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

Come Clean – Free Cleaning Calendar for October 2016

It’s almost October and that means that it’s time for October’s FREE cleaning calendar!

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.

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If you’re feeling like you need some help with your cleaning and homekeeping and don’t know where to start, you’ll 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 workable solution for even the busiest of 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 OCTOBER 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 October 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.

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Go here to grab your FREE calendar for October 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!)

Find Out More Homekeeping Society

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

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What’s on My Book Stack : 13 Homekeeping Books to Inspire Organization

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Fall is the perfect time of year to do a little cleaning, decluttering, and getting ready for the ‘long winter’.  I find that I’m always a little more motivated once fall hits – maybe you are too?  The books I’m sharing today are ones some of my favorites and have a little something for everyone.  I’m breaking them down a bit so you can see if a book will fit your personality and needs.

Feel like getting cozy?  These 3 books have fun projects to boot, perfect for fall

Pretty Prudent Home: Your Ultimate Guide to Creating a Beautiful Family Home

The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures

The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping

If you clean and organize a little differently or feel like you’re not a ‘naturally’ organized person

Listful Thinking: Using Lists to Be More Productive, Successful and Less Stressed

What’s a Disorganized Person to Do?

Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD : Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else)

Simple Household Wisdom: 425 Easy Ways to Clean & Organize Your Home

If you feel uninspired or discontent with where you are and are struggling with starting the process

Make Room for What You Love: Your Essential Guide to Organizing and Simplifying

The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well  

Love the House You’re In: 40 Ways to Improve Your Home and Change Your Life

Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating

And my book – perfect for cleaning up after you’ve done some decluttering and organizing!

The Organically Clean Home: 150 Everyday Organic Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself–The Natural, Chemical-Free Way

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Have a favorite to share?  Tell us about it in the comments!

There are affiliate links in this post – go here to see my full disclosure policy.

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How to Clean Hardwood Floors WITHOUT Vinegar

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All right friends – the most controversial topic in cleaning just got a little more controversial.  You guys know that I clean my sealed hardwood floors with an itty bitty amount of white vinegar in a whole lot of warm water, right?  If not, go to this post and then head on back here for some new insight.  I will still stand by my original statements that washing hardwood floors with just the right amount of white vinegar is still a-okay but for those of you that doubt or just want a different solution, today’s post is for you!

I still believe that the largest risk a floor washer can take is to use too much water or liquid when washing hardwood floors.  Regardless of what you clean your floors with, make sure that you aren’t leaving standing liquid on the floors – the liquid will warp them and destroy the finish.  Use a barely damp application and make sure no water is left on each section before you leave it. You’ll see that I prefer spray mops or spray bottles when washing floors – this allows me to control the application and the amount of liquid I’m using.  If you want to use the traditional wet-mop method, you’ll up the ratio of water and cleaner.

On to the non-vinegar method….

You’ll see that I recommend 2 different products/concentrates for cleaning your hardwood floors – one is a soap (Dr. Bronner’s) and one is a cleaning concentrate (Sal Suds).  Both work and both are from the same company – Dr. Bronner’s.  If you have castile soap on hand, try it and see what you think.  If you’re looking for something new, Sal Suds is a natural cleaning concentrate that can clean just about anything.

Here’s what you need:

  • choose either castile soap or Sal Suds (both of the solutions I’m referencing are made by Dr. Bronner’s, but there are other brands of castile soap) – you’ll need 1-2 drops of the soap or cleaning concentrate (adjust as necessary – you want a little bit of bubbles, but you won’t be rinsing it, so you aren’t looking for a ’soapy’ solution).

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  • 2 cups warm water
  • 16 oz. spray bottle (here’s my favorite glass spray bottle)
  • 3-5 drops essential oils if you’d like a little scent – some of my favorites are lemon + clove for the castile and pine + lemon for the Sal Suds (it has a pine-y scent already)
  • microfiber mop or spray mop (you can see my favorites here) – if you’d rather hand wash your floors, simply pour the solution into a small bucket and use a microfiber cloth for the application

Pour the water into your spray bottle.

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Add a drop or two of  soap or cleaning concentrate.

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Add essential oil if you’d like a custom scent.

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Put your sprayer on the spray bottle and shake vigorously.

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Grab your mop.  I always recommend using a microfiber mopping pad and making sure it’s damp before getting started.  You can spray it with your cleaner or dampen with water before putting it on your mop head.  Work in small sections and get started – spray, mop, let dry.  There shouldn’t be any standing water – wipe up any excess water as you go.

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How about you?  What do you use to wash your hardwood floors?  Are you going to try this non-vinegar method?

There are affiliate links in this post – go here to see my full disclosure policy.

 

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Mason Jar Storage Solutions

I love using mason jars for just about anything – they are the perfect little vessel for all types of storage. I use them all over the house for storing food, craft items, cleaning supplies, etc.  Every month I share a post on BHG.com as an @Home contributor.  This month I’m sharing 10 mason jar storage solutions that will change how you look at that canning jar again.  My favorite storage solution is #4 – come see what it is!   You can see all my @Home posts here.

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CLEAN + ORGANIZE WITH HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY | OCTOBER ESSENTIALS

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!

11October’s Homekeeping Society subscription is up – I hope it’s just what you need to feel successful in your homekeeping.    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.  October’s Homekeeping Society is done in a fall plaid theme.  My favorite thing about Homekeeping Society is that each month is different, yet it all looks good together, and it’s complete with 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 30OFFOCTOBER for 30% off your FIRST month. Hurry!  Offer ends September 30th, 2016.

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.  Feeling non-committal? 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 300 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 September – 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. 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 with 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 (October is the LAUNDRY ROOM or area) – 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.
  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 LAUNDRY ROOM ORGANIZER in 2 versions – gray + aqua.
  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 – this month is a QUARTERLY CALENDAR page in 2 versions – gray + aqua.. 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 – almost 300 documents!

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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!

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

 

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 OCTOBER 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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How to Clean a Glass Cooktop

how-to-clean-a-glass-cooktop-clean-mamaFrustrated with your glass cooktop? The most common complaint I hear for glass stovetop owners is how they show every single spatter, drop and food remnant. It takes seconds for those little spills to bake on and once they are there, they are difficult to remove. There are plenty of commercial cleaners on the market but they don’t always deliver on their promise to clean and they come with a pretty hefty price tag.

Today I am sharing with you my favorite glass cooktop cleaning recipe. It contains gentle, natural ingredients that really pack a punch to help soften and remove those tricky baked on remnants of who knows what without scratching or damaging your cooktop. The best part? You simply mix, spray, let it sit and wipe. That’s it! The majority of the work is done while you wait for this cleaner to do its magic. That’s my kind of cleaning.

Glass Cooktop Cleaner:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • optional: add up to 7 drops essential oil – lemon and orange are great choices!

Add all the ingredients to a spray bottle and gently shake to combine.

add-baking-soda-clean-mamaI find that it works best to pour the baking soda in first – use a funnel to keep spillage to a minimum.

add-castile-soap-clean-mamaThen add the castile soap.

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And finally the water and essential oils if you’re using them.

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Shake vigorously.  Once the solution is dissolved, it’s ready to use.

Spray the solution onto the glass cooktop surface and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Spray again and wipe clean. Rinse any remaining residue and dry with a clean, soft cloth or paper towels. Microfiber cloths will give a streak free shine and are ideal for drying and polishing glass cooktops.

Any remaining cleaner can be stored for a week but the solution will settle – just shake it well before using.

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Looking for my favorite method for cleaning gas cooktops?

How to Clean a Gas Cooktop via Clean Mama

This recipe is from my book, The Organically Clean Home – find out more here!

The Organically Clean Home - Clean Mama

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Working From Home : Find Your Own Work Flow

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Today’s blog post is for anyone that struggles with comparison – this can be looking at someone else’s life, kids, social media, financial standing, or it can be about blogging and the comparison that goes with that.  This is something that I feel you can watch play out among bloggers, online business owners, etc.  EVERYTHING is out there for all to see which makes comparison a very easy trap to fall into.  I thought it would be a good discussion and something that I need to consistently evaluate in my own heart – how does comparison affect you and what can you do about it?

First Things First:

I think it’s important to say that the best thing you can do for your business or job is to decide early on that what you’re doing will have different rules and priorities than anyone else.  Don’t be afraid to do things differently or how what you feel is the best for you and your business.  Celebrate others’ accomplishments and great ideas, just don’t worry if you do things differently.   If you work in the online community, find a tribe of bloggers or business owners that you can trust and can bounce ideas off of, but realize that you will still do things your way and that’s good, that’s what will make you stand out.

Find Your Own Work Flow:

You need to work at your own pace – don’t compare a corporation for what you can do.  If you have a corporation or a team that works for/with you, you can do more but you still need to have definitive work and rest times so you and your employees want to come to work the next day.  Set boundaries and stick to them – if you want to work from 9-5, Monday – Friday, don’t work over the weekend.  Want to work evenings when the kids are sleeping?  Be ready for flexibility and don’t sacrifice your sleep.  Close the computer and walk away.  Set a timer that tells you to turn off the computer if you have to, but set boundaries that you can keep.

Do what works for you and your business:

I have made quite a few business decisions that I labored over and second-guessed but at the end of the day I have to say YES to the things that work for me and family and my business and not what would look great to everyone else. Have I missed out on opportunities and money with potential long-term benefits?  Of course.  But if something doesn’t work for my long term goals, it doesn’t work for my short term goals either.  Let your YES be YES and your NO be NO and once you make a decision, stick with it and don’t second guess it.

Comparison IS the thief of Joy:

I love the quote from Theodore Roosevelt, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’.  It can be applied to so many scenarios, but in business or working for yourself, it can hit home quickly.  What’s awesome for you might feel like it pales in comparison to someone you admire online or in real life.  When you focus on someone else you take the focus off of yourself and your business or your work.  Stop doing it.  Go on a social media hiatus if you have to but stop comparing your business to someone else’s best stuff.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before but social media is someone else’s highlight reel – the best stuff, what they want you to see, the pretty and perfect pictures.  I struggle with this because on one hand people come to me as a cleaning expert but the reason I am a cleaning expert is because my house gets dirty too and I’ve figured out some simple ways to teach people how to clean their houses too.  Shoot, I am cleaning pee off the bathroom walls just like other moms out there 🙂 .

Stop comparison by having an editorial calendar:

One of the best cures for comparison for me was to create an editorial calendar.  This summer has been crazy for lots of reasons and my calendar might only be ready for a week or two ahead, but when I’m on my A game I have my blog calendar done for 3-6 months in advance.  I have been known to have things blocked out for a whole year ahead – it might morph a little bit and change but this keeps me from checking what other people are doing and it keeps me focused on my business and not someone else’s.  Originality is the key to having a business that stands out – the more you look around, the less you’ll trust your instincts and think that someone else has a better idea.  They don’t – not for you, your ideas are the best FOR YOU and your business, audience, colleagues, etc.

What does this mean?

Do what works for you and your job or your business.  Stop looking around, keep you nose down and work the time you’ve set aside and let what’s meant to be fall into place.  Enjoy the things that really matter and stop worrying about someone you don’t really know and their game plan.  Concentrate on your own – the outcome will most likely be the same but you’ll feel so much more at ease about the process.  Trust me, I can attest to this simple switch in my own life – it’s freeing!

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Share your top work flow tip in the comments or how you’ve seen comparison be the thief of joy or if you have a topic you’d like me to cover in this series, let me know!

This post is part of a Working from Home Series:

Working From Home - Flexibility is Essential - Clean Mama

Working From Home - Increase Productivity with Block Scheduling - Clean Mama

 

Psst…my Everyday Work @ Home Kit is perfect for working at home!

everyday work @ home kit - clean mama

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How to Naturally Clean Any Washing Machine + Free Printable

HOW TO CLEAN ANY WASHING MACHINE

A clean washing machine is essential to clean laundry – if you’ve had issues with sour or musty smelling ‘clean’ laundry, you probably need to add cleaning your washing machine to your routine.  Cleaning your washing machine takes under a minute of active cleaning time and you’ll reap the benefits in clean laundry.

You can clean a top loading or front loading machine with white vinegar or bleach.  My preference is to use either white vinegar OR non-chlorinated bleach because they are safe, all-natural solutions, but some washing machine manufacturers recommend only using chlorinated bleach.  Most importantly, follow the instructions for your specific machine or try one of these natural methods.

How to Naturally Clean Any Washing Machine - Clean Mama

Top Load

Cleaning your top loading washing machine is simple, all you really need is white vinegar and some cleaning cloths.  Worried that your laundry room will smell like a pickle?  Once the rinse cycle runs you won’t smell the vinegar.

  • Start by setting your washer to its hottest temperature, highest capacity and longest cycle.
  • Add four cups of white vinegar to the hot water, close the lid and allow it to agitate for several minutes.
  • Open the lid or pause/stop the machine and allow it to sit for an hour so that the vinegar can do its job to get rid of the bacteria, mold and mildew and the hoses of your machine.

After you have run a complete cycle with the vinegar solution, you can repeat the process if your washing machine is extra dirty.  The vinegar does a great job of removing any buildup, not to mention softening any soap scum and other residue that may be in the washer and hoses. Let your machine agitate the solution for several minutes and open the lid.

While you allow this solution to sit for an hour, it’s time to tackle the exterior of the washer as well as the fabric softener and bleach reservoirs. Using a cleaning rag or microfiber cloth, dip it in the vinegar solution and wring it out. Wipe down the exterior, lid and control panel, taking care to not get it too wet.  Remove the bleach reservoir and wipe down around the area where scum and dirt tends to collect.  Rinse your cloth and remove the softener reservoir from the machine and wipe the exterior and interior of it as well.  Close the lid and allow the washer to complete its cycle.

(HE) Front Load or (HE) Top Load

Front load washing machines are relatively new on the home appliance market and have quickly gained popularity for their efficiency and cleaning abilities. Despite all the benefits they have to offer, there is one common complaint that seems to plague owners: stinky laundry. Wiping down the interior of the washer with cleaner, using extra detergent or running everything on the longest, hottest cycle does nothing to help dissipate the scent. However, one simple cleaning task will not only eliminate the issue, it will keep your washer in tip-top condition.

HE washing machines use less water and less energy which in turn can result in more mildew, mold, detergent residue and buildup in your washer. Some washers have a separate cleaning cycle as an option – I have that on my washing machine and run that cycle after I wash cleaning rags every week.  I’m pretty sure that that is the secret to a non-smelly HE washing machine.

The best way to clean your front loading washer is simple:

  • Select the hot water setting. If your machine does not have a hot water setting, then select a “white” or a “stain” cycle setting.
  • Select the “extra rinse” option if your washer has that choice.
  • Add ¾  cup of white vinegar OR ¾ cup non-chlorinated bleach (not both!) to the bleach dispenser or fill to its max level.
  • Allow the cycle to run until it has completed.
  • To ensure that no vinegar remains in your washer, manually select an additional rinse cycle if your washer does not have a 2nd rinse cycle selection.

After you have finished washing the interior of the washer, take a couple minutes to clean the bleach and fabric softener dispensers. These can be easily cleaned by simply removing and washing in warm, soapy water to remove any residue or by wiping them down with white vinegar on a cleaning cloth.  Rinse and dry them thoroughly before reinserting them.

Make sure you wipe down the rubber seal on the door as it is a perfect hiding spot for mold and mildew. Carefully pull back the rubber gasket and inspect to see if you have mold, mildew or socks (as is the case with mine). Carefully wipe down the area with white vinegar and a soft, white cleaning cloth.  Rinse with a cloth dampened with water and dry thoroughly with a clean cloth to prevent any moisture build-up.

After cleaning these three zones, you can wipe down the exterior and control panel with a gentle all-purpose cleaning spray to remove any dust and dirt buildup.  Maintaining a clean washer and eliminating the stinky laundry issue is simple.

My number one maintenance tip?  Be sure to leave the door open to prevent moisture build-up in between loads and clean it inside and out every month.

Go here to grab this FREE PRINTABLE infographic and clean your washing machine!

HOW TO CLEAN ANY WASHING MACHINE

Here are some other laundry posts you might enjoy!

4 Ways to Naturally Soften and Freshen Your Laundry - Clean Mama copy

4 Ways to Naturally Soften + Freshen Your Laundry

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

Keeping Your Whites White

How to De-Stink Active Wear - Clean Mama

How to De-Stink Active Wear

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Home Tour : A Simple + Efficient Kitchen

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I’m slowly making it through my home tour this year and today I’m sharing my kitchen.  I’ve shared different parts of the kitchen on the blog and on social media but today it’ll all be in one place.  We did a small update a couple years ago – we added added new countertops, a backsplash, moved the island, added new lighting, a new cooktop and vent and a couple other smaller details.  We love the kitchen and workspace – it’s large and still efficient and just right for our family.

 

Kitchen Counter with Bar Mop Towels in a Jar - Clean Mama

One of my favorite features is the backsplash – it’s simple and adds interest to the room and protects the walls and it’s super easy to wipe clean.  I love that it’s a variation on subway tile.

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The subway tile backsplash is from Lowe’s – you can purchase at the store or online and there are a few color different variations of the same tile.

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The granite we chose was from a local countertop supplier – it’s a fairly common granite that you can probably find at just about any supplier – New Venetian Gold.

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The paint is Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter – my favorite go-with-everything neutral.

Clear Kitchen Counters via Clean Mama

I love having a couple simple ‘stations’ in the kitchen with everyday items – it really helps keep things organized and at the ready.

Organized Every Day Kitchen Items via Clean Mama

Clean Refrigerator via Clean Mama

One of my favorite things about the whole kitchen is the cookbook storage – I love it!

Recipe Binders and Cookbooks via Clean Mama

3 Things Every Command Center Needs via Clean Mama

I also love the little command center too – it’s just right.

Organized Kitchen Towels via Clean Mama copy

Organized towels and cleaning cloths is my love language (not really, I just love having neat and tidy towels :)).  You can see more about my favorite towels for the kitchen here.

Kitchen Towels - Clean Mama

I divided our kitchen up into zones or work spaces and then organized the drawers from there.  (You can see how I created zones in the pantry here and zones in the kitchen here.)  And here’s how to organize a kitchen drawer in 15 minutes.  I made a list of all the drawers and what went in each drawer – this was really helpful to keep everything together and contained.

Measuring Cups and Spoons via Clean Mama

Going around the kitchen from left to right, here are the drawers in my kitchen:

  • grill
  • paper goods
  • silverware
  • cutting boards
  • dish towels
  • measuring cups and spoons (baking)
  • oven mitts and hot pads and wraps (foil, parchment, etc)
  • pots & pans
  • oversized pans
  • baking pans

Oven Mitts & Pot Holders and Wraps via Clean Mama

I also have six large drawers in the island (work station) – the top two drawers have large silverware organizers and they are labeled:

  • thermometers, scoops, grate & press, cakes, miscellaneous
  • knives, openers, cutters, bottle stoppers, miscellaneous

Labeled Tool Drawer via Clean Mama

Then the pull-out drawers under each one are labeled:

  • food storage
  • baking pans
  • food processing
  • roasting supplies

Food Storage and Baking Pans via Clean Mama

 

Pots and Pans and Oversized Pans via Clean Mama

Nightly Sink Scrub Under the Kitchen Sink - Clean Mama

And under the kitchen sink too!  Keep your favorite cleaning tools ready for cleaning and you’ll be more likely to use them.

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

LAUNDRY ROOM TOUR - Clean Mama

Easy to Clean Mud Room - Clean Mama

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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Simple Weeknight Meals to Make this Week

Simple Weeknight Meals to Make this Week - Clean MamaThe start of the school year always has me feeling a little overwhelmed when it comes to meal planning. After school activities, waiting in pickup line, and other errand running and odds and ends seem to creep closer and closer to dinnertime and leave me with less time to meal prep. On those days when I don’t have much time to plan and execute a complicated dinner, I love to have a handful of dinner options that require minimal brain power and time. Enter in the recipes I am sharing with you today.

These main course meal options are perfect for a busy evening and are family friendly. No crazy ingredients or fussy prep required. I like to pair them with a simple side like a steamed vegetable, salad, or fresh fruit. Try one this week and see what you think.

  • Rotisserie chicken to the rescue with these baked tacos smothered with homemade crema. Baked Chicken Street Tacos via Kleinworth Co.
  • These juicy and sweet meatballs are not only made in the slow cooker, but they make a big enough batch to freeze the leftovers or save for leftovers.  Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Meatballs via Carlsbad Cravings
  • 20 minutes is all it takes to whip up this delightfully satisfying fresh pasta dish. 20-Minute Tomato Pesto Pasta via Mel’s Kitchen
  • The ultimate in comfort food, the grilled cheese sandwich gets a makeover with the addition of bacon, avocado and tomato. Turkey Bacon and Avocado Grilled Cheese via Tidy Mom
  • All the flavors of a classic Italian sandwich in salad form. The homemade dressings kicks it up a notch and adds the perfect amount of zing with every bite.  Italian Sub Salad via Wicked Spatula
  • This satisfying and creamy soup is the ideal one pot meal made even easier in the slow cooker. Paired with your favorite crusty bread, dinner is served. Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup via Pinch of Yum

Don’t miss the Menu Planning Mini Challenge and make sure you download the FREE printables linked in the post!

Simple Weeknight Meals - Clean Mama

Check out these free printables and menu planning posts to inspire your menu planning!

Free Printable – Make Ahead Meals

Free Printable – What’s for Dinner? Weekly Menu Planner

Free Printable – Family Favorites

And a handful of menu planning posts I think you’ll love – just click on the images….

Menu Planning 101 - How to Get Dinner on the Table with Ease via Clean Mama

Customize Your Make Ahead Grilling and Get Together Menu via Clean Mama

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - 7 Time Saving Meals for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - Take 2 - 7 Time Saving Recipes for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

How to Create a Recipe Binder System that Works via Clean Mama

8 Make-Ahead Recipes that Will Change your Menu Planning via Clean Mama

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Menu Planning : Family Favorites Free Printable

Family Favorites Free Printable - Clean Mama

One of my best tips and tricks for menu planning is to keep a running list of favorite recipes on hand in my recipe binder.  Yes, it’s easy to recall favorite recipes but sometimes when menu planning it’s hard to come up with winner-dinners.  I’m not saying that every night you need to knock it out of the park but it’s nice to have a list of favorite recipes to rely on for menu planning.

As part of the Menu Planning Mini Challenge I have this free printable for you – it’s part of the Everyday Menu Planning Kit in my shop here.  Print it out, make a list of favorites and next time you are stumped on what to make for dinner or plan for the next week, grab your list and choose a couple winners.

Free Printable - Family Favorites - Clean Mama

Download your FREE Family Favorites printable here!

If you like this free printable – here are 2 more free printables that match!

Make Ahead Meals

What’s for Dinner? Weekly Menu Planner

And a handful of menu planning posts I think you’ll love….

Menu Planning 101 - How to Get Dinner on the Table with Ease via Clean Mama

Customize Your Make Ahead Grilling and Get Together Menu via Clean Mama

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - 7 Time Saving Meals for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - Take 2 - 7 Time Saving Recipes for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

How to Create a Recipe Binder System that Works via Clean Mama

8 Make-Ahead Recipes that Will Change your Menu Planning via Clean Mama

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Menu Planning Mini Challenge

I’m challenging myself (and you!) to a little MENU PLANNING MINI CHALLENGE this week!  Follow along on Instagram for each daily challenge.  I’ll be showing you my completed challenge in our home ‘live’ as it’s completed each day and sharing a couple posts throughout the week as well.

Menu Planning Mini Challenge - Clean Mama

The premise is that with about 15 minutes each day, we can put a little menu planning in place that will carry us through the busy months ahead. Menu planning is a huge time saver but if you don’t have time to start, it’s probably too much.  This week let’s get started and get a menu plan – I’ll have a fresh menu plan for you later this week with simple and easy recipes that’ll get you started.  I’m linking up some posts here that will be helpful if you’d like to check out what I’ve said before on menu planning.  I’ll be posting all of my live progress on Instagram so follow along or peek over there each day.

Make sure you sign up for my posts too!  I’ll be posting about menu planning this week as well – don’t miss a post!

Ready for a mini challenge?  Here are the tasks for each day:

MONDAY – Take a couple minutes to Declutter cookbooks – donate any cookbooks that you no longer use.  Keep cookbooks that you love and use.  If you have a couple extra minutes, put a sticky note or tab on any recipes that you might want to put in the meal rotation.

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

 

TUESDAY – Sort through any loose recipes and/or recipe binder – I love my recipe binders – they are one of my favorite organization tools.  BUT, sometimes I end up with a stack of recipes that I haven’t filed or haven’t made (good intentions, right?). Today is the day to go through any recipes that you need to file, make, or toss.  If you don’t have a recipe binder, go through recipe cards or your online recipe keeping method.

How to Create a Recipe Binder System that Works via Clean Mama

WEDNESDAY – make a list of family favorite recipes – If you’re looking for a method for menu planning, start by making a list of family favorites.  Try to come up with 20-30 favorite recipes – use this list as your base to start your menu planning.

4 Ways to Add Structure to Your Menu Plan via Clean Mama

THURSDAY – Make a menu plan for the coming week – free printable!  Make your menu plan for the coming week – need some help with ideas, start with your family favorites list and/or check out these posts – Busy Week Menu Plan(1) + Busy Week Menu Plan(2).

Whats-For-Dinner-FREE-Printable-main-via-Clean-Mama-3

FRIDAY – Make a grocery list and grocery shop for the coming week – these are in my shop if you’re interested (individually or as a menu planning kit)

Everyday Grocery Shopping Lists - Close-Up - Clean Mama copy

I love doing mini challenges – here’s the last one I did – Fall Organization Mini challenge.

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ENDED: EXTENDED through 8/30 – Last chance to get the Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit for FREE!

EXTENDED – Grove has extended this deal for you! Don’t miss this out on getting the Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit for FREE ($31+ value + free shipping) – hurry and grab yours before it’s gone 8/30!  Here’s a little recap….

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Grove Collaborative is an online marketplace that delivers natural household and personal care products right to your door. Most of the products that I use and love are on their shelves and now you can also purchase Clean Mama Home products as well!  Hooray!

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Here’s how you can get the Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit for FREE (with free shipping too!) while checking off items on your shopping list at the same time. (NEW customers only – sorry!)

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Do this to grab your FREE Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit ($31.27 value) and free shipping!

  1. Go to Grove Collaborative by clicking here.
  2. Take a simple 4-question quiz (this only takes seconds) to help them find your favorite products.
  3. They will create a custom cart of products for you to try (you can change scents, quantities, or delete entirely) and it will add the Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit for free – and bonus, you’ll get free shipping on top of all that!
  4. Change or delete any products you don’t want (just keep at least $20 in there to get the free products!)
  5. Check out, save money and free stuff shows up at your house!  You can cancel anytime, pause service, or choose a delivery time that works for you.
  6. If you join their VIP program, you always get free shipping + 5 free gifts each year!

A couple reasons I use Grove Collaborative as my natural homekeeping resource:

  • Flexible delivery schedules — automatically receive monthly shipments or edit delivery dates to get products exactly when you need them
  • Custom baskets — They make suggestions, but you can always make changes or add/remove products – I love this for finding new products!  You can search by brand or by category – if you’re looking for more Clean Mama Home products just look on the brands dropdown and you’ll find it under Clean Mama.
  • No surprises — you’ll get two reminder e-mails (one week and one day before a scheduled shipment) so you can make any necessary changes.
  • Great customer service — they have an entire Community Happiness team ready to answer your questions and help you with your purchase.


Go fill up a basket
– I think you’ll be surprised by just HOW MUCH you can save – I filled my basket with all these products for just over $25!  The suggested price of all these products is over $62 – that’s a savings of well over 50% and you get FREE shipping!  Just make sure you keep $20 in your basket to get the free Clean Mama Home products.

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Here’s everything you’ll see in your basket – keep it or change it up for your needs – just keep at least $20 in your cart so you get the FREE Clean Mama Home products.

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Haven’t tried Grove? What are you waiting for? Click here to grab your free gifts AND free shipping now before it’s gone 8/30/16! (Please note that this is offer is only for *new* customers only – if you’re an existing customer, you can add Clean Mama Home products to you list for your next delivery – yay!

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Disclaimer: I worked with Grove to create this free offer for you, it is not a sponsored post. If you choose to grab these free products, I do receive a commission.  You can read my full disclaimer here.
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Come Clean – FREE Cleaning Calendar for September 2016

It’s almost September and that means that it’s time for September’s FREE cleaning calendar!

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.

Free Cleaning Calendar - September 2016 - Clean Mama

If you’re feeling like you need some help with your cleaning and homekeeping and don’t know where to start, you’ll 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 workable solution for even the busiest of 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 SEPTEMBER 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 September 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.

Free Cleaning Calendar for September 2016 - Clean Mama

 

Go here to grab your FREE calendar for September 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!)

Find Out More Homekeeping Society

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

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3 DIY Cleaners You Should be Making

3 DIY Cleaners You Should Be Making - Clean Mama

I love making my own cleaners for a number of reasons – it’s cheaper, I know exactly what I’m cleaning with (no unknown chemicals to worry about), and surprisingly, natural ingredients just work as well or better than conventional cleaning products.  If you’re on the fence about making your own cleaners, or afraid to start, or maybe you think it’ll take too long, start with one or all three of these cleaners.  I always use glass spray bottles to put my cleaners in because it keeps the ingredients stable longer, they look cute, and they just give a nicer feel to the cleaning process.

Window + Mirror Cleaning Spray Ingredients - Clean Mama

Window + Mirror Cleaning Spray – this one is a favorite of mine – truly, it works better than the blue stuff and it costs pennies to make.  The rubbing alcohol helps the water evaporate a little more quickly and

WINDOW + MIRROR CLEANING SPRAY

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil

Ingredients for Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray - Clean Mama

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray – if you have quartz, marble, or granite counters you CANNOT use vinegar on them.  And if you’ve been purchasing marble or granite cleaner it can be as expensive as $6-7 a bottle.  Here’s another one that costs pennies and works better than anything I’ve used.

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray

  • 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon castile or dish soap (if you want your spray to smell like your dish soap, use that)

Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner - Clean Mama

All-Purpose Cleaning + Disinfecting Spray – You know you need to clean and disinfect the bathrooms but HOW can you do it and be confident that a DIY recipe is actually working?  This recipe combines vodka (or feel free to use rubbing alcohol) and vinegar with essential oils to do a one-two punch on germs.  It’s effective, kills germs, and you don’t have to wear a mask in the process.  Simply spray, let sit for 10 minutes and wipe clean.

All-Purpose Cleaning + Disinfecting Spray

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vodka (excellent germ-killing properties)
  • 15 drops of your favorite essential oils (lavender + lemon and peppermint + lemon are my favorite combos)
  • 1 1/4 cups water

Vinegar is not safe on natural stone – marble, granite, etc.  If you have that in your bathroom(s), use the marble + granite cleaning spray.

Grab the spray bottle and labels in my Clean Mama Home shop if you’re interested!

small spray bottle with labels  - cmh

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