surface cleaning

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!

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