Advice for the Housework Challenged (please)

I decided to do some housework today, mainly due to an extreme lack of anything else to do.

A couple of questions occurred to me whilst I was pottering around.

  1. Sugar Soap – I purchased this fantastic item to clean the walls last time we moved house. As there was some left over I started using it to clean other surfaces in the new house – kitchen benches, bathroom vanity/sink etc. It was amazing how quickly and well it did the job, so now I use sugar soap for all my cleaning (except toilet bowl which I bleach and glass). We have a real ant problem where we live and I’m wondering if it is the sugar soap attracting them? And is sugar soap any better/worse for the environment than other household cleaning agents?

  2. Streaky Glass – No matter what I do I can’t seem to get the glass doors on our shower stall clean, they are always streaky and cloudy. I’ve used several different brands of glass cleaner, tried using different types of cleaning cloths and even newspaper. Any suggestions as to what would work? The glass was beautiful and clear when we moved in so I know it can be done.

  3. Iron – While I’m here another question occurred to me. How to I get stuff off the bottom of my iron. At one stage the iron was used on something when the heat was too high and now it has this brown burnt patch on it.

hmmm is this the pregnant lady nesting instinct kicking in? Must get house clean for new arrival (otherwise known as my mother the clean house nazi.)

Hmm. I’ve never heard of Sugar Soap, and I don’t see a list of ingredients on the linked site. My guess is that it doesn’t contain free sugars just floating around–otherwise I think it would leave a sticky film. Does it have an ingredient list on the bottle? Tell us what’s in it and maybe someone will have more info for you. Short answer: No, I don’t think your cleaner is attracting ants, but you could rinse with vinegar water if you’re still concerned.

I’d try vinegar water on your glass too. I think that vinegar helps dissolve deposits, and that may be what is causing your streaky glass.

I believe you can use vinegar to clean your iron as well, but I don’t iron, so I’m not positive.

Heh. I can’t believe I’ve giving someone housekeeping advice…

Good luck, and congrats on the impending babe!

Let’s see.

I don’t think the Sugar Soap is attracting the ants, but I could be wrong.

Tilex Soap Scum remover for the shower doors, but I don’t think it’s all that good for the environment (if that is a concern for you).

They make iron cleaner stuff. You can find it on the aisle with all the laundry starch in Wal-Mart.

btw, if you want to make things smell really fresh for the impending visit-
I use a homemade solution of vinegar and rosemary. I clip a large handful of rosemary and then steep it in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Then I add about a cup of white vinegar. I use this to mop floors, wash down the cabinets and countertops, just about anything. It’s great at cutting grease of the stove. I’ve never used it on shower doors, though, as I don’t have any.

Good luck with the cleaning inspection!


Can’t help with the sugar soap, as I’ve never heard of it, but…

For your shower doors, what I always did when I had them was to first use a soap scum removing product (Tilex, LimeAway) to get off the grime. This leaves them streaky, but clean. Then I’d coat them with glass wax, which is a pinkish liquid that you let dry on and then polish off. Don’t know if you’ve already tried something like that, but it always worked for me.

I bought some iron cleaning stuff. It came in a tiny tube with you squeezed on a rag, and then ironed the rag to clean the iron. Worked great. As FaerieBeth said, it was with the laundry items at the store.

I forgot to say–it might be worth trying straight white vinegar on the shower door before you invest in harsher cleaners.

I suggest a product called “CLR” for both of these problems. It comes in a silver-colored plastic jug, and you should be able to get it at your grocery store. It really is an amazing product.

Soak a sponge in it, and wipe your doors down thoughoughly. (Depending on how bad the streaks are, you may have to let it dry and then do it again.) Then use a glass cleaner to shine.

With the iron, wipe the surface with “CLR” on a rag or sponge. (You may have to rub a little.) Then use a rag soaked in water to remove any traces of the cleaner.

Never heard of sugar soap either – but someone gave me a Bath & Body gift set with sugar body scrub. It almost took the skin off my body, so assume it would remove the scum from your glass doors. Probably the asphalt from your road, too.

White vinegar is a very good suggestion. So is CLR. I like to iron & I fill my iron with distilled water, turn it on and put it face down on a rack in a heat-proof place (like the kitchen sink) & let it steam away. Then let it cool enough to touch & clean it with Soft Scrub. Then iron a piece of waxed paper. After that, just be careful about ironing anything that’s likely to melt (like polyester).

This is so cool! Usually when I talk about cleaning supplies, everyone’s eyes glaze over.

Best wishes, Leechbabe, on the impending arrivals (both of them).

This is perhaps the only subject where I’ve matured enough to accept myself as I am. I just don’t do housework and probably never will. Here are some suggestions:

  1. : it actually works, and it’s kind of cute. Not as good as my six-monthly “real” vacuuming, but it picks up a lot of crud.
  2. Don’t do laundry again (ever). Take everything to a Fluff & Fold. Try not to worry about whether they mix colors and whites and you’ll find that you actually can’t tell a difference. BTW: having folded underwear makes me feel like a potentate.
  3. Iron? Change your wardrobe to clothes that can look acceptable without ironing (e.g., oxford shirts). If you’re slaving away over an ironing board, the terrorists win.
  4. Glass Plus/Windex/typical glass cleaner swiped with newspaper results in minimal streaks, but honestly, don’t even bother unless someone’s coming over. If you brush your teeth somewhere other than in front of the mirror, you won’t get toothpaste splashes on the mirror.
  5. Dump a little bleach in the toilet. Go live your life for a couple of hours. Come back, scrub for a little while (10 seconds) and you’re fine.
  6. Do you really have to look outside your windows? I didn’t think so. They’re just there to let light in during the day. Cleaning once or, if the Queen is coming over for dinner, twice a year suffices.
  7. Good ventilation in your bathtub (or, in my case, a small fan on a timer) means the mildew comes in a lot slower.
  8. Fewer fish in larger aquarium = much longer time between cleanings.
  9. Don’t bother cleaning your car more than a few times per year. It’ll get stolen anyway, so why are you keeping the thieves’ car so clean? (Okay; I’ve got issues with this one …)
  10. Probably obvious: plastic forks, spoons, dishes and bowls are much higher in quality nowadays than in years past.
  11. Nothing really lives in coffee cups as long as you empty them. Also, you can’t see coffee stains in black coffee cups.
  12. Down comforters look just fine, and you just have to drape them over your bed. No tucking, no lining things up, and they don’t get too hot in the summer.
  13. Getting rid of excess stuff = less stuff to get dirty. If it works, donate it. If it doesn’t, dump it or recycle. Try to get past the “I paid $500 for this monitor that’s now worth $10” mindset and give it to a school.

Hope these help. Really, you can get your house looking acceptable (with the caveat that people know you’re not Donna Reed) without too much effort.

Bleach and glass?

I’ve never heard of this method.

Your glass doors are probably cloudy due to mineral build up. Is there a way to talk to the former owers, via the estate agent? I know if I ever moved, I would definately leave a list of what works and what doesn’t around this house.

Do you live on a well? Do you have a water softener?

I, personally, ditched most of our cleaners in favor of just water and ammonia ( basically Windex) to clean walls, windows, counter tops.

Because we have a high iron count in our water, the rust stain is something irksome, so a higher grade of cleaner is needed. Years of product testing has made us settle on **The Works ** which will clean everything and damage your lungs too while your at it.

Hee hee.

Leechie you’re encountering US/Aussie cleaning translation issues.

You can get iron cleaning stuff here although IIRC steel wool will also do it. Hot water and vinegar for cleaning windows. Hate windex, doesn’t work.

Go and talk to someone at Mitre 10 or Bunnings about the sugar soap thingy. I wouldn’t use it regularly myself as I would have concerns about the effects on the paintwork in the longterm and environmentally it has to be a Bad Thing IMO. You could send it as a handy hint to the AWW :wink:

I can’t help directly, but the bulletin boards at have people who know about this stuff.
Trying them couldn’t hurt.

Thanks for the tips and advice everyone I’m going to print this thread out and try out your ideas next weekend.

groo your cleaning suggestions sound alot like my usual routine but with both my mother and mother-in-law expected to make frequent visits in the near future the standards had to be raised.

I clean showers for a living. Here’s how. Wearing waterproof gloves and safety glasses, apply an acid cleaner such as Lime-off™ with a cloth. (After you get through the buildup, you can use vinegar for a weekly maintenance.) Let the chemical work for a few minutes. For your safety, rinse the acid off before you scrub with a stiff plastic brush. Rinse again. If there’s crud left, repeat.
DO NOT apply acid with a sprayer. You don’t want to breathe that stuff. Rinse thoroughly when you’re done scrubbing. Any acid left on the surface will hasten new deposits.

Lime-off is a solution of phosphoric acid in water. Any similar stuff will do the same job.

Sugar soap has nothing to do with sugar. It forms sugar-like crystals under certain conditions, is all. Its quite a strong cleaner, the bottle I bought to clean my woodwork pre-painting was full of dire warnings about avoiding skin contact and rinsing it off the walls. Don’t know how relatively concentrated my stuff was though…


leechbabe - what is the finish on the bottom of your iron? All irons are not created equal!

i vaguely recollect something from home ec class in 8th grade where my teacher wadded up wax paper and ran the iron over it to clean it off. haven’t experimented with that though. (i have no wax paper and i rarely iron)

any one know if that works or were the rumors of her locked up liquor in her office true and she she was just drunkenly telling us things?

Cloudy shower doors are from soap scum. CLR works, or I scrub with cream of tartar, or sprinkle with baking soda, then wipe with vinegar.