cleaning help

A Sweet Fix For Preventing Cloudy Glasses From The Dishwasher

My friend and Don’t Look Under The Rug® team member, Jenna Schario, is sharing her struggles with cloudy dishes today on the blog. It was too good to pass up, so enjoy:

I didn’t grow up with a dishwasher. I spent my childhood on a farm washing dishes in an old, double sink that sat below two windows looking out at the garden. When your cracked the windows just right a cool breeze would come through the screens, giving the washer relief from the soapy hot water that was constantly spilling everywhere. 

International Home + Housewares Show 2016 - Chicago

I just got back from the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago and it was a blast! This truly was a Mecca for the cleaning obsessed! I loved previewing innovative new products, and exploring the event with fellow cleaning nuts!...I even got to meet MR. CLEAN (he does exist!)...scroll through my photos for proof:

How To Clean Your Cast Iron Skillet Without Using Soap

I really enjoy cooking with a good cast iron skillet. I love being able to take the skillet from stove top to oven in a snap. Plus, the heavy skillet speeds up cook time of roasting chicken, without drying it out, and leaves it with a delicious golden color. 

Bare cast iron vessels have been used for cooking for over two thousand years, and date back as early as the Han Dynasty. In many cases, you will see cast iron skillets, dutch ovens, or other containers passed down from generation to generation -- from grandmother, to mother, to daughter, and so on. These skillets have experienced A LOT of cooking hours, and no doubt many people will have put a lot of care in maintaining the skillet's "seasoning". This seasoning is what keeps your skillet from rusting and creates a non-stick surface, so it is definitely worth protecting. Whether you are the recipient of a generational skillet, or you bought one brand new, you definitely want to take care of it!

Cast iron skillets are different than other cooking tools, so the way you clean them needs to be different, too! The key...DO NOT WANT TO USE SOAP when cleaning your cast iron skillet (I repeat: DO NOT USE SOAP WHEN CLEANING YOUR CAST IRON SKILLET)! Why? Because using soap will take away the seasoning!

Here's my cleaning tip for cleaning your cast iron one minute:

I shared this cleaning tip with my friends at the NewsOn6 - The key to protecting your cast iron is to NOT use soap on it!

I shared this cleaning tip with my friends at the NewsOn6 - The key to protecting your cast iron is to NOT use soap on it!

How to Quickly and Easily Clean Baseboards

Of all the items in my house, baseboards feel like a never ending battle. And, most definitely one of my biggest housecleaning challenges. It seems to be one of the areas that I tend to see my guest's eyes glance towards when they enter a room. Could they be admiring my beautiful wood floor finish? Are they glancing down to search for my beloved pets? Well, I wish those were the circumstances. But I know the truth. I own a cleaning service company, and my guests are really inspecting my team's handiwork. Truth is, I often take my house off the schedule. So that means one thing.... I am scrambling to tidy up every time I know that doorbell is going to ring. My son, Adam, has a friend coming over Saturday morning? No problem! It simply means the area six feet inside the front door needs my immediate attention. How do I get that area ready for inspection? I will let you in on one of my favorite easy DIY cleaning tips:

DRYER SHEETS. Yes, they are the best little baseboard cleaners on earth! Sure, you could grab a microfiber or treated dust cloth. But if you use Snuggle or Downy sheets, keep the used ones after you finish the laundry. Don't throw those lovely things in the trash, repurpose those babies! They make some of the greatest smelling dust clothes imaginable. Dusting baseboards is a great easy chore for kids, and they love earning the extra money if you pay for chores. Even better, incorporate it into a regular task as a part of their allowance or simple household chores. Bonus: the sweet-smelling waxy coating is a magnet for pet hair and dust and will freshen your room and make the work more enjoyable!  I just love easy cleaning tips that use what I already have on hand!

There are areas and times where you will need to wash your baseboards. I love mixing up a bucket of hot water with a bit of all-purpose cleaner and a squirt of Dawn dish soap. You can even add a small splash of lemon oil to the mix, but watch it, if you have flat paint. On occasion, I use a mixture hot water and Murphy's Oil soap. Either DIY solution will get the job done. For reference, I tend to hit each room, at least, every six months, and the rest of the year it is dryer sheets. Easy Cleaning Helpful Hint: Keep a moistened magic eraser with you as you clean to help remove scuffs from your painted walls.


Here are the key areas that need your attention first:

1. Areas near doors into your home. Whether patio doors, garage doors, or the all important front door, keep them clean.

2. Bathroom baseboards. These are a must clean...especially around the toilet. The truth is, this zone may take a bit more love. Grab a magic eraser for the wall around the stool, please don't forget the area behind the toilet, and next to it. In fact, while you are there, wipe the base of the stool down. Trust me, it needs it!

3. Laundry room: Lint. Enough said.

And there you have it! While running around with a laundry basket to hide clutter from last minute guests, I always have a dryer sheet in hand. Now you know one of my super secrets. Welcome to the inner circle, you have virtually looked under the rug in the Bates house! #happycleaning

How To Make a Pet-Safe Carpet Deodorizer

My two dogs are a huge part of my family, life and cleaning regimen. There is “Louie the Wonder Beagle” and “Ziggy the Beast”. I am sure you can imagine their personalities based on their colorful names. Neither dog knows they are not human, so they love to be wherever I am in the house. They even occasionally steal a car ride when I am headed to work at my cleaning business. They seem to be everywhere in one form or another. On the couch, in the laundry room, and in the kitchen stealing snacks from my team on video shoots. Louie sheds hair like crazy, but Ziggy on the other hand is an Airedale Terrier and doesn’t share his hair nearly as much. In any case, I have become a cleaning expert at battling pet hair in my house. But I still have one area I fear: Pet smells!

My dogs, "Ziggy the Beast" and "Louie the Wonder Beagle" like to share their cuteness, pet hair and doggie aroma in the house! I use this DIY carpet deodorizer to keep that "cuteness" at bay!

My dogs, "Ziggy the Beast" and "Louie the Wonder Beagle" like to share their cuteness, pet hair and doggie aroma in the house! I use this DIY carpet deodorizer to keep that "cuteness" at bay!

Unpleasant dog odor can come from many places. Ziggy’s coat is oilier than many other dog breeds which causes it to be stinkier during certain seasons. But a dog’s coat isn’t the only culprit - pet odor can seep into your carpets! Our house is primarily hardwood floors but the living and family rooms do have carpet rugs - which just happens to be the places my dogs like to lounge the most! These are also the areas of my home where guests tend to hangout.

One such time was when my mother-in-law was coming for a visit. Before she arrived, I was nervous there was a dog smell coming from the carpet in front of the television and around the couches. I knew my mother-in-law, or myself for that matter, would not appreciate the aroma welcoming her stay. Lighting candles wasn’t going to do it. So it was time to do a full on carpet deodorizer session in the Bates’ home!

Having pets means you need to use cleaning products that are safe and effective. Pet safe cleaning is a huge part of my cleaning regimen at home and in my cleaning business. But guess what?! You don’t have to spend a lot of money on deodorizer treatments to eliminate dog odor in your carpet! Here is my D.I.Y. cleaning tip on how to make pet-safe carpet deodorizer:

Ingredients and tools for pet-safe carpet deodorizer:

  • ½ cup borax
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • Plastic container for mixing and storage
  • 20 drops of essential oil of choice (a lavender blend is a good choice)
  • Sifter
  • Spoon

Mix the borax, baking soda and essential oil in a large bowl with spoon. You can then put it in a pretty mason jar with a lid but I never have time for that, so I leave it in a labeled plastic container. Find the carpet areas of your home where your pets hang out the most. For our home, Louie and Ziggy LOVE the carpet rug in the living room area, with direct view of my kitchen counters. They like to watch me cook as they chew on bones and snooze. Spoon the mixture through a sifter (to break up any big clots) and over the most trafficked areas. Wait 30 minutes and then vacuum up the carpet! It is completely pet friendly, natural and will leave your carpet and home smelling amazing!

Then, use these other cleaning tips between carpet deodorizer treatments to keep your home smelling great:

  1. Open the windows to let fresh air in at least once per day, for at least 10 minutes
  2. On occasion, vacuum the underside of area rugs to help minimize the dust and pet dander dogs create.
  3. Change your vacuum bag regularly
  4. Clean up pet accidents right away
  5. Use a blacklight to check for any accident spots you may have missed
  6. Keep your pets groomed
  7. Clean cages, crates and pet bedding regularly
  8. Have a lint roller and microfiber towel handy to rid furniture and lamps of pet hair in a hurry
  9. Check out these other great Clean-House Tips for Pet Owners from