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Dirty work

For your reading convenients below you will find all the Dirty Work published in 2019

January 2019

Mirror, mirror on the wall.
Hello all, I am excited to be part of this publication for the blind and visually impaired. My hope is to provide you with some tips, suggestions, and techniques for cleaning different rooms and things throughout your home.
You may think it is strange that I begin with cleaning mirrors. Yes, I used to forget to clean them, since I donít use them. However, I have gotten in the routine of cleaning them as I tend to have many friends and family members visiting. Never mind my sister always telling me that my mirrors needed cleaning.
You will notice throughout my articles that I like to use non-commercial cleaners as often as I can. Most of the ingredients I use, you will be able to find right in your pantry, and they are less expensive too! So, the solution I use for cleaning mirrors, as well as glass is 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts of water. For example, Ĺ cup of vinegar to 2 cups water. Pour the solution into a clean spray bottle. You can find spray bottles of different sizes at most dollar stores. You will also need a couple microfiber cloths. These are great as they donít leave lint behind, nor do they scratch.

Note: if your mirror has any grime that has built up on it, you will need cotton pads and rubbing alcohol. To detect if you have any grime, lightly run your fingers over the mirror to feel it. To remove the grime, moisten a cotton pad with the rubbing alcohol and wipe off the grime. You will want to do this quickly, as rubbing alcohol evaporates rapidly.

Ok, now that the grime is gone, letís clean the mirror. Spray your microfiber cloth generously with the cleaner. When cleaning, always start from the top, working your way to the bottom. The best way to wipe the mirror is at the top moving in a left to right motion, moving down and repeating this sequence down to the bottom.

When you have completed cleaning the mirror, you then can buff it. I like to lightly wipe down the mirror, again from top to bottom, with a used dryer sheet, itís a great buffer.

Donít get rid of those used dryer sheets. I will be giving you lots of uses for those next month. If you have any cleaning questions, just write to me at the address provided above. Remember its dirty work, but clean fun!

February 2019

Dryer Sheets

I hope some of you used the cleaning procedures from last monthís article to clean your mirrors. Even if you donít use them, it is nice to keep them clean. I also stated last month not to throw away those used dryer sheets. Why, you may say? Well I have many useful uses for them. I am all about reusing and recycling, as you will read in my articles.

My first use for dryer sheets is one we can all benefit from. How many electronics have we accumulated over the years? Probably a lot, right? Electronics are basically magnets for dust, since they are electrically charged. Use a dryer sheet to wipe them clean, and the static will be counteracted, meaning less dust will be attracted to them in the future.

Here is a use for dryer sheets that I use quite often. If you have a guide dog or a furry pet, these sheets are great for picking up pet hair. Simply wipe a dryer sheet over areas littered with pet hair to effortlessly lift it and leave your home looking spotless. It especially works well along the baseboards and the corners of rooms where the hair seems to accumulate.

Dryer sheets work in the bathroom too! Wet the sheet and wipe off soap scum build up from the shower. I used to use this technique to clean the sinks in the high school bathrooms.

I learned this next use from the high school art teacher. Put a dryer sheet in a container of hot water with paintbrushes to soak, and it will help lift paint from them. Who knew?

The texturized surface of dryer sheets is perfect for polishing away marks on stainless steel and chrome fixtures. Just use a dry sheet in circular motions to get surfaces shining again!

When its very cold outside, those outdoor rodents may want to take up residence in your home for the winter. To avoid that from happening, place dryer sheets in garden sheds, in your garage and anywhere else you have an issue to ward off mice, squirrels, and rats. This may not be a specific cleaning usage, but if you get those critters in your house, youíll be cleaning up after them!

Here is one more use, cleaning up dry spills. How many of you have spilled flour and tried cleaning it up with a wet sponge or cloth, only to make a bigger mess? A dryer sheetís slightly texturized surface and fibers will lift and hold dry particles in place to make cleanup a breeze.

So, donít throw away those used dryer sheets as they have many more uses! Remember itís dirty work, but clean fun!

March 2019

From Superbowl to Toilet Bowl

As a resident of California, I was hoping for a Rams win. Well, we all know how that ended up. While I was listening to that slow moving superbowl, it gave me the idea for this monthís cleaning article, that being, toilet bowl cleaning.

As a former janitor of a fairly large high school, I had my share of cleaning toilets. I have tried many different cleaning products, but here are a few homemade recipes I like to use.

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner

You will need:
Glass bowl (essential oils react to stainless steel and plastic bowls)
Wooden spoon
2 cups baking soda (acts as a deodorizer and scours clean)
1 teaspoon (100 drops) essential oil (use one or a combination of these disinfecting essential oils; tea tree*, lavender, citrus, peppermint, or pine)
*Tea tree oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and even antifungal properties.
2 cups distilled vinegar (mild acid that deodorizes and disinfects)

Making the cleaner:
Add the baking soda to the glass bowl, and then add the essential oil.
Using the wooden spoon, mix the baking soda and essential oil, breaking up any clumps that form.

Transfer powder into an air tight glass container. Store in a dry place, not in the bathroom as the moisture will ruin the powder.

You should have enough powder for about thirty uses.

Cleaning the toilet:
Step 1: Drop 1 tablespoon of the powder into the toilet. Also sprinkle additional powder onto the walls of the bowl. Use your toilet brush to spread the powder around.
Step 2: Pour the 2 cups of vinegar into the bowl. The vinegar will react with the baking soda by causing fizzing in the water. Note: if there is no fizzing the baking soda may be too old, or the water is diluting the powder. In the latter case, add another tablespoon of the powder.
Step 3: Once the fizzing takes place, use the toilet brush to scrub the bowl clean, being sure to get under the rim.
Step 4: Let the remaining powder sit for 15 minutes, then flush.

No Fuss Cleaning

To freshen up the toilet, or for a quick cleaning:
Keep a spray bottle of vinegar and a shaker top of baking soda in the bathroom. Spritz the toilet, inside and out with vinegar and allow to sit for several minutes. Sprinkle baking soda inside the bowl and scrub clean with the toilet brush. When done scrubbing, flush. Be sure to wipe down the outside of the toilet with a clean cloth.

Remember its dirty work, but clean fun!

April 2019

Many of us gather into the kitchen not only to cook, but to socialize. So, this month, and next month too, I am moving into the kitchen for your cleaning needs. Again, I am sharing homemade cleaners that are free of chemicals and toxins, but will get rid of bacteria and germs too!

Before I begin, I received an email from Lindy from Australia who wanted to know what is the best way to measure drops of essential oils. Great question, and I should have addressed this last time. As I told Lindy, the essential oils I use now come from my local arts & crafts store. The bottles are glass, and quite small. The drops are little, so my sister says. She counted them into a teaspoon and roughly counted to 100. I think the better way of measuring is to use a small eye dropper (ask your local pharmacist for one). Fill that up about three times and add it to your homemade cleaner. Or, you can use just enough to smell it in the cleaner. Essential oils can be pricy, so you don't want to spill any.

We are going to use our basic ingredients for most of these homemade cleaners, with a few new ones added in.
White vinegar: mild acid that deodorizes and disinfects, and is effective against bacteria and mold
Baking Soda: acts as a deodorizer and scours clean
Essential Oils: act as disinfectants, lemon has antiviral and antiseptic qualities, and tea tree has antibacterial, antiviral, and even antifungal properties
Distilled Water
Kosher Salt
Dr. Bronnerís: liquid Castile soap, all natural, made from plant oils
Olive Oil: acts as a cleaner and polisher
Dr. Bronnerís Sal Suds: biodegradable concentrated cleaner made from plants and oils

All Purpose Cleaner
For countertops and sink.
Note: Do not use vinegar if your countertops and sink are made of granite, marble or stone. The vinegar is too acidic, instead use rubbing alcohol.
Pour Ĺ cup white vinegar into a full-sized spray bottle. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Fill the bottle with warm water and shake well. Add some drops of essential oil (one dropperful), such as tea tree, eucalyptus, or a citrus oil.

To use, spray counters, let stand a minute or two, then wipe with a clean cloth.

Soft Scrub Cleaner
For use on countertops, sinks, and ceramic surfaces, not on granite.
Measure 1 Ĺ cups of baking soda into a mixing bowl. Add Ĺ cup of Dr. Bronnerís Castile Soap. Stir vigorously to combine into a paste. Add enough water to make it into a smooth liquid paste, maybe ľ cup. Add some drops of essential oils, (half eye dropperful) like tea tree, rosemary, or lavender.

Store soft scrub in a clean shampoo, dish soap, or ketchup squirt bottle. If the mixture begins to dry out, simply add a small amount of water and shake well.

To use, squirt a small amount on a damp sponge and massage into surface. Add more as needed. Rinse well with warm water.

Liquid Dish Soap
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup distilled water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon kosher salt, until salt dissolves. In a bowl, mix 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup Dr. Bronnerís Sal Suds and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Add this mixture to the salt water mixture, and stir until it thickens. You can add 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent and disinfectant properties.

Pour mixture into a recycled dish soap container for storage.
Note: The soap may thicken more over time, if so, add a bit more water.

Liquid Hand Soap
Here is an added recipe for a nurturing and moisturizing soap that wonít dry out your hands. Using a recycled foaming soap dispenser, fill it with bottled or distilled water to within about 1 inch of the top. Add at least 2 Tablespoons of Dr. Bronnerís Castile Soap. Add Ĺ tsp olive oil and a drop or two of essential oil for scent.

Close bottle and gently shake to mix.

I will continue sharing additional cleaners for the kitchen next month. We will be making our own disinfectant wipes. If you want to be ahead of the game, you will need an empty container; the baby wipe container works great. You will also need 20 to 25 rectangle pieces of clean scrap fabric; such as old t shirts or dish cloths.

Until next time, remember itís dirty work, but clean fun!

Editor's Note: Wow, these are great. I have already made the dish soap and the soft scrub. I tried the softscrub on my glass top stove, and it's cleaner than its ever been!
I also wanted to share this link to these super absorbint microfiber cloths from Amazon. They are the best for cleaning. Thanks to reader, Judy for sharing this link.

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