Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Had an "Eek" Moment - Cleaning out the Fridge Reminder

So, we're going away to visit family on Friday, and I've been on a tear to get our apartment ship-shape before we go. (Or, you know, as ship-shape as can be, keeping in mind our No Hassle Housecleaning sensibilities.)

I'd been putting off one particularly nasty household chore. Cleaning out the fridge. Never a favorite chore of mine, especially when it's really overdue and the produce has had ample opportunity to morph into some other biological form. (THAT was my "eek" moment I described in the title...I'm pretty sure that black blob had been half an onion at some earlier point in its existence. I will not describe it any further except to say that it prompted me to say things like: "Ugh," "Blarech," "Repulsive!" and other murmured noises of disgust.)

Now It's YOUR Turn
Okay...grab that trusty timer and set it for about 10-15 minutes to allow ample time to remove everything, get rid of the morphed produce, and long forgotten Rubbermaid containers of leftovers, and spray the inside down with Very Vinegar cleaner. If there's hard to remove gunk on the bottom, use a generous sprinkling of plain baking soda and a scrubby sponge. It should wipe away with a little elbow grease. Wipe everything down, put back the good stuff into the fridge - and voila (hey look, more French!) - a gorgeous fridge that you actually want to open. Your family and friends will be amazed at your domestic abilities, my friends!

Have a few extra minutes to spend?
Okay then, you brave souls. Take those few extra moments and declutter the surface of the fridge. I end up with photos of friends and family, recipes, coupons all posted to the front of the fridge. Having a few mementoes is nice, but when you can't see the surface of the appliance any more, well, you know it's time for a quick and painless decluttering session. You can also give the outside of the refrigerator a good wipe down while you're at it. There! Look at all you've accomplished today.

Linda's Helpful Cleaning Tips Using Avon's Skin so Soft

I received a wonderful email the other day from a No Hassle Housecleaning reader named Linda. She had some tips to tell me about, and she gave me permission to pass these tips along to all of you. Some of them involve using Avon's Skin So Soft for cleaning, and one is a great tip to remove stubborn odors from your home.

Enjoy, everyone, and huge thanks to you again Linda. :) Your emails always make me smile.

Here's a link to my other website which has a listing of over 100 uses for this amazing stuff: P.S. Please post a comment and let all of us know how YOU use Skin So Soft! I'll try to post it on the Skin So Soft page.


  1. Add a nicer scent to your Skin So Soft -- Linda is a lavender fanatic, too! "One of my other favorite things is Avon Skin-so-Soft, the original fragrance. I have a little spray bottle of it, too, that I refill from the large bottle, and although I love the fragrance, I add some lavender to it, too."
  2. Dust your furniture with Skin So Soft - "I've been using is to use it on my wood furniture, as it dusts, cleans, and makes it smell good. I don't use the one with the lavender, though, on my wood, as I'm afraid it might hurt the finish on the wood." Lavender oil (the real essential oil, not an imitation fragrance oil) should be safe on most wooden surfaces. However, always test a little area first to make sure you don't damage your beloved furniture pieces.
  3. Use it on Formica - "I use it on my formica with the oil--no, I don't hate granite, but I do have one formica that looks like marble with grain in it! Using this really makes the formica shine and the room smell good, especially in the bathroom."
  4. Use ammonia to rid burnt smells from microwave - "You may know this hint, but I was making some hummingbird food for my feeder, and my husband called me outside for a minute--out of sight, out of mind, until I smelled this horrible sweet smell and ran back into kitchen filled with smoke and SWEET smell! I called an environmental cleaning place to see if they could help me with a "home remedy," and the lady told me that she had just had her microwave catch on fire a few weeks ago, so she put out bowls of ammonia all around the room, and it just absorbed the odor! I tried it in my kitchen, den, and dining room, all one big room, and in about 3 days the smell was GONE!" You guys know I'm not a huge fan of bleach due to the ammonia contained in it. BUT, if you really need to get rid of odors, it appears that this will do the trick. Just make sure to keep the rooms well ventilated, and don't try this home remedy if you have athsma or other breathing problems. Otherwise, try open containers of white vinegar. (P.S. Linda also says it's wonderful for getting rid of powerful smoke odors.)

Oooops...there goes the timer! Have to grab some lovely, fresh smelling clothes from the dryer. Have a fabulous Wednesday everyone, and as always feel free to contact me at with your helpful tips, questions, or ideas. I love your emails. Au revoir for now! (I'm trying -- trying -- to learn French, so you might have to bear with me and my silly attempts for a while. hehe)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Simplest Cleaning Formula You'll Ever Make: Squirt Squirt Cleaner Recipe

Ahhh, yes...making your own cleaners. It sounds like a real 'mother of the earth' type project, doesn't it? But, making a simple homemade cleaner is a breeze. This is the simplest of all cleaning recipes, so give it a try to replace chemical-filled cleaners. The Squirt, Squirt Cleaner is basically a good all-purpose cleaner for around the home.

Squirt Squirt Cleaner - No Hassle Housecleaning Recipe
* Distilled water (or tap water, in a pinch)
* A natural dishwashing liquid soap (the link I chose is a lavender type - hurray! I have a wee addiction to the purple stuff.)
* A plastic spray bottle (that has never contained chemicals or other nasty stuff)
* Optional: lavender or tea tree essential oils.

Quite simply, add a squirt of two of the liquid dishwashing soap, and then fill nearly to the top with the distilled water. Gently shake to combine (gently now, or else you'll be overcome by bubbles.) This is a mild and effective soapy cleaner that is really easy to use, easy on the health of your family, and easy on the wallet, by George!

You can get a little fancier with your homemade cleaning creation by adding a few drops of either lavender or tea tree essential oils. You probably already know that I'm a lavender freak, so that would be my fave, but both of these oils work well to add an extra dose of cleaning fortitude. So, give it a try!

Money saving tip o' the day: Buying essential oils online is almost always cheaper than heading to your local health food store.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cleaning Tile Floors with Hydrogen Peroxide

And finally...Peggy just sent in this email with another peroxide cleaning tip. (We all love those - I'm a bit obssessed with hydrogen peroxide right now. I have a gorgeous green sweater with a streak of bleached out-edness to prove it, too.) Send me any tips you have for peroxide, everyone - to Or questions, ideas, etc, etc. I'm glad to hear from all of you.

Now, here's Peggy's tip du jour: "I use peroxide on my tile floors. It lightens the grout as well as a good clean for the floor. "

Love it! You could dilute it, or on floors that need a really good clean, the undiluted 3% variety is probably just fine. Just watch out for bleaching out your clothing! (I was using a heavier duty hydrogen peroxide at the time, so you'll probably be pretty safe with 3%...but I'm just still mourning my sweater. And whining about it, apparently.)

One Day Left -- eBay Auction for a Signed Copy of No Hassle Housecleaning

Come on over and check out my eBay auction for a signed copy of No Hassle Housecleaning. I know, I know, the excitement of it all is killing you, but go check it out nonetheless. ;) Thanks guys!

Cleaning Ceiling Fans - Give it a Whirl!

This blog idea was inspired just about fifteen minutes ago, when I was finishing up my bowl of oatbran and flax (don't scoff - fiber and I are very dear friends) and looked up. Waaaay up. To the ceiling fan. Which looked disgustingly neglected, which in reality it has been. Ah ha! The little lightbulb in my head went on, and therefore this post was born of necessity.

If you have a ceiling fan, get a sturdy chair or stepladder to ease your way up there, and then use a dampened rag or microfiber cloth to clean out all the gunk and mess. (Please, be careful! I don't want anyone falling down and hurting themselves.) Word to the wise: place some large garbage bags down on the floor beneath the fan, so that you're not left with a messy floor to deal with too!

Have a fantastic Monday everyone,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Stain Removal Song for this Sunday Morning (Remove Tea and Coffee Stains)

I love coffee,
He loves tea,
We love hot bevvies,
But the stains bother MEEEE....

Yes, I actually did sing that as I typed it. :) How sad. Feel free to roll your eyes.

Right, so if you're a tea or coffee drinker then you're also well aware that the beverages taste delicious, but the stains they leave behind in our favorite mugs and cups are far less charming. I've found three things that help remove those nasty stains:
  1. Baking soda - the old favorite is a star again. Scrub with baking soda and a scrubby pad.
  2. Table salt - same thing, but a little grittier for even more difficult stains.
  3. Barkeepers Friend - The hardest, oldest stains are no match for this cleaner. When I was writing my book, I researched this marvelous powdered cleanser and discovered that it's derived from rhubarb. Hmmm. And here I always thought rhubarb was just good in pie. Wrongo, it's also good for scrubbing stains away (and cleaning your stainless, copper, etc...but I'll try to remain on topic here.)

Plus, a little scrubby pad called 'The World's Greatest Scrubbie' is available in many kitchenware shops. At the store where I work part-time we sell them for around $2.99. I always use that when scrubbing away stubborn beverage stains -- so keep an eye out for them in your locale. They're little rectangles of rainbow colored cleaning extraordinariness. (IF that's even a word.)

Right, now, go grab a coffee or tea and don't worry for even a single moment about any stains to come. :) Have a lovely Sunday while you're at it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fish Oil Follies: Removing a Tough Laundry Stain & Odors (Stain Removal)

I'm rather a huge fan of fish oil pills - I take two every single morning without fail. But, when those little gelatin capsules decide to do some damage, it can be a smelly mess that lingers. Read this email I received from Jennifer K a few days ago:

"Hello christina, my name is Jennifer and I have a question for you, I was doing laundry one day and of all days did not check his shirt pockets, so I did the wash and I found out I left a fish oil capsule in his pocket he didn’t take, now his shirts smell like the ocean, fishy, how can I get rid of this smell? I tried washing it in baking soda, but did not help he smell is still there… please help…"

Okay, Jen, here we go. Oil stains on clothing can in fact be some of the very toughest stains to remove. From your email, it sounds like you've actually managed to remove the stain but have the stinky fishy scent left as an everlasting reminder. (For any of you who have oil stains to contend with - corn starch can be very helpful when rubbed gently into the oil stain to pre-treat before tossing into the laundry. Or, cover the oil stain with a good amount of cornstarch and let it sit and soak up the oil before pre-treating with laundry detergent and washing as usual.)

Here are a couple of options to remove stinky fish smells from clothing:
  1. Add two full cups of white vinegar to your load of wash. Vinegar is a heavy duty natural odor neutralizer and I think it might help to remove that nasty scent. If even that doesn't work -- try soaking in a small container of water with a few cups of white vinegar to neutralize the scent and then wash in the hottest possible water that is safe for the fabric.
  2. Sit out in the sun - the clothing that is! (Although, you can certainly join the clothes if you want to.) There's a wonderfully natural and effective way to remove stinky odors - let the sun at them. Let the clothes sit out on a clothesline and the sun and fresh air may deodorize the clothes au naturel.

Jennifer, let us know how it goes, okay? The vinegar method should work -- and it should get the clothes looking pretty darn clean to boot.

Other Articles of Interest:
How to Remove Lipstick Stains

Dozens of Ways to Use Baking Soda Around the Home

Laundry Tips & Hints

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cleaning Slippers - Slip, Slide Your Way to Cleaner Floors

Have I mentioned lately how much I love these? No? Then here I go.

Microfiber cleaning slippers. You got it - just shuffle your feet to clean the floors. Now that is what I call a happy slob's dream come true...The fact that they're fuzzy and pink doesn't hurt either. We should never take ourselves too seriously, after all.

Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaning Tip: Remove Red Wine Stains

I simply love hydrogen peroxide. It's cheap, it's plentiful (available at any drugstore for around a buck or so) and it's a downright powerful little cleaner. Jan B wrote in with a great tip on using it to remove red wine stains.

Jan wrote: "I use peroxide with a dash of Dawn dishwashing soap on red wine spills. But always blot wine spot first with paper towels to remove the excess. Never rub. Then I use a cotton ball with the peroxide and soap and dab until stain is gone."

No Hassle Housecleaning Hint: Just test this in an inconspicuous area of carpeting first, since peroxide also has a serious bleaching effect. And, a big blog of bleached out carpet wouldn't be much better than the wine stain! If you have pale carpet, this should work incredibly well. Thanks Jan, for the idea.

How do you use hydrogen peroxide to clean? Let me know, as I'm working on a new Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaning page on