Free Printable – 30 Minute Company Quick Clean

 

It’s that time of year – people dropping by, friends and family coming in to town to visit, and holiday get-togethers.  ‘Tis the season for dropping by unexpectedly and for inviting people in on a whim.  Instead of throwing yourself into a panic, you need a plan. Print off a few checklists and put them on a clipboard or in a folder or binder for when you have company coming or if you need to do a quick clean.  If you’re feeling especially organized, combine the checklist with a few microfiber cloths, all-purpose cleaner, and a duster.  A simple kit to quick clean, anytime.  (You can see the products pictured here on my cleaning faves page.)

Print off a couple of these quick clean checklists and the minute you get that phone call grab the checklist and start tidying up and cleaning.  Thirty minutes later you’ll have a quickly cleaned home and you’ll be able to welcome your guests with ease.

 

Click on the image below to go straight to grab the free printable or go here to see the entire collection of free printables.

If you like these free printables, you’ll love the printables in my shop.

Quick Tip : Use a Lazy Susan to Cut Clutter

The Lazy Susan is quite possibly my favorite organizing and decluttering tool.  With so many options on the market, you can use a lazy Susan in just about every cabinet, cupboard, and surface.  It cuts clutter by containing your supplies in one place and keeping them intact.  You can also get more items in a smaller space, helping to create clutter-free storage.  Check out some of the ways I use Lazy Susans – you’ll find all my favorites linked at the bottom of the post!

The first lazy Susan isn’t necessarily a lazy Susan itself BUT it will make your kitchen corner lazy Susan into a rockstar.  You can get these acrylic containers in different sizes – I use it for food storage lids.

Under the kitchen sink can turn into a black hole but with a lazy Susan you can put your cleaning supplies on it and access them with a quick turn.  I love this solution here!

I keep two lazy Susans in our pantry – one for baking supplies like specialty flours, chocolate bars, sweeteners, corn starch, baking powder, etc.  Separating these supplies out keeps things neat and tidy and uncluttered.

On the same shelf of the pantry I keep the cooking supplies like oils, vinegars, and sauces.  Easy to access and any drips stay on the lazy Susan and off my shelves.

I also keep lazy Susans in the spice cabinet – this is where I keep more baking supplies that are used regularly.  The smaller turntable stores baking powder and soda, cream of tartar, and other baking goods.

The larger turntable holds baking spices and extracts and muffin liners.  I keep these separate from the cooking spices shown below on the tiered organizers.

And of course you can use lazy Susans other places throughout your home to combat clutter – here’s one that I have in my bathroom cupboard.  It’s divided and keeps my hair care supplies neat and tidy.

How about you?  Do you love the lazy Susan too?  Where do you use them?  What’s your favorite use for them?

SHOP THE POST

 

How to Use a Homekeeping Planner to Keep Track of Home Tasks

A week ago I introduced you to the new Clean Mama Homekeeping Planner.  Your excitement for the product is amazing – I thought that I’d share a little how-to for you as they start to arrive in your homes.

What is the Clean Mama HOMEKEEPING Planner?

A simple, undated planner for keeping track of homekeeping and the everyday.  If you’re looking for a way to take the guesswork out of keeping up with all things home-related, this is a simple solution designed to make your life easier!

Who is the planner for?

Anyone that wants to put pen to paper to remember those homekeeping tasks.  I love seeing what I’ve have accomplished every day and what needs to be put off to the next day.  This format is motivating and relaxing because it helps you get moving on those tasks and soothes those never-ending mental checklists.
  • Maybe you’re thinking…..I’ve never kept track of homekeeping tasks – this seems like overkill.  If you struggle with cleaning and homekeeping, this also might be a great motivator for your success.
  • Or …..I love keeping track of homekeeping – is this enough?  Or maybe you’re a member of Homekeeping Society and wonder if this is the same thing.  Homekeeping Society is much more in-depth and includes monthly focus areas and organizing tasks.  You’ll need to decide what works best for you!

Can I use this with another planner?

  • Yes!  I suggest using it with the *new* Clean Mama DAILY Planner – coming out in the next week or so – sign up in the sidebar so you don’t miss it!  You can also use it with the Clean Mama Menu Planner OR it can be used alone.  The best thing about it is that it can be used any way you want to use it.  The format is simple, easy to use, and UNDATED.  Perfect for honing your planning and not feeling like you are behind or missing something.
  • Or you can use this planner alone as a stand-alone planner.  Keep track of other things in the planner besides homekeeping tasks – there’s room for appointments and special dates and to-dos.

Show me how to use it….


The Homekeeping Planner is intended to be flexible and used in a variety of ways.  You can keep it in your cleaning caddy, on your kitchen counter, with your main planner….

Start by filing in the month and writing down any tasks that you’d like to accomplish for the month – this is your big picture planning space.

Then on the weekly spread, you can put in tasks, reminders and anything else you’d like to complete.  I add my weekly tasks in as well above the daily tasks.

Use the Notes pages at the end of each month to jot down things like organizing goals, DIY cleaning recipes, or anything else HOME-related.

At the back of the planner you’ll find a Cleaning Routine Calendar page with my suggested daily, weekly, and monthly/rotating tasks.  They are explained on this page for your reference. The last page is the Rotating Cleaning Checklist – use this to keep track of your tasks for the year on one page.  It’s so helpful to see tasks all laid out and at a glance.

THE CLEAN MAMA HOMEKEEPING PLANNER details:

  • 2 COLOR OPTIONS: AQUA + PERIWINKLE
  • 108 pages
  • smooth, bright white 70# paper
  • 160# card stock front and back covers with clear protective cover and wire-o binding
  • made in the USA
  • paper size is 5.75” x 8” – size with the binding is 6” x 8″

THE CLEAN MAMA HOMEKEEPING PLANNER includes:

• CLEAR Protective Cover and COVER PAGE
• TITLE PAGE – 3 lines for you to personalize your planner
• 2018 YEAR AT A GLANCE
• 2019 YEAR AT A GLANCE
• 12 – 2 PAGE BLANK CALENDARS – the perfect 2 page monthly calendar complete with a darling to do list on the right side
• 5 WEEKLY DOCKETS for each month (60 total) – Monday-Sunday with my 5 daily tasks penciled in for you each day. This page also includes a small thoughts section for a quote or verse and a tasks + to-dos check list as well
• NOTES PAGE – my favorite mini grid format
• CLEANING ROUTINE CALENDAR – my daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning routine
• ROTATING CLEANING CHECKLIST – my suggested rotating cleaning for the whole year at a glance – January-December
• BACK COVER

Want to see more?  This post details the planners even more AND there’s a video at the bottom of the post too 🙂

 

How to Keep Your House Clean (Most of the Time)

How do you keep your house clean? (with spouses, kids, pets, jobs, sports, no free time…)

It’s definitely the most-asked question from readers and it’s a question I LOVE to answer.  You see, keeping a house clean isn’t easy.  In fact, it can be downright difficult to figure out where to start and when to put it all into place.  But I’m guessing you already figured that out by now.

I’ve been teaching readers how to implement a cleaning routine for almost 9 years and I’ve been perfecting mine for nearly 20 years, testing it out in my own homes through the years and friends and family members’ homes.  It has truly been put to the test as I have had an ever-changing work schedule and going from 0-3 kids while working or working at home with the kids.  I can honestly say that I am an expert in cleaning routine refinement 🙂

Which cleaning routine ‘type’ are you?

  • You….Try to devise the ‘perfect’ system but then if/when the system doesn’t work, the execution is lost in translation and overwhelm wins.
  • You….Clean when you can’t stand it anymore or when company is coming.
  • You….Clean on days off which just makes you crabby because you didn’t relax and enjoy your day(s) off.
  • You….Have a cleaning routine that works and you just wondered why you’re reading this 😉

Based on my personal and professional experience, I can promise you that it’s much easier to adapt into a workable routine than to try to figure one out for yourself.  Here’s my suggestion for you:  Try my cleaning routine.  It’s simple, it works for ANY schedule, any size home, and there’s plenty of grace built right in to the routine itself (Friday is a day to catch up on anything you didn’t get to earlier in the week – hooray!).

I’m going to let you in on a secret – the SECRET to keeping your home clean most of the time is SO SIMPLE in theory but it’s difficult in execution because of all those reasons it’s hard to fit in the cleaning.

Here’s the secret, ready for it?

The secret to keeping your house clean most of the time is ….. ROUTINE.  You know, doing the same thing over and over until it becomes a habit.

According to Dictionary.com, routine is:

  • a customary or regular course of procedure
  • commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity
  • regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative

So if the secret is ROUTINE, how in the world do you get started doing one?  Well my friend, you came to the right place 🙂

If you’re new here and stumbled upon this post via social media, welcome!  Get ready to change the course of your cleaning forever.  If you’ve been here for a while and haven’t jumped on board with the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine, I’m here to direct you to a couple places to start.  If you’re already doing the cleaning routine, feel free to share in the comments how it works for you and your household.

Do you need a routine?
I have several ways to help you get into one – choose one, several, or all of them – I’ve developed tools to help you find success in your homekeeping.  It’s my favorite part of my job here at Clean Mama – seeing readers gain back their homes and time with just minutes a day of routine.

What’s my cleaning routine?

DAILY CLEANING TASKS

A clean home (most of the time) starts with 5 daily cleaning tasks – these are things you learn to do that you set on autopilot and start completing without really thinking about it.  Trust me, it can happen.  My mantra is every day a little something and with that in mind, just doing SOMETHING every day is so helpful.

WEEKLY CLEANING TASKS

CM-day-icons

These tasks are the backbone of my cleaning routine.  It’s a system that you need to work through to see why it works.  Thousands of people all over the world complete Clean Mama’s Weekly Cleaning Routine every week – it’s so simple but it works in just about every situation because it has grace (and a day to catch up) built right in to the routine.  If you want to see what I use to clean my house with, check out my Around the House page.

Check out the links below – I share daily reminders on social media and follow what works for you:

Read my book –  Simply Clean
Follow Clean Mama on Facebook
Follow Clean Mama on Instagram
Every month I give away a FREE cleaning routine calendar, find it here.
Join my Private FB group – Homekeeping Society
Want my blog posts and newsletters sent straight to your inbox?  Sign up in the sidebar for those posts!

I’m most excited to share a brand new tool with you this week – the CLEAN MAMA HOMEKEEPING PLANNERS – they’re available in aqua and periwinkle and the only thing of its kind available for sale anywhere.

This format is simple, easy to follow, and just the thing to help you turn cleaning into a routine that will help you put your cleaning on auto-pilot.  Once you have a home that’s easy to clean and stays clean because you are doing itty bitty things all the time without even thinking about it, you’ll see the beauty in the routine too!  I’ll be sharing more on Friday about how to use the planners in your daily routine – stay tuned.  You might want to snag one now so you can get started!  Go here to see all of the paper goods products in Clean Mama Home.

If you enjoy my method, you will LOVE my monthly essentials subscription, Homekeeping Society – go here to check it out!

Looking for more?  Check out these posts:

5 Daily Tasks to Maintain a Clean Home 

Simply Clean 7-Day Kick Start Challenge

How to Clean a Flat Screen Television

Caring for a flat screen television is simple but just one wrong move and that investment can be scratched or ruined.  Start by making sure your television is not where little hands can reach or touch it – this will prevent having to do more than simple dusting in the first place.


I like using a wand duster when I’m doing weekly dusting to quickly dust TVs.  Dust with a microfiber wand duster or microfiber cloth starting from the top/left and working down to the bottom.  Make sure you start with a clean duster or cloth to ensure that you aren’t spreading around dust.

If your flat screen tv needs more than a quick dusting, follow these steps.  Always check your manufacturer’s instructions first so that you don’t void the warranty.

  1. Turn off and unplug the television (let it cool completely if it was turned on).
  2. Never spray anything directly on the screen itself and don’t use any alcohol or ammonia based products as they may damage the screen.
  3. Use a barely damp microfiber cloth (like these) and wipe from top to bottom and left to right. DO NOT press the screen in any way as it might cause pixels to be ruined and your picture to be distorted.
  4. If any smudges remain, you can mix up a tablespoons of white vinegar and a tablespoon of water and dip your soft microfiber cloth into the solution.  Squeeze out any excess until it’s barely damp.  Carefully apply the solution on any smudges applying barely any pressure to remove.  If you’d prefer to use wipes, I recommend these.

via

Don’t forget to give your remotes a quick cleaning too!  Use a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and wipe them completely and air dry.

How to Clean Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

I love cleaning with microfiber – it’s versatile, economical, and eco-friendly. My favorite benefit?  How well it cleans.  No lint, no spreading dirt and germs around, and you only need to wipe once and your surface is clean. I get quite a few questions surrounding how I clean my microfiber cleaning cloths ( I use these, from my store Clean Mama Home) – so if you’ve ever wondered this, today’s post is for you.

A common misconception with any cleaning cloth that you wash and reuse is that it might not be clean or that you might spread germs around from the cloth as you clean.  The thing with microfiber is that its ‘micro’ fibers actually the dirt and germs and holds on to them in lieu of spreading them around.  I think that’s what holds people back from switching from cleaning wipes and paper towels – maybe you can relate?  Let’s bust open those misconceptions today and talk about HOW to make sure your cleaning cloths are actually clean before you use them.

Please note: Check the care label on your microfiber first, these are my personal recommendations and how I care for my microfiber cloths.

Here are a couple basic ‘rules’ for washing microfiber:

  • Microfiber can be rinsed and wrung out as your using it – don’t just wipe once (unless it’s toilets or something germs/dirty).  Rinse, wring and continue using.
  • Wash only with other microfiber cloths.  If you put other laundry items in the washing machine with your microfiber it turns into a static magnet – just avoid that altogether by washing microfiber all by itself.
  • Find a place to hold the microfiber while it’s drying and before you have a load to wash. I keep a bucket on the back of our washing machine and toss dirty microfiber cloths in there. If a cloth is wet I drape it over the side of the bucket until it’s dry and then I place it in the bucket. Dusting cloths don’t get mixed into this bucket, this bucket is for bathroom cleaning cloths so there isn’t cross-contamination.
  • Wash on HOT or sanitize – most germs and microorganisms are killed at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  I wash my microfiber that needs to be sanitized on HOT or sanitize.  You can look up your particular washing machine or brand and see what temperature the hot and sanitize cycles get to and decide what’s best for you.  (As a general rule, washing on warm and drying on low to medium will kill the germs in your cleaning cloths, but if you need to sanitize, it will need to be warmer.)
  • I wash the microfiber cloths in this bucket weekly and then run a sanitize/clean cycle on the washing machine.  Bonus: clean cloths + a clean washing machine.  Not sure how to clean your washing machine?  You should be doing it monthly at the least to avoid spreading germs in your clothes, bedding, cleaning cloths, etc.  Here’s how with a free printable!
  • Launder with detergent – use less (I use half the amount that I usually use) so it fully rinses out.
  • Do not use fabric softener – it coats the fibers and ruins its effectiveness, but it’s safe to add a 1/4 cup of white vinegar if you’d like.
  • Dry in the dryer on low to medium. Drying the microfiber in the dryer will kill any germs that might remain after washing them.

Cleaning with microfiber is easy and with a couple simple steps you’ll find that it’s simple to care for and keep clean.

How to Use Vacuum Cleaner Attachments – to Clean Just about Everything

 

A vacuum cleaner that works well is one life’s luxuries.  You might not feel this way if you don’t love your vacuum cleaner, but I’m here to show you how to get the most out of your vacuum cleaner so it works for you, not against you!

Over the last couple years I’ve been doing quite a bit of market research on vacuum cleaners and air quality. Through my research I’ve found that the very best vacuum cleaner you can buy is one with a HEPA filter and a bagged system.  So when my Dyson started to go, I switched to Miele.  The difference is incredible – there are so many features that I love on the Miele, the most noticeable one is not having to empty the dust bin.  I found that there was dust everywhere in this process which pretty much defeated the purpose of vacuuming.

These vacuuming tools are the ones I use the most and the ones included with most standard vacuum cleaners. Knowing what each tool can be used for will help you use your vacuum to its full potential.  If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, make sure it has some on-board attachments so you can simply grab and use them as you’re vacuuming.

Vacuum Cleaner Attachments

Crevice Tool
Oh the crevice tool, my favorite attachment – I use the crevice tool every single time I vacuum. It features a narrow nozzle that fits in tight spots and corners. It also works well along the edge of baseboards and in hard-to-reach spots like corners and vents.

Flex Crevice Tool
This is a Miele tool that’s flexible and perfect for going under appliances and getting at those spots that most vacuum cleaners can’t get to.

Upholstery Attachment
This small tool has a felted fabric surface that makes it perfect for delicate fabric surfaces like drapes, mattresses, couches, and chairs.

Turbobrush or Small Vacuum Cleaner Head
This stool has powerful suction and looks like a mini vacuum cleaner head. This attachment works well on stairs and

Dust Brush
A dust brush attachment typically has a circular brush head and is especially effective at picking up dust and particles without scratching surfaces. It works particularly well on window blinds, shelves and wooden surfaces.

Now that you have a better idea of what those common attachments are for, let’s look at just how to use your vacuum and attachments effectively on most of your household surfaces.

How to use your vacuum more efficiently

Hard floors
I vacuum all the floors in our house at least once a week (on Wednesdays) and sweep in between. I love using my Miele Canister for hard floors – it’s amazing! This is my personal preference, but I find it easier to keep all the floors cleaner that way.

Carpeting
Most carpeted surfaces will do well with just the vacuum. Areas that receive a lot of traffic such as entrances and main living spaces may need a more frequent vacuuming, but most carpeted areas can be vacuumed once a week.

Stairs
It can be difficult to maneuver a large vacuum along a stairway. I recommend using a canister vacuum or more portable vacuum. You can also your vacuum hose with a smaller handheld attachment. Use the crevice tool along the edges and corner and use the upholstery tool for the tread if you needed.

Walls and Ceilings
Use the circular dust brush attachment and start at the ceiling. You may need to add an extension to your attachment or use a step stool or small ladder in order to reach higher surfaces. Work your way down from ceiling to floor in a vertical motion as you vacuum.

Blinds
Use the dust brush attachment – close the blind slats so they lie flat and vacuum. Reverse the blinds so that the slats are lying the other way and repeat. Repeat monthly or as needed.

Upholstered Surfaces
Use the upholstery attachment on mattresses and fabric surfaces. Work in a horizontal or vertical motion from top to bottom. Use the crevice tool in the tight corners and seams. Use the dust brush on leather furniture to reduce any risk of scratching.

Mattresses
The vacuum cleaner is the best way to remove dust and dust mites from the surface of the mattress when you rotate your mattress. Make sure that the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner is clean and slowly vacuum all of the crevices. Follow up with the upholstery tool to vacuum the surface of your mattress.

Vents
The dust brush tool works fabulously in those tricky vent slats for furnace and air conditioners. Dust seems to collect here especially during seasons when the furnace or air conditioner is run more frequently.

Baseboards
Start with the crevice tool and get in the space between the baseboard and floor or carpet. Use the dust brush attachment to run along the baseboards in a horizontal motion.  A thorough monthly vacuuming of your baseboards is ideal.

When you utilize your vacuum and its attachments as designed, you will find your cleaning tasks to be more efficient.

Both of my Miele vacuum cleaners are from Vacuum Cleaner Market.  Not every one needs 2 vacuum cleaners – but as a cleaning expert, I find it essential 😉 .  I keep the tank vacuum downstairs where we have hardwood floors and short, berber carpet and the upright lives upstairs for the plush carpet. I love that Vacuum Cleaner Market makes it so simple to see what attachments you might need and once a customer buys a Miele from VCM, they are emailed a super helpful user guide for their model.  If you’re interested in a Miele vacuum cleaner, but think it’s out of your price range, you might be surprised to learn that they have vacuums in all price ranges for any home. You can also purchase filters and bags from Vacuum Cleaner Market – they offer FREE shipping on orders over $25 and free gifts for orders over $100!
Vacuum Cleaner Market provided the Miele Cat and Dog Complete C3 Canister Vacuum   for me to test out and review – rest assured, I only review products that I love and have tested and use in my own home. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

DIY Laundry Stain Bar

This is a super simple DIY cleaning idea for the laundry room – a DIY Laundry Stain Bar!  This solution works best on simple clothing stains that are fresh and not set-in.  I love this natural and non-toxic alternative to stain sticks and sprays, try it the next time you have a stain that needs some attention.  My favorite way to use it is on kids’ clothes and dirty pants’ knees from playing in the dirt.

Grab your supplies – water, a bar of Castile or vegetable-based soap (you can find castile soap at Target, Wal-Mart, your natural food store, and Amazon), and scrub brush if necessary.

Use a knife or scissors to cut the top off the wrapper. This creates a little storage case for your bar and it will keep your hands from getting soap on them (not that that would be a bad thing).

You can store the bar in the wrapper when not in use and it will dry out completely in a couple minutes after using it.  Push the bar up a bit out of the wrapper to use it.

Wet the top of the bar under running water or in a dish – I like to use a dish because it’s more controlled.

Rub into the stain and re-wet if necessary.

Scrub if necessary with a clean, soft bristled brush.

Launder as usual and admire your stain-removing abilities!

I love talking about natural laundry solutions – go here to see more of my tips!

Have you purchased my new book, Simply Clean?  It will change the way you clean in the best possible way!

How to Clean Electronics

Electronics are dust magnets, they can be difficult to clean and keep clean and their surfaces can be damaged by cleaning them incorrectly.  Here’s how to clean most electronic surfaces quickly and with ease.  I’m also adding links to my favorite electronic dusting and cleaning products – some links may be affiliate links.

Consult your owner’s manual for directions and never directly spray cleaner on your electronics or devices.  Spray the cleaner on a microfiber cloth first and wipe in one direction. Turn your electronics off before cleaning – if they are warm or on they aren’t as easy to clean.

COMPUTERS + LAPTOPS


Dust with a microfiber cloth or a mitt.  Use a soft, small (clean) paintbrush to dust keys and small  crevices.  Canned air also works well to dislodge dust and other small debris that can be difficult to remove.  Depending on your manufacturer’s suggestion, you can most likely use a barely damp microfiber or screen-safe cloth to effectively clean the screen.  Getting the screen wet (or spraying anything on it) will most likely ruin or damage the screen.

TELEVISIONS

Dust with a microfiber wand duster or microfiber cloth starting from the top/left and working down to the bottom.  I like using a wand duster when I’m doing weekly dusting to quickly dust TVs.  Make sure you start with an not dusting duster to ensure that you aren’t just spreading around dust.

CELL PHONES + TABLETS

Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Remove any cases and covers.  Wipe with a barely damp microfiber cloth and/or a screen wipe (the ones linked and pictured work great!) to effectively clean and disinfect.  Wipe any keys or frequently touched areas with a cotton pad with rubbing alcohol or an alcohol wipe to disinfect surfaces.  Make sure you aren’t getting any part of the devices wet as it can quickly damage the screens and devices.

BLU-RAY/DVD PLAYERS

Use the vacuum cleaner’s soft brush attachment to vacuum any dust from behind and under the player.  Wipe with a soft, barely damp microfiber cloth.

REMOTES + CONTROLLERS

Use a cotton pad with rubbing alcohol or an alcohol wipe to disinfect surfaces.  If you have pesky crevices use a cotton swab or toothpick to dislodge debris.

This post is part of a series all about Homekeeping Basics.

Have you purchased my new book, Simply Clean?  It will change the way you clean in the best possible way!

How to Clean Your Kitchen Appliances in Under an Hour

This is a great method for deep cleaning all your appliances quickly, seasonally, spring cleaning (are you doing my spring cleaning challenge?), or just a cleaning whim.  Feel free to split it up and do one appliance at a time, but the magic in the method is that you can thoroughly deep clean ALL your kitchen appliances quickly.

Ready?  Make sure you have about an hour to dedicate to this job – it’s frustrating to be mid-project and have to stop.

GATHER a couple cleaning supplies – castile soap or dish soap, white vinegar, a scrub brush or old toothbrush, all-purpose, non-toxic cleanermicrofiber cloths, and bar mop towels or cleaning rags.
FILL your kitchen sink with hot, soapy water.
OVEN – If you have a self-cleaning oven, you can run that option, but because it’s a smelly job it is best done after a quick clean up of food on the interior and with the windows open.  If you don’t have this option or don’t want to stink up the house, heavily spray a non-toxic degreaser or all-purpose cleaner in the interior of the oven and shut the door, letting the cleaner work on the grease.  Once you’ve treated your oven, you’ll want to clean the stove top – here’s how to clean a glass stove top and a gas stove top.
MICROWAVE – take out the glass plate in your microwave and put it in your sink.  Spray the interior of your microwave with non-toxic, all-purpose cleaner OR put a bowl of water and lemon/lemon juice in the microwave and run it until the water boils (3-5 minutes).   Let the cleaner or steam do its job.  Here’s a post with the full instructions for this method.
DISHWASHER – do this after you have run the dishwasher and its ‘clean’ and empty.  Remove the racks, spray the edges with cleaner and wipe clean.  Check the trap at the bottom for any food or blockages and clean out the filter if your dishwasher has one. Put a cup or two of white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a normal wash cycle.  Here’s a post with very specific instructions on how to clean your dishwasher if you’re interested.

REFRIGERATOR – throw away anything old or expired, take the rest of the contents out of the refrigerator and take out all removable drawers and shelves.  Put the drawers and shelves in the soapy sink and let them soak.

  • Mix up 1 teaspoon of dish soap (or my favorite, Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Orange castile soap), 1 teaspoon baking soda, and about 4-6 cups of warm water.
  • Wipe down the shelves with a well rung out microfiber cloth, bar mop or dish cloth.  Repeat until all shelves and drawers have been wiped clean.  Dry if necessary.
FINISH UP – go back and wipe and dry the microwave tray and the refrigerator drawers and shelves.  Wipe the interior of your oven after the self-cleaning cycle has completed OR if you used an all-purpose cleaner, you can use a non-toxic scrubbing cleaner or baking soda to clean and polish.
SPRAY and WIPE the fronts of your appliances – I like to use microfiber window/glass cloths on my stainless steel appliances for a streak-free shine.  Here’s a post with more details on my favorite method.
That’s it!  In an hour of active time (if you run the self-clean option on your oven and run your dishwasher, it will take a little longer, but that’s time that you aren’t doing any cleaning), your appliances will be spring cleaned!

Have you purchased my new book, Simply Clean?  It’s complete with quick cleaning checklists and guides and it will change the way you clean in the best possible way!

How to Clean a Microwave

Cleaning a microwave isn’t difficult but it’s definitely a neglected task – out of sight, out of mind.  Food splatters and spills happen and if your house is anything like mine, it’s much easier to the close the door than wipe up those drips and spills.

How to Clean a Microwave

Fill a glass bowl or measuring cup with 3-4 cups of hot tap water.

Cut a lemon into chunks and place in the warm water.  

Put the bowl of water and lemon/lemon juice in the microwave and run it until the water boils (3-5 minutes). 

Let the steam do its job – don’t open the door for at least 5 minutes.  Let the steam work to dissolve any grease, drips, and grime.  Repeat if you don’t see steam on the inside of the microwave.

Take out the glass plate or tray in your microwave and wash it in your sink or dishwasher.

Wipe the interior of the microwave clean.  If you need a little extra cleaning power spritz with white vinegar or non-toxic all-purpose cleaner.  Use a sponge or a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe clean and rinse and wring as you’re wiping .

Wash and dry the glass plate and return it to the microwave.

HAVE A CLEANING THE MICROWAVE TIP?  SHARE IT IN THE COMMENTS!

If you haven’t pre-ordered my new book Simply Clean, don’t miss the amazing bonuses and coupons included in the download packet – Simply Clean comes out in less than 2 weeks! Go to this post for more info!

How to Choose a Vacuum Cleaner

Over the years I have owned and tested A LOT of vacuum cleaners. The thing about vacuum cleaners is that if you ask anyone their opinion, a.) they have one and b.) either they LOVE their vacuum cleaner or they HATE it.  So today, I’m going to save you the trouble and tell you some essential criteria for any vacuum cleaner and give you a handful of suggestions in all price ranges so you can make a more informed decision.  Because it really stinks to get a brand new vacuum cleaner and have it work great for a month and then it completely loses its suction and ability to pick anything up.  Ugh – been there, done that.

I also asked my Facebook Group – Homekeeping Society (not a member? just request to join!) their opinions too and asked for suggestions of vacuum cleaners that they LOVE and wholeheartedly recommend. My recommendations are based on my own experience, testing and research, recommendations from readers and Facebook group, and ratings from the retailers and Amazon.

My Vacuum cleaner musts:

  • purchase the best that you can in your budget
  • look for attachments (bonus if they are stored ON the unit) – crevice nozzle, hose, upholstery brush, dusting
  • look for a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air) – to be rated as a HEPA filter, a filter must keep tiny particles .3 microns in size or larger at 99.97% – this means that it’s keeping most particles whereas a non-HEPA filter vacuum is blowing those particles back into the air which in turn goes right back in your home.  If you have allergy sufferers or anyone with asthma, this is most-definitely a must!
  • cord long enough that you don’t have to unplug it from room to room
  • multi-level filtration – if you don’t need/want the HEPA filter, make sure you have more than one filtration system to catch and hold dirt and dust
  • After having numerous vacuum cleaners with a canister/dirt tank, I prefer a bagged system and truth be told, it’s the main reason I switched from Dyson to Miele.  (I was sick of the dirt/dust escaping when I would empty the bin.)
  • look for a brushroll that can be turned off for vacuuming hard surface floors
  • check the weight of the vacuum cleaner and test them out – make sure it’s easy for you to maneuver

I’ve pulled together a couple favorites in 4 categories – these are vacuums that I recommend based on the above criteria in a variety of price ranges.  I hope it helps you in your search for the perfect vacuum! I’ve also added affiliate links under the image to purchase if you’re interested – the vacuums are in order of price, low to high and I’ve added a * to the ones that I have owned/tested or currently own and recommend.

Best robotic vacuums

iRobot Roomba 650  – Neato Botvac D80 Robot (Pets and Allergies)*

Best tank vacuums

BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum – Eureka Mighty Mite Bagged w/Pet Attachments– Electrolux Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum – Miele Complete C3 Bagged Canister

Best Stick or Handheld Cordless vacuums

BISSELL Natural Sweep Dual Brush Sweeper – BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum – Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum Dyson V6 Handheld Vacuum Dyson V6 Animal Cord Free*

Best upright vacuums

Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away – Hoover Platinum Collection Lightweight Bagged Corded Upright with Canister  – Oreck LW100 Magnesium SP Bagged Upright* – Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy* – Miele Dynamic U1 Cat & Dog Upright Bagged*

What do you think? What’s your criteria for a vacuum cleaner? Have a favorite to share?

I’m loving my Miele – I love that there’s no dust or debris whipped up while I’m vacuuming and I love the ease of having the attachments on-board for on the go cleaning.

It hits all of my criteria and then some (but it’s pricey).  The HEPA filter and bagged system is one of the best out there – if you’re used to buying new vacuum cleaners every couple years, it makes sense to purchase a better one that will last for years to come.

 Change the way you clean – Order SIMPLY CLEAN today!

The Cleaning Closet

This past fall we embarked on three major closet organizing projects – in one week!  I cannot take credit for any of the work of installing and building these closets and organizers (we hired someone), but I can take credit for the plan and organization of each project ;).

I’ve had a ‘cleaning closet’ since we moved into our home eight years ago.  It’s a large coat closet in the mudroom – you can see the before here.  I’ve experimented with a lot of different combinations of shelves and organizers, but always knew that a dedicated closet system would be the best route when it was in the budget.  We have a Martha Stewart closet system from Home Depot in our master closet and love it so much that  I ‘built’ one online and had it installed.

As someone that LOVES to clean, sells homekeeping products, and tests all sorts of cleaning products and tools for a living….the cleaning closet is dreamy!  It keeps my supplies organized and cute simultaneously.

Here’s what we did:

  • completely emptied the closet
  • removed the wire shelving and hooks
  • filled holes
  • painted the closet interior white
  • installed shelving

Once everything was installed, it was time to figure out the best way to organize supplies and goods.

This took awhile – I didn’t want to spend a lot of money filling it up with organizers but I still wanted it to look cute and coordinated.  I pulled out what I had and started there.  Once I had taken inventory I decided that I could use a couple baskets to pull the area together.  I keep clunkier things like dog stuff, batteries, and light bulbs in the aqua woven baskets and decided not to label them because you can pretty much see what’s inside by peering in the basket.

You’ll see that we also keep some shoes on the shelves in here as well – my husband and I keep smaller shoes and sandals in this closet.

I used cleaning buckets (found in my store) for a couple caddies – one is my dusting caddy and the other is for sprayers for my glass spray bottles.  I keep bathroom supplies in each bathroom in the same cleaning bucket to keep cleaning the bathrooms easy.

The far right section of the closet is just for floor items and dusters – the top shelf holds floor and carpet cleaning supplies. Keeping like items together is always a good idea when you’re organizing – it makes locating anything that much easier.  I used giant S hooks and knew that they’d work great for hanging tools.

My favorite shelves – DIY cleaner heaven – this is where I keep Borax, baking soda, washing soda, and Epsom salt, empty glass bottles, Castile and Sal Suds soaps, and a handful of pre-mixed DIY cleaners – here are oodles of DIY cleaner posts.  Did you know I wrote a book, The Organically Clean Home, about DIY cleaning?  You can find it here – it’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

Here’s a close-up of one of the cleaning buckets – totally ready for a new recipe or two 🙂  This also works well to allow any sprayers to completely air dry after being washed out.

The top shelf is more or less decor but still items we use – clothespins, scrub brushes, bars of castile soap.

Love having my cleaning recipes right on the spray bottles – this makes DIY cleaning a breeze!  You can find my glass spray bottles and DIY cleaning recipe labels here.

If you haven’t set up a dusting caddy, you totally should!  This post details my dusting caddy in detail.

I use my Clean Mama Home white bar mop towels for a lot of cleaning – they wash up beautifully and have a luxurious look and feel.  Keeping a basket of them at the ready makes it easy to use them.

And of course my beloved Clean Mama Home microfiber cloths have their own shelf too – I have a basket of utility cloths (aqua), a basket of polishing cloths (gray), and a basket of microfiber pads and dusters for the floor.

If you’re looking for the products in the post, you can find all of the Clean Mama Home products in my shop here and I’ve added a slider below with some of the other products that I used in my cleaning closet.  I hope it helps you as you organize your cleaning supplies!  If you haven’t considered eliminating toxic chemicals in your cleaning, I hope you try out a DIY recipe or two and give it a try. It’s easier than you might think!

This post is part of my HOME TOUR – go here to see more of our home – I’ll keep adding to it in 2017.

Dog Odors Be Gone

dog-odors-be-gone-tips-and-tricks-to-keep-your-home-from-smelling-like-one-clean-mama

If you follow me on Instagram you know we recently adopted a puppy.  This isn’t our first puppy or dog – my husband and I both grew up with dogs and we had two labs before our little Stella.  Having a pet is a wonderful experience with lots of rewards and responsibilities.

If you’ve ever wondered if your home smelled like ‘dog’, I’m guessing you might welcome a couple tips to keep your home smelling fresh and clean.  With a couple regularly cleaned areas and practices, your home won’t smell like a dog or dogs live there and you can open your door without wondering what it smells like to the person on the other side.

If you’re reading this and thinking that I’m not a ‘dog’ person, I love dogs, I just don’t like my home to smell like one 🙂

Have a cushion or blanket for the pet and wash it frequently

I like the idea of pets having specific areas that they sleep on.  This keeps the pet oils and fur off furniture as well as keeping the smell contained to a washable area.  Washing this cushion or blanket weekly or as needed will keep the scent out of your home.  With a puppy, we use old bath towels in her kennel.  They can quickly be washed and dried if needed and even tossed if necessary.  When purchasing a bed for your pet, look for one that has a removable, washable cover.  If it doesn’t have a removable cover, make sure that the bed itself is washable.  If you have soft toys for your pet, toss them in the washing machine when you launder the bedding.

pet-odors-be-gone-clean-mama

Try this fabric sanitizer spray on pet bedding to keep it smelling yummy:

LAVENDER FABRIC SANITIZER SPRAY

If you need to sanitize/freshen a dog bed or your furniture, this spray will become a new favorite.  Lavender essential oil is soothing and calming and considered safe for pets.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (not all essential oils are safe for pets – do your research before using essential oils around them)

Add ingredients to a spray bottle and shake to combine.  Spray on fabric to freshen – let dry completely before using.  If you are concerned about water on fabric, test in an inconspicuous area first.  Feel free to use this spray on other fabrics as well 🙂

Fabric Sanitizer via Clean Mama

Shampoo carpets regularly

Clean carpets are the key to keeping that dog smell out of your home.  I recommend purchasing an at-home carpet shampooer and having a professional carpet cleaner shampoo carpets every six months to one year.  I love this carpet cleaner and I use this rug shampoo in it.

Brush and bathe frequently

Dog oils are the biggest contributors to that ‘dog smell’, so it makes sense that brushing and bathing would be the best way to keep the smell down to a minimum.  Wiping feet when dogs come in from outside can also keep dirt down.  In a pinch, these grooming wipes work well.

Use a lint roller

Keeping fur off furniture with a lint roller is an easy way to keep the smell out of your home.  Roll fur off furniture and clothing right away and you’ll find that the smell won’t linger the way it would if you just left it.

Vacuum regularly

I vacuum weekly (on Wednesdays) but I do sweep and vacuum up daily little messes as needed.  Keeping tabs on the fur is helpful to keep the smell away.  If you have a canister vacuum cleaner, empty the bin after each vacuuming session to keep the oils and odors from accumulating and if you have a bagged vacuum cleaner, change the bag frequently.  I always recommend purchasing the best vacuum cleaner that you can – look for one with a HEPA filter that’s made for getting pet hair and dander off and out of your floors and carpets.  I recently purchased this vacuum cleaner and I am loving it!  (I have been looking for a bagged vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and that’s why I switched.  I’ll give you more details in an upcoming post.)

Use an enzymatic cleaner for accidents

With pet accidents it’s important to completely remove the scent of any accidents so they don’t come back to it and re-mark that area.  An enzymatic cleaner will break down the stain and any scent – this one is my favorite – I make sure to always have it on hand.  It works great for kid stains too 😉

Use a natural air freshener

When all else fails, spritz something in the air to combat that dog smell.  I never recommend using artificial fragrances as air fresheners.  My favorite choices for air freshening are essential oils (lemon and clove are my favorite scent combination) and natural, soy-based candles.  Eucalyptus and lavender are good choices for dogs – soothing and non-toxic to them.

Do you have a dog or dogs?  What’s your best tip for keeping your house smelling like you don’t have one?

Here are two posts that should help if you’re looking for natural air fresheners, sanitizers, and odor absorbers – just click on the image to head to each post:

One Ingredient Odor Absorbers - Clean Mama

3 Natural Odor Eliminators - DIY Recipes for Common Household Odors main via Clean Mama

How to Get Rid of Marks on Dishes

how-to-get-rid-of-marks-on-dishes-clean-mama

It’s normal – if you use silverware on ceramic dishes (I have Fiesta dishes) you will see little gray marks and scratches appear over time on your dishware.  The marks come from the metal from the metal from silverware scratching the surface. If you have small scratches, you can try water, dish soap and a little baking soda.  If you meet a little resistance, I recommend the powdered Bar Keeper’s Friend.

Before we move on, I will tell you that I have tried just about every natural scrubbing cleanser out there to see what actually works the best – all of these will eventually remove the marks, but the Bar Keeper’s Friend powder worked the quickest and with the best overall results.

cleansers-clean-mamaHere’s what I tried:

trying-different-powders-clean-mama

Once you decide on a method, gather your dishes and line them up to clean them quickly – assembly line style.

bar-keepers-friend-clean-mama

Wet the dish and a cloth or paper towel and apply the powder or cream – rub in a circular motion.

sprinkle-on-plates-clean-mama

You’ll need to use a little elbow grease, but the marks will come up easily in a minute or so.  I prefer to use a paper towel because the black marks can stain – if you have an old t-shirt that is a great option.

rub-cleanser-into-dishes-clean-mama

Wash the cleanser off the plates and run them through your dishwasher.  Look at the ‘brand new’ dishes!

rinse-off-the-powder-clean-mama

Have you tried to remove the gray marks on your dishes?  What has/hasn’t worked for you?

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

Overwhelmed? Find success in your homekeeping with my latest book, Simply Clean! Dismiss