*Disclaimer: These are not "green solutions" so if you're looking for something eco-friendly, you've come to the wrong place today.
#1: The first is a product called "Capture". Feel free to say it like you're from Maine-- that's what John and I do... "Cap-cha!" I learned about this product from one of the carpet salesmen I worked with a few years ago. He said that rather than steam-clean carpets, they use this product to get the best results out of dirtied carpeting. The secret: You can buy it at Home Depot. (Don't tell. He asked me not to.)
When I use this product to clean our carpets, I start with the "Capture" spray solution and then use a coarse bristled brush to gently brush in/spread on the "Capt-cha!" cleaning powder. Then I go do something else (15 minutes of Law & Order yesterday...) and then vacuum up the powder 15 minutes later... Wonders I tell you. Wonders!
The whole affair adds up to about $35.00 for the giant bucket of cleaning powder and the spray bottle of cleaning solution. Not bad, considering there are about 50 carpets worth of powder in that giant bucket.
Hats off to the carpet guy who clued me into this trick!
#2: A contractor I work with just told me the best way to clean your bathroom, and keep it clean... Fill a spray bottle with 2 cups of bleach diluted with 1 cup of warm water. Spray down all of the tiles, grout, sink, toilet, tub, etc. in your bathroom, and then close the door and let it do its magic for about 5 minutes. Then go back in, open a window, and let it air out for another 10 minutes. Don't get me wrong, it is going to smell in there! Once it has aired out enough that you can go in there without losing too many brain cells or your sense of smell, rinse everything down with warm water, and voila! Bright white will prevail! According to the contractor, this cleaning solution will also discourage future mold and mildew from forming. Sweet.
one of these washable, reusable cloth shower curtains. It is great-- has held up fantastically for the last 2 years, washes wonderfully, and doesn't stick to you the way vinyl shower curtains sometimes do (gross.) I used to just throw it into the washing machine with a little ordinary laundry detergent and then hang it back up to dry, but I recently read that White Vinegar is the way to go, so in anticipation of the french-friend's arrival, I decided to give it a spin. (Ha! Pun.) Out it came, gleaming as ever, but according to the person who recommended the White Vinegar, this will also discourage future unwanted growth on my shower curtain. Excellent news all around.