Welcome to Southern Comfort!

Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I invite you to grab a glass of sweet tea and join me as I (along with my husband, John) renovate our love nest. We're both born and raised in the south and love to share with you some of our favorite recipes, stories and our life. We hope you'll come back often!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How I Clean

I know, it's dirty business, but someone around here has to do it. I get question after question in email, facebook and even in person of how I clean and what we use. So I figured I'd oblige and let y'all all in on my little secrets.
Today is a dreary day here in NC. The temperature is hovering around 70 degrees and it's rainy, rainy rainy. This is my favorite kind of day to pull out the basket of cleaning supplies and get down (and dirty, sorry, I had to!) and scrub the house. Since we're stuck inside for the most part anyway, you might as well go ahead and get something accomplished.

Most of the time I start in the kitchen. Our kitchen gets the brunt of the dirt. With 2 doors (one leading to the drive-way, the other to the back deck), 2 adults and 1 doggie, it gets a lot of dirt through there, regardless of how hard I try to teach Maggie to wipe her paws. You can read more about the daily-state of our kitchen here.

First of all:
  • I start with de-cluttering.
We always have mail to be sorted, drinking glasses and odds and ends to be tidied up daily. A little secret from me to you is: John absolutely HATES doing dishes. He won't even put them in the dishwasher. So I end up being our household de-clutter-er for the kitchen. I don't mind because I'm addicted to instant gratification. Putting dishes in the dishwasher instantly makes the room look cleaner. And we all like that.

  • Start from the TOP  and move your way down.
Because working from the bottom up will only make your floors dirty as you go. If you work from the top and go down, all the dirt gets cleaned up from the floor last. Hooo-Rah! Wipe down your counters. I either use a dishcloth and my Martha Stewart All Purpose Cleaner from Home Depot. We've been really trying to move away from commercial cleaners and move to a more 'Earth friendly' option. So for Valentine's day this past year, John bought me the new line of Martha's organic cleaners. And I Loooooove them! I know, be jealous. My hubby can buy me cleaner for Valentines and his wife squeals with delight. He's a lucky man. :)

I clean the sink with a mixture of 1/4 Clorox (I know, not so earth friendly, but our sink gets Gaaarrose) I spray it in and let it sit while i work on the other counter tops.
For the stove-top (ours is flat) I used to clean using these cleaners, but I've found a much EASIER and 'Earth friendly' way of doing it. I get my dishcloth a little damp and sprinkle some Baking Soda on top. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Done. Way easier than making that paste with a Brillo pad etc. I try and do it every night after cooking, but sometimes it doesn't happen (like last night when I didn't want to miss a single second of Glee!).  It doesn't seem to matter how gunk ed on the stuff gets either. It's always pretty easy to clean. Wooot!

As for the floors, this is my nemesis. Now that we have laminate, the dust bunnies just roll across the floor and get stuck in corners. I have a three-step process for our floors (to get really clean). If I'm just doing a quick clean up, it's only 1 step. I'll go through it with you.
First, I pull out the vacuum cleaner. It pulls up all the big stuff. Normally this is all I do for a quick clean. But for a more thorough cleaning, then I add the mop with the dry micro-fiber cloth. It pulls up all those itty-bitty bits of debris. Best of all, then I just throw it in the wash.
To mop the floor, I add another micro-fiber cloth to the mop and clean using Martha's organic floor cleaner. Doesn't take 5 minutes.
(I know you're wondering why I use 2 cloths for the floor. Why not just use the first one twice and be done? I tried that, and I found all it did was swoosh around the dirt across the floor when I got it damp and didn't really pick it up. Not cool.) Besides, once I'm done I throw both cloths in the wash and I'm all done for the week. :)

  • Dusting
I dust every week using a micro-fiber cloth (love them!). They pick up EVERYTHING. I used Swiffer's for the longest time, but I didn't like how wasteful they were. So I did some research and everyone was raving about microfiber cloths. So I switched, and I'm so glad I did. Along with my cloth I use Pledge multi-surface cleaner. I wish there was an organic option out there for dusting. Does anyone know of one?

Here are a few more tips for those of you who love cleaning like me:
  • I'm terrified of dust-mites so I was our sheets weekly. I also vacuum our mattress while the sheets are off.
  • I like to cut up a lemon and throw it down the garbage disposal with some ice to sharpen the blades and make it smell good better.
  • Magic erasers make getting off soap-scum sooo much easier in the bathroom. If you don't have a magic eraser, try using a dryer sheet. I've done it both ways and they both work great.
  • I hate ironing. But when I do get around to it, there's nothing more frustrating than getting that burnt on gunk on whatever your ironing. So I clean the plate with a little scrubbing action with Baking Soda and my magic eraser. Presto!
  • Speaking of ironing, don't fill your water reservoir with tap water. Fill it with filtered water and it will help keep the minerals from depositing on your clothes.
  • I set our pillows out in the sun on nice days. Kills bacteria, and gives them that "sun-drenched" smell.
**note: I prefer to clean the house by myself. I put on some good music and my sweats and get-to-it. I've found I clean more thoroughly than John (he's more of a one wipe and go kind of cleaner). So he helps me declutter and do laundry (he rocks at laundry) while I stick to the deep cleaning. **

So that's how we keep the newly-wed nest clean from week to week. Any suggestions you have for cleaning? I'd love to hear!


  1. Good tips! My secret weapon is Barkeepers Friend - cleans nasty grout and ovens without horrible fumes. Also makes my stainless steel pans gleam!

  2. My Hubby actually seems to like cleaning and he's the detail guy. Give him a chandelier to wipe down and he'll be happy for hours. He's also a good mopper, which can be so back breaking. Don't you love microfiber for dusting? Although, recently, I picked up these cool dusting mitts at the dollar store and they are easy to use. We got rid of all of our carpeting last year and now have 100% tile in the house. So vacuuming, dust mopping and wet mopping have become my nemesis as well. I just bought a Shark Steam Mop that I haven't even had out of the box yet. Will report on how well I like it when I've put it to use.


I put a lot of hard work into the blog, so I love hearing back from you! If you wish, leave me a comment and help make Southern Comfort a fun place to voice your thoughts too! Happy Writing, Elizabeth

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