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 that...as 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 @ happyslob.com

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 christina@happyslob.com.

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 christina@happyslob.com.

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 know...it 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.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Household Cleaning Chores & Lists - Start by Making a List of the Rooms in Your Home

So, it's 2007, and that means some new cleaning techniques and tips for all of us Happy Slob Housecleaners. (Still curious about why we're called Happy Slobs? You'll understand after you read this: The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning)

So, today I had a day off of work and decided to re-organize the way I've been cleaning. I needed to create a fresh cleaning schedule that works with my new work schedule, which is different than it was last year. :) So, if you need a boost of motivation to start off the year right with your cleaning routine, then join me in this easy little cleaning exercise. It'll help you feel great about starting some fresh new habits.
  1. Create a list of every room in your home. For people like myself, it's not all that long or time-consuming! Include different types of storage rooms and areas, such as the attic, etc.
  2. Give each of these rooms a ranking- 1, 2, or 3 - depending on how often it's seen or used. Let's take some examples from my apartment: Living Room 1, Storage Area 3. If it's a 1, it's used more often, and seen more often - and therefore needs priority when you're cleaning. Get it?
  3. Work on a new cleaning schedule, keeping your Happy Slob techniques in mind. Incorporate cleaning each area or room, keeping the #1 rooms tidied up far more often than the #3's. Here's what my cleaning schedule looks like for Sundays, a day when I don't work outside the home...
  • Cleaning Burst AM (A quick burst of cleaning in the morning)
  • Kitty Litter Cleaned (Self-explanatory, I should hope...)
  • Laundry
  • Focus Room: Bathroom & Bedroom 1 (Areas I spend a bit more time and energy cleaning, but nothing crazy. Remember that regular cleaning means it'll never get as mucked up as it used to...)
  • Cleaning Burst PM (A quick burst of cleaning in the evening anytime that works - just so that things are nicer to face when you wake up early the next morning)

Does that sound overwhelming? :) Remember that some days you aren't going to do as much cleaning. For me, I don't work on Sundays, so I can devote a little more time to cleaning. But, sometimes the cleaning bursts are literally 5 minutes each - so it still doesn't sound as time consuming as you first thought.

Remember too - starting off with one Cleaning Burst every day is the best way to get started and NOT to get overwhelmed. Armed with that, and your list of rooms, you can work on a customized cleaning plan that will work best for you & your family!

Ready? Set? CLEAN! :) Have a great day, slobbos.

Advice from Readers on How to Clean CD's - Helpful Hints and Tips

You guys came up trumps! You've sent in some fantastic ideas on how to get my wonky old CD's nice and clean again. Here are the CD cleaning ideas you guys sent in - I thought everyone would want to know about this cleaning essential...hey, we DO need some groovy music while we clean, right? So un-skipping CDs really help! Right, so here's the tips:

Please note: A few of you clever slobbos told me that it's VITAL to clean not only with the right solution, but with the right TECHNIQUE. You'll learn more about that below - just remember not to clean following the circular pattern of the CD...And really, with tips that range from smooth peanut butter to Dawn Liquid - I think you guys are continually proving that Happy Slob Housecleaners are the coolest cleaners on the planet!

  • Dawn Dishwashing Liquid or Rubbing Alcohol - from Nancy - "I use rubbing alcohol for lightweight smudges and Dawn for really dirty spots. Just put either on a soft cloth and rub the CD until it's clean."
  • Rubbing Alcohol & A cleaning technique tip - from Sharon - "To take care of DVDs and CDs that have been scratched; instead of buying an expensive kit to fix them, put a little rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and working from the inside of the disc outward, wipe in a straight line(no circles!). Wipe until you have rubbed across all of the scratches. The discs will be good as new!"
  • Tips from a Guy with 2 Computer Programming Degrees - from Ashly (his wife) - "My DH has 2 degrees in computer programming and has taught me the neatest trick for repairing a cd. Toothpaste. Yes, I did say toothpaste. Try a type cheap type from the local dollar store. After putting just a small bit on the scratch, wipe clean with a small microfiber cloth. It works great for the smaller scratches for any type of cd, whether it be computer, video game, dvd, ect...

    But if there comes a time when the disc is beyond repair I've found that they make the greatest drink coasters. They also make great decorations if painted. I've taken some from local thrift stores, painted them and used jewelry making wire to connect them together to make an "awesome" wall decoration. Well I hope I've helped you some.
  • Dishwashing Liquid & Another Tip - from Sonya - "I have had very good luck with washing with a very mild detergent,
    After cleaning the shouldbe immediately dried with a soft cloth and store in a CD container or sleeve. Do not store until completely dry."
  • Peanut Butter - from Kerry - "Here is what you do: Take some peanut butter-not a lot- and rub it on the scratch with a clean coffee filter. It has to be a coffee filter because of the lint factor. Anyway, rub in the peanut butter for a few, then wipe off with another clean coffee filter. Let the CD sit for a while before you try to play it.This will work for all scratches, *except* when it is so badly scratched that you can see light through it. It that case, it is beyond repair.Happy cleaning!"
  • Another Vote for Peanut Butter With a Coffee Filter - by Shannon - "you've probably heard that one before.
    i am NOT certain as to what length peanut butter will go, but I do know it works well on MINOR scratches and scrapes, making the disc look impressively new and clean.
    It can be a bit messy though. The best dust free material is a coffee filter. Just smudge some peanut butter on the filter and in little rotating circular motions go around to the left, switch rotation and go back around to the right. Wipe clean with plain coffee filter."
  • Aerosol Furniture Polish Spray - by Trista - We have found that using a commercially available aerosol furniture dusting/polishing spray works wonders for scratches. Spray it on a very soft dusting cloth (no paper towels or scratchy scrubbers!!!) and buff it on, and lightly remove excess with a clean soft cloth. This seems to "fill in" the scratches and it plays well. Our four-year-old tries to load his (expensive!!!) DVDs by himself, and winds up scratching them, and this works very well for this. This may need to be done again after several uses/handling of the DVD/CD, although I haven't found that to be the case just yet. I'll bet it would also remove the smudges and fingerprints.

    If all else fails, our local video store will run them through their commercial machine for less than $2.00, and they do a good job, too. I am frugal, though, and much prefer to do this myself. However, even with as frugal as we all are, if home remedies fail to fix this, the $2 that the video rental store charges is much better than paying $18.95 for a movie, or for video games, up to $50 for a new video game disk!

    Finally, don't overlook a dirty lens cover in your actual CD or DVD player. If many of your disks aren't playing well, a dirty lens might be the culprit (after all, if we have to clean the disks, the inside of the player might become dirty itself). I'm not sure the home remedy for this, but using a commercially available lens cleaner disk and cleaner combo (also available for rent from some video stores) is certainly cheaper than replacing most DVD players.

Phew, how amazing are these tips!? Thanks you guys - next time I have a weird cleaning dilemma, I'll be sure to ask you guys again!

And yes, as soon as I've tried out a few techniques, I'll let you guys know which one seemed to work the best. :) It's sort of fun doing the experiments...Happy cleaning to you, slobbos!

Monday, January 01, 2007

7 Tips to Get 2007 Off to a Good Start - Cleaning Tips

7 Ways to Clean Better - Faster and Easier - in 2007

Hey everyone,

So it's 2007! Can you believe it? It's hard to fathom that it's already 7 years into this new decade/century/millenium.

If you want to start 2007 off on the right foot - cleaning-wise that is - then here are 7 Tips to Do So:

  1. Start TODAY - the very first day of the new year! Don't procrastinate any longer, but start developing new helpful cleaning habits that you can continue on throughout the year.
  2. Read My Book - The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning for lots of help on how to clean faster, and easier than ever. It's an instant download ebook, so as soon as you pay you can start to read and learn! For the 1st week of January 2007 I'll give a special reduction in price to anyone who wants to buy it - just email me at christina@happyslob.com with your request and I'll let you in on the savings secret. :)
  3. Start Small - little goals that you can actually ACCOMPLISH are the keys to success as far as your new cleaning routines go. As I highlight in the 3 Step Solution to Cleaning, it's when you keep your routine simple that you'll succeed.
  4. Get Motivated - Here are some of my favorite motivational posts from 2006, which I hope will inspire you to start TODAY and keep doing the best you possibly can all year long: Talk Yourself into Doing It and End Procrastination --- Take It In Stride - Cleaning Tips that Won't Overwhelm You --- Keep the Cleaning in Perspective - 5 Tips to Help
  5. Get the Family Involved - You can't tackle house cleaning all on your own, so make sure to include your family!
  6. Subscribe to this blog - It's absolutely FREE (which we happy slobs LOVE), and I regularly post new ideas & tips that I've tried or that readers have found work well. It'll keep you motivated on those days when you don't WANT to clean, but know that you can.
  7. Stay FOCUSed - Meaning, make your cleaning time and efforts count by making sure the areas that are SEEN the most are the ones you tackle first. Then you can carry on and handle the absolute HORROR in the closets. :) But, we'll do that in another post entirely...

I'm proud of you guys! Keep on trying, and we'll all win the Battle of Clutter together.

Tips on Cleaning Your CD's - Need Your Tips on How to Clean CDs

Hi all,

I've been reading up on how to clean your own CDs, and I've found tips ranging from toothpaste to soft cloths, to peanut butter! What I want to know from you readers is this - what have you SUCCESSFULLY used to get your CDs clean again? I have a brand new CD that came with (argh) a scratch already on it...AND one of my favorite old CDs seems to have a few scratches or smudges on it too.

:) I would appreciate your help, slobbo pals! Please email me at christina@happyslob.com or post a comment right here -- and then I'll create a new page on the http://www.happyslob.com site with all of your fabulouso advice about cleaning CD's.

Thanks again,


Easy Instant Cleaner for Copper Pots

Not only does this work fantastically well at getting rid of the dinge and grime on the bottom of your copper pots, but it's - wait for it - CHEAP too! :) I knew you'd love that as much as I do. Hey, can we help if we're frugal?

For an easy, instant way to clean copper pots (or any other copper knick knacks you have around the home) try this:

  1. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle liberally with regular table salt
  2. Rub the cut surface on the copper surface
  3. Use a soft cloth to wipe the residue away and you'll be left with a gleaming, shining copper surface. Seriously, your old dingy copper pots will look brand new!

While I tried this with a lemon, I'm sure it would work with other citrus fruits as well. Give it a try!