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Note: I’m linking this post to Julia’s Hooked on Fridays post at Hooked on Houses! Go check it out!!
I am always on the lookout for better/quicker/easier/greener ways and products to clean my house with, and I think that I’ve got a pretty great arsenal of “cleaning weapons” that help me get the job done! I always try to go chemical-free if possible, and if I am using some sort of cleaning product, I only use the “green” kind. Here are my weapons of choice!
My biggest pet peeve in my house, and what I spend the most time cleaning (by far!) is definitely my floors. With 2 big dogs that shed and dig, a husband who lives in work boots, and a crawling baby, the floors need to be cleaned every day. Now if they get cleaned every day is a different story, but they could use it daily! We have laminate throughout the house, and linoleum in the kitchen and laundry area, so it’s nice that all the dirt and hair isn’t stuck in the carpet, and when it’s clean, we know it’s clean! But this means a lot of dirt and hair collects, and I’ve found the easiest way to clean all of that up is by a combination of sweeping and vacuuming. I use a regular old broom and dust pan to sweep up the dirt, but this doesn’t work too great for the dog hair. It seems to really blow the hair around, plus sweeping doesn’t work around the area rugs, so after I sweep, I vacuum. And after I vacuum, I steam mop.
Here’s what’s in my arsenal to clean my floors (click on the photos to shop):
We have a Bissell Lift-Off, which has been used within an inch of its life at our house. It cleans our hard floors, rugs, furniture, windowsills, mattresses (yes, I vacuum our mattresses occasionally)…my only complaint is that it is a little heavy to lug out each time I want to clean the floors really quickly. I think I need a lighter “Stick Vac,” but I haven’t done the research yet.
This (above) is my new favorite thing. I ordered it as a late Mother’s Day gift for myself…during HSN’s July sales (always shop there in July!!). It cleans the floors so great, with NO CHEMICALS!! Which is great because Harper is on the move now! My only complaint with this is that the cord is short so I have to switch outlets a few times when cleaning the house. I highly recommend it for your floors, though!! Especially because you just throw the pad in the washing machine (it comes with 2) and that’s it!! And mine also came with some yummy eucalyptus mint fragrance oil for the water…makes the house smell nice and fresh!
So I guess I haven’t realized how many Bissell products we own until now…
The Spot Bot is great for carpets, rugs, upholstery, etc. You push a button and walk away…I use this on our Flor rug in the living room, and on our couch. Well, Glenn cleans the couch more than I do, but this is what we use. I don’t like to use the conventional carpet shampoos that come with it because of the chemicals…most of the time I just use hot water and it works fine. But sometimes you need some kind of detergent, and I like the brand (and have easy access to) “Earth Friendly Products” and I want to try their carpet shampoo in my Spot Bot.
Another brand that I like to use around the house is called “Bright Green.” I pick it up at Safeway when I’m out of town for Harper’s doctor appointments…no Safeways for 70 miles! 🙂 But so far I’ve been happy with the products I’ve tried: the All Purpose Cleaner works great on my furniture for dusting and fingerprints, the Glass Cleaner makes my mirrors sparkly, and (my favorite and most used) the Dish Wash Liquid doesn’t dry out my hands and smells like Lavender. Yep…no dishwasher at Casa Christensen. Unless you consider me the dishwasher…
If I really need to get something good and clean, and in my opinion the strongest chemical cleaners don’t even compare, I go back to using steam with my handheld steam cleaner.
This little baby cleans everything. Soap scum, toilets, hard water stains, baby toys (GREAT for baby stuff with all those little crevices, plastic numbers, etc.!). I use them with my 2nd favorite cleaning tools (2nd to my steam cleaner) – a big ‘ol stack of microfiber cleaning cloths.
I have a stack of these sitting in my laundry room and I use them for everything – almost completely replacing paper towels. I only use paper towels to cook bacon in the microwave now, ha! They come in a pack of 40, and I still haven’t used all of them one time. I grab one, clean whatever I need to clean – countertops, baby hands or faces, cutting board, coffee table, TV screen, etc., etc., then I throw it in the washing machine to be washed with the next load and I still have a clean stack waiting. AWESOME!
Although I have my handheld Scunci steam cleaner to clean my toilets, sometimes you need a little eucalyptus scent in the bathroom, which is why I love the Method Lil’ Bowl Blu Toilet Bowl Cleaner. It just makes it feel a little more sparkly and to smell better. I like Method brand products – I also use their Naked hand soaps all over my house! But I really need some pretty dispensers for them.
And for laundry, I’ve really been loving Seventh Generation stuff. I buy it from diapers.com when I order my disposable diapers (I do mainly use cloth, though!). I can wash Harper’s stuff in it, as well as ours and it works great! Plus it’s rated for high efficiency machines. Have I mentioned that I love diapers.com?
Well that’s about it for my “Weapons of Choice” post – if you have any questions about any of it, feel free to leave me a comment for shoot me an e-mail (lindsay [@] lindsaychristensendesign.com). I love to help fellow greenies (or greenie wannabe’s!) out! I also really recommend the book “The Complete Organic Pregnancy” even if you’re not pregnant – it has great green tips and it’s an easy read.
How about you? Do you have any other green tips or green products that you love to use??
Because every home needs a pet, and every blog needs a dog, I thought I would take some time to introduce you to the rest of the Christensen family — meet Keno and Molly, our adopted mutts that we love so much and think of as our oldest children!
First is Keno, our eldest. We adopted him from the local animal shelter when he was 4 months old. A small little puppy…if we would have only known HOW HUGE he was going to get! I kid…but he is really a big (GIANT) teddy bear.
He was born in January of 2002, and we adopted him in May of that year. We told the animal shelter we wanted a puppy, so they brought us to where they kept the puppies. There were 5 of them; 4 girls (all sisters) who were gorgeous gray hound-looking dogs, and then this little awkward male with big feet. I was gawking at these shiny-coated sisters, who were huddling with eachother in the corner of the pen they were in, when I felt something on my leg. I look down and this little black puppy with big feet and even bigger brown eyes was up on his hind legs with his front paws on my shins saying “Pick me, pick me!” So we did. We took him home and he immediately took over our bed and has been there ever since. He is part lab, maybe part Rottweiler, and who knows what else, but he is a sweetheart who loves to spoon (seriously!) and loves to get his butt scratched. He can eat chocolate and rat poison and live through it, and will eat anything else that you give him — can’t you tell? Yes, he outweighs me at 140 pounds!
Next is our middle child, Molly. By the way, these are not original names. My husband has had 2 other Kenos and 1 other Molly. We originally named them Rocky and Maggie, but it just didn’t fit, and I guess we’re not that original, ha! Or at least his family isn’t. 🙂 Anyway, Molly’s birthday is October of 2002, and we adopted her over Superbowl weekend in 2003. Nobody wanted Molly because she had a fungus on her face, but we saw through the skin spots to see what a sweetie she was, plus she was on medication and it was supposed to go away (which it did!).
We got her from the same animal shelter that we found Keno at, and when we arrived she had just gotten a bath because she had been rolling in cow manure. She still likes to do that. We told them we wanted a little dog that likes to play with big dogs, and the first time we saw her she was standing on a big sleepy dog and biting his ears. Keno and Molly became instant best buddies and I am scared for them for the day either one of them goes because the other one might die of a broken heart.
Molly is part Sharpei, maybe part Border Collie and who knows what else! She sleeps a foot away from the heater while panting like she’s going to pass out and she trims her own nails. She will also lick you to death, so we have to watch her around Harper! Especially because Harper will lean into the dogs, open her mouth and let Molly go to town. Gross! But a funny story to tell when Harper’s in high school.
And as the headline says, these two are the main reason that I cannot allow myself to buy white furniture, or even a white slipcover! Especially now when it’s hot and they shed like crazy…you can tell by the discolored fur on Keno’s back leg. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Young House Love and decor8 look, but I just CAN’T. Between the mud and the fur and the drool, my furniture would look like a New York City sidewalk. I need some colored camoflauge, people!
Here are some of my favorite pictures of the dogs, plus some for scale to see how giant he is!
We have this one framed in our “reading nook” in our living room.
And here we are circa Christmas 2005 in our old rental house, before Harper! Our original children. 🙂 There were a lot of funny outtakes trying to get this shot since we used a timer. Pretty funny!! And why did we leave the TV on in the background?? Haha!
I hope you enjoyed meeting the rest of the Christensen family! They would love to meet you…and let you take them on a walk! 🙂