Showing posts with label Cleaning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cleaning. Show all posts

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cleaning with Homemade Cleaners (Take 1)

I’ve cleaned my home for many years using both handmade and store bought cleaners.  When purchasing store bought cleaners I’ve tried to stay to more natural or eco-friendly cleaners (eg. Method).  Not until recently, have I felt ready to jump in and make a switch that will hopefully eliminate my need for store bought cleaners permanently.

One area in my house I have always used store bought chemical cleaner is… the dreaded cleaning of the toilets.  I somehow thought if I used a whole bunch of chemicals in the form of a blue liquid, that this was the only way to “safely clean” my toilets.  I had a mental block preventing me from seeing another solution.  After all, I knew there had to be another way.  Otherwise how would my grandmother have cleaned hers??  I'm pretty sure she was not investing in blue liquid.  But I needed to use a recipe from someone I trust.

I recently purchased the book “The Organically Clean Home” by Becky Rapinchuk (Clean Mama).  She has changed the way I think of “clean”.  Using her book, I’m making some changes and switching to homemade, natural, chemical free cleaners throughout my home.

The Organically Clean Home (by Becky Rapinchuk) - via

For years, I have cleaned my sinks and showers with pure 100% white vinegar.  Not a nice smell I know, but I knew it worked.  I knew that vinegar has a ton of germ killing properties.  I knew that it worked well in our old house to clean up the effects of hard well water.  Heck, “vinegar” has its own label here on my blog, I use it so much.  Sometimes vinegar was the only thing that would work to clean my sinks and showers at the old house, no store bought cleaner could compare.  But I could not get past cleaning toilets naturally and without a blue liquid.  With Becky’s book, I hope to conquer this fear.

Last night, I made 2 recipes from her book.  I wanted to start with recipes I knew I would use often and would make a big difference in our house.  One recipe is for my bathrooms – Lavender and Lemon Bathroom Disinfecting Spray.   And one is for my kitchen – Tea Tree and Orange Disinfecting Cleaner.  I’m not new to Tea Tree essential oil, and I know it has MANY benefits.  But, I’m most excited that I can now replace my 100% vinegar solutions.  My nose will thank me I’m sure.  And now I won’t be worried about using my cleaners before company arrives because I was afraid of the vinegar odour.  These cleaners smell wonderful!

My first 2 cleaners from The Organically Clean Home Book
I gave the new cleaners a test run, and I am very impressed with how easy they were to throw together.  I have all the ingredients on hand.  I can now replace my homemade kitchen cleaner and my 100% vinegar bathroom cleaner.  I’m so HAPPY!

I’m excited to try more recipes from her book.  I have sticky notes all over the pages of her book, marking recipes I want to try next.  The best part is most of the recipes use ingredients I already have on hand.

The Organically Clean Home, Post its marking recipes to make later
This week, I’m going to conquer my bathroom toilet cleaning fear.  I’m giving her very simple, chemical free recipe a try.  Not only can I pronounce all the ingredients and I know what they are.  Big step.  I will let you know how I make out!

As Always,

By the way, I’m not paid for this post, all opinions are my own.  I just love her book and want to share how it is changing my cleaning routine :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mice in My Camper Trailer!

Ok, I was going to write about something else today, but since this seems to be eating up all my time, I thought I’d vent about what is going on.

Camper Table and Benches before Mice in Camper
It’s true.  Over the winter, we got mice in our camper trailer.  My husband set traps in the camper before we closed it up in the fall last year.  We also stuck “Bounce” sheets everywhere (something we had heard that deterred mice from coming in a camper).  During the winter, my husband caught 2 mice in the traps he had set.  Notice I say “my husband”.  I don’t know what it is about mice but have a huge issue with removing dead ones from traps.  I would sooner throw the whole trap out and set up a brand new trap to catch more rather than reuse a trap.  So I will gladly leave this mouse removal job for my husband.

I’m going to warn you, the next few paragraphs might be a bit gruesome.

When I was a university student, I lived in Halifax, NS.  Side note -Halifax is such a beautiful place, I recommend visiting, the views and history are amazing.  I hope to go back some day.

When school started, I lived in a really old building by the water which was used as overflow dorms for the university I was attending.  You guessed it, perfect place for mice.  The management would use live traps (the sticky paper ones), trying to be humane, and in the middle of the night you would hear a mouse screaming and trying to gnaw off its own leg to free itself.

After the Christmas break, I had enough of dorm life and got the brilliant idea to move out and share an apartment with a girl friend I had met in dorms.  We didn’t do much apartment hunting, we basically took the first apartment that fit our budget and was in the right area for us to get to school.  Our one bedroom, ground level apartment was tiny.  I was lucky enough to take the bedroom (if you could call it that).  I’m guessing it was 8 by 10 feet with a view of the garbage dumpster about 2 feet from the window.  I bought an air mattress and slept on the floor.  She bought a futon and slept in the living room when she was around.  She had a boyfriend and would spend most nights at his place.  So most of the time, it was just me in the tiny apartment.

Not long after we moved in, we noticed the mice.  The worst part was at night and hearing them running in the walls.  Looking back, I wonder how I managed to get any sleep.  But if you are faced with a situation you try to make the best of it, and/or block it out.  I bought steel wool and stuffed it in between the carpet and the baseboards and any holes or crevices I could find in the apartment.  I kept reminding myself, only a few more months to go and I would be out of this mice infested apartment.

Many years later, the first house my husband and I bought together, we had one mouse get in.  Luckily, we managed to catch it quickly.  I’m guessing it came in while we are unloading/loading our vehicle for a trip.  I think my husband was away at the time it got caught in the trap, so I had to deal with the dead mouse.  As far as I remember, I threw put on disposable rubber gloves, grabbed a stick from outside and hooked the mouse trap on the stick and threw the mouse (trap and all) into the garbage.  I think that is what happened, I have a great memory for blocking out yucky and bad parts of my life.

So when my husband told me that mice got into the camper this winter, I knew it was going to be a big job to get it cleaned out again.  Mice make a mess quickly.  Luckily, it was only 2 mice and they did not have time to make a nest and have babies before they were caught.  Although, they were just starting to build a nest as some of the blankets had been gnawed and pulled apart.

We took everything out of the camper.  My husband used the shop vac to vacuum up all the droppings. I washed all the blankets, towels and all things fabric.  Washed the dishes, pots and pans.  If it couldn’t be washed it got thrown out.  My husband washed everything down.

So this is where we are now.  Such a waste of time!!  Before I move all the clean items back in, I will give it a good vacuuming.  Yesterday, I bought a carpet cleaner to wash all the carpets, couch and benches.  After that is done, I’m going to give all the surfaces a really good wash and make sure no more mice are in there!

Camper Kitchen before Mice in Camper
Unfortunately, we still don’t know where they came into the camper, so we’ll have to put steel wool and spray foam in every crevice we think they many have came in. Oi!

Have you ever had to deal with mice?

As Always,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Homemade Goo Gone

Over the summer, I made my own homemade goo gone.  I used to buy goo gone from the store until I read the back of the bottle and all the warnings and ingredients, YIKES!

Mostly, I use goo gone in my house to remove unwanted stickers from items including plates, cups, jars, spray bottles and many other items.

Don't have time to make your own goo gone and want a natural solution?  You can now purchase my natural sticker and goo remover in my Etsy shop --> Click here!  You can even purchase my lavender scented version here!

There are many versions on the internet to make your own goo gone.  Basically, you will need an oil to soak into the sticker and a gentle abrasive to work at removing the sticker.  Here is my version, which is very simple:


Baking Soda in cup
1/3 cup baking soda

Dr. Bronner's Coconut Oil
1/3 cup coconut oil (I used Dr. Bronner’s)

Lavender Essential Oil 10ml - Simple is Pretty Etsy Shop

Essential oil (optional) - Choose whatever scent you enjoy.  Check out my Etsy shop for 100% Pure Essential oils to scent your goo gone naturally.

Jar to put homemade goo gone in
A small jar (for storing your new goo gone)


1. Measure about 1/3 cup of coconut oil into a glass measuring cup.  Put it in the microwave for a few seconds (time will vary depending on the microwave used).  You will want the coconut oil to become a liquid, but not hot.

measuring cup with coconut oil
2. Add in 1/3 cup of baking soda to the coconut oil.  Stir till combined and all the lumps are gone.  Add a few drops of essential oil if you desire.  I like the smell of the coconut oil, so I did not use essential oil to scent my goo gone.

Coconut oil and baking soda

Pouring baking soda in coconut oil
3. Pour the combined mixture into a jar to store.  Let it cool to room temperature and it will become a paste.

Homemade Goo Gone
4. Once the goo gone becomes a paste, it will be easy to spread on stickers or sticker residue to remove them.  I use a paper towel to grab some from the jar and spread where I need it.  I wait a few minutes for the oil to soak in and then you will need to rub the mixture in with the paper towel to remove the sticker.


Serving tray with sticker on it, need to remove
Homemade Goo Gone Removing the Sticker:

Serving tray with homemade goo gone working

Serving tray with sticker removed
I find it works better if most of the paper from the sticker has been removed, but it will also work if it is not fully removed.  I no longer use the store bought version of goo gone.  My homemade version works just as well for what I use it for, which is mostly stickers.  Plus, I love how I can leave it in a drawer in my kitchen and feel safe knowing harsh chemicals are not involved in this recipe.  Something I could not do with the store bought version.

All ingredients for Homemade Goo Gone


Monday, November 4, 2013

Recaulking Our Master Bath Shower…

When we first moved into our house the master bath shower was in bad shape.  All the caulking was black with mildew and mold.  It was GROSS, to put it mildly.

Recaulking Our Master Bath from

Around Door Before from
I decided to give re-caulking the shower a try.  I knew it couldn't get any worse that what it was.

caulking scraper from
First, I got to work with my scraper and scraped off and cut off as much caulking as I could.

Scrape caulking from
Here are the rest of the supplies I used to complete the recaulking…

Supplies for caulking from
Next, I used the silicone remover gel.  I just needed to brush it on with the attached little brush and wait.

Caulking remover applied bottom of door from

Caulking remover applied from
Then I used paper towel and my scraper to remove more silicone caulking.  I had to repeat this process a couple of times in areas, depending how much caulking had to be removed.

after caulking removed from bottom of door from

after caulking removed from
Next, I got to work on killing the mold and mildew.  I used an old paint brush and brushed on the bleach, being very careful not to spill or splash any.  Make sure to wear protective glasses and gloves, and old clothes.  I brushed the bleach onto any surface that had mold or potential for mold to grow.

bleach mold from
After leaving the bleach sit for about an hour, I rinsed it well with water using a rag.  To get off any soap scum and hard water build up, I sprayed and washed the whole shower with vinegar and rinsed well.

Painter's tape applied to bottom of door from

Painter's tape from
I let the shower dry fully for 2 days before I could finally begin caulking.  I used painter’s tape to mark off where I wanted to caulk.  I also wore gloves because caulking is hard to get off skin.

cut caulking tube on an angle from
I cut the caulking tube on an angle and squeezed the silicone into the areas to caulk.  I find the squeezable tubes easier to control compared to the tubes that require a caulking gun.

Be sure to use caulking formulated for a bath or shower.  After applying the caulking, I spread it with my caulking applicator tool.  So much easier than using your finger and less messy too.  I find it easier to remove the tape when the caulking is still wet.

Caulking by door completed from

Caulking complete from

Such a huge difference!

As Always,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cleaning a Jet Tub…

Our new house has a jet tub in the master bath.  I have never owned a jet tub before and had no idea of the best way to clean it.  As a result, pink grossies keep appearing in and around the jets and mildew would collect inside the jets and litter the bath water with black chunks. ICK.  I needed a solutions so I could enjoy baths again.

How to Clean a Dirty Jet Tub from
After a little research, here is what I needed to do.

How to Clean a Dirty Jet Tub from
A whirlpool or jet system should be flushed twice a month or more, depending on usage.  Check your tubs instructions, but this is what I needed to do:

1. Close air volume controls by turning the jet clockwise.

2. Fill the bath with hot water to a level 2” above the highest jets.

3. Add 4 ounces of household bleach to the water.

4. Run the whirlpool for 5 to 10 minutes, then shut off the whirlpool and drain the water.

How to Clean a Dirty Jet Tub from
5. Fill the bath with cold water to a level 2” above the highest jets, and run the whirlpool for another 5 to 10 minutes to rinse.  Drain the bath and wipe it dry with a soft cloth.

I don’t use the jet tub lots especially since we get our water hauled out (we have a cistern).  But I do enjoy an occasional bath and I’m glad I found a pretty easy way to clean and sanitize it.  Now I can enjoy baths again!

As Always,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Alcohol to Remove Ink Labels

I like to reuse containers but I don’t like looking at the original ink labels after I use the containers for something else.

Remove Ink Labels from Containers
Here is a simple way to remove ink labels.  I have used this method to remove labels from soap containers, milk jugs, plastic baby formula containers, and many other plastic food containers that I have re-purposed and reused around my house.

Here is what you’ll need:

Make-up remover pads, Kleenex, paper towel or other disposable cloth (I prefer make-up remover pads because they hold up well with scrubbing and absorb the alcohol easier)

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol

Just pour a little rubbing alcohol on the make-up remover pad.  Next, scrub off the ink label.  Some labels take longer than others to come off.  You may need to take a new make-up remover pad and wet it with new alcohol a couple of times depending on the amount of ink to remove and how fast the alcohol evaporates.

Alcohol Removes Ink Labels from Containers

I like to re-purpose containers lying around my house.  I used this washed milk jug to mix and store my Homemade Laundry Detergent. 

Expiry Date Label on Milk Container Removed

Check out this post to see how to remove stickers or residue left behind from stickers and labels. 

What kind of containers do you re-purpose around your house?

As Always,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Make your own Homemade Laundry Detergent

Make Your Own Liquid Laundry Detergent -

So EASY!  You can save money and cut down on chemicals your skin is in contact with by making your own Homemade Laundry Detergent...

Make your own homemade liquid laundry detergent with these simple ingredients... from

The first step to making your own laundry detergent is to buy or make washing soda.  Check out my post here to make your own washing soda (VERY EASY).

Washing Soda

Here is what you’ll need:

6 tbsp Washing Soda

6 tbsp Borax

6 tbsp Liquid Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Unscented Liquid Castile Soap,—I use unscented so I can scent with whatever essential oil I choose at the time I do laundry, or leave unscented)

Essential Oil (optional)

Empty Milk Jug or other mixing container (you can use a empty ice cream pail)



1.  Put 1 cup of hot water in a 2 cup measuring cup.  Add washing soda and borax.  Stir to completely dissolve washing soda and borax in the hot water.  If water is not hot enough to dissolve the ingredients, try microwaving the mixture. 

Mix Borax and Washing Soda with Hot Water

I have used 20 Mule Team and Eco-Pioneer Borax and like them both.

Borax 20 Mule Team  Borax

2. Add castile soap to washing soda and borax mixture and mix to combine.  Pour the mixture into a 4 litre (1 gallon) milk jug or other container.  Optional: Add essential oil to the milk jug mixture, about 20 drops.

Dr Bronners Baby Mild Castile Liquid Soap  Lavender Essential Oil

I buy my Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap from London Drugs, or you can find it here.  I bought my Lavender Essential Oil from

3. To fill the milk jug, add cold water slowly –so lots of suds don’t form.  DON’T the shake container.  Leave some room in the jug to mix (i.e. Don’t fill jug with water to the very top).  Mix with a spoon or gently rock or tilt the jug from side to side to prevent lots of suds from forming.

Mix Laundry Detergent in Clean Milk Jug

4. It is best if you can leave the mixture overnight and then gently stir or tilt to mix and then pour it into other containers if desired.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Use a few tablespoons of your new laundry detergent per load and add more for large or extra soiled loads of laundry.  Use vinegar as fabric softener (don’t worry, the vinegar smell rinses away). 

As Always,

Simple is Pretty Parties Here…

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Make Your Own Washing Soda

For years now, I have bought fragrance free and sensitive skin laundry detergents.  My son has sensitive skin and he is easily irritated by detergents, fabric softeners and stain removers.  I have been wanting to make my own laundry detergent for a while now, and I’ve finally made the time to try it.  It’s so EASY!  I should have tried making it years ago.  I would have saved so much money and it is so much healthier without all the chemicals!

Making or buying washing soda is the first step to making your own laundry detergent.  You can find washing soda in the laundry isle of most grocery stores.  You can also make your own washing soda, like I did…

Washing Soda

All you need is baking soda, a cookie sheet (or cake pan) and an oven!  (No lemons needed… but lemons always make for prettier pictures)

Baking Soda

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Pour some baking soda into the cookie sheet or pan.  No measurements, just pour (this is my kinda recipe!)  Bake for about 1 hour in the oven, and stir it occasionally.

Baking soda in pan
Baking Soda in oven

The baking soda will change in consistency and will become grainy.

Make Your Own Washing Soda

Remove the baking soda (now washing soda) from the oven to cool. 

Baking Soda turned Washing Soda

Transfer the washing soda to a container for storage or later use.  I used a jar to store my new washing soda.  Done!

Stay tuned for how your can make your own Laundry Detergent (another Super EASY recipe!)…

As Always,

Simple is Pretty Parties Here…