Fall is finally here! And it certainly feels like it out there today. Now that we’re more settled and have started to establish a more solid routine I was able to start mapping out my cleaning schedule, and how convenient that this marks the beginning of a new school year, so hopefully I can provide some tips that will help my busy mom’s out there!
Cleaning schedules; not that everyone needs one, but it certainly helps me. You’d be surprised how soon you need to clean something again or how long ago it’s been since you cleaned something. Plus, a schedule to me seems to minimize cleaning. I warn you, mine looks very basic but it’s because I know what’s all involved in the cleaning without having to write it down.
This past weekend I did a thorough fall clean of the house so I snapped a few pictures to take you along for the ride. I intended on doing more before and afters but then things got dirty and messy and….NO it just wasn’t going to work lol.
So let me start by sharing what my cleaning agents are and then how I use them below; vinegar, BLUE dawn soap, lime/lemon, alcohol, water, spray bottles (sometimes baking soda, not shown). I’ve started to become more environmentally friendly in the last couple of years, it just sort of started to make sense really. I didn’t want to expose my child/family and myself to so many unknown chemicals, very strong chemicals actually. I mean if you think about it, we’re in contact with the things we are cleaning daily right? So how clean are we keeping it and how dangerous is it also to us? In a nutshell, after much researching and youtubing, these were the ingredients I put together and have used for a couple of years now, and it works most importantly. In the right blue spray bottle is a concoction of 1 part hot vinegar to 1 part dawn soap and in the left bottle is 1 part alcohol to 1 part water. And here is the 1st helpful tip for my working mama’s. Have you ever had too many limes? or overdue limes? Don’t through them away, they’re super great for cleaning faucets and sinks!
Before: horrible water marks
After: bright and shiny, no more water marks
The next time you can’t take stubborn watermarks off of your faucet/sink, try using lemon/lime. I take a piece/half of lemon and actually scrub the sink, leave it on for 5-10 minutes, wash it off and dry with wash cloth and PERFECTION. Works every time and usually lasts for at least 1-2 weeks.
I love a clean and uncluttered sink area; told the boys I wasn’t cooking or doing dishes for the next 2 days 🙂
For my counter tops, windows, desks, doors, knobs etc, I use the alcohol and water concoction. Works like a charm and it gives me piece of mind knowing that most of the dirt and yuckiness is getting cleaned with the alcohol.
Now on to everyone’s favorite area of the house to clean –> the BATHROOM. I know, I know, I used to hate cleaning it very much too, I still do to an extent, but I have a child now. And my very precious bundle of joy is naughty and curious just like any kid, they touch everything so keep that in mind the next time you’re cleaning or don’t want to clean…and then they also eat, how well do you think they wash their hands?? LOL. For this area of the home I use the vinegar and dawn solution. Don’t get me wrong, you’re going to have to get used to the very strong vinegar smell but that’s okay because it goes away once you wipe things down…and that’s also why I light candles on cleaning days 🙂 . I spray down the toilet and drench the entire tub with the solution, be generous, and be patient especially if you have stubborn grime and dirt on your tub floors/walls. Give it at least 15 min or more if you’re able to. Now becareful, because of the dawn, it’s going to be VERY slippery but the grime comes off wonderfully. I go in to scrub everything down with a brush (I like one with a longer handle, helps the back and keeps me from having to climb in). Once I get all the soap and suds off, I go in and spray down the entire tub with hot water. Now here’s mommy tip #2, invest in a squeegee.
And here’s why. Sometimes showers/tubs are so hard and annoying to clean because of all the layers of grime that build up on the walls and floors and stains from continuously getting wet, you know what I’m talking about. And if you have tiles, it just gets worse. My shower and tub is never really that awful to clean because I’ve used this method for years. Every night I squeegee down my entire shower –> it sounds like such a nuisance, but it’s not. Think about it, you’re already in the shower, so while you’re standing there to perhaps get dry, just wipe down the walls, it takes seconds. This works in my life/routine because as Mommy, I’m the last person to take a shower, so I usually take a couple of minutes to clean up after whatever the boys have done. And, it’s also a great habit to spray down your shower liner/curtain with hot water as well, it alleviates the yucky condensation build up and washes off any soap or shampoo you may have accidentally transfered on there.
Here’s a before picture of my tub/shower, it’s hard to see but there are patches of dirt on the floor and some grime build up on the wall beneath the red container
During (I normally remove all items from the shower)
After: again, sorry for the horrible picture quality. Doesn’t do it any justice but perhaps Rowyn can convince you
We take complete advantage of baths after a nice and thorough cleaning!
Tip #3 –> all about vinegar. It’s not a proven fact that vinegar is a complete DISINFECTANT but it has certain properties that help to kill germs such as a certain percentage of acetic acid which has been proven to kill some strains of e.coli. In addition, it is a very much better alternative than bleach or other brand name chemical cleaners, so at the end of the day, my health and that of my loved ones are more important. With that said, vinegar has a lot of benefits and uses. Now to help my asian Mama’s that do a lot of cooking, set out a bowl of vinegar over night to get rid of strong food odors, I would recommend that if you have a huge kitchen or big open floor plan, it wouldn’t work to too well. In addition, vinegar helps to clean your microwave in a breeze. Pour equal parts water and vinegar into a large microwave safe bowl, put in microwave, heat for at least 5 minutes, let sit for 10 minutes and then wipe down. It takes off food splatters very well. Lastly, your cutting boards, if you use it every day, all day like me, consider a great cleaning habit. I sprinkle baking soda all over the cutting board and then spray vinegar on top of the baking soda. It’s going to create a chemical reaction so just let it fizzle for a minute, and then I go in with half a lime/lemon and scrub down every nook and cranny of the board. Super simple, smells lemony fresh, and gives me peace of mind that my board is clean and safe for food and usage.
So that is it, I wish I could have captured more photos for you but I’ll try harder next time. Hopefully all of the things I’ve shared will help you, especially if you’re new to cleaning, or if you just haven’t tried cleaning this way before. Bare in mind, these ingredients/items are environmentally friendly, health/safe conscious, and very affordable!
Thanks for reading, till next time!
– Cyndie –