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

Clean Mama’s Favorites on The Organizing Store

I am so excited to let you know that I have a collection of my favorite things at The Organizing Store.  If you haven’t been to The Organizing Store, head on over and check them out!  I have personally met the owners, Deb and Allie and can tell you that they are just the kind of people you’re going to love shopping with.  They put the best products on their site and make it so fun to figure out what to shop for to organize your home!

Clean Mama on the Organizing Store

Check out my curated shop – you’ll find some of my favorite things, sure to help you get your home organized and clean in a hurry!

The Organizing Store Fave Products

If that isn’t enough excitement for one day, click on the image below to see The Ultimate Cleaning Cupboard Giveaway they have this week too!

Giveaway InstagramThis post contains affiliate links – you can go here to see my affiliate link policy.  As always, I only recommend products that I use and love.

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Week 2 : Spring Clean in 30

It’s officially spring cleaning season and A Bowl Full of Lemons and I are half way through our “Spring Clean in 30″ Challenge!  We are completing 30 cleaning tasks (each under 30 minutes) for the next 30 days and sharing daily on Instagram.  If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can find out what we’ve been cleaning each week by way of a weekly update on the blog.  If you have an Instagram account, follow us at @cleanmama and @abowlfulloflemons to see our daily tasks.  We would love for you to join the challenge and share and tag us, using the hash tag #springcleanin30.  Grab the FREE checklist here!  And go here to see all the tools I’ll be using this month as well.

spring clean in 30 via Clean Mama

Here’s an overview of what we spring cleaned this week:

WEEK 2

  • Day 8:  Wipe door knobs and doors
  • Day 9:  Dust light fixtures
  • Day 10: Freshen disposals and all drains
  • Day 11: Dust ceiling fans
  • Day 12: Clean refrigerator and freezer
  • Day 13: Clean oven and microwave
  • Day 14: Clear and clean kitchen counters

 

Day 8: Wipe door knobs and doors – use a wipe on the door knobs and this method for cleaning doors.

Day 8 Wipe Door Knobs and Doors via Clean Mama

Day 9: Dust light fixtures – I love using this filament extendable duster for light fixtures because it easily and gently cleans light fixtures.

Day 9 Dust Light Fixtures via Clean Mama

Day 10: Freshen disposals and all drains – check out this post for the simple how-to on cleaning drains and garbage disposals.

Day 10 Freshen Disposal and Drains via Clean Mama

Day 11: Dust ceiling fans – I use the fan cleaning attachment from this kit to clean my ceiling fans.  If you don’t have a fan cleaner, you can place an old pillowcase over each blade one by one and turn on the fan or wipe it clean.

Day 11 Dust Ceiling Fans via Clean Mama

Day 12: Clean refrigerator and freezer.  This task is often overlooked, but it makes a big difference!  Clean it really well (see my favorite method here) and then stay on top of the task by wiping off your shelves before you go to the grocery store.

Day 12 Clean Refrigerator and Freezer via Clean Mama

Day 13: Clean oven and microwave – I use this method for cleaning my oven.  I love that it’s safe and natural and it really works!

Day 13 Clean Oven and Microwave via Clean Mama

Day 14: Clear and clean kitchen counters and you might want to see this post on how to keep them cleared off for good!

DAY 14 Clear and Clean Kitchen Counters via Clean Mama

 

Follow along on Instagram or check back here next week for another set of cleaning tasks.  Happy Spring Cleaning!

Revisit the Spring Clean In 30 Challenge here:

 

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Practical Cleaning Routine Tips for Any Schedule

Practical Cleaning Routine Tips via Clean Mama

I talk a lot about my cleaning routine and what tasks to do on different days and how to complete those tasks, but how about specific ideas for ways to implement my cleaning routine into a variety of schedules?  Today I’m going to share some simple tips and tricks for how to incorporate a cleaning routine. Let’s not dispute whose schedule is more difficult to fit a cleaning routine into, but let’s talk about HOW to incorporate a cleaning routine because figuring out WHEN to clean can freeze up the progress.  I’ve included some helpful posts that you might like to take a peek at as you’re reading as well.  You can always find the current month’s FREE cleaning calendar at the top of my free printables page!

A little bit about Clean Mama’s Cleaning Routine:

I love a clean house, but when people live in a home, cleaning up is constant.  That’s where a cleaning routine is essential – simple tasks completed daily and weekly really keep the cleaning to a minimum so I can spend time with my family and not cleaning.  With minutes a day and a plan, homekeeping can be enjoyable, simple, and easy to fit into your busy life and schedule.  In case you’re curious, I have been implementing this cleaning routine for nearly 15 years – as a newly married, full-time working gal, a full-time working out of the house mom, a stay-at-home mom, a traveling working in and out of the home mom, and now a work-at-home mom with three active kiddos.  This routine is for anyone that’s busy and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning.  It may need to be tweaked for your life and schedule, but if you want to spend a couple minutes every day with a little homekeeping, the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine is for you!  Remember, it’s just ‘everyday a little something’!

Practical Suggestions for Implementing Clean Mama’s Cleaning Routine:

WORKING OUTSIDE OF THE HOME
If you work outside the home and get home late or leave early (or both!) and are exhausted and have no energy to put a cleaning routine into place, my best suggestion is to start with 5-10 minutes before you leave for work and 5-10 minutes when you get home.  Start with the daily tasks and work on completing them every day.  If the daily tasks are overwhelming, just start with one – one load of laundry from start to put away, pick up clutter, check floors, or wipe counters.  Add one every week and before you know it you’ll have built a little routine into your schedule.  Once you feel like you’ve got a good handle on daily tasks, start adding the weekly cleaning tasks – Monday is bathrooms day, Tuesday is Dusting Day, etc.  Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and do what you can in that amount of time and forget the rest.  Keep going and before long you’ll have added this step to your routine as well.  If you feel like you can add more time, and get more accomplished, increase your time to 15-20 minutes.

If you work 12 hour shifts or an unpredictable schedule, you might need to double up tasks and tackle two or three on your days off so you truly don’t have to do much on the days that you are at work.  A cleaning routine can be accomplished, but give yourself grace while you’re trying to figure out what works best for you.

The following post might be helpful if you’re trying to find a good rhythm for your routine:

Six Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean via Clean MamaSix Things I Do Every Day To Keep the House Clean

WORKING AT HOME
Studies show that taking breaks throughout the day can actually help you be more productive.  Choose specific times to take homekeeping breaks and throw a load of laundry into the washing machine or unload the dishwasher.  These little breaks will get your body moving and might just help you be more productive during the day.  I find it most helpful to get my homekeeping tasks out of the way early in the day so they don’t get pushed to the back burner and not completed.  Find YOUR time to clean – do you get more accomplished with little chunks of time throughout the day or do you do better by getting it all completed before you start working.  Figure out what works best for you!

Feeling Overwhelmed Try one of these simple tasks via Clean Mama
Feeling overwhelmed?  Do One of These Simple Tasks

STAY AT HOME
If you are at home all day with kids or if they are at school for part of the day, you know that the house is most likely in a constant state of flux and mess or potential mess.  ENJOY it, but if you need to have it tidied up during the day (I do!), my best suggestion is to implement times during the day when the kids tidy up their messes and you do your daily/weekly tasks.  Complete tasks during nap time or when kids are playing independently.  Building time to clean up into your schedule is the best way to find the time to clean.  If you don’t plan cleaning, you’ll get to the end of the day and realize you didn’t get anything done and feel defeated.  I find that seasonal cleaning is really helpful to get that everything’s cleaned all at once feeling.


Spring Clean in 30 FREE Printable Checklist via Clean MamaSpring Clean in 30 Challenge

GETTING KIDS INVOLVED
If you have children, get them involved in homekeeping.  It will make it easier for you to incorporate cleaning and they’ll help make the work a little lighter for you.  A couple things that work well at our house – take one activity out at a time, clean up before lunch/naps, clean up before dinner, quick clean up before bedtime.   Assign specific, age-appropriate tasks – laundry, dusting, making beds, cleaning up after themselves are all simple daily tasks that kids of all ages can complete with a little guidance.

 

Let's Clean House - 2 Free Kids Cleaning Checklists - Clean Mama Let’s Clean House – Cleaning With Kids (free printable chore cards)

Pick a Chore Jar via Clean MamaSimple Chore + Reward System (free printables)

What are your best tips for implementing a cleaning routine with your schedule?  What have you done that works?

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Did you see the CLEAN MAMA ESSENTIALS KIT?  It’s perfect for your cleaning routine!

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Gather Your Tools | The Best Tools for Spring Cleaning

The Best Tools for Spring Cleaning via Clean Mama

If you’re ready to do some SPRING CLEANING, you’ll need to gather your tools.  I find it most effective to gather from tools I have and then assess the situation and see if I need to get anything else.  This ensures that I am ready to do a little bit of cleaning every day and stay on track to meet my goal of having the whole house spring-cleaned by the end of April in under 30 minutes a day.   Grab a container, a basket, or a cleaning caddy and collect the tools you’ll need for spring cleaning.  You can carry this from room to room with you or keep it in a mudroom or storage closet and just take out what’s needed each day.

Spring Cleaning Caddy via Clean Mama

The best tools for spring cleaning also happen to be some of my favorite cleaning tools.  I am guessing you have a few of these already and if you don’t and you don’t have the budget for anything new, make do with what you have.  Spring cleaning is mostly about dusting and vacuuming and cleaning those not-cleaned-very-often places in our homes.  If you do end up purchasing new, you’ll have great all-purpose cleaning tools to use all year long.

The Best Tools for Spring Cleaning - details -  via Clean Mama

Clean Mama’s Favorite Spring Cleaning Tools

(links go to the products – some are affiliate links – read my full disclosure here)

What else would you add?  I’ll be back in a couple days with my favorite SPRING CLEANERS – make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss a thing!

Are you cleaning along with us?  Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons and I can’t wait to get started with you!  The #springclean30 challenge starts on April 1st!

 

Spring Clean in 30 FREE Printables Checklist via Clean Mama

Don’t forget to grab and print your FREE checklist here!

Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning Kit

Can’t wait to get started?  The Clean Mama Spring Cleaning Kit is in the shop! You can see all the products in my shop here.

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FREE Cleaning Calendar for April 2015

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

Fresh Start Clean+Organized 2015

If you’ve been following Clean Mama for even a week, I hope you know that everyday 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 April and get ready to see how doing a little bit everyday really is the secret to a clean house.  If you’re doing the Spring Clean in 30 Challenge, I also have a version with the challenge included.

Cleaning Routine Infographic - Clean Mama

Want to join in on the fun? Grab a FREE cleaning and organizing calendar for April and give it a go. Follow along for motivational posts and tips to keep up with the daily and weekly tasks. I also post daily reminders on Instagram and Facebook!

Free Cleaning Calendar from Clean Mama

Go here to grab your FREE calendar for April 2015!  If you’d prefer to download from Googledocs, go here.

April Fresh Start Calendar + Spring Cleaning Challenge via Clean Mama

If you’re doing the Spring Clean in 30 Challenge and want a combined checklist you can grab it here.

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

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Homekeeping Society | April Essentials

April 2015 Homekeeping Society main Clean Mama

Feel like you need a little help staying on top of the dailies, you will be thrilled with April’s HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY.  A big CHANGE – I’ve added an EASY PRINT feature to the downloads!  Open and print the pages in ONE step.  This is set up exactly how the printed version is packaged with 4 pages of the weekly planners, etc.  This change is designed to take the guesswork and any hassle out of the printing process.  Of course, the individual pages are also included, but if you want to print everything in one easy step, you’ll be really excited about this addition.  (Keep reading for a great coupon if you want to try out HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY!)

April’s monthly essentials are aqua and teal with adorable touches of a cute flag bunting – perfect for getting ready for spring!  If you’re a member (log in here) and if you’d like to sign up today, it’s an instant (almost – it might a few minutes) download.  The Homekeeping Society MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION is designed to create order out of your household chaos and help you keep your home clean and your mind less cluttered.  Take a peek at what I’ve created for the month of April – you’re going to LOVE it!

Quote for the Kitchen Sink - Clean Mama's Homekeeping Society

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 it can feel downright defeating many days. Why bother cleaning when it’s only going to be a mess again the next day!

Curious about Homekeeping Society and want to try it out? I’ve got a coupon code this month for 25% off your first month – enter the code 25APRIL at checkout (coupon expires 3/31/15) and you’ll receive 25% off this month’s subscription (the regular price will resume after this month).  All payments are secure with SSL encryption.

 April 2015 Daily Monthly Pages - Homekeeping Society - Clean Mama

I understand just where you are coming from. Keeping your home clean while maintaining your sanity can be incredibly stressful. You may feel as though you can’t do anything right when it comes to maintaining a clean, organized, and welcoming home and even if you could find the time, you wouldn’t know where to start.

Need some serious help, a virtual hand to hold and guide you through the process of cleaning, homekeeping, and creating a home you feel proud of?  That’s exactly why I created the Homekeeping Society, the perfect monthly intervention that is purposely designed to get your life and home in order with ease and adorable seasonal touches to keep you motivated.

I’ve created a monthly essentials subscription designed to help you get your home and life in order – HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY.  This monthly subscription is made for YOU to get your life in order – with ease and adorable seasonal touches to keep you motivated to do the daily tasks that get boring and monotonous.

April 2015 Homekeeping Society via Clean Mama

 

 

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT EVERY MONTH:

  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 (April is Spring Cleaning) – this page lays it out 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- make a menu plan and take it with you
  8. MENU PLAN FOR THE MONTH – always includes a list for recipe ideas or ingredients to pick up
  9. 2 MONTHLY CALENDARS (1 blank, 1 pre-filled) – suggested daily cleaning tasks, weekly cleaning tasks, rotating cleaning tasks, organizing suggestions
  10. SEASONAL PREPARATION PRINTABLE – a helpful seasonal prep printable is always included in the monthly subscription – perfect for placing in a binder (April is a spring cleaning checklist)
  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 includes a HOUSEHOLD FOOD INVENTORY – fill them 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.)

Clean Mama's Homekeeping Society - April 2015

 

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 to this post.

Menu Planning - April Homekeeping Society - Clean Mama

 

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 April 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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Spring Clean in 30 (Sneak Peek)

Spring Clean in 30 Challenge Sneak Peek

Feeling like your home needs a little spring cleaning?  I love spring cleaning and am so excited to be teaming up with Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons to bring you a Spring Cleaning Challenge (SPRING CLEAN IN 30) on April 1st!  From now until the start of the challenge I’ll have a FREE printable calendar and cleaning plan, ideas for gearing up for spring cleaning, and simple menu plans for getting food on the table while you’re busy spring cleaning (or just busy).  Then on April 1st, the challenge will start on Instagram with daily prompts and encouragement for each simple daily task (under 30 minutes/day).  I’ll post weekly updates on the blog too, but you’ll definitely want to follow us on instagram – @cleanmama and @abowlfulloflemons . We’ll also be using the hashtag #springcleanin30 and you can too!  Haven’t signed up to be on my email list?  Go here!

Can’t wait to get started?  The Clean Mama Spring Cleaning Kit is in the shop!  You can see all the products in my shop here.

Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning Kit

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How to Get Ready for Spring Cleaning

If you’re ready to get your house cleaned up after the long winter, but don’t know where or how to start, keep reading!  I have a brand new kit in the shop – perfect for stepping up your cleaning game this spring.

The perfect companion to your spring cleaning is a plan.  Clean Mama’s Spring Cleaning Kit is complete with cleaning recipes, checklists, and a guide to help you along the way.  Here’s how I put mine together.  It’s just what I need to get ready to spring clean.

Full Kit - Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning KitStart by printing out the kit.

Spring Cleaning Kit in a Binder - Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning KitPlace any pages in your homekeeping notebook or binder that you’d like to reference.

Trim and Laminate - Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning KitTrim pages that you’d like smaller (I laminated them for extra durability).

Mini Checklists to Make Spring Cleaning Simple - Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning KitMake mini-books for referencing recipes and checklists.  This kit makes it super easy to get your checklists ready.  You can print and slip the checklists into a binder or trim them and make adorable checklists for your cleaning.

Cleaning Recipe Cards and Mini Checklists - Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning KitGather your cleaning supplies and tools.  Put your tools together in a caddy so you have everything at the ready for your spring cleaning.

Kids Cleaning Checklists - Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning KitHave kids?  Get them involved by making a mini-cleaning caddy.  Add dusting tools, microfiber cloths, a spray bottle with a non-toxic cleaner or even just plain water, and a checklist.

Clean Mama's Spring Cleaning Kit

CLEAN MAMA’S SPRING CLEANING KIT includes 10 pages:

• Spring Cleaning Kit COVER (with cleaning icons)
• GUIDE/INSTRUCTIONS – guide to fitting spring cleaning into an already busy schedule
• ONE MONTH OF SPRING CLEANING CHECKLIST – want to tackle a little bit every day?  This full page checklist is perfect and includes my proven process for getting the cleaning done in minutes/day over the course of a month.
• MINI CLEANING CHECKLISTS (3 pages/ 9 checklists) – Supplies, Ingredients, Simple Checklist, Kitchen, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, Living Areas, Utility, and a Blank Checklist.  Perfect for spring cleaning (or anytime!)  Print and trim (print on cardstock and laminate for extra durability) or keep as a full page.
• ESSENTIAL CLEANING RECIPES – My 5 favorite DIY formulas for spring cleaning – your house will smell lemon-y fresh!
• MINI CLEANING RECIPE BOOK (2 Pages) – trim and assemble your own mini recipe book to keep on your cleaning caddy, print on cardstock and laminate for durability (as shown in images)
• KIDS CLEANING CHECKLISTS (1 page/ 3 checklists) – want to get the kids involved?  Print out the kids cleaning checklists and make a mini spring cleaning bucket and they’ll be cleaning right along with you! 

Clean Mama’s Spring Cleaning Kit is available in my shop!

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The Best Ways to Eliminate Residue, Stains, and Gunk in the Bathroom

The Best Ways to Eliminate Residue, Stains, Gunk in the Bathroom via Clean Mama

How to clean bathtubs and showers is one of the most often asked questions that I receive from my readers. As I made a list of all the questions that you asked after my What’s the Best blog post, I wasn’t surprised to see the bathroom theme continue.  Today I am focusing on bathtub cleaning and how to tackle those grimy tubs and showers as easily as possible.

Bathtubs and shower surrounds have the tendency to accumulate soap scum and stains in a hurry. Part of it is a result of soap, shampoo and body washes that you use while part of it can result from the hardness or softness of your water. Regardless, let’s take a look at a couple of cleaner options that can help make a difference. Depending upon your cleaning style and cleanser preferences, I am sharing products that you can find at your local store as well as ones that you can make yourself.

Magic Erasers:

These helpful little numbers can be ideal for a thin layer of soap scum or residue. Simply wet and scrub away. I recommend using the ones that are heavy duty over the regular ones as they tend to be a bit more durable.

Favorite Cleaners:

BON AMI:
Bon Ami products can do a great job at removing rust, residue and stains with minimal fuss and work. Both come in a can in a powder format and soft scrub liquid – I recommend the original 1886 powder as it’s the safest version.  This powder works as a gentle, mild abrasive that scrubs without damaging surfaces. Put on a pair of gloves, sprinkle it in your tub or shower and around the faucet. Dampen the surfaces as well as a sponge and scrub in a circular motion.  Rinse your tub really well when you are done in order to get all the cleaning residue off.

ECOVER:
If you prefer a soft scrub formula, Ecover has a great Cream Scrub that’s perfect for cleaning all things bathroom.  Concerned about scratching a fiberglass tub?  Use a soft, damp sponge or microfiber cloth and scrub away.

METHOD:
If the soap scum is thin and you need a spray cleaner, try the Bathroom Cleaner from Method.  It’s natural and will dissolve minor soap scum and dirt.  You’ll need to use a scrub brush to give your scum the heave-ho, but this is a great product if you prefer a spray method.

Favorite Bathroom Cleaners for Soap Scum, Residue, and Stains via Clean Mama

Make Your Own Cleaners:

Making your own cleaners isn’t rocket science, nor does it require any crazy ingredients.  Both Borax and vinegar can be found in most grocery stores.  I love making my own cleaners and being able to mix up a remedy for just about cleaning conundrum.  You can check out my book, The Organically Clean Home, all about making your own natural cleaners.

SOAP SCUM REMOVER:
Mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Borax with 2 cups of hot water in a spray bottle. Shake and spray surfaces thoroughly. Let it sit for up to 15 minutes and use a Magic Eraser sponge to clean. Rinse and wipe dry.

RUST REMOVER:
Saturate paper towels or rags with white vinegar and drape over fixtures. Let it sit for 15 minutes and rub with the cloth to eliminate the rust.  Rinse, and repeat if necessary.

Once you  have a clean tub or shower, it’s important to maintain it with regular cleaning. Thankfully, keeping up with it doesn’t have to be majorly time consuming. For an easy run-down on how to clean your shower and keep it that way, check out this post that covers everything you need to know.

There are certainly issues and situations where no amount of cleaning or cleaners will “fix” the problem. You may need to consider recaulking or regrouting your tub or shower when stains, mildew or mold issues persist.  If the surface of your tub or shower has been damaged or has disintegrated beyond repair, it may be time to consider replacing or having the surface reglazed.

Getting rid of those tricky stains and residues in your tub and shower doesn’t have to be a day long cleaning chore nor does it take an arsenal of cleaning supplies. Choose one of the suggested cleaners for your situation and look forward to a cleaner, fresher bathroom!

 

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The Best Way to Clean and Care for Hard Surface Floors

The Best Ways to Clean and Care for Hard Surface Floors via Clean Mama

This past week I opened up the floor for your cleaning and organizing conundrums and issues. I received a lot of great questions and am excited to share what my solutions are to many of your common cleaning and organizing annoyances are.  Keep an eye out for your question to pop up here on the blog, Facebook or Instagram in the coming weeks as I work through them with you.

 

Today’s questions and answers focus on FLOORS, more specifically on how to clean hardwood, laminate, tile and grout.  Before I clean the floors, I always start by vacuuming to get rid of crumbs and dirt. If you have pets or a lot of dust, you may want to follow up with a quick sweep using a microfiber based floor duster.  If you follow my cleaning routine, Wednesdays are Vacuuming Day and Thursdays are Floor Washing Day.

Favorite Floor Tools via Clean Mama1 /2 /3 /4

HARDWOOD FLOORS:

 

Before using any cleaner, make sure that your hardwood floors are sealed.  How to clean your wood floors is not always dependent on the kind of wood but rather the finish that is on them. If you aren’t sure what sort of finish is on your floors, check with the manufacturer.  I prefer to use a refillable or microfiber mop versus a steam mop on my hardwood floors. While many people love the ease of a steam mop, my personal preference is to play it safe and use a more gentle, and less moisture approach with the refillable mop.  Alternatively, a damp microfiber mop works – just use a spray floor cleaner and spray and wipe you go.

 

UNFINISHED OR BAMBOO FLOORS:

If you have unfinished, waxed, or bamboo hardwood floors, the best approach is to use a barely damp (with water) microfiber mop pad.  Always check with your manufacturer’s instructions first.

 

STREAKS AND RESIDUE:

A couple helpful tips for streaks and residue on floors…if you are using a microfiber pad, dampen it before starting and rinse often while washing the floors.  If you have streaks with a steam mop and rinsing the mop head frequently doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to use distilled water (purchase by the gallon at your local grocery or drug store).  If you have hard water the minerals in your water may be contributing to streaking and residue on your floors due to the minerals in your water.

 

FAVORITE CLEANERS:

When it comes to just what brand or formulation of floor cleaner I prefer, I like to give a range of options and solutions. Some people love making their own cleaners while others prefer the pre-mixed, ready to go options.  I only recommend products that are non-toxic and safe to use around people and pets, but these are all products that I use and love.
If you are looking for the most economical and green choice, then making your own cleaner is the way to go. Here is my tried and true recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • 2-3 drops essential oils (I love lemon or lemon and clove for my hardwood floors)

I mix this up using the same ratio in my refillable floor mop:

  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 16 ounces of warm water
  • 1-2 drops essential oils (I love lemon or lemon and clove for my hardwood floors
If you prefer the convenience of pre-made cleaners, there are many options to choose from. My favorite brands for performance and safe ingredients are Murchinson-Hume, Bona, and Honest. All of these are ready to use – simply use the spray and mop method or pour into your refillable mop and clean away. Babyganics also makes a great floor cleaner concentrate that is unscented and easy to dilute – you can use it in a bucket and a refillable spray mop and it’s even compatible with carpet cleaners (see the links below).  If you like a mop and bucket for washing floors (not my preference), you might like a spin mop.  The one that’s pictured in the main photo is this one.
Favorite Hard Surface Floor Cleaners via Clean Mama
1 /2 /3 /4

LAMINATE FLOORS:

One of the biggest complaints I hear about laminate floor cleaners is that all the commercial cleaners leave behind a sticky residue that attracts dirt and dust. My all time favorite laminate floor cleaner is a simple DIY cleaner using every day ingredients. Try out this recipe for an effective, economical solution to cleaning your laminate floors. Again, I prefer using a refillable mop for ease, but this solution can be mixed up and put into a spray bottle as well.  The vinegar cleans and the rubbing alcohol aids in the drying and adds a sanitizing component.  The combination is great for getting those floors perfectly clean.  Laminate and water are not a good combination so you’ll want to use this in a spray format in lieu of a mop and bucket.

 

Mix equal parts of:
  • white vinegar
  • rubbing alcohol
  • water
I like to add several drops of peppermint essential oil for a invigorating and fresh scent. I mix up five ounces of each of three ingredients with 3-5 drops of essential oil to fill an average size spray bottle or to pour into a refillable mop.

 

DEEP CLEANING TILE AND GROUT:

It doesn’t take long before grout in between tile can show dirt and wear especially when it is in high traffic zones like kitchens, entryways and mudrooms. There are several different approaches that you can take to deep clean both your tile and grout. A favorite tried and true method that takes a little more elbow grease is a combination of cream of tartar and water. Mix up a paste using these two ingredients that is the consistency of runny toothpaste. Using an old toothbrush or a thin grout brush, dip the brush in and scrub away at the grout. The cream of tartar is a natural ‘bleach’ that should help lift the stains out gently but effectively. Check your local dollar store for an inexpensive container rather than paying full price for a little one at the grocery store.
For effective tile and grout cleaning, I love using my portable steam cleaner. Homeright makes a great model that comes with a lot of attachments so you can use the machine for more than just tile. The small nozzle attachment combines with the power of steam cleaning works wonderfully on tile and grout especially. Try it on your floor, bathroom or wherever you have tile and grout issues.  Homeright has a multi-purpose steam mop that has attachments that cleans grout and tile really well.

 

I hope this helps clear up some questions and gives you some ideas of methods and products that work!  I can’t wait to continue the What’s the Best… series!
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What’s the Best….

What's the Best - Clean Mama

I’m starting a little series here on the blog and on Instagram and it’s all about what YOU want to know.  Most questions I get asked start with, “What’s the best…”

and they go on to ask questions such as:

  • way to clean floors
  • way to wash pillows
  • bathroom cleaner
  • natural disinfectant
  • way to organize paperwork
  • cleaner for mold
  • vacuum for hardwood floors
  • steam cleaner

Some of my favorite posts are ones where I’m answering your questions.  So tell me – what do you want to know?  Got a cleaning or organizing conundrum?  I’ll do the research and let you know what I find out.  Leave your questions on the ‘What’s the Best’ post on Instagram or here in the comments.  I’ll be dual-posting the answers over the next few months (and hopefully beyond) on the blog and on Instagram.  Follow me over on Instagram and subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a single post!

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How to Speed Clean Your House in Less Than 30 Minutes + FREE PRINTABLE

How to Speed Clean Your House in Less than 30 Minutes via Clean Mama 1

Everyone wants to know the best way to clean the house in the least amount of time.  Time is precious and the last thing that anyone wants to do is spend time cleaning (right?).  There’s an art to cleaning up the house efficiently and effectively.  I think that the secret to speed cleaning the house is having daily cleaning tasks and a simple cleaning routine.  Grab this month’s FREE cleaning checklist here.  And you might be interested in the 6 things I do every day to keep the house clean.  Having a simple daily cleaning routine is a huge timesaver.  Better yet, it makes speed cleaning an easy and effective way to get your whole home clean in minutes.  When I need the whole house clean at once, these are the steps I follow.  I’ll be sharing more tips for speed cleaning in the next few months – I hope you find it helpful.  I think it’s great to think about the process and make it as streamlined as possible!  This checklist isn’t for every time your house needs to be cleaned.  My speed cleaning method is for when you have someone stopping by unexpectedly, need the house cleaned in a hurry, or just for those times when you need a little momentum/direction to clean house.

How about a couple simple and easy speed cleaning shortcuts you can use today?  Start with number one and work your way through the process, print the free printable if you need a reference sheet.

  1. GATHER YOUR TOOLS
    Keep your favorite cleaning tools and cleaners in a caddy or container so you can grab them and clean anytime.  My must-have caddy tools?  Feather duster (faux or microfiber), microfiber cloths, lint roller,  all-purpose cleaner, disinfecting cleaner (bath), cleaning wipes, and window/mirror cleaner.
  2. SET A TIMER
    If you only have 15 minutes, set the timer and see how much you can get done.  I think that the most realistic timeframe is 30 minutes.
  3. START WITH A LAUNDRY BASKET AND A GARBAGE BAG
    Start by collecting anything that can be tossed and throw it in the garbage bag.  Items that need to be relocated toss in the laundry basket. Once the room is clean you can stash the laundry basket in a closet if you have someone dropping by, if not, take a couple minutes to return the items to their proper places.
  4. DO A QUICK DUST
    A feather duster is a great tool to quickly dust surfaces.  Shake your duster out frequently and move quickly to remove visible dust.
  5. WIPE SURFACES
    Spray down any hard surfaces (counters, toilets) and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.  Wiping down counters and cleaning sinks is on my daily routine so this is fairly simple.  Disinfecting wipes also work great for quick cleaning.
  6. WIPE MIRRORS
    A quick spray and swipe over bathroom mirrors goes a long way.  Don’t miss this step!
  7. QUICK VACUUM
    If your floors need to be vacuumed, concentrate on high traffic areas, corners, and visible dirt.
  8. FLUFF PILLOWS AND STRAIGHTEN THROW BLANKETS
    A quick tidy and straightening up of pillows and throw blankets will give your room a completed and clean appearance.
  9. PUT OUT FRESH TOWELS
    Don’t underestimate the clean look of fresh towels.  Replace your kitchen and bathroom towels with clean towels as you’re making your final sweep.

Grab the FREE PRINTABLE here!

Free Printable - How to Speed Clean Your House in Less Than 30 Minutes via Clean Mama

The simple step-by-step:

How to Speed Clean Your House in Less than 30 Minutes via Clean Mama

I’d love to know how this method works for you the next time you need to do a little speed cleaning!

If you like this free printable, you’ll love my shop, Clean Mama Printables!

Everyday Complete Kit small - Clean Mama Printables

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Six Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean

Six Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean via Clean Mama

Want to feel like your home is clean and organized and like you’ve got ‘it’ together?  First of all, it’s important to keep these things in mind:

  • Organization takes time, it won’t happen overnight.  Stop worrying about instant results, concentrate on progress.
  • Routines and consistency need to be in place.
  • Spoiler: just when you feel like everything’s done, something will upset it.  All the toys are cleaned up?  Someone will dump out that huge lego bin with a zillion pieces.  That’s just real life and it’s okay.  Roll with it and enjoy the stage that you’re in.

The good news?  You can set your home up with systems to streamline your life.  I have six simple things you can do right now to get started.  If you are trying to get into a cleaning routine (or better yet, my cleaning routine) and are just struggling with the daily stuff, clutter, and mess, stop the cleaning routine and work on these things this week and start over with the cleaning routine next week.

Make Your Bed Every Day via Clean Mama

  1. MAKE YOUR BED.
    And teach your kids to make their beds too.  Keep the bedding simple and as soon as you get up or in my case, after I’ve had a cup of coffee, make your bed.  It will instantly make your bedrooms look put together and in reality it takes under a minute to complete.
  2. TAKE IT OUT, PUT IT AWAY.
    Start working on this TODAY and enforce it with yourself and your family members.  It’s such a simple principle but it’s hard to be consistent.  I guarantee it will take you less time to put that one thing away than it will to put all the things away at the end of the day.
  3. EVERYDAY A LITTLE SOMETHING.
    This is my mantra every.single.day.  Don’t try to get it ‘all’ done in a day or every day.  Just do something each and every day and I guarantee you’ll get over the feeling of I want my house to be clean all at once.  With my simple cleaning routine you’ll find that maintaining the basics every day is really the secret to a clean and tidy home.
  4. DEAL WITH MAIL ON A DAILY BASIS.
    Figure out a system that works for you and your family but stacks of paperwork, mail, and kid papers isn’t going to make your home feel organized.  Toss any flyers or unnecessary mail at the door, open and file any bills that need to be paid, and decide on what will work for your kid papers.  In our house we toss (recycle) most worksheets and keep the special artwork and papers.Clean Sink via Clean Mama
  5. CLEAR and WIPE YOUR COUNTERS DAILY.
    It sounds so simple doesn’t it?  But in reality it takes some effort.  Start with the kitchen counters and wipe them off after meals and at the least dinner.  Then once you feel like you’ve got a handle on that task, add checking the bathroom counters to your routine.  Put that toothpaste tube away and put the toiletries back where they belong.  Give the counters and sink a quick wipe if necessary.  Step-by-Step Nightly Sink Scrub via Clean Mama
  6. WASH THE DISHES AND CLEAN YOUR SINK.
    At the end of the day, the last thing I (you too?) want to do is unload and/or load the dishwasher.  The silly thing is that this dreaded task only takes a couple minutes. Why do we always put it off?  Get in the habit of loading the dishwasher after dinner, wiping down the kitchen table, clearing and wiping the counters, and give that sink a little scrub.  When you get up the next morning you will be so glad you did!

Are you already doing these simple tasks?  What can you add into your routine this week?

HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY BUTTON

Some of my favorite products are in this post (these are just links, no affiliates):

  • Murchison-Hume products are to the left of my sink.
  • I use white Fiestaware bread trays in the kitchen to keep items neat and tidy (I also have one for honey, sugar, cinnamon sugar by the coffee pot.)  I also have Fiestaware dishes and love them if you are looking for simple and attractive dishware that works well with kids.  The aqua pitcher in the window is also Fiesta.
  • The adorable green sponge holder is vintage Roseville pottery.
  • The tea towel is from Crate and Barrel.
  • The bar mop dishcloths are from Williams-Sonoma and the container that holds them is Anchor-Hocking (from Target).
  • I keep dishwasher tabs in a vintage Ball jar.
  • The little succulents in the window love vintage pottery – Red Wing is my favorite.
  • Bedding is from Pottery Barn.

 

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The Ultimate Natural Cleaning Resource

The Ultimate Natural Cleaning Resource - Your Guide to DIY Cleaners, How-Tos, and Helpful Tips via Clean Mama
I’ve covered A LOT of natural cleaning topics over the last year or so, I even had a book published all about natural and organic cleaning.  Scroll down to see the categories and posts.  Make sure you pin the post for later!   Don’t miss the new FREE calendar for January!  It’ll get you in the mood for cleaning up your space!  If you like this post, check out The Ultimate Guide to Simple Organizing.
DIY CLEANING RESOURCES
DIY CLEANING PRODUCTS
CLEANING ROUTINE
HOW TO

DIY NATURAL CLEANER RECIPES

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Make a Cleaning Resolution that Sticks

Make a Cleaning Resolution that Sticks via Clean Mama

It’s almost 2015 and I am guessing you’re itching to get your house in order and cleaned up and make this the year you ‘finally’ get everything cleaned and organized.  Right?  If a cleaning/organizing/decluttering resolution hasn’t worked in the past, it probably won’t work for you again unless you approach it differently.  Here’s why:

  • No one’s perfect.
  • There probably are other people involved.
  • You work outside of the home, or inside the home, or some combination of the two.  Keeping house is hard work to combine with real life.
  • People get sick, tired, bored, busy, fill in the blank with whatever thing has kept you from completing this goal.

These are perfectly good reasons to forego a decluttered/clean/organized house.  I absolutely 100% totally get it.  But if you’re like me and a messy house makes you a little crabby, I’m here to show you how to REALLY make 2015 your year to get your act together and get your home decluttered/clean/organized.

First things first, you have to DECLUTTER.  It’s the only way you’ll get past the stuff and the noise and create a little visual peace and quiet in your home.  Decluttering is not organizing.  It’s an essential component to effective organizing, without it you won’t form any new habits, you’ll just be moving piles around.  Decluttering is a process – keep reading to see how I’m decluttering my whole house in January.

CLEAN A LITTLE BIT EVERYDAY (EVEN WHILE YOU’RE DECLUTTERING):

I am a HUGE fan of a cleaning routine (surprise, surprise).  I have developed a simple routine that lots of families follow on a daily basis.  I feel like it’s a great solution for keeping the mundane tasks of homekeeping in check.  Just a little bit everyday when you can and before long that routine becomes a habit and just second nature.  I hope that you find that my cleaning routine (go here for more detail on my routine if you’re new here) is SIMPLE, EASY TO IMPLEMENT, and full of GRACE.

HOW TO MAKE THE CLEAN MAMA CLEANING ROUTINE WORK FOR YOU:

  • Decide when you will do your daily cleaning.  Commit to making that time work in your schedule.  I rarely or never have a block of time to just clean or organize.  I have minutes here and minutes there that add up.  It’s important to make those little snippets of time count to move ahead in your homekeeping.
  • Fifteen minutes before work and fifteen minutes when you get home and you’ll be cleaning routine-ing in no time.
  • Don’t get caught up in what you didn’t get accomplished on any particular day – move on to the next day and just start there.  There is nothing perfect about living in a home for more than 5 minutes.  Embrace the imperfection and keep going.  It’s real life!
  • Stop making excuses and start.  If you have a hard time making time or if you just don’t have time, set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes/day and do what you can.  Increase your time when you are able to and keep going

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO EVERY DAY:

Daily Cleaning Tasks

Every single day I accomplish a handful of daily tasks – chances are you do too.  These daily tasks are little things that get done on a daily basis and take minutes but staying on top of them keeps the clutter and visual chaos away.  On my daily list are the following tasks:

daily cleaning tasks - clean mama

Daily tasks for your household may vary, but these are the main tasks that get checked off my list every.single.day.  These simple tasks have a couple hidden tasks involved too – checking floors sometimes means a quick sweep under the kitchen table, other days it may include getting out the vacuum cleaner.  Clutter refers to taking care of any clutter or the act of decluttering.  This includes things like making beds, opening and dealing with mail, sorting out homework, etc.  Laundry gets done every day.  I am easily distracted and hate laundry – so I do at least a load every day from start to finish.  It’s a great system – try it!  Wipe counters is clearing counters, loading/unloading the dishwasher, checking bathroom counters, etc.

WEEKLY CLEANING TASKS – THE GLUE TO THE CLEAN HOUSE:

Weekly Cleaning Tasks

Every day of the week I tackle a larger cleaning task.  Monday is bathrooms day, Tuesday is dusting day, etc.  Each task builds on the next and the system itself flows nicely through the week.  Friday is catch all day – a day of grace to catch up on anything that didn’t get accomplished during the week or to work on paperwork, bills, etc.  Saturday is when I wash all the sheets and towels – this a great way to start fresh for the next week.

CM | day icons

 

Rotating Cleaning Tasks

I also assign a handful of rotating cleaning tasks to each month – these tasks I complete on Fridays OR as I’m cleaning during the week.  For instance if I’m dusting (on a Tuesday) I will dust the light fixtures for the month at that same time.  (You can see the rotating cleaning tasks for each month on the free monthly calendars referenced below or in any cleaning product in my shop.)  If you are just starting with a cleaning routine, you can easily leave the rotating cleaning tasks out and just do the daily and weekly tasks for a month or two until you want to add in the rotating tasks.

HOW TO KEEP IT UP PAST JANUARY:

  • Get a friend to hold you accountable and do the routine with you.
  • Use a checklist to track your progress.  (See below for a freebie for January.)
  • Don’t quit just because you skip a day or a week – keep going and realize that setbacks happen and are part of life!

Need a little jumpstart this January?  Join #clutterfree30 with me.  It’s 30 minutes a day to clutter-free home!  Follow me on Instagram @cleanmama  for daily prompts and tips for decluttering different spaces in your home.  I’ll be updating here on the weekends and I’ll be featuring favorites from Instagram that are tagged #clutterfree30.  (You can follow along even if you don’t have a smartphone – you can get an Instagram account with any computer or tablet.  Or if you don’t want to sign up, you can peek at my Instagram account without an IG account :)

clutterfree challenge

If you’re wanting to do the #clutterfree30 challenge and want a checklist, I’ve got you covered!  I combined the cleaning calendar with the challenge for a free printable, perfect to get your 2015 off to a great (fresh) start!  If you don’t want to do the challenge and just want the cleaning routine, there’s a free printable for that on the linked post.  I give away a free cleaning routine printable every month, sign up for my emails so you don’t miss it!

January 2015 Cleaning Routine + IG declutter challenge

 

I have a couple RESOLUTION KITS in my shop, perfect for getting the year in order:

 

Everyday Resolution Kit - Clean Mama Printables

EVERYDAY RESOLUTION KIT

 

Clean Mama Printables Streamlined Life RESOLUTION Kit

STREAMLINED LIFE RESOLUTION KIT

 

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