Cleaning Supplies

Wash Me

Are you a do-it-yourself car washer? I am and for one main reason which would find most of you chuckling. Are you ready? I find gas station car washes intimidating and somewhat claustrophobic. Sure it’s super simple, sure it’s super quick, and yes your car comes out “presentable”.  But it’s never as pretty and sparkly as your neighbor’s since he’s always in his driveway on Sunday’s pre-soaking, washing, drying and polishing.

Well, I too was out last Sunday washing my car. Normally I’d pop in my ear buds, but since my neighbor was out, I set out our Bose, popped in my iPhone, queued up my summer playlist, and asked if he had any special requests. I must have been nuts; apparently washing your car is serious work that requires the utmost focus. So me, my tunes, and my trusty little bucket and sponge, went to work.

Afterwards, I stood back and admired my handiwork and looked over at my neighbor for an approving look that says, “Job well done”! Instead I received a smile, which bordered on a smirk, which told me I know nothing about washing cars. Later my husband came home and gave me a kiss, and a thank you that had a tone of “at least she tried”, so I decided it was time to do some investigating on how to properly wash your car.

I will tell you this…

There are tons of articles and too-many-to-count YouTube tutorials, so I’m going to break it down in a short list of Do’s & Don’ts. Hopefully this will save YOU from the smirks and the somewhat claustrophobic trips through the subpar gas station car wash, and your CAR from self inflicted scratches and unattractive water spots.

The Do’s

  • Do rinse all surfaces thoroughly with water prior to sudsing up. This helps remove loose dirt and debris that could cause scratching.
  • Do use a soap formulated specifically for car washing. That’s right. Put down your Dawn Dish Soap. It may be tough on grease, but household cleaners can strip the protective wax.
  • Do rinse your sponge often and use a separate one to wash your tires. Sponges can retain dirt particles which can scratch the car’s surface. This also helps prevent washing your car with dirty soapy water, which totally defeats the purpose of washing a dirty car.

wash me_50The Don’ts

  • Don’t wait for your car to get filthy before you wash it. If you can write, “wash me” in the layer of dirt on your car – you’ve waited too long. Environmental debris, acidic rain, even the evidence birds leave behind saying, “I’ve been here”, can eventually eat into automotive paint.
  • Don’t wash your car if it’s been parked in direct sunlight or if you’ve been driving it. Heat speeds up the drying of soap and water, which makes your job of washing more difficult. Wait for an overcast day or make sure it’s parked in a shady area.
  • Don’t let your car air dry. Tap water contains minerals that can leave spots, so immediately dry your car using a chamois (natural or synthetic), or a soft towel made from highly-absorbent microfiber. This saves you from emptying your closet of every towel.

If you too have a neighbor who washes his car every weekend, he isn’t as neurotic as you think. A weekly car wash will keep the finish in the best shape and will save you the embarrassment of one day walking outside and seeing, “wash me” written on the side of your family vehicle by said neighbor.

Want to wash your car like a pro? We are giving away a Microfiber Long Pile Wash Mitt and Microfiber Soft Waffle Weave Drying Towel to 3 lucky winners!

TO ENTER

To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:

What was your first car?

THE RULES

One entry per person, please.

Winners will be selected at random and announced on Thursday Aug. 20th

Good luck.

Organized Bathroom Drawer

Cut The Clutter

Do you ever wake up some mornings and feel completely overwhelmed? You’ve just spent a sleepless night going through to-do lists in your head. The never ending projects that need to get done around the house. You know….that closet in the bedroom that’s begging to be cleaned out, the infamous “junk drawer” that’s become a catchall for all things you’re just too tired to find a home for, even the 300 plus emails sitting in your inbox patiently waiting for your response.

But, where do you start?

I don’t know about you, but I’m notorious for starting one project which inevitably leads to another project and before you know it, I have mini disasters forming in every room. None of which ever seem to fully get completed and always leave me feeling defeated.

Perhaps the key to cutting the clutter is making a simple change to our daily routines or starting off with the smaller tasks first. Feeling a sense of accomplishment can be a big motivator and before you know it, you’re tackling the bigger tasks you’ve been avoiding like the plague.

Here are some quick hints that’ll put you well on your way to living in less mess:

  • Beware of task list A.D.D! Focus on a SINGLE task at a time. Don’t move onto the next until your first task is completed.
  • Weeding out the wardrobe – If you haven’t worn it in a year or it no longer fits – donate it!
  • Tripping over boxes of your children’s grade school projects? Instead of taking up precious space in your attic or garage, take a picture of your child with their project and record those memories in an album. If it’s a special piece of artwork, consider framing it and hanging it up in your home.
  • Get rid of those old pots and pans, coffee cups and appliances you haven’t used in years. You’ll be surprised how much storage space in the kitchen you can free up!
  • Once you’ve de-cluttered, start your own zero-accumulation habit. For every new item you bring into your home, select one to toss, sell or donate.

I know you. You feel guilty when you can’t get it all done at once. Remember…Rome wasn’t built in a day! Taking a little step, even something as small as a drawer, will go a long way to provide a little relief from the always growing “list”.

Want a little h550803_1elp getting started? We are giving away 5 Pantry Pouches! It’s the perfect solution to keeping your coupons; take-out menu’s etc. contained and organized in one easy-to-find, accessible location!

 

 

TO ENTER

To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:
“Which would you tackle first: a drawer, clothes closet or email?”

THE RULES

One entry per person, please.
Winners will be selected at random and announced on Thursday, August 13th!
Good luck!

S&T3331

The Cookware Chronicles

Let’s see a show of hands – how many of you have a set of cookware that cost you a pretty penny or two? After years of buying mine on the cheap, I finally decided to buck up and buy a nice set last year at Sur la Table – I may have mentioned them in a previous post.

Let me take you back to a Saturday morning last year when I decided to make an eggstra-special breakfast for my husband (only it didn’t turn out so eggstra-special). In fact, the only thing that enjoyed the omelet I made was the pan I cooked it in. There it was…stuck to the bottom. It was as if someone had replaced my olive oil with super glue!

After appeasing my husband’s hungry tummy with a breakfast sandwich and latte from Starbucks, I hit the road and drove to Sur La Table to replace my pan and express my dissatisfaction to the sales associate over it not living up to the glowing reviews.

Apparently it wasn’t the pan’s fault; it was mine. What I learned then, will save your cookware, so pay close attention…

  1. Never use cooking spray. According to Calphalon, cooking sprays can build up over time. Always use butter or high quality cooking oils. And for best results, preheat your pan first before adding the butter or oil.
  2. Never use metal utensils. These can scratch the delicate non-stick surface. Wood, silicone, or a heat resistant plastic is best. My favorite is the Sur La Table Nylon Tools with Caddy; comes with a set of 7.
  1. 552603_1Never use abrasive sponges or steel wool. When cleaning, I prefer to hand wash. Some say non-stick cookware is dishwasher safe, but dishwashing detergents can be harsh or abrasive. I use mild dish soap with this Micro Mesh Dish Scrub. It takes a gentle approach to removing food residue and cuts through grease.
  1. Never store them stacked. Unless of course you have my favorite Cookware Guards! They help prevent scratching and keep them from shifting when stored. I also use them with my glass bowls and bakeware.

Learn from my mistakes. It’s never too late to start taking care of your cookware. If you don’t, it may get you out of cooking breakfast or dinner, but who wants to spend hundreds of dollars replacing those pricey pots and pans?

Well, some of you won’t have to! Today we are giving away 3 sets of Micro Mesh Dish Scrubs and Cookware Guards.

TO ENTER

To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:

“What’s your favorite one-pot recipe?”

THE RULES

One entry per person, please.

Winners will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday, Aug. 5th!

Good luck!

CleaningWindowBamboo

Scratching the Surface

Ladies…never let your husband do the laundry. I’ll tell you why in just a moment.

Sunday is chore day at my house. We are talking the one day a week I “deep” clean. It’s been unseasonably hot here in Seattle which mean fans in every room is blowing, and with the cooler air also comes the dirt and dust my two adorable labs track in from outdoors.

Well, you’ve heard me sing the praises of microfiber. It’s the only thing I use when dusting. I opened up the cupboard where I keep our household cleaning supplies, only to find my microfiber cleaning cloths MIA. So naturally, since my husband helped with the laundry, I went looking for them in our linen closet where our towels are kept. There were my beloved cloths. I grabbed one and quickly went to work. After all, the sooner my chores are done, the sooner I get to enjoy my favorite book.

As I dusted our dining room table, I noticed my microfiber cleaning cloth was not up to snuff. I tried giving it a pep talk. Nothing. I went back to the closet to grab another only to discover a dryer sheet stuck to it. AHAAA! Mystery solved. Now, I previously shared with you the many virtues of cleaning with this miraculous cloth, but what I haven’t shared is the importance of the care you must take when using them.

So you can get the most out of your microfiber, I’ll give you the dirty low down.

  • Bucket2Dirty cloths can damage and scratch surfaces. NOT GOOD!

Microfiber is like a magnet; they attract dust, dirt, lint, and hair. So, be diligent and wash after each use and DON’T wash them with your other linens. Believe it or not, they can actually come out of the washer dirtier than they were when they went in.

  • Fabric softener is not your friend. Sad, but VERY true.

Dryer sheets leave a film which can render your cloth useless. And any fabric softener for that matter will start to breakdown the delicate fibers, which will lead you, back to the store to   buy a replacement. Because this cloth dries in no time, some may tell you to line-dry. I find in   doing this, airborne dust particles are liable to land on your cloth. Just toss your cloths in the dryer on a gentle cycle and store them separately in a clean, dry area.

So ladies – if I’ve taught you anything today, it’s never let your husband help you with the laundry….. Unless of course he has read this post and can recite this mantra, “I will not use dryer sheets when washing my wife’s microfiber”.  Happy cleaning!

Teal Dish Mat

Let’s Dish

Hello…my name is Lisa and I’m a Dish Drying Mat-a-holic. I am a member of an ever growing group.

Have you heard of it? If not, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Wink, wink. Seriously though, the Dish Drying Mat has got to be one of THE greatest inventions in Housewares. I know, you’re probably thinking, “A dish drying mat, really? You have heard of the automatic dishwasher, right? It’s the cool contraption that washes and dries your dishes so you don’t have to?”

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Multi Generation Family Enjoying Picnic Together

Picnic like a Pro

Do you feel the summer quickly slipping away? I do. July is already here. Our nation’s Independence Day has come and gone, and long after the celebratory fireworks and fanfare, we are left sitting in our air conditioned homes needing a little spark of an idea on some fun activities we can squeeze in before our glorious summer inevitably comes to a close.

Well, it just so happens July is also National Picnic Month! What could be more enjoyable on a sunny day or warm summer evening than eating a meal alfresco at a park, outdoor concert, or beach…although I prefer my fare without a side of sand.

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Tone Up

toner ladyThe word “Toner” always conjured up a memory of when I was a teenager growing up in the late 70’s – early 80’s. I would walk into my local drugstore and purchase that infamous astringent / toner. You know the one. It contained so much alcohol it had that “refreshing”, tingling sensation when you applied it. You felt every pore close up as promised because it was sucking every last bit of moisture from your skin.

You were taught back then the purpose of the toner was to remove traces of dirt and oil that your cleanser left behind. And that it did. In fact, it probably could have been used to clean up a major environmental oil spill. So with trusty cotton balls in hand, we stripped our skin with every gentle swipe.

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Unconditional love

A Day Dad Deserves

With Father’s Day just around the corner, it makes us stop and reflect on all the reasons why we love our dad. But, you don’t need a national holiday to celebrate just how wonderful he is; it could be his birthday or another special day of big significance. Whatever the case may be, he deserves the best – just for being…DAD.

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little girl big sunglasses s

Made in the Shade

Let’s face it, we all feel just a bit more beautiful when we have bronzed, glowing skin, but years of sun worship can take its toll – aging us beyond our years. Brown spots, dryness and wrinkles can appear 20 – 30 years after repeated exposure. It’s cumulative and it begins at a very early age. For some, we took our youth for granted and soaked up as much sun as humanly possible, and didn’t think twice about wearing sunscreen. Groan. That’s the bad news….

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