As a busy parent, I rely heavily on household hacks. In fact, I would say just about everything I do around the house involves some sort of easy hack or trick or clever time-saver. But some tricks work better than others, and some you wouldn’t believe it until you see it (or try it), which is why I searched around the web and set out to put together this list of some our very favorite easy household hacks that every parent should know. From organizing all those keys to de-stinking shoes, you’ll find you can pull them off with things you probably already have at home,...Read More
Category: Household Cleaning
Spring cleaning can be a beast. Just the thought of getting everything tidier and cleaner — whatever shape your home is in now — can be so overwhelming, it can be hard to know where to start. So we reached out to household cleaning expert Dana K. White for some help. (She gets us! Hallelujah!) We asked Dana: If there is just one thing you absolutely must do when it comes to spring cleaning, what is it? Dana’s answer: Look up! If you do nothing else at all this spring, be sure to look up and knock dust down to the ground. This one...Read More
I tend to get headaches when I use strong chemical cleaning products, especially when I’m cleaning a small space, like my bathroom, which is why I really do favor green cleaning products under one condition: they have to work. And since it’s time for some spring cleaning around my house (actually, let’s be honest, it’s way past time for that) I’m excited to have had the chance to test out a ton of green cleaning products lately, and put together my favorites. Besides keeping the chemicals out of our home and our air, it’s nice to be able to give the...Read More
Testing household hacks: How to clean the 5 biggest kid messes, from Sharpie on the wall to Play-Doh in the rug
There are some facts about the world that are simply not up for debate. Like: Humans breathe air, cats sleep exclusively on favorite black sweaters, and parents will always be searching for how to clean the big messes our kids make. So I took a look at 5 of the most common kid-made cleaning problems that I deal with myself all the time, and I white-knuckled it to put all those quick-fix cleaning promises and household hacks to the test. My goal: To show you what really works, and what isn’t worth your time when it comes to cleaning kid messes. Chocolate ice cream stain...Read More
With six people living in my house, there are days when I feel like all I do is laundry. And that the baskets of dirty clothes just keep piling up. (Stop the insanity!) But there is one quick laundry tip has changed my life in a good way: My family quit using laundry baskets. Instead of tossing their dirty clothes in the baskets in their room, then spending a day lugging them up and down the stairs, sorting, and washing them, my kids now put their clothes straight in the washing machine when they change after their showers each night. After a...Read More
I’m convinced my kids’ toys are spontaneously spawning in the playroom at night while we sleep. Surely I’m not the only parent who can’t figure out where all my kids’ toys have come from. As a result, I’m constantly in need of new storage options. My playroom is lined wall-to-wall with cabinets and storage bins to keep stuff organized, but over the years, I’ve found there are a few surprising household items that I never throw away, because they make great toy storage solutions. Here’s to free stuff that makes your life simpler and more organized. Because, we’re all for that. And...Read More
Is there anything worse than finding mouse droppings in your house? Oh, right. There is: Finding a palm-sized wolf spider in your kid’s bed. Ask me how I know. Luckily, I’ve found a company that makes all-natural pest repellent, which means you don’t have to burn your house down and move to a different country thanks to some unwelcome creature finding its way into your home. It’s called Stay Away, and it really works. Stay Away makes several different products, each crafted of all-natural, botanical, kid- and pet-safe ingredients. Whether your latest enemies are rodents, spiders, moths, ants, or beetles...Read More
Keeping a house clean when you’ve got work and kids and pets and all of the things can be a pretty ominous task if you think of it all at once. However if you can break it down, and tackle a single chore or maybe even a couple of smaller tasks when you’ve got a free 10 minutes in your day (or evening), you’ll be amazed at how much better your home can look, and how great it can make you feel. (We aren’t the only ones who experience clean counter zen, are we?) We’re thrilled to be teaming up with our newest sponsor Pyoure, a...Read More
My kids have gotten to the age where they play sports year-round. Their favorite is basketball, so I don’t have as many of those irritating grass and dirt stains that you football and baseball parents have. But wow, the sweat in those jerseys… so bad that I lift them and the matching smelly socks with a broom handle. But even after the uniforms are washed, they stink. So, when I heard that HEX Performance Advanced Laundry Detergent claims to get to the root of sweat odor in a new, eco-friendly way, I thought I’d give it a try. Related: The all natural laundry detergent...Read More
My husband has a habit of calling our household cleaning supplies “chemicals” — as in, “Where are the chemicals to clean off the kitchen table?” It kind of drives me crazy because it sounds so harsh. But, of course, he’s right. So recently, I’ve started using the new Force of Nature cleaning system which I had a chance to try, and let’s just say, I’m a new covert. Force of Nature is part science lesson (I’ll get to that later) and part all-natural cleaning solution consisting of nothing but water, salt, and vinegar that you can use anywhere in your home, on anything. Toys and...Read More
I like to buy natural cleaning products and supplies as much as I can. In fact, I follow my mom’s mantra and use vinegar and water only on my hardwood floors. It’s partly because I get headaches when I walk in the door and my house smells like a hospital ward, and partly because I know that breathing in a lot of harsh chemicals just isn’t good for us, so I’m always glad to discover a new company that makes eco-friendly cleaning products that actually work. Mrs. Jones’ Soapbox is one of those, and it’s a great find. Related: 2 fabulous new natural laundry products that actually work I admit I...Read More
With a houseful of kids with sensitive skin, I stick to my free and clear laundry detergents and skip the boosters, fabric softeners, and stain sticks just to be safe. But after discovering these two new natural laundry products, I’ve enjoyed clothes and towels that are softer, smell much nicer, and have fewer, if any, stains. Hooray! So I couldn’t wait to share them, should you also want some cool natural laundry detergents. From the folks at B&N Laundry, I’m loving the felted goat milk stain stick (above). Yes, I know that sounds totally bizarre, but wow, it really works well! This family-run company discovered that goat milk...Read More
11 essential cleaning tips before your holiday party. Whether you’re a neat freak or a “hide everything in the closet” kind of person.
It’s that time of year when pretty much everyone is entertaining. And yeah, we all know how to run the vacuum and wield a toilet brush (or hire someone else to do it, if you’re lucky), but as the resident Cool Mom Picks neat freak, I’ve got a few pre-holiday party cleaning tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years to help you get the place in even better shape. Don’t worry — they’re simple, and they’ll actually make your job easier. [Editor’s note: We like that because uh, not all of us around here are neat freaks...Read More
Having a baby has been a joy, a wonder, a delight–all that warm and fuzzy stuff. But I have a confession to make: It has also made me a germaphobe. I’ve never been a neat freak, but lately, I’ve morphed into a little bit of an obsessive Purell-carrying, baby wipe-wielder. I’m not sure how I feel about that (control issues, who me?) but Dapple‘s fantastic line of natural baby cleaning products is my current enabler. Much like their tried and true favorites, including the fragrance-free pacifier wipes we already love, I’m so happy to see that the mom-run Dapple is out with new...Read More
I admit I never used to be much of an air freshener person. For years, nice candles did the job. But with kids and pets and did I mention kids? Yeah. I’m a convert. That said, I am super sensitive to scents, and I don’t want to spray my home with chemicals trying to simulate the smell of a pina colada or a pumpkin pie. However if I buy fancy boutique stuff, it kills me to catch the kids playing with it. Which they do. I figure our friends at Method Home know that too, because they’ve just expanded their line to include...Read More
When you’re a new parent, chances are you’re doing a lot of laundry–like, never-ending loads. So it might as well smell fabulous, right? Well, you laundry snobs (like me) are in luck because the laundry mavens over at The Laundress have launched a fresh new look for The Laundress Baby Collection, their eco-friendly line of allergen-free detergent, fabric care, and home cleaning products that is safe for baby and will make those ho-hum chores a little more luxurious. And did I mention allergen-free? Big deal when you’ve got babies. It was my first time test-driving this admittedly luxe cleaning line and I have...Read More
We’ve all found that one dirty, stinky water bottle lost at the bottom of a kid’s backpack after a week of non-use, right? (At least I hope I’m not the only one.) Well, I’ve found Bottle Bright, an incredible solution from an incredible company that can take any water bottle from ew, I don’t even want to open the lid status to brilliantly clean with pretty much no effort on my part. In fact, once I tried it I knew it would be downright cruel of me not to share it. If you’re not yet familiar with the joys of Bottle Bright, it’s an eco-friendly, chlorine-free (Yay, no bleach!),...Read More
We just moved, and the New House Rules state that kids do their own laundry. But my preschooler just can’t be trusted with dangerous chemicals that might end up in his eyes or mouth–or on the dog or in the toilet or under my pillow. Luckily, we have a handy bag of Vaska One. These all natural laundry detergent tablets made of safe, natural cleaners are a great way to get little kids motivated about cleaning up messes instead of just making them. We dig the regular Vaska detergent too, especially the lavender scent. But Vaska One is especially convenient...Read More
Yes, this is way more than I’d normally think to spend on a trash can. And yes, you have to have exactly the right place for it. But how awesome looking is the Wesco Spaceboy Trash Can? I first saw it on Fab.com in this gorgeous almond color, though since then I’ve tracked it down for a little less at Amazon in red, orange, or space-age silver. I think the powder-coated steel can would look terrific in a modern kitchen, but obviously it’s perfect for a playroom. Especially where there’s a whole lot of crafting going on and you’d rather...Read More
Even though we are way past the baby stage at our house, we still do a lot of laundry. I cringe at what I’m doing to the environment (and possibly our clothes) when I forgo natural laundry detergent, let alone tossing in another load of chlorine-soaked swim towels. Better Life is one of those brands whose natural cleaning products we just can’t recommend enough, and thanks to their new Spin Credible laundry detergent, I’m feeling a lot better about doing the laundry. It’s got none of the yucky ingredients like sulfates or petroleum, and all of the good ones...Read More
It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas: natural, affordable holiday edition soaps that make cleaning less of a chore
One of the little things I do over the holidays is swap out the grapefruit dish soap or lavender hand pump for something a little more festive. It’s a simple way to make everything feel more holiday-ish the second we walk in the door. It used to be that only the fancy, high-end boutique brands carried incredible fragrances, but now I love that so many favorite natural brands are making them readily available. Here, just a few favorites you can find online or as close as your local market. Method Holiday Collection Method has always done a great...Read More
I just love how Method keeps reinventing itself with new scents, limited edition designs, and now, an awesome new charity effort that helps show Method’s commitment to the fair treatment of animals. Method has never animal-tested (one of the things we like about them), is totally vegan and cruelty free, and now they are offering new Designed for Good hand wash to help raise awareness about it. And presumably to exert a little nudge-nudge pressure on other bath and body brands to follow suit. The packaging is adorable. My kids are begging for the bunnies hand soap, which has...Read More
What’s all-natural, odorless, has a bajillion uses, and can even clean up that two-year old cat barf that’s ossified under the couch? Answer: the last cleaner you’ll ever buy, Mamas. Really, it’s that good. We’ve covered oodles of the best natural cleaning supplies to keep all those icky chemicals away from your family, but Branch Basics is truly extraordinary. Made of all-natural ingredients including minerals and enzymes from seed-bearing plants, Branch Basics arrives in a concentrate that you can customize to your cleaning needs. Just add water to the handy spray bottle, which is clearly marked with dilution levels...Read More
As the happy owner to a sweet black lab who was once abandoned on the streets–and as a former animal rescue volunteer–I have a soft spot for any initiative that helps unwanted animals live a happier and healthier life. This weekend, you can help those furry friends too by buying items you already need for your home. It’s so easy, that even those of you who normally sneeze when you come to my house can get in on the action. From now through Sunday, March 24, buy any of the method cleaners from Soap.com, and they will donate 15%...Read More
Spring sunshine and open windows are wonderful…until we suddenly see the dirt and cobwebs that have been comfortably lurking in corners all winter. Here are some of our favorite ways to handle spring cleaning safely, especially when we all know babies and kids will be touching pretty much everything. Our newest favorite counter cleaner is all natural and so safe that you can lick it–which I did. There’s a lot to like about iGozen, from its many uses around the house to the fact that it comes in adorable little powder packets in a handy storage box that...Read More
Here, just a few of our favorite tech picks of the last week on Cool Mom Tech, just in case you missed them. 1. With cold season here, here’s how to de-germ your tech, safely. It’s easier (and cheaper) than you think. 2. Awesome, affordable gadgets, that can make a big difference when it comes to getting your tech organized. 3. Enjoy going to the movies right in your living room with this amazing new device, and save that babysitter money. 4. Don’t rent a photo booth for your next kid’s party. Learn how to make your own photo...Read More
If you’re worried about scary chemicals around the house, you’re going to love the new organic cleaner so safe that you can use it to wash fruit, shine the counter, or wipe out your dog’s ears. Or, yes, even lick it. And I know, because I totally licked it. For the record, it had no taste, which is kind of crazy considering the smell of most of my cleaning products. That says something right there. iGozen is an organic household cleaner made from 100% natural calcium particles straight from the ocean. It arrives in tidy packets all in a...Read More
Every square mile of our oceans has an average of 46,000 pieces of plastic swirling around there. It’s killing nearly one million sea birds a year that swallow it, and another 100,000 turtles, dolphins, whales and sharks. I don’t know how to say it any other way, but that’s disgusting. So I’m so delighted to see that none other than Method is doing something good about it. For more than a year, Method has worked with volunteers from Hawaiian environmental groups to scour local beaches and collect (by hand, no less) more than a ton of plastic. With help...Read More
Even though my fellow Cool Mom Picks Editors have tried and loved the eco-friendly Honest products, I’d yet to give them a whirl myself. So recently, I had the chance to test out a couple of their newest natural cleaning products for home use, and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. And not just because I think co-founder Jessica Alba and I should be BFFs. Honest Oxy Boost Around my place, we just live with clothes with stains because I’ve yet to find a bleach stain and odor remover that isn’t loaded with toxins. I live in sensitive skin...Read More
We’re already huge fans of method. And we’re huge fans of designer Orla Kiely. Put them together and suddenly I’m the most excited I’ve been to wash up since the old days of Mr. Bubble. The limited edition Orla Kieley for method hand wash offers four scents we want in every room with a sink. Bay leaf is perfect for the kitchen; primrose or vanilla chai would be lovely in the bath; and pear ginger I think I’d like just about anywhere. There’s also a foaming hand wash, a dish soap pump, and an all-purpose cleanser which makes me...Read More
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