Archives for Wanda Woman

Oven Tray of Shame

Grime Fighting with Baking Soda

So for all of my reader (yes, I know there’s just one – thanks Mum), you will have realised that I have a deep and abiding commitment to fighting Grime. In all of its glorious forms. And I’m a big fan of Baking Soda. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s easy to use, and it’s cheap. Win.

Being a true blue Superhero (cleaner), I take a certain pride in maintaining a secret lair that is Grime-free.

Well, not entirely Grime-free it turns out… Look what has been hiding in my oven. I’d like to introduce you to my Oven Tray of Shame. I think it is supposed to be non-stick. And like almost every non-stick product in the world, some baked on crap clearly sticks. I was going to suggest that NASA go back and revisit that non-stick spaceship technology that they came up with, but upon investigation, have found that the technology was stumbled upon by Roy Plunkett of Dupont fame in 1938. Pity, the spaceship technology connection fits in much better with the whole Superhero thing…
Baking soda challengeSo, back to the story.

This oven tray has been doing my head in for months and months. I have tried scrubbing. A lot. My hands have suffered. But most importantly, my pride has suffered.

I have been doing a fair bit of experimentation with general household solutions that Super Gran used to use. Super Gran of course is the inspiration for all things heroic in this Superhero’s life. Super Gran could also best be described as a product of her generation. Accordingly, she raised six children on a budget of… well… not much. She had an amazingly effective and cheap or free solution for just about any household problem. I don’t ever remember seeing anything in her kitchen that could be described as non-stick, but I can happily report that everything was sparkly clean and organised.

Mainstay cleaning products for Super Gran = white vinegar, caustic soda, baking soda and soap.

She never shared her specific cleaning recipes, because I don’t think she even thought that there was anything interesting about what she was doing. However, I did trail around after her “helping” as a child and teenager (pre-Superhero) and I can remember quite a lot.

At the moment I am experimenting with the general principles that I saw her use, searching the internet for information, and potentially sacrificing my Oven Tray of Shame, in search of a truly eco-friendly, budget-friendly, muscle-friendly solution. I want to effect an inhuman transformation, with not much effort, and spending no money (ie, I want to use what I already have in my lair).

Plan A: So I start out with a general basic cleaning recipe – water, vinegar and baking soda. I sprinkle the Oven Tray of Shame liberally with baking soda, tip some white vinegar over it (mostly because the chemical reaction is so damn cool!), and then fill to the top with warm water. And I wait for about 30 minutes. I haven’t got all day after all! When I go back to the Oven Tray of Shame, I don’t see much difference actually. I’m a little disappointed. Super Gran had sparkly kitchen equipment – surely some of her pragmatic genes have rubbed off on me?! I give the tray a bit of a scrape with the back of a teaspoon. Nothing. So then I have a good ol’ “put a bit of elbow-grease into it” scrape with the back of the teaspoon. Wait! I see a light line, which surely indicates that oven-baked crap has come off? I am encouraged, and keep scraping for a couple of minutes, before remembering that actually the whole point of this exercise is to work out an EASY way to do this…

Back to the drawing board.

Plan B: I then try the oldest trick in the book. I fill the Oven Tray of Shame with warm water, spray a bit of dishwashing detergent in, and go to bed, hopeful that in the morning, there will be sparkles blinding me when I come into the kitchen.

I had a good sleep, thanks for asking :).

In the morning, however, same same. EXCEPT, that further vigorous spoon-scraping activity produces more results. Obviously some level of crap has been softened by the soaking. Still, the way to clean the Oven Tray of Shame is surely not to pop a shoulder scraping it with the back of a teaspoon!

Plan C: Back to old-fashioned methods. Again, mostly because I like the homemade volcano-like chemical reaction… I sprinkle the Oven Tray of Shame liberally with Baking Soda. I then cackle maniacally as I pour a quite small amount of white vinegar over it, and watch it fizz and puff up. Honestly, I’d clean just about anything with baking soda and vinegar – if it didn’t wreck stuff when used incorrectly that is.

When the fizzing and popping settles down, and is no longer interesting to watch, I wander off to do other more interesting things. Every few hours I half-heartedly do the old teaspoon scrape test. No difference. I leave it overnight again, and when I arise, rush to the kitchen, excited to discover the results. Hmmmm, there’s a hard white film of baking soda covering the Oven Tray of Shame, that I have to rinse off. And… No change.

Dang.

One more try. Plan D: I repeat Plan C. Yes, I know it didn’t work. But that volcano thing is SO COOL!

4 hours later, some vigorous teaspoon scraping, and THIS is what my Oven Tray of Shame now looks like.

IMG_2689[1]

I’m off to the supermarket to buy some oven-cleaner, and I’m gonna nuke that little bugger. Eco FAIL. Please hold caller. Further experimentation results pending…

Do you have a tried and true baked-on-oven-crap solution that you can share? Feel free to leave a comment Mum!


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Organise your laundry

How to organise your laundry room

I think you should organise your laundry. Really. You will feel a lot better about your entire home if you organise your laundry room.

The laundry room can often be the hidden nightmare of a home. It’s usually a small room that is tucked away somewhere so it will be out of sight. And yet it’s very rarely out of mind, because most of us use this room fairly regularly. Not only do we do our washing in this room, we often also store cleaning products and equipment, chuck our dirty washing in there (until we’re ready to do a wash), dry our clothing in there, and feed the animals as well. Then there’s the “I’ll just store this junk in here” factor to consider.

If you organise your laundry room and keep it clear of clutter, you will feel a lot better about the state of your home. There are some simple things that you can do to ensure that order is maintained, and chaos does not (often) descend.

  1. Sort out your storage. Usually a laundry room will have at least a couple of cupboards or shelves. These have been designed into the room because of the primary functions of this room. Use these built-in storage solutions to maximise the functionality of your laundry. Decide what functions exactly your laundry will have, and make sure that you have arranged your storage accordingly.
  2. Clean. When you are sorting out your storage, take everything out and give all surfaces a clean. The laundry doesn’t usually get a lot of TLC (Tender Loving Cleaning) attention, so doing this at least every year will make sure that awful mold and scum does not slowly build up. You are not trying to bake a cancer cure behind your 3 year old Silvo! This is a great bonus when you organise your laundry room.
  3. Hang. Find a spot that is out of the way where you can hang broom/mop clips – good spots are often behind the door or inside a tall cupboard. When you hang your brooms and mops up off the floor, you will find that the room instantly feels less cluttered, more organised and for some reason, larger. It’s a small solution that will cost you less than $20, and it makes a surprisingly significant difference. It certainly makes you feel like you have organised your laundry!
  4. Consolidate. You are probably storing your household cleaning products in your laundry. If you have young ones, it almost goes without saying that you should childproof wherever these poisonous chemicals are living. That is an absolute must! For the rest of us, for some reason, many of us collect cleaning products like we used to collect rubber erasers in the 80s. We have 5 different spray cleaners, 14 types of washing machine powders and liquids, 4 different window cleaners, 20 mould removal sprays and as many “specialist clean” products. If you take all of these products out from their various hiding places, and arrange them so that the same types are together, you may notice that you have a cleaning products hoarding issue. Don’t worry! The worse thing about this is that you don’t need to spend any money on cleaning products for the next year. Budget bonus! Now, to get this organised and sorted… For those products that are exactly the same, pour (like-to-like) products into the same bottle. If you still have left-overs, put the full containers into a box or bin (which is now your cleaning product supermarket – this is where you go FIRST when you’ve run out of something and need to replenish), and USE the not full container first. When you have consolidated and poured the little “ends of bottles” into one or more bottles, you may in fact have a mountain of recycling. That’s OK. Recycle them. Put your cleaning product supermarket box or bin somewhere that is more out of the way, and your current “I’m using these” products somewhere handy. On a shelf, or in an easily-accessible cupboard for example.
  5. Clean again. Just because you can. And the room will feel soooooo much better if it is not only organised, but clean as well.
  6. Wash. I often find that the laundry room feels and looks chaotic simply because no-one has done the washing. Keeping on top of it regularly means that you are maintaining your clothing and bedding needs, AND you will spend a little time often doing it – not 3 months without sleeping (which is what we often do, and which is also why we often hate doing the washing).

So these are my tips for how you can organise your laundry. Have I missed out some gem of advice? Do you do something that transforms your laundry? Please leave a comment (mostly so that I know that a living person has read this). In the meantime, happy cleaning my little Superheroes in Disguise… Now go organise your laundry. If you would like a hand with this (mammoth?) task, CLICK HERE and book a time with your Superhero Cleaner or ASK A QUESTION.

Organise your laundry


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De-clutter your life!

┬áIs your stuff getting heavy? Maybe it’s time to de-clutter!

By “heavy”, of course I don’t mean “weighs a lot”. We’re talking about clutter! When you look around, do you get the overwhelming feeling of not being in control? Do you have piles of stuff around the place, and you’re really not sure what is in them? Do you know that you really should tidy up, but the size of the job is getting you down?

You are not alone! We’ve all seen those programmes on telly about the super hoarders, and the good news is that they are the extremes. The reality is that even the most organised amongst us, have piles of crap that we have been meaning to get to. It’s all about the spectrum, and it’s all about how we like to live. One person’s lovely warm piles of momentos is another person’s nightmare. If you are finding that your lovely warm piles of momentos are starting to look at you with slightly aggressive slanty sideways eyes, it might be time to consider moving some of it one to a more appreciative home. Or recycling bin. Or rubbish bin.

Anyone can de-clutter.

In fact, Superhero in Disguise does it professionally.

The following are 7 steps that you can take, to de-clutter your home and (according to some theories) your life.

7 Steps to de-clutter your home

  1. Keep it simple. Choose just one area to tackle at a time. It’s really tempting to try and do it all at once, but what you are likely to find is that you become despondent over the size of the task, and give up. This will just contribute to a general feeling of being overwhelmed. I would suggest that you choose an area to start with that you use a lot, and is relatively small. You might choose the laundry, or a bathroom, or if you want to do the kitchen, perhaps just start with the pantry cupboard.
  2. Take out the rubbish. Have plastic bags on hand, and just remove everything that is rubbish. Packaging (that you probably thought still had stuff in it) is a common offender, as is newspapers, junk mail, and old paperwork. You will likely be surprised by how much rubbish you have in such a small space.
  3. Clear your space. Take everything substantial out of the room that can be easily moved, that you know you will want to keep. By this I mean chairs, tools, plants – anything that feels as if it is hampering your ability to move in the space easily. If the room has plenty of space, you might choose to stack it all in a corner, but it really is best to remove as much as you can.
  4. Consolidate. Now you’re still probably surrounded by a bunch of stuff. The next step is to consolidate. By this I mean, if you have three, either combine or throw away/set aside for eBay/recycle/re-gift. A classic example of this can be found in many bathrooms. How many bottles of shampoo do you have on the go? How many bottles of shampoo that are exactly the same do you have on the go? If it’s more than one, fill up the one you are using now with the dregs of the others, and then (this is the important part), put the empty shampoo bottles into your recycling bin. Another classic example is supermarket bags. How many of these are you actually likely to use before you get more from the supermarket? For most of us, not more than one supermarket bag can actually hold. Put all of the rest into your recycling bin. Trust me, there are plenty more out there if you need them – and let’s face it – you probably also have a whole bunch of reusable bags as well.
  5. Allocate space. Have you noticed that the space you are in has a primary use? If you are in your bathroom, it’s function will be to clean you, make you look presentable, and perhaps to help you maintain your good health. For that reason it will have body cleaning products (shampoo, soap, toothpaste etc), beauty or maintenance products (make-up, shaving equipment, a hairdryer etc) and perhaps a first aid kit. Have a think about what the functions are for the space that you are in, and then decide on where those functions happen. All of the products or equipment associated with each function should be in the area that you need it, and only in that area. So, if you are in your laundry, your cleaning products should all be in the same place – not in two or three different storage spaces.
  6. Clean. In order for you to clean your surfaces, which feels absolutely amazing by the way, you need to clear those surfaces. Now that you have allocated spaces, take everything out of those spaces, clean the surfaces, and then put everything that should be there within easy reach. If there are things that you use only occasionally, put them at the back. For those things that you use all of the time, have them within easy sight and reach.
  7. Restore. You still have all of those big things either in the corner of the room, or out in the hallway. At this stage, you should have clear, clean and shiny surfaces around you, and you will notice a big difference about how you feel in that room now. You should start by bringing in those things that are most important in that space. When you bring things back in, pause and think about how it makes you feel to increase the “stuff” in there. If you get to a point where the space feels like it is again too cluttered, think about whether you really DO need that extra thing. Chances are, you don’t. At this point, it might be wise to consider what else you can do with that extra clutter. You don’t want to have to de-clutter too often!

Here is an example of a laundry that I have recently de-cluttered and cleaned. I have included a couple of before and after shots. The client is delighted with the result, and hopefully my amateur iPhone shots will give you an idea of the different feel of the room now. I’ll start with some before, and then after shots. If you would like to book in your Superhero to de-clutter your life, CLICK HERE to get in touch, or CLICK HERE to book a time. Either way, let me know if you have questions or comments about this post.

Laundry Clutter Before 3

Equipment and rubbish (that doesn’t seem like rubbish) can close in your space.

Laundry Clutter Before 2

More clutter…

Laundry Clutter Before 1

Clutter on the floor quickly piles up!

Laundry Post-Clutter 2

Removing rubbish, consolidating, organising and cleaning and really change the feel of the space.

Laundry Post-Clutter 1

Clearing and cleaning surfaces quickly pays off.

 

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Make your own Eco Spray

So by now it should be obvious that your Superhero cleaner is into all things clean and green, including Eco spray. Over the years I have tried many many many cleaning products. In my hoarding youth days, the category of “cleaning products” was one of my problem areas in fact (along with VHS recordings of Dukes of Hazard, Shortland Street and Sunday Sob Movies, amongst other things). In this post I am going to tell you how to make your own Eco spray, using a tried and true, very effective recipe.

By and large, I find cleaning products to mostly do what they say will do – to varying degrees. Some are frustratingly “not quite there”, and others are so effective as to take your fingernail polish off. Sometimes the ingredients on the bottles kinda scare me, mostly because I have no idea what they are. Ignorance is fear! I prefer my own Eco spray.

One of my post-hoarding periods was the “Green Hippy Capitalist Revolution”, which may sound confusing to anyone reading this (and at this point, I’d be lucky to convince my Mother to follow this blog, so I might actually be talking to the future right now…). During this period I spoke to a lot of war-wives, greenies and people on low incomes. It turns out that the green alternative is often incredibly cost-effective as well. Go Green!

So I’m going to share with you my not-so-secret recipe for the Eco spray that I use for just about any cleaning job. Make your own. It works better than most spray cleaners that I have tried from supermarkets, and once you like the smell, it is strangely comfortingly associated with “clean”. It will cost you about 50c to make a 750ml batch of Eco spray, and you can make it from ingredients that are found in almost any kitchen.

Are you ready? Do you have your safety equipment on hand? Rubber gloves at the ready? Safety goggles poised? Are you expecting toxic fumes to envelop you at any minute? Don’t panic. Honestly, some people can be so dramatic…


To make your Eco spray, you will need:


* A spray bottle (you can clean out an old one that you have used before, as long as it didn’t contain anything toxic in the past)
* White vinegar (the homebrand stuff costs about $1 per litre from memory)
* Water
* Dishwashing liquid

Eco spray instructions:


* Fill your spray bottle to about a cm less than halfway with white vinegar.
* Put about the same amount of water in as well (ie, about the same amount of vinegar and water).
* Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid – this is mostly to disguise the vinegar smell, so how much you add depends on your preference.
* Give it a bit of a twirl to mix it, but I don’t recommend shaking – that can only lead to bubble mayhem.

Voila!

Try your new Eco spray on your stainless steel stove top, your fridge or your scrubby cupboard doors – the results have got to impress you. Right there, you are looking at a Superhero Clean. Eco spray is also great in the bathroom, and while I would caution testing on a small area first, I also find it good on painted surfaces, such as the wall.

I hope you try this Eco spray, and love it. Whether you do or don’t, I would love to hear about your experiences, so please post a comment. If you have a secret recipe for your very own Eco spray, I’d love to try it, so let me know (if it’s not too secret).
Make your own Eco spray

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5 days on the job

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What a roller coaster ride! 5 days ago, Wander Woman (me) decided to start this business, and the first stage involved working out how to build a website. It took all day, and the bones that you see today (5 days later) are essentially the same as what went up on day 1.

Now this business is all about the Super Clients. And the website needs to meet your needs as a priority. As a result, clients, or potential clients, or anyone who wants to read about the Adventures of Superhero in Disguise, can now register on the site.

Clients can now book their Super Home Cleaning service online, never needing to speak with Wander Woman if they prefer. They can book 12 weeks out, and be assured that their online booking will be honoured, and serviced to the very highest of standards.

Any clients who register will very soon be able to pay for their Super Home Cleaning service online via PayPal or credit card. And shortly after that, fingers crossed, will be able to buy Super Home Cleaning gifts for their friends and loved ones.

Every Day is a Home Cleaning Adventure!

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Leaping off tall buildings in a single bound!

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So much for the veil of anonymity… This Superhero in Disguise went straight to Facebook in order to launch the website and get the word around a little. Fans of Superhero graciously “liked” and “shared” their little hearts out (Bless!), and as a result, an inquiry has been made, with tentative commitment to trial a Superhero home clean. Pressure is on! Bring it on!

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Website made? Tick!

Every day is an adventure, and every adventure is somehow more amazing when it emerges from the mundane or minutiae of the day. So if you want to read about the cleaning and business adventures of a Superhero in Disguise, you are most certainly in the right place.

Thick, black-rimmed glasses firmly on face. Stepping out into the world with first cleaning business. Tick.

Looking for first client…

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