Scouring Pad Hack

Instead of using a whole scouring pad at once, I cut it up into smaller pieces. I can usually get eight 1-inch  squares. The squares perfectly fit my fingers and get into all those nooks and crannies.  When the square gets gross I just throw it away and get a new one.


Quick Bathroom Clean-up

I keep a small cleaning caddy under the sink in each bathroom with some basic cleaning supplies. Whenever the bathroom needs some attention I can grab what I need and quickly take care of it without having to go and bring in my cleaning supplies.


Tried and True Travel Tips

I love to travel, and have found that the key to a stress-less trip is to be as prepared as possible. That means I bring as few things as possible. I’ve shared my simple travel tips with friends, only to be met with awe and envy.

First, pack an empty pill bottle with some large safety pins, single shoe laces, small carabiner clips, a few rubber bands, binder clips, paper clips, a few adhesive return address labels, and the tiny screwdriver from a glasses repair kit. This little fix-it kit goes thru security without  hassle, and has saved my bacon more than once when things have broken.

Second, stuff one bottle full of a dozen or so long thin plastic bags, like what they use to deliver newspapers for home delivery or produce bags. Or get bread bags or some of the doggie-job pooper-scooper pick-up bags.

Use those bags to pack shoes, for a wet bathing suit; a wet fold-up umbrella, or a few shells or stones you found while beach-combing. Use them to separate currencies from different countries, as pill bottles don’t rip or tear like envelopes do, when you have amassed too many coins or euros.

Pill bottles were really handy on a recent trip to Patagonia where Chile and Argentina both use money called pesos, but have very different values. Chilean money went into the chili-red bottle, and the Argentine went into the green one.

Third, use a large pill bottle to assemble a small first-aid kit. Several sizes of Band-Aids, antiseptic, alcohol wipes, acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, diphenhydramine, blister pads, eye drops, lip balm will fit in there easily.

Fill every extra nook and cranny in your suitcase with empty plastic bags… will find a million uses for them, from trash bins on bus trips, or during your own car trips, to bringing home liquid souvenirs that you want to be waterproof in your luggage.

And all these together weigh only a few ounces, which is very important with the strict limits now on planes.


DIY Wet Mop Refills

We were spending quite a bit of money on Swiffer Wet Mop Refills. Knowing how well vinegar cleaned everything else, I decided to try making my own wet mop refills. I saved the tub from the last package and used the following recipe:

  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 20 drops of orange essential oil or any other scent of choice

Add all ingredients to the tub and stir to mix.

After stirring the mix, I folded inexpensive wash cloths in half and placed them into the tub.

A plastic bag



After one week of sitting in the tub, you can see the condensation on the lid so there was very little evaporation.

A plastic container


The wash cloth fits onto the sweeper, almost a perfect fit

I have also found these are great for wiping down the cabinets and wood painted walls.

Caution: Please be very cautious about using vinegar to clean hardwood floors, wood cabinets, painted surfaces, granite, and stone surfaces. Because it is acidic, over time vinegar will dull the surface by damaging the sealant. – mh


Reducing Paper Towel Usage

One of the best money-saving tips I’ve used in my life applies to so many areas of our lives—cleaning, kids, pets, etc.

Find two boxes/baskets (I use an old plastic basket I had around and an old ice tray holder), and fill one with clean rags and use the other one for dirty rags.

I keep both containers under my kitchen sink and once the dirty rag basket gets full, I throw the contents in the washer and start over again. I rarely buy paper towels anymore.


Ditch the Expensive Stove Cleaner

I love cooking, but I HATE cleaning up. Especially when food and grease get burnt onto the top of the stovetop.

I have tried disinfecting wipes, multi-surface cleaners, and even Bar Keeper’s Friend but the spots of grease remained. Fed-up, I decided to try what I use in the sink for cleaning—plain old baking soda!

  1. Remove burner grates if you have them
  2. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the surface, especially trouble spots
  3. Let sit for 5-10 minutes depending on the severity of grease
  4. Wet a sponge
  5. Scrub the stovetop, especially over grease spots
  6. Wipe with a damp paper towel or cloth until no residue remains
  7. Wipe with a dry cloth to remove water

Voila! Your stove should be free of grease spots. For a nice fresh smell, use a little lemon juice instead of water—but beware this will cause fizzing.


How to Keep Your Fireplace Glass Clean

There’s a certain enchanting beauty about staring into a fire, watching the wood crackle and pop. But there’s no way you’re going to see that fire if the soot and smoke is caked onto the glass.

For this reason, my mother taught me a resourceful trick to clean the glass on the fireplace (works on stove doors too) so she too could enjoy the flame.

1.  Spread newspaper on the floor before opening the door.

2.  Take a wadded up page of newspaper, wet it, dip it in the ashes, and use it to clean the glass. This will remove everything from the glass without scratching or harming it in any way.

3. Wad up one last piece of newspaper and use it to wipe away all of the remaining crud and nastiness.

The result is quite amazing and the price is right. And, by using the ashes, you’re staying savvy and resourceful. Rosanne


Tile and Grout Whitener

For whiter tile and grout, you can stop looking to commercial cleaning products. All you need is right there in your kitchen—cream of tartar and a lemon or lime.

Sprinkle cream of tartar on the tile and grout, then scrub with a cut lemon or a rag that you have saturated with lemon juice. On a vertical surface make a paste of cream of tartar and lemon or lime juice. I found that a bottle of lemon juice was tidier and easier to use.

A close up of a door

I spent a year trying to turn our gray bathroom tile floor and grout back to white, to no avail, until I tried this tip. It worked like magic! Team EC