Category Archives: Cleaning

Nasty Rusted Bathtub Before & After

When we first toured this house my biggest concern were the bathtubs. They were in such horrid shape! I wasn’t sure if they could be saved and I knew there was no money in our budget to replace them. New bathtubs are expensive, you guys! I had to decide if I was going to be ok with stained bathtubs for years to come. I decided the rest of the house was worth it. I would scrub until my hands fell off if I had to!

The upstairs bathroom was by far the worse. (Click here to see the downstairs bathroom!) The rust stains were so bad! It had sat like this for years so I really expected it to still be very stained when I was done. Here is what it looked like before:

The first thing I tried was CLR. I figured a rust remover would get off just about as much as was possible. Here is what it looked like after just using CLR:

I figured this was as good as it was going to get. I may have cried. But then my step-sister mentioned that she saw on Pinterest that using vinegar and Dawn dish soap worked on rust stains. So I gave it a try! That combination really did the trick. However, there was still a layer of rust that I just couldn’t get off. No matter how I tried! So I gave it one last go with a magic eraser. That was it! The magic rust busting potion! Check out what it looks like now!

Amazing, right?! I am so pleased that our bathtubs turned out so sparkling clean! So here is my advice for getting rust stains out of nasty bathtubs…

Skip the chemicals. I used almost an entire bottle of CLR. Not worth it! I should have just started with the natural stuff to begin with. Honestly, I thought it would only come out with the chemicals! I was dead wrong!

Wear gloves! Spray, scrub, soak, scrub. Repeat. I squirted the Dawn dish soap all over the tub. From what I’ve heard it HAS to be Dawn. I heard the generic brand didn’t work as well. Just straight from the bottle. Squirt! I then let it sit for a few hours. I came back and doused the tub with vinegar and scrubbed with a sponge. I then sprayed it again with vinegar and let that soak. Lastly, I scrubbed with the magic eraser. Depending on how bad your rust spots are, you may have to repeat a few times! I don’t think the order you do this in matters. Once I used all three items together, the rust just came right off. And this was 4 or 5 year old rust, people!

I’ve also used this beautiful combination to clean the stainless sink in the kitchen which was also terribly rusted. Worked like a charm! We had planned on replacing the sink, but didn’t have to after all! Who knew a $5 combination would save us thousands of dollars?!

Being Germ Aware without Being a Germaphobe

I think it’s easy to become a germaphobe these days, don’t you?  With the bird flu and swine flu and all other kinds of weird non-animal named diseases floating around it’s no wonder we all aren’t contagious with something!

I can see myself being a germaphobe. I have some clean freak tendencies and OCD type quirks about me (I know, you are shocked, aren’t you?). But there are ways to be aware of the germs around us and teach our kids healthy habits without going overboard.

Here are my tips:

Stop using antibacterial soaps. I know you think we should be doing the opposite considering the nastiness that is out there, but some germs are good for us. When we cut out all bacteria, we are not giving our bodies a chance to learn how to fight it off. Also, it can lead to creating those super bugs we hear about in the news! If you’ve ever noticed, an antibacterial laden home is often the sickliest home.

Stick to regular soap! Using a simple non-fancy soap will clean your hands well enough. Just remember to wash thoroughly and for more than 20 seconds.

Use less antibacterial hand sanitizers. For the same reasons I mentioned above with the soap, antibacterial hand gels are not always necessary to use.  Now I’ve been known to squirt some on our hands after we’ve been at the store and won’t be getting to a sink for awhile. Especially if it’s a second-hand store or the children’s museum where every child on the planet with a snotty nose has touched everything my child touched. Antibacterial hand wipes and gels do come in handy, but again, being exposed to some germs (yes! even in public!) is ok!

Teach your kids about hand washing. Now, with all that said, I will also say this: I have always taught my kids about washing their hands. After the bathroom, after school, when we get home from the store, before they eat anything. These are general good hygiene lessons that we all need to stick by. And yes, during flu season, wash a little more often. Like when you cough and blow your nose. That is not being obsessive. That is being clean. I have also told my kids that when they are told to clean their hands before lunch (most schools do a hand sanitizer line) to ask to go to the bathroom and just use soap and water when possible. Hand sanitizers do not take off dirt and dried up glue or boogers.

Step away from the bleach. You do not need to use bleach to clean your house! I mean, sure, if someone has the stomach flu and has barfed all over your kitchen floor you may want to get some bleach on that, but everyday cleaning does not need to be so harsh! Simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar go a long way in cleaning your home. Or just buy some cleaner at the store, but try to stay away with cleaners using harsh chemicals and bleach. You just don’t need it! Check out this site which lists some easy to make homemade cleaners.

So there ya have it. What are your stay healthy but not act like a crazy person germ tips?

PS – Sorry for using the words barf and boogers in the same post. I have boys.

My Secret to a Clean House

My house is clean and I’m not afraid to admit it!

I get a lot of rolled eyes when people come to my house and see how clean it is amongst four males in the house. But the joke is on them.  Because my house isn’t really that clean.  It just looks like it is.  You want to know how?  OK, I’ll tell you my secrets, but you may never look at my clean house the same way again!

When the boys were young, I had to find a way to make things work.  I had a newborn, a 15 month old toddler and a five year old…not to mention a husband.  A clean house was on the way bottom of my priority list.  I remember after Charlie was born, my Mom stopped by and I saw her face as she looked around.  Toys everywhere, dishes stacked high, dust bunnies waving at you.  It was not pretty.  I had to change the way I did things.  I couldn’t let the housework suffer. My Momma didn’t raise a slob.  So I learned very quickly how to clean the house quickly and efficiently as possible.

OK, now for the secrets, you ready?

Clean as you go.


Everything has a home.

I know, not very mind blowing.  Kind of a let down, isn’t it?

But it’s just that simple.  If you are a working Mom, you don’t have time to spend three days a week cleaning.  And if you are like me, a stay at home Mom who is hardly ever home due to baseball and volunteering at the school or tending to little ones, you don’t have the luxury of spending your precious free moments cleaning.

I clean the house one day a week.  I do the laundry one day a week.  That is it.  Yet I still have a clean house and clean clothes consistently.

When I say clean as you go, here is what I mean: Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do right now.

If I walk past the garbage can and notice a that someone spilled something down the side of it, I stop right then and there, grab the wash cloth and wipe it up.  You might think, “I’ll get to that later when I clean the kitchen after dinner.”  No! Do it now!  When you go to clean the kitchen later, that is just one less thing you have to do.  Before you know it, that 15 minute clean up after dinner has turned into an hour because you have to wipe down the garbage can, clean that spill you ignored in the fridge earlier, wipe down the juice splattered down the cabinet from this morning, sweep up the crumbs still there from lunch…you get the picture.

If you clean as you go, you will save yourself so much time!

In the morning, I wipe the bathroom sink and toilet down after I get ready for the day.  It takes me 30 seconds and the bathroom looks clean every single day.  Then on my one cleaning day for the week, I go a bit deeper, clean the floors, clean the tub, etc.

I save vacuuming, dusting, sweeping and mopping for my one cleaning day.  But throughout the week, I wipe down the dusty tv as I walk past it, I take the dust-buster to the kitchen floor after the boys eat (just under the table not the whole floor).  When cleaning day comes, the messes are minimal compared to what it would be like if I would have ignored it the rest of the week.

Now hear me…Don’t deep clean as you go, quick clean as you go.  That’s why my house looks clean but it might not actually be clean.

And it will serve you well to teach your kids this also.  The rule is that we clean one mess before making another in the play room.  My boys have been taught since they were very little to wipe off the toothpaste from the sink when they are done, wipe off the toilet seat if they sprinkle, put their dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher.

The little quick clean ups add up very quickly to a clean house.  Then spend your one day cleaning a bit more deeply.  You don’t have to focus on the little stuff because it’s done already.  You don’t have to spend half an hour sorting through the mail to clean the kitchen counter because every day when the mail came you took a minute to open it, sort it and put it in it’s home.  So your counter is already clean and you can focus on mopping the floors instead.  You don’t have to spend half your day cleaning toys off the playroom floor to vacuum because every day you (or if they are old enough, your kids) took 5 minutes to pick up the toys.

Oh yes, one more thing, put those kids to work!  Especially if you are a working Mom and your one cleaning day is on the weekend.  You don’t want to spend your entire day off cleaning!  So take a Saturday morning and work together to get it all done.  You will have a clean house and the rest of your day to do something fun!  If you work and have little ones…you have my sympathy.  Hang in there and just do the best you can!

If you can spend just a little bit of time making sure everything has a home, clean up time is much more efficient.  I will write more about that and other organizing tips in time.

So does this make sense? I don’t want to ramble, but it may be too late for that. LOL  You can have a clean house and eat your cake too…or something like that.

I’d love to hear your cleaning tips in the comments section!  We can all use a new trick or two up our sleeves!