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As many of you may know, I recently moved, started another part-time job and sadly, had to put my dog down (I’m still heart-broken). During the past month or so my schedule has been running in the 80 hours/week category. Between the jobs and the move —packing/painting/moving/unpacking — I’ve barely had time to eat, let alone write my weekly blog. So, for the sake of my sanity, I didn’t publish a blog post for the past two weeks. Happily, I’ve unpacked all of my belongings, have settled into my new abode nicely, and can return Persephone Rising to its regularly scheduled programming.
If you’ve been following my blog over the past year, you’d know by now that I love my life hacks. I also promised a life hack column a few times a year and organically, it’s becoming a quarterly posting — seasonal life hacks if you will. The first life hack of 2018 was the winter edition posted in mid-February. Today, I bring you the next edition — spring! I’m also focusing this edition on late spring cleaning — since I’ve been doing a lot of that with the move.
So without further ado, I offer you 13 cleaning hacks that I found really interesting and I hope you utilize and enjoy them:
CLEANING THE CLEANERS
I always thought it was odd to use a dirty object to get other things clean — it seems counter-intuitive but is surprisingly common. Let’s break the cycle and clean our cleaning supplies!
Disinfect Your Sponge in the Microwave
You’d be surprised to hear how much bacteria collects on the very object you use to clean things. You should be disinfecting your sponges from time to time and the microwave is the perfect tool. Quickly clean your sponge and eliminate bacteria by soaking the sponge with water, set it on a microwaveable plate, and blast it for two minutes. This will kill 99% of bacteria hiding in the sponge.
One caveat: Microwave only sponges or plastic scrubbers that do not contain steel or other metals, like Scotch Brite Multipurpose sponges. Trust me, you’ll have quite a spark-fest and it’ll ruin your microwave!
Sanitize Your Mop
If you use a reusable mop and not a Swiffer product, this hack is for you. To sanitize your mop, start by rinsing it until the water runs clear. Then, place the mop in a bucket filled with 1-2 gallons of water, followed by a cup of vinegar. Let it soak for 15 minutes, rinse out with water and air dry it. Your mop will be ready for duty!
Clean Your Vacuum and Its Attachments Periodically
All you need is a damp cloth with a mild detergent (like dish soap). Make sure the vacuum is unplugged, of course, and start cleaning. And make sure to clean all of the attachments while you’re at it. Air dry all parts and reassemble. And don’t forget to change the bag.
GETTING THE COOKING EQUIPMENT IN TIP-TOP SHAPE
Steam-Clean the Microwave
To remove old food stains and junk from the inside of the microwave, create a steam room inside and then scrub. Cut a lemon into halves, squeeze the juice into 1 cup of water and drop the rinds into the mixture. Microwave for three minutes and let it stand for five minutes without opening the door. The trapped steam will loosen the grime, so you can easily wipe the microwave clean.
An Interesting Way to Clean Your Grill
This one sounds odd to me and I don’t have a grill but I just had to put it on the list. Here’s a way to get your grill ready for the barbequing season. First, heat the grill to a medium temperature and spray some white vinegar onto the grates to help loosen the residue. Then, scrub the area firmly using half an onion. The acid from the onion will eliminate any leftover remnants on your grill. Surprising….
Clean Oil with Oil
An oil spattered stove is a pain to clean. Try as you might, the soap never is enough to break-down the oil and get it grease-free. Instead, use oil to clean up oil. Add a few drops of vegetable oil to a paper towel, then wipe the greasy surface and watch the oil disappear. When you're done, simply wipe it with a clean towel and stand back to admire your shining work.
DUST BE GONE: 5 EASY HOW-TOs
How to Easily Clean Your Ceiling Fan with Little Mess
Ceiling fans can be one of those forgotten items that are never dusted. And when you get around to it, the dust is so thick you need a vacuum to clean the floors afterward.
Here’s an easy trick:
Grab a pillowcase and slide it over the first blade. If the dust is really thick, spray it with an all-purpose cleaner first.
Clasp each hand on either side of the blade using a little pressure. Starting at the base slowly bring the pillowcase to the tip. All of the dust will be inside the pillowcase. Rotate the pillowcase slightly and repeat on all of the blades. If it was very dusty. Go back and wipe up the residual dirt with a paper towel and cleaner. Then just wash the pillowcase.
How to Easily Clean Blinds
I’m not a huge blind fan because they are such a pain to clean. But here’s an easy way to alleviate that issue. Grab your kitchen tongs and two microfiber towels. Wrap the towels around the tongs and use rubber bands to hold them in place (you can cut the towels in half if they're too big). Then, wipe away! If the dust has really settled in, spray the cloth with cleaning spray before wiping.
How to Easily Clean Air Vents
Don’t let that dust build up for another minute; use a butter knife to reach those tough get places between and behind your vents. Simply wrap the knife in a rag and wipe between the slats. Then, open the windows and run your central air to fill your home with fresh spring air (just be sure your heat or AC isn’t on while you’re running the fan).
How to Easily Clean Hard-To-Reach Places
Cobwebs and dust can collect in ceiling room corners or under the bed. In any hard to reach areas, just use this trick. Secure a towel over the bristle end of a broom with a large rubber band. The dust and cobwebs will stick to the cloth.
How to Easily Dust Furniture
Cotton is a great fabric for trapping dust particles. Try recycling an old pair of (clean) socks and use them as dust mitts. You’ll have more control over where dust goes and your items will be dust free in minutes.
2 BONUS CLEANING HACKS
Wash Your Windows on a Cloudy Day
I’ve heard people say you should wash your windows on a cloudy day, which will help eliminate streaking. And it makes sense since the sun will dry the windows too quickly, which will lead to streaking. And besides, if it’s a day with sunshine, you should be out enjoying it, not inside cleaning. If you like to make your own cheaper cleaner, mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts warm water. And forget the paper towels — too linty. Instead, use a coffee filter or newspaper for a perfect clean.
Get Rid of Hard Water Stains
Hard water stains are just ugly and can be a nightmare to eliminate. One quick and easy solution is to soak a few paper towels in white vinegar, then place them on the hard water stains in question — your faucets, your bathtub, or the drip pan for your refrigerator's water dispenser. Let it soak for an hour and then wipe the objects with a clean towel. Be ready for the sparkle!
Cooking for Joan
After a day of heavy spring cleaning, it’s time to make a simple dinner and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Black cod is a perfect springtime meal. The texture of black cod (it’s really sablefish, not cod) is smooth, velvety and large, yet delicate enough to flake. The flavor is rich, satiny sweet, with a buttery taste courtesy of the high oil content. Combined with the strong Asian flavors of hoisin and ginger, this easy dish is perfect for a special occasion or just a solo meal at home.
Alaskan Black Cod with Hoisin and Ginger Sauce
Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 7 min | Makes: 4 | Difficulty: Easy
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 1/4 teaspoons hot chili garlic sauce/paste (such as sambal oelek)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 7-ounce Alaskan black cod fillets
- Steamed rice
Whisk first 6 ingredients in small bowl
**Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring ginger sauce to room temperature before serving.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Stir hoisin and chili paste in another small bowl
Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat
Add cod, skin side up
Cook 2 minutes, then turn cod over.
Spoon hoisin mixture over fillets, dividing equally.
Transfer to oven and bake until fish is just opaque in center, about 5 minutes.
Serve on a platter or individual dishes.
Spoon ginger sauce around fish and serve with steamed rice.