Wednesday, December 04, 2013

5 Ways to Use Barkeepers Friend Cleaner

If you've been here before, you know that I'm a rather big fan of natural cleaning recipes. But, there are a few traditional cleaners that I also like to use around my home. At the very top of that list is Barkeepers Friend. If you live in the US, you've very likely not only heard of Barkeepers Friend, but have also used it often. In Canada it's not quite as well known - in fact, it can be tricky to find this powdered cleanser. I've heard that Home Hardware stocks it, or if you happen to live in Calgary - you can pick some up at the Compleat Cook in Willow Park Village.
Oh lookie what I found in my cupboard:
(click on the link if you'd like to purchase some Barkeepers Friend cleaner for yourself!)

Here's some of the best ways to use Barkeeper's Friend:

1. On Pots and Pans - especially useful for stainless steel pots and pans. Even high-end cookware companies like All-Clad recommend that you use it! It shines them up more beautifully than anything else I've ever tried. You needn't use it every single time you clean, but when you notice the cookware is looking a bit shabby.

2. On stainless steel sinks and appliances - Again, BF is a true BF for stainless! On appliances, always do a little test spot in an inconspicuous area to make sure it won't damage the finish. (Although I've never heard this to be a problem...)

3. On bathtubs, sinks and faucets in the bathroom - As amazingly as it cleans stainless, it also tackles porcelain! A little goes a long way - shake a little BF out, scrub, then rinse. Your sinks and tubs and showers and faucets will all sparkle.

4. On toilets! The 'porcelain throne' will never look better! Again, sprinkle on some Barkeepers Friend, give it a bit of a scrub and then flush away. OR...for more intense cleaning, shake the powder on, then scrub slightly and set your timer for 15-20 minutes. Then give it another good scrub and flush away. It'll look remarkably better.

5. Remove scratch marks from plates and dishes. Modern cutlery can leave greyish marks behind on dinnerware, and no matter how much you scrub away at them, they just won't budge! Try a sprinkle of Barkeepers Friend, and then use a moistened soft cloth to buff those marks right away! It's amazing!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New cleaning with hydrogen peroxide tips

Hydrogen peroxide is right up there with vinegar and baking soda as one of my favorite household cleaners.

Happy Slob reader Jo Ann B. submitted these awesome new (to me!) hydrogen peroxide cleaning tips that I knew you guys would love. If you have a fresh way to use peroxide, then please post a comment with your cleaning tip.

Here's Jo Ann:
"I too love hydrogen peroxide. I add 1 tablespoon to my dawn dish detergent. It is amazing. Dishes come out sparkling clean. And pots I use to fry, no oily residue. I put hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle and clean my glass tables, TV screens etc. I also add it to fantastic for other cleaning jobs. Can't live without it. "

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The BEST Homemade Dishwasher 'Booster' I've Ever Found

Okay, all you regular readers (lovingly known as Happy Slobs, or 'slobbos') know all about my ongoing trek to find the best way to get dishes truly, beautifully clean right out of the dishwasher.

I think many of us have a common complaint. Why even use a dishwasher, if you have to pre-scrub or scrub after the dishes come out! It's beyond frustrating.

So, I've been doing research, and experimenting with my old, beat-up dishwasher that we've had for many a year. And, I've finally found what really works.

Baking soda and/or kosher salt
One teeny drop of dish liquid
...added to your regular dishwasher detergent

That's it! I half-fill the cups with regular dishwasher detergent POWDER. That's an important point, because my dishes come out far cleaner using the powder than they ever do using liquid or even those little tabby do-dads. (Which yes, is the technical term, thank you very much indeed.)

Then, in the open cup (the cup that doesn't have a little lid to close), I add one minute drop of regular dishwashing liquid that you'd use to wash dishes in the sink. TEENY drop of that - use too much and you'll have a sudsy disaster spreading all over your kitchen floor, and I don't want that to happen to any of you.

Then, finally, pour a few tablespoons of either kosher salt, regular table salt, or baking soda over top the teeny drop of dishwashing soap. It seems to prevent the problem of over-sudsing.

Then, turn on your dishwasher and prepare to be amazed!! Please post your comments - I think you'll be thrilled with how even once-murky dishes (and glasses!) come out crystal clear. And, like mentioned previously, this is in my old, old, old dishwasher - so it should work a treat in any dishwasher at all.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Decluttering Mission of the Day: Clean Out One Drawer

Decluttering doesn't have to be an all-day fact, when it is, we usually give up hope halfway through and leave even worse piles and messes behind!

So, slobbos, today's manageable task should take you around 10 minutes or less to accomplish. Choose the worst drawer in the house and clear it out of all clutter. It might be a dresser drawer, a desk drawer in the office, or a junk drawer in the kitchen. You choose the drawer, then set the timer for 10 minutes (no need to do this if you have longer to spend. But if you're easily distracted - as I am! - then it's a great idea. It keeps you focused on one task, and on track.)

Set that timer...and...go! Have a pile of items to keep, a pile of items to get rid of, and a pile of items to give away or sell. (eBay anyone?) Post a comment if you successfully complete your mission.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5 Ways to Clean with Olive Oil

Delicious, rich and healthy olive oil. When you think of that gorgeous, green-tinted oil you likely think of whipping up some fresh vinaigrette - not cleaning with the stuff. But, olive oil is a useful cleaner for nearly every room in the house. Here are five of my favorite ways to use olive oil to clean your home:

  1. Remove fingerprints and smudges from stainless steel. Just a tiny amount of olive oil (any type - light, extra virgin, etc.) on a soft cloth will buff out any fingerprints, smudges or marks on stainless steel. Just literally a few drops will do the trick. Don't use too much oil or you'll be left with an oily residue.
  2. Polish wood. I like a combination of olive oil and a little squeeze of lemon to polish wooden furniture or surfaces - but even a wee bit of olive oil alone will give you a lovely, shiny clean wooden surface. Adding the lemon also  makes it smell wonderful.
  3. Polish leather furniture. Whether it's leather chairs at the dining room table, or leather sofas or couches, a tiny bit of olive oil on a soft cloth will buff that surface up beautifully.
  4. Add moisture to wooden utensils. Especially in dry climates, wooden utensils, spoons and wooden cutting boards need a little love and attention. Rub some olive oil into the wood and watch the wood soak it up like a thirsty little sponge!
  5. Remove glue and other sticky stuff. A bit of olive oil left to sit on sticky residue (such as leftover goo from a price tag or sticker) will make it easy to gently scrape it off.
Those are my favorite uses - now, do you have a secret way to clean with olive oil? Share it in a comment!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Give the Kitchen Cupboards a Scrub - Cleaning the Kitchen

Want an easy, quick and inexpensive way to freshen up your kitchen, pronto? Give your kitchen cupboards a scrub! For most finishes, the following will work just great:
 * Pour a splash of white vinegar into a bucket, along with a squirt or two of your absolute favorite dish soap. Fill up with warm water.
* Use a scrubby sponge, or other favorite scrubber to give the kitchen cabinets a good cleaning. The vinegar will help to naturally scrub through the accumulated grease and gunk.
* Wipe down with a moistened cloth and let dry naturally.

Seriously -- this little step will freshen up and clean up your whole kitchen. And hey, don't be shy -- get the whole family involved and your kitchen will thank you.

P.S. If you don't have the time - or frankly, the inclination - to do the entire regiment of cupboards in one go...just put on your faithful timer for the amount of time you can afford, and then just accomplish the bigger task in little chunks over a week or so.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Easy Decluttering: Just Count to 10 and You're Done!

Decluttering. Does that very word make you shudder? Let's all take a soothing, deep breath and then read Declutter by Counting to 10. Ten a day, and your piles and clutter will be dealt with in no time. Less stress, now that is more like it!

PS. Post a comment - what are YOU currently trying to declutter? For me, it's my basket of 'catch-all' mail, bills, flyers, and other assorted papers. Off I go to tackle just 10 for the day...

An easy, steamy way to clean the microwave

Microwaves are workhorses for many families - from popping corn, to heating up coffee, or leftovers - we all rely on our microwave ovens in our day-to-day life. So, it's no wonder they get pretty dirty and gunky after a while. Today, let's clean our microwaves!

  1. Let the steam do the work for you. In a large, microwave safe mug, throw in either a splash of white vinegar, or a couple of slices of fresh lemon. Fill the mug with water. Heat on high for 3-5 minutes - until good and steamy. Then, this is the trick: DON'T open the microwave door! Set your kitchen timer for at least 10 minutes (I usually leave it for 20 minutes).
  2. Scrub the gunk away. Using a scrubby sponge or a favorite scrubber, scrub the gunk away. Remove the revolving glass bottom and give it a good rinse off. If you need a little extra scrubbing power, just sprinkle on a little baking soda onto your cloth or scrubber.
  3. Dry the interior with a microfiber cloth, towel, or paper towel.
  4. The outside matters too. Using our favorite Very Vinegar Cleaner, spray down the outside of the microwave and give it a good wipe down, too.
And, voila! You have a gorgeous, gleaming, sparkling clean microwave. Your family just might not recognize it. ;)