OK, confession time. Deep down I’m an OCD neat freak. But it’s funny how life has a way of subjecting you to a little good-natured immersion therapy, forcing you to let go of unnecessary hangups. Like cleanliness.
For me, that immersion therapy comes in the form of a 100-year-old house. No matter what I do, this drafty old cottage is perpetually covered in clay dust, potting soil, and home improvement tools. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Until the holidays roll around, that is. And thus begins a frantic cleaning spree so our friends and family don’t see how we really live the rest of the year.
The good news is cleaning doesn’t require a bunch of expensive chemical products that take your breath away. Try some of these tips as you prepare for tomorrow’s holiday madness:
- Spray tile and countertops down with a little white vinegar diluted with water. Wipe with a damp cloth, and try to resist the urge to eat fish & chips.
- Stainless steel appliances, like my beloved tea kettle, turn a horrid rust color when exposed to heat. They look ruined, but don’t despair. Mix two tablespoons of cream of tartar with a little water until it forms a paste. Apply the paste with an old toothbrush and scrub gently. It may take a couple of applications, but you’ll be stunned at how good that discolored stainless steel looks again.
- Forget toxic oven cleaners. Sprinkle a little baking soda on grease stains and scrub gently. Done.
- Porcelain tubs and sinks need extra care to avoid scratching. Don’t make the same mistake I did by using baking soda to clean them as well. It’s far too abrasive. Instead, cover rusty spots with salt, then soak with lemon juice. Wait a while before cleaning. Nasty stains might need a few hits of the salty lemon concoction, but this recipe did the job on our salvaged clawfoot tub.
- Toilets are no match for baking soda and white vinegar. Just shake and pour a little of each into the bowl, then attack with toilet brush. I usually throw in a couple of drops of orange essential oil to make the bathroom smell like citrus magic. And let’s be honest about the real reason I do this: housekeeping is way more fun with toilet volcanoes.