how to clean your stainless appliances naturally

how to clean your stainless appliancesWe’ve lived in this house for three years and in three years I have not found anything that will clean all of our many stainless appliances…until now!

Stainless kitchen appliances are beautiful in theory but I would have never picked them for myself.  They were already in the house when we bought it and in pretty new/good condition so we haven’t had any reason to replace them.  They are a serious pain to keep clean though!  Every single little fingerprint shows.

There are lots of stainless cleaning supplies on the market that people say work well but as you know if you’ve been reading around here very long I really prefer to use natural methods for cleaning.  And I’ve tried several different things but nothing ever got them really clean.  I mean, I could get dried food and gunk off easily but as far as getting all the smudges and smears off…not happening.

I was really excited last year when I got some Norwex cloths thinking that this would be the perfect solution but sadly it wasn’t.  After doing some researching it turns out that the Norwex envirocloth and polishing cloth are good for stainless but only if they are already pretty clean (more for maintenance).  Apparently if your stainless has ever been cleaned with one of those commercial cleaners it leaves a film that you have to get off first and the envirocloth can’t get that off (ours has never been cleaned with anything like that since we’ve lived here but I’d guess it probably was by the previous owners).

I found some natural products that were supposed to be good for cleaning stainless but they were very expensive and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much when honestly, I have a toddler so as soon as I clean them they’re going to get a million fingerprints again, you know?

A few days ago I read something that said, “oh yeah you can totally get it off with an envirocloth, it just takes a lot of elbow grease” so I gave it one more try.  Rubbed and rubbed and rubbed and…nothing.  Was not helping a bit.

(I had to take a picture of my very eager helper using the oven mitt to help me “clean” the fridge.)IMG_9409(Norwex peeps, I am totally not hating on you!  I promise I like my cloths and I use them for lots of stuff…including to clean my stainless later in this post, I’m just being honest that they didn’t work for this one particular thing!)

So after that I was like, forget it.  I’m going to break down at some point and buy the expensive cleaner so I can get my stuff clean.  Someday.  Maybe.

But then I remembered that a friend of mine who is in my essential oils group had posted about a DIY cleaning scrub she had made and I figured I’d at least give it a try.  I mixed up just a teeny tiny bit and rubbed a small circle on the fridge.  Wiped it off with a damp rag and Oh.My.Stars.

Do you SEE that clean circle???

IMG_2570That is the first time I’ve ever even seen any of our stainless come clean!

I still had some left in my bowl so I kept going.  I only had enough to do about half of the fridge, plus we had a bunch of other stuff to do that day so that was all I got done but I kept going back over and over to look at it and I was so excited to show Michael when he got home!

In this picture the left side had not been cleaned yet but the right side was almost done.  It’s so hard to take pictures of stainless but I think you can definitely see the difference!

fridge halfway clean

So enough blabbing…you want me to tell you what I did, don’t you?

It’s really easy.  And I don’t even have a recipe.

ingredients to clean stainless appliancesI made a paste of baking soda, Thieves cleaner, and water.   I didn’t measure, I just put some baking soda in a bowl, added a good squirt of Thieves cleaner, and then added water and stirred until it was the consistency of something like cinnamon roll icing (that’s what it looks like lol!).

My friend Michelle, who is the one who had mentioned that she had made something like this and given me the idea, said that she used Thieves cleaner, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon essential oil.  I didn’t know that when I mixed up mine and the baking soda and Thieves cleaner by themselves worked just great, but you could totally try vinegar and lemon oil too for some extra oomph.

What I did:

Step 1: Mix up your paste

Step 2: Using a damp cloth, rub the paste in a circular motion all over the appliance.

Step 3: Using a different damp cloth, wipe the paste off.

Step 4: Wipe the surface again with a damp Norwex envirocloth

Step 5: Wipe the surface with a dry Norwex polishing cloth

Once the appliance is dry, check to make sure all the streaks are gone.  You might have to go back and do part of it a second time.

Here’s our fridge after I finished the whole thing.

fridge afterIt takes a little time and effort but it works like a charm!  It’s not perfect (I mean really, the only perfect method would be to not have to clean it at all, amiright?) but it was definitely good enough for me!


– It works!  I mean, that’s the main this right?

– It’s very inexpensive!  Baking soda is cheap and Thieves cleaner is cheap too (it doesn’t seem cheap when you first buy it but it’s so concentrated that it lasts forever.  I didn’t even realize how inexpensive it was until I saw this cool chart.)


thieves cleaner costs– It’s safe and not full of nasty, harsh chemicals.


– It’s messy!  The paste falls off the appliance and makes a big baking soda mess on the floor.  It’s pretty easy to sweep up though so that’s not too big of a deal

– It takes some time to do all those steps.

– The baking soda is abrasive so it can be a little hard on your hands and nails.

Overall I am just super, duper impressed.  I have used baking soda and castile soap to clean things like our showers and toilets but it’s incredibly bubbly (because of the castile) so I never would have tried it on our stainless.  The Thieves cleaner though is perfect and it doesn’t bubble up everywhere so it’s very easy to wipe off.  I’m so glad I found this out!

In fact, like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t have time yesterday to do more than about half of the fridge so this morning I was crazy excited to finish up the fridge, dishwasher, oven, and microwave.  It’s an odd feeling when cleaning is exciting!  Ha!  I even let Hudson play in his oatmeal in his high chair (that was another huge mess in and of itself) so I could get some of the cleaning done before he got down and started trying to “help” me.

Now the biggest problem is this…all the appliances are gorgeous and sparkly but the first time someone lays a finger on them they’re going to get a very obvious smudge.  Like, is it super weird that I’d almost prefer the big smudge mess that they were previously because then it didn’t bother me when Hudson (or us for that matter) put his/our hands all over?

(Case in point: I was getting ready to take the “after” picture of the fridge and that little stinker walked up and put his hand right on it so I had to wipe it off before I could take the picture!)

IMG_0982I’m *hoping* that now that I’ve gotten it good and clean that a simple wipe with my Thieves cleaner or Norwex cloths will get the new smudges off and I won’t have to do the whole big scrubbing routine again anytime soon.

Or I could find that it’s a total hassle to keep clean and let it go back to the way it was…you never know!  So if you come to visit me there is not telling what they’ll look like.

But for now…at least until nap time is over…they gleam!

Here are a few more before and afters:

Dishwasher before:dishwasher before

Dishwasher after:
dishwasher after

Oven before:
oven before

Oven after:
oven after

Who is going to run and clean their stainless right away after reading this?

DIY foaming hand soap

DIY Thieves foaming hand soap

Last night I helped teach a class on DIY (Do It Yourself) products using essential oils.  One of the recipes I shared was my foaming hand soap recipe and since I love it so much I thought I’d share it with you too.

When we first started to move toward a more natural lifestyle I began making my own cleaning supplies, laundry soap, etc.  It just made sense to make my own hand soap too!  I found a recipe online and made a big batch but it was a disaster.  It was difficult – you had to grate a bar of soap and cook it in water basically until is melted.  The consistency was disgusting – it looked and felt like snot.  So gross.  The only thing it had going for it was is smelled good.  We used it for awhile (although if guests were coming over I switched out with a bottle of store bought soap because the homemade stuff was just embarrassing) but eventually just switched back to buying soap.

Then I got into essential oils and I found a recipe for DIY foaming hand soap.  I’ve never liked foaming soap but I figured foaming was better than snotty so I gave it a whirl.  I’ve gotten used to the foam by now and I love making my own!

Supplies needed

  • Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s – I’ve seen it at Target, Kroger, Whole Foods, and Amazon)
  • Gylcerin (I use the Now brand, purchased from Amazon)
  • Essential Oils (of course I recommend Young Living)
  • A soap dispenser (I bought some cheap Dial soap from Walmart, dumped the soap it came with, and then washed the dispenser to use for my soap; some people use old Bath and Body Works dispensers; and of course you can just buy foaming hand soap dispensers by themselves.  I actually saw some at Kroger the other day for $6, which is way cheaper than what I found online)

This  is the recipe I use:

diy thieves hand soap[source]

  • I do not add the vitamin E oil.  I actually have vitamin E that I use in my homemade body wash as well as my stretch mark cream, but for whatever reason I’ve been leaving it out of the soap.  I need to give that a try next time!
  • I don’t measure (that makes Michael crazy!  I cook that way too).  I would assume that I follow the measurements listed in the graphic pretty closely, but basically I just do a big squirt of soap, a smaller squirt of glycerin, then add a few drops of oil and the water.  It’s so fast, takes me just a minute to refill all the soap dispensers in the house.  I like to do them all at once, assembly-line style.

You can change this and make all kinds of combinations!  Dr. Bronner’s has several scents (lavender, peppermint, orange, almond, and baby mild are the ones I’ve seen in stores; they also have rose, eucalyptus, and tea tree, which I’ve only seen online and haven’t tried yet) and then of course there are tons of essential oil options you could use.  So far I’ve always done peppermint Dr. Bronner’s and Thieves essential oil.  I think it smells great and Christmasy and I feel that Thieves is the best one to add for extra immune support.

Other combos that would be lovely:

  • lavender Dr. B’s plus tea tree EO (proper name: melaleuca alternafolia)
  • lavender Dr. B’s plus lemon EO
  • orange Dr. B’s plus any of the citrus EOs (orange, lime, lemon, Citrus Fresh, bergamot, etc.)
  • baby mild Dr. B’s (unscented) plus any EO of your choice since the only scent would be the EOs

Be creative!  I like to open the bottle of soap and the bottle of oil and hold them both up to my nose so I can smell them at the same time and see if I think I’ll like the combo.

This is a really easy step you can take into switching your household products to something more natural.  I think it would be really fun to get together with a bunch of friends for everyone to make some soap to take home!

Have you made soap before?  Did you like it?

What combinations do you think would smell good?

Oh and if DIY is just not your thing, you can buy foaming hand soap from Young Living; they have Thieves and lavender.   Ask your favorite friendly Young Living distributor (me of course) how to order.

the ever popular Dawn + vinegar shower cleaner {Works for Me Wednesday}

If you’ve been on Pinterest for any more than two minutes, I’m sure you’ve seen the pins for the Dawn+vinegar shower/tub cleaner.  I told you a couple of weeks ago that I had mixed up a solution of it and would let you know how it worked…well I’ve since tried it out and want to share my thoughts with you.

This is the pin that I’ve seen the most…and the one that got my attention (but notice that although there is a big difference between the dirty side and the clean side, there is also a shadow that makes it look really really drastic – just fyi).  Also, several of the teachers I worked with raved about how the Dawn+vinegar had worked for them.


I felt optimistic since so many people had said they had good results but I was still a little skeptical – surely it would take some effort to get it so clean.

So I mixed up my solution – it was super easy: heat 12 oz white vinegar in the microwave for 2 minutes, add to 10 oz of blue Dawn, shake to mix (after this first mix you shouldn’t have to heat or shake it anymore…until you make the next batch…because there will be a next batch!).  You can go here to see several different people’s versions (they’re all pretty much the same, but just in case you need some extra reassurance).

Then I sprayed it all over my dirty tub.  I let it sit for about three hours and then wiped it down.  I used a scrubber sponge, nothing special like a Magic Eraser, just a basic ‘ole sponge.  I would wet the sponge, wipe a section, then rinse (it gets pretty sudsy because of the Dawn).

I. Was. Amazed.

You know the soap scum you get on the sides of the tub?  The kind that takes a body builder’s strength to clean off?  The kind that you just swipe over with the cleaner when you don’t want to scrub for hours and you know it’s still there but you figure, hey at least it’s been sanitized (or is that just me?).

Well, that nasty soap scum came right off – no elbow grease required.

I am not even kidding you.  It just took a few rubs with the sponge, a little rinsing, and I had my whole tub cleaned.

I know…I’m as shocked as you.

Cleaning the tub has always been one of my least favorite cleaning jobs, mainly because I felt like it took forever to get it really clean.  No more!  I can now clean the tub thoroughly with minimal time or effort.

I’m also trying it out on my shower curtain – you know how the curtain liner gets all mildewy and gross at the bottom (or again, is that just me?  I sure hope not, if so then I’m incredibly embarrassed for you to know that my shower curtain liner gets all kinds of funky nastiness on the bottom – in lovely colors like pink, black, and orange…).  I have sprayed the mildewy yucky spots with my solution and I’m going to let it sit overnight and try to wipe it off in the morning…fingers crossed that it works!

*update on the shower curtain* – The next morning I wiped off the shower curtain with a wet sponge.  Quite a bit of the black stuff (I’m not sure if it was dirt or black mildew) came off, but the pink and orange mildew didn’t budge.  So obviously this Dawn and vinegar solution works well on soap scum but not so much on mildew.  However, after I cleaned off the part with the Dawn and vinegar, I was able to get the curtain almost 100% clean by spraying some Clorox spray on the mildewy parts, letting it sit for a little while (maybe an hour, possibly less), then putting the whole curtain in the washing machine.  I washed it on the delicate cycle using some bleach (about 1/4 cup).  That got almost everything off the curtain and I was able to hang it back up looking nearly as good as new!

Have any of you tried this yet?  How did it work for you?  If you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon yet, I command highly recommend you mix up a solution of this and give it a try in your tub.  Then let us know what you think!

(Oh and fyi, I did not take a before and after picture of my tub.  I love y’all, but not enough to show off dirty tub.  Sorry.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.  But I promise you won’t be sorry)

So anyway, using Dawn and vinegar to clean my tub works for me!

Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday.

Pinteresting Tuesday

Just sharing some of my favorite recent pins…check out Amber’s Pinteresting Tuesday post, too.

(remember, if you click on the picture, it will take you to the accompanying post/website)

1. This icing technique is one that I’ve never done – I really like how it looks like a flower.  I’m going to try that on my next batch of cupcakes.  Also, I think the ombre look of the cakes is really cool.


2. I adore this little hat-headband-thing on this baby!  My future little girl(s) must have one!

Source: via Caitlin on Pinterest


3.I do not like cats (or really any animal for that matter) but this cat is hilariously cute!


4.  I’ve got some ripe bananas hanging out in my freezer and some Greek yogurt chillin’ in the fridge (pun intended…) – I think I was just waiting for this perfect recipe to come around.  Can’t wait to give it a try!


5. I am ultra-intruiged by this post about how to clean your bathroom completely with just lemon, vinegar, and baking soda.  She shows before and after pictures and boy can you tell a difference!


Happy Tuesday everyone.  I’m spending my Tuesday enjoying the mountains in Gatlinburg :)

Oh and by the way, you can get the book I was featured in (That Works for Me!) for 50% off May 8 and May 9 only (in honor of Mother’s Day).  So if you want one, now is a good chance to grab a copy!  Just use the code “works4mom” and go here to purchase.  You can also head over to Kristen’s blog and get some great Mother’s Day coupons.

cleaning my computer screen {Works for Me Wednesday}

I’m usually on my computer while I’m eating – doing homework, checking Facebook, watching tv on Hulu or Amazon Prime, etc.  And I eat a lot of fruit, which is very squirty.  Plus I’m just a messy eater in general.  Do you know what all this adds up to?  A filthy, dirty computer screen.

My computer screen is nasty.  It doesn’t just have fingerprint smudges on it, it’s covered in all kinds of sticky spots and crud.  In fact, it’s so dirty that I’m embarrassed when I use my computer to show something to someone else.  It’s pretty bad when I can’t tell if there are dark spots on my pictures of if that’s just a spot on the screen.  I tried using the soft cloth things that are designed to clean computer screens but the massive sticky spots still remained.  I knew it was going to take something stronger to get the spots off but I was hesitant to use water or chemicals on my computer screen, you know?

Yesterday my smart husband brought me some of these to try.

Yep, those little wipes that you use to clean your glasses.  I tried one out and it worked like charm!  One little wipe got almost all the gunk off my screen – it took two to get it completely clean, but only because it was so bad to start with.  One wipe would be plenty to get a normal screen clean.  I know have a super sparkling clean computer screen.

That was a little trick that I just learned – it totally worked for me so I want to pass this handy little tip along.

Hooray for clean computer screens!

Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday.

I gotta new way to mop, mop, mop…

(if you sang that in your head to the tune of “I gotta a new way to walk, walk, walk” from Sesame Street then you are awesome)

Let me just say, I hate REALLY dislike mopping (in our house growing up we were only allowed to hate Satan and chiggers).  Mopping is one of my very least favorite household chores.  Why?  Because I’ve never found a good way to do it.

Most of the places I’ve lived have only had super tiny areas that could even be mopped (tile, laminate, etc.), plus they all were colors or materials that didn’t show anything – therefore those areas didn’t get mopped much.  Then we bought our house.  Complete with a wide expanse of dark bamboo floors (remember these pictures?).  They showed EV-ER-Y-THING and were impossible to keep clean.  And so my battle began.

I’ve done the Swiffer thing.  I don’t know about you but I think the Swiffer is only good for a quick dry run to pick up hair off the bathroom floor and maybe some dust.  If I Swiffer the kitchen I still have to sweep it because the Swiffer doesn’t pick up the big crumbs.  The Swiffer wet things are drippy and messy and don’t last long so you need several if you have a big floor.  Then they leave a sticky residue.  And don’t even get me started on the handle – that has to be the flimsiest thing ever!

I’ve tried the Shark which came oh so highly recommended by some of my friends.  Again, it was a no-go.  It was nearly impossible to push around the floor and it was streaky.  If I’m going to pay over $100 for a mop it better work like none other!

Of course I’ve done the basic ‘ole mop that you dunk in water, squeeze out, and use.  Of the above options, this gave me the least grief.  That being said it was still inconvenient to store since it took forever to dry, I had to continue returning to the sink while I mopped, and I never felt like the mop was clean even though I rinsed it after each use.

In desperate times I’ve even just wet rags and mopped down on my hands and knees like Cinderella.  That got the best results but let’s be honest – that’s miserable and time consuming.

Then a few weeks ago I was reading through the Works for Me Wednesday posts and I came across this one.  Like me the poster had tried lots of methods with little success; but she raved about her Rubbermaid Reveal mop.  She also made a video about how to use the mop.  I was sold.  The mop was purchased this weekend and put to the test for the first time today.  I’ll tell you what I think in a sec but Kathleen’s review is much better that what I’m about to write.  Plus she has a video and I don’t.  So go now and check out what she has to say.  I’ll wait.






Oh good, you’re back. Like I said, her review is very thorough and if you’re like me you already know you want to try this mop.  If you’re on the edge, let me tell you what I think.  I LOVE IT!!  This mop is super easy to use.  Seriously, the hardest thing about it is cutting off the plastic package.  After I opened it I just had to fill my bottle, pop it in to place, squeeze the handle a few times to get it going, and start mopping.  It was cake.  I’d just squeeze the handle to squirt out a few streams of water and mop over that section.  The mop was easy to maneuver and glided (is that a word?) perfectly over my floors.  When I finished I just pulled off the cloth (it velcroes on) and tossed it in the wash.

In all fairness I haven’t tried this mop on those dark bamboo floors so I don’t know how it will compare.  But the ease of use was definitely head and shoulders above anything else I’ve tried.

Go.  Buy one now.  You won’t regret it.


(P.S. I was not compensated for this post in any way.  Rubbermaid has no idea I exist.  But Rubbermaid?  If you’re reading this feel free to send me another one of these super cool mops.  I’d love to give one to my readers.  ‘K thanks.)

Clorox bleach tablets (Works for Me Wednesday)

I am forever signing up for free samples and a few months ago I got a sample of these Clorox tablets.  You put them in the tank of your toilet and every time you flush it cleans the inside of the bowl with a little bleach.  Something about the water in our house makes these nasty black and/or pink rings around the inside of the toilet bowl that usually appear within a week of cleaning the toilet.  I gave these a try and I was amazed at how long I could go without having to scrub the toilet since it was getting cleaned with every flush.  I immediately went out and bought enough for all three of our toilets.  This is especially handy now that we are moving and trying to sell our house since I need to keep it clean in case someone comes to look at it – at least now I can know that my toilets will be clean!

Pros: easy to use, fairly cheap, lasts several months, drastically reduces need to clean inside of toilet bowl

Cons: leaves a slight bleach smell (especially with the first few flushes), possibly hard on the toilet? (Michael said something about bleach being bad for the connectors I think).

For me the pros definitely outweigh the cons.  Cleaning my toilet with every flush works for me!  (Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday)

(These are my own opinions, Clorox did not compensate me in any way other than sending me the original sample – I just happen to really like their product)