Looking for the perfect cleaning resource? Check out my book, The Organically Clean Home!

How to De-Stink Active Wear

How to De-Stink Active Wear - Clean Mama

Between my husband and me and our active kids, we have gathered quite a collection of active wear. We love it for working out in, playing golf and sports and general running around. What I don’t love, however, is the tendency for activewear to hold on to the general sweat and body odor smells from its wearer. If you are frustrated by the stinky smell even after laundering, I have some tips, tricks and product suggestions to help leave your active wear smelling fresh and feeling clean.

  1. Keep your activewear separate from your everyday clothes. I like to keep an extra laundry basket in our closet solely for this purpose. One errant shirt can stink up an entire load of your everyday clothes.
  2. If you are not going to wash your workout clothes immediately after wearing, be sure to let them dry thoroughly before putting in the laundry basket. We drape freshly worn, sweaty clothes over the edge of the laundry basket until they are dry. At that point, they can be put in the laundry basket to eventually be washed.
  3. Wash your workout and activewear on hot with a cool rinse if you have that option on your washer. Line or hang to dry or dry on low heat to avoid shrinking.
  4. Please note that this is my unsponsored opinion – My absolute favorite detergent for washing our workout wear is The Laundress Sports Detergent.  I use this exclusively on our workout gear and am always amazed by just how well it works to remove those stubborn smells. I have tried numerous commercial options you may see on your laundry product shelves and in my opinion, nothing compares in effectiveness to The Laundress product.The Laundress Sport Detergent - Clean Mama
  5. Try washing your activewear with just vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser. Start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of plain white vinegar. Vinegar serves to neutralize odors and is gentle on fabric. Wash on hot with detergent after the initial load.
  6. Have some sports gear that can’t be washed? Put it in a big ziptop bag and put it in the freezer for 24 hours. While this method may not remove all the odor, it sure helps to cut the stink.

How to De-Stink ActiveWear - Clean Mama

 

If you are frustrated by the residual odors left in your workout and activewear, try out these tips and tricks to neutralize them in no time.

You might like these laundry posts – just click on the image to go to the post:

Keeping Your Whites White - Tips + Tricks that Work - Clean Mama

Laundry Day vs. Laundry Every Day - Two Methods that Really Work via Clean Mama

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3 Ways to Clean Baseboards

3 Ways To Clean Baseboards - Simple + Natural - Clean Mama

If the thought of cleaning the baseboards in your home sounds daunting and more than overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. I am always amazed by what a difference having clean baseboards makes. It is an easy task to tackle in a couple of hours if you are up to doing your whole home, or in smaller increments if you prefer going room by room. I have three great cleaning options to choose from today. Pick the one that matches what simple ingredients you have on hand or who in your home is doing the cleaning. Ready for some options?

3 Ways to Clean Baseboards - detail - Clean Mama

Baby Wipes:

 

Clean Baseboards with Baby Wipes - Clean Mama copy

Yes, this option is the least eco-friendly of the three, but it is perfect for kids and their nimble knees. I love that the amount of liquid is controlled so you won’t have an overturned bucket of water or puddles everywhere. It’s perfect for adults too as it is the quickest of three and requires no prep. This is a task that can be included on kid’s weekly chores so that dirt and dust doesn’t have as much of a chance to accumulate.

Castile Cleaner:

Wash Baseboards with Castile Soap - Clean Mama

Castile soap is the ultimate gentle detergent that is free of dyes, artificial scents and chemicals. It is available in the natural beauty aisle at many retailers or on Amazon. If you don’t happen to have any on hand, you can also substitute your favorite dish soap that you would use for hand washing dishes. This cleaner can be used on both painted and wood baseboards.

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon castile or dish soap

Optional: 2 drops lemon or your favorite essential oil for a little extra scent boost

Mix ingredients together in a bucket. Using a barely damp microfiber cloth (my favorite!) or a well wrung out sponge, wipe as you go, rinsing the cloth or sponge frequently.

Borax Based Cleaner:

Clean Baseboards with Borax - Clean Mama

Borax is an effective, inexpensive natural mineral that works well in a number of cleaning situations, including cleaning baseboards. It can be found in the laundry or cleaning aisle of many stores. You can half the proportions of the Borax to water if you want a smaller batch.

  • 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon Borax
  • 2-4 cups warm water

Stir to dissolve. You can use this with the traditional bucket cleaning method or decant into a spray bottle (if you put it in a spray bottle make sure you mix with warm water to fully dissolve the Borax). I like to use microfiber cloths to clean as they do a great job of getting in all those nooks and crannies and they don’t spread the dirt around, but you can also use a sponge.  Just be sure to wring until damp and not dripping. No rinsing required.

There is no need to dread or fear cleaning baseboards when armed with these simple methods and DIY cleaner options. Choose one today and look forward to sparkling trim in no time.

If you haven’t tried microfiber for cleaning?  You should!  You’ll love my Clean Mama Home Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – check them out!

Clean Mama Home Microfiber Cloths

 

More posts in this series – just click on the image to go to the post:

Nightly Sink Scrub - Clean Mama

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray - Clean Mama

Soft Cleaning Paste - the perfect scrub - Clean Mama

All-Purpose Spray - Clean Just About Anywhere Spary - Clean Mama

The Perfect DIY Glass Cleaner - Clean Mama

DIY Cleaners Ingredient Storage - Clean Mama

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FREE Summer Cleaning Checklist

FREE Summer Cleaning Checklist - Clean Mama

Summer is here and so is my FREE summer cleaning checklist!

I like to break chores and tasks down into musts and maybes – and that’s how I approach seasonal cleaning. I might not get to everything on the list but at least I’ve gotten a couple musts out of the way first. Here’s a little explanation of my summer cleaning checklist – I hope you give it a whirl!  This is also great if you’re home for the summer (hello teachers) and looking to add a little extra cleaning to your days.

BASICS – SEASONAL CLEANING

These items are cleaning tasks that I rotate through 4 times a year or seasonally. Hence the summer cleaning checklist. Some of these items (dust, vacuum) are on my weekly cleaning checklist, so I do those on that day of the week, but I do a more thorough job. For instance, instead of just vacuuming the family room I move the furniture and vacuum under the couch. I dust all surfaces, but I also dust the corners and corners at the ceiling. If this is the only portion of the checklist that you complete, you have still done a great job. These basics will make a big difference in your home!

DEEP CLEANING

If you’ve never done a deep or thorough cleaning and you have extra time on your hands, you’ll want to check these items off your list. If you just washed your windows last month, you probably won’t need to wash them, check your home and see if any of these tasks should be completed.

TRADITIONAL SUMMER CLEANING TASKS TO ADD IF YOU’D LIKE

Seasonal cleaning goes back generations, these tasks are ones that are generally associated with summer cleaning. If you’d like to complete them and it makes sense for you it will be time well spent. If you don’t have time and have never completed them, no need to feel bad – they are just suggestions.

Free Summer Cleaning Checklist via Clean Mama

Grab your FREE Summer Cleaning Checklist here!

(Please note: You’ll need to put the calendar in your cart and checkout – it’s still FREE – once you create an account it will save any free printables and you can come back and access them anytime. Upon checkout you’ll see the link for the free printable AND it will also be emailed to you automatically!)

If you like this FREE printable you’ll love my HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY and the organizing printables in my shop!  Don’t miss my FREE PRINTABLES page here on the blog.

This printable matches my Everyday Cleaning Planner, perfect for organizing your cleaning.

Want to up the cute factor in your cleaning?  Check out Clean Mama HOME!

SIDE BAR cm home button

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6 Unexpected Ways to Use Sponges to Clean Up Summer

www.CLEANMAMA.net-6

I am a compensated 3M-sponsored blogger. Opinions are my own and additional products used in the project were selected by me.

The summer is full of fun and sun and all things vacation, but with that comes some difficult cleaning conundrums too!  I have some easy tips today to show you how to clean up those tricky spots and messes with a simple and effective cleaning tool – the sponge!  Add a little warm water and your favorite liquid soap (castile OR dish) and you have all you need to tackle those tough spots.  Let’s get started!

1 - Gather Supplies2

Grab your tools and supplies:

Window Screens and Frames

3 - Rinse Screens Thoroughly

Take your screens off your windows and fill a bowl or container with warm water and a squirt of soap.  Set your screens up near a hose, preferably with a spray nozzle attached.   Wet the screens, one at a time, dip your Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge into soapy water and carefully use the yellow side to wash the screens, rinsing the sponge frequently.  Then take the scrubber side to the screen frames to remove any built up dirt and grime.  Rinse and dry thoroughly before returning to the windows.

Door tracks

When doors are open more with the warmer weather, those dirty tracks are more obvious.  Clean them up with a quick swish of a Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge.  Keep your soapy water handy and rinse thoroughly.

Grill

4 - Clean the Grill4

The beloved grill – the oven of the summer.  With all the food preparation that happens on grills during the summer, it’s important to keep it clean in between uses.  Use a Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge to wipe the surfaces with a little soap and water.  Use the scrubbing side to easily remove grease spots and stains and stuck-on stains.  Wipe away the dirt and grime with the sponge side and rinse with clean water and the sponge.

Siding

5 - Siding - during

If you have bugs, dirt and grime on your siding, a little soap and water goes a long way with a Scotch-Brite Easy Eraser.  Soak the easy eraser in soapy warm water and wring out.  Go in the direction of your siding and wipe (or erase) those stuck on spots.  Rinse with warm water and admire your work.

6 - Siding - after

Flower Pots

9 - Flower Pots

Flower pots should be cleaned out between seasons or plantings but if you have stubborn stains or mineral deposits leaving your flower post looking a little worse for the wear, grab your Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge.  Use soap and water and a little elbow grease to beautify your flower pots in a hurry.

Bikes

Cleaning bikes is one of my kids’ favorite summer activities.  The concept is simple – set up a bike wash (like a car wash) with buckets, sponges, and the garden hose.  Wet the bikes, scrub them with the sponge side of a  Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges and rinse thoroughly.  Not only does the bike wash station keep the kids busy with a fun activity, but the bikes get clean.

Now that you know how simple it is to clean these hard-to-clean spots, grab a sponge and clean it up!

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Get Organized with Homekeeping Society | July Essentials

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Do you need some gentle homekeeping help as schedules shift this summer?  July’s Homekeeping Society subscription is up – I hope it’s just what you need to feel successful in your homekeeping.  If you’re looking for a simple way to stay on top daily, weekly and monthly tasks in just minutes a day, Homekeeping Society is perfect!  Make sure you read all the way through the post – there’s a great coupon code if you’d like to try it out!

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If you don’t know where to start or are feeling a little defeated, I think you’ll find encouragement in the support Homekeeping Society provides!  Homekeeping Society is intended to be just the gentle nudge you need making your tasks and to dos more enjoyable with a sweet and simple format.  July’s Homekeeping Society is fresh and summery.  My favorite thing about Homekeeping Society is that each month is different, yet it all looks good together, and it has seasonal touches you’ll love!

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Not sure if Homekeeping Society is for you? Try it out this month and use the coupon code 30OFFJULY for 30% off your FIRST month. Hurry!  Offer ends June 30th, 2016.

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Homekeeping Society is simple to use:

  • 2  EASY PRINT packets are included – simply open and print the pages in ONE step. One version features one of each and the other is set up exactly how the printed version is packaged with 4 pages of the weekly planners, etc. You’ll love how easy this is to use!  Of course, the individual pages are also included, but if you want to print everything in one easy step, you’ll love this. If you want to print back to back, just select that upon printing and print away – easy, peasy!
  • I have a Facebook Group to help you with your homekeeping – HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – join if you’re a member of the subscription or not, it’s a special place to discuss homekeeping struggles, tips, tricks and ask questions to other members or myself.  It’s a closed group, just ask to join and I’ll add you.
  • I have Homekeeping Society available in my Etsy shop – you can only purchase one month at a time and you will NOT have access to the previous months.  Don’t want to subscribe?  Want to use PayPal?  This is a great option but you’ll need to repurchase each month instead of it being an automatic payment and download.
  • Another great feature with Homekeeping Society is that you can also access/save/download ALL the previous month’s of HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY!  That’s well over 200 printables that you can use!

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How to login:

If you’re a member (log in here) and if you’d like to sign up today, it’s an instant download. The Homekeeping Society MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION is designed to create order out of your household chaos and help you keep your home tidy with ease and your mind less cluttered.  You can cancel ANYTIME right on your membership screen.  Take a peek at what I’ve created for the month of June – I think you’ll LOVE it!

Keeping a home clean can be both rewarding and frustrating. Sure, it’s possible to get your home clean, but to keep it that way can be the biggest challenge. Throw in the additions of busy schedules, jobs, kids, chaos, and lack of time and energy and it can feel downright defeating many days. You’ll love the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine included in every month of Homekeeping Society – it truly takes the guesswork out of cleaning and sets it on auto-pilot. If you struggle during the summer with a different routine and more or less free time, Homekeeping Society will help you keep on top of the tasks and provide a little structure.

Go here to sign up for a digital subscription or go here to sign up for the printed for you subscription.

I love to provide a ‘virtual’ hand to hold and guide you through the process of cleaning, homekeeping, and creating a home you feel proud of and want to welcome family, neighbors, and friends without thinking twice about the mess behind that front door. The intent of Homekeeping Society is to give you that perfect monthly intervention that is purposefully designed to get your life and home in order with ease. Each month I add different and adorable seasonal touches to keep you motivated to do the daily tasks that get boring and monotonous.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT EVERY MONTH (15+ printable documents):

  1. INSTRUCTIONS – tells you how many pages to print out of each page and suggestions for implementing and making the pages work for you – an EASY PRINT option is also included to make printing just one step!
  2. COVER PAGE – with the month – great for putting in your binder or homekeeping notebook to keep each month separated if you choose to keep the pages from month to month.
  3. HOMEKEEPING FOCUS page – every month will focus on a room or area in the home (July is SYSTEMS) – this page lays out simple steps and gives you room for making your own adjustments and goals.
  4. TO DO LIST – every month features a new, and highly functional to do list. This month is a simple TO DO LIST, just right for keeping tabs on your to dos.
  5. DAILY PLANNER PAGE – great for those busy days (or every day!) includes schedule, to dos, notes, and a space for meals
  6. WEEKLY DOCKET– Use the weekly docket to see your whole week and schedule on a page (Sunday start and Monday start are both included)
  7. MENU PLAN FOR THE WEEK WITH A SHOPPING LIST- (Sunday and Monday starts) make a menu plan and take it with you to the grocery store to keep your shopping and planning in check.
  8. MENU PLAN FOR THE MONTH – always includes a list for recipe ideas or ingredients to pick up so you won’t forget to add it to your weekly shopping list.
  9. 2 MONTHLY CALENDARS (1 blank, 1 pre-filled) – suggested daily cleaning tasks, weekly cleaning tasks, rotating cleaning tasks, cleaning and organizing suggestions.
  10. SEASONAL PREPARATION PRINTABLE – a helpful seasonal prep printable is always included in the monthly subscription – perfect for placing in a binder – this month includes a QUARTERLY CALENDAR.
  11. KITCHEN SINK QUOTE– the quote for the month – 5×7 – frame and put at your kitchen sink or tape to your fridge to give you a little motivation and inspiration for the month
  12. INFORMATION PAGE – PROJECT PLANNER Checklist. Fill these pages out and save in a family info section of your homekeeping binder or notebook and you’ll have a complete information section (insurance, 401K, etc.).
  13. PLUS – access to all previous months’ HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – well over 200 documents!

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This month’s Quote for the Kitchen Sink is simple and sweet – put things in perspective!  The quote for the kitchen sink can go on your refrigerator, a bulletin board, or even your binder. Put it somewhere that you’ll see it and be inspired by it.

Want to see more and get on the list? I can’t wait for you to join me! Go here to learn more and sign up for a digital subscription or go here for the printed for you subscription. Want to see some ideas and more information on how to implement Homekeeping Society? Go here to see all the posts and past months of Homekeeping Society!

Not sure if Homekeeping Society is for you? Try it out this month and use the coupon code 30OFFJULY for 30% off your FIRST month.  Hurry!  Offer ends June 30th, 2016.

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PLEASE NOTE: As a member, you will be able to download your digital subscription every month by going to your account page, click on the link for JULY and it will allow you to download the monthly essentials zip file. If you are a member, your essentials are already in your account – yay!

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Are You Making These Cleaning Mistakes?

Are you making these cleaning mistakes? Clean Mama

If you are spending time cleaning, make sure you’re making the best use of your time and energy by avoiding these cleaning mistakes!  (No judgment here, just trying to help you figure out the best and most efficient way to clean your home.)

Vacuuming More Than Necessary

Save your energy and vacuum weekly and do a thorough job.  Spot clean during the week as needed.  Then on the day that you do vacuum (I like Wednesdays) vacuum horizontally in each room and then vertically in each room.  Yes, you are going over the carpet twice, but this technique ensures that the carpet is lifted and the dirt that may be embedded is removed.  This is especially helpful if you have pets to remove pet hair and dander.  Vacuum from the furthest corner away from the door and vacuum your way out of the room.  This will give you those beloved vacuum lines that say,  ‘I just vacuumed’.

Cross-Contamination

When you wipe down surfaces, are you wiping the same area multiple times or wiping the mess back over your just cleaned surface?  Make sure you’re wiping LEFT to RIGHT and TOP to BOTTOM in a soft Z pattern.  This will effectively clean your surfaces and keep you from wiping dirt and bacteria back over your clean surface.  Make sure that you are also changing microfiber cloths or cleaning rags frequently to keep the bacteria away.  This post shows you how I speed clean my bathrooms and change out microfiber cloths to avoid cross-contamination.

Not Leaving Cleaners on Long Enough

If you’re cleaning bathrooms or your kitchen counters and spraying and wiping right away, you’re wasting time and cleaners.  It’s important to thoroughly saturate your surfaces with your favorite cleaner and let it sit for 10 minutes.  This will let the cleaner do its job, sanitize, and dissolve any stuck on particles making your cleaning a little bit easier.

Using Fabric Softener on Towels

Did you know that traditional fabric softener actually coats the fibers of towels making them less absorbent and fluffy?  Instead, add between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of traditional white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. Vinegar serves to actually soften the fibers as well as add a little cleaning power to your laundry routine. I like to buy a jug of white distilled vinegar at our Costco. At under $5.00 for an economy sized container, you can’t beat the price. No need to worry about any residual scent from the vinegar either as you won’t be able to detect it on your clean laundry at this dilution rate.

Using Dirty Sponges

There’s no need to use dirty sponges when all you need to do is toss it in your dishwasher nightly.  Did you know that sponges are one of the dirtiest things in your house?  Get in the habit of tossing your sponge in your dishwasher or sanitizing it in the microwave every night and you’ll eliminate that risk of spreading germs all over your kitchen.  Here are 3 ways to safely sanitize your sponge.

Using Vinegar on Stone Surfaces

I love using vinegar to clean with but it’s important to know WHAT it works on and what it doesn’t.  If you’re using vinegar on your marble or granite counters, the acid in the vinegar will eventually etch away the surface.  If you want to DIY your cleaners and are looking for one that is safe for marble and granite, try this one – it’s awesome!

Emptying Your Vacuum Canister or Bag and Cleaning your Vacuum Cleaner

Make sure you’re emptying your vacuum canister after each use if you have a canister vacuum and if you have a vacuum cleaner with a bag, change it when necessary.  Make sure you’re cleaning your vacuum cleaner frequently as well – this will ensure that your vacuum lasts for a long time and you aren’t dragging dirt around the house as you’re vacuuming.

Not Cleaning Those Most-Touched Areas

It’s no wonder that germs can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours.  If you’re looking for ways to cut down on that spread and transfer in your home (especially when someone’s sick or during flu season), reach for a cotton pad and a bottle of rubbing alcohol.  Saturate the cotton pad and carefully wipe over those most touched areas in your home: light switches, remotes, and electronics.  The rubbing alcohol effectively kills germs, dries quickly, and is safe to use in your home.

Cleaning Garbage Cans

Yes, garbage cans hold garbage, but keeping them clean will keep odors down and keep germs from congregating.  Bring the garbage can(s) outside, spray them with your favorite all-purpose cleaner, let it sit for 10 minutes, and rinse thoroughly with your garden hose.  Let them sit in the sun to dry and naturally kill germs before returning them inside. Use garbage bags in large and small garbage cans to line them and keep them cleaner for longer.

Which cleaning mistake have you been making?  Have one to add?  Share it in the comments!

If you are new here and/or curious about my cleaning routine, go to my START HERE page – you’ll find helpful links to get you started with cleaning less and enjoying life more.

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Simple Ideas to Organize the Family for Summer

Simple Ideas to Organize the Family for Summer - Clean Mama

Is summer in full swing in your house?  I’ve already fielded quite a few questions about organizing with kids this summer so I thought it would be a perfect time to share a couple things that work for us or things that we’re implementing right now.  With schedules calming down it’s nice to have a little structure in place and these methods successfully meet those needs.

Summer 2016 Calendar full - Clean Mama

Use a calendar – I shared this free printable of Summer 2016 at-a-glance calendar last month.  If you haven’t grabbed it yet, grab it and fill in some important items for the summer.  If you’re looking to put together a homekeeping binder this summer (a great way to get organized), I recommend my Homekeeping Foundations Kit or joining Homekeeping Society.

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama

 

Get the kids involved and do a quick clean of closets following this simple method for organizing and maintaining them.  I detail kids closets in the post but you can apply the techniques and steps to your own closets and drawers.

Essentials for Getting the Kids Involved In Cleaning - free printables and tips that work! - Clean Mama

Need a little direction when it comes to cleaning with kids?  I’ve written quite a bit on the subject – go here to get started with age-appropriate tasks that kids can tackle right along with you!

small summer boredom busters

Put together a boredom busting bucket or basket – perfect for rainy days, quiet time, and just relaxing.  I put this together a month or so ago and my kids have pulled it out almost every day of summer break.  It’s been a big hit!

Keep Snacks in Bins to Keep them Organized via Clean Mama

Keep healthy snacks accessible.  I keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies washed and ready for snacking but we also have some snacks at the ready in the pantry as well.  This works great for grabbing something if we’re doing an impromptu outing, going to the pool, or if the kids just need a quick bite to eat.

Put together a couple totes, bags, or bins that will simplify some of your favorite summer activities – here are our favorites:

Put Together a S'mores Caddy via Clean Mama

S’mores Caddy – My kiddos love putting our s’mores caddy together every summer, this makes for a great Saturday evening at the fire pit.

The Perfect Picnic Bag via Clean Mama

The Perfect Picnic Bag – I love having a handful of picnic-ready supplies all packed up and ready to go, it makes it so simple to get out the door!

Gather School Supplies to Make a Homework Caddy

Art + School Supply Caddy – I usually put this together before school starts but we swap out some of the supplies for summer art projects and it works great!

Toys Out - Toys Put Away via Clean Mama

 

Practice One Task to Keep Your Home Clutter Free – it’s so simple but it can feel so difficult!  Take it out, and put it away.  Keep this in mind this summer and I bet you and your family will appreciate taking that little step to put things away.  It’s so simple but so hard to keep up with unless it’s a conscious decision.

WHAT’S ON YOUR LIST?  WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO MAKE YOUR LIFE A LITTLE EASIER THIS SUMMER?

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The Down and Dirty of Cleaning Tile and Grout

The Down + Dirty of Cleaning Tile and Grout - Clean Mama

Do you have a love/hate relationship with the tile in your home? Love the way that it looks but irritated with how quickly the grout goes from white to gray? Or maybe you inherited some not-so-clean looking tile in your current home from the previous owners. Regardless of how old or new your flooring  is, it doesn’t take long for tile to get grimy, especially in those high traffic areas like the kitchen, mudroom or entryway. There are several different methods and cleaners that can help you clean your tile and grout well. Try one of my suggestions out and see what you think!

Cleaning Grout:

One of my favorite DIY recipes to help brighten grout is a simple combination of cream of tartar and lemon juice. This method takes a little more elbow grease but it works really well to remove some of those surface stains in the grout as well as naturally lighten the grout. This works especially well on colored grout. Here is what you need:

Lemon Grout Cleaner:

  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • lemon juice

Combine the cream of tartar with the lemon juice to make a thing paste the consistency of runny toothpaste. Apply to the grout and use a small stiff bristled cleaning brush to scrub the grout. Rinse and wipe dry.  If you don’t have lemon juice, try a little water to make a paste.

Hydrogen Peroxide:

  • put a sprayer on top of a hydrogen peroxide bottle and spray white grout to rid it of mold and mildew.  Reapply if necessary, scrub and rinse.

If your grout is past the point of cleaning and has stains that you cannot remove no matter what, then a commercial product may be right for you. Home Depot carries a fantastic product called Grout Renew by PolyBlend. It comes in a variety of colors to match any grout color and works as a stain and sealer on grout lines. While it can be time consuming to apply, it is ideal for when no scrubbing or cleaning works to remove stains or brighten your grout. It also works well if you’re looking to update the look of your grout.

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Cleaning Tile:

My favorite way to clean our tile floors on a weekly basis is by using a steam cleaner. Steam cleaning is about as simple as it gets and uses just water to clean. My favorite steam cleaner is the Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop. All it requires is a quick initial vacuum or sweep to remove dirt and crumbs and a couple minutes to heat the water.

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If you prefer using an actual solvent based cleaner, I have several DIY recipes that are perfectly suited for tiled floors. Both contain readily available household ingredients and are safe to use on any sealed tile floor. The Lemon and Peppermint Tile Cleaner is mixed and sprayed while the Citrus Tile Floor Cleaner is intended to be used for mopping. If you prefer not to use essential oil or don’t have any on hand, you can certainly eliminate them as they are mostly intended to just add scent.

Lemon and Peppermint Tile Cleaner:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil

Add the ingredients to a spray bottle and shake to combine. Spray thoroughly on tiles and allow to sit for 5-15 minutes. You can scrub if necessary, rinse and allow to air dry or dry using a clean cloth.

Citrus Tile Floor Cleaner:

  • 1/4 cup Borax
  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops orange essential oil

Mix the Borax, water and essential oils in a mop bucket, stirring to dissolve. Mop as you normally do. Rinsing is usually not required. If your floors are extra dirty, you can add a drop or two of castile or dish soap to help cut the dirt. You may want to have a bucket of clean water on the side to rinse instead of using the cleaning bucket water. This will help eliminate streaking.

If you are looking for a new method or a more natural approach to cleaning your tile and grout, try one one these recipes or products out. Let me know what you think!

Please note: If you have marble, granite, or travertine tile you should not use vinegar, lemon, or anything acidic to clean them because the acid will etch the stone.  Steam cleaners work well as does this recipe.

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Laundry Room Tour

LAUNDRY ROOM TOUR - Clean Mama

I’m slowly making it through my home tour this year and today I’m sharing my laundry room with you.  We just did a little redo of the teeny tiny space so I thought it would be a perfect time to share it with you.  You can see our previous laundry room in this post (with some other laundry tips too) if you’re curious.

Laundry Room Tour - Clean Mama

A couple things to note:  the laundry room is on the 2nd floor between the kids’ bedrooms and it’s small – it’s a 5.5 foot square space.  I absolutely love it!  Sure, I’d love a larger laundry room with a folding counter and a sink or more room for a larger drying rack, but I’m totally happy with the space and love having a 2nd floor laundry room.

With such a small space, there are only a few things that actually fit making decorating it both easy and difficult.  I have it pared down to the basic necessities:

  • washer + dryer
  • drying rack
  • wall shelf
  • ironing board
  • laundry supplies
  • ironing supplies
  • containers to keep supplies tidy

Laundry Supplies - Clean Mama

 

When we re-did the laundry room a couple weeks ago, we had the old washer and dryer removed, I completely cleaned the room, had tile installed (the linoleum was removed), and then I painted the whole room white and repainted the trim.

Tile Close-Up - Clean Mama

We chose a plank style gray and white porcelain tile for the floors – we only needed 2 boxes – a plus side to an itty bitty laundry room!
97cad9c6-534f-4caa-8e4c-a8fb16da178f_1000For the paint we chose Benjamin Moore’s Super White.  It’s a great white that has slightly warm undertones.

Benjamin Moore - Super White

I already had this shelf but it was a creamy/off-white color and when we hung it didn’t look right so I painted it a soft gray.

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I had this drying rack and didn’t need to paint it because the white is a true white (it’s whiter than this image in real life) and matched the wall paint color nicely.

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I don’t iron often, but I love having the ironing board on the back of the door – it keeps it off the floor and out of the way.  The ironing board is from Target and the over the door ironing board holder is from The Container Store.

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This project started when Samsung asked me if I’d like to try their new washer and dryer – of course I said yes!  I’ll talk more about them in an upcoming post post but I love how the black stainless steel looks in the room.

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I changed up some of the containers for laundry and ironing supplies – the ones at the top are from HomeGoods and the buckets on top of the washer are from The Container Store.  I keep extra supplies and the iron in the baskets on the shelf and in the larger bucket I keep dirty microfiber cloths that are waiting to be washed and in the smaller bucket I keep laundry supplies that are in use.  You can find my favorite laundry supplies under Saturday on this page.

Laundry Buckets - Clean Mama

Here are some posts in this series that you might like – just click on the pictures to head to the post:

CLEANING CLOSET

A Whole House Color Scheme - Clean Mama

How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy - Tips, Tricks, and Methods that Work - Clean Mama

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Quick Fridge Declutter – Get Your Fridge Back

Quick Surface Declutter - Get Your Fridge Back - Clean Mama

It doesn’t take long for the refrigerator to become a clutter hot spot. Random papers, notes, photographs, artwork, receipts and other paper clutter seem to migrate and reproduce at a faster rate than humanly possible. Rather than using your fridge as a vertical storage option, let’s look at some quick and easy decluttering tips as well as organizing tools to help clear off your fridge and keep it clean and minimal.

Remove everything

Begin by taking everything off of the fridge – front and sides. This includes magnets, stickers, reminders and anything that is on the surface. Designate one pile for recycling, one pile for filing and one pile for what you want to put back on the fridge. The “keepers” should be papers or things that you refer to on a regular basis and photographs that are current and/or ones you want to keep on display.

Clean the Surfaces

Once you have cleared your fridge of everything, use your favorite all-purpose cleaner or stainless steel cleaner and thoroughly wipe down the entire front and sides. Now that it’s clean, it’s time to decide how to organize and display without creating a lot of visual clutter.

Think through your Organization Methods

A fun idea for writing notes on the refrigerator is to use a Boogie Board – they come with a ‘pen’  and magnet on the back  so they can just be popped right onto the ‘fridge’.

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Rather than using magnets or tape to display photos, consider using clear plastic magnetic photo frames. This keeps them uniform as well as protecting the photo itself. These are available at office supply stores or photo stores. There are options on Amazon as well in various sizes and layouts.

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You can use larger 8” x 10” frames for important papers that are referred to regularly, like school calenders, lunch menus, schedules and contact lists. These are also great for displaying special artwork or drawings that you can easily rotate.

Another easy way to contain and keep important papers at your fingertips is to hole punch papers on the top left corner and hang them together on a magnetic hook or suction cup. This keeps them all in one spot and is a great method for papers that you may need for the month but not for the entire year.

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Encourage your little artists to choose one or two special pieces of artwork at a time and rotate frequently for an ever-changing art show. Displaying them in a special frame can add a bit of extra pride in their creations as well.  I love these acrylic clothespins with magnets attached for rotating artwork and other papers.

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Another option for stainless steel refrigerators is the Choopaboard – it’s a magnet for stainless steel refrigerators and a pretty cool option if your kids love displaying items on the ‘fridge or using magnets.

Notepads with a magnet attached to the back are also a great option for keeping lists and notes on the refrigerator.  Here’s one of my favorites.

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With minimal cleaning and a little thought, you can ease the visual clutter on your fridge and keep important papers, calendars and schedules at your fingertips.

What are your MUSTS on your refrigerator?

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3 Ways to Keep Hardwood Floors Clean Longer

3 Ways to Keep Hardwood Floors Clean Longer-2

One of your most-asked questions is all about how to make hardwood floors look and feel clean.  If you have hardwood floors you know that when they’re clean and shiny they’re beautiful and maybe even bring a smile to your face.  But if they’re grungy and dirty and sticky, they’re frustrating and they beg to be washed.  So how about a couple ways to keep your hardwood (and just about any other hard surface floor) stay and look clean longer?

Remove shoes at the door

Entryway - Clean Mama

If you haven’t adopted a shoes-off policy, this will definitely help keep the tracked in dirt and debris at the door.  Strategically place a rug at each entrance of the home and put a basket with socks or slippers out and accessible for guests.  If you have a place to put shoes in your garage, utilize that so you aren’t even bringing the dirt inside.

Vacuum and wash floors very thoroughly weekly

Easy to Clean Floors via Clean Mama

I find that a thorough vacuum and floor washing every week is the best way for me to keep the floors clean and fairly dirt free all week long.  By vacuuming edges and corners and doing a thorough job, I find that the floors look better for longer.  Of course if you have kids and/or pets you know that you could most likely vacuum and wash floors every day, but I’m guessing you don’t want to be spending your time doing that every day.  In my cleaning routine I vacuum on Wednesdays and wash floors on Thursdays – it’s a great system and method that works.  Go to this post to find out more.

Spot clean any little messes right away

If you notice a smudge, spill, or mess, tackle it right away. Crumbs under the table after a meal, give it a quick sweep.  Juice splatters from breakfast?  Wipe it up or bring out your favorite spray mop to clean it right up. It only takes a minute or two to clean up little messes but if left until the next time you wash the floors, your floors will look dirtier and they’ll take longer to clean when you do clean them.  Go here for some of my favorite tools and tricks for cleaning hard surface floors.

What do you do to keep your hardwood floors clean longer?

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Updates + Newsletter

Just popping in to let you know about a couple blog updates I don’t want you to miss!

I’ve updated my cleaning favorites section –  simply click on the tab that says START HERE and then on ‘around the house

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The page is divided up by day of the week with its corresponding cleaning task.  Start there if you have a cleaning product question – these are all my absolute favorite products that I use on a daily and weekly basis and I can wholeheartedly recommend them.

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I’ve also added a category section on the sidebar of the blog – it’s a great place to start if you’re new to the blog or looking for something specific.  I love getting your cleaning questions, but sometimes you have an urgent question and I can’t get to it right away.  Start with the sidebar and find your answer quickly!  Just look for these darling rectangles for some of the most popular categories on the blog.

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If you haven’t signed up for my email list, you’ll definitely want to!  I’m changing it up a bit to make it more exclusive with tips and tricks that you won’t find on the blog along with some that I don’t want you to miss.

The Clean Mama Newsletter Logo

If you want to be the first to find out something about a product or something new coming up, the newsletter subscribers will be the first to know. Don’t miss out 🙂

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My Favorite Apps For Going Paperless

Every month I share a post on BHG.com as an @Home contributor. This month I’m sharing some of my favorite apps for going paperless in the office (and home).  You’ll love this post!  You can see all my @Home posts here.

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Come Clean – Free Cleaning Calendar for June 2016

It’s almost June (what?!) and that means that it’s time for June’s FREE cleaning calendar!

Free June 2016 Cleaning Calendar - Clean Mama

Every year I choose a new theme for the cleaning calendar and blog and this year it’s COME CLEAN.  2016 is the year to get your cleaning routine in order, find some new and workable solutions for organizing, hold yourself accountable, and get your home in a routine that works for you and your family.

Don’t miss the FREE Summer Calendar here (June-August) – it’s a great way to see the whole summer at a glance!  I use it to sketch out classes and activities to ensure we aren’t over-scheduled.

If you’re feeling like you need some help with your cleaning and homekeeping and don’t know where to start, you’re going to love my cleaning routine and calendar. I keep daily homekeeping tasks to 15-30 minutes a day and this simple plan is how I do it! This is a solution for busy households – give it a go, I think you’ll be surprised how a little bit every day can make a huge difference in your home.

Come Clean 2016 - Clean Mama

If you’ve been following Clean Mama for even a week, you know that every day is a chance to start over and so is every week, month, etc. I hope that you find that my cleaning routine is SIMPLE, EASY TO IMPLEMENT, and full of GRACE.

Read on, grab the FREE calendar for JUNE 2016 and get ready to see how doing a little bit everyday really is the secret to a clean house.

Here’s an infographic that explains my cleaning routine:

Weekly and daily tasks are detailed at the top, rotating cleaning tasks are on the bottom of the calendar with a little checklist.  How you use the calendar is up to you – put it on a clipboard, in your planner, on your refrigerator.  Use checkmarks, draw lines through tasks or simply keep it up as a reminder.

Come Clean Infographic - Clean Mama

Want to join in on the fun? Grab a FREE cleaning and organizing calendar for May and join me!  Follow along (subscribe in the sidebar) for motivational posts and tips to keep up with the daily and weekly tasks. I also post daily reminders on Instagram and Facebook and have a private Facebook group too called Homekeeping Society (just ask to join and I’ll add you) – it’s great for support and to meet others that are following along with my cleaning routine.

June 2016 Cleaning Calendar - Clean Mama

Go here to grab your FREE calendar for June 2016!

(Please note: You’ll need to put the calendar in your cart and checkout – it’s still FREE – once you create an account it will save any free printables and you can come back and access them anytime. Upon checkout you’ll see the link for the free calendar AND it will also be emailed to you automatically!)

Come Spring Clean Challenge - Clean Mama

Want to spring clean too?  Grab the Come Spring Clean Challenge worksheet here.

Find Out More Homekeeping Society

If you like this FREE printable you’ll love my HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY and the organizing printables in my shop!

Want to up the cute factor in your cleaning?  Check out Clean Mama HOME!

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Keeping Your Whites White

Keeping Your Whites White - Tips + Tricks that Work - Clean Mama

I love the look of white in my home, from fluffy white towels in the bathroom to a classic white shirt hanging in the closet. White is such a fresh, clean and crisp color that I can’t help but have a lot of it in my home. We have primarily white towels in all our bathrooms to keep laundering and sorting simple and most of our sheets follow suit. I am often asked how I keep our towels and bedding from looking dingy and less than ideal, so I thought a post was in order. You will note that there is no chlorine bleach involved, just a solid cleaning method and some excellent laundry tips. Ready to brighten up your whites?

Load Whites in Washer - Clean Mama

  1. Wash your whites on HOT with detergent and no fabric softener. While many people love the scent that softener lends to their laundry, in actuality it is doing more harm than good. The residue from traditional fabric softener leaves behind actually coats the fibers, causing the dirt to adhere and leaving them less than clean. If you like a hint of extra scent, try my DIY laundry booster which uses essential oils instead of artificial scents.
    Wash on Hot or Whites Cycle - Clean Mama
  2. For towels, add between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of traditional white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. Vinegar serves to actually soften the fibers as well as add a little cleaning power to your laundry routine. I like to buy a jug of white distilled vinegar at our Costco. At under $5.00 for an economy sized container, you can’t beat the price. No need to worry about any residual scent from the vinegar either as you won’t be able to detect it on your clean laundry at this dilution rate. If you are not a fan of the scent, I recommend the Scented Vinegar from The Laundress or try my citrus scented vinegar as an alternative here.
  3. If you need a little extra help whitening and brightening, try adding in an oxygen safe bleach alternative. My absolute favorite is The All-Purpose Bleach Alternative from The Laundress.  It adds that whitening effect without using traditional bleach in the process. I also use this on stains or loads of laundry that need some extra cleaning oomph.
    Bleach Alternative _ Clean Mama

 

All-Purpose Bleach Alternative - Clean Mama

If your whites are looking a little more grey than white or if they are feeling less than clean, try out these three tips to clean and brighten your whites. Not only will your towels feel fluffier and whites look brighter, you won’t need any harsh chemicals or artificial scents to get the job done.

You can see more of my favorites on my Clean Mama ♥s The Laundress Pinterest board!

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(This pin board is sponsored by The Laundress but I’ve been using their products pretty exclusively on my own for quite a while – I love them!  You can see my full disclosure statement here.)

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