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 http://www.kitchencraftsnmore.net/vinegar.html

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 http://www.happyslob.com/ 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: http://happyslob.blogspot.com/)

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. ;)