Dubious, because they come from me. And anybody who knows me will tell you that I am not a housekeeper by any definition.
But still, these are helpful hints, so I will share.
1) My grandfather taught me a trick about making up the bed. Tie a knot in the bottom corners of your flat top sheet. Then when you tuck them under, pull them snug. The knot keeps them from coming loose. It will take a VERY restless sleeper to tug them loose in the night, as the weight of the mattress on the knotted corners is pretty secure.
2) I read this once in Hints from Heloise or a fashion magazine or something. Maybe in both those places. Shampoo is much thicker than it needs to be. Since it’s the addition of water that makes the lather, you might notice that the second lathering produces a lot more suds. Well, split a bottle of shampoo between two bottles and add water to fill. Shake/mix thoroughly, and your hair will get cleaner faster and your shampoo will last twice as long.
3) After watching Kim & Ags work their magic with various combinations of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and vinegar/salt/lemon juice/etc., etc., etc. I was inspired to simply put a pretty bowl of baking soda by my sink.
[Pretend there is a pretty picture of a pretty bowl of baking soda by my pretty white sink here, because it is all pretty but I am not in the mood to document, maybe later.]
Then I put a pretty purple sponge beside it. [Add sponge to picture above.]
I had already cleaned my sink with soda and lemon juice, and with soda and vinegar, and it does cut right through the scum. Since the surface of my sink isn’t as slick as it once was (naughty me, I used Comet on it when the manufacturer advised against it) it does stain more than it would otherwise, so I do give a squirt of Clorox Cleanup when I’m finished and leave it to do its whitening job.
But I put this bowl of soda there because it just seemed like the thing to do, to keep it handy. And when I found a couple of teabags that had been sitting in the sink all day (my husband made tea for breakfast and left the bags in the sink, grr) I decided to dip the wet sponge in soda and rub. And the tea stains disappeared. No bleach, no Comet, no Clorox. When some plates had some dried on stuff, again I rubbed with a damp sponge dipped in soda. Again, it came right off.
Since then I’ve used that sponge and soda for everything, and only resorted to stronger chemicals (perhaps the addition of vinegar) when necessary, and guess what. It hasn’t been necessary. I do put the dishes in the dishwasher to wash, but where I used to use dish soap and scrub off dried on gunk, now it’s soda.
4) Use a sponge. Well, you might say, DUH. But I’ve always used nylon scrubbers or SOS pads, because they seem tougher, and they don’t stink if you leave them in the sink. Occasional dishcloths. But I’ve never kept sponges around. Until recently, and now I realize that they really are superior, because they give better coverage. Live and learn.
5) Referencing #3 above, use soda first. I use baking soda first. Example: We have a glass-topped table in our back yard. (I’m sitting there now with my laptop and coffee.)
[Picture a glass-top on black wrought iron and uncomfortable wrought iron chairs (which would be comfortable if I either had on long pants or if they had cushions) with a cup of free trade organic coffee (Café de la Paz) and a yellow lab and blue healer at my feet, giving me adoring (okay, hungry) looks. Don’t expect a picture of this. The freak as soon as they see a camera and dance and hop and jump with their tongues hanging out, the little showoffs, and it’s just not becoming.]
Well, because this table is in the open air, it gets rained on and birds poop on it and it ends up with a thick layer of sludge during the winter because I never bother with it. Then one day in the spring I finally think, “I’d like to sit outside,” and have to clean it. This involves, spraying with the hose, squirting with soap, scrubbing with brush, spraying with hose, seeing streaks of sludge still there, repeating process several times and eventually finishing off with Windex and squished up newspapers.
This time I thought, hmmm. I filled a plastic pitcher with warm water and just a few drops of dishwashing soap. I poured it over the glass-top until the entire surface was wet, and then shook a lot of soda around on it. I took out the sponge (see above) and started rubbing. I rubbed thoroughly and then poured clear warm water over it.
NO STREAKS OF SLUDGE.
Is that it? Is it that easy?!?
Okay, so I got the hose and rinsed, and still, it looked clean.
The combination of the sponge, mildly abrasive soda and probably the bit of soap did the trick. I didn’t bother with the Windex or drying off the table because I wasn’t about to sit here. The next morning it was damp so I wiped it and sat down, and it was beautifully clean.
Second example: My kitchen cabinets are 40 years old (wait — almost fifty) and have a lot of grime around the handles and lower corners. I used a sponge and baking soda, and it rubbed off with just a little elbow grease. I’m agog, because in the past I’ve used various cleaners and lots of elbow grease and it’s always a pain and not always successful. Caution: Where I rubbed especially hard, it also took off some of the finish. I don’t care because these cabinets look like hell anyway, and clean with bare finish is better than grimy. But it’s something to be known.
6) I’ll give you one of Kim & Aggie’s (see link above) as a bonus. I’m sure you know to use old toothbrushes to scrub hard-to-reach corners, etc. But did you know to use whitening toothpaste, too? Not gels, but the mildly abrasive toothpaste. It whitens, also cleans faster, and after you rinse, leaves a fresh fragrance behind! (Or, just dip your toothbrush in soda. Ahem.)
Oh yes! Before I forget — when I was at the organic market (Whole Foods, or Whole Paycheck, as it is known around our house) I looked for a jumbo economy size of baking soda and didn’t find it. However, I did find “organic” soda, which said “aluminum free” on the box. I bought it to cook with for the same reason I got rid of our aluminum pots and pans (stainless is my friend). Google aluminum+ Alzheimer’s. You can decide what you think for yourself. I’m not sure, but would rather err on the side of caution since we’ve seen Alzheimer’s in two family members, now.
My pretty bowl is from this collection of Czech pottery, by the way.
I told you it was pretty!
I have quite exhausted myself from writing about household chores and now must rest. In fact, I do believe writing about them has satisfied any need to actually do them.
But feel free to do some yourself. I won’t stand in your way.