Back to Basics: How to Clean with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar have been used for decades as home cleaning solutions in the battle against dirt and grime. But what if we could give the power of baking soda and vinegar just a tad more oomph? That’s the question that inspired us to create our brand new Baking Soda Cream Cleaner and Vinegar Gel No-Rinse Cleaner. They’re classic must-haves on your cleaning supply list. Just ask Thelma. We even improved them a bit by making them more convenient to use and better smelling with Lemon Verbena scent.

So what exactly can you use them to clean? How much time do you have? The list goes on and on, but here are a few of our go to’s.

WHAT IT IS:

Also known as sodium bicarbonate, this mildly abrasive cleaner is perfect for sprinkling on surfaces without having to worry about any scratching or leaving a gunky residue.

Where to use it:

Use it to clean and brighten tubs, sinks and showers. It also works wonders scrubbing away cooked-on grease and other tough grime in your kitchen.*

How we made baking soda even better:

We added naturally abrasive limestone flour, which means our new Baking Soda Cream Cleaner won’t dissolve away before you’re done cleaning. Plus, a thick and creamy texture means that it stays put, rather than running all over.

WHAT IT IS:

You can make vinegar from all sorts of things, like fruit, rice, grain or fermented beverages. It’s active ingredient, acetic acid, cleans, dissolves and makes surfaces shine. 

WHERE TO USE IT:

Tackle all sorts of household chores, from cleaning appliances and countertops to making sinks and showers shine. Even the soap scum found on shower curtains and ceramic tiles are no match.** 

HOW WE MADE VInegar EVEN BETTER:

An updated design thickened it up a bit and added more application control, which means the days of splashes and drips are long gone. Also, not to brag, but you can’t find anything quite like our new Vinegar Gel No-Rinse Cleaner in our market. 

* Avoid wood surfaces, mirrors and small appliances.
** Avoid wood surfaces, marble and soapstone.

DIY Lavender Sugar Scrub

At Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, we love the scent of Lavender. Its calming scent makes everything a little nicer – whether you’re doing the dishes or taking a bath. So if you love Lavender half as much as we do, you’ll want to have this scrub on hand next time you get in the tub. Its natural ingredients are great at exfoliating and moisturizing your skin. Plus, it’s easy to make, and you probably have most ingredients on hand.

MATERIALS & TOOLS

• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup raw sugar
• 1/2 cup coconut oil
• 5-10 drops Lavender essential oil
• Dried Lavender (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Put your coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it until it melts. Coconut oil melts quickly – 45-75 seconds (depending on your microwave) should do the trick.

Let it cool about five minutes so it does not melt the sugar in the next step.

Mix together your sugars. Then add your liquefied oil and stir.

Add 5-10 drops of Lavender essential oil, depending on the level of fragrance you want. You can also stir in the dried lavender at this point if you’re using it. It adds a colorful touch and some extra fragrance.

Store in a covered container – empty Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Soy Candle jars work great!

To use, simply massage into your skin. Then rinse and pat dry. If using in the shower, be extra careful and never use on your feet. The oil is slippery and could increase your risk of falling.

DIY Hanging Flower Garland

Who doesn’t love flowers, especially during springtime? But some are just too pretty to stay in the garden. Put some blooms in your home and on display with this eye-catching floral décor.

MATERIALS & TOOLS

• Branch
• Scissors

• Flowers
• Greenery
• Twine

INSTRUCTIONS

Using your scissors, trim each flower or piece of greenery leaving about an inch of stem. Then, cut your twine into sections about five feet long.

 

Tie a double knot around the top of each stem. Repeat fastening the other flowers with the twine in equal intervals of space from each other.

 

Trim any extraneous twigs or sprouts from your branch.

 

Tie the garland strands about five to six inches apart on the branch. Then, take another section of twine and use it to make a double knot on each end of the branch. Finally, hang and enjoy!

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Rosemary Parmesan Dusted Popcorn

We love the scent of Rosemary in the kitchen – especially in delicious recipes like this one. We’ve combined the fragrant herb with parmesan cheese to make a tasty topping for popcorn. Score some points with your guests when you serve up this flavorful combination during the big game.

A Q&A with Maxwell Ryan

Maxwell Ryan is a firm believer in the power of Home Making. For more than ten years, his blog Apartment Therapy has been celebrating even the tiniest homes and the positive impact they can have on our lives. Read our Q&A to hear why he quit his first design job and learn his favorite home-organization trick.


What was your very first job? 

My first job out of college was in a design studio on 7th Avenue in New York City. It was a busy, bustling place, and I was excited to be there. A few months into it, though, I started to feel like all of their designs had no purpose.

I’ll never forget the day my boss sent me to buy plastic fruit. When I brought it back to the office, we rolled all the fruit in glue and glitter. My boss loved it. He decided to send it to China to be manufactured. That was my turning point, when I realized it wasn’t the place for me.

After that I went back to school and became a teacher. 

 

Was there a defining moment when you decided to turn your passion into a profession?

As a teacher, I taught at a school where teachers sometimes visit the children at home. I saw a definite link between the home environment and the child's success. It wasn’t about money: the most well-adjusted kids weren’t the richest, but their homes were tidy, organized and well-lit. There was a place to gather together for a meal and a place to do homework.

That’s when I started wanting to help people achieve the kinds of homes that would allow them to live their best lives. I started helping friends and realized how gratifying it was to help them set up a healthy, beautiful and organized home that they loved living in.

So after seven years of teaching, I decided to take my amateur design business professional. 

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice when you were just starting out, what would it be?

Look for your own path – and don’t worry if it’s twisty and turny. We’re all looking for our own road, and sometimes it’s not a straight shot. Mine has been full of unexpected detours, but I’ve followed my passion and am enjoying the ride.

When you meet people and tell them about your job, how do they react?

Most people ask questions right away about their own homes. Home is the most important place in our lives. It’s always evolving, and everyone is looking for resources and ideas to help make their own home more joyful and restful.

Starting an interior design project is fun but can be overwhelming.  What are your best tips for tackling projects?

 

I love a good DIY and for small paint or building projects, I usually like to just dive in headfirst and figure it out as I go. I like getting my hands dirty, and I enjoy the process as much as the product.

For bigger projects, though, I’ve learned to plan things out ahead of time. Like reading a recipe before you start cooking, you should understand all the steps, what you need and how long each part will take.

When I painted the floors in my small summer house, I completely messed it up by laying the second coat on too thick and painting on a rainy day – both of which totally ruined the finish I was going for. When I sanded it off and started over again, I knew to take my time, paint thinner coats and wait for a day with better weather.

 

What's your favorite at-home organizational or space-saving trick?

My best organization and de-cluttering trick is the landing strip, which has been one of Apartment Therapy’s core lessons since the beginning.

You’ll need a doormat and coat hooks or a closet. Set up a hook for your keys, a bowl for change and your wallet, and a surface to sort the mail and other items as they come in. Two other helpful components are a small wastebasket where you can recycle your discarded incoming stuff and a mirror for last minute checkups on your lovely smile and fashionable attire. :)

Your goal here is to stay ahead of the mail, bills and items coming into your home and, importantly, have smoother sailing on your way out.

Once you’ve set up your landing strip, use it every time you come home. You’ll see that it takes only a few minutes but reduces both stress and clutter – two things that take up too much space in any home.

Any clever tricks or favorite ways to use Mrs. Meyer’s products?

I respond a lot to scents, so I like to use Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender products on my laundry and as my Hand Soap – I really do find it to be a soothing, relaxing scent. For my Dish Soap, I like the Basil scent, and I’ve been using Lemon Verbena Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner for my counters.

 
 
 

If you could be a Mrs. Meyer’s product, which product would you be and why?

There’s nothing more sexy and delicious to me than clean sheets fresh out of the dryer. So I guess I’d be Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender Laundry Detergent.

How does Mrs. Meyer's inspire you and your Home Making?

I’ve always firmly believed that the best homes are clean, creative and environmentally-friendly. Mrs. Meyer’s products were created with that kind of home in mind – free of harsh chemicals and chemical smells.

The idea of taking pride in Home Making is also a dear one to me. Your home matters. It makes a difference every single day. I love seeing Mrs. Meyer’s inspiring people to take care and pride in their homes.