the domestic tales of four sisters

Cleaning Arsenal


This is KJ. He is an almost 3 year old yellow lab. And he is my “Marley.” Have you ever seen the movie “Marley & Me?” It’s incredibly sad at the end. As with most movies that contain a yellow lab, he dies in the end. Fortunately this one isn’t due to rabies. I knew going into my purchase of labbies for my family that I would deal with their “quirks” and I was fine with that. Our dogs came before our child and I wanted a breed that I knew wouldn’t “freak out” as soon as I decided to pop a kid out. I’m happy to report that they think the baby is the most awesome thing since sliced bread and they love their new nap buddy.

However, my KJ aka Marley, has not changed his tune. He still will eat anything that isn’t nailed down if he gets bored, he licks you constantly to let you know that he’s there or he loves you or something, he drinks water in such a way that the hallway becomes a waterslide, and worst of all … he licks my floors after I mop them. Even after they are dried.

While I’m mopping, and it has been this way since he was brought home, the dogs are blocked off upstairs or put in their crate. This is KJ’s form of hell.

“I’m sorry, but did you just say I can hop over this chair and come downstairs now? Done and done.”

I noticed KJ’s attraction to licking the floors when he was about 12 weeks old. At this point in time I was using Clorox or Pinesol to clean the floors. I figured this would be something he would grow out of, and opted to begin using vinegar to clean the floors until this wonderful phase passed.

It didn’t.

But what I did discover is I loved cleaning my floors with vinegar. I kept it up. And then … I stumbled upon a little tip … Hydrogen Peroxide. I thought surely it wouldn’t replace my love of vinegar. And then I tried it out and lo and behold – I love it. But are you ready for the best part?

KJ doesn’t lick the floors anymore.

As I was cleaning my house today I noticed that I’ve pretty much moved over to a limited supply of cleaning products, and I couldn’t be happier. Not to mention I’m not dealing with strong scents in different cleaning products. I’m very sensitive to scents and a lot of cleaners give me major headaches! Also – hello inexpensive!


1) Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface
2) Hydrogen Peroxide
3) Vinegar
4) Dawn Bleach Alternative

These all serve different purposes in my home and aside from the toilet bowl cleaner I have stashed away under my bathroom sinks – this is all I use to keep my house clean.

Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface: 

Some may be turned off by the use of Clorox. Here’s the reality – I’ve worked in daycares before and the solution in that bottle is the same solution they use to disinfect the toys and tables. It is bleach that they have diluted so far down that it is safe to use around food and kids. My husband works with high school students and is constantly shaking hands and making contact with people. I have a 3 month old baby. Each night after she’s tucked safely away in bed I give my counters a good squirt of Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface. I allow it to dry. Now, you don’t have to rinse if you don’t want to, but I feel more comfortable doing so. I just take a paper towel or dish towel and run it under some warm water and wipe over any surfaces that I have sprayed. I also give my door handles a spray here and there and I frequently use this to clean our toilets/counters/sinks/showers in the bathrooms. The bleach scent is not overwhelming and it doesn’t have that ungodly awful stench that Lysol carries. If you prefer Lysol, go on with your bad self.

Hydrogen Peroxide:

I only use Hydrogen Peroxide on my floors. I haven’t branched out and used it in other ways. It can be used basically in lieu of bleach in a lot of ways. (For example: Adding a cup of Hydrogen Peroxide to your whites instead of bleach. Works just as well, but doesn’t leave behind that strong bleach scent.) You can use it on everything from kids’ toys to your countertops to your plants! To clean my floors I add 1/2 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide per 1 gallon of warm water. I have wood laminate flooring in my *rented* house. I could not be happier with how great the floors look. In fact, I think they look better since I moved in. The best thing about this little product is it is cheap and non-toxic. In fact, my husband uses this combined with baking soda made into a paste to whiten his teeth every once in a while. You can swish it around your mouth to help get rid of any sores and such. It’s awesome! I will be using more of this stuff around the house. 🙂


Truthfully, I could go on for days about vinegar. When KJ was little and we were still training him he would have his accidents – usually on the carpet and not the hard flooring. Dangit! Well, again trying to avoid the nasty smelling/masking/gross pet stain removers I started mixing up a spray bottle with 1/2 cup vinegar and then filled to the top with water. Each time he would have an accident I would throw a towel down, absorb as much of the urine as I could, spritz it like crazy with the vinegar/water solution, put a new towel over it and absorb as much as possible, spray more of the vinegar solution and allow it to dry, and finally vacuum over the spot. It works awesomely! This solution can be used in other ways, too! Refer below.

Now, of course when you’re using vinegar to clean you’re going to have that vinegar smell, but you know what is awesome about it? It deodorizes and then all of the sudden the vinegar smell is gone. As I said, before Hydrogen Peroxide came into my life, vinegar was my go-t0 for floor cleaning.

Here are my favorite ways to use vinegar around the house –

1) Urine Removal: 1/2 c vinegar diluted with water in spray bottle
2) Floor Cleaning: 1/2 c vinegar per 1 gallon warm water
3) Counter Cleaning: Refer to urine removal spray*
4) Window/Mirror: Refer to urine removal spray*
5) Carpet/Fabric Deodorizer: Spray furniture or carpet or upholstery with urine removal spray mixture. Allow to dry.  (*When we purchased our new-to-us Jeep the previous owners were smokers, and despite the dealer’s best efforts they could not remove the smell entirely. This helped me in the negotiating of the cost of the car. To the tune of $1500 off the price. However, I knew the trick that the dealer didn’t – vinegar/water solution. I brought the Jeep home, sprayed the inside down with the solution, left the windows down *in the garage* overnight, wala! Smokey smell gone!)
6) Mildew/Gross Laundry Smell: Ever forget about the gym bags in the gym clothes over the weekend? Or forget about the load of clothes you put in the laundry? Now you’re stuck with that awful smell forever. Just kidding. Add 1 cup to your clothes and watch that smell go away.
7) Check here for more!

Dawn Bleach Alternative:

I LOVE this stuff. My husband was deployed last Christmas and I went home for the whole month of December to my sister and brother in law’s house. My sisters are all avid Aldi shoppers. While I’m all for buying generic I have a few items that I refuse to purchase the generic brand of. Peanut butter (I only buy Jif), dish detergent, and flour. Well, after washing 2 loads of dishes with her generic dish detergent I wasn’t having it. I bought her a bottle of my beloved Dawn. She still sticks her to detergent, but in my world – I’ll spent the extra $1.50 for this crap. It is AMAZING. That whole “overnight soaking power in 5 minutes” junk? Very true. Very, very true. I use this to wash our bottles as well as a quick wipe down of my counters, of course dish washing, and my favorite use of all – to clean our shower. I heat up a bowl of vinegar to very, very warm and then I squirt Dawn in until it creates a gel. I pour it all over the walls and the floor of the shower. Then I take a scuzzbrush (I believe that’s a USMC only term – basically just a cleaning brush) and scrub all over the place. I let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse. Sparkly, beautiful, clean. Squeaky clean.

Well, there you have it. My cleaning arsenal.

Happy Spring Cleaning,


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