Just in time for the weekend, here’s the last in our series of amazing Mom Hacks! Of course, you don’t have to be a mom to use this list (or the self-care list, either). These housekeeping hacks are super handy to have around no matter what!
If you are anything like me, you absolutely hate, abhor, and despise cleaning. My general cleaning motto is make it look OK and hope nobody looks too closely. If you’re not like me, then good for you!! You are probably a much finer and sanitary human being.
Special thanks to our visiting expert today, Rachel Raymond, who shares all kinds of pro-tips with us. And thanks to our Facebook and Instagram friends who contributed to such a lengthy and thorough list!
Now, let’s get started!
Ahhhh, laundry. The bane of every mom’s existence. The neverending chore of epic proportions. What can we do to help make it easier?
- If you forget to switch a load from the washer to the dryer and things get a little stinky, just add a generous sprinkle of baking soda to everything and run the load again on a rinse/spin cycle. Voila! No more stink.
- For grease stains, liquid Dawn detergent is your friend. Saturate the stain, let it sit for a while, then wash.
- For stinky shoes, baking soda works wonders. Wet the shoes, sprinkle the insides liberally with baking soda. Let them sit overnight and then wash them. Stink is gone!
- Several people mentioned buying Fels-Naptha soap. It comes in a bar and they recommend that, for stains, you lather it up, and scrub it with a brush onto the stain, then wash as usual. I’ve never tried it, but I have to say that I am intrigued!
- Use hairspray to remove ink stains.
- When faced with baby poop stains, look for the OxiClean! Soak the stained clothes and say goodbye to the nastiness.
- Hang an extra shower curtain rod in your bathtub. It makes a great drying rack for used washcloths, wet bathing suits and anything else that may need to drip dry.
A couple other slightly more tongue-in-cheek but accurate suggestions were as follows:
- If you need to buy new appliances, go for the largest capacity washers and dryers you can find. It might take you longer to fold each load, but you’ll be able to get more done in the same amount of time.
- Have your kids help!! Honestly, moms. When you teach your children to do their own laundry, you aren’t just helping yourself. You’re teaching them an essential life skill that they will ALL need someday. The way it’s worked at our house is that they learn to sort their laundry (light, dark, towels) while in preschool. Then in kindergarten, we add putting their stuff away. By the time 3rd grade rolls around, they can add folding the loads of towels. And once 5th grade hits, they get their first lessons in how the washer and dryer work. I’m happy to say that my 7th and 10th grade sons are completely self-sufficient in the laundry room!
I think one of my very favorite memes that went around awhile ago is the one that says something along the lines of “My housekeeping style can be described as ‘There appears to have been a struggle.’“
See, while I like to keep things tidy, I would rather not spend time in the actual act of cleaning. Maybe employing some of these strategies would make life easier?
- Robot vacuums, for the win! (Tell me, though. Do those work when you have various surfaces on your floors? Like, does it go from tile to rug and back? Or does the poor thing get confused?)
- For super crusty pots and pans, fill them with hot water and a drop of dish soap. Then lay a fabric softener sheet on top. Let it soak for an hour or so and reader Lori says you’ll be amazed how easily things wash out!
- Keep extra trash bags in the bottom of the trash can. That way, you’re all set with a new one when you take the trash out (and your kids will have no excuse not to put a new liner in!).
- To remove pet hair from couches and other fabric surfaces, use some rubber dishwashing gloves! Put on the gloves, use them to wipe down the couch, and watch in wonder as the hair sticks to the gloves.
- Keep a basket at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom to collect things that need to be put away.
- Vegetable oil removes Sharpie markers from just about any surface (including skin!). And Magic Erasers are great for getting stains off of painted surfaces.
And, last but not least…
GET A CLEANING LADY!
Which, funny enough, leads me straight to introducing our expert for today!
Tips from the Expert
Our lovely expert today is supermom, amazing seamstress, and professional house cleaner, Rachel Raymond. Rachel was gracious enough to meet me for coffee a few days ago and I can’t wait to share her tips with you!
When I asked her how she got into the housekeeping biz, she said that a mom she knew from her kids’ school did it and asked if she wanted to earn some extra money and help her out. Rachel’s youngest daughter was starting kindergarten at the time, so she decided to use her extra hours to give it a go. Eventually, she went out on her own for more flexibility with her schedule. She loves that this job allows her to focus more attention on her family. She enjoys the people she meets through it, too! And the instant gratification can’t be beat. Rachel told me, “Mom work takes years to see the results, but cleaning houses is instant and it makes people happy.”
Here are Rachel’s top tips for busy moms:
- For nasty soap scum, here’s what you do. Combine 1 cup straight up Dawn dish soap with 1 cup vinegar and microwave them to almost boiling. Pour this mixture into a spay bottle and gently swirl to combine. Then, spray all over the soap scum in the tub/shower and let sit for 1-2 hours. She says you’ll be amazed by how easily it wipes right off and the sparkle that is left behind.
- Start from the top down and always wipe things with a dry cloth first! It doesn’t matter what room she’s cleaning, Rachel starts off by using a dry cloth to wipe off counters and furniture. Wipe everything onto the floor to be swept or vacuumed up later, and then you have a clear surface to clean! Then, as you proceed with your cleaning start at the top of things and work your way downward. Finish by vacuuming and then mopping everything up off the floor.
- Top 4 cleaning product recommendations! Mrs. Meyer’s Concentrate is a great all-purpose cleaner (the lemon verbena scent is my personal favorite). Method products are also good, natural products that work like a charm and smell great, too. To clean stainless steel, use Wieman’s cleaner. Either in the spray or in the wipes, this is the best stuff on the market. And for glass, look for SprayWay glass cleaner in the aerosol can. Then use a lint-free cloth (like an old sheet) to wipe it away.
That’s all, folks!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tribute to all the hardworking moms out there! Maybe you’ve found a new tip or two that will make your life a little better and a little easier. If you have, let me know!! And don’t forget to check out our other Mom Hacks, too!