Search Results for: cleaners

3 Big Benefits of Homemade Cleaners

I’ve been hanging out with my friend Amber over the past few weeks and have been learning all kinds of neat tricks, recipes and ideas from her when it comes to all natural homemade cleaners. Amber teaches a lot of classes and workshops on this topic and has recently published a Kindle book with some of her best information and recipes for cleaning products you can make and use at home. Amber shared her 3Gs of homemade cleaners with me and I loved the concept. That’s why I asked her to share them with you, which she was happy to do. Enjoy!

Why You Should Be Making Your Own Cleaning Products

This is a guest post by Amber Bradshaw of The Coastal Homestead. We have all been reading about the dangers of synthetic chemicals, dyes and fragrances, well your beloved cleaners are full of them. The only thing natural about cleaners are the added water. Making your own cleaning supplies will not only be easy to do, (almost effortless in fact) but they are Good for you, Good for the Environment, and Great for your wallet, my 3 G’s. I often hear “my grandma used to clean with that” guess what? It still works! It never stopped working; we were sold by commercials that we needed something that worked quicker and easier for our busy lifestyle but you can get back to the way our ancestors used to clean and detox your life all at the same time.

My 3 G Principal

Homemade Natural Cleaners that are good for you, good for the environment and great for your wallet

#1 G- Good for You. You may ask “why should a cleaner be good for you?” As long as it gets the job done, who cares—right? Anything that goes onto your skin goes into your body. If you’re using store bought cleaners, the chances are you are exposing yourself to cancer triggering substances. In less than one minute of contact with your skin, trace elements of chemicals can be found in every organ of your body. Without sounding like a Capitol One commercial but “What’s in your body?” In order to meet my first G, a cleaner is required to, on no account, be a threat to human safety when used properly. #2 G- Good for the Environment. As a nation, we are contaminating our water supply with the use (and manufacturing) of toxic chemicals. Many do not realize, but we are all drinking recycled water. The water we now consume is the same water that was around when dinosaurs roamed the earth (I tell my kids all the time they drink dinosaur pee!). What we put on our; lawns, wash on our cars, flush down our toilets, and pour down our drains, eventually, will all end up in our drinking water supply. From prescription medicines to drain cleaners, they all end up in our drinking water supply. A large portion of chemicals are impossible to filter out of our water, and some can never be removed. Be mindful of what you pour down your drains and what you flush down your toilet because eventually it will makes its way into your drinking water supply. To meet my second G’s requirements, a cleaner has to: pose no threat to the environment when used properly, be biodegradable, and have a natural origin. #3 G- Great for Your Wallet. As a self-employed family of five, we have to be frugal. I would have never been able to convince my husband to support my decision, if going organic cost double what we were currently spending; we simply wouldn’t be able to afford it. Truth is, if you are going to buy organic, biodegradable, all-natural products, you will see a rise in your shopping bill. Although, if you made your own cleaning products you will see a 90% savings or more! Who wouldn’t love to save over 90%? A 2009 study showed the average family spends over $800 per year on household cleaning products; I am here to tell you that you can cut that bill by 90% by making your own products. Who doesn’t like to save 90% off? While there are hundreds, if not thousands, of DIY cleaning products recipes on the internet, any recipe I share has to meet all three G’s. If I can’t afford to make it cheaper than I can buy it, I won’t. Here is a price comparison for the recipe I am going to share with you for my herbal antibacterial bathroom cleaner.

Lysol Antibacterial Cleaner $3.99 (on sale)

Seventh Generation Organic Cleaner $4.99

3 G Cleaner that you make $0.29

That is an incredible savings! Let’s get started. I call this my “bathroom” cleaner because I add specific ingredients that are known for killing bacteria but you can use this cleaner anywhere* in your house. Herbal Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner

  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Fresh Herbs (Thyme, Rosemary, Eucalyptus)
  • Glass Container with plastic lid (I use quart mason jars with plastic lids)
  • Water

Instructions Fill your glass jar ¾ of the way full with herbs. You can use many different herbs but this is my favorite combination. Pour vinegar over herbs and fill the glass jar. Place cap tightly on jar and let set for two weeks, shaking every other day or so to help release oils from herbs. After two weeks (you can leave longer if you want), strain herbs and fill your spray bottle ¾ of the way full with your herbal vinegar infusion. Fill the remaining of

the spray bottle with water. Store left over vinegar in a glass jar for future use. Vinegar– Vinegar by itself kills; mold, bacteria and viruses. You can use straight vinegar and clean your entire house but when you add herbs you kick the germ fighting, bacteria killing properties up a notch. Herbs- Herbs have been used for thousands of years, as well as vinegar, for many medicinal purposes. Herbs have; antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, and a 100 more properties. When you infuse them with vinegar you create a powerhouse cleaner that is safe for you and the environment. *Do not use vinegar on granite or marble. You can replace the vinegar in this recipe with witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. To learn more about green cleaning recipes you can read my new ebook, The 3 G’s of Kitchen Cleaning The 3 G's Of Kitchen Cleaning Amber Bradshaw and Husband

Amber is a environmentalist, garden and outdoor enthusiast. She is a wife, mother of three, owns a contracting business with her husband, is President of the local Herb Society, and a 4-H Leader. Amber strives to get back into nature with a more sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle that fits a busy schedule and a tight budget. In effort to reduce our environmental impact and toxic chemical exposure she teaches workshops sharing with others how to make all of their household supplies implementing her 3 G principal.
  • Good for you
  • Good for the environment
  • Good for your wallet

She lives on the east coast with her family on a little over 1/4 acre and encourages others to do big things with small spaces. When not out in the garden you can find her sharing her latest homestead tips at The Coastal Homestead, on Facebook, or on Pinterest.  

The Benefits And Advantages Of Using Green Cleaners

This year, instead of Spring cleaning with conventional cleaners, consider using all natural green cleaners instead. They’re safer for your health, they’re better for the environment, and they are often less expensive. Let’s take a look at what green cleaners are all about:

What Are Green Cleaners?

Green cleaners are simply cleaners that use all natural elements. This means they don’t pollute the water supply. Their fumes don’t contaminate the air you breathe. And there are fewer topical reactions.

Have you ever gotten a rash or a stinging sensation from a household cleaner? What about stinging, watering eyes? Have you ever succumbed to a coughing fit while using a bathroom cleaner? These are common reactions. Your body is having an adverse reaction to the chemicals in the cleaner.

While natural cleaners can still pose a risk if you’re allergic to an element, they don’t contain the same harmful toxins. They break down naturally. And quite often natural cleaners are packaged in recycled or compostable materials. They’re good for your health and they’re good for the planet.

Benefits of using green and homemade cleanersWhat to Avoid In Cleaning Products

  • Phosphates
  • Bleach
  • Petroleum
  • Surfactants
  • Ammonia
  • Lye
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Phenols

These chemicals don’t break down naturally in the soil or your water supply. They kill plant and animal life. They harm and disrupt the environment. Additionally, the manufacturing process for many of these chemicals involves petroleum. The off gasses produce green house emissions and contribute to global warming.

What to Choose In Cleaning Products

  • Essential oils
  • Citrus
  • Glycerin
  • Lauramine
  • Sulfates
  • Water
  • And other natural and recognizable elements

Ingredients that you recognize in nature are typically a good choice. It is getting less difficult to find these ingredients as green cleaning supplies are becoming more popular.  You can usually find many brands at your local big box store or supermarket now. The cost for green cleaning products is coming down also, and is now often less expensive than conventional products.

Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies

Many products you have around the home can be used to make your own cleaning supplies. The most common ingredients are:

  • Distilled white vinegar – commonly used to cut grease and sanitize.
  • Lemon – the acids are great for grease cutting, breaking down stains and of course the lemony scent makes everything smell clean.
  • Baking soda – a good abrasive that works for scrubbing countertops, bath tubs and sinks.

You’d be surprised what you can make yourself. You just need a recipe, a bucket or mixing container and a spray bottle for storage.

If you find that standard cleaning products affect your health or you simply want to embrace a greener lifestyle then consider switching to green cleaning products. Many green companies offer free samples. Check them out. You’ll see they work just as well, if not better. They also don’t have the same harmful side effects.

Frugal Homemade Cleaners, Bean There Meatloaf and Frugal Baked Bean Casserole – Hillbilly Housewife Newsletter

September 30th 2009


Our Tuesdays have gotten pretty busy this year for some reason. I’m going to try to get the newsletter out on Wednesdays instead for a while and so far it’s working pretty well.

I had a great time at the blogging conference in Asheville last weekend. Learned quite a bit and made some great new friends, some of whom will be contributing to the HBHW website in the near future.

I came home to a a sick husband and child, but with a little TLC and some homemade chicken soup, both are much better and I got away with nothing more than a little cold.

I’m slowly catching up on emails, approving comments and such. Aside from that it’s been a pretty quiet week so far. Morning are chilly and feel like fall which is kind of nice. I can’t wait for it to get cool enough that I can cook some more stews. They just never taste right when it’s hot outside.

That’s it for this week. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Feel free to email me at

Warm Regards,

Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

Inspirational Quote

“To have begun is to be half done; dare to be wise; begin!” – Horace

Ready to make a Halloween costume with your child? Homemade Halloween Costumes – no sewing required.

Reader Question

I’ve been trying to make fried chicken, but the breading doesn’t seem to want to stick. I’m using seasoned flour for the breading. It also doesn’t turn out crispy at all. How do I fix good, crispy fried chicken?


Hi Amy, excellent question. It took me quite a few tries to come up with a way to make really good fried chicken.

Start by patting your chicken dry. Then dip it in some flour. I like to use seasoned flour here. Next, briefly dip your chicken in egg wash. Allow most of the egg to drip off, then coat the chicken either in more seasoned flour or other breading of your choice (I’ve used anything from cracker crumbs to corn flakes).

Move the chicken straight into hot oil. Don’t overcrowd your pot and handle your chicken very gently.

Another option is oven fried chicken.

News From The HBHW Club

This is a new section of the newsletter. Each week I’m going to share some tidbits of what’s going on at the HBHW Club with you. I hope you enjoy these extra tips, recipes and ideas and of course would love to have you join the club.

As a HBHW newsletter subscriber, you can join for only $10 per month here:

And to make it even easier, I’ll let you try it out for just a dollar for the first 7 days.

Here’s one of the recipes that were submitted this past week.

Triple Chocolate Fudge

* 1/2 cup butter
* 3 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 can evaporated milk

* 32 large marshmallows

* 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
* 13 oz. Hershey’s Chocolate Bar
* 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 2 cups chopped nuts

In very large saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, both sugars, and can of milk, stirring until the sugars are dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a soft boil, cover the pan and boil for 5 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the marshmallows until they are dissolved.

Take the first chocolate and add it to the saucepan, stirring until melted.
Take the second chocolate and add it to the saucepan, and stir again until that chocolate is melted.
Then, add the last chocolate and do the same, stir until melted completely.

Now, add the vanilla and nuts and stir.
Pour mixture into a 9×13 or equivalent pan that’s been lightly coated with butter.  Chill until firm.

And here are some of the other recipes that have been added in the past few days.

  • Inside-Out Beef and Spinach Ravioli
  • Green Fluff
  • Taste of the Islands Chicken Skillet
  • Angel Food Jell-o Confetti
  • Simple Chicken Divan

All in all, we have over 200 new recipes in the member area already.

What else has been going on at the HBHW Club? We’ve been talking about using pressure cookers and other kitchen gadgets, being a “supermom” and of course we’re starting to think about Christmas and various frugal gift ideas. I’m sure you have a lot to contribute to the conversation. Ready to join us? Try The HBHW Club for only $1. We’d love to have you!

Featured Article

This week’s featured article is about using your own homemade cleaners for your home. Most of what you need to make these frugal cleaners is already sitting in your pantry.

Frugal Cleaning Tips – Being Frugal With Your Cleaning Supplies

Frugal Tips

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Do you have a tip to share? Fill out the submit a frugal tip form and I’ll be glad to add it to the site and share your tip in an upcoming edition of the newsletter.


Here are some of the most recent recipes that have been added to the HBHW site. Enjoy!

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Do you have a recipe you would like to share? Click here to send it to me and I’ll be happy to add it to the website.

I’m Looking For:

This section is going to be all about you. If you are looking for a particular recipe or a tip on how to do something, submit it here and I will post it in an upcoming newsletter. I’ll give you my input and other readers of the newsletter will have the opportunity to share their recipes and tips as well. So take a moment to post your questions and of course if you have a tip or idea for any question posted in this section feel free to leave a comment under the appropriate post.

I’m Looking For Requests
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I’m Looking For Responses
Below you will find some of the recent responses to the “I’m Looking For” Requests. You may also want to go directly to this section and browse through all the recent submissions and replies. To do so, click on “I’m Looking for” here, and start looking through them.
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Inspirational Story


Author Unknown

Light that lies deep inside of me
Come forth in all thy majesty
Show me thy gaze
Teach me thy ways
That I a better person may be

Darkness that lies deep inside of me
Come forth in all thy mystery
Show me thy gaze
Teach me thy ways
That I a better person may be

Love that lies deep inside of me
Come forth in all thy unity
Let me be thy gaze
Let me teach thy ways
That I a better person may be

Final Thought

That’s it for this edition of the Hillbilly Housewife Newsletter. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I had creating it for you. I also hope that you have found the information helpful and useful. And by all means feel free to forward the newsletter to family and friends or even better, encourage them to subscribe to it.

Do you have a question, a tip, a recipe or a story you’d like to share with us? Email it to me and I’ll include it in a future issue. Can’t wait to see what you have to say.

Warm Wishes,

Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

How To Clean Your Shower Head With Vinegar

I got in the shower this morning and noticed that my shower head was starting to get pretty clogged. It happens every six months or and after much trial and error, I came up with a quick and easy way to get it cleaned. It’s very simple, doesn’t take a bunch of elbow grease and most importantly no expensive or harsh cleaners.

Here what you’ll need … and yes, I realize this list sounds a little MacGyver at first, but keep reading. I promise it will start to make sense in a minute.

  • plastic bag
  • rubber band
  • white vinegar
  • an old tooth brush

Make sure you pick a plastic bag that’s wide enough that you can easily slip it over your shower head.

The idea is to put the bag (filled with vinegar) around the shower head and secure it with the rubber band).

Fill your bag with enough white vinegar that the bottom of your shower head is completely immersed in the vinegar when you put the bag around it. I find it helps to put the rubber band on the shower head first, then a slip on the vinegar filled bag and pull the rubber band over the edge of the bag to keep it secure.

Or if your shower head is easily removed, take it off and pop it in a small bowl filled with the vinegar.

Allow it to soak for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the bag, pour out the vinegar and rise the shower head with clean water. Much of what’s clogging it should be coming off already.

Take your tooth brush and gently brush away any other build-up and clogs. Rinse with more water and you’re done.

How to clean a clogged shower head

10 New Habits For A Clean House

Once you’ve gone through all the effort to spring clean don’t you wish your home would stay that clean? It can. With a few new habits you can keep your home sparkling clean.

1. Pick up after yourself

Much of the mess in your home is likely self inflicted. Do you set things down with a quiet promise that you’ll get to them later? Instead of adding extra work for yourself or letting the clutter accumulate, put things where they belong the first time.

2. Make your bed

It seems like such a simple thing but making your bed can set the standard for the day. And you don’t have to set hospital corners when you make your bed. You can simply straighten the covers and fluff the pillows.

10 New Habits For A Clean House3. Clean as you go

How many times do you set things down and leave them for later? For example, when you’re making something in the kitchen do you leave the mess to clean up later? Or do you clean as you go? Cleaning as you go helps you control mess. It also means you don’t have an overwhelming clean up job when you’re done.

4. Corral clutter

Many organization experts recommend a clutter coral. This is generally a box where items can be placed. Then, at the end of the day, you put those items where they belong. If you live with others or have a family this is a good job for them to tackle. Let your children and spouse put things away before they go to bed.

5. Go to bed clean

Generally there is a room in the house where clutter gathers. Spend ten minutes at the beginning or end of each day and pick up. Make it part of your day and you can wake up knowing your home is clean and clutter free.

6. Enlist help

Make your family responsible for tasks and rooms. They can spend ten minutes each night straightening a room. It’s a fast way to make sure your home stays clean and clutter free.

7. Assign a day

Give each room in your home a day for cleaning. While straightening is done every day, the deep cleaning shouldn’t need more than one time a week. And if you’re enlisting help from your family then they can each tackle a room.

8. Keep cleaning products handy

Find or buy a tote bag or bin for each room. Place the cleaners for that room in the tote. Then tuck the tote away. For example, your kitchen cleaners can be stored under your sink. Your bathroom cleaners can be stored in your linen closet and so on.

9. Make it part of the routine

Make cleaning and straightening part of your routine. Each night for example, load and run the dishwasher. Hand wash any dishes. Set the coffee pot to brew ten minutes before you wake and then go to bed. It’ll only take you ten to fifteen minutes each night and it can become part of your bedtime routine. You’ll have the joy of waking each day to a fresh pot of coffee and a clean kitchen.

10. Simplify

The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean. Look around your home and see where you can simplify your life.

These ten habits can change the way you clean your home. They save you energy. They eliminate the stress of a messy home and they help you include the entire family in the household responsibilities. Most importantly, they help you spend less time cleaning and more time on life’s more important tasks and joys.

Easy Appliance Cleaning Step-by-Step

When spring cleaning you’ll want to pay special attention to your appliances. Properly cleaned and maintained appliances last longer. This saves you time, energy and money – buying new appliances can be a hassle.

However, cleaning your appliances is likely to consume most of your spring cleaning time. This is particularly true for the bigger appliances like your refrigerator and your oven. A few simple steps and tips can make the job easier.

Appliance Cleaning  in 5 Easy Steps

1. Instructions. Before you clean any appliance, find the instructions. If you don’t know where the instructions are, you can get them online. Visit the manufacturer’s website and download the instructions. Read them carefully. Most appliances have cleaning instructions. They’ll tell you what steps to take, or not to take. They’ll let you know what cleaning products are safe and how often you should clean the item.

Cleaning your appliances in 5 easy steps2. Organize your cleaners. Once you know how to clean your appliance, organize your cleaners. For example, if you’re cleaning your refrigerator you’ll need: a vacuum, interior cleaner for the shelving and drawers. You’ll also want a surface cleaner to clean the outside of your refrigerator. Gathering your supplies in advance saves you time once you’re cleaning.

3. Plan around it. With many appliances you’ll need to let the cleaners set before you can return to the job. Oven cleaning is a classic example. If you have a self cleaning oven then it generally takes one to two hours.

If you’re defrosting the freezer that can take a few hours too. Use this time to your advantage. Plan for it. While your freezer is defrosting you can focus on cleaning the inside of your refrigerator. While your oven is cleaning you can clean out your pantry.

4. Clean inside and out. Remember that appliance cleaning isn’t just about how it looks on the outside. Clean the inside, back, front and bottom too. Pull your oven out from the wall if you can and vacuum underneath. Spring cleaning means leaving no crack or crevice untouched.

5. Create a checklist. Before you begin to clean your appliances consider making a checklist. The checklist can help you maximize your time. It’ll also help you make sure you take care of everything. You can create your own checklist or you can download them online.

Cleaning your appliances can be a big job. However, with a little preparation and a good plan you can minimize the time and effort it takes. Properly maintained appliances last longer and work better. It’s well worth your time to clean them well.

Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips and a Checklist

Kitchen spring cleaning can be an overwhelming job. Basics like cleaning the oven are pretty simple. However, when you add washing out the cabinets and vacuuming behind the refrigerator it can be an all day job.

This handy checklist will help you get started. The tips will help you take care of the job in less than two hours.

Kitchen Cleaning Checklist:

  • Spring cleaning tips and checklist for your kitchen.Dust ceiling fan
  • Dust tops of cabinets if they don’t reach the ceiling
  • Dust corners of walls
  • Dust top of refrigerator
  • Launder curtains or dust window treatments
  • Dust any knick knacks, counter top appliances and pictures on display
  • Wash walls and switch plates with mild detergent
  • Wash cabinet fronts
  • Clean oven. If using a self cleaning oven, spray and set.
  • Vacuum behind the appliances
  • Vacuum the area rugs or toss in washing machine
  • Mop floors
  • Wash windows and appliance fronts
  • Scour the top of the oven/stovetop
  • Clean the inside of your refrigerator (Toss any old food. Remove one shelf/drawer at a time and wash down with mild detergent)
  • Clean inside small appliances ex, toaster and microwave
  • Wipe down shelves and inside the cabinets
  • Drawer by drawer, remove items and wipe down. Replace items and organize as you go
  • Wash the counter tops, sink and faucets
  • Clean out and organize your pantry. Wipe down shelves as you go. Label to keep items organized and easily identified.


Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips:

  1. Group like tasks. For example, when you have your bucket of mild detergent and damp cloth, wash walls, outside of all cabinets and shelves.
  2. Gather all of your supplies before you begin cleaning. Make sure you have everything you need so you don’t have to stop.
  3. Get a label maker. It’s great for identifying areas in your cupboards or labeling jars of pantry items.
  4. Make it fun. Listen to music. Open the windows and let in the fresh air. Use cleaners that you like and smell great.
  5. Use natural cleaners. Eco friendly cleaners won’t irritate your head, lungs and sinus cavities. You’ll feel better during and after your cleaning adventure. Additionally, they smell great. Choose a scent that makes you feel good.
  6. Reward yourself for a job well done. Go out to eat (so you don’t mess up your clean kitchen) or prepare your favorite meal.
  7. Pay attention to the clock. Consider giving yourself a specific amount of time to get the job done. This will help you work efficiently.

Spring cleaning your kitchen doesn’t have to overwhelm. Create a checklist and make sure you have everything you need before you start. Make it fun and spring cleaning can be something you look forward.


Bedroom Spring Cleaning Tips and a Checklist

When you think about spring cleaning you probably imagine the big jobs. You think about cleaning the kitchen. Maybe you visualize the closets or your basement. Perhaps the garage is on your list.

Most people don’t think about their bedroom. However, you spend a lot of time in your bedroom. A clean bedroom means better sleep. It means a cleaner home. And the good news is, it’s one of the easier rooms to spring clean.

Tips and A Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your BedroomHere’s a quick checklist and some expert tips to help you get started.

  •  Clean ceiling fan.
  • Using your vacuum cleaner extension, vacuum corners of the room from the ceiling down.
  •  Dust all furniture.
  • Dust lamps and bulbs. Be careful to not get cleaner on light bulbs. It’ll make them burn out more quickly.
  • Use a soft cloth and furniture polish on all bedroom furniture.
  • Remove curtains and wash according to instructions. If you have blinds or shutters, dust/wash with a damp cloth
  • Vacuum floor. If you have a steam cleaner, steam clean the carpets.
  • If you have hardwood or tile flooring, sweep then mop the floors.
  • Change your linens. Spring is the perfect time to put on lighter linens. Replace the flannel with a light weight cotton. Change the bedspread to a lighter, more spring like color or texture.
  • Flip your mattress. Vacuum your mattress.
  • Clean under your bed. Move it and vacuum underneath it too.
  • Clean your windows and mirrors.
  • Open your windows and clean the tracks.
  • Using your vacuum cleaner attachment, vacuum heating vents/radiators.
  • With a clean damp cloth and a bucket of soapy water, wash any marks off of your walls.
  • Clean out your drawers/closet. Using the four container method clean out your closet. This is a quick process if you do it twice a year. The four container method is as follows: Keep, sell, donate, trash. If you haven’t worn something in a year or more it needs to go.
  • Dust your shoes if they’re not tucked away in storage containers.

Spring Cleaning Tips for the Bedroom

  1. 1. Group like tasks. For example, when you’re dusting, dust everything. When vacuuming, vacuum everything from ceiling to floor.
  2. 2. Clean your closet last.
  3. 3. Make it fun. Listen to music. Open the curtains and/or windows to let the light and fresh air in. Reward yourself for a job well done.
  4. 4. Set a time limit. Give yourself an hour to accomplish your bedroom spring cleaning.
  5. 5. Gather your tools and cleaners in advance. This saves you time.

Your bedroom is a great place to start your spring cleaning. It doesn’t take long. It’s fairly easy and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something. It’ll help you get in the cleaning mood and ready to tackle the rest of your home.

Spring Cleaning Tips And Checklist – Bathroom

There’s so much to clean in a bathroom, most of it being rather heavy-duty.  Spring cleaning might seem like a bigger job than you can handle. It’s true that there is a lot to clean for such a small space, but with a few tips and a handy checklist, you can spring clean your bathroom in less time than you might think.

Let start with some expert tips that will help you clean your bathroom quickly and easily:

Tip 1 – Use green cleaners

Because bathrooms are enclosed spaces you’re more vulnerable to the fumes from traditional cleaners. Using green cleaners, and turning on the ventilation fan, will help reduce irritation. It’s also better for the environment.

It's time for spring cleaningTip 2 – Make cleaning fun by playing music

Music helps pass the time and the acoustics in your bathroom will make you sound great if you choose to sing along. Choose upbeat music that gets you moving.

Tip 3 – Group similar tasks and similar cleansers

For example, if you have the mirror cleaner out clean the glass shower door and windows at the same time. If you’re cleaning the sink then clean the tub, too. They use the same cleanser and cleaning tools.

Tip 4 – Gather your supplies before you start cleaning

It just makes sense to keep all your supplies and equipment handy and within reach.  Plan ahead so you won’t have to take a break to hunt for what you need.

Tip 5 – Use a toothbrush

Bigger isn’t always better. There are times and places in the bathroom that require a small brush. An old toothbrush works perfectly for cleaning the grout in your shower and around your bathroom sink and faucet.

Tip 6 – Sort the items from cabinets last

You may want to sort after you’ve sprayed or sprinkled your bathtub/shower cleanser on. Letting the cleanser sit for a few minutes often makes the soap residue easier to scrub off. It’s a good time to sort your medicines and other bathroom clutter from the cabinets.

Tip 7 – Work toward the toilet

If you’re going to be using the same sponge, brush, or cloth to clean your shower, sink, and toilet, save the toilet for last. This way you won’t cross contaminate, nor will you have to stop and rinse so often.

Here is a checklist to keep you on track when you clean your bathroom:

Bathroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

□ Dust the ceiling corners, then any knickknacks and artwork

□ Dust or vacuum heating and exhaust vents

□ Remove shower curtains, towels, bath mats, and draperies. Launder according to directions

□ Scrub the shower, tub, sinks, and toilet, and sinks. Don’t forget to wash the outside of the toilet

□ Clean the shower door if you have one

□ Clean the mirrors and windows

□ Empty the medicine cabinets and under sink cabinets. Wipe down the inside.

□ Sweep and mop the bathroom floor. Vacuum if it is carpeted

□ Clean the trash can inside and out.

□ Wash the walls.

□ Sort all stuff removed from cabinets, throw out expired medicine, and return what you keep.

Organizing Your Cleaning Products for Quick and Easy Cleaning

The more organized your cleaning products are, the faster you clean. This means you have more time for work and play. It can save you money too! These three simple steps will help you organize your cleaners and keep them organized.

Step One: Baskets in each room.

Buy or find a cleaning basket for each room. Depending on the room you might consider a plastic tote with handles, a cardboard box, a basket or a tote bag. Consider also labeling the basket so it is always returned to the correct room. Keep the totes nearby.

For example, you might keep your kitchen cleaning supplies tote under your kitchen sink. You might keep you bathroom tote in your linen closet. Old buckets and milk crates work well for cleaning supplies too. You don’t have to buy new.

Keep the cleaning products and the tools together. In your kitchen that might include a dry rag, a scrubber, and a toothbrush for the tile grout. When everything is kept together it’s easy to clean a room quickly.

Organizing Your Cleaning SuppliesStep Two: Simplify

You don’t need to buy a different product for each task. For example, your kitchen surface cleaner can clean your bathroom surfaces too. Instead of buying ten different surface cleaners, you can buy in bulk. Buy extra storage containers or spray bottles. You can then use the same cleaner in different rooms without spending a fortune on packaging. Additionally, by using reusable bottles and buying in bulk, you’re reducing the amount of packaging that goes into landfills.

Many natural cleaning products are available in bulk. Taking this extra step means you eliminate harmful chemicals from your home’s air. You also help improve the environment by ensuring fewer toxins enter the air, water and soil.

Step Three: Consider Making your own Cleaning Supplies

You can absolutely buy natural cleaning products in bulk. However, you can also make your own cleaning products. You can prepare them in large batches and use them in most rooms in your home. For example, a home made all purpose cleaner can be made from vinegar, borax, water, dish detergent and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.


If you’re making your own cleaners or buying in bulk and using additional spray bottles be sure to label each bottle. You can use a simple sharpie marker or a label maker – the choice is yours.


Organizing your cleaners takes just a few minutes and it’ll save time each time you clean. It also helps family members take responsibility for some of the cleaning. And buying in bulk or making your own saves money too. Grab a few totes, buy in bulk, simplify and label. It’s that easy!

Homemade Febreeze

Hey, I am a frugal reader on a welfare budget. I found several recipes for homemade cleaners, and the one I use the most is homemade febreeze. Super easy too!
Get fabric softer at the store….I like downey April fresh, but you can use any that the ingredients say Ionic or cationic on the label…this is the smell remover active ingredient…
I usually get the small bottles, because they are the cheapest. You only use a tablespoon of fabric softener to a spray bottle filled the rest of the way up with plain water. Shake well. spray whatever you need to. Removes all odoors and leaves a pleasant fresh smell.
This costs about a nickel to make up, lasts a really long time, and is easy to keep on hand: I keep a bottle in the car, as I have a small child that occaisionally throws up in there, and a large dog that makes the car smell like wet dog in the winter rainey season. This works great to make the car smell good again.
Way better than spending $6 a bottle for a pretty label that does the same thing!!!

Great Glass And Tile Cleaner

I remember reading about 30 years ago, in a book on how to make your own household cleaners that most commercial glass cleaners at the time ( you know the blue ones), were 50-50 water and alcohol plus a couple of drops of detergent, ammonia if you want it (not necessary) and of course blue coloring. LOL

What Is Your Cleaning Style?

We all have a cleaning style.  That is, we all prefer to clean and organize our house in a certain way.  And, when we start to plan a big cleaning job, our cleaning style becomes very important.

So, what method do you prefer when you clean your house?  There are two basic cleaning styles to consider:

  • Small tasks.
  • Big project.

For instance, are you more apt to break cleaning up into small tasks each day to get your house clean, or are you more likely to clean your house in several big projects?

Do you get the whole family involved, or do you prefer to do it yourself while everyone is out of the house?

Are you more likely to vacuum all the floors in the house at one time and wash all the windows at another time, or do you prefer to clean one entire room, floors and windows, at one time?

It's time for spring cleaningI know spring cleaning for many people is a big “haul everything out and clean it” production. But, have you given any thought to your own preferred cleaning style?

This may be an important issue because it could make the difference between getting your house cleaned and enjoying it, or getting exhausted and frustrated.

It’s easy to imagine that if you are the type of person who really dislikes turning your house upside-down, living in chaos even for a moment, then perhaps a big spring cleaning day or week is not for you. If you were to haul everything out of its resting place for a good cleaning, the disruption may not sit well with you or your family at all. You may want to consider smaller projects spread over a period of time so as not to wreck havoc on your peaceful domicile.

If, however, you are the type of person who likes the challenge of a huge production, then by all means, rip your house apart and start cleaning! Once you get the cooperation of your family (because this method does produce chaos) your spring cleaning should go pretty fast. Yes, you may have to do some tricky maneuvering around dinnertime, but it will be worth it to get the job done in the style you prefer.

Whether you prefer cleaning jobs broken up into small tasks or cleaning jobs tackled in large projects, there are tips for cleaning your house that will make all your jobs go easier.

1) Use multi-purpose cleaners and tools. The fewer bottles and brushes you have to carry around, the better. You’ll basically need something to scrub with and something to shine with. Look at your cleaning products and see if you can narrow down your number of supplies.

2) Gather your products. Use a plastic caddy or similar item to move your cleaning stuff around with you. How you sort your products will depend on your cleaning style, again. If you’re going after a room at a time, then you’ll need everything for that room. If you’re cleaning all the bathtubs first, then you’ll only need your bathtub scrubbing things.

3) Set a timer. Big projects and small projects both need a time limit. Just because you’re tearing apart the refrigerator, for instance, doesn’t mean you should make it a never-ending task. With a timer running, human nature will take over and you’ll try to beat the clock. Dragging a cleaning task out beyond what’s necessary to get the job done is counterproductive; you’ll be less productive and you’ll waste a lot of time. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in less time when you know the timer’s running.

4) Get help when you need it. This used to be one of my worst time-wasters. Rather than ask for help, I’d struggle moving the sofa, beds, dressers, and other furniture around to vacuum around the baseboards. The time it took me to wiggle those big pieces of furniture around could have been cut in half with just one request for help. The same goes for hauling out a step stool, cleaning something above your reach, then putting the step stool back. If someone else can reach what needs cleaning, ask them to clean it. This is a great time-saver that makes sense to me, now. If the kids are at an age to help, you may want to give them the opportunity with their very own kid-friendly cleaning tools. This may or may not be helpful, but at least it will keep the little ones busy.

They may seem simple, but sometimes when we are in a habit of cleaning a certain way, we never spend any time to re-think our methods.

Give your own “cleaning style” some thought before you tackle any spring cleaning you may have planned. If your plans don’t match your style, consider rearranging those plans so you, and your family, emerge with a clean house and smiling faces!

P.S. You’ve got your house cleaned now, but how about organized? Are you as organized as you want to be? If not (and who is?!) we can help you with that, too!

Tracy Roberts of is the author of 30 Days to an Organized Home, and she has a plan!

Work your way through organizing and decluttering every room in your house in 30 days with easy to follow daily tasks that keep you from getting overwhelmed with the task at hand.

You’ll also find helpful printable checklists that will keep you on task and allow you to track your progress.

Get your copy today at

Homemade Mildew Cleaner

We all have to deal with mildew of some sort in the bathroom. Instead of using a commercial product that contains plenty of harsh chemicals that aren’t good for your lungs, they one of these two homemade mildew cleaners instead. As an added bonus they are also a lot less expensive than the stuff you buy at the store

Homemade Mildew Cleaner #1 – Vinegar Based

Mix equal parts of plain white vinegar and water and fill it into a clean spray bottle. Spray it on bathroom appliances, shower curtains, tiles etc.

Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe the counters etc. with a clean wet rag. In cases of really bad mold you may want to use a stronger vinegar solution.

Homemade Mildew Cleaner # 2 – Bleach Based

Mix 3/4 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gal of water. Put some of this mixture into a spray bottle and use like you would a normal bathroom cleaner. A little elbow grease and some soaking will help remove tough stains.

Remember this is bleach you are using and it will leave spots on your clothes. Wear an old t-shirt and shorts when using this bleach based mildew cleaner.

If mildew is an on-going problem in your home, it may be due to excess humidity. If this is the cause, you can regulate humidity with a home dehumidifier.

Further Reading – Keeping It Clean

This is a 3 ebook series that will help you spend less time and money on your laundry. Tawra and Jill from Living On A Dime share their best frugal laundry, cleaning and home organization tips.

Grab your copy today at

Time And Choices

By Ellen C. Brown from

Holding HandsOftentimes, morning turns too midnight all too rapidly as we frantically attempt to squeeze chauffeuring three children to four different after-school-activities, grocery shopping, a stop at the bank, picking up the clothing at the dry cleaners, returning neglected library books, and a mad rush to ship a package before the Fed-Ex office closes. Simultaneously, we are fielding phone calls from seven or eight important people and an additional dozen callers of lesser degrees of prestige. Text messages and emails cause our Blackberries to beep nonstop as we juggle the lifestyle of a busy 21st-century parent.

Does it have to be this way? Does everything have to be rushed? When do we get a chance to slow down?

Despite the vast array of time-saving devices throughout our modern homes (I can count five perched on the kitchen counter alone), we find our time scarcer than ever before. Curiously enough, the very wealthy among us- even the housewives who do not work- find themselves even more pressed for time than average people.

It seems that the more choices we encounter and the more options we view as available, the less free time we have available.

The very wealthy, who have housekeepers and gardeners at their beck and call, have far more choices than average people: Shall we travel to Italy on Monday or Tuesday? Should we schedule a stopover in New York City on the way to California? Shall the new tiles around the pool be aqua or turquoise?

We in the 21st-century have options that our great-grandparents could not have fathomed in their wildest dreams: We can travel around the world, learn a new language or study for a new career in the comfort of our homes, and update all 427 Facebook friends of our status as each new item is accomplished.

Paradoxically, the more options we have in our lives, the more frantic the pace of life becomes, because we feel a virtually addictive need to do more, to see more, to learn more.

None of us can see all the sites in a metropolitan city in the US if we lived to be 200 years old, yet all of us feel the desire to see many of those sites, and experience an array of new adventures.

The fact remains that we are surrounded by a myriad of choices that beckon towards us intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

How can we slow down the frantic pace of our lives within the society in which we live? Is it possible to stop and smell the roses every single day- not just during vacations?

The secret lies in the ability to make choices.

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, states this concept as follows:

“The key to being proactive is remembering that between stimulus and response there is a space. That space represents our choice— how we will choose to respond to any given situation, person, thought or event. Imagine a pause button between stimulus and response—a button you can engage to pause and think about what is the principle-based response to your given situation.”

Every single one of the hundreds of choices that present themselves to us on a daily basis includes that special “pause” button where we can choose our responses.

In the past, if a friend were to call me and ask me to accompany her to an entertaining charity event on Sunday evening, I would have looked at my calendar. Upon finding that Sunday evening was blank, I would have acquiesced, and attended the event together with her.

Since discovering this secret to slowing down and enjoying a relaxed pace of life, I have a radically different mode of responding to my friend’s invitation. My first step is not to check my calendar, but rather to check my goals. What are the primary pursuits that I am attempting to accomplish at this phase of my life? Perhaps I have a self-determined deadline to finish writing my book, and I have decided that social encounters this month will be minimized to phone conversations, rather than lengthy in-person rendezvous. That being the case, I will turn down the invitation because it is not in line with my current goals.

Of the thousands of choices we encounter each year, it is impossible to choose all of them. Saying yes to one activity automatically means saying no to another activity that is taking place simultaneously.

An ancient proverb that states, “You can’t dance at all the weddings.”

Having a multitude of choices is a blessing of our times, yet the blessing can turn into a curse for those that attempt to choose every option on the table. Eating every delicacy at the buffet is a sure recipe for a stomach ache.

Equally important as choosing what we want to do, the goals we yearn to accomplish, is to choose which ones we are willing to leave by the wayside.

The lesson is: If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.

Money, cars, jewels and clothing can always be acquired. On the other hand, once time has passed, it can never be recouped.

We all have limited time, energy, and ability to focus.

Time is a blessing; it’s its compilation is our life.

It was a sad day when I told my 10-year-old son that he could not join a 5-week soccer league. Yet, it was an essential step in maintaining my family’s sense of balance and purpose. (He was already enrolled in hockey lessons, a baseball league, and enrichment studies at the time!)

Sometimes we put tremendous pressure upon ourselves only because the choice is available.

How many times did I used to chop up a huge salad because the vegetables would go bad soon? How often did I rush to the library and miss tucking my children into bed because I wanted to avoid a $1.25 fee?

Now, I wonder: Why?

Why did I feel so pressed to make a massive salad on a day that I already had a headache, two imminent carpools, and a business meeting? Why didn’t I choose to freeze the almost-rotting vegetables for a soup on another day? Was saving one dollar and twenty-five cents at the library really worth the hassle of bundling up all my children and driving across town to the library, on four empty stomachs?

I’ve learned to ask myself an all-important question as I’ve slowed the pace of my life and learned to relax despite my busy schedule.

The question is: What would happen if I did not do this?

In the evenings, as I stare at parts of my home which are in disarray, I ask myself, “What would happen if I did not clean up the living room?” And the answer, obviously, is that the books and toys will wait for me until tomorrow.

On the other hand, as I stare at the grimy kitchen and ask myself the very same question, the answer jumps out at me: Cockroaches and ants will invade my territory if I do not clean up the kitchen quickly!

Therefore, most evenings, I clean only the kitchen. The children can help me clean the rest of the house tomorrow- nothing else is nearly as important as keeping roaches out of my home!

I use this concept when I am invited to events or notice a sale on items I intend to purchase. Asking myself, “What would happen if I did not do this?” has diametrically improved the level of harmony in my home and tranquility in my mind. No longer do I fall asleep under the weight of yet another unfinished To-Do list.

Not only have I chosen the goals I’d like to achieve, I have made peace with the idea of choosing not to accomplish certain things. Time is an irreplaceable resource; I cannot squander it because elephants are on sale at the local fair for a quarter.

When I ask myself the question, “What would happen if I did not do this?” most of the answers look similar to this list below:

“I won’t save seventy-five cents on orange juice.”

“I won’t know what Joe Klein thinks about the war in Afghanistan.”

Just because the sale on juice is taking place around the corner, or Time Magazine arrived in my mailbox, does not make it mandatory for me to utilize my time in these areas!

It comes as liberation to many busy parents, to know that time belongs to us alone, and we are the sole determiners of its use.

You can find many new ideas to create an abundance of time for the people and things you value most in Creating Hours: Time Management Tips & Tricks for Busy Parents