Can I Clean My Computer Eco-Friendly?

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I clean so many things in an eco-friendly way. I use lemons for pretty much any surface. I can tell tales of how many things distilled white vinegar can clean. Though when it comes to my laptop computer, something I use everyday, I don’t clean it in a eco-friendly manor. Why?

I haven’t got a clue. I guess just because we are always told this is how to clean them, than that is the way to go. I mean I can’t imagine trying to clean my computer with a lemon, but I guarantee there is a solution out there. These are my thoughts as I researched this. I found some good ideas, some good products, and some good suggestions. Also, things I thought that were okay that simple were not.

Alcohol Swabs.

You know the kind the doctor wipes on your arm before giving you a needle? I’ve seen plenty of colleagues use them to clean their keyboards. I even seen some use them to clean their screens. I learned THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. Some sites swear by it, but after doing some digging. The alcohol can eventually break down the letters on your keyboard. They may fade or completely disappear. As far as the screen goes, the alcohol can break down the coating on the screen. Also, this means stay away from Windex like products, and nail polish remover. You get the idea.

Instead, I found some natural spray cleaners for screens. I’m not endorsing any of these products; I’m just going to talk about a couple of alternate options for eco-friendly cleaning.

 EcoMoist.

It’s a natural organic screen cleaner sold on Amazon. It comes with it’s own micro-fiber cloth. It’s runs just under ten dollars. I ordered it to give it a try. For being eco-friendly, I thought it did just as good of a job as any of the major products out there that don’t boast about being natural.

 TechTonic 2.

It is non toxic, alcohol, and ammonia free. You can pick this up at Staples. Complete with a antibacterial fiber cloth. It runs for just under fifteen dollars. I bought a bottle and tried it on my work computer. Once again, I can’t say it works any different than the major brands. It did exactly what it was suppose to do.

There are quite a few more eco-friendly screen sprays on the market, but at this point I already found what I was looking for. I had run my small experiment, and was happy with the results.

As far as a comparison between the two I tried. It’s kind of a wash. I liked them both for the same reasons. They both did their job, and were both eco-friendly. If I was forced to give an answer, I’d say EcoMoist, but that’s like comparing an apple to an apple.

 Keyboard.

I solved the screen problem, but the keyboard is just as important. Now, for those of you who have a touchscreen keyboard, then the above already solved that problem. I admit, it’s on purpose, I haven’t switched to touchscreen.just because I’m so used to using a keyboard. Though, this is coming from a person who has no problem using a touchscreen phone. Anyway, the keyboard can be wiped down with the screen cleaner, but in my opinion that’s like washing your hair with soap, when shampoo exists. The screen gets attention, why not it’s friend the keyboard?

My first thought was the duster. Obviously, the aerosol air duster we’ve used all these years to clear our keyboards of daily debris isn’t eco-friendly, just based on the aerosol alone. That’s not mentioning the countless other chemicals and gases in those products.

 O2 Hurricane Canless Air System.

This thing looks pretty cool, however, I can’t give a review from using this product. The Hurricane costs between eighty to one hundred and fifty dollars. Thus, I would have loved to buy it and try it out, but just price wise I couldn’t. Now, with that said, if I owned an office building and this thing did what it says it does, then I’d have one on every floor. The way is works is like a reverse vacuum. It doesn’t have to be used just on keyboards. You can blow the dust off things in your home, or even inflate balloons with it. No chemicals. It’s all just the natural air you breathe. It runs on electricity, but I couldn’t tell if you charge it, or have to use it while plugged in, and I couldn’t find that information on the site. Good news is, there is an eco-friendly keyboard duster out there.

 E-cloth.

A general purpose cloth. Also eco-friendly. The company makes many e-cloths for different cleaning needs. I found the electronics version of the product on Amazon. I was able to purchase it for around seven dollars. It claims it will clean the debris off your electronics and give it a shine. It did what it said. My keyboard did look better. Cool thing is is that to clean the cloth all you need to do is toss it in the washing machine. Nice thing is it cleans the dust off the screen as well. I still think the sprays worked better on screens, but you can be the judge.

There were a ton of products I came across as I researched. There really is a demand out there for eco-friendly products like these. These were just a few examples. Look around and see what is your best fit.

The best part about all of this, for me, is I see other people have an environmentally friendly conscience like myself, and are creating new and inventive ways to keep the world we live in as clean as possible with more and more harsh things coming onto the market everyday.

Take Care.

VODKA CLEANS? What? When Did This Happen?

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I graduated college 17 years ago. I packed my stuff and headed to the job I had received. And all those boxes will eventually end up in my basement following, marriage, kids, etc. Then comes the day where we discuss, over dinner, finishing the basement. Creating, what I hope would be a man cave, an oasis. Well, my wife had different ideas, but a brand new pool table, and a huge tv still made the cut! I can live with that.

SO, the next step. Time to go through all these boxes and get rid of (everything!, but that will never happen) anything that needs to go. Boxes of memories from all these years. Then, I ran across my college boxes. I haven’t opened these since I moved all those years ago. There was just nothing in them I guess I really needed all these years. And upon opening them I could see why. I won’t go into those details (you are welcome), but in one box I found something I had no idea was ever in there.

Vodka. A bottle of vodka. Even crazier, it was a bottle of vodka with a note attached from my roommate that said “enjoy your new success”. He must have slipped it in the box when I was moving. A little surprise when I got to my new place, but I never opened the box! If this was an episode of “Friends” we would be Chandler and Joey. We are still great friends to this day. He probably always wonders why did I never say “thanks for the vodka”. Or, he just forgot.

So, now I have this bottle of vodka. And I love the sentiment, but we weren’t exactly rich in those days. This isn’t the top-shelf fun stuff. This isn’t the mid grade stuff that sits at the home bar. This isn’t even the rail vodka you get with a mixed drink at the local bar. This stuff is… Well, I don’t have a clue what this stuff is. I don’t think it should have existed, and I absolutely do not trust the shelf life of whatever this beautiful gift is.

What do I do with it. Flush it and recycle the bottle? Create lighter fluid? Place it on the mantle as a reminder of where I came from? I’m kidding. I decided to see if there is anything I can do with old vodka, and surprisingly enough.

YOU CAN CLEAN WITH IT!

What? When did this happen? I suppose I only thought of vodka as a cleaning agent. Now, I live in an eco-friendly cleaned home. We use green products, and it turns out vodka is a natural cleaner. I mean it’s not distilled white vinegar, but it is a cleaning agent.

Wikipedia states “Traditionally, vodka is made by the distillation of cereal grains or potatoes that have been fermented, though some modern brands use other substances, such as fruits or sugar”.

Here is some cool stuff that I learned:

Your Basic Surfaces Cleaner

Mix In A Spray Bottle

Citrus Cleaner

  • Take orange peels  and let them sit in a sealed  jar of vodka for 4-5 weeks
  • Drain the liquid into a spray bottle and you have a powerful citrus scented cleaner

Bathroom

  • Spray vodka on soap scum. Let sit just a few minutes and wipe away.

Bed Dressings

15- 20 minutes before bedtime you can refresh your sheets and pillowcases with a spray.

Mix The Following In A Spray Bottle

Mirrors And Windows

  • Spray straight vodka onto windows, mirrors, and glass-topped furniture. Stay away from the wood finishes. Wipe off vodka with a microfiber cloth to remove streaks and smudges.

Toilet

  • Pour ½ cup vodka into your toilet once a month to keep toilet rings from forming.

It’s pretty easy. I mean I never had any intention to clean with vodka, but if you have an old bottle sitting around and you wonder what to do. There is the solution in an eco-friendly way.

Let’s Clean The Oven… Naturally!

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I use to just hit self clean, but my oven doesn’t like that function anymore. The oven still works fine, but it isn’t cleaning itself. I’ve become very eco-friendly over the years. I started mainly because of the price tag, but found my house is fresher using natural products.

My oven didn’t look that great in the interior. It was grimy, greasy, and some unknown burn stains were there. It’s not like people show off the inside of their oven to guests, so I guess we really don’t think too much about it. This is a “for me” job. I mean if I was at a restaurant and happen to see this is where they are preparing the food I ordered; I’d politely leave. So, since I am the one serving food out of this thing, I’d better live up to at least those standards, right?

Items You Need:

What To Do:

  1. Take out the oven racks. You want the oven to be empty.
  1. Prepare a baking soda mixture.

In a bowl:

  • Mix ½ cup of baking soda with enough water needed to make a paste.
  1. Spread the paste all over the interior surfaces of your oven EXCEPT THE HEATING ELEMENT. This is a pretty dirty job. Gloves might help. Using a soft sponge might help, but a cloth works fine. You will see the white paste becoming brown as you spread it on.
  1. Go to bed (kidding, stay up and watch Conan). This stuff has to sit there for at least 10-12 hours. Just make sure the entire interior is covered.
  1. Oven Rack Time.You can use a bathtub, a sink, or a garbage bag (double bag in my opinion) filled with water:
  • Cover the racks with hot water: Fill your bathtub, sink, or bag with very hot water until the oven racks are covered.
  • Take your dishwasher detergent: Measure out a ½ cup of dishwasher detergent.
  • Add the detergent to the water: Swish it around. Allow the racks to soak for 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Brush off any remaining gunk: After soaking, gunk and stains on the racks should be soft and easy to wipe off. Use a non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge.

Back To The Oven:

  1. 10-12 hours have gone by. Take a damp cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can.
  1. Pour distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray everywhere you still see baking soda residue in the oven. If it foams, it’s working.
  1. Use a clean wet cloth and wipe out the remains. Then place the oven racks back into place and the job is done.

Total cost should be less than 15 dollars, but chances are you already had most of the stuff needed for the job. Hope this helps anyone in the situation I was in. Take Care.

Vinegar Is Versatile

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Who knew? Vinegar was suggested by a friend for cleaning in eco-friendly ways. Turns out this stuff is amazing. It really can do a lot more than I could think of. I researched things beyond what my friend had advised. I listed my top ten below of what my discoveries were.

White vinegar. Safe, readily available and really cheap, there are perhaps hundreds of uses for vinegar, an acidic liquid originally created from wine gone bad.

For some vinegar uses listed below, you’ll need to decide how much you want to dilute white vinegar. On wood floors, for example, cleaning with vinegar requires one cup diluted with about one gallon of warm water. But for cleaning mildewed tile and grout, use full-strength vinegar.

#1 Vinegar as a Natural Weed Killer

Vinegar is strong enough to kill weeds…. And it will kill the ones you love! So be careful when spraying it around your garden and yard! Make sure to spray directly on the leaves of the weed itself or whatever plant you are trying to get rid of. For best results, use white vinegar on a day of dry, sunny weather …it  needs some time in the sun to work its deadly magic on those nasty weeds!

#2 Vinegar and Pet Care    

Dogs and cats can often be bothered by itchy, scaly ears! Especially dogs with floppy ears like a retriever. Dilute white vinegar in a 1:4 ratio (1 tablespoon vinegar to 4 tablespoons water) and let it soak into a clean rag. Then use the rag to wipe out the inside of your pet’s ears. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to have your pet get sprayed by a skunk, vinegar is an easier acid to use than ketchup for getting rid of the smell! Finally, if unwanted cats are creeping around your yard, spray or pour vinegar onto their favorite litter box — they hate that stuff!

#3 Vinegar in the Dishwasher        

There are at least two great uses for vinegar in your automatic dishwasher. First, it can be used as a cheap, effective rinsing agent to make your glasses, plates and other dishes sparkle! Second, it can help to clean the dishwasher itself: Once a year (more if you have hard water), pour a cup of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher, then run it for a short cycle to get rid of the lime and soap buildup that can prevent your dishwasher from working at its best ability!

#4 Vinegar and Car Care        

Remove bumper stickers with a few squirts of undiluted white vinegar. (You may need to reapply the vinegar multiple times to get loosen the sticker,especially if it’s been there for awhile). It can also be used as a glass cleaner and deodorizer in your car. You can also wipe down your windows with diluted vinegar in winter to keep them frost-free!

#5 Vinegar and Cut Flowers        

There’s all kinds of superstitions about ways to extend the life of cut flowers. Some folks swear by a copper penny, others add Sprite or Seven-Up, and some drop in an aspirin. Many still sick to just adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water, plus a dash of sugar. (Which has always worked just fine for me).

#6 Vinegar and Cleaning Tiles    

Many reach for the bleach when confronted with grungy, discolored tile and grout. But white vinegar is not only effective at cleaning and whitening, it’s also safer than chlorine bleach (especially for households on a septic tank, where bleach should never enter).

  1. Just spray full-strength vinegar on grout and caulk in the shower or kitchen
  2. Let it soak in for at least an hour
  3. Then scrub it off with a brush.
  4. Viola! You’re finished!

#7 Vinegar and the Laundry

Vinegar has many laundry uses! I keep mine stored right next to the detergent. It works wonders removing stains like mustard, ketchup, tomato sauce, and grass. Just spray a little white vinegar onto the stain before washing, or soaking whites in vinegar will help bring back their whiteness. And just like in your dishwasher, vinegar helps to break down detergent when added to the rinse cycle, making clothes fresher, more colorful — and it gets rid of funky towel mildew. One cup should be plenty — add less when using a front-loading washing machine.

Warning: NEVER add vinegar to chlorine bleach — it will create noxious chlorine gas, a potentially deadly compound.

#8 Kitchen Cleaning with Vinegar        

Clean your coffee maker out with diluted vinegar every month, but remember to run fresh water through it before making coffee again (or you will have a not so good surprise)! Use white vinegar and salt can clean stainless-steel cookware and sterling silver, and undiluted vinegar disinfects cutting boards. You can even use it on your wood boards! When cleaning your microwave, just pour a little vinegar into a bowl of water and microwave it for a few minutes. You can then easily wipe out your microwave. Finally, if your sink is clogged or smelly, try pouring 1/4 cup of baking soda down the sink, then add 1 cup of vinegar and cover the drain tightly — the reaction between these two compounds can power out clogs (you may need 2 or more applications for tough clogs).

#9 Hard-Water Stains and Vinegar        

If your toilet bowl, bathtub or sink has lime deposits from hard water, soak or spray vinegar onto the grit. It should loosen the deposits enough to remove them easily. You can also clean any appliance or fixture that’s not working right because of hard water — especially irons, showerheads and faucets — soak or spray white vinegar and let the deposits crumble away.

#10 House Cleaning with Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the world’s best all-purpose green cleaners with dozens of cleaning uses. Diluted white vinegar is excellent for cleaning windows, hardwood floors, carpet stains, fireplace bricks, irons, shower curtains, upholstery, mattresses, and glassware.

Warning: The one exception is marble and other stone surfaces. The acid in vinegar (and lemon, and wine) can permanently damage these surfaces, so keep vinegar away from these stones.

   

I hope these natural tips are as useful to you as they have been for me! House cleaning sometimes ends up on the backburner in our busy and overscheduled lives. Why not leave it to professionals? Then you are able to sit back and relax, and leave the dirt and grime to them!

Cleaning Your Bed Mattress Naturally

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I thought maybe it’s a good time to get a new bed, but my bed is quite comfortable, and I only see the stains on the mattress when I clean the bedding. I thought maybe I could get another year or two out of it, but I have no idea how to clean a bed. So, I looked up a few things and what I found out was pretty cool. I had nothing to lose, so I tried the following. Now, I didn’t have all the stains that my research came across, but I’m passing those on anyway.

Before you start cleaning your mattress, strip the bed and launder your linens. Wash and dry your mattress pad first, then the sheets, and finally your bedspread/comforter/duvet. Check the manufacturer’s labels first and use the hottest water and dryer heat setting allowed since heat will kill dust mites in your bedding. While the washer and dryer are doing their thing, turn your attention to the mattress.

Step 1. Vacuum It.

Your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment is your Number One ally in mattress cleaning. Start at the top of the mattress and work your way down in overlapping, narrow paths and then vacuum the sides of your mattress the same way.

Step 2. Deodorize It

Although we don’t usually notice our own bodily smells, over time sweat can build up and lead to an unmistakable funky aroma. To rid your mattress of rankness, sprinkle it well with baking soda and gently rub it in with a scrub brush, so it gets into the mattress fabric where the stink lives. Let the baking soda sit for 10 minutes.

Step 3. Vacuum Again

By scrubbing the baking soda into your mattress you’ve helped it bond with moisture and body oils in the top layers of material. Vacuuming it a second time pulls that moisture out, along with the cause of the odors.

Step 4. Get The Stains Out

Mattresses typically acquire three types of stains: blood, urine, and what we’ll just call “other bodily fluids.” While it’s best to treat stains immediately, let’s face it, sometimes sleep is more important. Here’s how to clean stains on your mattress after they’ve set in:

Dried blood stains can be treated by making a paste of ¼  cup hydrogen peroxide (3%) mixed with 1 tbsp of each liquid dish soap and table salt. Lightly spread this onto the stain and allow it to sit until dry before scraping the residue off. Dab at any remaining stain with a white rag dipped into hydrogen peroxide, rotating the cloth as the stain lifts off. (Using a white rag prevents dye transfer from the cloth to the mattress.)

Urine stains are tough but not impossible to get out once they’re dry, but this two-step method helped dramatically when my kids were little.

  1. Dissolve 3 tbsp. baking soda in 8 oz. of hydrogen peroxide then add a drop or two of liquid dish soap. Dab this solution onto the spot. (Do NOT drench your mattress!)
  2. If the stain persists, wait until the area is dry then whisk together 3 tablespoons dry laundry detergent powder (NOT Oxiclean or anything containing oxygenated bleach) and 1 tablespoon water to make a dry foam. Lightly spread this on the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Scrape the dried paste away with a spoon. Use a white cloth dipped into hydrogen peroxide to remove any stubborn bits of paste.
  4. Vacuum the area.

Other bodily fluids (vomit, etc.): Open the windows then, using a white rag, blot the stain with undiluted, unscented household ammonia. Do NOT drench your mattress! Wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth and sprinkle the spot with baking soda to neutralize the ammonia odor and pull out any lingering moisture. Let this dry then vacuum the area thoroughly.

Step 5. Flip it and repeat steps 1-4

Innerspring or coil mattresses should be flipped side-to-side and top-to-bottom weekly for the first three months of ownership, then quarterly after that. If yours is a pillow-top mattress you can’t flip it over but should still rotate it top to bottom seasonally.

While you’ve got the materials handy, repeat the cleaning process above after flipping your mattress.

Preventing Mattress Stains

Since cleaning a mattress is such a daunting task, I wholeheartedly recommend using a washable mattress cover. I’m not talking about the crinkly, plastic kind you might remember from childhood. These days, mattress covers are made from fabric bonded to a waterproof layer that prevents liquids and dead skin from touching your mattress. Pop the mattress cover into the wash if you have a spill, and make laundering it part of your routine, so you’ll never have to know how to clean a mattress again.

Hope this helps anyone out.

Febreze Fanatic!

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“Febreze Fanatic”! That’s how I would describe my wife. When they put Febreze on the market, it was like the sea parted. Her prayers had been answered. Now, my wife isn’t crazy (well, okay, debateable), she and I have 3 sons. That’s 4 guys under one roof, a dog, and her. And, I will admit us boys aren’t exactly odor free.

Forget it, WE STINK! Between all them playing sports and all their equipment and my bad cooking, us never hanging up the towels, cleaning up after ourselves…The list goes on. She had the bright idea of putting Febreze in every room. And she hides them. She’ll just walk in a room, pull out a bottle and SPRAY SPRAY SPRAY, then leave the room.

I hadn’t given this much thought at the time, but then I started finding these bottles everywhere. It was like finding all of Grandpa’s hidden gin bottles after he passed. So, now I’m wondering how much money do we spend on Febreze?

Target has it at 4.99 a bottle.

And I will absolutely state that I’m not putting down the product. It might be saving my marriage (kidding). I’m just stating that I did the math. There are a lot of rooms; the kids smell; how much are we spending on this every year?

ALOT!

Well, enough that I wanted a different solution, but I’d have to convince my wife because she will rebuttal. And I know where she will begin: How much do I spend on my digital cable football package on a flat screen that is unnecessarily too big for the family room? And then she will win.

So, I came up with a solution. I WILL FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT MYSELF! And it will be inexpensive and she will love it. And I know she can’t win then because I might be able to make homemade Febreze, but she can’t create The Packers play The Patriots on my tv. I win.

If it works. So, I did the research and there is a recipe that I experimented with and…

IT WORKS!

Here is the solution to making homemade Febreze. I call it “FANATIC”. It’s environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and fun to make.

INGREDIENTS

#1  Empty Spray Bottle. I got it Walmart for 99¢.

#2  Three Tablespoons Of Fabric Softener. My house uses Downey, so I already had it.

#3 Three Cups Of Warm Water. Yes! Got that too.

#4 One Tablespoon Of Baking Soda. Had it in the fridge.

  • First, add 3 Tablespoons of Fabric Softener (favorite scent of Downy or other) to an empty spray bottle.
  • Then fill the spray bottle with 3 cups hot water.
  • Now add 1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda.
  • Finally shake the bottle vigorously and spray on a test area to make sure it will not stain a particular area.

Febreze is still a great product. I just try to find ways to lower the cost of things. My football package doesn’t pay for itself. There it is. Hope this helps out if you in the same dilemma I was. Have fun!

The Best Anniversary Gift

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My husband is just one of those normal guys. That sounds harsh. Let me restart. My husband, who I love and adore, is a normal guy when it comes to remembering birthdays and anniversaries, etc. He works hard and provides exactly the way you would want. We have 3 kids and he is there for every school event, sporting event, etc. He has to travel a lot for business, but I really can’t complain about the amount of things this man really accomplishes when it comes to our family.

So, our 15 year anniversary was coming up. I truthfully didn’t know what to get him. I thought maybe some football tickets for him and his best friend would be a great option. Which I did get, by the way.

It’s what he did that made me write about it.

Now, at the time before all this, I had no idea what was going on, but I now know his side of the story. He paid attention to me. He paid attention to what I complain about.

Now, I’ll paint the picture. I work too, part time thus having to get the kids to all their activities and homework and such. I don’t always have time to clean. I mean it’s not a pigsty, but there is room for improvement.

I come home from work on a day he’s suppose to get the kids, but the kids aren’t there (he had his sister and brother-in-law watch them that night). I walk into our house and it’s…

AMAZING!

I mean the house is clean. It’s our 15 year anniversary and I expected a card, maybe flowers, hopefully diamonds, but this blew my mind. Our house is ridiculous clean. It smells so good. What did he do?

Okay, at first he did have that “yeah I’m the man” look on his face like he just scored the winning touchdown, but I was in such awe I didn’t care.

He knows I am a eco-crazy person. I want to clean very green friendly just because that’s how I grew up. For this matter (and I’m sure he doesn’t want to clean) I am in charge of the cleaning.

But he paid attention. His gift to me was a natural cleaned home. While I was at work he had a list that he compiled and used to eco-friendly clean our home.

What did he clean? I’m amazed. And more amazed at how he researched this enough to actually do it right.

THE BATHROOM

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. This combination cleans and deodorizes.
  • Find out more about the household uses of baking soda and the uses of vinegar.

Cleaning Bathroom Tile and Tubs

  • Sprinkle baking soda in place of scouring powder in your tub or on the tiles. Rub with a damp sponge. Rinse Thoroughly.
  • To remove film buildup on bathtubs, apply full-strength vinegar to a sponge and wipe the area. Next, use baking soda as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly.
  • Vinegar removes most dirt without scrubbing and doesn’t leave a film. Use ¼ cup (or more) vinegar to 1 gallon water.
  • To clean grout, put 3 cups baking soda into a medium-size bowl and add 1 cup warm water. Mix into a smooth paste and scrub into grout with a sponge or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and dispose of leftover paste when finished.

THE WASHING MACHINE

You know that grungy odor it makes and that makes no sense, well he fixed that.

  • Fill up the washing machine to it’s fullest capacity. I was recommended towels. They fill up a lot of space and scrub the washer while spinning. Kill two birds with one stone.
  • Set the washer to the hottest setting available.
  • Using a measuring cup, measure a full cup of white vinegar. (8 oz.)
  • Turn on the washer with the lid open so you can watch the water rise.
  • When the washer is about a ¼ of the way full of water, pour the white vinegar in, followed by 3 more cups as the water rises. Total: 4 cups of white vinegar.
  • Allow the washer to fill up the rest of the way. Close the lid and let the cycle begin.
  • After about 10minutes, open the lid,stopping the cycle, and, use the measuring cup to measure 1 cup (8 oz.) of the baking soda and add to the machine. Close the lid continuing its cycle. Total: 1 cup of baking soda.
  • Let it run it for about 10 more minutes. Then open the lid, stopping the cycle. Allow the water to sit there and soak for 25-35 minutes.
  • Shut the lid, restarting the cycle, and allow it to cycle all the way through until it is completely done washing.

THE KITCHEN

My goodness, I married the right guy. Sorry to the other guy that won’t do this.

DISHWASHER

  • Remove a heavy film build-up caused by hard-water minerals by adding vinegar to the empty dishwasher after it fills with water at the start of its first cycle. Do this only if the appliance manual suggests it is okay.

FREEZER

  • Turn off and unplug the freezer.

Remove food and let the freezer defrost.

Wash the inside with a warm-water solution of mild detergent or baking soda (2 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with 1 quart of warm water.) Rinse and wipe it as dr as possibly. Vacuum the dust off the condenser coils.

GARBAGE DISPOSAL

  • Before leaving your home for several days, check to be sure all wastes have been flushed out of the disposal to avoid creating odors. If odors occur, remove them by running orange or lemon peels or ice cubes through the disposal.

OVEN AND STOVE

  • To prevent messy oven cleanups, put a sheet of aluminum foil on the floor of the oven, but do not allow the foil to touch the heating element. Although this may slightly affect the browning of food, the foil can be easily disposed of when soiled.
  • For a spill in the oven, sprinkle salt on the spill while the oven is still warm. If the spill is completely dry, wet it lightly before sprinkling the salt. When the oven cools down, scrape away the spill and wash the area with a combination of baking soda and vinegar.
  • Slow grease buildup in your oven by dampening your cleaning rag with vinegar and water before wiping out your oven.

FRIDGE

  • Turn off and unplug refrigerator.
  • Remove all food and removable interior parts.
  • To clean exterior and interior walls, dissolve 2 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water and wipe all surfaces.
  • For stubborn spots, rub with a baking soda paste.
  • Be sure to rinse with a clean, wet cloth.
  • To clean interior fixtures, such as vegetable bins and shelves, wash in hot, soapy water, rinse well and dry.
  • Fresh lemon juice in the rinse water removes soap film.

Okay this was the whole shabang! And yes he vacuumed. Well, as good as I could expect. He did use baking soda on the floor to refresh it so I’ll take it.

So, you want to impress your significant other for a big surprise. Do the above. Have fun!

Who Knew You Should Clean A Washing Machine!

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Most people would rather buy the new model than go through the process of taking a washing machine apart, cleaning it, and crossing their fingers they put it back together the right way. The great news is THERE IS A SOLUTION! And the solution isn’t expensive or time consuming, said our friends at Houston Texas Painters, and can save money in the long run. This is what the pros do, so I was all ears.

White Vinegar is the first thing you will need. It’s available at grocery stores everywhere. It’s right on the aisle vinegar is found in, next to all the other vinegars one would use to cook with. You will need 8 cups of this, which is 64 fluid ounces (FL. OZ.). I was able to get a gallon of the distilled (I was recommended distilled) white vinegar for under 3 dollars at my local Walmart.

A gallon is 128 FL. OZ., so you will have plenty leftover (which is great because you can use white vinegar to clean all kinds of stuff like your coffee maker just by running a full pot of white vinegar through once, and then running two pots of water through twice after). Now that you have the first ingredient to the solution, here is the next:

Baking Soda. This found (most likely) on the same aisle you would find the white vinegar. You will need 2 cups (16 OZ.) of this. I use “Arm and Hammer”. You can buy a pound (LB.) of this stuff for less than 1 dollar. A pound of baking soda is 3 ½ cups, so you will have some leftover (toss the leftovers in the box, with the top open, in your refrigerator to freshen it up).

 

                           

 

Baking Soda Cleaning Tips

 

Step #1 Fill up the washing machine to it’s fullest capacity. I was recommended towels. They fill up a lot of space and scrub the washer while spinning. Kill two birds with one stone.

Step #2 Set the washer to the hottest setting available.

Step #3 Using a measuring cup, measure a full cup of white vinegar. (8 oz.)

Step #4 Turn on the washer with the lid open so you can watch the water rise.

Step #5 When the washer is about a ¼ of the way full of water, pour the white vinegar in, followed by 3 more cups as the water rises. Total: 4 cups of white vinegar.

Step #6 Allow the washer to fill up the rest of the way. Close the lid and let the cycle begin.

Step #7 After about 10minutes, open the lid,stopping the cycle, and, use the measuring cup to measure 1 cup (8 oz.) of the baking soda and add to the machine. Close the lid continuing its cycle. Total: 1 cup of baking soda.

Step #8 Let it run it for about 10 more minutes. Then open the lid, stopping the cycle. Allow the water to sit there and soak for 25-35 minutes.

Step # 9 Shut the lid, restarting the cycle, and allow it to cycle all the way through until it is completely done washing.

Step #10 Once done: REPEAT ALL THE ABOVE STEPS.

After the 2nd time, remove the wet towels and place them aside. Pour some of the white vinegar onto the cloth and wipe the inside of the machine with it. There will be places some of the residue wasn’t reached like under the top rim of the washer, around the rim of the gaskets, (rubber looking things) and the inside top of the agitator (the thing in the middle that spins, if there is one). Run the washer on the hottest setting by itself one time to clean up any of the leftover white vinegar and baking soda. Then your machine is clean! You can now place the towels back in the washer using detergent and softener like normal.

I found this works really well. It made my laundry even seem cleaner than normal after trying this. I pick a weekend before two holidays, so I can recall when it’s due. Weekends before Thanksgiving and Memorial Day are mine, but however you remember it’s up to you.

Hope this helps. It’s basically less than 4 dollars a year. It can stretch the life of your washing machine. And the best news is both white vinegar and baking soda have little to no negative impact concerning the environment.

ASHES Make Things Clean??? UM WHAT?!

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This one really blows my mind. My best friend’s wife works for a cleaning service that is “green”. They only use environmentally-friendly cleaning products just like Maid in Hoboken.

Our family had dinner with their family. Our kids all go to school together, which is great! We were talking about camping next summer, and somehow the conversation turned to “wood ashes”. This is where she informed us that these ashes actually clean.

I’m a skeptic. This is just how I am. Um, so dirt cleans? Yeah, whatever, who cares, move on…

But her point wasn’t a joke. It’s true! I researched this. ASHES Make Things Clean!

Not only that. This is the cheapest thing. And it’s eco-friendly. This is like walking into a casino and knowing what machine to drop that quarter in.

Yes, I gamble, but there is no need to here. Just try what I am saying once. Just try it. You will completely understand my point. Listed below are the easiest things. Just try one, and you will see.

WHAT HARDWOOD ASHES CAN DO:

Our ancestors learned to make lye, a caustic cleaning agent, at least 5,000 years ago by running water through wood ashes, eventually learning to combine it with animal fats and water to make soap.  Believe it, or not. They turned ashes into soap. Our number one cleaning agent!

Make Soap

The first soaps were made by the ancient Babylonians around 2800 B.C. and utilized a mixture of animal fats and wood ash. When ashes from hardwoods are boiled in soft water, it creates lye. When lye (potassium hydroxide) is mixed with animal fats or vegetable oils, it renders a soft soap. Add a little salt to the mix when pouring the molds to make firmer bars of soap. To learn more about this process, see this wood ash soap making guide.

Recommended Reading: 10 Amazing Homemade Soap Recipes

Melt Ice & Snow

The widespread use of rock salt (sodium chloride) to melt ice and snow during winter squalls has resulted in some serious pollution: each year, it is estimated that more than 22 million tons of rock salt are dumped on U.S. roads, eventually travelling to surface and subterranean waterways. While rock salt is somewhat effective in reducing vehicle accidents, it also increases the salinity of fresh bodies of water and is extremely toxic to plants and animals.

One safe and natural alternative to create traction, de-ice, and melt snow is wood ashes. Because wood ash contains potash – or potassium carbonate – a type of salt that is much more eco-friendly than chloride-based salts, it can help break up ice and melt snow when scattered on driveways and walkways.  Unlike rock salt, it won’t corrode surfaces like concrete and metal, harm the paws of your four-legged friends, or damage your plants come spring.

Polish Silver, Metal, and Glass

Wood ash is mildly abrasive and can be used to polish tarnished silverware, dull metals, and cloudy glass. Take one cup of ashes and add a titch of water to make a thick paste. Don some rubber gloves and spread this paste all over your lusterless items. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before wiping with a clean cloth. Use a little elbow grease to buff and shine.

Absorb Odors

Like baking soda, wood ash is alkaline and can absorb and neutralize bad smells. Try placing some wood ash in a small bowl and leaving it in the fridge or a stinky room, but be sure to replace it with new ashes after a few days.

Remove Oil Stains in the Garage and Driveway

Since wood ash is a desiccant, it can be used to clean up grease spills and remove stains from porous surfaces like stone, cement, and asphalt. Sprinkle some ashes on the stain and allow it to settle for a few minutes. Then, sweep it all up with a broom.

That’s just the beginning. And the best part is you don’t have to buy it. You can make it yourself in your fireplace, if it’s wood burning. You just need to stay away from anything that is chemically treated. This has to be from wood. The wood that grows on trees.

If you can’t make your own it is available from links above.

I do some of my own cleaning, and I use a service as well due to my busy job schedule. In between, this is a great way to go.

Date Night

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I never cleaned a baseboard in my life. Truth is, I am not much a more than average cleaner. This is the bachelorette life I lived. Work and wine. Or, a lot of work and wine on the weekends (haha). This was my lifestyle.

Well, until I met someone. He’s cool. He’s fantastic. We work in the same field, which is rare, but fun. We have so much in common. He came up with this great “date night” idea. Let’s make a cool dinner together and rent a cool movie. Sounds fun! Well, at his place it will be. His place is clean and nice. Um, because he’s always at work! But, this date night will be taking place at mine.

My place isn’t bad, it’s just, well a place I’ve been at, that many others before me have lived as well. It looks okay, but is it that romantic hot spot you want to have a date at?

NO!

He’s environmentally conscious, but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. I thought, hey, why not hire a service to clean my place. This could be a little romantic getaway for us. I researched and I actually found AN ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING SERVICE called Maids in a Minute.

Okay, so now they show up and wow! Sink, countertops, stove, bathroom, shower, toilet, baseboards, and that list keeps going. My place is so nice and clean it’s amazing! And it smells incredible. I’m almost afraid to start cooking in here based on how good it smells already.

Great money spent, and it wasn’t too tough on my purse. My biggest worry now is what movie to rent. Figure if I find something with “The Rock”in it, then  it’s win, win!

I highly recommend this service. Date night went… just like one should. I hope this helps anyone in my dilemma. Not a bad dilemma to be in, in the end.

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