Monday, November 19, 2012

Clean Your Home in 3 Easy Steps - A Refresher

The very idea for my book (originally titled The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning, but re-titled No-Hassle Housecleaning) came about when I was working as a bank teller. I'd worked for years as a freelance writer, but I really wanted to write a book. I'd tried to get a fiction book published, and discovered that it was very difficult. Maybe a non-fiction book about housecleaning would be better received.

So, there I was doing bank teller-ish type things, and I decided that I would write a book for all my fellow 'happy slobs' out there - people who wanted to be neater and tidier, but wanted it to be accomplished quickly and simply. Martha Stewarts we are not, but we do want to keep things nice and neat (ish).

Maybe you've read this blog for a while, maybe you've just found it. But, regardless of that - thanks for reading these words. Here is a summary of the basic 3 steps that make up No-Hassle (or, Happy Slob's) housecleaning methods. If you can count to three, you can totally tackle this. And if you have health issues, or are battling with fatigue or maybe old age is causing you to feel like you can't do as much as you once could around the house. Rest assured - the three steps really help you to feel like you've got a bit more control over the mess and clutter.

  1. Cleaning bursts. These are just what they sound like - quick bursts of cleaning that you do once or twice a day to get the major stuff accomplished. Like handling that pile of dishes in the sink, or tidying up the bathroom. The areas you concern yourself with are the areas that you LIVE in the most. Makes sense, right? I thought so too. That's why it's step #1.  Here's a post that goes into more detail about cleaning bursts. Remember to set your timer! A good timer is a happy slob's best friend, since it reminds us that we only need to spend a certain amount of our precious time cleaning. It limits the misery!
  2. Focus Room Cleaning. This is, again, just what it sounds like. You spend a little more time cleaning in one very specific area of your home. Maybe it's the bathroom, where you'll do a little deeper cleaning than is possible with only a cleaning burst. Again, use your timer and budget your time. If you can only 'afford' five minutes, that's awesome! Set the timer, do your best, and on with your life you go. All about focus rooms in this link. Helpful, no?
  3. Clean-for-Alls. This is last on the list because you do these extra tasks only when you have time. As in, about once a week or so. Keep a notebook with you in your cleaning kit (here's how to make your cleaning kit) and keep track of real trouble areas around your home that will need more than just a few minutes during a burst or focus room cleaning. This will help you know what to tackle when you can afford some time to do a clean-for-all.
That is it. Start with a cleaning burst once a day, in either the morning or the evening. Then, add the opposite one to your day - a burst in the morning if you were doing one in the evening and vice versa.

Please remember that it's just house cleaning. Don't stress. And on the other hand, do all you can to fight our natural happy slob's desire to procrastinate. (Ooh, that should be my next post! I'm a master of procrastination, sadly...) Set your timer, and get to it. Post a comment to let me know how it's helped you and to share a tip or two with other slobbos from around the world.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An Unusual Way to Get Whiter Whites - Laundry Tips

Getting whiter whites...sounds like the woes of a woman in the 1950's, no? But seriously, it's one of those trickly laundry situations that make all of us happy slobs shake our heads...or perhaps in very bad moments, shaking our fists in despair at our dingy, greyish white clothes! So, I started doing some research to find new ways to get white laundry whiter and cleaner than ever.

Now, I admit that this tip is not entirely natural, so if you come here for tips on homemade, all-natural cleaners then it might not be the best tip for you. But, I read how some people use dishwasher detergent, of all things to boost the whitening power of their wash.

And guess what? It actually works! I added about a half cup of non-phosphate dishwasher detergent to a hot water load of white laundry. I wasn't really expecting much. But, to my (pleased!) surprise, the laundry looked much whiter than before. The dishwasher detergent (it was, as mentioned non-phosphate, and was a powder formula) left the whites much whiter and also felt crisp and nice to the touch. Huh. I'm still surprised by it all.

I'm not sure if you'd need to add this to your wash every time you wash whites. I might do it once in a while to boost whitening. But, it's a tip that I definitely had to share.

Have a killer laundry tip that you just MUST share with other Happy Slobs from around the world? Don't hold back slobbos - please, post it. :) And go and do a cleaning burst while you're at it...I'm about to do the same!

Cheap and clean - I like it! Cheaper microfiber cloths

Sometimes the comments on these posts contain little gems of information. On the recent post I wrote about microfiber cloths, an anonymous poster wrote the following tip on getting good microfiber cloths for less. I wanted to make sure you all had a chance to read this!

"I buy my microfiber cloths in the car care aisle at Walmart. They are much cheaper that way. I am retired but still clean for a couple of people and use microfiber all the time. I do use either dish soap or Mr. Clean with them however just because I feel it cleans better than just water but for dusting at my house I use water for finishes that aren't real wood or have a high gloss finish."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

3 Housecleaning Chores I Actually...Enjoy!

If you've read this blog, you know that I seem to enjoy a (hopefully) goodhearted venting about the different household chores I can barely stand. You know: ironing, mopping...and dusting! But, today as I was scrubbing up a few dishes, I began to see things in a different - and dusty (haha) - light. There are,  amazingly, a few household chores or cleaning tasks that I actually enjoy doing.

Okay, pick your slackened jaw up off from your floor, slobbos. I realize this is pretty heady stuff for a snowy Saturday evening. And yes, it is snowy here. In October. But I digress...I realized that once in a while I enjoy the following cleaning jobs:

  1. Folding lovely clean and fragrant laundry. Now, don't get me wrong - our little household doesn't create the mounds of laundry that many other households do. For that, I am oh so grateful. But, sometimes when I'm folding towels or tucking socks together into pairs, I feel a sense of peacefulness. I wish I could get my laundry even more fragrant in a natural way, though, so that's one thing I'm going to do a little experimenting on. (Will post another time with the findings. PLEASE post a comment if you have a natural way of getting your laundry to smell like something dreamy like lavender.)
  2.   Vacuuming. I don't vaccuum as often as I likely should. (And who sets those rules, anyway?) But, sometimes when I'm enjoying it, I do a little fun dance and boogey along, watching the dirt get sucked up into oblivion. It's not a bad time to think of other things, like laying on a warm, sandy beach. I generally do like chores that allow me to dream - that's what the key is!
  3. Okay, there is no number three. haha I'm kidding. I generally enjoy cleaning up the kitchen. Our kitchen is quite tiny, and I like it that way. If it was too big, with too many things to wipe and clean I'd probably resent it. (I'm weird like that.) But our little kitchen is fairly easy to clean up, and I like the way it feels when the sink is clear, the counters are wiped down with a lovely homemade citrus spray (or a natural commercial one is fine too), and the dishes are all sorted away in the dishwasher or are sitting out to dry au naturel. There's a sense of accomplishment about it all, and a light lingering scent of citrus which must do some weird aromatherapy thing to my brain and cause me to feel a goofy sense of joy. Hey, I'll take it!
So, we all know that there are cleaning chores we hate, maybe even love to hate! But do you have any chores that you enjoy?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Why do microfiber cloths work?

You know that I'm all about simple, laid back and natural cleaning, right? So, I'm a pretty big fan of microfiber cloths. But, I've sometimes wondered how it could be that a simple cloth and a few sprays of water could get a surface really clean.
Check out the wee post I wrote about the miracles that are microfiber cleaning cloths to learn more about these wonderful cleaning must-haves. Do YOU use microfiber cloths? Do you like a particular brand? Post it in the comments!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finding a bottle of vinegar spray

Well, hello! Yes, it's me again. And, it's time for this blog to be given some attention again, as I've neglected it for long enough.

And the weird thing is, do you know how I found my inspiration to start blogging again? That's right, in the bottle of Very Vinegar spray that I made and love. There I was, doing my regular clean-up with that homemade cleaner...when I realized: "Man, it's been a while since I blogged on Happy Slob." And therein lies the reason why I'm back. To provide some much needed inspiration and joy in the lives of all of us little housecleaners...because truth be told, there's not a whole lot of joy in scrubbing out a manky fridge or icky toilet. Not that I've ever found anyway.

Tip of the Day
Speaking of nasty toilet cleaning's one of my least favorite jobs, and for good reason. But, I've heard that using a can of cola, poured into the toilet bowl and allowed to sit for as long as you can stand (because looking into the toilet bowl and seeing cola-ish puddles is not a very happy occasion) and then give it a good scrub out with a toilet brush.

Have a cleaning question or idea to share? E-mail it to me at And visit for lots of oldies but goodies when it comes to keeping your homes tidy, not perfect.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Product of the Day: Oxo Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set

The Happy Slob's Cleaning Product of the Day: Oxo Good Grips Deep Cleaning Brush Set
  • Because sometimes you just need a good, grippy and scrubalicious scrub brush to get down into the dirty bits of floors, bathroom tiles, or other nasty areas of your home
  • I love Good Grips brand! The gripped handles make it easy to clean icky surfaces, and these brushes are deep-down dirt seeker outers.
I also happen to love that these are under $6 to purchase - so grab a set for yourself and a set for a friend, and go and conduct a cleaning burst or two!

Non Toxic Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

This formula was originally posted as a comment on a recent blog entry about which dishwasher detergent really works. It's such a great tip, that I had to share it with you all in a regular post! Thanks to theEcoEngineer for submitting. I can't wait to give this a go and report back to all you Happy Slobbos around the world. And if you have a dishwasher tip to share, send it in or simply post it as a comment. "I have a recipe for a non-toxic home-made dishwashing detergent. Mix equal parts of borax and baking soda and store in a tightly sealed container. Use 2 tablespoons per load. If you have hard water, double the amount of baking soda in your mixture. For either mixture,use vinegar in the rinse cycle. The last step is the most important, by far! Vinegar works like a rinsing and drying agent, and should be used with any dishwashing detergent. It also helps keep the filter and drain clear because of its slightly acidic pH. "

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Favorite Dishwasher Detergent: Finish versus Cascade

Hi all! I've been wanting to write this post for a while, because if you've read some of my precious posts, you know that I've been on a mission to find the best dishwasher detergent for some time. Actually, for years! I'd seen commercials on Finish dishwasher detergent, but I was pretty sure that with my (admittedly old) dishwasher and very hard water, that only the pricier Cascade detergent would do the trick. I stayed loyal to Cascade powder detergent for years. But guess what? My favorite dishwasher detergent is now Finish. Oooh...when it gets a bold font, you know I mean business, right? Why I love Finish Detergent 1. It's cheaper - here in Canada I can get a regular sized box of Finish detergent for $4.00 even. 2. It just works better. My glassware that looked etched (but wasn't truly etched) and foggy came out crystal clear. I don't need to pre-scrub the dishes as much as before, thereby making my life easier, which I truly appreciate. I had become pretty disillusioned, since Cascade seemed like the high end choice. But, no matter what I added along with the Cascade powder detergent (and yes I tried liquid/gel type detergents too...but always found that the powder worked better in my dishwasher) it just wasn't getting the dishes adequately clean. I'm so glad I tried Finish instead! If you haven't, I highly suggest that you do. (And no - I haven't received any free Finish detergent. This is all my honest experience and recommendation.) I still wish I could find a truly environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent that works as well as Finish detergent does. Does anyone know if such a thing exists? And what do YOU think - is Finish dishwasher detergent your favorite? Or do you still prefer Cascade dishwasher detergent? Please post a comment and let us know! What is YOUR favorite dishwasher detergent? And have you ever successfully experimented by making your own dishwasher detergent?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Cleaning Glasstop (Ceramic Stoves) & Make Your Own Shower Cleaner

I can't seem to keep my blogs straight! ;) Over on my Kitchen Crafts blog today I talk about two old newsletter reader hints that are fantastic. One is on how to easily make a homemade shower cleaner...the other is how to clean even burnt on messes from ceramic stovetops. I thought both were worthy of Happy Slob readers.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Vinegar to Remove Hard Water Stains - Dishwasher Tips

We have very hard water in these parts, which means that every time we use the dishwasher it seems to leave a filmy mess behind. This is particularly true when using the dishwasher to wash anything glass - drinking glasses, glass bowls, glass dinnerware, etc.

I have two tips to share with you on how to remove (or prevent) hard water build up from occuring on your dishes that are washed in the dishwasher:

  1. Add a generous glug of vinegar (plain old white distilled vinegar works just fine) to the dishwasher cycle once the water is beginning to fill in the appliance. I've found that doing this every time I run the dishwasher makes for a huge improvement in removing the hard water stains and build up.

  2. When you notice that certain dishes are getting very bad - almost etched looking, or entirely filmy in appearance - then it's time to (gasp!) get out your dishcloth and wash those dishes by hand. You'll only need to do this once in a while, but again - add a very generous amount of vinegar to the dishwashing water, along with a good squirt of liquid dish soap. The vinegar seems to nearly eat away at the worst of the hard water stains left behind. Let air dry, or dry with a clean lint free towel. (I love linen towels for drying dishes, or else flour sack towels which are nearly as good.)

If the dishes are in fact etched, there's nothing you can do to remove the etchings - since that's actually tiny little scratches imbedded in the glass. But, if you have hard water and find that getting your glasses sparkling clean is a real chore, then try the vinegar tricks listed above and I think you'll see a big difference.

Post a comment with YOUR fave vinegar cleaning tip, or any tips you just have a hankering to share with the rest of us Happy Slobs.

Monday, March 05, 2012

An Easy Way to Clean Eyeglasses

Okay, so how many of us wear glasses? Raise your hands up! (Raising my hand too...) Right, so I wear glasses and so I know the all too common problem of feeling like you're looking at the world through a very smudged pair of lenses. How do we all manage to get so much gunk smeared on our eyeglasses? That question remains an eternal mystery but I know one easy solution to get your classes beautifully clean again.

My favorite trick is to simply use a tiny drop of liquid dishwashing soap on the eyeglass lens, along with lots of cool water to make a soapy mixture. Use your clean fingers (that's what I always do!) or a clean, lint-free cloth to thoroughly wet and wipe down both of the lenses of your glasses. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and then dry with another clean lint-free cloth. Truly washing your glasses is much more effective than just trying to dry wipe them clean - which, if you're not careful, can actually scratch the glasses.

That's it! The view of your world should look sharper and cleaner. Guess what I'm off to do? You got it in one - clean my glasses!

Do you have a simple cleaning solution to share? Have you discovered a new way to clean something that needs cleaning everyday? Or do you need to tell us how YOU keep your glasses clean? Post a comment and we'll gladly read your words of wisdom.

Admittedly Gross...Removing Sweat Odors from Clothing

Okay, so maybe this isn't a delicate topic that we all yearn to discuss: how to remove sweaty odors from clothing. But, take it from me - someone who is trying with all earnestness to use natural deodorants. Sometimes those crystal deodorants and natural deodorants just don't do quite the trick that the chemical-laden antiperspirants do.

With what result?

Sigh...sweaty odors permeating my clothing!!! It's disgusting, and I can hardly believe I'm blogging openly about sweat smells in clothing. But, I digress. We all sweat, but most of don't like talking about. At least now I'm learning firsthand how to remove those stinky, sweaty smells from clothes.

Baking soda is a huge help once again. My, oh my...what would we DO without that big box of baking soda? This time it's a soak in the stuff that will help. Uhhh...your clothing that is, although soaking in baking soda couldn't possibly hurt the sweaty situation to begin with! Okay, back to business: Add at least a cup of plain baking soda to your usual wash load. If you have the ability to let it soak first that helps - the soaking seems to allow the baking soda to permeate the fabric and really dig out the stink. (Ha! That's a sentence I never thought I'd write.)

Otherwise, just do your regular laundry load with the regular amount of detergent - I choose liquid laundry detergents because I don't have to worry about white clumps and bumps of detergent ending up on my clothing - and then add at least a cup of baking soda. If you find that one cup didn't do quite the odor removing you'd hoped for, next time double up and try two cups of baking soda.

Let me know how it works, slobbo buddies! And hey...let's not be embarrassed about our au naturel sweating, shall we? Okay...we're still embarrassed. But there for a moment, we seemed all cool and oh so European.

Post a comment on all things perspiration related...go on, you know you want to.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Quick Vacuum Survey: Is Yours Bagless, Bagged, or a Dyson?

So, slobbos...what type of vacuum do you prefer?
I personally love bagless vacuum cleaners, and that's what I have. I love the ease of just emptying out the dust and dirt when I'm done, as opposed to struggling with bags.
What kind of vacuum do you have at home?
And if you're a cleaning pro, what kind of vacuum do you use at work?
Inquiring minds want to know!
Post a comment and let us know.

5 Ways to Use Lemon Essential Oil around your Home

Is there anything quite as fresh, crisp and delicious smelling as lemons? Pure lemon essential oil captures all of the great qualities of lemons, but in an easier to use and store format. Lemon oil costs as little as $5.00 and you need only a few drops for most purposes. Just make sure when you're buying it that it's essential oils you're purchasing, and not fragrance oils. Essential oils are pure, made from real lemons - but if you buy fragrance oils you really don't know exactly what you're getting.

Here are five of my favorite ways to use lemon essential oil around the home:

1. Make a simple lemon air freshener/deodorizer spray. All it takes is a bottle of lemon essential oil and some plain tap water, or to do the thing properly - use distilled water. Add ten drops of the pure lemon oil to a spray bottle that has a fine mist feature. Shake, shake, shake - shake, shake shake...shake that bottle! And there you have it - a lovely Lemony Home spray, quick as can be. You can add more or less of the lemon essential oil if you want it a milder or stonger scented spray.

2. Whip up a batch of Lemon Carpet Freshener. Again, the ingredients list is simple and sweet - just lemon oil and baking soda. Add between 15-20 drops of real lemon essential oil to about a cup of baking soda. Stir with a fork, working to loosen any clumps. Shake over carpets before vacuuming. Allowing the mixture to sit on the carpets awhile will allow it to really deodorize the'll smell fresh and wonderful by the time you're done.

3. Apparently, lemon essential oil can help to create cleaner dishes and glasses in your dishwasher. Add a drop or two right in the dishwasher before the wash cycle begins.

4. Use lemon oil as a natural disinfectant. Lemons are a strong natural disinfectant, and after washing your cutting boards as usual (with hot, soapy water) - add extra disinfectant power by dripping a few drops of lemon essential oil on the board and rubbing it in. You can also disinfect a dishcloth in a bowl of water mixed with a few drops of lemon oil in it - let it sit overnight.

5. Finally, try a few drops of lemon essential oil as a natural hand sanitizer. Keep a bottle of that in your purse or in your desk for a lovely, natural alternative to some of the harsh alcohol-laden sanitizers currently on the market.

What do YOU do with lemon essential oil? Have a tip to share that isn't on the blog? Please post it as a comment or email me:

But for now, here's to the (not so lowly) lemon!