Mrs. Clean's established in Redmond, WA. in 1975, Mrs. Clean is a house cleaning company dedicated to your satisfaction with a fresh clean home.
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to Make Your Own Homemade Spray Laundry Starch

Nice Starched Business Jacket and Starched Shirt.

Making your own products is so rewarding, don’t you think? It’s fun, easy, saves you money and it doesn’t contain a bunch of chemicals.

Starch will stiffen fabric and after ironing, it makes nice crisp lines giving you a more professional, clean look. Perfect for when you need that extra wow factor at work or looking your best when you’re enjoying a night out. It also makes the holiday tablecloth and napkins look great.

Making your own laundry starch works just as good as the kind you used to buy in the store.

Here’s how you make it:

Spray Starch Recipe

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
  • 1 spray bottle

Preparation:

This is so incredibly easy, really!

I have a collection of old Ball jars, so this is what I use to mix the ingredients. I find shaking the ingredients up works much better (and creates a little less mess) than using a bowl to mix the ingredients.

Whichever method you use, just be sure to completely mix the ingredients so there are no cornstarch lumps left when you’re done.

When you finished shaking it up, pour your newly made spray laundry starch in a spray bottle and label it.

Options:

If you want to add a little fragrance, say some cinnamon for the Christmas tablecloth, mix in a few drops of essential oil, depending on the essential oil you use, you may want to add a few more drops to the mix, just don’t go overboard and don’t use essential oils if you’ll be ironing whites as it could discolor the item.

Now you’re ready to use the starch you’ve just made, allow it to soak into the fabric a bit first then iron and when it comes time to wash, it will easily wash off.

This should store just fine in the laundry room for two to three weeks or you can leave it in the refrigerator. Be sure to shake it well before using.

What Happens if a Residue is Left Behind on my Ironed Items?

If you notice a white residue left behind on linens or clothing items, you may need to clean the iron. Over time starch and minerals from water can leave a residue on the iron. Be sure to clean the surface of the iron to help keep everything you iron looking their best.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Getting Life Organized

Woman Holding her Forehead in her Hands.

Using Planners to Help Get Organized

It is easy to feel overwhelmed with so much going on, such as work, kid’s schedules, connecting with friends and family, etc. Organization has helped countless people get control of the chaos in their lives.

One of the ways you can get organized and control the disarray in your life is by using a planner. A planner can help overcome forgetfulness (which happens when you’re busy every day), and help you get on the road to an organized life.

Using a Paper Planner


Day planners have been around for years; there are many styles and types to use and many accessories that can be used with them - you just have to find the right one that works for you.

That being said, planners can be expensive. If you don’t want to pay for something that you could easily make yourself, go find a regular 3-ring binder, add a few dividers and zippered pouches to create your own. Depending on your needs, binder sizes for this type of thing are typically 8 to 12 inches in height.

Here are some sections your binder should have:


  • Calendar including daily, weekly and monthly – there are many places you can print these for free and if you own a Word program, you may be able to get a template that you can customize and print. Otherwise, you can easily find some free blank calendars online. Calendars are great for keeping track of appointments, class plays, after school activities, birthdays, anniversaries, chore lists and so on.
  • Important phone numbers and addresses like schools, doctors, family members, etc. I know we have our smart phones connected to the hip, but if your phone dies, are you going to remember these numbers?
  • Emergency information, including any medication family members are taking, allergies, who to contact, etc.
  • Shopping lists, including meal plans. With a busy lifestyle, these are great to have on hand, especially for any last-minute trips to the grocery store. No guess work and a great meal for the family.
  • To-do list that includes the personal projects you want to accomplish, fitness and other goals you want to meet, gifts or cards that need to be purchased, and plenty of extra pages to write down whatever may pop in your head that isn’t currently in your planner.
  • It’s nice to also have a list of bills noting the payment amount, date they need to be paid and think about keeping a few envelopes with your cash spending money (these are great for budgeting) and allowances for the kids.
  • Cleaning schedules and checklists and chore charts. If you don’t use the calendar for chores and cleaning, there are many checklists you can download and print free. Take a look at the cleaning checklists we have on House Cleaning Central, they are free to download.
  • Zippered pockets for pens, clips, coupons and other loose items you don’t want to lose. I like clear/transparent so I can see what’s in there.

Using Technology to Get Organized


Technology has changed our world and it can help change your life and make you much more efficient.

Computers are a great resource to create your own planner. Use your favorite word processing program or spreadsheet program to create your binder sheets, then print and add them to your binder.  This will make it easy to update your lists as information changes. I keep a running list of all my Christmas card addresses in a spreadsheet to use for Christmas and all year long for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and more.

You’ve heard the expression, “there’s an app for that”, and it seems to be especially true in the world of organization. There are many different list apps, calendar apps, checklists, and even apps to remind you to take any medication or vitamins! So, take a look and try out several to see what specifics you need and the format that you like.

Whether your planner is virtual or hard copy, it won’t work unless you use it. The key is to check your planner daily to see what is coming up and what you need to do.  Make an effort to sit down at least once a week to update your planner.  You can even set a reminder in your planner just for this task!

How to Use Your Planner and Make It Work for You

Whether you choose a paper planner or an electronic planner, in order for them to work effectively they need to be looked at and reviewed often. Don’t be scared off by this by thinking “oh crum! – I’ll be spending hours just keeping a planner,” know that the more you get in the habit using a planner, the quicker you’ll find yourself going through it to update it and make changes. It takes time to develop a habit, but once you’ve got it, it comes as naturally as breathing.

Effectively Using Your Planners


Each night, maybe after the kids have gone to bed, sit down and spend at least 10 to 15 minutes reviewing the next day’s plans, activities, meals, etc. so you don’t forget anything – this may also help turn off the brain when you lay down for sleep.

Color code the different sections so you can easily go right to what you’re looking for. Color coding can be done by either having colored dividers or using a colored label for each section.

At least once a week go through what you have for the upcoming week. Add, make changes, remove, etc. This is where those extra pages come in handy. If you’ve made miscellaneous notes now is the time to add them. This might only take you 30 minutes to an hour, again this depends on how in depth you get with planning.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Creative Storage Options using Wire Baskets

Wire baskets storing hair care products and jewelry.



So often we find ourselves looking for more places to store our things – pantry items, shower products, clothing, cleaning products and more.

Using wire baskets or shower caddies that hang on the back of doors and cabinets is a creative way to remove clutter and make more space.

Storing Gift Wrap and Accessories


I use to keep my gift-wrap and accessories in an organizer in the office closet. As my business grew I needed the space for office supplies and other business-related things so I decided to use the back of the door to store my gift wrap, ribbons, tags, etc.

There are many over the door hanging storage solutions that use sturdy wire baskets where you can store all your gift-wrapping necessities in one place. This is a particularly good idea if you are limited on space. Think of all your gift wrap, scissors, tape, jars with labels and tags, tissue paper, ribbons and bows, gift bags, etc. all being in one place. How convenient!

Storing Bathroom Supplies


Wire basket that can be used in bathroom for hair care products.

If you have a small bathroom and don’t have a lot of room, think about moving bath towels to hooks on the back of the door and using the towel rack to hang wire baskets for bath items and other bathroom necessities such as a hair dryer and curling iron.


There are baskets with dividers that could hold make up products as well. You could even put a floating shelf over the towel rack for more storage too!


My daughter has a very small guest bath in her home so she had to think outside the box a little.


She ended up using a wire shower caddy in a corner to hold extra rolls of toilet paper and other items – maybe this can work for you too?

Kitchen Storage


Wire basket holding cutting boards and baking sheets.
I’m sure this isn’t original to anyone reading this but, if you need more room for pantry storage, use over the door adjustable shelf rods and wire baskets for spices, snacks, dish towels, utensils and so on.

Under the sink, you can hang a storage basket that can hold cutting boards or other similar items you want to keep off the counters.

You can also get yourself a three-tiered hanging wire basket for storing fruit and other daily snacks.



Bedroom Storage Needs


If you have a small bedroom that only accommodates a small dresser and you need more storage options, you can hang over the door baskets for socks, underwear, pajamas, and less bulky items. This can be hung on the back of the closet door or the bedroom door.


Jewelry and Makeup Storage


Jewelry stored in over the door cabinet.
Not a wire basket but worth mentioning. My daughter just bought the coolest thing - an over the door cabinet with a mirror on the front and room inside for jewelry, makeup, perfumes and more. This unit is very nice and holds quite a bit of stuff.

There are so many different styles and sizes of wire baskets. Take a trip to your local container or hardware store to see what is available.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Spring Cleaning the Yard and Outside the House

Lawnmower Sitting in the Yard.

 Getting the House and Yard Spiffed Up for Spring

In our last post we talked about Spring Cleaning the Inside of the House. Now let's move to the outside of the house and what we can do to spruce up some things that might need a little TLC.

Cleaning Windows and Screens

With all the wind, rain and snow, windows and screens take a beating when it comes to dirt and debris. Cleaning these will help all that beautiful sunshine fill any room in the house and brighten the mood.

Cleaning Interior and Exterior Glass

Cleaning Patio Furniture

Take the covers and cushions off your patio furniture and wipe them down or hose them off. Make sure to clean under tables and chairs to get all the cobwebs removed. If you have covers for your furniture, rinse them down with the hose and let them dry before storing.
If your outdoor furniture has been left in the elements you'll probably need to wash them.  You can clean most furniture with a gentle soap and water combination.  A good recipe is:
  • 1/3 cup dishwashing liquid
  • 1 gallon warm water
Pre-rinse then use a soft bristle brush to remove dirt, bird poop and mildew. Rinse completely.
If there is mold or mildew, add 1/2 cup white vinegar.  Don’t forget about cleaning the cushions and umbrella too. If there are removable covers on the cushions wash as instructed otherwise mix equal parts white vinegar and water, use the soft bristled brush to clean and rinse well when done.

Below are instructions for cleaning Teak Furniture and Wicker Furniture.
Cleaning Teak Furniture
Cleaning Wicker Furniture

Cleaning the BBQ Grill

Your outdoor grill might not have gotten much use over the colder months but if it wasn’t cleaned after the last use, who knows what it looks like inside.

  • If you have a charcoal grill, remove any remaining charcoal and rinse with a garden hose and use the recipe above to clean the inside and outside of it.
  • If you have a gas grill, remove the grates and scrub with a wire brush and soapy water and carefully clean the burners.
  • Make sure the drip pan is clean of grease and do check this quite often throughout the grilling season so no fires happen.

The grill, grates, and burners aren’t the only things to clean, check all parts of the grill and make sure all the screws are tight, tires are good, etc.

Cleaning Gutters and Roof

During the winter months leaves and debris can get blown onto roofs and into the gutters, so it’s a good idea every spring to clean these areas. Remove leaves and check the roof for any moss and other buildup of debris.  If you don’t feel you can safely get on your roof to clean, see if a family member can help or call a professional handyman.

Make Sure the Driveway, Walkways, Patios and Deck are Cleaned

Take a walk around your house with an old broom and get rid of any cobwebs you might run into.

Depending on where you live either sweeping or pressure washing the driveway, walkways, entryway, patio and deck will spiff these areas up. If there is any mildew on these areas, pressure washing will help remove it and keep anyone from slipping and falling.

Read the instructions for the proper tip and proper way to use the pressure washer so it doesn’t damage wood or cause a chunk of concrete to break loose.

Cleaning the Garage

Don’t forget to take a look at the garage, it can often be one of the messiest places of the house with boxes piling up, garbage that needs to go to the dump, things that need to be donated and the piles of stuff you’ve stocked up on from a big box store.

In order to clean it properly, you may have to organize first. You’ll have to move the car out and if you don’t have a shed, the lawn mower, bikes, etc.

Decide what you need the space for, will it be for the car, kid’s toys, lawn mower, maybe have a little room for a workbench? Then start going through your things in the garage, throw out the junk, donate items, and clean the floors.

When it’s time to put back what stays in the garage, look for new and different ways to store what you have left.  There are some great shelves, hooks, and cabinets made for garage storage. Find what will work best for you.

Cleaning the Yard

The yard is an ongoing project each spring and summer, but there are a couple of things you can do to clean it up.

  1. Take a good look around the yard and remove all the dead limbs, trash and stuff that may have blown in with the winter winds.
  2. Your lawn is also starting to wake up and it will need feeding to strengthen roots. Check with your local home improvement store and see what is right for you and the area you live in. 
  3. Plan your spring planting and clean the gardens by weeding and removing plants that didn't survive the winter. Do you need to mulch? When you've finished cleaning your gardens and those fall bulbs start blooming, your gardens will look great for their arrival.
Have fun doing your Spring Cleaning!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Spring Cleaning Inside Your House

A Bunch of White Daisies.

Ready, Set - Time to Clean


Every year as the days get brighter and the birds come back singing, we are ready to shed our winter coats and shed the dirt and grime that has collected in our homes over the last few months.

Things you Should Have on Hand


Some of the things you’ll want to have handy are:
  • Cleaning supplies – of course!
  • Cleaning rags and soft clothes for polishing
  • Vacuum and hard surface floor cleaners
  • Dusters
  • Gloves
  • Garbage bags and boxes

You might need to consider the possibility of renting a carpet cleaner or calling a professional.

Declutter and Remove the Unwanted Stuff


Because spring cleaning is a good time to remove clutter and discard items that are no longer used we need to do a few things before we actually start to clean, after being cooped up all winter; we need to prepare for this marathon cleaning.
  1. Start by going through all rooms and toss the broken items. Look for the things you haven’t used for a while and you can live without. Put these in boxes or bags, maybe a box for donations, garage sale and one to pass things on to someone who might enjoy or need the item, it will be a win-win situation. Oh – and get the kiddoes involved.
  2. Gather and take out the trash so you don’t have to deal with it as you are cleaning.

General Cleaning


This applies to all rooms: dusting, vacuuming, clean lighting, fixtures, and switches, cleaning sinks, counters, etc.

Now Let’s Get to the Actual Cleaning


Get your cleaning supplies and tools together, put them in a caddy so you can carry them with you as you tackle different areas of the house.

Cleaning the Living Room, Dining Room, Formal Rooms, Office

  1. Cleaning the windows is one of the best things I like to tackle for spring cleaning. Let the sunshine in, right. (Cleaning windows applies to all rooms in the house.) Also, clean whatever is covering your windows; drapes, shades, or blinds and don’t forget to wipe down the window frames and tracks.
  2. Take a look at your bookshelves, switch it up and rearrange your books while giving them and the shelves a good dusting and polishing if necessary.  If you have knick-knacks on your shelves, move them around, or maybe swap with ones in a different room.
  3. If you have area rugs, wash those that can be washed and dust the ones that can’t be washed. Dusting a rug is vacuuming. If possible, move the rug to a clean hard surfaced floor so you can vacuum the back and get the embedded dirt out. After vacuuming the back flip the rug on a clean surface and vacuum the top.  If you have a really nice rug and are concerned about damaging it, call in the professionals.
  4. Move the furniture and vacuum (furniture as well), polish the furniture, dust the base boards, remove cobwebs, clean and dust fixtures and clean any wood floors.

Something else you may want to check is the heater and AC filters. The following article will walk you through the steps to get this done if you want to do it yourself.

Cleaning Air Filters

Spring Cleaning the Kitchen


Besides your regular cleaning there are a few more things that can be done to spiff up the kitchen.
  1. Stainless steel appliances always seem to have smudges and streaks.  Never use abrasive cleaning products and make sure to clean in the direction of the grain.  Most grime will come off with just water and a good microfiber cloth.
  2. Your coffee pot is a necessary tool that gets used daily, but when was the last time you cleaned it?  You can put the carafe and other removable parts in the dishwasher, but use a vinegar/water mixture (2 parts water to 1 part vinegar) to clean the inside of the coffee maker.  Simply pour the mixture into the water well and turn on the brew cycle until all the water/vinegar mix is gone.  Then run another full cycle of plain water to remove any lingering vinegar residue.
  3. Defrosting your freezer isn’t nearly as tough as it used to be, but we still need to do this once or twice a year.  Take everything out of the freezer, throwing out anything that you can’t identify or that looks like it’s more ice than food.  Use warm water to wipe down the shelves, drawers and sides and put what you’re keeping back in the freezer.
  4. This is also a good time to go through the pantry, toss old foods, clean shelves, and put the remainder back in a nice organized way.

Bedrooms and Closets


Your bedroom is supposed to be a relaxing sanctuary, so take a look around and remove any items that don’t give you a feeling of peace.  After you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, you can focus on some areas that might not normally get attention.
  1. Clean your headboard.  If your headboard is wood, dust it with a rag and your favorite wood cleaner, if it is made of fabric; use your vacuum attachments to vacuum the dust and hair away.
  2. Cleaning your mattress a few times a year will help prolong its lifespan.  Remove all bedding, vacuum the mattress, including the sides, then flip it over and vacuum again. If you are concerned about mattress odors, sprinkle some baking soda onto the mattress and let it sit awhile before you vacuum.
  3. Don’t forget about your winter clothing, as it gets warmer outside, you are probably using your winter coat less often.  Take it to the drycleaner along with any sweaters you may have. Now when you store them, they are clean and ready for next year. Wash and pack away other cold weather clothing you won’t need and start unpacking your warm weather clothes.

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