Category Archives: General Household Tips

Tips & ideas you can use around the house.

Fruit Flies Have you Outnumbered?

I don’t know about you guys, but for some reason, earlier this summer our house was swarming with fruit flies. It didn’t seem to matter HOW many we killed, they just seemed to keep coming.

So I remembered, reading a “Life Hack” in one of the MANY lists you get bombarded with here and there on the internet. (That and a little ingenuity of my own as well, with some method advice from a friend.)

The “life hack” I tried was pouring about 3 Tbsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar into a coffee cup, tightly sealing it with Saran Wrap, held on with a rubber band and then poking holes in the wrap with a toothpick.

The idea is the fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar (which TRUST ME are they EVER) they climb in the hole and they can’t get back out. The more that are trapped, the more that seem to be attracted to it. I have to admit, this works pretty good, if you don’t have too many full-grown adult fruit flies. (we had some that were too big to fit in the holes and that is how they got out of control ,I believe.) But, you don’t want to have the holes too big or the sneaky little..uh…flies will get back out. I ended up putting a couple of cups out like this to take the population down quicker. I discovered that they were more attracted to a white mug than a clear mug. (Actually they seem to land on anything light or white, so if you set-up one of these traps, use a white mug for best results. As you can see in the picture below.)

20150630_125244 (2)

After a couple of days you’ll need to dump out the vinegar and start again with some fresh, if you still have a fruit fly problem. (the fresher vinegar attracts them better)

Where my ingenuity came in was…the adult ones that weren’t getting trapped of course were multiplying causing the population of fruit flies not to diminish as much or as quickly as I had hoped. We have one of those battery operated, tennis racquet bug zappers. (I’m sure you see where I’m going with this) The larger fruit flies fly a bit slower, which helps…but they can also duck and maneuver pretty good, which can add to your frustration.

With some method tips from a friend…(I must advise, don’t do this with people around or for a long time… for one you will look like a crazy person trying to bat down bugs that only you can see and two you will get tennis elbow. Which of course the latter happened to me. lol) You pretty much have to swing that racket in every direction possible, and fairly quickly to get some of the flies. (Maybe you can convince your kids it’s like a video game and get them to swat down the flies? lol) I found it a bit easier if you can see where they land and slowly place the racquet over that spot so the only exit they have is to fly into the racket. (Doesn’t always work…but more times than not it seemed to.)

I hope I have THOROUGHLY entertained you with the hilarious image of me looking like a lunatic swatting invisible bugs. (see the pains and humiliation I suffer to test some of these tips for you guys?! lol) I’m sure in MOST circumstances you won’t need to add this method. Just use the traps for a couple of days and you should see the population of flies reduce. (This is how we NORMALLY get rid of them, they just seemed extra difficult this year)

Hope you find this useful, as well as humorous.

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A ‘Nicer’ Store-bought Laundry Detergent

I don’t do a whole lot of these type of posts…but when I come across a good product that does what it’s supposed to and does it well, I feel the need to share. So others who have thought about trying it but weren’t sure, will have something to go by. The product I am referring to is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent. (Check out their website for DIY’s and their story)

How many of you, out there, have tried it?
Now, the first thing you may notice is the sticker price and you may immediately think…are you CRAZY lady? (compared to regular, harsh chemical, BIG jugs of laundry detergent) BUT…don’t let the price of this small bottle fool you. You do not need to use near as much as the “Jug O’Laundry Soap” brands. Only 1 Tbsp. per load, maybe a little extra if you think your load is excessively dirty or it’s an extra large load. (Still, you would only fill the cap to just past the threads..about an extra half-inch). Also, if you stock up while it’s on sale…you will only need to buy it the NEXT time it’s on sale! 😉 (I did that when Sprouts had it on sale and saved around $2 a bottle) The bottle says it will do 68 loads…I haven’t finished a bottle yet, so I can’t vouch for that. I’ve used the bottle pictured on several loads (I should have counted) and as you can see, I still have plenty left in the bottle.

Is it a miracle laundry detergent? No. It’s not gonna get everything you’ve ever thrown at your clothes out. (I’m not sure there’s ANY laundry soap that can do that) But I was VERY surprised at what this did get out the first time I used it. (considering it is less harsh in chemicals…I guess in MY mind that meant it would be weak) There were some old set-in stains on some of our clothes that I put in this first load, and when they were dry, as I was pulling them out of the dryer…I was shocked to see those were GONE. Not a SPECK in sight!! Not ALL stains were gone, but some of the stains that had gone were SET-IN and I mean REALLY set-in. These were on clothes that had been laundered several times in the past with my “Jug O’Laundry Soap” brand and yet remained, wash after wash. WIN_20150421_165241 I bought the Lavender scented (As you can tell from the picture) but there are other scents…I LOVE the smell of lavender so it was perfect for me. It is safe to use in HE washers. It has a flip-top cap to use if you want to treat a stain before you wash it (I didn’t do that on this test…but will try that in the future) It’s better for the environment…it’s not 100% natural…it says “Ingredients are at least 98% naturally derived.” (I would say that’s not too shaby) WIN_20150421_165309 The rest I’m sure you can get from the label (either at a store, my pictures or their website) Is Mrs. Meyer’s paying me for this review? NO. Not at ALL!! This is just my experience with this product. I hope you’ve enjoyed this and found it helpful. Please, feel free to write a comment and let me know similar products you’ve tried and think are great. (You know I love trying new things!)

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Spread Some Sparkle, Save Some Dough

Since I quit my job and have been a “House Wife” I have also been trying to find little ways to save money, as well as healthier alternatives to harsh chemicals. So, I have made a few cleaners that I have found online to clean dishes, counter tops, floors and other stuff around the house.

The first 2 things I tried were homemade dish soap, and an all-purpose cleaner. The dish soap recipe I got from here It works pretty good. I changed the recipe slightly, simply because I’m a bit on the lazy side if you will and didn’t want to grate up soap, so I used Dr. Bronner’s Castile liquid soap. But my suggestion to you would be to no add the water, if you try it my way, it’s too watery. Now, if you used to use Dawn, it doesn’t quite cut the grease like Dawn does, but it also doesn’t dry your hands out like Dawn either. For those that like bubbles, this produces a little less bubbles…which I didn’t think I would miss, but apparently I am a bubbles person, not sure why? Like I said though, the soap works good, my hubby like it as a hand cleaner mostly. Lol I really liked the scent I made with mine, it just smelled…clean…I used the Citrus Scented Dr. Bronner’s (pictured below) with a few drops of Tea Tree oil, for its antibacterial purposes, and more drops of Lavender oil…because I LOVE the smell of lavender, also it has antibacterial properties too. (I still buy a bit of Dawn for those really tough greasy dishes, but I use this for general dish cleaning…not so often now that I have my new dishwasher in and working!) 😉

Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

As I mentioned above I also tried an all-purpose cleaner as well. (Sorry I don’t remember where I got it at the moment) Here’s the thing, if it works good and I don’t find other recipes that improve the little quirks I have then I keep the recipe, but if I use it and it either doesn’t work or I find something that works a little better for what I’m looking for, then I delete it. This cleaner DOES work and I used it for a while, my only issue was it seemed to leave a bit of a film if you didn’t wipe things down with a damp cloth afterward. So I used it for a bit, and it was good…I don’t remember exactly what was in it but I believe it consisted of a bit of soap…Dawn or Castile (your preference), baking soda, vinegar, water and some essential oils of your choice. (you had to watch when you added the vinegar cause as you know vinegar and baking soda foam A LOT! Now THIS cleaner does suds up when used….so if you like that kind of thing, you might want to try to track down a recipe that has all these things in it.

So OBVIOUSLY I must have found an “improved” cleaner if I didn’t keep the recipe for the one above…and I HAVE!!! I absolutely LOVE this stuff…not so much the smell, but it cleans everything I’ve used it on to an ABSOLUTE SHINE!!! No rinsing or wiping down with a damp cloth afterward and it works FABULOUS at cleaning stainless steel. Here is where I got the recipe, I WISH I could take credit for this fabulous thing!! Lol
I know it says floor cleaner, but I use this stuff on almost everything. I used it on my kitchen floor and I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference it made. I think it does better that the Swiffer wet pads I used to use. (I would have taken before and after photos…but I think I would have been embarrassed of what the before photos looked like. lol) Now, they do mention that you might not want to use this on wood as the vinegar might be a bit harsh, so I haven’t tried it on my real hardwood floors in my living room, just on the…whatever type of wood, I have for my kitchen floor. (It’s wood…but not wood all the way through…manufactured wood?) Anyway, try this you WON’T be disappointed!!! 🙂

Let me know if you have a homemade cleaner you love to use. I would love to see the different recipes and try a few.

Making Your Own Laundry Soap

When I started planning on leaving my job. I spent evenings thinking of the different things I wanted to do or could do once I was no longer working outside of the house. I had pinned many things on my personal Pinterest, or took screen shots on my phone,  of stuff I wanted to try. A lot of DIY stuff. Laundry soap was one of them.

The first batch I made wasn’t quite what I had hoped for. Unfortunately I am not sure at this point where I got the recipe from, but it consisted of Borax, Washing Soda and shredded Castile soap or another type of laundry soap bar. You grated the soap bar and mixed all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender so that it all became a very fine powder. I loved the smell of it. (I used a combination of soap bars, one was lavender…which I LOVE) Needless to say it, causes a bit of a cloud when you were done mixing, and dump it into the container to store in.

I used it the first chance I could and was excited to see the results. But, it didn’t seem to get my clothes near as clean as my regular “bought” brand. Even though it smelled GREAT, I needed it to clean well. So I used it up gradually over the next couple months on loads that weren’t overly dirty.

After this experiment I did some research on comparisons of homemade laundry soap vs. store-bought laundry soap. There ended up being either a website or a blog about the top 20 homemade laundry soaps. (The website I no longer have, as it was a screenshot I took and the address bar is not in the photo) I wish I could give credit to whom ever I got this from. (I apologize in advance and if you happen to stumble upon this blog…PLEASE feel free to comment and take credit for this recipe.) The website had mentioned that there really isn’t a homemade laundry soap that will do quite as good of a job as a “bought” brand. Which, I kind of suspected would be the case. But I wanted to find something that would at least come close.

The recipe is below. I have tried this a couple of times, and I haven’t noticed too much of a difference between it and my regular brand. (Maybe I just haven’t had as dirty of laundry?) But I will warn you, for those who have a front-end loader, like I do, this produces a lot of bubbles and I know that’s supposed to be a “No-no” for front-end loaders. Maybe if you dilute it with a bit more water it won’t produce quite as much of a foam?

But give it a try, let me know how it works for you.

Homemade Laundry Soap

1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing soda
1/2 cup Dawn dish soap (haven’t tried this with other brands…but it may work just as well)

Add to this mixture 4 cups of hot water (It needs to be hot to dissolve the ingredients)
I recommend adding maybe 2 more cups of cold water at the end to dilute it a little more. (see if that helps with the extra bubbling)

I tried to fit this mixture into an old Quart milk jug…but it was a bit too small to hold it all. (Which might be why mine is so bubbly) You may need to stir-it-up once in a while as some stuff will settle on the bottom.