green cleaning

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

November Survival Kit From Don't Look Under The Rug

November is here and so is another survival kit! Between running a cleaning business and creating cleaning tip videos on my YouTube, sometimes I wish I had multiples of me to handle the details of life. And that is what my survival kit is about this month - those items that are multi-use and can double up on many daily needs. Enjoy!

#happycleaning, Amy Bates

1. Goe Oil - Goes on Everything!

I am always on the lookout for new multipurpose products for a couple of reasons.  I live in a home with minimal storage and tend to have an overstuffed purse that swallows things I need. I have to let you in on a couple of things here...Secret: I am an obsessive hand washer which results in really dry hands. 2nd Secret: I absolutely cannot stand the feeling of dry hands. 

Along comes the fabulous find called Goe Oil.  What makes it unique? It is made of 28 different floral, vegetable and fruit oils so it smells amazing. I stumbled upon Goe Oil while looking for a natural hand sanitizer! The only catch: The price. It is a little over $40, but when I started digging a bit deeper, I realized it was many products all rolled into one. It is a whole body moisturizing balm. It smoothes flyaway hairs (see my upcoming video starring my Mom, the "Mother Bear"). It has done the best job ever of refreshing my curls on Day 2.  It effortlessly soothes a chapped nose with a cold, and works as a cuticle cream and makeup remover! I cant wait to use it to smooth ends and add a bit of shine in the winter.  It is portable, so I keep it in my purse.  

How do you use it?  Just take a small (and I mean SMALL) amount and rub it between your hands.  Apply anywhere! The best part is the tube lasts forever because you can use such a tiny amount (i.e. half the size of a pea for hands… then quickly scrunch curls… multi-use and multi-task!) The other products made by the same company are quickly becoming favorites as well, so they may make an upcoming list! : )

2.  Evernote - Keeps My Thoughts Organized

While I am always on the lookout for ways to organize and keep my busy life on track, truth is I typically have far too many commitments and tend to run and quickly let my thoughts and ideas scatter.  Serving on various committees plus starting just added an extra layer of craziness.  I love google calendar and “notes’ but it just didn’t allow me to organize thoughts, lists, reminders, links, and collaborate with others.  I absolutely LOVE working within Evernote.  The web clipper add-on has sealed my fate as a sure to be longterm user.  I can keep “notebooks” by topic, committee, or project and add in new “notes’.  If I am working with an employee or committee member on one of the topics I can share the note or notebook and we can both add or “chat” on the topic at hand.  It is amazing!  Lists, worksheets, photos, etc. can all be kept within the notebook and you can add tags for easy reference.  My only issue?  As my usage has grown, I wish I could “organize” some of my notebooks a bit better, but I sure figuring that out is only a youtube search away.  If you give it a try, be sure to get the web clipper.  It is fantastic for recipes, articles, etc.  The clipper even becomes intuitive and can guess which notebook you want to ‘clip’ it to!

3.  Tea tree oil - Use For Cleaning, Skin Care and More 

This list seems to have a common theme.  Multi use and multi purpose products!  Tea tree oil definitely fits this list to a tee.  I use it for cleaning, wound care, skin care, etc.  For the skin care it is a fantastic part of any skin care regimen.  If one of the boys (or let’s face it- me) is suffering from a little breakout, it is a great natural and nondrying way to stop that zit in it’s tracks.  Yes, for the cystic variety, I still reach for my salicylic acid pimple product, but for most of the other kinds, it does the trick.  I love that it is gentle on my boys skin.  I also love it for little scrapes and cuts as it truly kills germs.  So next time your kids (or you!) have a paper cut or skinned knee, grab the natural choice.  For deeper and really dirty cuts, while it may be fine to use tea tree, I still grab for the big guns.  But for most issues, I prefer the less is more approach and we have been successful so far!  I also love it for showers and other surface care.  You can use it straight or diluted on mildew, mold, mixed with a splash of lavender and water as a surface cleaner, and countless other applications.  So grab a good quality bottle and let me know how you love to use it! I promise, there are far more uses than I am listing here.  

4.  Roasted Winter Vegetables - Thanksgiving Fav

As much as I love the traditional sweet potatoes my Mom served with the marshmallow on top, I also love to try different recipes with other root veggies as well.  Here is a great one from Barefoot Contessa that you can either serve on Thanksgiving or any day:


  • 1 pound carrots, peeled

  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded (about 2 pounds)

  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley 


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Cut the carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, and butternut squash in 1 to 1 1/4-inch cubes. All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don't cut them too small.
  3. Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

When Not To Use Vinegar For House Cleaning

Vinegar is a versatile cleaning agent! It works wonders, is green and cheap! However, there are some surfaces and stains you should NEVER use it on. Check out the hit list of what to avoid!

#happycleaning, Amy

  1. Marble
  2. Granite
  3. Tile floors made of stone
  4. Unsealed wood floors
  5. Egg stains
  6. On your iron