A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: cleaning tips

I put white vinegar in my washing machine and you should too.

I love Tuesdays. Not only do I get to share great info with you, but it’s the only day of the week I have a pretty dependable routine going.

Tuesday means “Taco Tuesday.” That’s one less day of having to endure the kids whining, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” 

I also scrub the toilets on Tuesday. It makes our Saturday morning family chore time a little easier if I get the toilets out of the way earlier in the week.

There’s one other weekly chore I try to do every Tuesday, and that’s washing towels. I’m a simple girl at heart, what can I say.

However, due to my clinical inability to complete any task EVER, I never seem to get a load of laundry finished all the way through.

It is not an uncommon event around here for me to wet a clean hand towel, wring it out, and stick it in the dryer with an old wrinkly load that I forgot to pull out days ago.

I’m sorry. I just said “load” and “pull out” in the same sentence. Excuse me while I go have a giggle fit in the corner.

Okay, I’m back.

We were talking about laundry, weren’t we.

Oh yes. And I know I’m not the only one who forgets about my laundry and lets a wet load sit in the washing machine too long, getting all musty and sour. I know this because my sense of smell is my super power and I can smell that sour old laundry stank from a mile away.

So don’t act like you always remember to move the laundry to the dryer in a timely fashion. We’re all human. We all forget sometimes.

And when this happens, we need to pull out the big guns to get that sour stank out of our stuff.

And by big guns, I mean white vinegar.

I go through it like water ’round here.

We buy it in bulk at Costco and about 4 big bottles will last me the month. Naturally, I only buy Heinz vinegar because I’m a Pittsburgh girl and we’re loyal to our hometahn, an’ ‘at. 

Stinky or not, I always add one cup of white vinegar to the wash when I’m doing towels.

the bearded iris adds vinegar to laundry

The vinegar acts as a natural antibacterial agent and kills bacteria, mold, and germs.

Vinegar is also a natural fabric softener, even in hard water! White vinegar naturally softens laundry by removing soap and residue. It contains small amounts of potassium and sodium, which softens hard water and disolves mineral build up.

Double bonus!

Some people add vinegar to the rinse cycle. I don’t because I think it leaves the clothes smelling a little like vinegar. I always add my vinegar at the beginning of the wash cycle and never have a problem with lingering vinegar smell.

I have a very old and reliable top-loading washing machine, but you can use this trick in front-loading machines as well. In fact, I’ve seen several articles about using white vinegar to clean your funky smelling front-loading machine. Here’s one, if this is an issue for you.

Please note: I only use WHITE vinegar for laundry. I’m kind of a vinegar racist, I guess. Apple cider vinegar is great for other stuff like stopping a cold in its tracks. But don’t use darker vinegars on laundry unless you are purposefully going for the dingy stained look, and then God help you. (Crazy hipster kids today.)

I also use diluted white vinegar to clean my hardwood floors.

Do you have a favorite vinegar related household tip to share? (Spare us the douche comments, Uncle Slappy.)

And/or what is your super power?


Leslie (aka “Iris”)

How to Remove Bad Smells from Carpet and Upholstery

Well apparently it is Bad Smells Month here at The Bearded Iris, because my first two tips of July were all about combating stank on your hands and in your bathrooms.

What’s that you say? It’s August now? And it’s not even Tuesday? Well let’s just pretend I got this done yesterday like I had intended, m’kay?

So anyheee, today’s tip is also about stank. But today, we’re talking about stinky fabrics and carpets. 

Hey, I’ve got three kids and three pets. I know stank. Continue reading

Does your bathroom smell like a truck stop men’s room?

Today for Just the Tip Tuesday I’d like to step outside of my comfort zone and talk about something I normally don’t discuss: pee. You know, urine, number one, tee-tee, tinkle, piss, mellow yellow, the golden stream of relief, that which is produced when the main vein is drained.

It’s obviously outside of my comfort zone because I clearly prefer to talk about poop. But I had a pee-related problem, I needed a solution, and I found one worth sharing. I’m a giver, what can I say.

I have three kids. One of them is a five year old son whom I affectionately refer to as Bucket Head. He is pretty popular around here.

But what you might not know about this curly headed cherub of a boy is that Bucket Head has terrible aim when he pees. I don’t know if he gets distracted or he just doesn’t give a hoot, but that child sure makes a mess every time he takes a whiz.


I would tell him to just go outside all the time, but I once caught him pinching a loaf in the front yard (with his back to the street, no less!) Also, he’s about to start Kindergarten and I just can’t afford the ramifications of him not fully understanding when it is and is not acceptable to go outside.

So inside he stays and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remove the toilet seat and scrape the dried boy pee off the back of my toilets. It really bums me out.

And let’s not even discuss the fact that I foolishly chose to install white semi-gloss wainscoting in my powder room, the only room in my home that we’ve completely remodeled.

Well the other day, while using said powder room, I noticed a horrible smell. I kid you not, it smelled like a truck-stop men’s room (just guessing). It was absolutely disgusting. I figured that Bucket Head had gone in there and done a fire-hose impersonation and that all I needed to do was clean the toilet (and possibly wipe down the walls).


Nothing I did worked. I scrubbed and scrubbed, and still…the smell of old urine haunted that room as if it were being visited nightly by a hobo convention.

I was pissed! (See what I did there?)

So I did what I usually do, and I Googled.

And I found a potential solution! It was from Anna Moseley of Ask Anna. She’s a lovely lady. I have used her cleaning tips a number of times and I actually met her at the Haven conference last month. (At a Waffle House, where I was getting my hash browns on…smothered, covered, and capped, yo.)

Anna wrote a post all about getting rid of “boy bathroom smell.” I followed her directions to the letter and it worked!

In a nutshell, Anna said to:

1.) Make a paste with baking soda and freshly squeezed lemon juice (a natural disinfectant.) I used one lemon, it was plenty.

2.) Apply the paste liberally to all the places around the toilet that get a lot of over-spray, especially the base of the toilet.

3.) Let it sit for 15 minutes.

4.) Then spray it with white vinegar and wipe it down with a damp rag.

She also suggested spraying white vinegar on the other surfaces surrounding the toilet and then wiping that with a damp rag too.

I had to take that one step further because of the wainscoting and I used an old toothbrush with the vinegar to get all the caked-on pee out of the grooves. It really didn’t take that long. I was in the zone; rather zen-like actually. I might do this more often.

And I’m proud to tell you that my bathroom no longer reeks of old urine. So I have that going for me.

Here is the original post by Anna if you need any clarification on the steps. Please tell her I said hello!

Sincerely, and now with less stank,


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