Now Onto Angela’s List: Homemade Household Hacks for Anywhere

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on October 02, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

After a month-long work trip, I walked into my condo in Belize completely exhausted from the long hours of travel from Europe back to Ambergris Caye and was ready for a nap. I switched on the light in my entryway, walked around the corner towards the living room, and let out a huge gasp.  

There was a ½ inch thick layer of fluffy white mold on everything from my wooden furniture to my shoes to my backpack.

Now Onto Angela’s List: Homemade Household Hacks for AnywhereImagine this all just covered.

I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do or where to start.  

So I pulled out my phone and Googled “how to clean mold from homes in tropics.” I found out that this was quite common when there was no circulation in a confined, humid area. It was a relief to know that there were preventions, but this didn’t help me now. As I continued searching, I found a few solutions for cleaning AFTER the mold already showed up which didn’t even require me to go to the store for supplies.

The solution? White vinegar.

Ah-ha, that was already in my cabinet. So, I did a quick mental shift from napping to cleaning and got to it.

Although I didn’t have a spray bottle, I did have a rag. After dousing the rag in vinegar, I began wiping down every single surface from the curtain rods to under the futon mattress to the row of shoes that lined the entry wall. Luckily, it’s a small space and only took a couple of hours. While the condo smelled a little funky afterward, the fluffy mold was gone, and I was able to sleep knowing that I wouldn’t be breathing in something potentially dangerous.

I learned my lesson, albeit the hard way, and now keep at least a fan on for circulation when I leave. And ask a neighbor to pop in every now and again!

Now let’s loop Osman and Angela back into the fold.

Now Onto Angela’s List: Homemade Household Hacks for AnywhereAngela and Osman back in 2011, pre-kids!

Last week, they shared with us some natural remedies to relieve health ailments, and today they have some more helpful natural remedies – this time for the household!

If you would rather avoid the chemicals and unwanted toxins from traditional cleaning supplies, read on!

Angela mentioned there are three staples in their cleaning cabinets at home:

  1. Lime
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Vinegar

Upon hearing, “vinegar,” our Corporate Social Responsibility intern, Sara, stepped in with a big grin of her face and said, “Remember in Big Fat Greek Wedding when the dad would use Windex for everything? That’s how my mom is with vinegar for cleaning. It is a crazy obsession, but it really works!”

Now Onto Angela’s List: Homemade Household Hacks for AnywhereBelow, you’ll find the few staples that Angela mentioned along with a few other helpful chemical-free remedies to keep your home clean. She noted that she learned many of these hacks from Pinterest and a Facebook group called Goodful, and that they really do work!

Baking Soda

  • If you would like your faucets to sparkle and the residue gone, dip baking soda on a toothbrush and scrub.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on top of your glass cooktop and wipe with a soapy rag for a sparkling surface.

Club Soda  (red wine lovers, take note!)

  • Got a stain on your white shirt from your red wine again? No problem. Blot club soda on the stain until it is eventually gone. This also goes for blood stains, oil, and other stains.
  • Give your plants a club soda shower every week or so to help with their growth.  The plant absorbs the minerals and the result is a healthy growth spurt.

Coffee Filters

  • Use a coffee filter to clean the screens of your laptops, phones, tablets, etc.

Essential Oils

  • If you live in a humid climate and struggle with a musty smell in your closet or cabinets, put uncooked rice in a bowl and add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil. The rice will collect the moisture and the essential oils will release into the air for a pleasant smell.
  • On the essential oil kick, use lemongrass oil in your diffuser to keep away the bugs! (You may remember that from last week’s hack article.)

Now Onto Angela’s List: Homemade Household Hacks for AnywhereLemongrass diffuser from Amazon.com

Lime

  • Use half of a lime to remove the lingering stench from your wooden cutting board. Simply cut a lemon in half and rub on the board.
  • Similar to white vinegar, lime can remove the stains from your stainless-steel appliances. All you need to do is sprinkle some salt on ½ a lime and rub gently over the appliance. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the appliance.

White Vinegar

  • Appliance cleaner (specifically dishwashers and washing machines): Add baking soda and vinegar to the dishwasher and/or washing machine and wash!
  • Black mold/mold spots in the shower: ½ part vinegar and ½ part dish soap and scrub!
  • Color pop and dust-be-gone: Dip a sock or rag into ½ part vinegar, ½ part water to clean the dust off your blinds and to make the color pop.
  • Laundry: Add ¼ cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle to laundry, specifically towels, to remove soap residue and also help to set the color in jeans. 
  • Stainless steel smudges: ½ part vinegar, ½ part water in a spray bottle to remove prints and spots on stainless steel for a shiny, clean surface!
  • Stain on carpet: Apply a mixture of 1/3 part vinegar and 2/3 part water to the stain, place a wet cloth on top of the stain, and steam directly on top for about 30 seconds (can use an iron to steam). The stain will be gone.

Now Onto Angela’s List: Homemade Household Hacks for AnywhereSheWearsManyHats.com

Sea Salt

  • Have iron skillets that are difficult to clean? Rather than viciously scrubbing away with a Brillo pad, use sea salt. The residue will be gone, and it will be a much easier clean.

Vodka

  • No, not for drinking on the job but for killing insects. Put some vodka in a spray bottle and spray either yourself or the bugs to keep those pests away.
  • You know when you buy a new item and it is impossible to get the sticker off without shredding it into a thousand little pieces and still leaving residue? With a cotton swab, dab the vodka onto the sticky area and watch how easily it comes off.Consumer Resource Guide

Cool hacks, right?  And this is just the beginning.  

The neat part is that most places in the world have the items listed above, so it is easy and fairly inexpensive to keep your home clean and toxin-free! Hopefully you learned something new. Let me know how it works out for you!

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on October 02, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.