Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Homemade Clothes Softener Made with Rosemary Herbs

So I found this recipe some time ago, but never got around to posting it. I love it a lot and it actually enhances the cleaning power of my liquid laundry detergent recipe, as in it helps get rid of the really bad smells in my husband’s ACU (Army Camouflage Uniform) and PT (Personal Training) clothes. Many military spouses can tell you some marines, soldiers or sailors can and do come home stinking to high heaven. My old softener was not really working that well. It just added clean cotton smell with sweat and wet dog smell on really bad ones. The detergent was helping and for the most part got most of the smell out on its own, but sometimes the smell did linger and I had to wash the clothes twice. Here is how I put this to a real test. During the week long sitting period you will see in the instructions, I kept two sets of PT uniforms washed and another one not. When my husband was not doing PT with the unit, he would wear the dirty ones so the smell kept adding on. When the one week was up I washed both the uniforms that I washed every day and the one that was not washed all week. For the test run, I used the liquid detergent recipe and this recipe. I must say I did not expect much since Downy did not do a good job before this. I was completely surprised when all three came out not only not smelly, but they smelled better than the Liquid detergent recipe and Downy combined. So I am definitely using this again and feel it is a good one to put up on this blog. I am probably going to make a gallon worth next time so I do not run out so quickly. If you want to do that as well just quadruple the recipe.

Measuring cup
2 Container (I used a large mason jar for the first and an empty 1-gallon Downy container for the second that had been cleaned out, which was more than enough)
Mesh Strainer (can use a cloth if you don’t have one)

3 cups Vinegar
1 cup Vodka
1 sprig of Rosemary (approx. 4-inch-long stick with green leaves attached)

First you need to take the scissors and cut up the sprig and leaves. You want the pieces to be somewhere between ¼ inch to ½ inch long. Put the pieces into the container. Now pour the vinegar and vodka into the container. Close the lid and put the first container in a dry area. Let it sit for one week. As this sits the natural rosemary extract will be coming out of the leaves, making it smell nice. The vodka actually helps this process. After the time is up, use the mesh strainer and pour the liquid into the second container carefully. You do not want to keep the leaves inside the new container as overtime the green chlorophyll will come out and can stain clothes. Now it is ready to use.

Usage instructions are as follows

Pour into the softening dispenser. Or as you would normally do with your softener before.
¼ cup for small load
½ cup for medium loads

¾ cup for large loads

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Homemade Washing Machine Cleaner

So you just washed your clothes and the still stink and so does the washer. Chances are it is not the detergent you are using rather it is the washer itself. So how do you clean the behemoth of an appliance? That is more simple than most people think and should be done at least monthly to keep the machine performing at its best. Here is a recipe I have found that works really well for getting the stinky smells and soap scum out of the washer.

Measuring cup

1cups Washing soda
1/2 cup Borax
2 cups Vinegar

to make and use
First, mix the washing soda and borax in a bowl till evenly mixed. Then pour the mixture into the detergent slot. If you do not have a detergent slot, that is okay. Then pour the vinegar into the softener slot. If your washer does not have either the detergent or softener slots, that is okay. Just pour the washing soda and borax into the drum and pour the vinegar into the bleach slot.
If your washer has a self-clean setting, set it to that and run the washer.
If your washer does not have a self-clean feature, set the unit to the longest, hottest and deepest water setting. So say for mine I would set it to hot water, heavy soil and large load. Now run the washer.

Once the cycle has ended make sure to check the drum for powder that did not dissolve (should not be any). If there is run a rinse cycle. After that you are done.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Weekly Shower cleaner

We all know scrubbing the tub and shower can be a real pain in the rear. Especially on the lower back. I find this is doubled when you have hard water. My state in particular has a ton of calcium and lime in the water. So how do you scrub that off without breaking your back for too long or putting a few chemicals on the tile and porcelain? Baking soda and salt. Both have great scrubbing qualities that do not require a lot of muscle at all. The baking soda can also easily scrub the grout which I find is the hardest spots. This recipe I find works for me but if you do not have a shower head with a hose, I highly recommend having a regular cup ready to rinse at the end instead.

Shower head with hose (or Cup if you do not have a hose attached to the shower head)
Measuring cup

1 cup Baking soda
1 tbsp. Salt
Water as needed

First measure and mix the ingredients together in the bowl until salt is evenly distributed. Wet your sponge or cloth and dip it in the bowl on the side you intend to use for scrubbing. Rub it onto the tile and tub in circular motions. Do this until the bathing area looks and feels clean. The tub and tile should feel smooth but not slimy with the exception of the mixture being on it. Use the shower head hose to rinse off the baking soda and salt when finished. To polish wipe dry with a clean dry cloth.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fun to Watch Homemade Sink and Drain Cleaner

So this one is a very familiar recipe. That is because it almost the same as the toilet cleaner recipe, if anything it is just simply doubled. However, its use is a bit different than just cleaning the porcelain sides. This recipe can also help clear your pipes of minor clogs and also for regular maintenance of your bathroom and kitchen pipes for both sinks and tubs.  Also much like the toilet cleaner, this recipe is fun for kids to watch as the baking soda “magically” disappears.

Materials you will need to make and use this recipe are
2 measuring cups (one for dry baking soda ONLY and the other for vinegar ONLY)
1 scrubbing sponge or cloth

2 cups of baking soda
4 cups of vinegar
Water (enough to wet sponge, fill sink, and check the drain)

To use
First, wet your sponge and dip it into the baking soda with scrubbing side down. Scrub the sides of the sink with it. Do not worry if you do not get everything off during this part. Every four to five scrubbing motions (whether circles or up and down is up to you) dip the sponge again. When you are done cleaning the entire area take the drain stopper out if you have one. Pour half of the baking soda (1 cup) down the drain. Slowly pour half of the vinegar (2 cups) down the drain. Let that sit for 30 minutes before going onto the next part.

Now after 30 minutes go get the kids. Put the drain stopper back in and close the drain. Fill the sink with water. Pour the rest of the baking soda into the sink. Then slowly pour the rest of the vinegar. Put the sponge in there with it as that will rinse it out and sanitize as well. Watch as the sink and sponge starts to fizz. Let that sit for about five minutes and then open the drain. If the sink is still slowly draining you can repeat the first part. Run some water once the sink has drained to rinse the porcelain and the drain. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tips for Cleaning the Garage

So this project recently came into need for me recently. I had been working on a few wood projects. . In my house, I am the handyman. I work with the tools. Heck, I am the one building much needed hanging brackets for my husband's mancave. Not that I am complaining, I love building things. Thus my single car garage became a mess with no car inside.

Normally for the blog I would do recipes for cleaning products, but lets face it, you need a place to store you stuff. Often, that is the garage. Most of us do this so badly the car wont fit inside anymore. Lets be honest, most of us invested a minimum of four figures in that vehicle before any repairs. Why would we store it outside? Metal does rust in weather eventually. Even the prolonged periods in the sun is damaging to the paint. This is the reason I decided to make a list of tips for cleaning the garage.

Get some help.

Cannot stress this one enough, especially when you have kids. Chances are you have things that are not "your's." What I mean by this is chances are you have things like bikes, toys, sports equipment, etc. Get your kids and spouse to pitch in so that you do not get rid of something that you all were nit ready to let go of. Not to mention this project may require heavy lifting. You do not need to blow your back out taking out heavy boxes of stuff.

Invest in storage

If you do not already have it, a large metal shelving unit is a big help. So are large plasic storage containers.

A wise idea would also be to get hanging storage for things like gardening tools and bikes such as a ceiling bike rack. You can use the other half of the wall for the single car garage or the other wall in the double car garage for this.

Sort things out.

For this you will need at least two large boxes and a trash can. Sort everything you find. Label one box as sell, and the other as donate. As you go through the stuff in your garage you will either deem the item as keep, sell, donate, or trash.

If you decide to keep items, put them away right away. Make sure you have areas of your garage designated as needed. I like to label this ahead of time so there is no confusion while sorting. You can tape labels into each shelf. For things like tools you may want to desginate an entire shelving unit or area of the garage for that and do so where it makes sense. For instance if you have a tool bench you probably want to put the tools on the shelves next to it.
This applies for the rest of sorting. If you have not used something you find in the last two years, get rid of it. Chances are you either do not need the item, or you forgot you even had it. In both cases you probably will never use it.

For things you are going to sell, put them in the box or boxes, and set them aside for a garage or yard sale. However, for the things you donate, DO NOT WAIT FOR A FEW DAYS. I have found this to be one of my personal worst at actually doing. My husband and I had a box that was meant to be donated before we moved to my current house. Low and behold a year later it finally got donated after sitting in my garage since the day we moved in. Take it from me, if you do not donate that stuff now, it may never leave. If you cannot get to a place to donate, you can call to see if they will come to you. Many organizations such as the Salvation Army can come to you for pickup. If you cannot even do that, post a craigslist ad for free stuff. Most of the time, it will be gone that day.

When it comes to what is trash, if the item is broken, expired, or you feel the item is not worth your time to get rid of at all, it is trash. Please do not donate your stuff that is broken. Unwanted but still worth the time to donate by you, yes please donate, but not broken. Donation centers will trash that broken stuff anyway. If you have expired chemicals, trash it. If you have nails and screws laying on the floor, trash it. You get my point.

In the end you want to get everything but your car off of the ground and into or onto those storage shelves and hangers you have.

Keeping the Garage clean

First off, remember to put nothing but the appliances, car, and shelves on the floor of you garage.

Sort again at least once a year.

Spray the floor with the hose once a year.

Any time you need to use something from the garage, put it back when you are done.

Keep a bag of kitty litter handy, even if you do not have a cat. This is the quickest and most environmentally friendly way to clean up oil or any other fluids you typically find in the garage that may spill. You just pour, absorb, sweep and toss.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Travel Tips

When I was dating my now husband, I flew....a lot. Why? My husband was active duty at the time. I was flying about every other month. Over that time I have learned a thing or two that can be helpful for most. Here are a few tips for traveling that can help anyone traveling.

How many days will you be gone will depend on how much you pack. One rule of thumb is to pack half the number of shirts and pants for the number of days you will be gone. Of course the exception to that is underwear. One per day for that. Example you will be gone 8 days, then pack 4 shirts, 4 pants and 8 pairs of underwear. If you will be gone for a few weeks, then pack 7 of each.  Many hotels, particularly on a military base, have a wash room for visitors. Also most gas stations have travel sized laundry detergent packs. If you have a special event such as a wedding, then do not include that outfit in your number of shirts and pants or skirts.
When putting them in your baggage, remember, tuck and roll. I like to fold all my clothes in half, tuck in sleeves, then roll them up like a Twinkie. This saves a ton of space in your bags.

Gifts and Souvenirs

If you plan on buying a few souvenirs, I suggest packing an empty back pack or duffel bag. You can simply use that as a carry on or personal bag when you go home. Also you have less of a chance the baggage workers breaking any thing fragile.

If you know you will be giving and receiving gifts that will be in large enough quantity to have their own checked bag, ship them to your destination. Even most hotels will hold packages at the desk for you as long as you notify them that they are being sent.

Devices and Chargers

For the travel day, make sure you charge all the devices you are planning to use while en route the night before you leave. If you are going on a long flight that will be more than four hours, you may want to bring at least one fully charged back up battery or power bank.

When packing tablets and laptops, make sure you do one of two things. Either put the device in a pocket you can access quickly, or use a carry on bag that has a pocket that folds flat when unzipped like the one in the permalink. Many of those bags will have some sort of "checkpoint friendly" label on the pocket. Remember, do not put any chargers in the same pocket as the laptop or tablet. Your bag will be pulled aside. You will have to rearrange it, and it will be rescanned.

As for other items, if you can live without the item or simply do not need it during that time, then do not pack it.


Although I do not have any I have traveled with them. I do know babies and children can be unpredictable, but maybe some of what I have done and seen other parents do will help.

 For babies and toddlers, if they are beginning to eat at regular meal times or you have an idea what time they will be hungry try to get a flight that is scheduled to take off at that time. Eating and drinking will help to alleviate ear pressure naturally when they swallow. Also Transportation Security Administration now allows formula to go through as long as you notify the officers and if it can be screened separately from the bag, so only put it into a plastic bottle. 

Bring their favorite toy or two. These can be very comforting in a time where it is loud for little ears.

 Distractions work wonders. I encourage bringing travel board games, cards and electronic devices for the kids too. Especially ones loaded with tv episodes or movies for long flights.

Use Smart Phone Apps for airlines and airports

Most if not all airlines now have apps where you can do everything. If you have a smart phone use them. You can check in, get your ticket and have the bar code scanned at the gate all from the phone. that will male one less thing to worry about losing. You can also check your flight status

Many airports also have apps. These will have flight status as well, but many of them also have GPS location services inside the airport. This is extremely helpful if you get lost trying to find your gate or just need a bite to eat and want to see what they have to offer. For instance Orlando International Airport has a Chili's, while Charlotte International Airport has a neat little fudge shop(best place ever).

 check in

For all airlines you can check in up to 24 hours before your flight whether online, on that airline app, or over the phone. You will want to do that to have one less thing to do at the airport. If you have checked bags you still will want to check in ahead of time. Doing so will expedite the process for everyone. Also remember that extra back pack you put in your checked bag for souvenirs? If your bag is overweight you can now use that to take some pounds out and not have to pay extra fees.

Read your ticket

 For either electronic or printed ticket make sure you know what terminal you need to be in. The last thing you want is to be on the wrong side of the airport when the plane starts boarding. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bath Soak for Hard Water

In Florida as well as many states such as California it does not matter if you have city or well water. The water is hard. If you do not have a softener it can make things like bath salt soaks almost double in price because you have to use twice as much as the instructions say to get the desired results. That can get very expensive very quick.

I have found a cheap easy to make recipe for hard water that works really well.


One measuring cup
A teaspoon
One large mason jar
Mixing bowl
Mixer or a whisk


1 cup Epsom Salt
2 cups Baking Soda
1-2 tsp of Essential Oils

To make
Pour the Epsom Salt and Baking Soda into the mixing bowl. Mix until it is well blended together. Slowly pour the essential oils in the bowl mixing as you pour. Then pour the mixture into the mason jar. And you are done.

To use
I personally like to pour 1/2 cup into the tub for each 1/3 of water being filled in it. So 1/3 or the tub filled will get 1/2 cup of bath salt mixture. 2/3 full gets 1 cup of mix. Of course you can add more or less based on your needs.