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

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!

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How to Use Castile Soap

This post is part of a new series – Homekeeping Basics.  In the series I’ll talk about ingredients, products, and some simple, basic homekeeping 101 sorts of things. I hope you enjoy it!

Let’s start with a product I think every one should have in their home – castile soap.  Castile soap is an all natural, vegetable-based product made primarily of coconut and olive oils. Instead of using synthetic chemicals as ingredients, they use naturally found and sourced ingredients.  A lot of soaps (dish and otherwise) contain petroleum and other toxic, caustic ingredients. By switching to castile soap for cleaning you’re using an effective and safe alternative.

My favorite is brand is Dr. Bronner’s – I love the citrus version.  It smells fresh, clean, and citrusy.  Dr. Bronner’s also comes in unscented, almond, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, and a few other scents.  If you have never heard of Dr. Bronner’s you can purchase online through Amazon or I purchase at my local Wal-Mart, Target (in the natural beauty section), or Whole Foods.

What’s so great about castile soap? It’s affordable, extremely concentrated, natural, and gentle and it cleans beautifully! It’s a great multi-purpose cleaner. It’s so safe that you can use it to clean fruit and vegetables and to brush your teeth. One word of caution – castile soap and vinegar don’t mix.  The acid in the vinegar mixes with the castile to make a sludge.  I do use one or two recipes with a teeny tiny bit of castile soap and vinegar and haven’t had a sludgy reaction, but just be careful as you’re mixing up cleaning concoctions.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use castile soap:

How to Clean Window Blinds

How to Clean Window Tracks

How to Clean Hardwood Floors Without Vinegar

How to Clean a Glass Cooktop

3 Ways to Clean Baseboards

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray

Nightly Sink Scrub

Soft Cleaning Scrub

Washing Windows – 2 Ways to DIY

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

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How to Clean Window Blinds

If you have blinds you know that they do a great job of keeping the sun out of a room and adding privacy but they are also great at trapping dust and debris.  Dust and dirt left on blinds shows, but worse than that, it can add allergens to your home that you don’t need.  A little attention during seasonal cleaning is a great way to keep your blinds clean year ‘round.  Today I’m sharing my three favorite methods for effective blind cleaning. Try one or all of them – each one works perfectly to clean your blinds with ease.

Use a blind duster

These little blind duster tools are great for quickly cleaning window blinds.  The microfiber can be removed and laundered in between uses and it works great to trap dust from both sides of the blinds simultaneously.  Bonus: you can clean two blind slats at once.

Microfiber + water

If you prefer a more ‘hands-on’ technique, use a microfiber cloth and barely dampen it.  If your blinds are extra dusty or dirty, add a drop of rubbing alcohol and a drop of castile or dish soap to help cut through the dust and grime.

Vacuum Cleaner

If you have a vacuum cleaner (this one is my favorite) with a soft brush attachment and an extending hose, try using it to vacuum your blinds.  This is my favorite technique because it’s quick and it does a great job of capturing any dust in a hurry.


This month is all about spring cleaning and decluttering.  If you haven’t grabbed the free checklist, go to this post to grab it and get started.

I’ll be sharing blog and social media posts (follow below!) to help you clean and declutter at the same time. I’ve picked a couple areas of the home that NEED to be spring cleaned and with that cleaning I’ll help you with some very specific decluttering too.  Print out the checklist, follow along, and work at your own pace.

What’s your motivation?  Find it and start simply spring cleaning!

Grab the checklist and start working your way through some spring cleaning and decluttering.  Before you know it, your home will be spring cleaned, decluttered, and better than it was before you started!

Did you grab Simply Clean?  Of course I talk about spring cleaning and there’s a beautiful spring cleaning checklist included too! Amazon shopper?  Grab it here.

If you haven’t put your supplies together, go to this post to get started and then come on back for your checklist.

Don’t miss the SIMPLY SPRING CLEANING Challenge:

Follow Clean Mama on Facebook
Follow Clean Mama on Instagram
Join Private FB group – Homekeeping Society
Subscribe to Clean Mama:

Go to this post for my favorite methods and recipes for washing windows.

And this post for how to clean window tracks.

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How to Clean Window Tracks

Cleaning windows is an integral component of spring cleaning but cleaning window tracks is definitely one of those yucky jobs that no one likes doing.  As far as I’m concerned, cleaning the tracks is just as important as cleaning the windows themselves.  Depending on where you live you’ll find different types of dirt in your window tracks – dust, dirt, pollen, mold, insects, spiderwebs, etc. Any or all of these particles can be found in your window tracks – no one wants to open a window only to let dirt in to the house.  If you suffer from allergies you’ll definitely find some relief once you’ve cleaned the pollen and dust from the window tracks. The good news is if you clean your window tracks in the spring and fall you’ll be cutting down on how long this task takes.

Want to tackle this not-so-fun spring cleaning task?

Gather your supplies:

  • castile or dish soap
  • warm water in container
  • sponge
  • bath towel for the floor
  • microfiber cloth
  • soft cloths for drying window sills and tracks
  • scrub brush or old (but clean) toothbrush
  • vacuum if necessary

Get started:

Place a bath towel on the floor to catch and drips and dirt.

Carefully remove the window screens. If these are dirty, take the time to spray them with your hose outside or wipe them clean with your sponge.

Vacuum up any loose dirt or debris with the hose attachment of your vacuum cleanerif your window tracks are really dirty. Make sure you clean the attachment when you are done with the job.

Put about 1 teaspoon (or a good squirt) of dish soap to warm water in a container.  

Add warm water to the soap to make a soapy solution for cleaning your window tracks.

Dip your sponge in the warm, soapy water and scrub over the tracks.

If the sponge isn’t working, use a scrub brush to help loosen up the dirt and debris.

Rinse and repeat scrubbing until all the dirt is removed.  Change the water if it gets dirty. Yuck, right?

Don’t forget to wipe the sills and latches clean.

Dry thoroughly and admire your clean windows.


This month is all about spring cleaning and decluttering.  If you haven’t grabbed the free checklist, go to this post to grab it and get started.

I’ll be sharing blog and social media posts (follow below!) to help you clean and declutter at the same time. I’ve picked a couple areas of the home that NEED to be spring cleaned and with that cleaning I’ll help you with some very specific decluttering too.  Print out the checklist, follow along, and work at your own pace.

What’s your motivation?  Find it and start simply spring cleaning!

Grab the checklist and start working your way through some spring cleaning and decluttering.  Before you know it, your home will be spring cleaned, decluttered, and better than it was before you started!

Did you grab Simply Clean?  Of course I talk about spring cleaning and there’s a beautiful spring cleaning checklist included too! Amazon shopper?  Grab it here.

If you haven’t put your supplies together, go to this post to get started and then come on back for your checklist.

Don’t miss the SIMPLY SPRING CLEANING Challenge:

Follow Clean Mama on Facebook
Follow Clean Mama on Instagram
Join Private FB group – Homekeeping Society
Subscribe to Clean Mama:

Go to this post for my favorite methods and recipes for washing windows.

 

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Scent your Home Naturally : Diffuser Blends

Artificial fragrances are harmful and can be toxic – diffusing essential oils are a great way to safely scent your home.  There are oodles of ideas out there for ways to diffuse essential oils that have healing properties, but not a lot of ideas for just good smelling combinations.  So if you like a homey, fresh-smelling home and are looking for a safe and natural way to do that, you’ll love these combinations.  And if you’ve purchased essential oils and haven’t been using them or are only using them for cleaning, break out your diffuser or put a couple drops in a few cups of water and simmer gently on the stove.

If you’ve ever made a DIY cleaner, chances are you’ve added an essential oil or two to the mix.  I primarily use essential oils for cleaning and diffusing but there are oodles of other uses for them as well – but today we’re just talking about SCENT.  If you’re looking to branch out past lemon essential oil and customize the scent for your diffuser or cleaners, I have some favorite scent combinations for you.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what you come up with.

White Fir + Lime – I love this woodsy and fresh combination.  It’s a great wintery and clean scent.

Grapefruit + Bergamot – I’ve been diffusing this the last couple weeks – I love the fresh and warm citrusy scent.

Cinnamon + Cardamon + Ginger – If you’re a candle addict, this spicy scent will be your new favorite!

Lemon + Clove – my absolute favorite scent combination and signature scent – it’s homey, warm and inviting.

Eucalyptus + Lavender – if you like the smell of a spa, this is probably the combination they’re diffusing.

Lemon + Lime + Orange – citrusy and fresh, the lime is the perfect component to this citrus combo.

Cedarwood + Sage – relaxing, woodsy and herbaceous, this combination is a favorite.

Isn’t this diffuser great?  It works great and has a decor-ish look so it blends right in.  What’s your favorite diffuser combination or blend?

 

I use doTERRA essential oils but also recommend NOW and Plant Therapy.

Always use caution around pets and children when using essential oils.  

Coming March 21st –  Pre-order SIMPLY CLEAN today!

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Here are a couple more essential oil posts that you might enjoy!  Just click on the image to go to the post.

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2 Ingredients : 3 Household Uses

Baking soda is one of the most versatile ingredients for DIY cleaners.  It can be used in laundry soap, to deodorize, scrub, absorb odors, etc.  Baking soda is also used in the kitchen as an ingredient for baking, so you know it’s non-toxic to use in your home.

I love a simple and quick cleaning tip, so this one is pretty great and I know I’ve shared these recipes on the blog over the years and in my first book, The Organically Clean Home, but I haven’t shared it quite this way.  Ready?  Go grab a box of baking soda and a mason jar!

 

Here’s the premise – make one basic recipe and use it 3 ways.

Mix up one recipe with one scent and use it as your universal cleaner OR mix up a couple jars with different scents for different purposes.  It’s totally up to you and customizable – yay!

GATHER YOUR SIMPLE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 20-30 drops essential oil – my favorite is lemon and clove but you can use any combination that you’d like!
  • container with a lid or a shaker top (I like a mason jar, this one specifically :)) – I’ve previously used a shaker top but have switched to a lid – either way works!

Then:

  • put baking soda in your container (I use a piece of parchment paper like a cone to make this mess-free)
  • add essential oils to the top of the baking soda

  • stir and combine with a kitchen knife

  • store in a cool place with a lid on the jar (or with the lid off if you need an odor absorber)

Once you have your baking soda and essential oil mixture, you’re ready to use it in your home.  Here are my 3 favorite uses:

Nightly Sink Scrub

My favorite DIY recipe is also my favorite nightly ritual – the Nightly Sink Scrub.  It’s a recipe I came up with a few years ago and it pretty much started my DIY cleaners obsession which also turned into my first book, The Organically Clean Home.  The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so simple to whip up and it does such a great job at giving the sink a little scrub, you’ll love it!  Did you know that the sink is pretty much the dirtiest spot in your whole home?  Another reason to give it a nightly scrub!

SEE HOW EASY IT IS TO MIX UP AND USE…

  1. wet your sink
  2. sprinkle liberally in your sink
  3. add a squirt or two of dish or castile soap
  4. scrub with a sink-safe scrubber
  5. rinse thoroughly + dry

Mattress Freshener

If you’re spring cleaning or trying to absorb and eliminate the scent of something yucky on your mattress, you’ll need about 1/4 cup of baking soda to cover the surface of a queen or king mattress.  Go ahead and sprinkle from your jar or mix this up separately.  I recommend using a fine sieve/sifter to evenly and lightly dispense the baking powder.  Lavender essential oil makes a wonderful scent for mattress freshening.  If you need something a little more powerful you might want to combine melaleuca and lemon to purify the scent a bit more.  

  1. LIGHTLY sprinkle over the mattress
  2. Let it sit for 30+ minutes
  3. Vacuum it up using an attachment on your vacuum cleaner ( I use an upholstery attachment but you can also use the hose attachment – clean it first and after you’ve used it!)

Need more info?  Go to this post for all my tips on cleaning and caring for your mattresses.

Carpet Freshener

If you have pets or struggle with your carpet smelling fresh or neutral, you’ll love the carpet freshener.  This is not meant to be used every time you vacuum, but anytime you need a little freshening up.  I recommend using a fine sieve/sifter to evenly and lightly dispense the baking powder on your carpet.  Use your favorite essential oil scent to give your home a signature scent – I use lemon and clove.

  1. LIGHTLY sprinkle on carpet
  2. Let sit for 15 minutes to absorb odors
  3. Vacuum up – I vacuum in both directions to make sure that I got ALL the baking powder up from the carpet and into the vacuum cleaner canister or bag

There you have it, two ingredients and three cleaning solutions – which one will you try first?

Looking for a simpler approach to homekeeping?  Pre-order my NEW book Simply Clean!  It will change the way you clean!

 

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DIY Cleaners to the Rescue

One walk down the aisles at your local grocery or big box store and you will see a huge variety of cleaners promising different things. A quick peek at the ingredient list and you will likely see numerous unpronounceable chemicals, artificial additives and scents or even toxicity warnings.

If you haven’t dipped your toes in to the world of DIY cleaners, today may just be the day. You will find cleaners with minimal ingredients that you can actually pronouce and may just already have in your home. Only essential oils are used to scent and you can easily customize with your favorite oils or combinations. The bonus? They are literally pennies to make an entire bottle.

Psst…the bar mop towels, spray bottles, clear mason jars, and cleaning recipe labels can all be found in Clean Mama Home.

Try one (or all!) of these DIY cleaners and let me know what you think. Happy cleaning!

Nightly Sink Scrub

I love to sprinkle this Nightly Sink Scrub in the sink and give a quick scrub at the end of the day to polish and clean.

Marble and Granite Cleaning Spray

This Marble and Granite Cleaning Spray beats any of the commercial cleaners I have tried. Bonus: it is incredibly inexpensive!

Soft Cleaning Paste

This Soft Cleaning Paste is ideal for bathrooms, tubs, tile and faucets and anywhere soap scum, water spots and grime reside.

All-Purpose Spray

Everyone needs an All-Purpose Spray for general cleaning and this one is it for me. I love that it is kid-safe so that little ones can help alongside me.

Glass and Mirror Spray

If you are new to the word of DIY cleaners, my Glass and Mirror Spray may just convert you for life. It works amazingly well and leaves behind no streaks or smears. It is perfect for windows too.

DIY Cleaners Ingredient Storage

I use this simple storage solution to keep all my ingredients for cleaners close at hand, uniform, and ready to use.

Love cleaning and DIY cleaners or just want a simplified approach to cleaning and homekeeping?  You’ll LOVE my new book Simply Clean – pre-order it now!

 

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Simply Cozy : Winter Simmers

Don’t you just love warm scents for winter and the holidays?  I love to make simmers (here are my favorite fall simmers) and of course, candles.  It’s fun to be able to customize a couple scents for the seasons with what I have on hand or am in the mood for.  Here are four of my favorite simmers for winter and the holidays.  Mix one up and simmer it away on your stove or in a small crockpot and you’ll be feeling festive in no time. Gather any combination of the following ingredients – you only NEED one or two things, but you can combine to your heart’s content.

Ingredient Ideas:

  • lemons
  • oranges
  • apples
  • cranberries
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whole cloves
  • fresh herbs
  • pine needles
  • extracts – vanilla, almond, etc.
  • essential oils (just a drop or two is all you need)
  • 4 cups water

My favorite Holiday Simmers:

HOLIDAY KITCHEN

 

  • lemons and/or oranges
  • rosemary
  • vanilla

CHRISTMAS POMANDER

  • clove studs
  • sliced oranges

HOLIDAY BAKING

  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cloves

WINTER SPICE

  • cranberries
  • pine branches
  • orange and/or lemon slices
  • cinnamon sticks

Combine ingredients with water in a saucepan and put on your stove.  Set heat to low and let the ingredients simmer away as long as you’d like.  (Keep an eye on the water so it doesn’t boil over or scorch.  Add water if you need to.)

TIP: If you have a small crockpot you can combine the ingredients and let your simmer bubble away on low all day.

This post is part of a series all about slowing down and savoring the season, SIMPLY COZY.  Go here to see all the posts.

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Essential Oil Combinations for the Home

essential-oil-cleaning-combinations-for-the-home-clean-mama

If you’ve ever made a DIY cleaner, chances are you’ve added an essential oil or two to the mix.  I primarily use essential oils for cleaning and diffusing but there are oodles of other uses for them as well – but today we’re just talking about SCENT.  If you’re looking to branch out past lemon essential oil and customize the scent for your diffuser or cleaners, I have some favorite scent combinations for you.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what you come up with.

Lemon + Clove – my absolute favorite scent combination and signature scent – it’s homey, warm and inviting.
Lemon + Peppermint + Lavender – this is a great combo – clean and refreshing. I like it heavy on the lemon and lavender with just a drop or two of peppermint.
Eucalyptus + Lavender – if you like the smell of a spa, this is probably the combination they’re diffusing.
Melaleuca + Lemon + Orange – Melaleuca (or tea tree oil) is a natural disinfectant but has a strong scent.  I like to offset the scent with a little citrus to freshen it up a bit.
Lemon + Cypress – I love this combination for washing hardwood floors.  The woodsy scent of the cypress and lemon are a great combination.
Rosemary + Clove + Orange – If you’re looking for the perfect kitchen scent, this is it.  The herbal rosemary pairs really well with the clove and orange.
Cinnamon + Melaleuca – Cinnamon is a spicy scent that does a great job at toning down the melaleuca.

essential-oil-combinations-for-cleaning

The rule of thumb for scenting DIY cleaners is 3-10 drops essential oil per 16 ounces of liquid (usually water and/or white vinegar).  Here are a couple recipes to get you started with – simply substitute your scent combo for mine:

Laminate Floor Cleaner
Fabric Sanitizer Spray
Non-Vinegar Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Vinegar Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Window + Mirror Cleaning Spray
Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray
All-Purpose Disinfecting Cleaner
All Purpose Spray
Laundry – soften + freshen

If you’re looking for the BEST spray bottles for your DIY cleaners, check out the glass spray bottles and labels in Clean Mama Home.

spray-bottles-with-3-labels-cmh

I use doTERRA essential oils but also recommend NOW and Plant Therapy.

Always use caution around pets and children when using essential oils.  

essential-oil-combinations-for-the-home-clean-mama

Did you see my announcement?  Pre-order SIMPLY CLEAN today!

simplyclean3d

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DIY Laminate Floor Cleaner

laminate-floor-cleaner-clean-mamaOne of the biggest complaints I hear about laminate floor cleaners is that 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.

Here’s why this recipe works:

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 as a spray format in a bottle or in a refillable mop in lieu of a mop and bucket.  Always make sure that you aren’t leaving any standing water on your floors as you’re washing them.
laminate-floor-cleaner-ingredients-clean-mama
To make about 16 ounces or enough to fit in a spray bottle (I sell glass sell spray bottles in my Clean Mama Home shop) – use this recipe:

DIY LAMINATE FLOOR CLEANER

  • 5 ounces white vinegar
  • 5 ounces rubbing alcohol
  • 5 ounces water (use distilled or boiled and cooled water if you are wanting to store this longer than one week)
  • optional: 3-5 drops essential oils (lemon or orange and peppermint is a great combination for this recipe)

Combine the ingredients and pour into a spray bottle or spray mop and use weekly or more if necessary.

Have hardwood floors?  Don’t use this recipe – the high ratios of rubbing alcohol and vinegar aren’t compatible with your floors.

Try these methods instead….

how-to-wash-hardwood-floors-without-vinegar-clean-mamaHow to Clean Hardwood Floors WITHOUT Vinegar

3 Ways to Wash Hardwood Floors via Clean Mama

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

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How to Clean Hardwood Floors WITHOUT Vinegar

how-to-wash-hardwood-floors-without-vinegar-clean-mama

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

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

On to the non-vinegar method….

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

Here’s what you need:

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

alternative-solutions-for-washing-hardwood-floors

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 16 oz. spray bottle (here’s my favorite glass spray bottle)
  • 1-2 drops of Sal Suds or castile soap
  • 3-5 drops essential oils if you’d like a little scent – some of my favorites are lemon + clove for the castile and pine + lemon for the Sal Suds (it has a pine-y scent already)
  • microfiber mop or spray mop (you can see my favorites here) – if you’d rather hand wash your floors, simply pour the solution into a small bucket and use a microfiber cloth for the application

Pour the water into your spray bottle.

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Add a drop or two of  soap or cleaning concentrate.

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

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Put your sprayer on the spray bottle and shake vigorously.

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

washing-floors-clean-mama

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

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

 

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How to Clean a Glass Cooktop

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

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

Glass Cooktop Cleaner:

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

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

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

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

add-water-clean-mama

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

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

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

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

how-to-clean-a-glass-cooktop-clean-mama

Looking for my favorite method for cleaning gas cooktops?

How to Clean a Gas Cooktop via Clean Mama

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

The Organically Clean Home - Clean Mama

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3 DIY Cleaners You Should be Making

3 DIY Cleaners You Should Be Making - Clean Mama

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

Window + Mirror Cleaning Spray Ingredients - Clean Mama

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

WINDOW + MIRROR CLEANING SPRAY

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

Ingredients for Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray - Clean Mama

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

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray

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

Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner - Clean Mama

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

All-Purpose Cleaning + Disinfecting Spray

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

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

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

small spray bottle with labels  - cmh

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4 Ways to Naturally Soften and Freshen Your Laundry

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

Most conventional fabric softeners and dryer sheets are not only toxic (read more here from the Environmental Working Group or EWG.com), but they also coat fibers making clothes and towels harder to clean because they build up with the fabric softener.  If you love your fabric softener and dryer sheets and love that scent that’s associated with clean laundry, you probably don’t want to make the switch to something natural if it’s unscented.  I have 4 natural alternatives that are not only inexpensive, they’re natural, non-toxic AND they work.  Combine them to suit your needs or just use one – you’ll be a natural fabric softener user in no time.

VINEGAR (soften) – Simply add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser or one of those fabric softener balls.  I love this for sheets and towels – it will make your towels unexpectedly soft and fluffy.  If you need a little scent, feel free to add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil(s) to about 16 ounces of vinegar.  Shake before each use because the oils will separate from the vinegar and you don’t want any oil on your laundry.  I keep my white vinegar in a glass bottle (this is the same bottle that comes with my spray bottles if you’re interested.)

White Vinegar Fabric Softener - Clean Mama

WOOL DRYER BALLS (reduces static and can lightly scent if you use essential oils on the balls) – Wool is naturally antibacterial making it awesome for using in the laundry.  Place  3-4  wool dryer balls in with each load of laundry.  Most wool dryer balls will last 300-400 uses making this an inexpensive dryer sheet alternative.  Put a couple drops of essential oil on each ball if you’d like a little scent.

Wool Dryer Balls - Clean Mama

DIY LAUNDRY SCENT BOOSTER (adds scent) – if you love those commercial scent boosters this is the recipe for you!  It’s definitely more subtle but I’ll take subtle and safe any day.  (You can see more instructions on this post.)

Laundry Scent Booster - Clean Mama

Add 1 tablespoon of the Laundry Scent Booster directly to the washer and wash as usual.

Add Laundry Booster to Washing Machine - Clean Mama

DIY FLANNEL MINI DRYER SHEETS (adds scent to the dryer) – If you need to use a dryer sheet, this is the perfect alternative.

Flannel Dryer Sheets - Clean Mama

  • 20 or so small pieces of flannel or cotton (I used these bamboo cotton ones – they are fabulous!)
  • 20-30 drops essential oil
  • mason jar (available in Clean Mama Home)

Add the ‘dryer sheets’ to a container and add essential oils.  Keep the lid off until the ‘sheets’ have completely dried – at least a day or two.   Add a sheet or two to each dryer cycle – wash and refill when the scent has dissipated.

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I purchased the chalkboard sticker label and pen set from Amazon here if you’re interested.

FAVORITE LAUNDRY SCENT COMBINATIONS

If you love essential oils or are just getting started, here are a couple of my favorite combos – try one for your laundry, you’ll love it!  (I typically use doTERRA essential oils but I also recommend Plant Therapy and Now brand as well.

Essential Oils for Laundry - Clean Mama

What do you think?  Ready to hop on the DIY fabric softener train?  I bet you’ll never look back!

More posts in this series – just click on the image to go to the post and check out my book, The Organically Clean Home:

One Ingredient Odor Absorbers - Clean Mama

Nightly Sink Scrub - Clean Mama

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray - Clean Mama

Soft Cleaning Paste - the perfect scrub - Clean Mama

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

The Perfect DIY Glass Cleaner - Clean Mama

DIY Cleaners Ingredient Storage - Clean Mama

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