Life Hacks

Life Hacks


Yeah, cleaning house...that chore that is actually a hundred chores wrapped up into one name. Who likes to do it? Well, I suppose there are a few less than sane people who actually enjoy cleaning toilets, sweeping dust bunnies, and vacuuming ceiling fans. But those crazies are few and far between (and my apologies if you're one of those nut offense intended. My snarky comments are really just jealousy and a bit of insecurity over my own lack of enthusiasm for cleanliness).

But it has to be done, doesn't it? I mean, we can't just wallow in filth like a pig, can we? And to be fair here, we have a pet pig named Copper, and he's not nearly as dirty as the reputation that proceeds him. But I digress.

We do have to clean our domains, or else government officials such as the Health Department might be called. Or worse, we could end up on one of those television shows where they come in and help you shovel out your home while some sappy host squeezes out a few tears for you and your supposed mental illness. They might even call in a psychologist to explain to you how your bad relationship with your father/mother/brother/third grade teacher/first boyfriend is the cause of your lack of desire in folding laundry.

Well, to make this required chore less of a chore, I have some helpful hints to help you out. I'm not a professional cleaner, by any stretch of the imagination (and I can hear my husband laughing out loud at the fact that I'M giving cleaning hints...I'll get even with him for his disrespecting the cleaning diva, don't worry), but I'm listing some cleaning hacks that are pretty great. You're welcome.


Two things can get rid of those horrid whitish crusty stains we who live in the desert (and I'm sure others in different areas too) have to deal with. For just about everything, use white vinegar. The cheap stuff. Save the expensive unfiltered stuff for your conditioning hair rinse (that's another post!). I'm talking about the $2-$3 a gallon stuff you can buy at just about any grocery store. If your stained item is a pot, coffee cup, etc., just fill it with undiluted vinegar and let it soak for a few hours. For windows, glass tables, etc., place a towel on the spots and pour vinegar over the towel to soak. Let it sit for at least a few hours, then rinse (or wipe with a clean, damp cloth).

In the bathroom:  If vinegar isn't working because you have really bad crusted areas, use fume-free oven cleaner. Yes, that's right: Oven cleaner! Make sure the area is dry, then spray with oven cleaner and let sit for a few hours (if you're worried about damaging plastic/painted surfaces, etc., do a little test spot first in an inconspicuous area). Rinse and scrub a little with a sponge. Voila! Clean, shiny chrome! (WARNING: Even though the oven cleaner says "fume free", make sure you have the windows open, and a fan on if possible. That stuff can get a little nasty in close quarters.)


I have discovered a great (and best of all, inexpensive!) product for deodorizing just about every surface. ZEP Odor Control. I bought a gallon at my local home improvement center for around $10. It's a concentrate, and that one gallon makes 25 gallons of cleaner! We have 8 dogs and 2 cats, and quite often have some animal we've rescued sharing our home (recently, we had an abandoned baby goat with us for 2 months), so believe me, we have a LOT of odors in our home. This stuff really helps keep us from smelling like a zoo. I put it into a spray bottle and just went to town, spraying all the stinky areas I could find. I also used it on an area rug that the goat was using for a potty (yuck, I know, I know), and on my microfiber sofa. Put it in the mop water, spray it in the bathroom (after using your vinegar!), anywhere you need to deodorize. It's an antibacterial disinfectant, so you know you're cleaning AND deodorizing! (Spot test any carpeting/upholstery for colorfastness.)


This is for those of you (like me) who have a gas stove with the removable cast iron grates that always get disgustingly dirty with caked on grease and whatever boiled over. Put the grates in the a stopped up sink (in other words, put the stopper in so it'll hold water). Start filling with really hot water, add a few tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing liquid (no substitutes!), then pour in your white vinegar (maybe 3-4 cups for half a sink full), and then for the magic--sprinkle about a cup of baking soda in. Remember vinegar and baking soda "experiments" in elementary school? Yeah, like that. Lots of bubbles and foam. Let them soak as long as you can. I usually put them in to soak while I'm doing everything else cleaning-wise, so they soak most of the day. Then, just scrub a little with a sponge and rinse. Nice and clean 🙂


My husband was a mechanic before we started our new lives as ranch managers. For some reason, he's still prone to getting grease on his clothes. All. The. Time. Well, no worries! I just squirt a little Dawn dishwashing liquid on the stain (again, no substitutes! Don't get cheap and buy store brand. You won't save that much, and store brands do not measure up in this case!), sprinkle baking soda on top, then squirt hydrogen peroxide over all of it. Scrub it with a stiff brush (if you're really vindictive, use your husband's toothbrush. Just kidding...don't do that). Let it sit for a few hours, or days, if possible. Then toss in the washer with the rest of your clothes. Double-check the stain before you put it in the dryer. For the very worst stains (like axle grease...that's the worst!), you may have to repeat the process.


Okay, this isn't technically a cleaning hint, but an after-cleaning-before-it-gets-gross-again hint. After you have cleaned your fridge shelves, line them with Glad Wrap Press 'n Seal plastic. Then, whenever you get a spill (with us, that's a few days after I tore the fridge apart and cleaned from top to bottom, sigh), just rip off the plastic wrap, throw it away and replace it with another sheet! So easy!

Well, these are just a few helpful cleaning hints I've used with great success. Hope you find them useful too! Ooops! Gotta go...burning dinner!

Blessings 🙂


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