Saturday, September 10, 2011

{31 Days To Clean} Week 1

So… I mentioned last week that I was going to be participating in the {31 Days to Clean} series going on at Homemaker’s Challenge.

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Well, then the first week of school happened!

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I love getting back into a routine once school starts (routine has been pretty non-existent over summer break)…but this week lacked even the slightest resemblance to a “back to school routine.”

I tried to follow along as closely as I could, but I will definitely have to catch up on a couple of tasks that I didn’t quite finish up on.

First of all, the {31 Days to Clean} e-book doesn’t just focus on the cleaning tasks that need to be done around the house (referred to as the “Martha challenges” in the book). It also focuses on the meaning behind the housework, or the “Mary challenges”.

This week, I had to take a step back to determine why I clean my house…the true driving force behind the vacuuming, dusting, etc… I want my home to be a peaceful place where we can relax…a place that is inviting and comfortable for our guests. I thought about my priorities and just really tried to put some purpose behind the process!

Most of the “Martha challenges” this week centered in the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but even if the entire house is a disaster area…as long as the kitchen is cleaned up (dirty dishes in the dishwasher, counters wiped clean, floor swept, etc…), I feel much better!

I already have a pretty good routine going to keep my fridge and freezer cleaned out.

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I quickly go through my fridge and freezer every Thursday and get rid of anything that is past its prime and make a note of items that are nearing their expiration (I try to include those in the menu for the next week to avoid wasting them). I do a quick wipe down of the shelves and drawers (definitely not a deep cleaning at all) and this tends to keep the fridge pretty clean.

I also recently reorganized the pantry so it didn’t need too much attention this week.

I skipped over the challenge to clean out all of the kitchen cabinets because I knew that this week just wasn’t going to work for that. I need to put shelf paper down in all of the cabinets and really move things around…you’ll have to watch for a post on that in the future!

I decided to post about how I cleaned my oven this week. It seriously needed it bad!! Remember the pictures I posted of the rainbow cake that I made?

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Obviously, my oven definitely needed some attention!

I don’t use typical oven cleaner in our house. Did you know that oven cleaners are one of the most toxic cleaners that people have in their homes…yikes!

“Wait”, you might be saying, “I have a self-cleaning oven so I don’t have to deal with oven cleaner anyways!!”

Would you use something that had this disclaimer on it:

Do not run the self-cleaning cycle on ovens when birds are around. Self-cleaning ovens are lined with PTFE (Teflon) and reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit during the self-cleaning cycle and emit gasses into the air that kill birds rather quickly. {via the Avian Web Site}

OK…I understand that we are not birds, but seriously?!? No thank you! I remember the last time I used my self-cleaning cycle a couple of years ago (after the girls were in bed, thank goodness)…my eyes were watering and my throat was itching. Bleh!

So, instead…I use one of my favorite “weapons” from my cleaning arsenal, Scour Off.

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{Here’s an exclusive scouring cleanser that sets a new standard. It’s a paste, so it doesn’t form dust clouds. It cleans stuck-on messes. It even cleans burnt-on food in your oven. And it doesn’t burn off your nose hairs in the process.}

Scour Off is made from natural mineral abrasives and biodegradable cleaning agents. Want to know the best part? It contains cherry pits…so it smells like cherries while you are using it! I’ll take cherry scented cleaner over burning teflon any day!

Well, does it work? Definitely…and here is my proof. It has been a long time since I have cleaned out my oven. I keep meaning to do it, but for some reason it is just one of those things that never gets crossed off of my “to do” list.

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I know…horrible!

Here’s the thing…I started this at 7:30 at night. My goal was not perfection or for my oven to be immaculate. I just wanted it to be presentable and for it not to make me cringe every time I opened the oven door!

Here is what it looked like after just 5 minutes of scrubbing the door…

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Just ignore the inside of the oven in the above picture…that is coming next…just focus on the door! Here is a close-up of the inside of the oven…

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Once again…I know, gross!!

I spent another 7 minutes scrubbing the inside of the oven…

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Much better! The key to the Scour Off is to use lots of water! I know it goes against everything you know about cleaning with a scouring paste, but it’s the truth! It should be very sudsy, like this…

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(This is my stovetop which I also took a couple minutes to clean since I already had the Scour Off out. Remember the clam chowder incident??)

So, after just 12 minutes and with just a little elbow grease, my oven now looks like this…

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Hopefully I will be able to keep up with next week’s challenges better than this week. It’s not too late for you to get a copy of the e-book and follow along! Can’t wait to go around and see all of the posts that are linked up for the {31 Days to Clean} challenge!!

On another note, the winners of the Basic H2 giveaway will be contacted by e-mail this weekend!!

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