The Secret to Becoming a Lean Mean Cleaning Machine

I’m fascinated with people who have immaculate houses. Smudge-free windows. Dustless furniture. My husband Rick grew up that way. Then he married me. Saturday, he started the tedious process of dusting our log walls.


He didn’t complain. Or fuss. He put on a dust mask and got busy.

His patience stirred my heart.

Could I become a lean, mean cleaning machine too? And actually enjoy it?

A friend I’ve met through my blog came to mind. She cleans houses. A couple of weeks ago, I sent her a picture of my kitchen floor and asked how to clean it.

She suggested an O’ Cedar Light and Thirsty Mop and Mr. Clean. She said if she lived closer, she’d love to come mop my floor for me. We’ve never met in person.

Have you ever heard of such kindness?

 Here are more cleaning tips she gave me… along with a life lesson:

1. Streak-less wiping cloths from Yoders Crafts and Gifts in Punxsutawney, PA.

2. Dawn dishwashing soap for all-around cleaning.

3. Mr. Clean in a spray bottle for counters and sinks. Also great for toilets.

4. Mr. Clean Magic Sponges.

5. Swiffer cloths for furniture.

6. Soft Scrub for spots on walls and sinks.

7. Clorox Clean-up if surface is bleach-safe.

8. Sheila Shine for stainless appliances.

9. Scouring Stick from Ace Hardware for hard water stains in toilets.

I’d always been bored while cleaning. I had to know her big secret. “What do you think about while you clean?”

Her answer melted me.

Sometimes she sings at work. 🙂 And she always prays for her clients while she cleans. 🙂

Aha! That’s it! She sings and prays while cleaning! I love it!

I just mopped my floor (again!) with Mr. Clean. INCREDIBLE STUFF! I smiled the whole time. 🙂

Any cleaning or life secrets to share?




  1. Pat Garczynski says:

    Here I am, Julie, looking for your Wednesday Blog first thing! I don’t sing while cleaning! However, I like to sometimes sing in the shower from Psalm 51: “Create in me a CLEAN heart, O God, and RENEW a right spirit within me.”

  2. Morning, Pat. PERFECT SCRIPTURE!!! Wish I’d thought of it. Love, love, love that verse.

    Love to you and yours this morning, my friend.

  3. Mary Wilkins says:

    Check out the Fly Lady at Very good de-cluttering advice and her products really work. The purple rags are amazing. I don’t follow her to the letter, but I’ve picked up certain tricks ( no pun intended with the “picked up”) that do make a difference. My cleaning consists mostly of rearranging cat and dog hair in various patterns.

    • Hey, Mary,

      I sure will! I’ve heard of the Fly Lady, but never investigated.

      Love, love, love your cleaning rituals. Me too! And Clyde, our yellow Lab, sheds terribly. I should sweep daily. Maybe since I’m becoming a Lean Mean Cleaning Machine I will! xo

  4. Donna Martin says:

    I had a friend who would invited me over to visit while she cleaned. She would never let me help she just wanted someone to talk and that helped her enjoy her cleaning. When she was done we would have a cup of coffee and a snack. I put on music. I love Southern Gospel to clean to.

    • Donna, I’ve never heard of such–hmmmmmm, very different. I like the music, talking, coffee part. And if she’s fun to talk to, then why not!

      Neat idea. My sister’s reeaaaaaaaly clean. Never thought of maybe asking if I could just watch her while she cleans. Might learn from her. 🙂

  5. As a teen I cleaned my aunt’s house for her and found I actually liked doing it! Today, I try to keep my house presentable as I do not like an out of order house. I just can’t relax when it needs to be put back in order. I don’t always do my windows but I do keep my bathrooms and kitchen clean as well as my rugs vacuumed. The one thing I do fail at is dusting. I tend to put that off.

    My favorite cleaning items are these:

    1. Murphy’s Oil Soap. I use this to clean my floors and appliances. It’s great on wood and other surfaces. It has been around 100 years!

    2. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers – Love these!

    3. LYSOL® Power & Free Multi-Purpose Cleaner – this is a new product that has quickly become my favorite. It uses hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach, so it isn’t as harsh.

    • Eileen, Eileen. This is exactly what I’m talking about–and I’m so impressed. Actually, I can even sense your peacefulness as I’m reading your words. I’m gonna get there too!

      Thank you, thank you. I’ll try your products. Years ago, I remember using Murphey’s Oil Soap. Ohhh, that smell is wonderful.

      Hugs to you today!

  6. Hi Julie, I love that old fashioned tub and it looks marvelous against the logs. Is that TV in your bathroom? lol!
    We use Armstrong Floor Cleaner in our kitchen and Mike swears by it (he does all the mopping!)

    Your friend reminds me of my aide when I was in the hospital, remember who sang hymns while she cleaned and sang to me in the elevator? Nothing like singing and praying while we work.

    • I know, Meg. That’s the one thing I really wanted–was my claw-foot tub. TV is in our bedroom. 🙂

      Armstrong Floor Cleaner. Never heard of it. And Mike mops??? Gotta love a man who mops!!

      Yes, I remember that wonderful lady in your story. Seems to simple to really work, but I’m beginning to believe it does. xo

  7. I used to sing while I cleaned too, when I was young and thought I COULD sing:):) I usually enjoy cleaning cause I feel so good when it is all clean and shiny!!! I do NOT like to vacuum!!! I used to have more hardwoods and it was fine, now we have carpet in the bedroom and I wish I still had hardwood. Much easier. XO, Pinky

    • Pinky, now that you’re in your new house, is cleaning…..well, I bet it’s different. Fun…even!

      No, I don’t like to vacuum either. Laughing at your singing comment. I’m gonna start singing while I clean–even though I can’t hit all the notes. I can in my heart.

  8. You came to my mind this morning even before your lovely blog came into my inbox. Love your cleaning tips. Love the praying while doing tasks. Great advice!

  9. Awwww, you were thinking about me even before you saw the blog. I’ve been thinking about you too. You have busy days ahead. Sing and pray your way through. XOXO

  10. Aw, a man who loves to clean! My sweet hubby admitted to me the other night that he sort of enjoys doing laundry. Who knew? He does like me to sort it first.

    I love the part of this post about singing and praying while you clean. We don’t always feel like doing that with a toilet brush in our hands.

    Love your log walls. So cozy!

    • Carla, Carla, just think. So many years of marriage and the little things about our men we are still discovering?!

      Yep, singing and praying and cleanin’ toilets today.


  11. Jewels, mu hubs came up with the best way to clean your floors! Use whatever cleaning solution you like, but forget the mop. Spray the floor, and toss down t wet towels. Place a foot on each towel, and get to work. As you “skate” around the floor, you get a marvelous workout, and your legs are stronger than your arms. 🙂 Then, you toss down 2 dry towels and dry the floor the same way. Gives you beautifully clean floors and strong, toned legs. 🙂 All at the same time.

    • Ane, I think this is an AMAZING idea–and I can just see you doing it, too. I’ll have to try it, for sure. Talk about singing, dancing, and praising while we clean. 🙂

  12. Gosh I love your tub! Your post made me think of a long time ago when I used to iron everything. The only thing that got me through 2 times a week ironing was praying for the child or husband whose clothes I was ironing…I don’t iron so much any more 🙂
    I also love magic erasers 🙂

    • Yes, Robin, I remember those days. And it’s weird–I sorta liked ironing. Which makes no sense. Maybe because the results last for a few days?

      Will have to try Magic Erasers!!

  13. Julie Gilleand says:

    I had a friend who wouldn’t allow me to use her bathroom while visiting (she’s another Julie, by the way!), not due to a cleaning issue, but a rennovation problem. She was so ashamed of how it looked, no one but who lived there was allowed to go in there. Fine, except for the time she invited me over to watch The Ten Commandments on her VCR (this was when VCR’s were a new thing and not everyone had them). No way could I sit through that entire 4-hour ordeal while being banned from the facilities! So I had to go home, lol. My problem is clutter. One day I had an idea to just throw out 10 things from each room in the house, each day. My goodness what a difference at the end of a week. With 5 rooms x 7 days, that’s 350 things thrown out a week! The difference was amazing. And the more clutter I cleared this way, the more cleaning I was able to keep up with — because I didn’t have to move all the clutter before I could clean! I remember when my grown son Tim stopped by one day and looked around the kitchen at the counters and asked, “When did we get these?” Haha. Used to every inch of the counters was taken up with — something or other. Anyway, I thought it was a neat idea that fell out of the sky to me that day and worked wonders. Now if only the inspiration to do it again would kick in!!

    Thanks for sharing, Julie!

    “Other Julie”

    • Other Julie–Incredible idea about clutter!! And 350 x 4 = 1400!!!

      And this friend of yours? Do you still go to her house? Did Other Other Julie ever get her bathing in working order? This is….rather strange. :-/

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        You know, I don’t believe she ever did get that bathroom fixed and now lives in Alabama so I never get to see her, except on facebook of course! I never did see that bathroom either, lol.

  14. Sandra Walker says:

    Always look forward to Wednesday morning when the blog comes up! The past few weeks I have had to wait until Thursday for various reasons. Bummer! I worked for a friend years ago who had a cleaning service (I had asked the Lord for a job to help put my children through Christian school – I had
    told Him I would even clean toilets if necessary! 🙂 I didn’t think He would take me up on it! Learned lots of spiritual lessons and some very good cleaning tips. I have always liked Lysol and Comet. Diane
    used Top Job, which is not available any more, so Mr. Clean is a good second choice. Bruce Hardwood
    Floor Cleaner is what I was told to use 17 years ago for my new house and it has worked wonderfully.
    I get it at Lowe’s or Home Depot (Armstrong Floor Cleaner is available there, too). In between mopping, I use a Swiffer (you can use Kroger floor cloths; they work just as well). I invested in a really
    good vaccuum cleaner – I had one 25 years and this second one is going on 10). Paul helops me vaccuum! The magic erasers are the best things invented in a while. My friend Diane taught me to use
    Glass Plus and it is the best! Been using it over 25 years! Been working on de-cluttering after cleaning out our parents houses ( have one more to go one of these days; my sweet mother who is 91). The
    “greatest generation” doesn’t throw anything away. Taught us the same but I make myself as I don’t want to do to our children what we have been through. Took a year to do Paul’s parents’ house and we had help! Still working 4 years later on my dad and stepmom’s. No help and have to find the time to
    go to another town to do it. Have a made a lot of progress but there is more to do!

  15. Sandra–how inspiring you are! And another friend rec’d Armstrong Floor Cleaner.

    I’m telling you–the smell of the Mr. Clean is better than I remembered. Maybe the singin’ helps too, but my attitude is changing. Unbelievable!

    Ohhh, your mother is 91. Bless her. And I love how God answered your prayer…just what you asked for. Kinda. 🙂 🙂

  16. Ok Julie ~ first off, in my house, c-l-e-a-n is like a 4-letter word… Living with 3 boys & their father didn’t give me an opportunity to train a little girl how to cherish a home. My guys really don’t care if a hard-water stain is left on the glass if you don’t squeegee the glass. Nobody notices the lint/dust on top of the baseboards. I confess I erred heavily on the side of it’s-easier-for-me-to-just-do-it-instead-of-patiently-teaching-you!
    I’ve also found when I am in “create” mode, it’s hard to switch over to “clean” mode. Wish I could afford to just hire somebody to follow after me to pick up my trail of threads & snips & straight pins… 🙂

    Secondly, I ADORE YOUR TUB!

  17. Melody, you and I would hit it off–I can tell. 🙂

    You are BRILLIANT! That’s exactly how I feel…when I’m in the create mode, it’s hard to switch to the clean mode!! That’s it! I’d love to see a pic of your sewing room. Is it on your blog?

    Oh, yes, my tub. That’s the one thing I wanted in our log house. I love my tub. My grandmother had one and it takes me back.


    • The house we lived in the first 8 years was built in 1919 & in the historic district (hey! That’s pretty old 🙂 by Phoenix standards…) There was an old iron tub (pedestal, no claw feet) in the original bathroom. I loved to take a bubble in it, but since there was no central heat, couldn’t do that during the winter.

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