer at all. :) I can tell, because it feels like even my typing speed has slowed down considerably!

It's April, and that means that our minds turn to...well, besides lovely things like tulips and singing birds - to spring cleaning! Today's challenge for you should help you to tackle a few big cleaning tasks around your home that you might not ordinarly get to.

Take a good hard look around your home, and see what gunk has accumulated over the long, dreary days of winter. Some obvious cleaning tasks you might want to tackle are:

  • Cleaning out the old winter clothes in your closet and packing them away to make room for your nice, light spring and summer clothes
  • Washing the windows
  • Washing down the outside of your house (I live in an apartment, so I don't worry about things like this one!)
  • Starting to tidy the yard and get it summer-worthy

Make a list of extra tasks you'd like to work on, and try to do one a week on your Clean-for-All day!

Apart from that, keep up your good routines of daily cleaning bursts and focus room cleaning and you'll be happily surprised by the great results you get from (even small amounts) of regular cleaning.

Happy cleaning to you!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances - Cleaning Tips and Hints - Happy Slob

Okay, now here is a great question that I know many of you might wonder about, sent in by Marlene:

"Hi Christina,
Does anybody know how to clean, stainless steel stoves, fridges and dishwashers.
My neighbour has just bought all three appliances. Other than the small amount of cleaning stuff that they give you, with the stove, is there something that can be used, using something that we would already have in our cupboards?
I know that the cornstarch and water works really well for glass top ranges. Would it do the same for stainless steel?
Thanks, Marlene."

Hey Marlene,

:) Thanks for the email. I have one very favorite product for all stainless steel cleaning, and in fact at my part-time retail job (in a kitchen shop) we sell out of this stuff really quickly - because it works just that well.

Barkeepers Friend cleaner comes in either a powder or a liquid cleanser form, and it's fantastic at cleaning your stainless steel appliances. In some cases, it can even remove scratches from the surface of the stainless steel! You can also use it for cleaning your stainless steel sink, and pots and pans. (It works amazingly well at getting out those really OLD stains in stainless steel pots and pans that you thought would NEVER come out again! It really rejuvenates old cookware.)

Let us know how it works out for you! You can get your Barkeepers friend by either clicking on the links in this post OR just check your local stores. :) Many will likely carry this popular cleaner.

Cornstarch Cleaning Tip from a Happy Slob Reader - Free Cleaning Tips

Before I go ahead and answer the question that Marlene sent in, I thought I'd give her credit for a great cleaning tip she sent to me:

She recommended using a cornstarch and water paste for cleaning glasstop ranges (stoves). :) She also has a question about cleaning stainless steel appliances, which I'm going to answer in the next post. For now, if you have a glasstop stove, give her suggestion a try! It's a very Happy-Slob kind of idea...

P.S. If you DO try this idea, please post a comment below to let us all know how it worked out.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Can you say OUCH? Hint: It's about Teeth...

One more thing. :) I'll be out of commission for the next couple of days, as tomorrow I'm going in to the dentist for a - gasp! - root canal!

Happily, however, I'm also trying out sedation dentistry for the first time. Apparently I'll be given a powerful little pill that will make me all dopey and unaware of things. :) I rather like that idea! I'm always a little on the flakey side anyway, but just imagine what I'll be like with a happy pill dosing me from the inside out!

Hope you all keep up with your cleaning routines the best you can. Remember, tiny efforts equal gargantuan results. AND...getting your family involved in our 3 Step Solution to Cleaning means less work for you, and more happiness all around your home. Guaranteed! (Well, practically...)

Take care all, and think of me and my wonky tooth tomorrow afternoon, will you please? Me and my rebellious molar will thank you. :)

I'm doing the Laundry...and hey, I'm not hating it as much as usual!

So, any of you regular readers will know that I'm not (let's go further than just italicizing it...NOT) a big fan of doing the laundry. But, I'm happy to say that with a new front loading washer machine in our building (Yes, I'm an apartment dweller...quite happily, too) it's become a whole lot easier to get the laundry done! This beautiful new washing machine does a great job at doing the wash, and even manages to use less laundry detergent, which frugal old me just loves.

What is YOUR laundry day? Do you do laundry every day? I know I hear from a lot of Moms that daily laundry is simply a necessity. Have you tried any of the family laundry tips in the book yet? What? You haven't gotten a copy of the ebook yet? :) Poor's really quite a lovely read. Look at what a few Happy Slob Housecleaners have to say about it:

Lovely Words from Slobbos 'round the world

Hey, changing how we do the laundry might not change the world. sure does contribute to family happiness! So, as always, any laundry tips are gladly accepted - I'll be happy to share your ideas with all and sundry.

A Brand New Way to Use Baking Soda - Great for Contacts Wearers

I love getting all your groovy cleaning tips and hints, especially when it uses our favorite natural cleaning agents: baking soda or vinegar.

Today's tip comes from a Happy Slob Housecleaner (who didn't include her name, so we'll make her out to be all mysterious and call her Mystery Slobbo)...

I use baking soda to deep clean my contact lenses. I place the lens in my palm, sprinkle a little baking soda on it and squirt some sterile saline solution for contacts on there. This will make a paste. I gently rub the lens with a finger, swirling it around a bit, making sure both sides get a good coating of the paste, then rinse clean with saline solution and it is ready to wear.

Before trying this tip, please check with your optometrist to ensure that this is, in fact, a safe way to clean your contacts. :) I wouldn't want you to go around stumbling over things, because you hadn't checked first! (You know, from having wonky lenses...)

Send any and all of your cleaning tips, hints, jokes, or anecdotes to: I'll gladly use them in upcoming newsletters or right here on the blog.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

John's Creative Way to Clean the Coffeepot

You readers are geniuses - and here's more proof. John has come up with a clever new way to clean the coffeepot for all of you Happy Slobs who don't mind using bleach:


Always fought with this problem until a moment of creative laziness. Figuring that if regular cleaner (like Fantastic) wasn't doing the trick, then maybe switching to address the problem as organic made more sense. Sprayed the coffee cup with Mildew remover and all evidence of having held coffee melted down the sides of the pot (glass or stainless) and any mugs.

And as mildew remover is nothing more than regular household bleach at 6 to 10 times the price, just dilute bleach from a jug by half, spray the coffee or tea item, and you'll have "brand new". A little soapy water to get rid of the bleach, and you're on your way without a scrub, and with better results.


Thanks for the great tips, John! Creative laziness is a fantastic thing, isn't it? Any of you can send me in your funky, quirky or otherwise amazing cleaning tips to share with Happy Slobs all around the planet. Just email them to me -

P.S. I think that using regular strength white vinegar might also do the trick, if any of you (like me) are not thrilled about using bleach to clean. :)

Cleaning Windows (and Car Windows in Particular) - Cleaning Tips

Hey everyone,

Here's a great email I received from a lovely lady named Margaret a little while ago.

"Hi Christina.... Can you please tell me what is best -- & NOT harmful -- to clean the inside of car windows. I always end up with a streaky mess when I use "Glass Plus" with paper towels. (Doesn't do too good a job on the outside either!!)
Great site..............Thanks mucho !!!!"

Well, Margaret, since you said: "Thanks mucho!" I just had to reply. :) I love quirky sayings, but hey, at least I admit it!

A fantastic new product that I think is the BOMB when it comes to cleaning windows (both home windows and auto windows) is the e-Cloth. We just got these in at the kitchen shop where I work, and they're specifically made for cleaning windows. What makes it especially loveable? You need NO extra chemicals! These wonderful little soft cloths are micro fiber cloths, and so just a spritzing of water and you're good to go.

Unlike regular cleaning cloths, I find that these e-Cloths leave absolutely NO lint, and they leave the windows clean and sparkling. They're also a handy little size, so pick up a few and store at least one in your car's dashboard for emergency cleaning sessions on the go. And, with no cleaning chemicals to tote around, it's really perfect for in the car.

Let me know how this works for you, Margaret! :) I really hope I was able to help solve your cleaning dilemma.

Take care,

Christina - the ORIGINAL Happy Slob Housecleaner

P.S. Do YOU have a cleaning dilemma you'd like me to solve? I'll give it a go! Just email me your questions to and I'll answer back as quickly as I can. :)

Another way to De-Fog (Anti-Fog) Your Bathroom Mirrors

Here's a great tip from Ange, a Happy Slob Housecleaner:

"Hiya! Just wanted to let you know of another way to keep bathroom mirrors defogged: shaving cream! Spray it on, wipe it off with a paper towel, and voila!"

Thanks Ange. :) I'll give this a go and see how it works!

Take care,

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Would I Forget YOU? I'm Back!

Hey everyone,

I needed a bit of a break from the blogging scene, so I took off a bit of time to sort out what direction I want to go in with the blog and site, etc, etc, etc. But here I am, back and ready to (gently) nudge you in the right direction with your domestic duties. (Duties? oooh, we sort of hate that word, don't we?)

I'm working on a fresh newsletter for this week, so please keep your eyes peeled for that too.

For today, I just posted a favorite new toilet cleaning idea - and as we Happy slobs love - it is as EASY AS CAN HUMANLY BE! I posted it over at: The Easy way to clean inside your toilet - ALMOST Hands-Free!.

Enjoy! As much as a person CAN enjoy cleaning the toilet, that is...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Wake Up Slobs: Monday Morning Reminders - It's Time for a Cleaning Burst

Wake up, slobbo dears, it's time for a cleaning burst!

Have you started this very helpful routine yet? Do you even know what a cleaning burst is?

For complete and total details, you can always head over to The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning and grab yourself a copy of the coolest cleaning ebook to ever make it onto the Internet.

But...for right now, just remember that cleaning bursts are important for a few reasons:

1. They're fast and effective. Seriously, you'll shock yourself with what can be accomplished in only 5 or 10 minutes.

2. They're consistent - meaning once or twice a day. And THAT, my dear cleaning buddies, means that your home will start to look better than ever in just a week or two!

3. They make you feel good. It's true - consider them aerobic cleaning, because you'll be boogeying along to your fave cleaning music, and cleaning like a madwoman (or man - I think we have a few guys along on this cleaning journey...)

So...fess up. :) Are you guys doing your cleaning bursts? If not, and that's okay - hey, life happens - then, set a goal for yourself right this very moment of this brand new week. Set a goal to do ONE cleaning burst every day, for the amount of time you can actually budget for yourself. And then, at the end of the week, please let me know how it worked for you!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy Slob's Handy Laundry Tip of the Day - Keeping Socks Matched Together

I've heard the tip of using safety pins to keep matched pairs of socks together in the laundry. But, I also know that a lot of you have kids. Or else, like me, just happen to be clumsy, accident-prone adults who don't want to face poking pins when they reach into the dryer to pull out the dried bits and pieces.

Solution to this maddening problem? :) Try buying a bulk pack of hair elastics at the dollar store. For - you got it - a buck. Just tie the socks together at the tops with one of these handy little hair elastics, and your socks will stay together. And, at the same time you and the kids won't have to worry about piercing your delicate fingers when all you want to do is get the clean laundry put away.

Readers Questions - Removing/Cleaning Soot from Brick Fireplace

Cleaning soot from bricks and/or brick fireplace

Joan just sent me this email:

"I have black soot, that has accumulated outside my fireplace. The fireplace is made of red/brown bricks. The soot doesn't look great to say the least. How can I clean this. Thank you." Joan/Maine

Hey Joan,

:) I know what you mean. A sooty brick fireplace isn't exactly a gorgeous sight. But, it's not too hard to clean at all, so I'll provide you a few tips to get that brick fireplace looking right as rain. Or, right as brick as it happens to be...

WARNING: There are a few wonky ingredients used in this cleaning solution. I want to provide all of you a heads up about this. For example Naphtha soap & powdered pumice are usually available in hardware stores. Naphtha soap can also be found in the laundry section of most supermarkets. If you really can't find powdered pumice, then try using sand or baking soda instead to add tha element of grittiness to this cleaning formula.

First of all, use a heavy-duty duster or vaccuum cleaner to suck up any of the loose bits of soot and dirt that have accumulated around the fireplace and on the brick itself. This will make the rest of the cleaning job a bit easier.

The rest of the tips I found on the site on how to clean fireplaces. :) I don't have a fireplace myself, and so I'm admittedly no expert on cleaning them. But I hope these expert tips help you out:

STEP 1: Create a cleaner by mixing a 4-oz. (125-g) shaved bar of naphtha soap in 1 qt. (32 fl oz/1 l) hot water in a plastic bucket until the soap is dissolved. Cool, then thoroughly mix in 1/2 lb. (250 g) powdered pumice and 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) ammonia. Apply the naphtha solution with a small brush or paintbrush. Leave it for 1 hour.

STEP 2: Rub off with a stiff-bristle brush.

STEP 3: Rinse thoroughly.

STEP 4: Sponge on a solution of a few squirts of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of warm water.

STEP 5: Rinse clean with warm water.

I hope this helps! And as always, if any of you happy slob housecleaners have another tip to share with our reader on how to clean fireplaces, then email me at Thanks all!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Epsom Salt Uses - Use it for Cleaning Curtains - Reader's Tips

Hi Christina,

Here's what I use Epsom Salts for......

I have beautiful lace curtains in my home (some are
full length panels). When I take them off of the
windows to clean them, I put them in my washer on the
delicate cycle. When finished, I take them out of the
washer and place them in a large dishpan in my kitchen
sink that I have filled with water and about 1/2 cup
of epsom salt. I soak the curtains and valances in
the mixture for about 5 minutes. I wring the curtains
out gently and place them in my dryer. I spin them in
the dryer on the Air cycle for only about 10 minutes -
just long enough to get the excess water out of them.
I then rehang them on the windows. I shape the
curtains (arrange the folds, etc) and I'm done! The
curtains dry on their own and they have a beautiful
crisp finish that lasts until the next wash. Note* I
have been using the same lace curtains for 10 years!
They look as fresh as when I first bought them. Can't
do without Epsom Salt.
Thanks for letting me share my favorite Epsom idea.

Thanks so much, Renee. :) This is a fantatic idea, and I'm sure many will want to give it a try.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cleaning Questions from Readers - How to Clean Dried Flowers and Floral Arrangements

Here's an email I recently received from a Happy Slob Housecleaner named Mary:

Hi Christina, I have been searching for a way to clean my wreaths. They are made of dried flowers. They lose flowers very easily, but they are oh-so dusty. Please HELP. Mary

Hey Mary,

:) Relax! I promise it's not nearly as hard to clean those things as you might imagine it to be. In fact, it just takes a little air - compressed air, that is.

A little can of compressed air is a handy tool to have around the house for all sorts of delicate cleaning jobs. For example - they're mainly used to clean computer and keyboard components, but are also the perfect cleaning implement for use on - you got it! - your gorgeous little floral wreath. I have one of those that is in dire need of cleaning, too, so I'm going to take my own advice! ( always, I tell you that I don't call myself the Original Happy Slob for nothing! ;)

Anyway...all you need to do is to purchase a can of compressed air. The most likely place to find this is at a computer store, or in the computer/electronics section of any major department store. Use this and a soft toothbrush or little feather duster to get rid of all the dust. The compressed air will gently swoosh that dirt and dust away, and you can use the soft toothbrush or mini feather duster (which I've successfully found at dollar stores for - you guessed it - 1 dollar) to remove the lingering bits.

:) Hope this helps you out Mary!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fresh Issue of the Happy Slob Gazette - Free Cleaning Newsletter

Hey guys,

:) I'm so blog happy lately that I sometimes forget to devote a wee bit more time to my newsletters! So, here's a gorgeous, fresh new issue of the Happy Slob Gazette for you to enjoy with your favorite hot bevvy.

Yes, it needs to be hot here - we're currently enjoying some pretty cold temperatures and a bit of snow.

Enjoy! (The newsletter, not the snow...)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cleaning Question of the Day - How To Get Melted Candle Wax out of Fabric Tablecloths

We've got a very interesting cleaning question today, sent in by Sherry. Here it is:

"How can I get melted, spilled wax off a lace tablecloth? "
Thanks in advance.

That's a fabulous question, Sherry, and a tough one. Cleaning melted candle wax is always a very UN-fun cleaning chore. I was just cleaning out an old wax tart melter thingamajiggy this morning and I managed to get wax all over the kitchen sink somehow. BUT, I learned a valuable thing or two along the way. (I usually do when I do some cleaning experiments.) I'll share those things TO DO with all of you guys.

:) Okay, so here's what I suggest - it's a three step process, and since it's a lace tablecloth, you'll need to be extra careful with it, as it's likely fragile.

  1. Freeze off all the ice you can - fill a baggie with some ice cubes and apply to the fabric and pick off as much of the wax as you possibly can. This gets rid of the majority of the wax, and leaves you with less mess to cope with.
  2. Put the fabric (tablecloth) onto a heat-safe surface, and put some paper towels beneath it; enough to soak up the leftover wax as it melts away. Use either a hairdryer or an iron on low and press against the fabric. The wax will melt, and it'll get soaked up by the paper towels underneath.
  3. Then you should be able to launder the tablecloth as usual.

Hope this helps, Sherry! If anyone else has any no-fail cleaning tips on how to clean up spilt wax, then please do the Happy Slob thing and send it in to me to share with everyone!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Totally Decluttering Problem Areas - Uncluttering Tips

I know, I know...decluttering can somedays feel like a bad word. Why? Because we are so NOT in the mood to cope with the disaster areas in our homes, such as messy closets. Today, we're going to tackle one of those areas, and as is always the case, we'll do it quickly and without a lot of muss and fuss.

  1. Choose the 1 problem area that is ANNOYING and AGGRAVATING you the most
  2. Set the timer - hopefully for 10 minutes or more.
  3. Go CRAZY on the clutter. Be a bit relentless - set aside things that you 1) Need 2)Don't Need or 3)Will Give Away
  4. For the allotted time, work like a madwoman on the clutter. Once the timer rings, you can stop, but you might find that you want to quickly finish the job.
  5. Throw away or recycle the things in the Don't Need pile
  6. Get rid of the 'Give Away' things as soon as humanly possible
  7. The things you 'need' (make sure you really do need them and will use them) will get put back in a tidier way.

After this decluttering session, you might notice why your place gets so cluttered in the first place - a lack of space, or maybe a lack of organization. So, once you've decluttered an area, you might need to go out and purchase something to help you keep that space less cluttered from here on out. Examples: Storage units, shelving, or storage boxes.

:) How did you guys do? If you successfully did this decluttering session, then DON'T be shy! Post a comment below and let all happy slobs everywhere know how you did...Bravo, everyone!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

An Easy Homemade Eyeglass Cleaner Recipe

I actually have two different recipes to share - one from an optometrist who subscribes to my Kitchen Crafts 'n' More Newsletter.

I posted both of them at: Eyeglass Cleaning Formulas - Make Them Yourself. And yes, in one of them our fave VINEGAR is a starring ingredient. :) I knew you guys would love much as I do!

A Brand New & Natural Way to Unclog a Backed Up Toilet

Not a pretty picture is it? You've got a backed up toilet, and you just don't know what to do! I received this amazing email a while back from a Happy Slob reader who (sadly) didn't sign their name to the email. But, it's all about an effective way to unclog a toilet with a bit of dishwashing liquid. Check this out...

With low water usage toilets, clogs can often be a problem. I have an older toilet which uses 4 or 5 gallons per flush but I still get frequent clogs.This solution seems to work better than any other I've found -including gel drain cleaners and even snaking.

Use a concentrated dishwashing liquid. I use the original Dawn liquid because it is extremely slippery and a strong detergent. The origina lformula is also a lot cheaper. I squirt about the same amount I would use on maybe a half dozen sink loads of dishes (probably between 1/4 and 1/2 cup) although you can probably get by with less.

This trick has worked the first time and every time I've tried it. It has even worked after repeated flushing has only compacted the clog.To be safe, and reduce the chance of an overflow, let the tank fill up and then turn off the water to the toilet (you can also do this manually from inside the tank).

Squirt the detergent into the bowl and give it a minute to disperse. Now let the water level in the bowl go down. This could take a while but will help get the detergent to the clog. You don't have to wait, but the higher the water level in the bowl, the more likely it is that it will overflow. The detergent won't dissolve completely but that's ok. Then flush the toilet. As long as the water level in the bowl is normal to start with, you shouldn't get an overflow unless the toilet is completely blocked. The detergent should not only lubricate the clog but should also help to break it up.

I've been amazed at how well this works. I had been tempted to install a pressurized toilet since I had this problem about once or twice a week and don't have a spare bathroom. I'll probably do that when I remodel, but at least now there's no hurry and I can do everything at once - when I'm ready.

Thanks so much to the reader who sent this in! :)
Hey - have YOU GUYS got an amazing cleaning tip you just want to share with all your Happy Slob Housecleaning pals? Well then don't keep that goodness to yourself -- send it on in to me and I'll post it here! My email addy is christina @

Big thanks from Jessica

I really enjoyed this thank you email from a reader who recently bought my book. I just had to share it with all of you.

Christina, I received the book and I am reading it now. It looks as if it will be very helpful. I particularly like the natural cleaning product recipes. I recently developed an allergy to pretty much all chemicals (I can not even use hairspray anymore, and I was a hairstylist for years). It has turned my world topsy turvy, and I am grateful for any advice I can find to make this chemical free living a little easier. The 3-step plan is great too. I am a horribly messy person, as is my beau, and our children, but this really seems like something we can implement and enjoy. Thank you.I wish you luck on selling your 10,000 books. I think you can do it. I will tell my friends about you and hopefully get you a bit closer to your goal.

:) Thanks right back to you, Jessica. I appreciate your kind words. I'm ALL about natural cleaners, because I think way too many of us are getting sick because we relied on chemicals for too long. I hope you keep on using the 3-Step Solution to get your home tidier, and just an overall happier place to be.

If you'd like to buy your own copy, please head over to: and get yours today!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fun and Effective Decluttering Task of the Day

...or the weekend if you so choose! :)

Being a fellow happy slob, you likely understand that I'm always urging myself (and you guys) on to do decluttering or uncluttering tasks to keep your homes looking great, but not perfect. (Remember, this is our mantra: we are so not about perfection!)

Anyway, I have a simple decluttering challenge for you to undertake tonight or sometime this weekend. It literally will only take about 5-10 minutes, depending on how much you decide to spend. (Go for the ten minute challenge - and then reward yourself with a big old latte.)

The challenge IS:

  1. Set your timer for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on how much time you can afford to spend. Try for 10 and you'll see real results from this mini decluttering challenge.
  2. Go nuts on your MOST cluttered area - grab anything you really don't need. I mean everything, slobbos. Do this for the entire 5-10 minute time you allotted for the task.
  3. See how many items you managed to 'rescue' from the cluttered disaster area.
  4. Next: decide what you'll do with that junk you rescued. Some helpful ideas: make a gift basket for a friend (haha, also known as cluttering up THEIR homes); or give to charity; or hold a yard sale; or list stuff for sale on eBay. Hey, there's a way to not only declutter but also to make a little money in the meantime!

How did you do? How many items did you rescue from the disaster area? It's okay if it's still a bit of a dumping ground, because we'll be doing these decluttering missions and challenges far more often - many of you have been writing to me asking for more of them, and I'm happy to oblige!

Whatever you do, DEAL with the decluttered stuff NOW. Don't let it sit and add clutter to a whole new area of your home - decide right this moment how you're going to get rid of the stuff. And yes, sometimes that is as simple as throwing it away or recycling it.

Good job, everyone! :) I'm proud of you. I have a major bit of decluttering to do this weekend, and so on Sunday I'll have something interesting to write about my own uncluttering (I never know whether to call it un-cluttering or de-cluttering...oh well, I suppose you know what I mean) adventures.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

7 Laundry Tips to Make Doing the Wash a LOT Easier

If you're a regular reader of my site and blog then you'll know that I'm not a huge fan of doing the laundry. In fact, if you were to ask my husband which task it is that I've become most proficient at PROCRASTINATING at, it would absolutely be the laundry. (See, I told you I was the original happy slob! It's more than just a catchy title, you know!)

Right, but I'm determined to get better at tackling the wash, because I'm sick of seeing full laundry baskets just mocking me and my sad laundry ways. So, for you (and for me!) here are some helpful tips to get us going -- and save time and energy while still getting the dirty wash clean.

  1. Keep clothes separated - colors in one basket, whites in the other. Use a dark hamper for the darker clothes to make it obvious even to little children which clothes go into what laundry basket.
  2. Rinse out stains as soon as they happen. It makes it a whole LOT easier later on to cope with the laundry if you don't have day (or week) old stains lingering on the clothing. Remember to use cool water when getting fresh stains out - hot water will only set the stain into the fabric. NOT what you had in mind at all!
  3. Use safety pins or clothespins to pin together matching socks. No more weird, wandering lost partners for your favorite socks! Just keep a little bucket or baggie filled with these and everyone can get into the habit of pinning their socks together before they chuck them in the laundry hamper. Yeah, it might look odd, but it really works.
  4. Pick a Laundry Day (or 5) - If you're a large family, then daily loads of laundry might be a reality for you. For the rest of us, we need to pick a laundry day or two and stick to them. Reward yourself every time you stick to your schedule and actually do some laundry on the day you planned to. What kind of reward? A lingering bubble bath sounds nice to me, as does a little extra spending money.
  5. More about Rewards - I realized that last tip in #4 should be a tip all on its own! Rewarding your good efforts really does teach you to keep up good new habits. So, if you hate laundry as much as I do, reward yourself with something that has meaning to you. For instance, you could decide to 'pay' yourself $2 or $5 (whatever you can afford) whenever you do a task that you really hate. At the end of the week you might have 'earned' $10 extra for some little goodie you wouldn't normally splurge on. This goes for your kids as well - let them know that they can earn stuff they love by helping more around the house. Set a price chart, and possibly a weekly maximum - especially if they're little entrepreneurs!
  6. Fun Fabric Softener Tips - About 1 cup of regular old white vinegar in your wash will act like a fabric softener, keeping clothes soft and fresh and static-free. It's also cheaper than fabric softener and far more natural. Or, try spraying a bit of regular liquid fabric softener on an old washcloth and chucking it in with the load of wash as it dries. It works just like a fabric softener sheet, but for WAY less money, since it only takes a squirt or two of spray at a time!
  7. Set the Timer - A good timer is a Happy Slob's best friend, and it's useful for doing the wash too. Set the timer for exactly when the wash will be done, so that it doesn't linger for longer than necessary. As soon as the timer goes, take the wash out and pop it in the dryer and set the timer again. When it rings, take the clothes RIGHT out of the dryer & start folding and putting away. It's leaving the clothes in the dryer to get ultra wrinkly that will waste more time than anything.

Speaking of wrinkly clothes...this post (along with readers comments) is still one of my favorites on how to NOT ever iron your clothes again! :) Talk about a great time saver.

Have a fabulous Tuesday, everyone!


Monday, January 22, 2007

Here's what the Lampe Berger Looks Like...

Last week I was raving about Lampe Bergers, and with good reason. These amazing little lamps, with their catalytic burners, actually REMOVE odors and bacteria from the air. I use mine particularly when changing the cat litter - which I'm sure you can imagine - isn't exactly a spring-fresh breeze of an activity.

Here are a few of my favorite Lampe Bergers - wanted you guys to see what they look like. Aren't they gorgeous? (To remind you of the pronunciation - it's sort of like Lamp Bur-zhay. :) At least that's how I've been saying it! haha)

My favorite Lampe Berger oils to use are: Neutral (no added scent, only a nice fresh & clean smell of air is left behind), Tangerine Zests (a nice, sort of strong citrus scent), Grapefruit Passion (another lovely, very light citrus scent) and Creme Brulee - which is a delightful warm vanilla sugar type smell. YUM! I suggest diluting any scent you like with at least half of the neutral, or else you might find the scent a little too strong. :) Enjoy, you guys! If any of you have a Lampe Berger too, please do email me and tell me at

Tackling the Dishes Monster - Easy Tips to do the Dishes

None of us really love spending our time doing the dishes. It seems another one of those pointless tasks that we have to do day in, day out, over and over again. :) Okay, so maybe that's TRUE, but your place will look a lot better if you just deal with the dishes and prevent the clutter of dirty dishes & pots and pans all over the place.

5 Tips to Make Dishwashing Easier:

  1. Get a dishwasher - no seriously, it makes life a lot easier and family life far more peaceful. You can assign dishwasher loading and unloading to different members of the family. I like putting the dishwasher on (when it's full of course) at night, so that when I wake up in the morning the dishes are ready to unload, and the new dirty dishes can go right into the dishwasher again.
  2. Deal with it NOW - Whenever anyone in the family uses a cup or plate, get them in the habit of immediately putting it into the dishwasher. Clutter can't happen if you cope with the dirty dishes as they happen.
  3. Get Rid of Burnt on food - on pots and pans, that is. A great tip is to use a little liquid or powdered dishwasher detergent sprinkled on the burnt on food. Add just enough water to make a thick paste, and let the mix sit on the burnt on food for about 10 minutes. You should be able to wipe it right away! (This prevents all those nasty pots and pans sitting and soaking for ages...and making the place look cluttered.)
  4. Not EVERYTHING can be put in the dishwasher - Finer, posh china dishes or cookware like cast iron simply cannot be put in the dishwasher. So with items like this, be sure to wash them up as soon as you're finished using them. And then make sure to re-season your cast iron skillet so that it stays nice.
  5. Delegate, Delegate & Delegate - If you have a family or roommates, then delegate tasks evenly between everyone! Maybe one week your teenage daughter can do the dishes, and the next week it's your turn, while she does the cooking. Generally, a good rule of thumb is that whoever COOKED doesn't have to deal with dishes. :) It's only fair that the culinary geniuses among us get some credit...and some relief!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Great Copper Cleaner

Today at work I was told by a customer that a great copper cleaner (especially for copper pots and pans) is Revere Cream Copper Cleaner. :) Thought I'd pass the tip along. These two customers said they didn't like the powdered cleanser, only the cream.

IF you're looking for a natural (and cheap!) way to clean copper, just dip a half lemon into some table or kosher salt and use that as a way to work through the build-up on your copper cookware. It works great too.

Do YOU have a great cleaning tip to share? Don't be shy! Help slobbos around the world & send it to me at

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Easy Way to a Cleaner, Sparkling Coffee Pot

Thanks to Karen for this great tip on shining up a coffee pot. I hear this is a waitress tip...

Swirl Ice cubes in pot. It does the trick and it’s easy. You could also put vinegar in it or lemon juice in with the cubes.

I would expect this would work to get any glasses sparkling clean, so give it a try!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Lampe Berger - This Thing REALLY Sucks Odors out of the Air...

I am the proud owner of a new Lampe Berger! If you've never heard of these, let me tell you all about it.

Lampe Berger looks sort of like a fancy perfume bottle - in fact there are hundreds of lamps to choose from. (From around $40 all the way up to $1000s for collector's editions!) The lamps were first invented in Paris in the 1800's as a way to effectively purify air in French hospitals. The catalytic burner works to suck odor and bacteria out of the air.

I know, I sounds too good to be true, right? But, it actually works. I use Neutral (unscented) Lampe Berger oil (which is actually alcohol-based). All it does is remove the odors and leave the air smelling fresh and clean, with no other scent added to the air at all. You can also choose from dozens of beautiful scents, as varied as Lavender Fields oil to Creme Brulee (it smells as good as it sounds!) or Heavenly Spruce.

All you do is light the catalytic burner, and allow the flame to burn for 2 minutes. The burner (wick) will go from a deep charcoal gray color to a lighter ashy-gray. That's when you know it's ready to blow out the flame. Put on the slotted lid, and let the Lampe Berger do it's work. I suggest setting a timer for anywhere from 15-40 minutes, depending on the type of odor you want to remove.

I've been using mine in the cat litter box area (ugh) and it's amazing. Even my husband has to agree that the Lampe Berger (pronounced, I believe: Lamp Bur-zhay) is better by far than any other type of air freshener we've ever used.

If any of you have one of these fabulous little air purifiers, please let me know how you like yours!

P.S. The reason why I highly suggest setting the timer is this - if you forget to put the solid lid back ON the Lampe Berger, then your alcohol-based oil will evaporate into the air. :) I've had people tell me that it removes even really stubborn odors like paint smells and tar smells, so it's a pretty powerful little lamp, if you ask me.