Friday, 13 January 2012

Preparing to return to work - Cleaning

This week marks the end of my Summer holidays before returning to my job for the year.  I am lucky in that I work at a school and I only work 'Term' time so I get about 10 weeks off a year, but in saying that I only get paid for the weeks I work and so that always causes a shortfall in the budget during those times.
Summer Holidays - Beautiful Noosa Beach
I'm lucky enough to live so close to my place of work that I can easily walk there each day, saving money on petrol and wear and tear on our car and this also allows us to only need one vehicle.  In the past we have always had 2 cars thereby doubling our expenses in that area but I don't see why, with a bit of give and take, we can't maintain having just the one car to share as we go most places together anyhow.  Better for our finances and better for the environment.....savings approximately $1500 - $2000 a year.

When I come home from work I'm usually pretty tired and still have to do all the normal things to look after my family, home and garden so some preparation now will help me to get through the first term with some sanity left intact by the end.

Getting the house in order will be a big help as mess drives me crazy.  Doing things like cleaning the oven, cleaning out the fridge, sorting through and rearranging the pantry and checking 'used by' dates on pantry items, making enough soap to last until next holidays and freezing prepared or cook ahead meals for those nights when I just can't cook and take-out would be the other, more expensive and unhealthy option.  Now don't get me wrong, we still do pizza occasionally or my kids would divorce me, but the less the better in my opinion.  I aim for about 3 pre-prepared meals a week to help me through the busy term.

Today I started with the oven which was sorely in need of some attention.  My basic cleaning items are Bicarb Soda (Baking Soda), white vinegar, a soft homemade cotton cloth and a soft brush.  These are cheap items easily found in your local supermarket and if you don't knit or crochet to make your own cloth you can use a rag.  Old sheets, towels and clothes, worn past handing down to someone else, make great rags for cleaning.
My Basic Cleaning Ingredients

Last night I placed about 1/2 cup of Bicarb Soda into an oven proof dish and only just covered it with water then put it in the bottom of the oven and turned the oven on to medium heat for 30 mins.  I turned the oven off and left it overnight.

Today I made a paste of more Bicarb Soda and water to a custard type consistency and painted that on any heavy baked-on food in the oven and all over the glass door.  I left this to work its magic for about 30 mins and used the soft brush and some elbow grease to get all the grime off.  (The brush is soft enough not to scratch the oven surfaces).

Then I wiped the oven out to get all the Bicarb Soda off.  It worked a treat!  The cost...about 50c worth of Bicarb Soda instead of a $4 can of toxic oven cleaner.   Note to Self - Cleaning the oven more regularly would equal less elbow grease :)

The microwave got the treatment too.  Put about 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high heat for 2 minutes.  Carefully remove the hot bowl and wipe out the microwave oven with a damp soft cloth.  Result - sparkling clean, odour free oven.  White vinegar is economical, gentle on hands, non-toxic and has antimicrobial properties so it is effective in eliminating and retarding the growth of bacteria.  The vinegary smell disappears not long after it has dried.  Here is a link to a website with great tips and advice about cleaning with Vinegar.

I am hoping to have the time to update my blog 3 or 4 times a week and look forward to seeing you here and hearing your comments.



  1. Love the natural cleaning options specially nowthat we have bub, and it being cheaper too is awesome!
    Off to go clean my oven and microwave! OMG what have you started!?!? lol

  2. I have found that the method above takes quite a lot of elbow grease to get good results, however it is worth it to not use the toxic chemicals that I would need otherwise. I have also put a sheet of Aluminium foil in the bottom of the oven to catch any spills and make cleaning easier next time.


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