7 Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your Home Faster

Looking for ways to spring clean your home in no time? Good. I’ve got some tried and tested ways that I’m going to share with you. Spring cleaning is one of my favorite things about the spring season, but unfortunately, I can’t enjoy it to the fullest since my schedule is always overloaded. So I’ve found a few ways to spring clean my home fast that are also great for those who don’t like cleaning.

1. Clean mini blinds
Yes, I want to start with the worst part about spring cleaning. I’m sure many of you would agree that cleaning mini blinds is a great pain. However, I’ve learned a small tip that makes it really easier. Just take your mini blinds down and wash them in the bath. They’ll be cleaner in no time!

2. Wash your walls
If you used to wash your walls by hand, this spring try washing them with a mop instead. This will save you a lot of time, I promise! Now that I know this little trick, washing my walls isn’t a big problem anymore. Give it a try and you will never think of washing the walls as a great pain.

3. Clean your oven
I don’t understand those people who clean their oven by hand when they have a self-cleaning one. A self-cleaning oven works amazingly and is so easy to operate. If you have a self-cleaning oven, just turn it on and it will do its thing. While it’s cleaning, the oven gets extremely hot and there can be a terrible smell, but you can go outdoors to avoid the smell, or do another chore to complete your spring cleaning faster.

4. Give your carpets to the professionals
If you have carpets, I suggest you to hire them done. It’s better and easier. It’s also incredibly time-saving. The professional knows what they’re doing and they can be more experienced at stain removal than you are. If you can afford, give your carpets to the professionals.

5. Purchase a ceiling fan cleaner
Purchase a ceiling fan cleaner so that you don’t have to climb up and take it all apart. Indeed, there’s a great device that you can purchase that cleans the ceiling fan. It’s like a duster but created to fit over every blade. While you still should clean the globes, it helps save you immense amounts of time and headache.

6. Clean your curtains
If you have trouble cleaning your curtains, I recommend doing all of your curtains at once. Take the day, take your curtains down and wash them. After washing, hang your curtains back up. Don’t forget to check the instructions and learn how to properly launder them. Maybe your curtains are dry clean only ones. Follow the instructions on the label and you won’t have any problems.

7. Don’t do it alone
If you share a home or if you have a big family, don’t do your spring cleaning alone, it’s just too much for one person. Have everybody muck in and help and you’ll get it done quicker and you will even have time for a spring picnic or family BBQ.

Follow these tips and you will do your spring cleaning faster and easier. Which tricks do you use to do your spring cleaning quicker? Share them with me, please, I will certainly try them all!

Why You Should Be Cooking Bacon in the Oven

We’ll cut to the chase. You should be cooking bacon in the oven, period. See, bacon is a glorious thing. The crispy, fatty, salty pork makes so many things so much better. The baked potato. The BLT Salad. Just about every burger ever.

But let’s be real: Frying it in a skillet is truly, profoundly, inescapably unpleasant.

© Chelsea Kyle

Not in terms of the actual procedure—it’s not hard to put some raw bacon in a hot skilletand watch it sizzle—but in terms of the effects it has on your kitchen. The lingering smell (which isn’t quite as magical 32 hours after you fried it) and the fine (but extremely noticeable and greasy) layer of bacon mist that coats every inch of your kitchen (or the entirety of your very small apartment). There’s a term for these kind of symptoms. It’s called a Bacon Hangover, a condition in which the the fun of cooking bacon has faded and your domicile is dealing with the decisions it made the morning before. There’s a way to avoid the Bacon Hangover though. Cook your bacon in the oven. On a rimmed sheet pan.

© Christopher Testani

Sheet tray bacon is all pros and no cons. To start, you avoid the splattering grease and smoke that emanates from your skillet. That’s the root of the whole, your-kitchen-smells-like-a-Waffle-House-for-many-days problem. With the oven method, there’s no risk of rendered fat splattering on your skin (ouch) or accumulating on your stovetop and other kitchen surfaces (yuck).

But the real win with sheet pan bacon is that it’s so much less involved than frying it in a skillet. You put your slabs of bacon on the pan, without any oil (they can even be overlapping, since they shrink). You put the pan in a 350 degree oven, which doesn’t even need to be preheated (although it will take less time if you do). You flip the bacon once, when it’s halfway through cooking. You take the bacon out. You rest it on your splatter-free stove. Then, you eat the bacon. That’s called efficiency.

Cooking bacon in the oven takes 25 to 30 minutes, a bit longer than in the skillet, but you cook so much more bacon at once, and it’s almost completely hands-off, meaning you have plenty of time to take care of all of your other breakfast needs in the meantime. Toast your bagel. Scramble your eggs. Sautee your greens. Make some damn pancakes. And when you’re finished with all of that, a whole sheet pan full of crispy bacon emerges triumphantly from the oven. If that ain’t breakfast magic, we don’t know what is.

And the oven-baked bacon you eat with your pancakes will taste just as good (if not better) than the fried bacon you’ve been eating for years. Ovens provide a gentle, even heat which fries the bacon in its own fat, minimizing the possibility of burnt pork. And you’ll know when it’s ready. You look for all of the same stuff you’d look for in a pan: Rendered fat, browned edges, and that bacon-y smell. Plus, once you’ve pulled the slices of the pan, you can save that fat for toasting croutons (as in this recipe), roasting vegetables, or making refried beans.

Sure, this might make you feel uncomfortable. You’ve been frying bacon since forever. Your mom and dad both did it. It’s always been done this way. But your mom and dad didn’t have the internet, and look at them now, plastering Facebook walls with comments and texting you nonsensical strings of emojis at 6:13 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. If they can adopt something new, so can you. Sheet pan bacon is worth it.

GALLERY: 37 Delicious Recipes for All That Leftover Bacon You (Don’t) Have [provided by SheKnows]

37 Delicious Recipes for All That Leftover Bacon You (Don’t) Have

5 Tips For Using Your Microwave Oven Safely

Did you know the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates microwave ovens? Microwave oven manufacturers must certify their products meet safety performance standards created and enforced by the FDA to protect the public health.

Microwave ovens are generally safe when used correctly. But people have experienced burns, and in rare cases, other injuries from microwave radiation, particularly in cases involving improper use or maintenance. Therefore, always use your oven properly (read on for tips) and maintain it as recommended by the user manual.

How Microwaves Cook

First, know that microwaves—the actual waves produced by these ovens—are a type of electromagnetic radiation. These waves cause water molecules in food to vibrate. These vibrations, in turn, produce the heat that cooks food.

The waves are produced by a vacuum tube within the oven called a magnetron. They are reflected within the oven’s metal interior; can pass through glass, paper, plastic, and similar materials; and are absorbed by food.

Microwaves are a kind of non-ionizing radiation. They do not have the same risks as x-rays or other types of ionizing radiation. (Ionizing radiation is a more energetic type of radiation that can cause changes to human cells.)

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Injury Risks and Background on Microwaves

Most injuries related to microwave ovens are the result of heat-related burns from hot containers, overheated foods, or exploding liquids.

Most injuries do not relate to radiation. That said, there have been very rare instances of radiation injury due to unusual circumstances or improper servicing.

In general, these radiation injuries are caused by exposure to large amounts of microwave radiation leaking through openings such as gaps in the microwave oven seals. However, FDA regulations require that microwave ovens are designed to prevent these high-level radiation leaks. In fact, manufacturers must certify that their microwave ovens comply with specific FDA safety standards. These standards require any radiation given off by ovens to be well below the level known to cause injury.

Although some people have been concerned that microwave ovens could cause interference with certain electronic cardiac pacemakers, today’s pacemakers are designed to shield against this interference. You can consult with your health care provider if you still have concerns.

Safety Tips

1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Directions in the user manual provide recommended operating procedures and safety precautions. For instance, you should not use some microwave ovens when they are empty. In addition, you should not heat water or liquids longer than the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.

2. Use microwave-safe containers. Use cookware specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Generally, you should not use metal pans or aluminum foil because microwaves reflect off them, causing food to cook unevenly and possibly damaging the oven. And you should not use some plastic containers because heated food can cause them to melt. The FDA recommends using glass, ceramic, and plastic containers labeled for microwave oven use.

3. Avoid super-heated water. “Super-heated” means water is heated beyond its boiling temperature, without signs of boiling. If you use a microwave oven to heat water in a clean cup beyond the boiling temperature, a slight disturbance or movement may cause the water to violently explode out of the cup. There have been reports of serious skin burns or scalding injuries around people’s hands and faces as a result of this phenomenon.

Adding ingredients such as instant coffee or sugar to water before heating greatly reduces the risk of hot-water eruption. Also remember to follow the manufacturer’s heating instructions.

4. Check for leakage. There should be little cause for concern about excess microwave radiation leaking from these ovens unless the door hinges, latch, or seals are damaged. The FDA recommends looking at your oven carefully to see if any of these issues exist. The agency also recommends that you do not use an oven if the door doesn’t close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.

5. Don’t use ovens that seem to operate when the door is open. The FDA monitors these appliances for radiation safety issues and has received increasing reports about microwave ovens that appear to stay on—and operate—when the door is open. The FDA recommends that you immediately stop using a microwave oven if this happens.

“A failure in the door sensing switch can sometimes allow the fan, light, and/or turntable to operate when the door is open. But safety interlocks in microwave ovens are intended to stop the magnetron from generating microwaves,” explains Ting Song, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer with the FDA’s Magnetic Resonance and Electronic Products branch. “When interlocks work normally, the magnetron will not operate. However, since each oven design is different, consumers cannot be 100 percent sure that microwave radiation is not being emitted in this situation.”

How to Report Problems

In the FDA’s experience, most microwave ovens that are tested show little or no detectable microwave leakage.

However, if your microwave shows signs of leakage or damage, or you suspect a radiation problem, you can contact the oven manufacturer. Manufacturers are required to tell the FDA about various issues, including defects in microwave ovens, lack of compliance with federal standards, and accidental radiation occurrences. (For more details, visit the FDA’s page on microwave ovens.)

You also can report any suspected radiation-related problems or injuries directly to the FDA by completing and mailing the Accidental Radiation Occurrence Report form.

Natural Oven Cleaning Recipe

Oven cleaning stinks. It is time consuming and the chemicals that are used in most conventional oven cleaners are toxic! I’ve been working on switching all of my cleaning to more natural methods…

That is why this particular tip is one of my favorites because it is so easy, cheap and natural!

Natural Oven Cleaning

If you are like me, your oven occasionally (or once a week in my case) gets burnt on food on the bottom, splattered food on the sides, or dried food stuck on the rack.

I do not have a self-cleaning oven as some do, so I had to find a way to solve this problem. (As a side note, I’ve read a lot of cases of self-cleaning ovens experiencing problems after using the self-cleaning cycle as some sources suggest that they high heat may cause fuses or elements to burn out more quickly. There are also some concerns about substances released into the air from the high heat of the self cleaning cycle.)

I also checked our specific oven cleaning products at the store, and definitely did not want those ingredients in my oven around the food I was cooking for my family. I tried a variety of natural treatments before stumbling on the best oven cleaner, natural or not, that I have ever found: baking soda!

Baking Soda Natural Oven Cleaning

Though it seems like a simple fix, baking soda is really effective and makes the daunting task of oven cleaning a little easier. All I have to do to get a shining oven is spray the whole oven down with a water bottle so that it is damp, and pour on a thick layer or baking soda, especially on the bottom, until there is about 1/4 inch layer of baking soda paste on the bottom. If any of the baking soda is still dry, I mist it with the water bottle.

Then, I walk away, and leave the baking soda there for a few hours (with the oven off, unless you want to see some amateur special effects… I don’t recommend this!) After a few hours I simply wipe up the paste with a cloth and all the grime comes with it. For really baked on grime, this may take a couple applications, but it always works and it is 100% natural!

I’ve found that it is important to make sure that the baking soda residue has been completely removed before using the oven as any remaining baking soda may smoke if left in contact with the heating element.

See some of my other natural cleaning ideas here!

Update

Did you get here by clicking on a post about how I’ve also used a product called Branch Basics to clean my oven? That post has been redirected to this one while I do further research on the company and their proprietary formula as recent information has emerged that calls into question the disclosure of the ingredients used in their formula.

For oven cleaning: Baking soda is a safe and effective way to clean an oven and I would recommend this method either way. I’ve also found that Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is an effective substitute for many cleaning products when used in correct dilutions. I share many of my uses in this post.