Friday, February 5, 2016

How I Clean My Bathtubs

Do you dread the task of cleaning your bathtubs?  Do you put it off as long as you can, all the while knowing that those tubs are just going to get cruddier and more scummed up as the days go by, making the task even more of a chore? Have you purchased every bathroom/tub cleaning product and tool you could lay your hands on, hoping against hope, that something will make the task a tad more tolerable?

Do your hands hurt from struggling to grip the hard handles of the various tools and/or slippery cloths you use for scrubbing? Does your back ache from bending over the tub when you are done cleaning? Do you find yourself using volumes of  expensive cleaning products just to get your tubs reasonably clean? Do many of the cleaning solutions you use cause you cough when you breath while you are cleaning, so that you find yourself holding your breath? Do the cleaning products you use warn against using without adequate ventilation?

In addition to all the above, do you find that after spending what seems like an eternity scrubbing away, do you rub your fingers over where you have scrubbed and still feel some residual dirt?

My answer to all of the above questions used to be "yes." In the past, I have hated cleaning bathtubs more so than any other housecleaning chore! 

Anyone who knows me also knows I do not use profane language. Until recently, from all the mumblings and grumblings coming from my bathroom while my bathtubs were being cleaned, one might have thought a scene from the movie A Christmas Story was playing out in there. 

I love that movie! In the movie a young boy named Ralphie is a main character. If you have seen the movie, you might recall the scene where Ralphie's father, who was widely known to be a master of profanity, goes down into the basement to work on the family's "clinker" furnace. The rest of the family, wide-eyed and gasping, stand witness to a tirade of outrageous and appalling language coming from the basement below! 

I have degenerative arthritis and scoliosis. Unfortunately, that makes housecleaning and many other things a bit more challenging for me than for some people. I am very grateful to still be able to do all the things I do, but it is not always easy. Consequently, I strive to find ways to make performing necessary tasks easier for me.

Glory be! I have discovered something that solves my bathtub cleaning woes! It also works for vanities, sinks, bathroom fixtures and so on. I am frugal and it is inexpensive to buy. It is really tough on bathtub crud and yet gentle enough to use as part of my beauty and hygiene routine on a daily basis. It occurred to me that others might benefit from learning what it is!

The story began last summer when my friend and I saw another friend in a local thrift store. The conversation we had somehow got around to the matter of hair and haircare. Namely, how to remove the products that can build up in the hair, like conditioners, hairsprays, styling gels,waxes and the like. This friend, whose hair always looks as if she has just stepped out of a salon, all colored and styled with every hair in place, told us she had found something that worked for her hair. I made a mental note of what she recommended. The next time I went to Walmart, I purchased a bottle of this:
Suave Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo
That's right, people. Suave Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo! The bottle states it is for normal to oily hair. My hair tends to be a little on the dry side. I use this stuff at least a couple of times a week and have not noticed my hair being any more dry than it was before I began using it. I also purchased a bottle of the conditioner that goes along with the shampoo and use that too, on occasion.
 It only takes a small amount of the shampoo to wash my hair as I wear it pretty short. I have used only a few bottles of it over the months for shampooing my hair. I am still using the original bottle of conditioner that I purchased with the first bottle of shampoo.

The bottle of shampoo states, also, that the shampoo is hypoallergenic. I have read many reviews of the product on various web sites, including Sauve's own web site, and have most remarks are positive. It works just fine for me and I use conditioner about the same frequency as I ever did before. The shampoo leaves my hair feeling very clean and definitely removes all the things that have built up in my hair.

A few people who stated they suffer from allergies complained of reactions to the fragrance. I am somewhat sensitive to certain perfumes and colognes, so I wear very little perfume and cologne. Once in a while, I use mild body creams and lotions in areas of my body that are not close to my face and nose. I have not noticed any sort of allergic reaction to this shampoo which, of couse, I use on my hair.

I find the fragrance of Suave Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo to be very mild and pleasant and have not noticed any problem with its clean and crisp fragrance. People with severe allergies might have a different reaction to it. I am speaking strictly for myself and my experience. I like it and have been using it for at least six months with no problems whatsoever!

I am digressing again! So, going back to the original focus of this post: How I Clean My Bathtubs!

As I said before, I look for the best ways to make life easier for myself and I sometimes share what I find out with others who might be interested. So, one day as I was taking a bath and thinking how I really needed to (oh dread) scrub that awful ring from the bathtub when I got out of it.

While I sat there thinking about it, I happened to spy my bottle of Sauve Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo, innocently sitting on the side of the bathtub. I thought to myself "Self, that pretty blue stuff works really well for cutting through the junk on your hair." Then, I thought to myself "Self, if it works that well on your hair, getting it all squeaky clean and everything, do you think it would hurt to try a little on this junk in this bathtub.?"

Well, when I got out of that tub, I grabbed a rag and, while the tub was still wet, I poured a teaspoon or so on the cleaning rag and prepared for a real workout scrubbing that tub. Imagine my surprise to find that the rag was veritably gliding through the build up of crud. It was moving that dirt faster than any thing I had ever tried and I have tried all the different homemade solutions and mixtures out there! 

Now that I realized this shampoo was definitely the trick for cutting the crud, I began to try all the different paraphernalia I had in the house to clean with. Long handled things with brushes and scrubbing heads attached to them, regular sponges, short handled brushes, etc. are a few of the things I experimented with. So, even though the chore did not take quite as long as it had in the past and the tubs were ever so much cleaner and shinier than before, I was sure things could be even better if I could find the right cleaning tool to use with it. 

Once again, I started looking for a solution. A month or so ago, I happened to be in a Dollar General Store and was looking at some of the scrubbing tools hanging on a pegboard wall in the very back of the store. I took this cute (if a tool can be considered cute) little tool from a peg and grasped its soft moulded handle in the palm of my hand.
Scotch-Brite Tub Scrubber
It was one of those gotcha moments! Seriously, it felt good--very good! Can you hear the violin playing? Sweet!

I whispered to this little scrubber "Do I have a friend for you!" I could hardly wait to introduce the two of them to each other.  When I got back home, I took it from its little package and  hurried upstairs to pair it up with the shampoo. It was love at first site!!
The Perfect Pair for Me  To Clean My Bathtubs
A perfect pairing for bathtub cleaning, Suave Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo and Scotch-Brite Tub Scrubber! They are now working together and singing "You've Got a Friend in Me."

Every now and then, when things get really tough, I could almost swear I hear them singing "Lean on Me!"
My Tub Scrubbing Partners
The little Scotch-Brite Tub Scrubber really works great. The scrubber pad moves that dirt, lickity-split and it gets into all the curves and crevices with no problem at all. The handle is perfectly shaped and just firm enough to stand up to the scrubbing action and soft enough that it does not put a lot of pressure on my hand as I use it. I love using it!

As I said before, folks, the shampoo works for me and it is certainly as gentle to my hair as any other shampoo I have used. Not only do I love it for getting my hair shiny and clean, but now it has been paired up with the Scotch-Brite Tub Scrubber and is my solution for cleaning cruddy bathtubs, sinks and vanities in my house. I find myself almost enjoying the once dreaded chore now!

The added bonuses, I paid only $1.50 at Walmart for the 22.5 ounce family size bottle of shampoo and less than $4.00 for the reusable Scotch-Brite Tub Scrubber! In my opinion, the shampoo smells wonderful and the scrubber can be used all over the house to clean things. I do not have to scrub nearly as hard and the soft moulded foam handle is very comfortable and easy to grip and hold on to. It does not slip and slide out of my hands. The entire process is much easier and faster now and so my back and hands thank me for it! 

The process I use to clean with this duo is simple. First, I run a little hot water (a quart or two) into the bathtub or sink, dip the tub scrubber into the water in the tub, squirt a teaspoon or so of the shampoo onto the scrubbing pad of the scrubber and work my way around the bathtub, tub surround and fixtures, using circular motions. Depending how soiled the tub/sink is, I add might dip the scrubber a time or two more during the process and add a teaspoon or so more of the shampoo, here and there along the way. For me, a tablespoon or so of shampoo is usually about all it takes to clean the entire tub!

When I finish scrubbing, I empty the dirty wash water from the tub and run some more very warm/hot water back into the tub and use the scrubber to swish water all around the entire tub to make sure all the shampoo  is rinsed away.  I use the same procedure with the sinks, vanities and bathroom fixtures. 

Cleaning after a shower is even easier. I just scrub things down and rinse while I am still in there. Easy-Peasey!

Like everyone, I am concerned about killing germs, bacteria and mold in my house. My solution for that is to add a few drops of bleach or a teaspoon or so of white vinegar to the water that I run in the tub/sink to rinse with. It works for me and leaves my bathrooms smelling fresh and sanitized too!

I have begun to stock up on the shampoo, just in case (lol). You just never know. I told my best friend about this yesterday when we were out and about. We had to look in several stores before we found one of the scrubbers for her. I think I might need to start collecting the scrubbers too! 

I am not being compensated for this post but thought it was something worth sharing with others.

If you try this, I hope you will let me know what you think!

Thank you so very much for visiting my blog and I hope you will come back soon! Have a beautiful weekend!

Monday, February 1, 2016

How I Make Wood Butter

It's no secret that items made of wood are some of the things I love. My large collections of rolling pins, wooden bowls and trays and wooden utensils are a testament to that fact.

In one of my all-time favorite movies, The Quiet Man, the character of Mary Kate Dannaher was portrayed by the beautiful Maureen O'Hara. Mary Kate, by her own admission, had "a fearful temper." She also had strong connection to the things that made her house a home--the things that made her happy.  In one of the scenes after she married Sean Thornton (John Wayne) and moved into his cottage with him, she insisted that she wanted "her things about her."

The love found within my house is, of course, the thing that makes it feel like home. Still, like Mary Kate Dannaher, I feel a strong connection to and want to have some of "my things about me."  Wooden items are some of those "things."

Over the decades, heat, humidity and cleaning can take a toll on wood items so that they become dried out, parched and cracked. That is what has happened to many of my wooden bowls and rolling pins. These are some of my bowls which are looking badly in need of some tender loving care.
Some of My Old Wooden Bowls Before Being Treated With Homemade Wood Butter

This bowl is in really sad shape. It is sturdy enough and not cracking but it feels really dry and rough to the touch. The color is very faded and washed out looking.
One Of My Wooden Bowls Before Treating With Homemade Wood Butter
Lately, I have been doing some research about ways to recondition and protect the wooden items in my home. What does the best job? Are commercial products better to use than what I could make for myself? How much do commercial formulas cost versus making my own product?

Surprisingly, there is quite a lot of information on the Internet and in Blog land about the subject of  Wood Butter. Not so surprising is the fact that some of the commercial products on the market can be pricey. There are different names used for it, such as spoon butter, board butter and wood butter!

In addition, there is some debate about what type of oil to use and which might not be so good to use. I also learned that it is not that difficult and not terribly expensive to make my own wood conditioner and protector at home.

If you know me, at all, you will know that I like the idea of creating things myself when I can. So, that is exactly what I did! Don't these bowls look much better after a good conditioning with my Homemade Wood Butter?
My Wooden Bowls After Conditioning With Homemade Wood Butter
Do you love your wooden pieces, old and new? Would you like to learn how to make your own Homemade Wood Butter? If you would, then I hope you will read on.

I have chosen to use the term Wood Butter for what I made because, I will be using it on all kinds of wooden objects and utensils, not just on spoons and cutting boards. I think most people use it that way too. I cannot take credit for the idea because, from the looks of things, people have been doing this for a long time, even some who do woodworking as a hobby or business. I think woodworkers and custom furniture makers have been using beeswax for centuries on their creations.

I did not actually weigh the beeswax but filled the bottom of the pint canning jar up to the 2 ounce mark near the bottom of the jar and added a little more, since I didn't want to pack the wax down and wanted to allow for loose spacing in the jar. Really, it is not rocket science and I believe that as long as you do not add too much wax and have the stuff come out hard, it will be just fine. I consider it like this, if it is too thick, add more mineral oil. If it's too thin, add a little more beeswax!

During my research I read where there can an issue with some of the oils used going rancid over a period of time. In which case, the wood begins to have a rancid odor. As far as I can ascertain, this is mainly with plant based oils such as sunflower oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, etc. Apparently, there is quite a lot of debate on the subject of which oil is best. Then, there is a debate about using mineral oil because it might not be environmentally friendly or biologically safe. However, mineral oil is said not to go rancid as quickly as plant based oils, if at all. Because I do not like the idea of  rank and rancid smelling cutting boards, bowls, spoons and so on, I decided to use mineral oil. The grade that is food safe is okay to ingest. It can be purchased in most any pharmacy "over the counter," as an intestinal lubricant. I bought mine at Walmart in the pharmacy area. The only other ingredient in the making of the Homemade Wood Butter is Natural Beeswax. I purchased the Natural Beeswax at Hobby Lobby in a one-pound block.
Ingredients For Making Homemade Wood Butter
I located natural beeswax on the Internet in pellet form and that would be more convenient, since I spent some time shaving the wax off the solid block. That was actually the most time-consuming part of the process.

Equipment You Will Need For Preparing And Storing Wood Butter:

2 Quart Sauce Pan
1 Quart of Tap Water (or a little more to reach half way up a pint canning jar when placed in a saucepan)
1 Pint Glass Canning Jar
2 Wooden Skewers or a Stirring Stick of Some Kind
Optional: Small Containers to Use for Storing to Give as Gifts

Ingredients For Preparing Homemade Wood Butter:

2 Ounces of Natural Beeswax shavings or Natural Beeswax Pellets
8 Ounces of  Food Grade Mineral Oil (from Pharmacy Section)

Instructions For Preparing Homemade Wood Butter:

  • Pour tap water into 2 quart sauce pan and place on burner of stove top on medium high heat.
  • Place 2 Ounces of Natural Beeswax in a 1 pint glass canning jar.
  • Pour 8 ounces of Food Grade Mineral Oil into the pint jar containing the 2 ounces of Beeswax.
  • Place the pint canning jar containing the beeswax and mineral oil in the pan of water heating on the stove top. Use care not to allow water to get into the mixture in the jar!
    Beeswax and Mineral Oil Mixed For Homemade Wood Butter
  • Using the wooden skewers, carefully stir the mixture. You will see the beeswax begin to melt in the mineral oil. Continue stirring.  You will notice the mixture is beginning to turn a bright yellow as the beeswax melts. 
Beeswax and Mineral Oil Mixture For Homemade Wood Butter 
  • When water begins to simmer, turn burner to low heat and continue to stir the mixture until all the beeswax is dissolved into the mineral oil. 
  • Turn off heat of burner when the beeswax is totally dissolved.
  • As the mixture begins to cool down for a few minutes it will begin to thicken.
Note: Pour into smaller storage containers while the mixture is still liquid enough for pouring!
Small Containers of  Homemade Wood Butter For Storing or Gifting
Aren't these little tub containers cute? I found these little plastic containers at Dollar Tree and they will make perfect little gifts, as a little Homemade Wood Butter goes a long way!

The containers have little lids too.
Little Plastic Containers Of Homemade Wood Butter With Lids

This is what the butter looks like once it solidifies. It is about the same consistency as real dairy butter.
Solid Homemade Wood Butter in Plastic Tub

Solid Homemade Wood Butter On A Small Spoon 
It looks good enough to eat, but don't do that!

To Use Homemade Wood Butter:

  • Spoon a little of the Homemade Wood Butter out and, using your hands or a soft cloth, spread it all over your wooden utensil, bowl, etc.
Allow the pieces to sit for several hours or overnight. These bowls in the picture below have been treated and left overnight and are waiting to be wiped down and buffed up with the soft cotton rag made from one of my husbands old tee shirts.

Wooden Bowls After Applying Homemade Wood Butter But Before Wiping and Buffing
  • After allowing the wooden pieces to sit for a few hours or overnight, use a soft, lint-free cloth or rag to wipe off any Wood Butter that remains and buff the pieces up a bit. The beeswax will bring a little shine and new life to your wooden pieces!

Buff Wooden Utensils and Bowls After Applying Homemade Wood Butter

This is the bowl that was pictured near the beginning of this post. It is very old and is exceptionally dry and thirsty. It looks much better than it did, but I am going to treat it two or three more times in the near future.
This Wooden Bowl Needs More TLC With Homemade Wood Butter
I hope you have enjoyed my little tutorial on the making of Homemade Wood Butter and that, perhaps, it has inspired you to make a batch or two.

Thank you so much for dropping by to see what is going on at Mimi Mine. I really appreciate the time you spend here! 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Master Paints

 My God the Master paints the most magnificent paintings! What a blessing it was to see this sunset from my front porch this evening!

The Master Paints

Have a beautiful week, friends!