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!