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?

Some Spring Cleaning.

Something about the sun slowly starting to make its way back in through the windows…areas of the house that have been pleasantly dark and unseen are now illuminated and…dusty as heck.

Our bookcase was in rough shape. Looking at it in the bright morning light, you could see about a 1/2 inch thick layer of dust on top. Ugh. We also packed away all our dvd’s. A. We don’t own a television, B. The disc drive on our laptop doesn’t work and C. We watch everything online. But you know, we love the movies so they’re packed away, having left a dusty void in their wake.

So I decided it was time to give our shelf the TLC is hasn’t ever seen…ever. So I took everything off and reorganized it. Check it out…

Can you see what I did differently? If your name is Tyler Hale you should be able to tell pretty quickly. Here’s a hint:

 Sigh. While its irritating looking at the dust and grime, having to deep clean all the nooks and crannies…it sure feels good to get it done and to enjoy it afterwards.

Next up…the pantry. Ugh.