Wednesday, April 2, 2014

85 Monthly Clean Home Challenge Recap!

An entire month has come and gone and thanks to the monthly clean home challenge, our house is sparkling more than ever.


I planned, scrubbed, organized, discovered and learned!  I would say it was a very productive month indeed!

So let's take a moment to chat!  Did anyone participate along?  Learn anything new?  Here are a few of the challenge highlights for me:

  • Taking time the first day to make my cleaners, stock all of my supplies in each room and come up with a mental plan was the key to my personal success this month!
  • About a year ago I had shared cleaning recipes and a plan that was working for us at the time.  Over the last year, the busier our lives become and as I discovered simpler cleaning recipes, I let go a bit and allowed my schedule and habits to change.  I evaluated how often I was taking on certain tasks and really weighed out how important each one was to us.  Flexibility is extremely important.
  • There is no need to compare.  OK, we can compare cleaning products and recipes and select what works for us, but it should stop there!  What works for me may not work for you and that is 100% good.  We all have different levels of how clean is good enough and that shouldn't change based on what others do or think.  We all also have different schedules, families and lifestyles; all which play a role in the clean home equation. 
  • The more often I do a chore, the easier it is each month and ultimately the less time it will take to get it done right.  If I take time to frequently and quickly wipe out the inside of our stove {and now apparently under the lid of our stove as well}, then it won't take me two hours the next time the stove needs a really good cleaning.  Ditto to tile and windows. 
  • That said, it is necessary to pick my battles.  Some things just don't need to be done every day, or even every week.  Things I used to do weekly now get done monthly and from what I can tell, our health and happiness have not been impacted negatively because of that. 
  • I love to clean and that is OK.  Not everyone has the cleaning gene, and sometimes I feel bad that I do, but I shouldn't.  I find pleasure in cleaning.  I love to turn on the tunes and it is always rewarding in some way.  When I clean, my home feels happier and I feel more productive.
  • Although I love to clean, I love spending time with my family even more.  We do some of our cleaning together, but this challenge really helped me balance it all.  Although I did a few more tasks than I maybe normally would do, by breaking it into a single daily quick hits and building it into my schedule around other cleaning times, I was still able to find a good balance between the time I spend organizing and cleaning and the time I spend with the ones I heart most.

Now, knowing what I learned, here is a quick summary of how the plan works:

  • Each day we try and do four simple cleaning tasks.  "We" is the key word.  I call these my Daily Four and they consist of wiping down the bathroom, cleaning the kitchen, picking up main living areas and doing a single load of laundry.
  • Each week we add in four more quick tasks which include cleaning the toilets/showers, vacuuming and mopping, cleaning the glass and dusting surfaces and washing our linens.
  • Each day of the week, Monday - Friday, I add in one more 5-20 minute cleaning/organizing task.  At the beginning of the month, I select 20 tasks that I know I want to accomplish.  While many of the tasks will remain the same each month, a few may change based on the season or if there are other maintenance items we need to address.  Keeping the list accessible, each day, based on my time and available time, I pick one of those 20 tasks to accomplish.  I then follow each one up with a celebratory glass of wine.  What?  I earned it!



{click HERE to download your free Monthly Cleaning Planning sheet}


You can find each of the tasks I took on last month below, including recipes to my favorite homemade cleaning supplies!

So, let's chat about cleaning products for a minute!  As I mentioned, when it comes to supplies, be flexible!  I started out zesting lemon and mixing 6 different items for one recipe and finally decided that if I didn't find an alternative solution, I was going to go back to the store bought stuff.


This month I used everything from lemon juice to castile soap to a simple combo of vinegar and water.  They all worked great in different ways and the most frequently asked question I received was what I used and when.  So here is a quick recap for you:


Homemade Laundry Detergent - 1 cup soap flakes, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax.  I use two tablespoons per load and place the powder right into the drum with the clothing vs. through the designated washer dispenser.  I use a hand grater to shred my soap {just pop on an DVR'd show and grate away}, but some readers have mentioned that a food processor also works.  I use Fels Naptha soap, but I have also read that alternatives are Zote and Ivory.

Homemade Fabric Softener - 2 cups of vinegar, 10 drops of essential lavender oil.  I mix them together in an old fabric softener bottle and use in the fabric softener dispenser of my wash with each load {making sure to give the bottle a good shake prior to each load as well}. 

Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaner - Half distilled water, half vinegar.  I typically keep a bottle of this under each sink in our home and this is my "go to" cleaner for a few reasons.  Mainly, because vinegar is a natural disinfectant, but also because it is cheap and I clean my main surfaces a few times per day.  If you can't tolerate the smell of vinegar, you can add essential oils to the equation.  This is not something I personally do because I don't mind the smell {I have just gotten use to it and I find it goes away fairly quickly}.  Also, essential oils are expensive and for as often as I clean and for as much that is need to mask the smell, I just don't take the time and money to add it into every batch of cleaner.  I love that this cleaner leaves stainless steel, mirrors and fixtures all shiny and streak free!

Alternative All-Purpose Cleaner: 1 cup distilled water, 1 tbsp lemon castile soap, 10 drops lemon essential oil.  This stuff smells AMAZING and I always keep a bottle made for my weekly/monthly tasks {wiping down trim and doors and surfaces}.  Castile soap and essential oils both have disinfecting qualities, and it really just smells and cleans well!

Toilet CleanerSprinkle baking soda and spray vinegar.  I have gone back and forth on this one because I love how store purchased toilet bowl cleaner has a nice nozzle that gets up under the lip and it is super quick and easy.  Not to mention my previous recipe didn't seem efficient enough considering storage and making it with essential oils and baking soda.  However, I converted back this month.  To make things easier, I made more shakers out of mason jars for my baking soda and I stashed one under each sink.  Now I just sprinkle the baking soda into the bowl, spray in my bathroom water/vinegar combo and scrub with a toilet brush.  Works well and allows me to use what I already have on hand, which I prefer in the long run.

Wood Polisher - 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 tsp castile soap, 4 drops essential oil.  Love the smell, love that it lasts a long time {I make a double batch}, love everything about this wood polisher.  I have not personally experienced it going bad and mine lasts awhile before it is gone, however, if you are concerned, just pop it in the fridge in-between uses.

Floor Cleaner - 1 cup vinegar, 1 gallon hot water.  You can also use a combo of castile soap and essential oils as well.  Totally up to you!  I also use a microfiber mop head, which I can toss into the wash and reuse.

Oven Cleaner - 1 cup distilled water, 1 tbsp lemon castile soap, 10 drops lemon essential oil.   I spray the entire surface and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.  I then mist again, adding a thin layer of baking soda to the mix.  This creates a bit of a scouring powder, which I use to scrub the oven with an abrasive sponge.  I follow up with vinegar and a microfiber rag to reduce any white film.

Grout Cleaner - 1 cup distilled water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide.  In a separate bowl, create a paste by mixing baking soda and water.  Start with a clean floor or tiled surface.  Spread the paste into the grout lines with a brush {toothbrush or grout brush} and follow up with a misting of the spray solution over the paste.  Allow it to sit for 45-60 minutes.  Go back and spray a second time, this time scrubbing in the lines of the grout.  Follow up with a quick mop or wipe down and it should be gleaming clean!
 
Cleaning rags -  I typically use general, inexpensive microfiber rags and keep them stored in our bathrooms and kitchen.  Each space has a designated color and overall, I couldn't be happier with how well they clean and polish.  Each room also has a designated spot to toss the dirty rags until cleaning day.  For as much as I love to clean, this method has definitely reduced the number of paper towels and disinfecting wipes I have purchased over the last year.  As far as washing the rags, call me naive but I always assumed the washing soda/borax soap paired with the vinegar in my wash was a good enough cleaning combo, that I would toss all of the rags into the wash together.  However, washers ultimately do not kill all germs so I have begun washing my dish/kitchen rags separately from everything else to prevent contaminating the areas in which food is prepared and eaten.  Otherwise, the rest of the rags are tossed in and laundered together.  The microfiber rags are not recommended to be washed or dried with heat to prolong their cleaning span.

Distilled water - I typically only clean with distilled water as tap water contains minerals which can inhibit the cleaning solution and impact the effectiveness.  We also have hard water, so by using distilled I am preventing additional build-up within my cleaning bottles.

And for those looking for an updated recipe printable, here you go my friends!

{click here to download your FREE homemade cleaning recipe printable}

Last but not least, just as I had done in each individual post, here are the links to all of my favorite products.  Everything from bins for my freezer and organizers for my mail to spray bottles and cleaning tools.


Looking for something?  Check out my favorite cleaning products below:
A huge THANK YOU again to everyone who showed interest, participated, asked questions, left encouraging comments and sent over emails of gratitude.  You all made this past month so much fun for me and it was such a delight to take on this series with you all!

Many asked if I will continue the series and although I still plan to do the extra task each day, I won't be duplicating the content here {many of my tasks will repeat each month}.  However, if something new happens to get organized or cleaned, I will be sure to share those details as they come.




These are all cleaners/products that work for us and our current home finishes.  It is important to research the cleaners prior to using them on your specific counter and flooring selections.

85 comments:

  1. My dear you are a lifesaver! I love all the natural cleansers and cleaning tips and this schedule is perfection! I'm struggling SO HARD to keep a clean house with a messy husband and squishy baby and often I choose blogging or exercise over cleaning and then at the end of the day I can barely sleep with the mess and feel OMG so guilty! Keep kicking my butt into gear mmkay?

    Love you so! Thanks a million doll!

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    1. Love you too doll! As long as you keep motivating me in the healthy eating dept, it's a deal! ;)

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  2. THANK YOU for including the cleaning recipes AND how you use them! So helpful. Also thanks for including the links to the products. It makes shopping so much easier (I wouldn't know where to find Fels-Naptha or Castile soap)!!!

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  3. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE!!! This recap is AMAZING! Jen, I don't know you personally, but I have been on this journey with you for years. You are kind and sweet, and just want to help us have these beautifully colorful clean homes! (I'm pretty sure I needed commas somewhere in there :)) Thank you for taking the time out of your life to share your secrets, so that everyone around you can become inspired and successful too. I started an Instagram called 365organizenow to help myself and everyone I can possibly help to be more organized and get it all done. I used to go to people's houses to help them get everything together, but with seven kiddos needing my attention, and my own home needing constant cleaning and organizing, I thought this was a better way to help as many people as possible. Thank you for always being THAT person who inspired me to be better at what came naturally for me! You will never know how much you have blessed the lives around you! Including mine! ~Laura

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    1. Laura, that is so amazing to hear! I love the idea of your Instagram account, and agree that sharing tips is such a rewarding feeling. I can only imagine how busy you are with seven {wow} little ones running around! Kudos for keeping energy and finding a way to continue to share your passion.

      xoxo!

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  4. I loved this challenge and got so much done!

    Thanks for the wrap up post too - I LOVE having all the information in 1 single post! Awesome!!!

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  5. This was such a wonderful challenge! Thanks for all of the cleaning recipes, tips and schedule. It seems easier knowing someone else is doing it too!

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  6. Thank you so much for the printable!

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  7. Thank you for the updated list. I bought some cleaning supplies and am ready to start cleaning!

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  8. Good morning! I too am a Jennifer, but I go by Jenn. I am a horrible housekeeper, but have been inspired by your month of cleaning. I am doing better, and just wanted to say thanks for the jump start I needed. My Mom Mom used to say "If you keep house, you will never have to clean house". I never understood it till now, if I keep the cleaning up before it gets bad, I won't have to kill myself trying to get it under control. Thanks again.
    Jenn DeVille in Texas

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  9. Wow - what a month! That was quite the recap, and I thank you for it. The way you approached everything really helped me think about and organize my thoughts on cleaning too. As always, it's inpirational.

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  10. Thank you so much for doing this! I was following your progress but not really participating myself, until one day I decided to clean the microwave using your technique. My jaw literally dropped seeing how easy it was!! I have since ordered ingredients from Amazon to start making my own cleaners, and can't wait for them to arrive.

    One thing - the links to the printables aren't working on my computer. It could easily just be my work computer, but I wanted to let you know. I'm going to try again at home tonight and start planning for the month. From one Wisconsin girl to another, THANK YOU!!

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    1. Thank you so much Sara, that is SO wonderful to hear!

      Let me know if you continue to have trouble accessing the file, I just checked and was able to get to it through the link.

      xoxo!

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  11. Hi Jen!
    I love your website and laughed about the clean gene. We certainly share that quality. My husband teases me that my favorite thing to do is to "put things inside of things" so you are a woman after my own heart. I have followed your website for awhile, but I am not sure when I first started following you or how I found your site, but I am glad I did. I have tried the laundry detergent and vinegar as fabric softener and I am sold. Thanks! Pat

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    1. That is great Pat! My hubby always tells me that I create problems just to solve them. :) They know us well!

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  12. So excited to whip up these cleaning recipes. I can't cook, but I sure can clean! Thanks so much for doing this. Soon my home will be sparkling, too!

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  13. I like this post! And I love your blog! Followed you here and on Bloglovin as well. I hope you'd check my blog too and follow-back. :)

    xx
    http://www.thesenestedthoughts.blogspot.com

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  14. I loved following along! I live in the Twin Cities area and just cannot get into the spring cleaning until the weather starts to warm up a bit. But, thanks to a trip to CA and a warm Sunday, I am pushing my spring cleaning this month. I even posted my homemade cleaning recipes yesterday - great minds! Thanks for all the inspiration!

    http://countingwillows.com/the-big-spring-clean-homemade-cleaner-recipes/

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    1. Oh! I hear you! I think that the cleaning helped me think spring like thoughts since weather definitely is not doing it yet! It is always a bit more fun to clean when you can open the windows and have fresh air flowing in!

      xoxo!

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  15. This totally changed our house. THANK YOU! I really needed this <3

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  16. I am curious to try your fabric softener recipe. My washer is a top loader (only a few years old) that does not have a fabric softener dispenser AND has a locking lid. (I'm happy it was free but it's such s pain!) Any advice for anyone in the same boat? As always, love the blog! Thank you!

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    1. I found the answer already... many people use vinegar in their Downy ball, which will work perfect for us. :o)

      http://thedysfunctionaldomestic.blogspot.com/

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    2. Awesome! So happy you were able to find a simple solution!

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  17. Thanks so much for all the cleaning posts! I'm slowly trying to switch to natural cleaners, and we're moving so everything is going to need a very good clean before we leave our rental!

    I meant to post on your fridge-cleaning post as well, because you felt bad about finding something from 2011, I think. When I was last at my parent's house my husband found something in their fridge that expired in 1997! SO gross! So don't feel badly about 2011! X

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  18. I JUST started making my own cleaners, which I know you have been posting about for forever (thanks for the nudge!), and I am SO happy you included a printable. It's being printed immediately! Also, I just wanted to share my recipe for an all-purpose cleaner with orange peels and it's so lovely looking and smelling afterwards. :)

    http://www.vintagezest.com/2014/03/diy-homemade-orange-cleaner-easy.html

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    1. Oooh! I bet that smells delightful Diane! Thank you for sharing!

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  19. Can I ask why distilled water? Thanks for the printable!

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    1. Hey Cathy, it's in the post right before the DIY cleaning solutions printable :)

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  20. THANK THANK YOU!! I have spent the last month following along with you and I have loved how clean our home is! I have also had extra time to spend with my family which is always a plus! I have almost switched all of our cleaners out to be your recipes and I am in love!! The all purpose cleaner smell is heavenly!!! I am looking forward to my Pledge being empty so I can make the wood cleaner. :) Thank you again for your blog it is always open on my Mac! :)

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    1. Wahoo! Celebratory happy dance for you Melanie! So great to hear!

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  21. This has really been such a huge help to me. I certainly didn't complete everything, but I didn't really expect that I would, so I'm totally ok with that. I came away with some super helpful tips, (microfiber is such a game changer!) and I feel like my home is so much cleaner than it was a month ago, even though I only tackled a few of the tasks. Thank you so much for all the time you spent putting this together for us!

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  22. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this series. I have started incorporating the 4 D / 4 W / 20 M list into our cleaning process and I think it will help me find the balance between time for cleaning and time for family (which is my love, but the cleaning never seemed to end so I sacrificed free time). This gives me a specific to do list, which feels much nicer than always feeling like nothing was ever complete. And, I never knew how to switch to my own cleaners - I love the download. Plus your daily tasks let me see new ways to clean that I never considered - your instructions on the microwave made such a difference in how shiny mine is. Please keep sharing - you have great/helpful ideas. Thanks!

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  23. Jen you are always an inspiration for organizing my life. I wish I had been able to join this last challenge, but I'm still getting used to having a little baby in our lives...and boy oh boy do things change. I will look back on this challenge and hopefully be able to get some of it done soon. I was at HomeGoods (in New York) today and they have tons of stuff now for "Cleaning" & "Laundry". Stuff like cleaners & detergents but also lots of stuff to hold those products in. Lots of tins with handles and such! I could have bought it all. ;-)

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    1. Congrats on your sweet new baby girl Jen! And it really takes time to adjust and adapt and find new routines and schedules when a little one joins the club. Oh! And I agree, HomeGoods can be a very dangerous place!

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  24. I was reading through the recipes for the cleaners, thinking "I sure wish this was something I could print out" and right underneath was the printable!!! I'm super excited - thank you! Yours is the only blog I visit on a daily basis anymore. It has been so encouraging to me over the last year and a half since I came across it. Thanks for being awesome!

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    1. Thanks for making my heart smile today Mandy! <3

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  25. Thank you SO much for this! I loved this series of posts. I despise cleaning, so I loved the simplicity of the tasks and how you showed that they don't need to take a lot of time if you do them regularly. I also loved your natural and simple cleaning solutions.

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  26. Thank you SO much for this series of posts! I sometimes feel overwhelmed with keeping my home clean and you really made me realize that it's definitely manageable if I take it one task/day at a time! I also love your recommendation of home-made cleaning supplies and have already started incorporating them into my system! You're blog is really an inspiration! Thanks again for all that you do! =)

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  27. Thanks for this great post. I performed a few of your tasks (cleaning the refrigerator and the cabinets). I also purchased some of your recommended products for DIY cleaners. Can't wait to use my cute new gloves!

    I was wondering what you keep your half water half vinegar solution in. Does it need a special container or is plastic okay?

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    1. I always use plastic, vinegar is stored in plastic at the stores as well, so I say it is A-OK. :)

      xo!

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  28. What is the font you used to put Sparkle on your cleaning caddy? So pretty!

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    1. Hi Jennifer!

      The font is Sacramento. :)

      xo!

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  29. Hi Jennifer, Thank you so much for making this comprehensive and easy to follow. I did not follow every day, but did complete several tasks which turned out to be easy. I already used a lot of DIY cleaners, and appreciate your recipes and uses. I got a lot done last month and I am looking forward to completing more after a garage sale this month. Thanks! Monique

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  30. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed this series. Thanks too for adding your new cleaner recipes. I'm loving making the switch to homemade cleaners. I definitely turned over a new leaf with keeping my bathrooms clean each day and the kitchen is neater too. I've added your weekly cleaning but been very sporadic with the extra task each day. But I love knowing that when I'm ready to do any of them I can just pop in here to see how it's done. Nice to have someone who loves to clean to lead along those of us who hate it :-)

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  31. I am super impressed with your photography. I find product shots hard! (And I'm a photographer.) Your white balance is perfect and even the thumbnails of your blog entries for this series have such a cohesive look with the colors. I haven't actually done much cleaning this month....but I'm sure enjoying watching your blog, ha!

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  32. Thank you! Great series and I love the recap. I just shared on facebook!

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  33. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I have neglected some areas of the house and it improves our happiness to have things getting clean and organized. I have made the same laundry recipe for a couple years and love it, it does fantastic with baby stains. I use my Kitchen aid cheese grater attachment and grate 4-6 of bars at once each into a smaller mason jar. Then I can dump the jar of soap and a cup of each of the others into the laundry container in about 30 seconds when needed. It last forever! I plan on trying the lemon all purpose cleaner soon for the fresh scent, thank again for sharing and the printables!

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  34. Loooooooooved this series! So many great tips and inspiring results. I'm preggars right now in total lazy mode, so I didn't do too many of the challenges. One thing I have started and can't believe how easy it has been is leaving the magic eraser in the shower. I bought the sponge holder you recommended and scrub it down twice a week. I also keep an OXO soap dispenser brush in there with 1/2 distiller water 1/2 vinegar. Super quick and easy. Thank you so much, you are amazing!

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  35. I tried to keep up with this all month and I didn't do a bad job with a husband retiring and family coming in from Florida and Iowa to help celebrate. I had made my own cleaner for washing down the woodwork and just love it. When I use store bought cleaners my fingers dry out and get a rash. It is probably from all the chemicals. I also like the rags you use for cleaning windows. They do such a great job.
    Thanks so much for all that you have done to help us all.

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  36. You're the best Jen!! Thank you SO much for this wonderful information!!!!

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  37. I am amazed how you manage your household work with this awesome blog. I cannot even manage three meals a day.

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  38. Thank you so much for including recipes. I'm waiting to run out of my regular cleaning products and then I'll try these. Perhaps I'll modify them a bit, but that's exactly what I was looking for - everything is very simple to make. :)

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  39. Do you think the essential oil takes away the vinegar smell from the all purpose cleaner solution or can you still smell the vinegar? Would witch hazel have a lighter scent to cover up?

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  40. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am currently 7 months pregnant with my third boy (yay!), so I've been feeling a little tired lately, to say the least! Your cleaning challenge was something that I felt that was manageable and I love coming home every day to a clean and orderly home! (Not to mention the fact that I can rest easy using natural cleaning products) I wanted to mention that in Canada, I found the castile soap and essential oils at www.well.ca. Free shipping on orders over a certain amount and great service. Not that I'm affiliated with them in any way, just a great site for us Canuks that don't have the selection of amazon.com!

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  41. Jen, what do you use Nellie's Oxygen Brightener for and how much?

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    1. Hi Gema! I toss a scoop into my wash when I do white clothing/linens because I don't use bleach. :)

      xo!

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  42. Hey! You may not know this but do you have to use distilled water for the grout cleaner or could you use bottled water? Thanks!!! I can't wait to use some of these tips!

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  43. Thank you for doing this series! I really loved it! I also loved how you included how long each task took. It was really helpful to know about how long the job would take. Would you consider extending it to show us how you do your daily tasks as well? This series was so informative, I bet your daily cleaning ideas would be great too! Thanks!

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  44. Loved your cleaning series, and it totally inspired me to clean and organize. You made everything look super easy and manageable. I will definitely be referring back to this!

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  45. Hi Jen,
    I've been using the all purpose cleaner you suggested in this blog post: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2013/05/may-mini-challenge-homemade-cleaners.html, and it is working great, but I noticed that in todays post you changed the recipe... Is this one better to use?
    Thanks for your answer :)

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    1. Hi Ziva!

      I just updated due to number of ingredients and ease of making the cleaners. I am always looking to cut down on cost and time and trouble when it comes to simplifying the cleaning process.

      xo!

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  46. Do you have any tips for natural air fresheners? I'm inspired to try and locate the cleaning ingredients here in the UK to make my own clothes washing mixture, and once the cleaners I have already purchased have run out I will try out the other recipe's.
    Has anyone got any hints on how to make my home smell good after cooking fish?

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    1. Have a bowl of vinegar near the stove when cooking, it will absorb most of the food smell.

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  47. I can only echo the other comments with a huge THANK YOU! You have truly inspired me! It all started with homemade laundry soap and has exploded into an all-natural cleaning system (just missing the cool Dyson - but saving my pennies!). Not only am I saving money but I'm blown away at how must better the all-natural stuff works. My bathroom counter has never been so clean! Thanks again for a really inspirational blog! Never miss it!

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  48. This post is fabulous! I LOVE having it all in one place. Now if I can just get motivated to make April my month to spring clean!!!

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  49. I loved this series! Though I didn't complete all of the tasks, my house is much cleaner than it was pre challenge. I would like to replace all of my bath towels to white ones. I had white towels in the past, but I found they didn't get completely clean in the wash. I don't use/don't want to use bleach. Do you use white bath towels? If so, does the brightner get them completely clean? Any tricks that anyone could recommend?

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    1. You can find some natural oxygen bleach powders. I toss a scoop in with my whites. I have a few white towels that seem to be doing well despite our hard water. :)

      xo!

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  50. Hi Jen, I'm now inspired to make the switch to making my own cleaning supplies! Is the laundry detergent OK to use in HE machines?

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    1. Hi Rupa!

      Yep! Our washer is HE and I have been using it for quite awhile now.

      xo!

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  51. Hi! Thank you so much for this challenge and this wonderful recap! I'm excited to try the recipes and many of the products too! I was wondering if you have tried a homemade cleaner for carpet / upholstery stains - food, pets, etc.?

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    1. I don't have any recipes off hand, I typically reference my stain chart in my laundry room.

      You can find stain charts on Martha Stewart's site: http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/pdf3/stain_removal_basics.pdf

      and BHG: http://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/tips/how-to-remove-stains-from-laundry/

      xoxo!

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  52. Thank you for the recipes and the cleaning inspiration! I was wondering, how much of the "fabric softener" do you use per load?

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    1. I just fill mine to the fill line of my fabric softener dispenser. Maybe around 1/4 cup or so.

      xo!

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  53. HI there! I discovered your site last year and have been enjoying it! I loved following the cleaning challenge and have been doing things in my own home a little differently, after reading your progress! I am feeling WAY more organized and productive thanks to your posts!!

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  54. Oh my, Jen. I am loving you now so much! Thanks for this blog!

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  55. I was just reading through all the fabulous posts from your Clean Home challenge and they are awesome! I am actually excited to go clean this weekend!

    I also love making my own cleaning supplies. For toilets have you tried mixing baking soda with Dr. Bronners to make a paste? It works wonders for our toilets!

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    1. Thank you for the tip Karisa! I have not tried that mixture yet, what is the easiest way to apply it? Do you just mix it right within the bowl or ahead of time?

      xo!

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  56. Just downloaded the Monthly Cleaning Plan - thank you!

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  57. I just wanted to say I've been obsessed with your blog for the past 3 years or so and one thing that always stands out is that you always have time for people commenting. I love that.xx

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  58. Lemon is actually far too acidic to use on hardwood floors. There are cleaning solutions I've used religiously in the past, that I later learned, even though it really looked like I was achieving the desired effect, I was in reality causing slow damage to the surfaces in my home. When it comes to wood floors, less is more: I haven't found a homemade solution I'm confident in yet, but I spray a small amount of a cleaner specially made for wood floors, and I mop it up with a microfiber flat mop, which does a good job of distributing a small amount of liquid (you don't want much on a wood floor), and does a great job of polishing. Any peanut butter or drink that have spilled, I get on my hands and knees, wipe it up with as little (gentle) soap and water as I can, and lightly polish it out. I may not be disinfecting my floors, but I'm also not rubbing off the finish and ruining their appearance/causing splintering over time. Plus, the expression "floors so clean you could eat off them" isn't exactly a call to action anyway.

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  59. Thank you soo soo much for this!! you have definitively inspired me to clean my home. I will be visiting this page a lot more frequently

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Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!

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