The Happy Homemaker
The Tips and Advice You Need

If you are like me laundry day does not bring a smile.  I have discovered several great tips that help make the chore less of a job.  You can get it done easier and quicker.  That will leave time to enjoy the more delightful things, like a bowl of yummy ice cream with the kids.

How To Wash & Whiten Yellowed Pillows

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/02/how-to-wash-whiten-yellowed-pillows.htmlAt first I hesitated doing this post because it teeters precariously close to over-sharingbut the more research I did, and the more I asked around, I realized that pillows that become yellow over time is a pretty common thing! One of the most common reasons why pillows can turn yellow is sweat. Depending on the type of fabric your pillowcase is made from, sweat can seep through the fabric.

One of the most common reasons why pillows can turn yellow is sweat. Even when you’re sleeping your body continues to sweat to keep your body at a comfortable temperature. Depending on the type of fabric your pillowcase is made from, sweat can seep through the fabric. As the sweat dries, it can leave a yellow stain on the pillow. Even if you use pillow COVERS underneath your pillow CASES, the yellowing can still occur.

In the past when the yellowing got really bad, I would simply toss the pillow and buy a new one. But I hated doing that because the pillow was still perfectly good. Recently I came across an old article from Martha Stewart Living that suggested pillows should be WASHED at least twice a year. Wow. I hope I’m not the ONLY one who didn’t know that! I have washed an occasional pillow in the past but usually because something was spilled on it. Not only did this new whole pillow-washing process turn out to be much easier than I anticipated, it worked like a CHARM!  Continue to find out how easy this is….

 

How To Un-Shrink Clothes

http://www.thetoddanderinfavoritefive.com/how-to-un-shrink-clothes/While I recognize this is probably foolish, I didn’t really care until I shrunk my Juicy Couture velour pants.  The most comfortable item I own!  I wept until I found this brilliant solution. It does work, as evidenced by by Juicy sweatpants.

Fill a sink with lukewarm water and add a capful of baby shampoo into the water. (Many tutorials I read said to use CONDITIONER…but this made more sense to me…so this is what I used.)

Let the item soak in the baby shampoo water and gently work it through. This will relax the fibers in the clothing.

Read The rest of this amazing tip…

 

One of the worst things about laundry is knowing what the costs of laundry soap and softener.  Grrrrrrrrrrr .  Well keep reading I have discovered some amazing ways to also save money on the supplies you use for doing laundry.  if you are conscience about chemicals in your home, you can also rest easy with these natural methods.

 Cheaper AND Better! DIY Laundry Detergent

DIY Laundry DetergentIt took me a while to come around to the idea of making my own laundry soap. I tend to be very particular about my laundry detergent. I need it to not fade my colors, smell good, and most importantly clean well…I have never opted for just the cheapest, non-smelling detergent. I love my clothes and was always worried that, by paying for the cheapest detergent possible, I would “get what I paid for”. My favorite detergent was Gain’s “Liquid Apple Mango Tango” with the coordinating fabric softener.

t met my every need, with the exception of the price tag. We always bought the size that says it contains 48 loads for $10.97 and that was just the detergent. The fabric softener was $4.47 for 52 loads. Both lasted us around 3 months based on our 4 loads of laundry a week. That brings the total to around $60-$65 a year. I don’t know about you but I would like to have all the extra money I can get…

I was seriously a huge skeptic when it came to homemade laundry soap but when I realized the price difference, I just had to try it! I did a ton of research and looked up so many varying recipes and then determined what I thought would be best. I tried one smaller batch, thought it was okay but knew there was room for improvement so I went back and did more, yup you guessed it….research! I’m thrilled to say that it was all worth it and I love our homemade laundry detergent. So what do I have to do to entice you to run to the store and get these ingredients? How about I share how much it cost….are you ready? Try approximately $28…A YEAR! That’s based on 6 loads of laundry a week. We normally only do around 4, which means this will last around 18 months!)
Now let’s get started…  Continue reading to see how you can save money and get your laundry cleaner by  making your own laundry dtergent…

 

DIY Fabric Softener | Clean My Space

http://cleanmyspace.com/diy-fabric-softener/Who doesnt love a good DIY cleaning recipe? The good news is, you can make your own, residue-free fabric softener for a few cents! Try making your own for a very few, teeny tiny cents. Ive got two options in case you dont like or cant find white vinegar.

The good news is, you can make your own, residue-free fabric softener for a few cents!

Fabric softener is designed to remove static cling and soften the clothing so that when it comes out of the dryer, clothes are fluffier and softer.  Traditional fabric softener leaves a waxy-like coating on the fibres which is designed to repel static cling.  This also leaves residue behind on the clothing and the innards of the machine, not to mention the strong and sometimes irritating scent it leaves behind.

Don’t sweat it!  Try making your own for a very few, teeny tiny cents.  I’ve got two options in case you don’t like or can’t find white vinegar.

Attention: Fear not, your clothes will NOT smell like vinegar when done.  Add 10 drops of essential oil of your choosing to 1 litre of white vinegar.  That’s is, so simple!  Essential oil usage is optional and won’t affect the scent of your clothing, but it can help with brightening, stain removal or will act as an antibacterial agent.  I am going to add a mixture of lemon and rosemary to mine, but feel free to research the various properties of essential oils and add whichever you wish to your vinegar.  Vinegar on its own will work just fine

See the rest of this amazing tip

Stay tuned for more great tips.  I am always out looking for ways to make our lives easier.  The Happy Homemaker is definitely your friend when it comes to helping you save money, time and making your life easier.

alter the scent of vinegar

I often hear my friends say, “You always comment on about sanitizing with vinegar but the dilemma is, I simply cannot tolerate the stink of it. Do you have any suggestions or tips?’

Well, indeed, I do.

Even when you can live with the stink of vinegar, this is a good technique to perfume it and incorporate some additional cleaning muscle, so why not give it a try? This works with plain white vinegar, and this is what I strongly recommend for any clean-up project. You can certainly also alter the scent of straight vinegar using this.

Alter The Scent of Vinegar With Essential Oils

I really love essential oils and take advantage of them often all around the house. I buy them at my nearby health food store, or good old Amazon. Essential oils are basically pure distillations from plants, flowers, fruits, woods, herbs, and spices and aren’t really oily at all. An added benefit is essential oils also have a mood calming effect.

I am totally that freak in the health food store sniffing every bottle of essential oil. You can also research the specific properties of each and determine what combinations work best for your specific needs (or desired mood).

All right, the trick here is definitely you need to make use of a good quantity of EO to cover-up the stink. I have played around with the process and have actually discovered that a couple of drops will not likely do much, however, twenty drops for these measurements are really effective.

Listed here is what you need to have:

 Instructions:

Blend in a bottle and shake well. Easy huh?

Amazing baking Soda

If you watch much late-night television, you’ve probably seen ads hawking some amazing, all-in-one cleanser that vanquishes everything from muddy paw prints to baked-on pasta sauce — but that’s available for a limited time only! The next time you see one of these ads, relax. If you haven’t guessed, we’re talking about baking soda, also called bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate.

You don’t need to splurge on expensive products or expose yourself to harsh chemicals to get the best in beauty treatments. There’s a multitasking wonder already in your home – baking soda! Women’s Health Beauty Director Molly Nover-Baker has compiled her expert baking soda tips and tricks.

We’ll start, as many people do, with the least pleasant task on the list:

Toilets:
Although some toilets are made with a stain-resistant finish, the bowl is still at risk of staining. The minerals in standing water can discolor the porcelain. Brown- and rust-colored rings can be a particular problem in areas that have mineral-rich water, also known as hard water. If allowed to build, such stains require strongly acidic cleansers to remove. These products can slowly erode the porcelain, not to mention the immediate damage they can do to the skin, eyes, nose and throat.
It’s worthwhile, then, to practice preventive maintenance. First, make “flush” a family rule. Also, make a simple routine part of your weekly cleaning: Sprinkle the toilet with cup of baking soda. Let it…

Bathtubs and Sinks:
That chalky ring around the tub isn’t (necessarily) a sign that the last person who took a bath was particularly dirty. Even in the most hygienic households, soap scum can strike. Soap scum is the residue that results from body oils and the fats in soap reacting with the mineral salts in water. Bathtubs, showers and sinks are prone to soap scum. Again, hard water aggravates the problem.
Wipe down tubs and sinks after using them to prevent soap scum from forming. If soap scum does show up, sponge it off with a paste of baking soda and…

Shower Doors:
Glass shower doors add an elegant touch in a bathroom. But soapy water spots and stray flecks of toothpaste or shaving cream add an unattractive touch to glass doors. Most professionals discourage using common scouring powders to clean shower doors [source: Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association]. The tiny, gritty granules that scrub off strains can also leave tiny scratches.  Baking soda, in contrast, is a salt that dissolves in water…
Sprinkle a little on a damp sponge and wipe down the glass. Rinse well and dry. For a really sharp finish, use…

Drains and Faucets:
As with toilets, standing water can mar the shine of chrome. The result isn’t a stain, but mineral build up. As water pools around faucets and drains, the minerals settle to the bottom and eventually landscape the sink or tub with a rocky little ridge of calcium carbonate, also known as limescale or simply lime.  Commercial cleansers that are formulated specifically to dissolve lime and other mineral deposits have a drawback, besides toxicity concerns. They can discolor and damage chrome and stainless steel, as well as brass, bronze and nickel finishes. Vinegar, on the other hand…

Drains and Showerheads:

Unlike stains and lime deposits, clogs form hidden from view inside plumbing fixtures. You don’t notice them until your drain isn’t draining and your shower isn’t showering you.  To keep a drain open, pour in…
Mineral deposits are sometimes the cause of sluggish showers. A simple fix: Detach the showerhead and soak for an hour in 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) baking soda mixed with 1 cup (235 milliliters) vinegar. Reattach and run very hot water through the showerhead for several minutes.
If you can’t remove the showerhead, mix the ingredients inside a…

Stone Tile:
Stone tile is popular for bathrooms walls, floors and vanities for its beauty and durability. It stands up to heavy foot traffic and steamy showers. Yet many types of stone are etched or dulled by the acids in commercial cleaners. That includes marble, limestone, porcelain and other unglazed ceramics. Experts recommend pH-neutral cleansers for everyday care and to clean light stains, like mud splatters that don’t penetrate the surface. Stone tile sponges up oily stains like…
Grout:
Grout is often overlooked in the cleaning routine. Yet these cracks between stone tiles deserve at least as much attention. Stained grout can spoil the appearance of an expensive wall or floor treatment. Even worse, dirty grout can breed mold, mildew and bacteria, which can lead to more trouble and expense — and possibly even illness.
Like tile, grout is best cleaned with moderately alkaline cleansers. Make a runny paste with baking soda and…

Vinyl:
Baking soda has as many cleaning uses for vinyl as there are types of vinyl surfaces.  Start with the floor. A sprinkle of baking soda lightly scrubbed with a wet sponge will take many stains off of a vinyl floor. Be careful to avoid soaking the floor, however, and dry it thoroughly afterward. Water can seep into seams and under edges, loosening the glue and curling the corners.
The same process works for vinyl shower curtains, bath mats and appliqués, which are prone to mildew as well as soapy residue. Curtains can additionally be machine-washed with baking soda. Add 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) with the detergent and choose the gentle cycle. (Toss in a few…

The Air:
Baking soda’s well-known ability to absorb odors in the refrigerator works just as well in the bathroom. If the sight of an open box seems unaesthetic, mix the soda into your favorite scented bath salts. Set the mixture in a pretty dish on the back of the toilet tank. Its freshening power should last for about 3 months.  To combat odors that emanate around the sink and drain, add 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) baking soda to the…

Your Body:
We saved baking soda’s most important use for last. Baking soda can be the go-to ingredient in your personal care kit. Used straight, it’s a basic, mildly abrasive, antibacterial dentifrice — a tooth scrubber. Apply a bit to a toothbrush and brush as usual. Follow up with a baking soda and water solution as a rinse and gargle.
Like other salts, baking soda helps to reduce swelling and cleanse the skin by drawing out water and any substances dissolved in it. A few tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in a basin of warm water makes a soothing soak for tired feet. Apply a paste of baking soda and water as a facial exfoliant. And when the bug bites or the bee strings, apply the paste to the affected area. In addition to its drawing power, baking soda’s alkaline quality neutralizes the acids in insect saliva.

Baking soda is not just an amazing cleaning product but is also very helpful and healthy as a beauty product too.  See our list of amazing beauty treatments using baking soda.

nNew years Resolution

get-organizedEvery year after Christmas, I create a list of new goals for my home. Many of them are often related to organization or specific projects I want to work on or accomplish. I thought it would be fun this year to share my New Year’s Organizing Resolutions for 2014.
As I thought through the different areas of my home and the specific activities that need organizational attention, I came up with 12 months of goals. By focusing on my list each month and completing a few tasks at a time, I’ll be less stressed all year knowing I don’t have to get everything done at once. And, my home should be much less cluttered and my life far more organized by the end of the year! Perhaps you can adapt some of these to meet your own needs or create your own list of organizational goals for 2014.

January
Organize papers. Shred or recycle paper. Set up 12 folders for monthly planning and filing. Use a filing system to plan ahead with birthday cards, coupons, recipes, holiday ideas and more. As each month ends, you can use the folder for notes of things to remember next year or for receipts to save.

February
Organize clothes. Pare down what we own and only keep in our closets what we actually wear. Sort clothes in closet by color or type. Invest in new hangers to make the best use of closet space.

March
Organize computer files. Create desktop folders, organize documents and back up important files to an external hard drive.

April
Organize accounting system and budgets. It’s time to organize bill paying paperwork and systems, and assess the budget and plans for the new tax year.

May
Organize the kitchen. Which dishes have we used in the past year? Toss out old spices, clean out the refrigerator and pantry. Assess the condition of the kitchen towels and aprons. Keep items you use and love, and give away the rest! Unless you have a lot of storage space in your kitchen, items you only use seasonally should be organized by season and put in storage. Wipe down all shelves and surfaces.

June
Organize and clean garage and storage. It’s time to find the excess that’s been hiding out in the garage or storage space! Give away or sell what you don’t need. Reorganize and sweep out storage spaces.

July
Organize kid’s toys, clothes and keepsakes. Set aside one box to store favorite memories, one box for toys to give away and one box for clothes that no longer fit. If your kids are grown and out of the house, reclaim space for yourself by decluttering their old items and sending them their mementos to store at their own homes.

August
Sort and organize linens, bedrooms and bathrooms. Toss or give away excess or worn out linens, and pare down or replace only the essentials for each bedroom and bathroom. Clean out under sinks and toss out old medications, cleaning supplies or cosmetics. Tidy up nightstands and dressers.

September
Organize photos. Delete blurry photos. Back up photos on your computer to an external or online storage system. Print out photos for gifts, albums or Christmas cards this year.

October
Organize for the holidays. What do you want your holidays to look like this year? Make plans for hosting parties, entertaining or family get-togethers. Gather new addresses for holiday cards. Save favorite ideas, recipes and plans in a holiday folder or notebook. Organize and pare down holiday decor to what you love.

November
Organize hobbies and crafts. This month as you are crafting or spending more time indoors, assess and organize craft supplies. Pare down to what you need and use. Make a few handmade gifts to use up some favorite crafts! Organize or toss out wrinkled or old gift wrap and tags.

December
It’s time for house cleaning and preparing for holidays. Spend a few days at the beginning of December deep-cleaning your house and setting up guest rooms or bathrooms for visitors. Clean the oven. Set up a wrapping station for gifts. Restock your baking supplies and set up a baking station so you can enjoy holiday goodies and make treats to give away.

hydrogen peroxide uses

Here’s a list of the many benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide!

1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. No more canker sores and your teeth will be whiter without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash. (Small print says mouth wash and gargle right on the bottle).

2.

3. Clean your counters with peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters.

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.

5. One man reports, “I had a fungus on my feet for years – until I sprayed a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry. All gone.”

6. Soak any infections or cuts in 3% peroxide for five to ten minutes several times a day. A nurse reports that she has seen gangrene that would not heal with any medicine, but was healed by soaking in peroxide.

7. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.

8. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your 50/50 mixture whenever you have a cold, or plugged sinuses. It will bubble and help to kill the bacteria. Hold for a few minutes then blow your nose into a tissue.

9. If you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away,  several times a day. The pain will lessen greatly.

10. If you like a natural look to your hair, spray the 50/50 solution on your wet hair after a shower and comb it through. You will not have the peroxide burnt blonde hair like the hair dye packages, but more natural highlights if your hair is a light brown, reddish, or dirty blonde. It also lightens gradually so it’s not a drastic change.

11. Put half of a bottle of peroxide in your bath to help rid boils, fungus, or other skin infections.

12. If there are protein stains on clothing, pour it directly on the spot, let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with water. Repeat if necessary.

13. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors with, and there is no smearing which is why I love it so much for this.

14. Use 3% Hydrogen peroxide for removing blood stains – especially if they are fairly fresh. Pour directly on the soiled spot, let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary. It is a great bleaching agent for stubborn stains on white clothes. Combine ½ c. hydrogen peroxide and 1 t. ammonia for a great stain removal combination.

15. Use hydrogen peroxide to bleach delicate items such as wool or wool blends.  Soak them overnight in a solution of one part 3% hydrogen peroxide to eight parts cold water. Launder according to care instructions.

*Also, if you have a dog that you need to get to vomit (like if they ate a bunch of chocolate), make them swallow hydrogen peroxide. Give it to them a few teaspoons at a time.*