Friday, March 24, 2017

Clean Your Entire Home With These 12 All-Natural Baking Soda Solutions

Courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn
Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Hi Friends,

When it comes to an all-natural cleaner that cuts through grease and grime, baking soda is a total rock star. Get your home sparkling from top to bottom with these quick and effective tips.

Unclog Slow Drains: Before you go the chemical route to clear a slow-moving drain, try baking soda and vinegar. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, then heat up a cup of vinegar and pour it on top of the baking soda. After approximately 10 minutes, flush with a pot of boiling water. (Don't use this solution on a clogged drain.)

All-Natural Oven Scrub: A dirty oven can pose a serious cleaning challenge. Avoid corrosive chemicals and toxic odors by whipping up a baking soda and salt paste made with water or vinegar. Spread the paste over the floor, walls and oven door using a brush. (Be sure to wear gloves when you do this!) Let the mixture sit for about 24 hours, keeping it moist with a spritz of water or vinegar periodically. The paste will help soften the burnt-on food and make scrubbing your oven a bit easier. Wipe the paste away with a sponge or cloth, then turn on the oven to around 100 degrees F. Keep it on for an hour to soften any lingering residue. Turn the oven off, then once it's cool to the touch, spritz any stubborn areas with vinegar and wipe down.

Scour a Ceramic Stovetop: Baked-on food residue tends to build up on cooktops no matter how hard you try to keep them clean. Luckily, a paste of warm water and baking soda spooned onto the surface will help loosen the residue. Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub to remove the gunk. Finish by spritzing with glass cleaner, then wipe dry.

Shine-Up Stainless Steel: If your stainless-steel sink is looking dull, sprinkle baking soda onto a soft cloth and buff it back to life. Rinse well after buffing. Avoid harsh, powdered cleansers, as they may scratch the sink’s surface.

Refresh the Refrigerator: It’s easy for crumbs and spills to gunk up your fridge in no time. Remove those mishaps with a paste of baking soda and dish soap. Use a scrub sponge to get up stubborn spots, then wipe away the mixture with warm water. Be sure to microwave your sponge for two minutes after use to keep it from harboring germs.

Quick Scour a Slow Cooker: Getting caked-on food out of your slow cooker doesn’t have to be a headache. Just fill the pot with water, then add 1/4 cup of baking soda and cook on high for three to four hours. The heated mixture will soften up any crusty residue. After a few hours, pour the water out, then lightly dust the inside of the pot with baking soda and scrub well. With a clean, damp cloth, rinse and wipe the pot out. You’re now ready for your next recipe!

Pretty-Up Tarnished Silver: Line a pan with aluminum foil and place silver pieces on top of the foil. Next, bring a pot of water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add baking soda into the hot water and stir. Once the chemical reaction kicks in, the water will become foamy. Next, pour the baking soda mixture over the tarnished pieces, and let them soak for about 10 minutes. This reaction causes the tarnish to change back to silver, while the sulfur attaches itself to the foil. Give the chemical reaction time to do its thing! When the pieces are ready, remove them with tongs, then rinse and dry each piece with a clean towel. Lightly buff each piece to a gorgeous sparkle.

Deodorize a Front-Load Washer: Front-load washers look great, they're more efficient and they use less detergent than a traditional top-loading model, but they’re also prone to smelling funky over time. Pour a half cup of baking soda into the detergent cup, then run a wash cycle with hot water to cut soap scum and deodorize the machine. A clean machine ensures your laundry smells its best, so deep-clean it monthly.

Clean Toilets: You’ll need a 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of borax and 1 cup of vinegar. Pour the vinegar onto the toilet stains, then sprinkle with the baking soda/borax mixture. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, then scrub and flush.

Blast Nasty Grout: Baking soda paired with warm water and bleach will knock out stubborn grout stains on tile floors and walls. If you need a heavy-duty cleaning, amp up the bleach (but wear gloves to protect that manicure).

Remove Carpet Stains: If you've got an unsightly spot on your area rug or carpet, sprinkle it with baking soda to wick out any excess moisture. Let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up. Next, blot the stain with 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar, working from the outside edges inward. Blot until the stain has transferred from the carpet to the cleaning cloth, then allow to air dry.

Wipe Down Outdoor Furniture: The gentle abrasiveness of baking soda is perfect for cleaning stains off painted outdoor furniture. And a baking soda mixture works well on outdoor fabric stains, too.

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Live well,

Thursday, March 23, 2017

11 Satisfying Deep Cleans You Can Do in 1 Hour or Less

Courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn
Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Hi Friends,

Giving your house a deep clean can be kind of life changing. Use these top tips to knock out your most thorough spring cleaning ever — one hour at a time.

Degunk Cabinets: Kitchen and bathroom cabinets take a beating. Get them extra clean with a light scrub of 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 1 cup of baking soda. Wipe away the mixture with a clean, damp cloth.

Refresh the Microwave: Your microwave is one of the most used and abused appliances in your kitchen, so its interior is likely spotted with cooked-on food and liquid. To loosen the mess, combine one cup of water with a splash of vinegar, a couple of drops of vanilla extract and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Heat the mixture for one minute on high. Let the bowl sit for several minutes before opening the door. This allows the aromatic steam to get to work softening the burnt-on residue. Open the door and carefully remove the bowl. Using a damp, clean cloth, wipe out the inside of the microwave.

Deodorize the Dishwasher: Your dishwasher is supposed to clean your dishes, but is it actually clean? To give it a nice bath, first remove and clean the filter by soaking in warm, soapy water for 15 minutes. Rinse, then replace. Pour one cup of white vinegar into the dispenser of an empty dishwasher, then run a heavy cycle. If you want some extra deodorizing, sprinkle one cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and leave overnight. The next day, run an empty cycle and scrub any remaining debris with a toothbrush.

Renew Shower Fixtures: Mineral deposits and calcium buildup can cause your showerheads to clog up and look spotty. Go the extra mile, and submerge them in zipper storage bags filled with warm, white vinegar. Just be sure to fill the bags so that the fixtures are completely submerged, then secure the bags with a zip tie.

Disinfect the Washer: White vinegar is an easy, natural way to disinfect your washing machine. This will help eliminate mold, mildew and their accompanying odors. If you’ve got an extra stinky situation, run a wash cycle with bleach afterward.

Deep Clean the Iron: A dirty iron can put a major wrinkle in your day. Avoid that by keeping your iron's surface super clean. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt onto a cotton napkin or piece of paper, then iron over the salt. The dirt will cling to the salt and come off the iron. Genius!

Freshen-Up Mattresses: We spend a lot of time in our beds — 3,000 hours per year, actually. That's the equivalent of four months! So, keeping your bed clean is important. First, vacuum your mattress, then sprinkle baking soda mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil on top. Let this sit for a couple of hours, then vacuum the mixture away.

Pamper Window Treatments: Window treatments can cost a pretty penny, so it's wise to protect your investment. A thorough vacuum with a soft brush attachment can help remove any dust and lint that may have built up over time. Your draperies may require professional cleaning, so check the fabric care label. Some types of fabrics can be washed at home, just be sure to test for colorfastness before you toss them in the washer. At the very least, give them a good steam or ironing so they look like new.

Bust Baseboard Dust: If you want to truly deep-clean your home, you need to deal with those dusty baseboards. Go over them with a vacuum brush attachment or a stiff broom to blast the first layer of dust. Next, wipe them clean with a mixture of warm water and a splash of vinegar. Lastly, dry them off with a clean cloth, then swipe them with a dryer sheet which will reduce dust in the future.

Dust HVAC Vents: Your HVAC system controls the quality of air you breathe indoors, so you should keep it as clean as possible. Thoroughly dust the vents with a damp cloth, then dab car wax onto a clean microfiber cloth and wipe the vents down. Use a knife slipped inside the cloth to get into the crevices. The wax coating will help repel dust buildup in the future.

Blow Off Electronics: Use a paint or makeup brush to loosen dirt and dust from nooks and crannies, then blast with compressed air.

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Live well,

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Make the Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Oven!

Compliments of HGTV

Hi Friends,

The most seasoned cooks sometime struggle with making the perfect hard-boiled egg. Well, we found the answer to making the perfect hard-boiled and the most shocking is; its baked in the oven - yes, you heard me right, the oven!

Here's how its done:
  • Place eggs in a muffin tin
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  • Cool in ice water
  • Crack, Press & Roll
  • Peel

That's all Yolks!

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Live well,

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cleaning Secrets for the Entire Home

Compliments of Jeannie Matteucci
Photography by

Hi Friends,

A clean home can seem like an unattainable goal, especially when life gets busy and schedules are complicated. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and before you know it, dust, dirt and grime build-up and over time lead to an unattractive and unhealthy environment for you and your family.

Instead of ignoring the problem, take control. Nancy Bock, Senior Vice President, Education & Meetings for the American Cleaning Institute says technology and cleaning products make cleaning your home easier than it was five or 10 years ago. "Everything from housecleaning apps on your phone that will help you clean and keep track of your cleaning schedule, to the actual instruments that replace the old bucket of water and a mop," she explains.

Be honest about how much time you have to clean, how clean you want your home, and the most important spaces in your home you want clean. This helps you devise a strategy to get the job done. "You can design a schedule and it can look fantastic on paper and that's all well and good, but if you're not reasonable about how much time you can spend cleaning that schedule can backfire," cautions cleaning expert and YouTube host Melissa Maker of Clean My Space.

And remember the more organized you are the better chance you have to stay clean, says Debra Johnson, a home cleaning expert with Merry Maids. "Have a cleaning caddy for your different cleaners and use a microfiber cloth that pulls the dust and soil into the cloth and also releases it when you rinse it," says Johnson. Keep the caddy in a designated spot, and use a different colored cloth for each task. Avoid overusing cloths or using too much product, which leads to smearing and streaking and increases your cleaning time.

The good news: you don't need the most expensive cleaning products or tools to successfully clean your home. Common household items used in creative ways can often save money and get the job done. But a word of caution: even "natural" products can sometimes cause a reaction on different finishes and furniture, or pose problems for those who suffer from airborne or skin allergies. Test new products in a small, inconspicuous area to make sure they work for you and your home.

Here are key spaces in the home and the best expert hacks and tips on how to clean them:


  • If you want to clean your microwave without chemicals, Johnson says take a cup of water and put it inside your microwave and heat for two minutes. This creates steam inside, so you can use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe the appliance down and remove any residue or stuck-on bits of food.
  • Dishwashers have evolved over the years, and Bock stresses the importance of reading your manual. "Homeowners often treat a new dishwasher like they last one they purchased, but the technologies have changed," she says. For example: newer models often have sprayer arms that can be removed and regularly wiped clean, which helps the efficiency and longevity of the appliance.
  • Mystery refrigerator smells can be frustrating. Maker says first establish the cause of the odor. Don't allow plates of leftovers or spilled milk to build up over time. Wipe infected areas clean as soon as possible and use a deodorizer to keep future smells from overtaking your refrigerator. While baking soda is the most popular, Maker says you can also use activated charcoal, an open cup of unused coffee grounds or a cut lemon (flesh side up). Johnson says cotton balls with a couple drops of vanilla extract placed in the back of your refrigerator is another option. Whatever you use, remember to change the deodorizer frequently for best results.


  • Since the constant presence of water in a bathroom can lead to mildew and mold, Bock says paying attention to air circulation creates a healthier environment and allows you to spend less time cleaning. "Sometimes people don't turn on the exhaust fan, open the window or always keep the door closed," she points out. "You need air circulation, which is also important when you're using cleaning products."
  • Mineral deposits from water can lead to a clogged or dirty shower head. To clean it, both Johnson and Maker suggest using a plastic food storage bag filled with white vinegar that you tie around your shower head with an elastic band. Allow the bag to sit overnight, and then turn the shower on in the morning to rinse away build up.
  • Maker says the easiest way to keep your shower clean from soap scum is to use a squeegee each time you shower, to wipe your shower walls down before you step out. Once you're out, use the squeegee to wipe the tub to eliminate as much moisture and water as possible.
  • Hairspray or toothpaste can create stubborn splatters on your bathroom mirror. To remove them, Makers says use a dab of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or soft cloth to gently wipe away the offending marks.


  • Dirty sheets can give your bedroom a stuffy smell. Maker says if you suffer from allergies, wash your bed sheets once a week. For non-allergy sufferers, washing sheets once every other week should help eliminate odors and keep your bedroom smelling fresher.
  • While people think their sheets, they often forget about their bed skirt. "They're a magnet for dust, pet hair and human hair," says Bock. "You need to remove and launder them every three weeks. And if you store items under your bed, pull those items out when you sweep or vacuum because they're a magnet for dust."


  • Framed photos are notorious dust collectors. Bock says when you spray cleaner directly on framed photos, the cleaner can sometimes bleed behind the frame to the matting and damage photos. Instead, spray your cleaner onto a soft cloth instead of the frame itself, so you can control the amount of cleaner and avoid the bleeding problem.
  • Family rooms can often become the cluttered drop zone for the house. To keep on top of things, Maker says she and her husband have a rule: when they leave the family room, they always take something in their hands. This allows the couple to keep books, dishes, magazines and mail from overtaking the space.


  • Sometimes you don't clean what you don't see, points out Bock. Food crumbs build up between chair and sofa cushions and attract rodents and pests. If you can't stop family members from munching on the sofa, check and remove cushions often and use a damp cloth or hand-held vacuum to remove the crumbs.
  • Spilled food and drinks create stains on area rugs. Johnson says the quicker you remove the stain, the better it will be. "When blotting the stain with a damp microfiber cloth, use a fan to circulate the air to remove the dampness after you clean the stain," she advises.
  • If your living room or another space has a ceiling fan, use a sock on your hand to securely capture the dust. "If you haven't cleaned it for a while, spray the sock with a bit of furniture polish to make sure you can capture all the dust," suggests Bock.


  • Clean your computer screens and keyboards by combining one part rubbing alcohol with one part distilled water (water with no minerals) in a spray bottle, says Maker. Lightly spray a soft microfiber cloth with the mixture and gently but quickly buff dry to remove dust and bacteria.
  • Bills, mail and job-related paperwork can create a messy home office, so it pays to have a paper shredder. "By having that one simple tool in your office, you will make managing that room much easier," says Maker.


Home cleaning experts have shared their best hacks and tips for tidying up our kitchens, bathrooms and more; you can share some of your cleaning tips with us too.

Look forward to hearing from you...

Check back for more remedies and share some of your own with us.

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Live well,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Floral Arrangements - End To Droopy Flowers

Hi Friends,

Here is a simple, easy way to ensure you don't suffer from drooping flowers ever again...

Affix tape to the top of your favorite vase in a cross hatched pattern, similar to a Tic-tac-toe board, see below image.

Insert flowers 1-2 per opening and VoilĂ  you have this...

Enjoy and take time to smell the flowers...

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Live well,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dryer Sheets: Secret Uses...

Hi Friends,

Here at Interior Design, we are constantly searching for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and save money in the process. Don't throw away the used dryer sheets, instead put them to good use in the following ways:
  • Polishes Chrome: Keep your kitchen chrome shiny by polishing them with a used dryer sheet.
  • Removes Lovebugs from your car: Wet a dryer sheet to remove the stubborn splatter, rinse off whatever magical film Bounce Dryer Sheets use to remove the lovebugs.
  • Freshens your laundry: Include a dryer sheet to freshen an undergarment drawer, but don't stop there put one in your laundry hamper to keep the smell of socks at bay.
Just to name a few...

Share your home remedies with us. Often we accidentally find an item that works in multiple ways and we want you to feel free to share; thank you!

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Live well,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Microwave Sponges to Kill Germs

Compliments of Moms Against "Cooties"

Hi Friends,

Moms Against Cooties would like to be able to use and reuse sponges without fearing that we were spreading germs. So, we set out to find the best way to clean sponges that have been in contact with foods such as raw egg, uncooked meat or raw vegetables. Turns out that the microwave oven may offer the simplest effective option, according to University of Florida researchers.

The scientists reported that simply microwaving sponges (completely wet, never dry) for two minutes at high power killed or inactivated over 99 percent of pathogens in sponges that had been soaked in a “witch’s brew” of fecal bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites and bacterial spores.

Zap Sponges… But Watch Out

The researchers recommend “zapping” kitchen sponges every other day or so. Watch out though – the zapped sponges will be really hot and steamy, so should be left in the microwave for a few minutes to cool. And obviously, this method won’t work if the sponges contain any metal. Another option is to put the sponge into a dishwasher for a full wash and dry cycle.

Check back for more remedies and share some of your own with us.

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Live well,