Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Tips

Tips and tricks for a cleaner house and mind :: All Pretty Things
Today is not about jewelry, but about cleaning!

I've been reading a 'Real Simple' magazine, in the "reader's ideas" column where they were talking about 'tips for cleaning from your mom' and a few of them I have been using as well. Here is a mixture of tips (some from the magazine, some from my own mom, some my own discoveries), most of them using natural ingredients:

* Vacuum first, then dust - this is one is a counter-intuitive one (how many times we heard the opposite?!), but indeed a true one nonetheless. When we vacuum, the dust gets all stirred into the air, then it settles... on the freshly dusted furniture. Not fun :)

* If your tablecloth gets a fat stain (think the gravy for that Turkey on Thanksgiving day!) pour salt on it. Salt will absorb most of the fat from the stain - and washing it quickly will solve the rest.

* How about those pesky red-wine stains? Pour boiling water on the stain - it removes the colour immediately (no need for bleaching anymore)

* The famous 5-minute game: have the family together, put the timer on and clean as much as possible in just 5 minutes. It works :) Although I could never get everyone in my family to do this together, I play the game by myself a lot!

* To get rid of the smell - fill bowls with white vinegar and place them where the smell is more stubborn. When we cook one of the more traditional dishes (which involves saute onion - always smells bad while you cook, and the smell lingers) I go one step further: on the stove I put a pot with water, white vinegar and some natural spices (cloves, orange peel, cinnamon sticks), bring it to a boil then keep the mixture simmering. The steam does capture the bad smell (through the vinegar) and freshen the air at the same time (the spices). All natural and good on your lungs too.

* Did you burn your pot? Forget the scrubbing powders and all: make a paste out of baking soda and water (and a few drops of lemon juice) and let it sit on the spot. About an hour later you'll be able to scrub away the burnt off the pot.

* For carpet stains: spray a mixture of white vinegar and water, then layer on several paper towels, a plastic bag on top, and some heavy pile of books. Leave for a day (24 hours). It does work, we use the same system :)

* Another use for the white vinegar: for cleaning your windows. Forget about the Windex and all other chemical loaded stuff - make a mixture of white vinegar and water, fill a spray bottle with it and start cleaning. We used news-papers as a 'scrubbing pad', but I could hardly recommend that :) Maybe some used paper, the one that comes in your packages as filler (non-printed). Or the old paper towels work too. As do the actual cleaning cloths.

* Make your own air fresheners: fill a jar with slices of citrus fruits and pour boiling water on top. Vary the mixture by experimenting with various fresh herbs and spices (rosemary, thyme, mint - try everything).

And remember: when they'll grow up your kids will remember how full of love your home was, not how clean! So keep the house clean, but don't over-do-it - your time is precious and should be filled with precious moments :)

What tips can you share?!


  1. i always to the opposite with dusting too. my kids will ALWAYS remember the love...because a clean house is just not in their memory bank. i am an "oh deary me, company is coming-better clean!" type mom.

    1. LOL, Christine - mine too... when I do a cleaning my son will always ask "is there someone coming?!". Makes me laugh and cringe at the same time :)

  2. Hi Alicia,
    Thanks for the tips. I am going to try that vinegar to get rid of the smelly smells. My Mom love to cook fish and I really do not enjoy the smell.

    1. Oh, Therese, it really, really works, you have to try it! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I used to love Real Simple before I went on a magazine fast three years ago. Thanks for sharing these tips, Alicia! I giggled when you mentioned how "not popular" the 5 minute tidy is at your house. Luckily I married a man who has much higher cleanliness standards than I do; so guess what? He gets tired of the dirt and dust long before me... and cleans it himself LOL.

    For the day to day stuff, mild dish soap, vinegar and baking soda (and occasionally peroxide or a touch of bleach) are not only cheaper, but better for our collective health than many commercial cleaners. My best tip? Get rid of anything cluttering your environment (at home or work). The less junk you keep, the less junk you will have to clean. Clutter is much more demoralizing than a little dust, anyway!

    1. I get mine from the library - might not be the month in order, but it's still lots of fun. One of the best magazines out there.

      Yes, indeed - the natural items are so much better on your health. Using all the chemicals it's bad, and it's worst that it adds up, drop by drop...

      Thanks for stopping by, Monique!


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