BLEACH 101 – Surprising ways to whiten and brighten your clothes

There are many ways to bleach clothes.  You can choose from products that you buy and products that you create from what you have at home.

CHLORINE BLEACH:  This is one all of us are familiar with and most of us have had a bad experience with it.  When using chlorine bleach, use it only on all white fabrics and preferably white cotton, not blends.  Chlorine Bleach can turn polyester blends a gray color.  Never pour the beach directly into the wash on the clothes.  Put it either in the bleach dispenser, if your washer is equipped with one, or pour it in while the water is running in and prior to placing the clothes in the washer. Measure carefully.  Remember if splashed on any fabric chlorine bleach will remove color.  Even the fumes can remove color from fabric.

ALL FABRIC BLEACH:  This is sort of the catch-all bleach.  It is safe for all fabrics and for colors or whites.  It works well on polyester and blend fabrics too.  This should be put in the machine as the water is running in and never poured directly on the clothes either.  More is not better, so be sure you measure, and don’t just pour.

BLUING:  This is an old fashion whitening product.  It works well to brighten whites, especially cottons.  Use according to box or bottle directions and do not pour directly on to the clothes or it will stain them blue.

WHITE BRITE:  I really like this product.  It will brighten dingy whites, remove yellowing and rust stains and even fugitive color that has bled into clothes.  You can use on whites and colors.  Use according to directions.  Google for a store near you.

LEMON JUICE:  Lemon is nature’s bleach and disinfectant.  To whiten clothes, fill a bucket with the hottest water possible for the fabric you are working with, then pour in ½ cup of lemon juice or lemon slices.  Soak the clothes for 30 minutes or even overnight.  If you are using the juice you can pour it all directly into the machine.  This works especially well on white socks.

DISHWASHER DETERGENT:  This is a great whitener.  You can fill a bucket with the hottest possible water for the fabric you are working on and add 3 tablespoons of automatic dishwasher detergent or add 1/3 cup to a full washer of white clothes along with your regular detergent.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE:  To bleach delicate white items, such as wool or wool blends soak them overnight in a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 8 parts cold water.  Launder according to care instructions.


The kids are out of school and you may be using a sitter or other child care now. I want to give you a checklist of information to leave readily available before you leave the kids with anyone.


Children’s full names. Last names can be different and correct spelling in emergency situations can be important

Contact information for parents and other emergency contact persons. This needs to include both your work and cell numbers. If you use a different name professionally include that with your work number.

Your address and your home phone number. Include the zip code and cross streets. Important in an emergency also.

Your doctor’s name, phone number and address.

Your dentist’s name, phone number and address.

Drug and food allergies should be listed and highlighted. Include what the warning signs are for an attack and what to do if it happens.

Include any medical conditions.

List current medications including name, how taken and dosage. The caregiver may need this information in an emergency situation.

Include a copy of your health insurance card.

This list might be something you want to laminate or put in a plastic sleeve and attach to the front of the refrigerator. I keep emergency information for our house sitter attached to the inside of the pantry door. I have included the Veterinarian info for the cats and also all the information for plumber, electrician, AC Repair, Alarm company, etc. If you use a person who stays in your home for a longer period of time, this can be important. We have painted our main water turnoff handle bright orange and also put down where it is located. Be sure to look the list over periodically and update any information. It won’t help if it’s not current.


It’s summer and along with summer comes a nasty laundry stain, underarm stains.

First, prevention. The first time you wash a tee shirt or other item that could have underarms stains, lather up and work in Fels Naptha Bar Soap. Do this before you wash and dry it and do it every time. The stains are not from your perspiration they are from the deodorant and the heat of your body and the clothes dryer.

Now to the problem. You already have the stains, what do you do. Combine one part of Dawn Original or Dawn Ultra Dishwashing liquid with 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. Apply to the underarm area and work it in. Let it sit for an hour or so, then flush with cool water and launder as usual. Be sure the stains are gone before you put the garment in the clothes dryer.
Stain still there? Combine 1 part hot white vinegar and 1 part Dawn Original Dish Soap and apply to the underarms. Work it in and let it sit an hour and then launder. The vinegar will help with any odor too.

BLOOD: If it is a small amount of your own blood you can simply spit on it. Your own saliva will remove the blood. This will not work on anyone’s blood but your own, not even your kids. For larger amounts of blood, pour on hydrogen peroxide and let it sit and bubble up to remove the blood. Old, dried blood? Mix meat tenderizer with cold water and apply. Let sit about 15 minutes and then launder as usual.

SMELLY LAUNDRY: Adding ¼ to ½ 20 Mule Team Borax to each load of laundry is a great deodorizer. A ½ cup of white vinegar will also help with odor. ODORZOUT™ is an all natural odor remover. Use 1 teaspoon in each load of laundry. Safe enough for baby clothes. Read about it at


Believe it or not you can actually clean with things you have in your pantry.  Give some of these unusual methods a try.

KETCHUP:  This is a great cleaner for copper.  Simply work it in with a paper towel.  Let it sit a few minutes, rub until you see the copper shine and then rinse well.

DRY MUSTARD:  It’s a great odor remover for plastic storage bowls.  Fill the bowl with warm water, add about ½ teaspoon or so or dry mustard and let soak a few hours.  Wash, rinse and dry.  If you have onion or garlic smell on your hands work dry mustard into wet hands. Rinse and dry.

FLOUR: You can use dry flour on a dry stainless steel sink to polish it.  Sprinkle in the flour and rub firmly with a paper towel.  Rinse and dry well.

LEMON JUICE:  Mix some lemon juice with cream of tartar and apply to stained countertops or breadboards.  Let sit an hour or so or even overnight and then rinse and dry.  Light stains can be wiped away immediately with this combination.  Do not use on stone.

ONION:  If you have brown stains on knifes from tomato products or the dishwasher, stick them into an onion.  Let sit for a while the then pull out, rub the stain, wash and dry.

SALT:  Pour it on spills or run-overs in the oven to absorb grease.

VODKA:  Swish diamond jewelry in undiluted vodka to clean.  For heavily soiled pieces let soak 15 minutes.  May be used on gold and hard stones.





I found this so interesting that I had to post it for all of you.   I have heard these sayings all my life but had no idea where they came from.   Enjoy!

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & Sold to the tannery…….if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot……they “didn’t have a pot to piss in” & were the lowest of the low

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . …… . Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof… Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive… So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

And that’s the truth….Now, whoever said History was boring

WEARING OF THE GREEN!! Dealing with those St Patrick’s Day Spots and Spills


If you are going out to drink a little green beer or perhaps you and the kids are frosting St Paddy Day cookies green or maybe you are cooking corned beef and cabbage I’ve got solutions to those pesky spills.


Take an old washcloth and wring out in white vinegar.  Rub over the stained area.  If it is stubborn, add a little baking soda to the mix.  Don’t rub too hard.  Better a little green on skin than a raw patch of skin.


Soak or sponge the beer stain in cool water. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent.  If stain remains, soak for 15 minutes in 3% hydrogen peroxide.


For washable clothes, sponge the stain promptly with cool water. If the stain remains, soak in cool water for at least 30 minutes. After soaking, pretreat with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent, and then launder.   If the stain is stubborn, work in Dawn Original Dish Washing Liquid and baking soda.  Let soak 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.   Treating as soon as possible is advisable.   If clothing is dry-clean only, be sure to point out the stain to the cleaner.

REMOVING THE SMELL OF CABBAGE ( or other smelling vegetables)

Corned Beef and Cabbage is a popular St Paddy’s Day meal, but that cabbage can really leave a smell.  Here’s some advice on removing that odor:

  • Wash the cooking pots and appliances with full-strength vinegar immediately after the cabbage has finished cooking or boiling.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into a saucepan and bring to a boil. As the vinegar boils, its steam will remove the foul smell of cooked cabbage. Watch that the pan doesn’t boil dry.

GREASE STAINS ON CLOTHES:  So you dripped the corned beef and cabbage and now you have a grease stain.  Try my grease remover.

  • 8 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon dishwashing liquid (Prefer Dawn Ultra or Original)
  • 1 Tablespoon Glycerin (from the drugstore)

Apply to stain, work in and let sit 30 minutes.  Launder as usual and line dry to be sure the grease is removed.  If not try Guardsman Dry Cleaning Fluid.  Google for a store locator.   Use according to directions or take garment to the dry cleaner.



It’s that time of year when the weeds are popping up everywhere, usually faster than the actual flowers that we take such good care of.  Here are some natural weed killers that are safe for you to use and won’t harm the earth or environment.  Remember though, if they kill weeds they will also kill flowers  and plants so use care.  When you are buying ingredients for these natural weed killers look for white vinegar in gallon containers and salt in restaurant size boxes etc.  Warehouse stores are a great place to buy large containers inexpensively.  Check out dollar stores too.  The dish washing liquid helps to keep the other ingredients on the plants so it can be any cheap variety you find.



This one is easy and it really works.  According to the USDA using vinegar on Canada thistle, one of the most tenacious and aggressive weeds in the world, killed the thistle.  A 20-percent concentration of vinegar will kill Canada thistle in about 2 hours!

In a spray bottle or a watering can combine 1 quart white vinegar, ¼ cup salt and 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap.  Shake or stir this mixture so that the salt dissolves completely.  Spray ONLY on weeds. If you have a lot of weeds you can double, triple etc. this recipe and put in a garden sprayer.



Mix ½ cup of white vinegar and ½ cup of lemon juice and spray or water weeds with it.  The acidic combination kills the weeds.



Combine 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 tablespoons of dish soap and 1 quart of water.  Spray on the weed and also on the ground surrounding it.



This one is for crabgrass.  I remember my dad fighting this in our yard in Michigan.  This uses only baking soda.  Sprinkle baking soda directly on the crabgrass.  Use care with this because it will kill plants, grass, flowers, anything it comes in contact with.  It can drift some so don’t sprinkle close to things that you don’t want to die.



Getting Rid of Smells – Making Your Own Air Freshener

Keeping the house smelling great is a priority for everyone. Here’s some great advice on how to achieve that in a safe, natural way.


Combine 1 cup Witch Hazel liquid (buy in the drug store where the toner and lotion is sold)

4 tablespoons dried sage and 8 or 9 dried bay leaves.  Combine the ingredients in a container with a lid shake, cover and let sit for about 3 days at room temperature.

Shake the mixture well, strain the herbs out of the liquid and put in a spray bottle.  Do not spray directly on clothes or fabric.


  • H-2-0 Pearls or Water Gems used in potted plants to maintain water or with fresh flower arrangements.  Look for these where potting soil is sold or go to
  • 2 – 3 cups of distilled or filtered water
  • Approximately 10 – 15 drops essential fragrance oil or fragrance drops (I love the ones from Bath and Bodyworks).  Pick a fragrance based on where you are going to use it and your scent preference
  • Decorative clear glass container

Fill a measuring cup or bowl with 2 – 3 cups water and the gems or pearls.  Add fragrance based on your preference.  Allow to sit covered for 5 – 6 hours and then drain and pour into decorative container to sit out.  Keep out of reach of young children.


Put a dish of fresh dry coffee grounds in to absorb odor


Put a piece of bread in a bowl and cover with white vinegar.  Put in drawer or trunk, close and leave at least 24 hours.


  Sit a container of white vinegar next to the stove to control odors as you fry foods


Add lemon juice or slices of several lemons to a pan of water and simmer on the stove to remove the odor.


Those yellow armpit stains just keep showing up. In shirts, tee shirts, workout clothes, sports wear. Here is a concoction that will remove that mess and it can be used on colored clothes too as long as they are colorfast. That means if you wet the item, push down with a white paper towel and no color is visible on the paper towel when you look at it.


1 part Dawn Original or Dawn Ultra Dish Washing Liquid. This is the blue concentrated stuff.

2 parts 3% hydrogen peroxide. The kind you buy for cuts at the drugstore.

Mix up your little miracle cleaner in a container and apply to the underarm area. If the stains are yellow and old, work this in with a brush. I like to use a nailbrush. If the stains feel stiff and almost crusty, apply the cleaner and then add a couple of shakes of baking soda to aid in the brushing. Let sit for a couple of hours for old stains. Then launder as usual.

For newer stains, apply the cleaner, work in between your thumbs, let sit 30 minutes and then launder as usual.

TO AVOID STAINS: Use Crystal Deodorant. This is an all natural deodorant with no additives and will not leave waxy build up or yellow stains. Buy at drug stores or health stores.


RICH, MOIST, DELICIOUS, SINFUL, CHOCOLATE MUFFINS…..containing NO flour or sugar and only 58 Calories!!
These muffins are very similar to Chocolate Chunk Vita Top Muffins. Awesome for breakfast, with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon or for a snack for the kids.


1-3/4 cup oats

3 egg whites (I used the pre-packaged kind)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)

1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp vinegar)

1-1/2 tsp baking powder

1-1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup hot water

1 cup sugar substitute (Splenda granular) OR 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Stevia

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 (12 cup) muffin pans with FOIL cupcake liners or spray muffin tins with non stick cooking spray. Don’t use paper liners, muffins stick to them.

In a blender, or food processor mix all the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips.  Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.   You may finely grind the oats and then put in a bowl with other ingredients and use mixer if your processor is small.  Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips.  Mixture will be thin.

Using a scoop or ladle put the mixture into prepared pans. Place muffin tins in the oven for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (DON’T SHUT OFF) and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin. Place muffins back in the oven and bake an additional 2 – 5 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool before removing from pan.

These freeze well.
NOTE:  All those chocolate chips you eat while preparing these or putting in more chocolate chips will add to the calorie count! 24 smaller muffins 58 Calories per muffin    12 larger muffins 116 Calories per muffin