Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No Hassle Housecleaning Book Signing - in Calgary, AB - Wednesday, Dec 23

Hey everyone,
Just wanted to let all of you know about my second book signing at the Compleat Cook in Willow Park Village in Calgary's South. The first book signing was a great success - thanks to everyone who came out to buy a book and have me sign it. Your feedback was wonderful, and I appreciate all of your kind words.

We decided to do a second book signing tomorrow, that is Wednesday, December 23, 2009 from 3 to 7 pm. Compleat Cook is located at 232 Willow Park Village 10816 Macleod Trail South in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. If you know of anyone in Calgary who'd like a copy, please let them know about this signing!

Come and get your own personal copy of No Hassle Housecleaning
tomorrow! (The book formerly known as the Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning.)
Thanks all,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Decluttering? Send old clothes where they're needed

I just received a wonderful email from a No Hassle Housecleaning reader. We all get so gung-ho (and rightly so!) about decluttering, but sometimes we forget that there are people who can really use our old items. Next time you have a pile of clothes to give away, remember this idea from Deborah.

"you mentioned giving away clothing to charities...
please list any nursing homes in your area...I work at one (nurse) and some of the people have very little clothing.
I took a huge trash sack full of gently worn clothing up there, and you would have thought it was Christmas!!!
they were all so pleased to have "new" stuff."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Natural AND Cheap Alternative to Dishwasher Detergent

By jove, I think I may have GOT it. Dishwasher detergent is one of those annoying necessities that I could never quite embrace using. But, I'm finally pleased with the results of two ingredients that seem to be getting my dishes good and clean, minus the chemicals.

I pour regular table salt (or I've also used baking soda) into the detergent openings in the dishwasher door, and then pour about a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide over the salt until it's a bit sludgy and slushy. Close the door and give it a whirl.

I really want to know what you discover from using this! Do you like it as much as dishwasher detergent? I'm still working on improving this all the time, so please do share if you tweak it and like the results even more.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Roomba Robotic Vacuum - Dream Cleaning

It might not look like much from this photo but I have to admit, having a Roomba robotic vacuum seems absolutely dreamy to me. Setting this little thing off to clean and suck up dirt and muck, while I sit around and read a book. Lovely!

What do you guys think? Does anyone have one? Would it be worth buying one?

Today: Declutter your Bag

Ready, set...go to it! When you're done, come report back and tell us all how many pieces you de-junked from your bag, backpack, briefcase, whatever. Try not to get sidetracked and just get rid of the junk that's loading you down - literally - every day.

Dishwasher Detergent for Socks? I Kid You Not...Whiter Socks

It's true! Dishwasher detergent (for electric dishwashers) in liquid form is a powerful stain remover, especially for socks. Use only on white socks, as it has some serious bleaching action too. More whitening laundry tips at: http://www.kitchencraftsnmore.net/whitensocks.html

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Book - No Hassle Housecleaning - Now Available for Preordering

Here it is! The long awaited book, with a fresh title: "No-Hassle Housecleaning." You can now pre-order at Amazon.

Can't wait to hear your feedback, everyone!

Borax For Carpet Cleaning - and More Borax Tips and Hints around the House

Happy Slob reader, Lourene, sent me in the following email after trying the carpet cleaning formula on our website.



Thanks Lourene! I'm a huge fan of Borax. Here are some more handy Borax cleaning tips I've posted or researched over the years.

Borax as a Natural Air Freshener
Borax Dishwasher Detergent Substitute
Borax to Remove Toilet Stains

And remember, Borax is pretty easy to find in the supermarket, Walmart or wherever you shop. Just look in the laundry department, and it should be there sitting amongst the boxes of detergent. And it's frugal, hurray! (You can also order Borax online if you can't find it locally, check out this link for 20 Mule Team Borax )

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Spa Favorite is a Surprising Cleaning Tool

The other day I was shopping at my favorite mega-pharmacy store (you know, with everything from OTC painkillers to home decor goodies) and I found something that really caught my attention. Spa exfoliating gloves. Hmm...

The point of these little gloves are to wear them and lather with body wash to do an all-over exfoliating treatment on (obviously) your skin. I wasn't exactly thinking of exfoliating ME with these gloves, but rather the shower and tub walls! These nubby gloves have an interesting texture, I figured, that would make doing your in-shower cleaning a breeze! (Remember...the easiest way to NEVER slave over tub and shower cleaning is to do a little cleaning every time you're in the shower. A scrub scrub here and there, and cleaning is done while your hair conditioner is silkening your tresses.)

And voila - it worked! These little babies, lathered up with a little body wash worked perfectly to clean the shower and tub surfaces, even getting right into the cracks and crevices of the grout lines with ease. I loved how easy it was to clean with these, and would suggest you guys all pick up a pair. They were $2.49 at the Shoppers Drug Mart I shopped at, and were located by all the loofah sponges, and shower body poufs - puffs?

Make cleaning your shower easier than ever with this spa-inspired tip!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dusting Tips for Do-Little Dusting

Sometimes dusting just feels like a never-ending, ridiculous kind of chore. Why bother dusting at all? Since, isn't it just going to go and get dusty again anyway?

Well, if any of your family suffers from allergies or asthma, dusting is a necessity, since dust and the dust mites that feed on such dust can aggravate such health conditions considerably. It doesn't mean you have to go crazy, with white gloves in hand to check for perfect dustlessness on every surface...but, it does mean that dusting isn't about to go away. So, here are a few ways to make this task a little more palatable to the Happy Slob:

  1. Less clutter = less dusting. It just makes sense. If you have fewer knick knacks and clutter on tabletops, countertops, bookshelves and storage units then it'll be faster and easier to dust. If you're a confirmed packrat, set a goal to get rid of 5 cluttery things a day until clutter is under control. (And, don't add to the problem by replacing those 5 cluttery things with new bits of junk you found at the thrift shop!)
  2. Microfiber cloths make it easy - These amazing little creations make dusting a breeze. Invest in some decent ones that are meant to last, and you'll be using them for years without replacing. The Microfibre Cleaning Cloths really hold onto dust, instead of just spreading the dust around.
  3. Dust and De-Static - Really not sure if destatic is a word, but using a fabric softener sheet (even one that's already been used once in the dryer) is an easier way to dust and reduce static on surfaces like TVs and computer monitors. This is a perfect cleaning task for Junior Happy Slobs, so delegate this one.


Find more dusting to-do's and a lot more in Christina's book: "The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning." Go on, check it out...you know you want to. :)


Thursday, April 30, 2009

5 Ways to Clean Your Home with Lemons

My husband is home sick, so he's been drinking mug after mug of hot lemon concoctions. (And FYI: no swine flu here, I swear.) Lemon with ginger, lemon with mint, lemon and more lemon. So, we've been going through more lemons than usual.

And that reminded me just how incredibly useful this common little citrus fruit really is. I wanted to share with you guys 5 ways to use lemons (and sometimes you can interchange oranges or limes) to clean around your home. Naturally, and with an oh-so-fresh aroma.

  1. Scour it. Dip a halved lemon into regular table salt and use in kitchen sinks, and along countertops as a natural scouring agent. Just wipe the residue away with a moistened sponge. Especially nice in the kitchen as it leaves that real lemony essence lingering behind.
  2. De-Stink It. Natural lemon juice helps de-stink (okay, freshen) your hands and any other surfaces that fish came into contact with. And leave a wedge to serve with the fish, too please!
  3. Bleach It. Lemons are nature's own little bleach machines. Add some fresh lemon juice to white laundry to replace bleach OR make a thick paste of lemon juice and baking soda to scrub stained dishes or plastic storage containers. That powerhouse team of baking soda and lemon juice will also leave those containers smelling sweet and fresh.
  4. Shine It. Add a little lemon juice to any of the natural glass cleaning recipes in my book to get lemony fresh cleaners, minus all the chemicals and additives in commercial varieties. You could even add some to club soda, one of my favorite shiny surface cleaners!
  5. Wash It. This is a cool tip I just found out about, and plan to try later on tonight. Pop a half lemon right into the dishwasher to get sparklier, more delicious smelling dishes. I might try just filling the regular detergent with baking soda, and then throwing in half a lemon and see what happens. However, I almost feel sorry for what the poor lemon will endure...

So, pop over to the supermarket and pick up a lemons. It's more than an aromatic addition to your iced tea - it's a cleaning mighty mouse!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Spring Cleaning Time - Dozens of Helpful Hints

Okay guys, it's spring cleaning time. This is a time of hope and renewal and blooming flowers and chirping birds. But, in spite of all that loveliness spring cleaning can take the joy right out of spring!

No worries, I want you to check out two important databases of info I've compiled on the Happy Slob site. It will ease your mind and hopefully motivate you to do a bit of extra cleaning to usher spring in!

  1. Cleaning Tips - my fave cleaning tips to make it all easier. Honestly. Includes how to properly clean different flooring types, how to declutter closets and other clutter-prone zones, and even how to find more organizing space in even the tiniest homes.
  2. Cleaning Recipes - how to make your own cleaners, deodorizers, floor washes, etc, etc. Almost any type of cleaner can be made for way less coin at home using all-natural stuff like baking soda, vinegar, lemon and other citrus juices, salt, and other common ingredients.

Remember that these ideas along with the 3-Step Solution you already know about from the book will make spring cleaning a lot less stressful. Bit by bit cleaning is what we're all about, and it really does work! (And doesn't turn you into a raving loonie, which is a definite plus.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Love This, but HATE That...How about you?

Admit it...there are certain tasks around the home that you've never really minded doing. In fact, if you're totally honest there are certain cleaning tasks that make you feel pretty darn contented, maybe even while you're completing them. (All of us like cleaning tasks more once they're done, obviously.)

For me, I really don't mind cleaning dishes. Yes, I do have a dishwasher, and yes I do use it regularly. But I don't even mind scrubbing pots and pans. There's something almost soothing about scraping along that scrubby sponge, letting my hands soak in the warm sudsy water.

What do I hate? I really don't like mopping the floor. Maybe it's because we have sort of ugly floors that are stubborn and nasty to clean. (I think that may very well be the truest reason.) Or maybe it's because the idea of dripping water on my socks is just SO unappealing. (I'm grasping for anything here now, folks.) Or, maybe I just don't like washing the floor, full stop.

The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning even addresses how to minimize the time spent on tasks that we really don't like. Honestly. And, timer cleaning helps keep your cleaning focused and prioritized so that you get stuff done. Even if you don't like it a bit.

Fess up...what is the one task you LOVE to do? And what is the one that you hate more than any other? Leave a comment, thanks!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday's To-Do List...and Housecleaning Check-in

It's Friday!

That means it's time to check in and let everyone know what YOUR plans are for cleaning today and on the weekend. Doing a bit of cleaning on Friday is a great way to prepare for a less stressful weekend.

Here is my cleaning to-do list today:

  1. Cleaning burst AM - done! But, the bed didn't get made yet, as I have one very sleepy kitty sprawled all over the bed and I didn't have the heart to move her. (Nice excuse, huh? lol)
  2. Today's Focus Room - A solid 15 minutes of cleaning in the main bedroom. I'm noticing a trend that hubby and I have of sprawling our clothes around - and no, NOT in the dresser drawers or closets. That needs to get tidied up before the weekend! (And, I'm still working on cleaning the bookshelves...they were very cluttered.)
  3. Cleaning Burst PM - Tonight, as regular - mainly focusing on keeping dishes under control and tidying/cleaning the bathroom up a bit. Plus, a quick sweep. I've been a bit slack with my evening cleaning bursts, and I notice the difference...(therefore the piles of clothing in our bedroom.) I am determined to get back on track again, and hope you're all ready for the challenge, too!

That's about it for me, and grocery shopping later this afternoon. Oh, and fridge clean-out before the trip to my favorite supermarket. I looooove grocery shopping, do you guys?

Please post a comment about what you're going to do today and this weekend! Thanks all, and have a fun and safe weekend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

When Only a Wipe Will Do - Cleaning with Wipes

So, I was walking through the grocery store and I stopped in front of the METHOD cleaning products. One Happy Slob had mentioned the floor cleaning system a while ago, and I kept eyeing the cleaning wipes. So, I finally tried them! I tried Method's all-purpose cleaning wipes in Pink Grapefruit scent. While not easily distinguishable as grapefruit, these do smell fresh and clean. The wipes were so easy to use, and are fantastic for very quick cleaning jobs.

Happy Slob Rating for: Method Pink Grapefruit (also available in cucumber or lavender) All-purpose cleaning wipes
Cost: $3.99 Canadian for a package of 30 wipes (or about 13 cents a piece). This was on sale. I think it's regularly $4.99-$5.49.
Through Amazon you can get a total of 180 wipes for only $21.29 or less than 12 cents each. Not too bad considering how quick and handy these are.

SCORE: 4/5

What I loved:
  • So easy to use, so fast and efficient
  • Good at cleaning many surfaces, such as countertops. Taps and sinks were cleaned streak-free too, which I loved.
  • Container sealed well, leaving the wipes nice and moist and not dried out at all.
  • These are Non-Toxic and contain natural ingredients. The cloths themselves are 100% bamboo.

What would've made me love it even more:

  • A stronger, more citrusy grapefruit scent. It had a clean scent, but it didn't smell much like grapefruit to me.
  • If it had left mirrors and glass streak-free. (Definitely left streaks behind on mirrors and glass, but then most all-purpose wipes still do.) In a pinch, you could use one of these wipes and then follow up with a quick shine with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Perfect for:

  • Fast clean-up jobs
  • Kids' cleaning kits
  • OUR cleaning kits! (Hey, these would be ideal for CODE RED CLEANING.)
  • Keeping under the kitchen or bathroom sink for quick wipe-ups.
  • Keeping in a desk drawer in your office to clean off icky keyboards, desk surfaces, etc.

Have you guys used these? Do you like them, love them or loathe them? Next time I plan on trying the lavender scent. In fact, I'm amazed that I didn't grab that one first, but I think I'm trying to broaden my horizons. ;)

What other wipes have you tried? I won't always use cleaning wipes, but for certain cleaning tasks they ARE incredibly helpful. Okay...post a comment or two please!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Edgies, not Wedgies

Gunk, grime and other nastiness just loves to collect around the EDGES of stuff. Sinks and tubs are common collection sites. So, when doing your next cleaning in the kitchen or bathroom remember - Edgies (not wedgies...because just about any kind of cleaning is better than an oh-so-painful wedgie! eek...)

How to clean around edges of sinks, faucets and tubs and tile? It can be as easy as a wooden skewer, toothpick or old toothbrush that will loosen the grime so that you can wipe it away.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Messy Purse Alert! It's That Time Again...

Hey everyone,

I've been thinking for the past week (or two...Okay fine, THREE to be perfectly, painfully honest) that my purse is looking a wee bit cluttered. As in, I can't find anything I need in there anymore, except random sticks of gum of dubious age and flavour.

See, the situation is indeed dire! So, grab your favorite handbag, purse, backpack, messenger bag, tote or briefcase (you classy slob!) - whatever it is that you use to tote your stuff around with you. (See guys, this DOES include you! Ha...you thought you got away from this one easy, didn't you?) Dump out the contents. If your bag looks anything like mine, it'll be embarrassing how much random junk actually falls out!

Chuck out all those old pieces of paper, clippings, old crumpled tissues (I can hear you saying 'Ewwww' from here) and whatever else is in there. If you have an extra few minutes, take time to declutter your wallet while you're at it. Put back in the stuff you really need and use, and otherwise put the rest of the stuff away.

Voila! A much neater purse/bag/briefcase, ready to use in day-to-day life. Good job, slob. I always knew you had it in you.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Clean the Floor by Shuffling Your Feet...Honestly!

When I came across this on Amazon's mega shopping site, I first laughed spontaneously, then my jaw dropped. And then I found myself nodding at the image before me, with a goofy grin pasted on my face. At last, someone had come up with the perfect Happy Slob Housecleaning product...slippers that clean as you shuffle along! Why didn't we think of this, slobs??

Awesome, right??? And they look like some sort of memory of a Muppet, to boot. Which really only makes me love them more. And, in a completely practical way, these cleaning slippers make cleaning the floor a simple task for anyone who is limited in their mobility. Hurray again for these little wonders!

Comments, please...and have any of you guys tried these?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Housecleaning Tell-All - Tell us what YOU Did Today (and I'll tell you what I did too!)

Now here's something useful...an occasional "Housecleaning Check-In" where you come and let all of us know what you did around the house today! And you know what - if you didn't do much, that's fine too. We all have days like that, right? And the comments of other posters might get you motivated to get up off the sofa and lift more than a remote control...maybe a duster or a broom?

Here's what I did so far today:

  1. Worked on my book! Ack! (I'm getting a little bit stressed about the upcoming deadline next week...) And whenever I talk about it or type about it, I always end it with 'Ack!' as I just proved. Ack! (Because I got thinking about it again.)
  2. Cleaning burst early this morning - dishwasher unloaded and reloaded with the few dishes in the sink. Made the bed. Simple and fast - probably took about three minutes, which is all it should take, I believe.
  3. 1 load of laundry...not my favorite thing in the world to do, but I DO love clean laundry on the other hand. So, one sort of goes hand in hand with the other.
  4. Made cookies. See, I can't eat wheat and am trying to eat very little refined sugar, so that leaves me baking. Often. But these were very good, so it was all worth it. I'm eating one now, in between typing fits.
  5. Focus Room Cleaning...To do later today. 10 mins or so in our bedroom decluttering the bookshelves. Man, they were awful! I started this a few days ago and am working away at it bit by bit.
  6. PM Cleaning Burst...Later, before bed. Hub will do sweeping floors, cat litter. I will make sure the dishes are under control, wipe down surfaces in kitchen and bath and tidy up VERY briefly.

Wow, to me that looks almost like a productive day! And it sounds like I cleaned a lot, but in reality it takes very little time - which is the point of it all.

Okay...YOUR turn! Post a comment and let the rest of us know what you did. I especially can't wait to hear about how you're using Cleaning Bursts and Focus Room Cleaning in your day-to-day routine. Spill the beans, please! (But then sweep them up. hardy har)

Are You in a "Note-y" Mood? Notes and Housecleaning

Are You in a "Note-y" Mood? Sticky Notes and House Cleaning

I don’t think I’m alone in my belief that sticky notes are hugely important in any household. They come in all sorts of fantastic designs, colors, shapes and sizes. Sort of like us Happy Slobs when you think about it…But, more importantly, (and hopefully unlike us happy slobs) they stick to any surface! (Important note: If YOU are sticking to any surface, time to walk...no RUN...to the nearest shower.)

They are great for:

  • Honey-do lists. I often leave one in the morning for my husband, who is incredibly well intentioned, but has a memory as feeble as my own. "Please take out the garbage," with a huge heart added for good measure works wonders around here.
  • Kiddy-do lists. I don’t have any kids, but I can imagine that sticky notes would be very helpful in motivating the little ones to help out. Oh, I know! Stick it on their box of Pop Tarts - they'll never miss it that way.
  • Me-Do Lists. Wow, my grammar is incredible, isn't it? "Me can do! Me can do!" Sure, we're big into cleaning delegation around here, but we still need to remind OURSELVES to get up off the sofa and do a cleaning burst for heaven's sake. It can't ALL fall on our poor unsuspecting families.
  • Motivation – "I am a mopping maven!" or "I can handle this toilet…it’s all only one flush away from clean!" And similar notices can help you keep the housecleaning in perspective.
  • Inspiration – "Oprah says I can!" is sometimes all it takes, written in bold strokes across a sticky note. This one fits nearly any situation in life, making it incredibly useful. Feel free to stick the sticky on your forehead if you need extra inspirational power.

See, now don’t you have a sudden urge to hotfoot it to the office supply store and replenish your supply of sticky notes? You just never know when the next opportunity to use one will strike…Oh, and look...just when you think you've seen every sticky note known to mankind, they go and make ones that looks like these:

OH, so pretty! These would surely inspire us all to 'stick' with our cleaning routines. hehehe Sorry about that one...

Happy cleaning all!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beyond Bleach to Disinfect...and no, It's Not Vinegar!

Ha, I'll bet you thought I'd suggest vinegar! (I do have a bit of a vinegar dependency issue...but we'll deal with that another day.) Today, the disinfectant of choice is hydrogen peroxide. AKA: My favorite new cleaning necessity.

Maybe you're the sort of person who grew up cleaning with bleach. You might have fond memories of Mom scrubbing the bathtub with scouring pads and bleach, her yellow rubber gloves tightly snapped on. Those bright yellow gloves meant business. And darn it, that cleaning business included heavy doses of chlorine bleach! Those fumes lingered in the air for days...ahhh, the memories.

But...since then a lot of us have decided that we're not so fond of cleaning with bleach. Mom (and Grandma, too) might deny that any other cleaner can clean as effectively, and can kill just as many germs. So, maybe we should keep this news of a 'new' bleach-y type cleaner all to ourselves.

Ta da! It's simply that bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide that you keep stored in the medicine chest for small scratches and assorted boo boos . This stuff is also an amazing, powerful disinfectant agent. And, if you're not so fond of the vinegar (which I've already admitted having a powerful bond with) then you'll like the very UN-vinegar-ish odor of hydrogen peroxide. Basically, peroxide has no odor. I smelled it today to make sure, and I can confirm 100% that it is practically odorless.

So, to whip up a natural cleaning and disinfectant cleaner, take a clean spray bottle (not one that has stored other chemicals - you just never know if there will be weird reactions) and:

  • Fill about one half full with 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Fill the rest of the way with tap water or distilled water, if you so choose.
  • Give the bottle a wee shake-up for good measure...
  • And then clean to your heart's content! It's especially fantastic in those areas where germs like to gather - like the kitchen and bathroom.

More hydrogen peroxide tips to come...and if you have one to share, just post a comment or email me. Another quick one is to use hydrogen peroxide (just the 3% pharmacy stuff, not the ultra-powerful industrial strength 35% which is actually seriously heavy duty stuff) full strength on stains - really great on grout stains. (Just pour some on an oversized cotton pad or cotton ball and smoosh it right on the stain and let it sit a while. If you're worried about possible bleaching, just do a test spot somewhere inconspicuous first.)

Happy cleaning to you! (Yes, that is possible...You crazy cynics, you.)


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How NOT to Clean Stainless Steel Sinks - How This Common Cleaner Causes Rusting

Say no to Steel Wool to Clean Stainless Sinks!
This is an interesting little cleaning tidbit that I just learned the other day. Are you a fan of steel wool for cleaning your stainless steel sinks? Well, after reading this, you might find a new cleaning pad to rely on.

The problem with cleaning your stainless steel sinks with steel wool is the fact that the steel wool can easily break down, allowing small bits of the steel to imbed into the sink. This inferior grade of steel can then rust! So, cleaning your stainless sink with steel wool could actually cause tiny bits of rust to form all over the surface of your sink...maybe causing you to think that your sink itself is rusty, when it actually isn't.

How SHOULD I Clean my Stainless Sink?
What to use instead? Switch from steel wool to natural scrubbers. Did you know, for instance, that you can use natural loofah to clean with? You can! It's a good, natural and non-toxic scrubber that is sink-friendly too. Or, you can find stainless-safe scrubby sponges at supermarkets now - just remember to clean with the grain of the stainless steel to prevent a lot of scratching and marking.

My all-time favorite way to get a stainless sink sparkling is by using either liquid or powder Barkeeper's Friend. People roll their eyes at this suggestion...until they try the stuff. It is now one of my favorite all-purpose cleaners and I use it all the time! If you can't find a retailer that carries Barkeeper's Friend cleanser, order it online from their website or Amazon. It is SO worth it! (And cheap...a few bucks a bottle.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wow - So you CAN Make Homemade Oxy Clean

Two clever readers had ideas on making homemade Oxy Clean...basically it all revolves around using hydrogen peroxide - or H202 - to clean. Here are their emails:

Robbyn wrote:
"Hi,I don't know about making an Oxyclean equivelent in the powder form, but I have read that hydrogen peroxide is similiar to Oxy Clean and can be used in the same ways. I have tried it in laundry, and some homeade cleaning solutions with great results. Also, at our grocery store, you can buy an offbrand product for $1 that seems to work just as well."

And R.B. wrote:
"homemade oxyclean:
mix WELL. 2 parts hot but not boiling water
1 part washing soda (dissolve in water)
1 part hydrogen peroxide (add to mixture)"


As for cleaning with hydrogen peroxide, I was already a fan. It's fantastic at safely removing stains - really good for cleaning grout, and I love how it makes my dishwasher, fridge and other white appliances sparkle and look good as new. Try dousing a sponge or cotton ball with the stuff and then leave it on grout lines that are looking gunky...it really will 'bleach' it away better than bleach!

Monday, January 05, 2009

What is your most hated housecleaning chore?

Fess up, happy slob housecleaners...what housecleaning chore do you HATE the most? I can't wait to read your comments!


Cleaning and Household Hints - Removing Black Scratch Marks from Plates and Dishes...

So, you just went and bought yourself a beautiful new set of dishes...and after the first use you see all sorts of nasty greyish black marks left behind - from your cutlery! Aarrgh!

Before you freak out entirely, there are a couple of ways to remove these black scrape marks from your dishes. These tips might even help remove old marks left behind on old and much loved dishes - thus revitalizing them, and making them seem as good as new!

  1. Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish
    - I love this stuff! This amazing all-purpose cleaner does just about everything you can imagine - it cleans pricey All Clad pots and pans (or any stainless cookware - All Clad just happens to recommend it), porcelain, copper, brass. It's fantastic in the bathroom to clean stubborn stains from sinks or tubs or tiles. But, in this case, Barkeepers Friend is pretty adept at removing those nasty scratch marks on your dinner plates, bowls or mugs. Just make a paste of Barkeepers Friend (which is a very fine powder cleanser) and water, and use a soft cloth to rub the stain marks out. Often, these aren't actual scratches - just marks that CAN be removed.
  2. Scotch-Brite Scrub Sponges
    Online I found an expert who suggested this as another way to remove these marks. Just moisten the scrubby pad and use it gently to rub away the marks. I guess using this together with the Barkeepers Friend would be an unbeatable solution!

Wedgwood China suggests Barkeepers Friend to remove the 'pencil marks' that are sometimes left behind due to minerals rubbed off of inexpensive cutlery. They also recommended tooth powder as a cleaner for these marks! (If I can find some...I'll give it a go and let you all know how it turns out.) Otherwise, I suppose regular paste toothpaste (not the gel type) might do as a cleaner for these marks as well.

Another tip - generally, dishes with a shinier finish will have a tendency to leave these scuff marks behind. If you want to avoid this problem, choose dinnerware with a matte finish - it helps prevent these marks.

Hope this helps everyone renew their old dishes!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What I'll Remember Most About 2008...

When I think of 2008 I’m sure the memory that will pop into my head the most frequently is that it was the year that I signed my first book contract. And I’ll always remember that amazing evening when I got an email from an editor that said she was ‘very impressed’ with the content of my ebook, which she had recently purchased…and then she asked me if I was still shopping the book around to agents and editors. I sat looking at the monitor with a sense of shock, and then (if I’m to be completely honest) I realized that tears were streaming down my face. And then I kept telling the monitor, "They want my little book, they want my little book!" As you might have expected, my monitor didn't reply.

You see, my website and this blog came about because I've always wanted to get my ebook published as a real book. You know, the kind you can curl up with – even if the topic is house cleaning. Since, curling up with even a laptop just isn't the same...I wanted it to be the sort of book that people would connect with, care about, and use to make their house cleaning easier, and a lot less stressful. So, this editor’s email (now she’s MY editor!) was the end result of a lot of dreaming, a lot of hoping…and some stubbornness, I suppose.

The book will be available in bookstores in October, 2009 (Yay, I can finally say THIS YEAR) and is being published by F+W Publications. I haven’t talked a whole lot about this, because I like to focus on what is more important, and that’s the ideas in the book that can help people to create more comfortable and more livable living spaces. Nothing perfect, nothing unattainable.

But…all of this journey was and continues to be a dream come true. I have about one month until my final deadline, and much of the work on the book (and a couple of other writing projects) has kept me sufficiently busy so that I haven’t been blogging as much. But today I just wanted to share with you loyal readers what’s going on in my book world. Thanks for continuing to support me!