Simple Cleaning Tips

Dark Marks On Dishes? Here’s How To Get Rid Of Them!

I love my light yellow, Southern Living plates I bought years ago, but I am not thrilled with the dark marks on them! What the heck are they? Why do they appear? Well, it is time to save those dishes from the trash bin (or donation pile!).

What the heck are those dark marks on my dishes?! (And how to get rid of them!) From
What the heck are those dark marks on my dishes?! (And how to get rid of them!) From


The marks are from the utensils used to eat off the dishes. Why this happens? There seems to be many answers:

  1. They are cheap dishes (They weren’t cheap when I bought them at a Southern Living Home Party!).
  2. They are old and the protective coating (ceramic glaze) has thinned on the surface of the plate, allowing the utensils to make their marks. (Quite possible, considering I bought these about 8 years ago – how long are dishes supposed to last?)
  3. Something in the composition of the plate reacts to the utensils.

Here is the trick to removing the marks off the plates:

Bar Keepers Friend, the key to removing dark marks from dishes!
Bar Keepers Friend, the key to removing dark marks from dishes!



Be sure to wet your plate and sprinkle with Bar Keepers Friend (it also comes in liquid form). Using a sponge, gently scrub surface of plate in a circular motion. Rinse once you see the marks gone. Hand wash with liquid soap or place in dishwasher for thorough cleaning.  That is it!

Check out how well Bar Keepers Friend worked!
Check out how well Bar Keepers Friend worked!


Last year I covered this for my “Putting Pinterest To The Test” video series, comparing this technique to another technique using Cream Of Tartar. The video is below:


Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to speak about this handy technique! And here is the video from First Coast Living:


Simple Tip: Baking Soda – The Unsung Hero!

Baking soda – that little orange box that sits in your pantry – is more than just part of a baking recipe.  It is a great cleaner and freshener!  And don’t forget, baking soda is an inexpensive product to use. Try out some of these simple ways to freshen up your home:

Baking Soda-The Unsung Hero!
Baking Soda-The Unsung Hero!

Freshen Fridge and Freezer

We all know you can stick a box of baking soda to get rid of smells in your fridge and freezer.  You just pop open the top of the box and place it in the back of your fridge, replacing it every 30 days.  Did you know Arm & Hammer makes a specially designed, non-spill box? It only costs $.10 more than the regular box ($.95 versus $.85 a box).  Bonus Tip: When you replace that box after 30 days, pour the used box down your kitchen sink disposal and let sit for 20 minutes to freshen it up!

Freshen Your Towels – Get The Stink out!

You can add a cup of baking soda to every load of wash to freshen the smell of your laundry.  Have really tough odors, like towels that smell like mildew? Simple Solutions Diva has a tried-and-true way to remove that stink — Click Here!

Freshen Your Carpets & Couches

For Carpets – Sprinkle baking soda on carpets ½ hour before vacuuming. The baking soda absorbs the smells.

For Couches And Other Fabric-Covered Furniture –  Make your own fabric spray! Use a spray bottle filled with 1 T. Baking Soda, Warm Water, 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Shake well until baking soda is dissolved. Lightly spray your couch and let dry. It will smell a little like the essential oil, and the stinky smell will be neutralized.

Clean Coffee And Tea Stains

Have a favorite coffee/tea cup or pot that is stained? Just mix up a ¼ cup baking soda in 1 QT warm water and soak the cup or pot.  You can also make a paste with baking soda and water and lightly scrub.

De-Stink Those Dental Appliances

Grossed out by your night guard or child’s smelly retainer? Mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with one cup of water and soak those dental appliances to remove food particles and smell. You can also dip your wet toothbrush into baking soda and scrub the appliance and let it sit for a few hours.


Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to share these ideas! Here is the video from First Coast Living:

Top Four Common Product Combinations To Never Mix

With so many great cleaning ideas floating around Pinterest, it really is important to know that some common household products, when combined together, can be dangerous!  Thank you to for these combination warnings – visit the site for more combinations that are not good.

Take a look at these products that you should never mix:

Bleach and Vinegar

These are great cleaners — when used separately! But combine these two, and you end up with Toxic Chlorine Gas! It can cause a chemical burn to your eyes and lungs.

Ammonia and Bleach

This combination, if you inhale the vapors, could cause respiratory damage and throat burns. highlights a story of a man who used Ammonia, Bleach and Drano to unclog his toilet, was overcome by the fumes, and died. I don’t know about you, but cleaning my toilet is NOT the way I want to go!

Rubbing Alcohol and Bleach

This chemical cocktail creates chloroform – Who knew? It can damage your nervous system, eyes, lungs, kidneys and more. Extremely high exposure can actually cause death, and even low levels of exposure can cause  dizziness and nausea.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar

You can use these items as cleaners, separately. But if you combine them together in the same container (like a spray bottle for cleaning), you can create a corrosive acid! use them on the same surface, separately.

Check out to see the full listing of products they recommend you do not combine!

Common Products your should never mix, from
Common Products your should never mix, from


Simple Cleaning Tips From Simple Solutions Diva

Cleaning is not always on the top of our list of “Fun” things to do, but it is something that we have to do at some point! Here are some simple solutions to some common cleaning challenges:

But I HATE Cleaning! – Hate tackling cleaning jobs (like I do)? Pick one project to do, put on some good music, set a timer for 15-20 minutes and tackle just one job. When the timer goes off, stop and move on. And don’t feel guilty! I use this tip to tackle some of the paper piles that build up on my desk, or to do a speed pick up of a room.

Screenshot 2014-01-16 20.43.49Vinegar – The Super Cleaner! I love using vinegar to do some simple cleaning jobs around the house. It is non-toxic and does a great job! Try out some of these cleaning tips using white vinegar:

  • Clean Your Microwave – Fill a microwave safe bowl with ½ c. white vinegar and ½ c. water. Run in microwave 3-4 minutes. Take a damp cloth and wipe down inside of microwave– the steam, plus vinegar, helps to loosen cooked on debris and deodorize the inside of the microwave.
  • Simple Way To Clean Gunk Off Shower Head– Do mineral deposits clog your shower head? Fill a quart-sized baggie with white vinegar. Take a rubber band and attach the vinegar-filled bag to your shower head, making sure the shower head is covered completely with the vinegar. Leave on overnight. The vinegar will do the cleaning for you! The next day, remove the bag, take an old toothbrush (you will toss after using!) and gentle scrub the shower head.  The crusted on gunk should come off easily! To see the process in action, Click Here.
Non-Toxic Way To De-Gunk Your Shower Head, from
Non-Toxic Way To De-Gunk Your Shower Head, from

Dust It? No, Roll It! – Have dusty lampshades but find it awkward to vacuum the shades? Use a lint roller to get the dust off the shade.

Remove Sticky Stickers from Dishes or Glassware– Use rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball or Q-tip to tackle the job. If it doesn’t come off, soak a cotton ball in the rubbing alcohol and let sit o the sticker for 5 minutes before trying again.

You can check out more links to other video cleaning tips from Simple Solutions Diva:

Putting Pinterest To The Test: Clean Your Top Loading Washer

How To Remove Mildew From Towels

Uses For Vinegar Around The House

And finally, here is an interesting link from on 16 Common Product Combinations You Should Never Mix.

Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on the show to share these tips!

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