simple non-toxic floor cleaner

Cleaning is not my favorite thing in the world. Really it’s something that I’ve fought for a long time. Stupid adult responsibility. While we’ve all got different standards of cleanliness, we all have to do it. I mean eventually you have to do laundry. Eventually you have to sweep. Eventually you have to clean dishes. I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve to making cleaning “fun”. I’m motivated by activities that involve multiples senses. I like to turn on an audiobook, light a good smelling candle, have a snack in a bowl that I can grab every time I complete something, or try to get my space as bright as possible. Doing at least one of those things helps motivate me to clean.

Recently though I’ve gotten more interested in cleaning techniques, products and tricks. Often I look up new ways to clean whatever it is, which makes the whole process more enjoyable. Mopping for example. I’ve always used some chemically floor cleaner. About 3 times a year, I dump some blue super chemically smelling stuff in a bucket and mop up the floor.

I decided to try something new with the whole floor cleaning business. I found a non-toxic formula that had great feedback online and gave it a go.

IMG_8888Mix one gallon of hot water with 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 Tbs baking soda and a few drops of your favorite dish soap.

It’s that simple. You can use it on your kitchen floor and it’s great for your wood floors. After a good sweep and dust mop, I was actually excited to clean. The moment I started mopping I could tell the difference. First off it smelled amazing and fresh. Secondly, it actually got marks off the floor much more easily than my chemically store bought stuff.

Here are some “after” photos…well more like “during” photos. I had recently finished mopping and while the floors are still shiny-wet in these photos, I’m amazed at how they’ve retained a nice reflection in them after drying.

IMG_8893

IMG_8896 IMG_8897But I don’t know why I felt it necessary to mop the floor this particular day. Especially since we’re in a muddy after-snow transition, and without any type of entryway for said muddy stuff the floors quickly got some nice spots on them. But hey you can’t stop living. IMG_8887Maybe I’ll tell you about my laundry tricks someday. It’s seriously a little wacky. I just like trying new things to keep it interesting, which makes my laundry methods a bit intense.

And here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure. Gideon, on nicely laundered bedding. IMG_8919

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Cleaning your oven…with magic! (AKA baking soda and dryer sheets)

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about cleaning anything. The exception being this Pinterest Fail. Really, I’m not that good at cleaning and I don’t keep things clean so why would you want to hear from me about it? Recently I’ve been trying to be more “responsible” and annoying stuff like that. It seems to me, taking care of our things (AKA cleaning them) is responsible because, A. they last longer, which prevents us from buying more crap, B. a clean home-environment is a healthier and more pleasant place to exist and C. you’re allowing your space to be welcoming and open to others. Not that you can’t have people over when your place is trashy, but really, who wants someone to come into their home and be distracted by nastiness? I’m not talking immaculate level cleaning here folks. I’m talking basic upkeep. I SUCK at it. So I have to talk myself into all these reasons why it’s good for me to put down Candy Crush and/or turn off my sewing machine to sweep, wash the comforter or clean the oven.

So in my quest to clean the oven, which I was dreading, I went to the store and was a little worried about the products I saw there. They were either too chemically, too expensive or too something. I don’t know what that last one is, but I like listing in thirds.

Google. ALWAYS the solution. I googled, “Easy and safe way to clean your oven”. And BAM! I stumbled upon two incredibly cheap ($3 for me) and sorta easy way to clean your oven. This may not be news to some of you cleaning veterans out there, but baking soda is your best friend. Since this discovery yesterday I have already used it to clean out my kitchen drains and treat a mosquito bite. Marissa, at FinelyGround.net, shows you how this miracle product can clean ovens no problem.

At first I thought to myself, there is no way that just baking soda and water will clean my oven. NO WAY. Well, it’s a freaking Christmas miracle, cause it totally works. Still takes some elbow grease, but that comes with the task. You basically spritz your oven with water, sprinkle baking soda and go to town with a hard bristle brush. Wipe clean, and keep hitting the worst areas until it meets your standards. I went out and bought a new box of baking soda and used almost the whole thing. I found that a baking soda paste worked really well. I used a pan scraper to easily scrape off the worst of it, after baking soda had sat on it for a while. (Some let baking soda sit overnight…I don’t have that type of patience).

My before pictures turned out blurry somehow, but I promise you there was some pretty nasty, pretty burnt-on grossness. It was hard to see through the window. Here is an after shot:

IMG_5300Now before you dive into oven cleaning, I found this other seriously amazing trick to cleaning your oven racks. Now you might be thinking, “Who cares about clean oven racks?”. Before I had a clean oven I can tell you that I sure didn’t. After you have a clean oven the dirty racks just make it look like you’ve never cleaned…which is discouraging…which for me is bad cleaning mojo. If I feel like all the work I did was for naught, I’ll just stop and not clean again until 2015. This method of cleaning felt like an experiment, making the whole process, well fun. Jill, over at OnegoodthingbyJilee.com, explains that there are anti-static agents in dryer sheets that weaken the bond between the food and the pan(s) while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food. So she filled her tub with hot water, some dish soap for good measure (1/4 cup), 6 dryer sheets (I did a few more), and let them soak for 18 hours. I only let mine soak for about 4 hours. Best would be overnight I assume.

034You can kinda see the baked on grossness here. My jaw dropped when I checked on these bad-boys a few hours later. I used a dryer sheet to scrub away at the gunk…it just floated off. So much to my surprise that I hollered, “Matt! Get in here and look at this!”.

Now, there were still parts that didn’t come off easily, but I can tell if I took my pan scraper to ’em they would come off no problem, or if I let it all soak longer. I stopped with about 75% gunk removed. Which pleased me and looks clean in my oven.

SO BOOYEAH! Look at me, being all adult and taking care of things. Got any tricks I should know about?

Purging and Purses

I FINALLY created a bag pattern that I can call my very own. Soon they’ll be available in my shop. I’ve got just a few things to change. I’m going to make the bag itself slightly deeper and possibly add a snap of some kind. I’ve been using this one to test it out and it gets a Homespun Haley stamp of approval!

IMG_3765 IMG_3769 IMG_3774I also deep cleaned my craft room this week. I had a whole dresser filled with old decor, frames, and old crafting items that I emptied. We’ve gone through every room in the house and have purged what we can. We’re having a yard sale on Saturday!

IMG_3764Any advice? This is the first yard sale that we’ve had…

Cast Iron Clean Up.

When I was a wee lass, my knowledge of all things domestic was at its lowest, (22 – when I got married). I got a cast iron grill pan and then practically threw it away out of disgust. I actually put it in the garage, which is death to most things. I had heard wonders about cooking with cast iron and was frustrated with the performance. I didn’t know any better.

I had no clue how to use it. So I had thrown some veggies on there and after it inevitably stuck all over and was annoying to clean (I know, shudder, I used a brillo pad on the poor thing), I doomed it to hell.

A few years, one move and some cast iron knowledge later, I dug it out of my garage. This is what I found.

It was covered in rust. Nast. I did some research and found a great, chemical free way to strip all the rust off the pan. This vinegar-method might also be good for those of you who have mistreated your pans and need to start fresh. OR, let’s say you find some cast iron at a thrift store or garage sale, but the pan seems suspect. By doing this, you can strip is down to bare. Good as new.

Now cast-iron is one of those things that people care for in their own special way. Some people have pans that have been passed down to them and they follow the exact method for care that their grandfather taught them. Everyone else’s way, is not necessarily wrong, but not as awesome as their own. So if you google “clean cast iron with vinegar”, you will get a different result every single time. Although this way worked for me, there a million different ways to clean/season your cast iron.

Firstly, grab some apple cider vinegar  Because of the plastic tub I had, I needed to 2 gallons. You need enough to submerge your pan (use a plastic container).

Let your pan soak. I left mine in for a total of 2 1/2 days. Once a day, I would pull it out, rinse it off and inspect it. If there was still rust, I’d pop it back in there. You’ll know the rust is coming off when you see it foaming at the surface.

Some pans, depending on the size and/or damage may need to soak longer. In the video tutorial I watched back when I did this last year, they soaked a cost iron dutch oven for over a week. Once you deem your pan rust-free, rinse it off.

It’s important to note, vinegar will not only strip the rust, it will strip everything. So you’ll need to season your pan as your last step. I am by no means an expert on this. I usually google something and go for it. I followed Paul Wheaton’s example. He makes a note that you don’t need to season your pan. Remember, he didn’t just strip his with vinegar. You’ll need to, but if you take care of it you might never need to again!

Here’s my pan right at the end of the seasoning process. It was hot, with grease all over, but it was easiest to see, NO MORE RUST!

Woo hoo! So go forth and cook with iron!