Cars, Home Care, Today


Today I had on the schedule to wash my van and clean the moss out from around the doorhandles. I take it through the car wash fairly regularly, but nothing really cleans like a good hand wash. I started around 9:00 a.m. after I went and picked up the groceries so I wouldn’t get too hot.

I took the hose from the side yard to the driveway and attached it to the faucet behind the gate, and filled up my bucket with water and Dawn dishwashing liquid. I had plenty of rags ready to go for washing and drying. Unfortunately I didn’t get a “before” photo of the whole van, but here is one of some of the moss. You can see it around the door handle and the window. Blargh. How icky is that? I was tired of seeing that each time I got in the van to go somewhere and was rather embarrassed for other people to see it and think I don’t take care of my things.


So I got out an old toothbrush and started scrub-a-dub-dubbing. An old toothbrush is a great thing to have around the house for just such a job. You can see in this photo what I discovered when I inspected the rest of the van — that every nook and cranny that could have moss in it did. The plastic stripes at the bottom of the doors also had moss.

So, I washed and scrubbed and scrubbed and washed, and almost got all the dirt off the paint and the windows (there is some white stuff on the back passenger side quarter panel that I will probably need a plastic scraper to remove. I decided not to do that today.) With my toothbrush I was able to get into most of the nooks and crannies and remove the moss. Now the door handle and window look like this:

SO much better!

This is the passenger side front window. Aaack! I scrubbed this moss off but on final inspection a lot of it hadn’t been completely removed, so I had to go back with my wet rag and scrub again. It still didn’t all come off. I’m not sure why the passenger side had so much more moss than the driver’s side, the only thing I can think of is that the passenger side gets more sun.


I wiped down the insides of the doors and liftgate, although there was some gunk inside the top of the liftgate I couldn’t get very well. Then I got out my baby ShopVac and a damp rag to clean the inside of the van. I ran the rag over the dash and steering wheel and all the other plastic parts. Then I vacuumed everything out. There wasn’t too much dirt in the second row of seats because people hardly ever ride there, and I keep the third row folded down so there wasn’t any dirt there, but the way-back had a lot of dirt still from when we brought home my concrete bear statue. The front seat floors were very dirty as usual, especially the driver’s side since it is the side that gets used the most. I don’t know where I get all the junk on my shoes, but there is always a lot of dirt on the floor where I put my feet. It’s a mystery.

Baby ShopVac

The van wasn’t as dirty as it could have been because I did go to the car wash the other day, but the windows always get very dirty and I am glad to be able to see out of them again. I couldn’t reach the top middle of the windshield so there might still be a dirty spot there, but maybe The Hubs will take care of that for me on his next days off. I had forgotten to bring out the stepstool and didn’t really want to get it all wet. The windshield wiper on the driver’s side kept making a smudge right at eye level when I used the washer function, so I wanted to give the wipers a good cleaning too. Usually the wipers rest way down under the hood and are impossible to get to, but I found out by accident that if you turn them on low and then turn off the ignition when they are at the outside of the windshield, they will stay up and accessible. I gave them a good wipedown as well. Seems like whenever I clean the windshield wipers they are always covered in black dirt. They need to be replaced soon for the rainy season but at least they should work for the washing function now.

Wipers are accessible now.

Here is the finished product, in front of the spectacular gate The Hubs designed and built to keep people from gawking at his backyard. It only took me two hours to finish my car wash! My van is 17 years old and has dents from a mistake I made and from when a small man sideswiped my driver’s door in the RiteAid parking lot while I was in the store. A very large man had seen it happen and kept the little guy there until I came out so I could get his information, because he was trying to sneak away. It sounded like he was saying his car did the sideswiping all by itself, but he wasn’t speaking English very well and I couldn’t quite get what he was trying to tell me. I did get a rather tiny payment from the man’s insurance company but Greg decided it wouldn’t be enough to pay to get the dents fixed so now I drive a hooptie. And I know it would be cooler to have an SUV, but you wouldn’t believe all the treasures I can fit in the minivan, ha! Oh well, it runs fine and it’s paid for and it’s really in pretty good condition, and now it’s clean and moss-free!

So shiny!
DIY, Home and Garden

Cleaning A Used Clay Pot

Strawberry pot before cleaning.

As noted in a previous post, I got this nice strawberry pot at an estate sale for $2.00. It was dirty and still 1/2 full of potting soil, and since I don’t want to plant my adorable succulent plants in someone else’s dirt (and bacteria, God forbid!) the Hubs dumped out all the old dirt and I set out to find the best way to clean a used terra cotta pot.

After reading an article and watching a video about cleaning terra cotta pots, I decided that I would start by using an old nylon dish brush and some warm water with Dawn dishwashing detergent to clean the outside and inside of the pot. I also could have used a scrubby sponge to scrub off the green and black spots, but I wasn’t trying to get it looking perfect. I like a little grunge, as they say on HGTV’s Home Town.

Cleaning the pot

To disinfect the pot after cleaning, I filled a bucket with a gallon of water. The video and article I saw both said to mix 1 part bleach to 9 parts water, but I noticed my bottle of concentrated bleach had instructions to use only 1/3 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water (which is 1 part bleach to 48 parts water, I think. Isn’t it? Mathing – sometimes I got it, sometimes I don’t.), so I added the 1/3 cup bleach to my bucket of water. I scrubbed the pot inside and out with the bleach water, being careful to get in all the little planting holes on the sides.

After cleaning and scrubbing with bleach water. Still a nice chippy vintage vibe!

After cleaning and disinfecting the pot and rinsing thoroughly, I am leaving it in the “sun” to let any bleach that might be left on the pot evaporate. I say “sun”, because we are having an atmospheric river such as the state hasn’t seen in 80 years, and we aren’t sure if the sun will actually come out at all this month! The video I watched said that to make sure there is no bleach left in your pot when it’s dry you should sniff it, and if you smell chlorine you should rinse it again and let it sit some more.

So, tomorrow after sniffing my strawberry pot to make sure there is no trace of chlorine left, I will plant my new plants! Now, off to decide which plants to plant where!

Home, Home Care, Kitchen

It Has To Be Done

Image from

Greetings, young adults! Is washing dishes your favorite chore? Of course not! But is it important for your health, the maintenance of your kitchenware, and the tidiness of your home? I’m pretty sure you’d say it is. These instructions will show you what you need and how to quickly wash your dishes and kitchenware to keep it all clean and germ-free. (That is, if you don’t have an automatic dishwasher. If you have a dishwasher, you should use it. It works much better than washing dishes by hand.)

First, gather your supplies. Start with a sturdy dish brush with a scraper on it. Buy some rubber gloves if you have sensitive skin. Then you will need a dish drainer, a clean dishcloth, clean dish towels, some dish soap (like Dawn), and bleach. If you have a one-basin sink you will want a clean dishpan. Since you will put bleach in the water you use to wash your dishes, you will also want an apron or old sweater to wear in case you splash. Have two scrubby sponges on hand, one blue and one pink (or at least two different colors of some sort), so you can tell which one is for dishes and which one is for the sink. Have some disinfecting cleanser (like Soft Scrub with bleach) to scrub your sink, and keep some paper towels and disinfecting spray cleaner around to get your counters all spiffied up after you’re done with the dishes. Your broom and dustpan will also come in handy.

Before washing the dishes, use your dish brush to scrape bits of food off the dishes/pots/et cetera and into the garbage disposal or trash can.  If you scrape stuff into the garbage disposal, run the disposal for a minute with hot water to grind everything up and wash it down. Do not put eggshells or things that would be hard to grind up in the garbage disposal. (Eggshells will clog your drains. Trust me, they will.) Rinse the dishes well before stacking them on the counter to get ready to wash. Never stack dishes with chunks of food on them. You do not want bits of food and other debris in your wash water when you are washing your dishes!

Prepare your sink using your blue scrubby sponge and disinfecting cleanser. You wouldn’t take a bath in a dirty bathtub, because that would be gross. So would washing your dishes in a dirty sink! Sprinkle or squirt a generous amount of cleanser in the sink and give it a good scouring all around (both basins, if you have two). Don’t forget the sides and corners. Rinse out your sink, then rinse off and squeeze out your sponge and put it away where it can dry quickly.

Survey your rinsed dirty dishes and kitchenware. Find the dirtiest items – probably a pot, or a pan that used to be full of lasagna, or anything that might have hard-to-remove gunk left on it after scraping with your brush. Get out your pink scrubby sponge and use it to scrub as many food scraps off your dirtiest dishes as possible. Anything especially icky (like a cutting board or knife that had raw meat on it) should be scrubbed with your dish brush and a little bit of dish soap, and then rinsed before putting it in the wash water. If you need to scrub out a stainless-steel pot, a cleanser called Cameo works well. Rinse your scrubbed dishes and set them aside. Then rinse your pink sponge out and put it away near the blue sponge.

Now put some dish soap in your sink basin or dishpan and fill it with water as hot as you can stand. Add a dollop of bleach to the clean water to help sanitize your dishes. Whirl the water around until there are plenty of suds. Get out your dishcloth and put it in the soapy water. Note that you are using a clean dishcloth, not one that has been sitting around on your sink collecting germs and who-knows-what.  Neither are you using a dirty old sponge, or the dish brush. The dish brush is for scraping only.  We’re using a sponge for scrubbing, and a clean, germ-free cloth for washing.

Survey your dirty dishes once again. Pick out the least-dirty dishes this time, probably the glasses. Wash these in your suds with your dishcloth. Run hot water from the faucet into your other sink basin (or next to your dishpan) to rinse, and put the glasses in the dish drainer. Next, do the plates and bowls. Remember to wash all sides of each dish, because the backs get dirty too. Wash and rinse your plates and bowls and put them in the dish drainer.

If you are washing sharp knives, place them in the sink or dishpan with the blades all facing away from you. This way you know where the handles are so you can pick them up safely out of the suds to wash them. When washing a knife, ball the dishcloth up for safety so you have some more cloth between your hand and the knife blade while you are washing it. After you have washed the knives, put them in the dish drainer, points down.

 Next, tackle the silverware. Pay special attention to each piece of silverware so you won’t find something yucky between the tines when you take a fork out of the drawer later. Wash, rinse, and place the silverware in the dish drainer. Finally, you’re going to come to the dirty dishes you scrubbed earlier. Scrub them even more thoroughly with your dishcloth until they are shiny. You’ve probably run out of room in the dish drainer by now, so place your washed and rinsed pot and lasagna dish on a dishtowel on your counter.

It’s now time to dry the dishes. Get your dish towel and start with the glasses and cups. If any cups or bowls nest together, make sure they are completely dry before nesting or germs might grow in the dampness between them. Then dry the plates and other dishes, silverware, knives, and pots and pans. Put everything away in its place in your kitchen.

Finish your dishwashing task by drying and putting away the dish drainer (unless you are a person who keeps it on the counter beside the sink all the time, that’s okay too), and hanging up your dish towel(s). Wring out your dishcloth and hang it somewhere in the laundry area to dry before putting it into the hamper. Wipe all your kitchen counters and your stovetop with your disinfecting spray and paper towels. Mop up all the water from the back of the sink, wipe off the backsplash, and wipe down the faucet. Wipe up any spills from the floor with a paper towel or rag. After your counters are clean and your floor is wiped, get your broom and dustpan and sweep the whole kitchen floor.  Don’t forget the dining area floor if you have one.

That is the end. This simple task should preferably be done every day, or at least whenever there is a jumble of dishes on your counter.

Wasn’t that easier than you thought it would be? Now your parents are proud of you, your roommates are happy with you, and you can be proud and happy too, knowing everything in your kitchen is clean, tidy, and well-maintained!