Archives for category: cleaning

Here’s an easy way to remove scratches from dishes and make them shine like new.

Life Hacks - how to remove those little black scratches from your dishes - So easy and they look brand new

One of my favorite West Omaha restaurants closed recently (*sniffle*) and they auctioned off everything that was inside. I ended up with a lot (get it, a “lot”?!?) of wide rimmed soup bowls. Twenty of them, eek! I paid just $0.75 each and figure we can have all of our friends over for a soup party, soooo wild and crazy, right?!? Ha.

Anyway, these were obviously used for tons of restaurant customers, and were pretty scratched up (and literally black on the underside rim). Enter my secret weapon: BAR KEEPERS FRIEND.

I first tried this magical powder when we snaked out a toilet (um, gross!) and the metal snake left scratches in the porcelain bowl. I sprinkled some Bar Keepers Friend on the water, let it sit for a few hours, and when I scrubbed the bowl then flushed, the scratches were gone. It was awesome.

I bought a new container at Target for $1.99, but you can find Bar Keepers Friend almost anywhere that sells cleaning supplies. Bar Keepers Friend also comes in a liquid form, and a spray bottle with foam, but I stuck to the original old-school powder because I had such good luck with it last time.

So how do you use this miracle product? Just wet your dishes and sprinkle some Bar Keepers Friend on, then using a wet sponge or rag, start wiping until it makes a paste and rub all of the surfaces. Rinse off and dry.

Check out the difference:

Easy one step scratch removal for dishes

One step scratch removal for dishes - Tips and Tricks - DIY

How to remove scratches from dishes - Just 1 easy step

Set up a station before Christmas or Birthday Parties - tools, box cutter, batteries, etc so you're not running all over the place once the kids start unwrapping

Every year on Christmas morning, from a giant pile of wrapping paper and tissue paper, we hear “Mom can you open this?” and “this needs batteries,” and “here’s some trash.” This year we’ll be ready. I set up a little station by the tree with trash bags, a box for recycle, tools like box openers, screwdrivers, and pliers, and mass quantities of batteries (separated into gallon ziplock bags by size). This would also work for birthday parties, or showers — add a pen and paper to record gifts for thank you notes later. Happy Holidays!

Here’s an easy tip to de-clutter holiday cards and photos: you need only a paper hole punch and book rings! 

If you’re like me, by the time Christmas arrives your fridge is covered in cards, photos, and holiday letters. Last year I started punching a hole in the corner of them, putting them on a book ring, and hanging the ring on the fridge. When I put away our holiday decorations, I stored the cards, and this year when I decorated for Christmas it was fun to flip through them again. So, an annual tradition has started, I suppose.

I plan on keeping each year on a smaller ring, and looping all the smaller rings on to one big ring. Everything will be together, but separated by year. OCD much?!? 🙂



Punch a hole in the corner of each card/photo/letter, and loop on to a book ring. Hang, then add to it as the cards roll in.

use looseleaf book rings to store cards and photos DIY greeting card organization with a hole punch and looseleaf binder book rings

gift tag - book rings and holiday cards


Of course, you could also use this method to store birthday cards, trip mementos, wedding cards, photographs, gift cards, or coupons.

Here’s an all-natural way to clean drains: shower drains, kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and more. I tried this on our kitchen sink (after a disgusting “mystery” smell took over, which was coming from the drain – gross!) and it worked great. The kids loved watching so they could hear the “fizz” in the drain after the vinegar mixed with the baking soda.

DIY all natural drain cleaner - bathrooms - showers - kitchen sinks - just 2 ingredients you probably already have


  • equal parts baking soda and white vinegar (I used 1 cup each)
  • boiling water (a few cups worth or so, to rinse afterward)


  • Sprinkle baking soda down drain.
  • Pour vinegar on top.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse by pouring boiling water down the drain (turn garbage disposal on to clean blades, if one is in the drain).


Here are some more ideas for easy DIY cleaning solutions:

baking soda deodorizing disks

3-ingredient granite cleaner

microwave cleaner

dishwasher rinse-aid

baking soda & vinegar carpet spot cleaner

baking soda and essential oil carpet sprinkling powder

Here’s an all natural recipe to remove pet stains from carpet. It’s just 2 ingredients that you already have: baking soda and vinegar.

All natural carpet stain remover - just 2 ingredients you probably already have.

We adopted a little chihuahua mix from our local humane society, who is ALMOST potty trained, sigh. We are going through carpet cleaner like crazy and I cannot wait for the glorious days when she’s completely housebroken. 🙂 Until then, here’s what I’ve found is a great stain remover.


  • mixture of half white vinegar, plus half water (I mixed mine in an empty spray bottle)
  • baking soda (approximately 2-3 spoonfuls for a small stain, and more for larger areas)


  • blot the stain with a white paper towel or rag to remove as much of the moisture as you can
  • wet the stain with the vinegar mixture, then sprinkle baking soda on top, which will soak up the liquid eventually
  • make sure to do vinegar first and THEN baking soda, otherwise you might end up with a foaming volcanic situation
  • place a bowl or plate upside down on the area to keep pets (and/or kids) out of it
  • let sit a few hours – the baking soda will soak up the mosture
  • remove as much of the paste as you can, then vacuum remaining baking soda

spray bottles


Baking soda and essential oil carpet powder

Vinegar + water to steam clean the microwave

Baking soda deodorizing disks for diaper pails, garbage cans, laundry rooms, etc.

Ditch the Jet Dry and use white vinegar in your dishwasher


I kept reading online that you can replace your store-bought dishwasher Rinse-Aid, such as Jet Dry, with vinegar. I didn’t believe it, so I didn’t try it… until recently. To my surprise it worked wonderfully!

Our hard water is horrible. A water softener is next on our list of home improvement projects. Until then, I’ve been using rinse-aids in our dishwasher, which help a lot with the water spots. As I shared previously, I clean our microwave with vinegar, so I figured I would try it with the dishwasher.

I simply filled the little rinse-aid dispenser with vinegar, and ran the dishwasher like normal. When the dishes were done they looked great with no hard water spots, and there wasn’t even any vinegary smell.

DIY rinse-aid

carpet baking soda DIY

Thanks to our 3 kids and 1 dog, our carpets get lots of wear, dirt, spills, and things I don’t even want to know about, lol.

One of my favorite products is Arm & Hammer carpet deodorizer; you sprinkle it on the carpets, let it sit for a few minutes and vacuum up:

arm & hammer

It does have a really strong smell, however, so I decided to try my own with 2 ingredients we already had: baking soda and lemon essential oil. It worked great and it’s just a fraction of the cost of buying the Arm & Hammer shaker box. Our living room smelled like sunshine afterward!



Mix baking soda and essential oil together in a container. Sprinkle on carpets and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Vacuum up the powder as you go.

lemon essential oil

I have always hated cleaning the microwave. It’s so gross trying to scrub off crumbs and splatters.

I tried a cleaning tip I saw on Pinterest and it’s the only way I clean our microwave now.

Here’s what you do:

  • Combine 1 c. vinegar and 1 c. hot water in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Make sure bowl is big enough for the water when it starts boiling.
  • Microwave for 10 minutes, then keep the microwave door closed for approximately 5 minutes. Remove bowl with pot holders because it will be boiling hot.
  • Since the water/vinegar mix steam cleaned, all you have to do is wipe with a damp rag (I wear dishwashing gloves too).

Note: This does make the kitchen smell vinegar-y (or as our son said “It smells like Easter Eggs in here”) but the vinegar smell doesn’t last for long and I don’t even mind because it’s so easy to wipe all that nasty gunk off.

microwave cleaning

UPDATE: I also ditched the Jet Dry, and use vinegar as a dishwasher rinse-aid. No harsh chemicals!

DIY baking soda disks

Spring weather is finally here – yay! Unfortunately the warm temps mean the diaper pail we keep in the garage will start to smell pretty gross between trash days – yuck!

Sometimes I pour baking soda into the diaper pail and our kitchen garbage to keep them smelling a little fresher, but inspired by an idea at I made some homemade deodorizing disks.

They are pretty enough to display in a jar before throwing them in the garbage, and they smell lemony fresh.



Add 5-6 drops of essential oil to 1/2 c. water, then pour into the baking soda and mix well. Continue adding water until you have a thick paste. Spoon the mixture into the silicone mold, then let dry 24-48 hours. After disks have dried, remove from the mold and store until ready to use.

DIY baking soda disks

DIY baking soda disks

DIY baking soda disks

DIY baking soda disks

lemon essential oil

I ran out of granite cleaner and decided to try a homemade recipe.

I assumed it wouldn’t work as well as my favorite (Method Daily Granite) but since I had all the ingredients, it was free, so I gave it a whirl. Verdict? Love it!

It leaves our kitchen countertops shiny and I’ve also been using it to wipe handprints off of the stainless steel trash can in our kitchen.

I just refill my old Method bottle whenever I run out.

DIY Granite Cleaner adapted from

Combine in a squirt bottle then shake until mixed:

  • 1/4 c. rubbing alcohol
  • 4 drops Dawn dish soap
  • 1 c. warm water

DIY granite cleaner