I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I really hate to clean. I'll cook all day, fill the clothesline with laundry, organize and decorate, and I'll even pick up after seven people and a menagerie of pets and livestock. But I hate to clean. So when I finally find those rare products that perform miracles with little effort from me, I've got to brag on them. So here we go...the cleaning products hall of fame at the Preppy Mountain Farmhouse:
1. Bar Keepers Friend:
This powder has been the only thing to clean the gray marks and yellowing in our new cast iron sink. A little goes a long way, and it doesn't smell strong like bleach does. Bleach products actually didn't work at all, but Bar Keepers Friend does. This stuff is awesome.
2. the Works: Although no one wants to talk about this subject, I have to sing the praises of this product for cleaning old toilets. We have had plumbers here to unclog toilets more times than I would like to admit, and then my husband decided he would purchase the necessary tools to get the job done himself. One time when there was a particularly persistent problem (due to a softball sized wad of toilet paper discovered later in a pipe) Hubby used every tool in the book, and in the process, scratched up the porcelain in the bottom of the bowl pretty bad. Additionally, we have hard water with sulfur and limestone in it, and that repeatedly stained the toilet as well. I tried all kinds of products, but nothing got it really clean. That is, until I gave The Works a try. Now, with the exception of the scratches in the porcelain, the toilet is sparkling white again. This cleaner really does work, and I always have a bottle on hand in the bathroom.
3. Lime-A-Way: Along the same vein, tackling the gradual yellowing of our new bathtub was also a problem until we started using this cleaner. I can spray Lime-A-Way on those yellowed areas from our well water, let it sit for a few minutes, and then return and wipe it away. Before I discovered The Works, I used this in the toilet too. It helped to a certain degree, but never to my satisfaction. It's terrific in the bathtub, however.
4. Fels-Naptha: Back in the day when I made nearly everything from scratch, I mixed up large batches of homemade laundry detergent. Fels-Naptha soap was a leading ingredient, and I still have extra bars sitting around the house. I have found it to be the best pre-treatment for stains on clothing. I simply wet the bar a bit, and rub it on the soiled spots before I throw the items in the washing machine. It really works on most anything I've come across in the hamper as long as the stained article of clothing hasn't previously been washed and dried. This is simple enough for the kiddos to pre-treat their own clothing when those white uniform shirts come home from school with splatters of ketchup or tomato sauce all over them.
5. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar: Finally, my go-to product for any number of things is organic apple cider vinegar. This serves all kinds of medicinal purposes, of course. But I also use a 50-50 dilution of it with water in a spray bottle to clean windows and glass, disinfect and clean spots on our wooden kitchen counter tops and those newly finished pine kitchen floors. I've even used it on the itchy spots on our beagle when she just won't stop licking and scratching. Any time I need to clean, disinfect, or treat something, and I'm not sure a harsher cleaner would be safe to use, I turn to pure vinegar.
So there you have it: my favorite picks for doing my least favorite life tasks. If anyone has a tool or product that is fantastic at cleaning up dust and dog fur, I am all ears. That is one problem in this old farmhouse that I just cannot seem to overcome.