Welcome to 2022! I’m sure we all hope that this will be the year to return to some sense of normalcy. There sure have been a lot of changes over the last couple of years, some for the better, some not. I will have one year of experience as a health advocate and I want to let you know how much I have enjoyed this year! I have spent this past year getting to know many Episcopalians of Schuylkill County. This by far has been the best part of my job! I have discovered this about Episcopalians- you are a very faithful people. I admire the way you step up to participate in the services and have Morning Prayer when there is not a supply priest available. I have also witnessed the love and outreach you show to parishioners not able to attend service regularly. Cards, ornaments, Advent kits and visits with communion are all ways to show that although missing from the pew, they are not missing from the hearts of others.
My first year has consisted of getting to know you through phone calls and visits. I also got to know you through peeling peaches for the Peach Festival, making apple dumplings, and peeling potatoes for the Thanksgiving meal. I must admit I enjoyed participating in it all. If you would enjoy an in-person visit, phone call, or if there is a matter I can assist with, please contact me at the office-(570)621-3220.
If you are like me the New Year usually means cleaning! Typically, I try to clean as I undecorate from Christmas. I do not like to undecorate from Christmas and my husband will tell you I’d leave the tree up until the last needle falls off just to avoid undecorating it. I think the house looks so bare after all the holiday decorations come down. Although I am not crazy about cleaning, I enjoy discovering new ideas and different products to use.
I often get emails and read articles about how to clean with simple items you already have in your home, so I decided to share some with you. Some of you may already use these items to clean. Most of us have a box of baking soda in our house. It may be in the fridge to eliminate odors or in the cupboard to use in a favorite recipe, but it does so much more!
-sprinkle a small amount in the trash can as a deodorizer
-pour baking soda directly onto grimy stovetops and let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub gently with a damp sponge and wipe clean with a soft cloth.
-remove stuck-on foods from your microwave by applying baking soda to a damp sponge and scrubbing the residue
-sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher and run as usual to freshen and remove stains
-pour baking soda slowly down the drain of your garbage disposal while running warm water
-deodorize your cutting board by sprinkling baking soda and scrubbing and rinsing (use a disinfectant for cleaning)
-sprinkle on a wet rag or sponge to rub on sinks and bathtubs to remove stubborn soap scum
- clean shower grout by making a paste of lemon juice and baking soda or ½ cup bleach and ¾ cup baking soda, brush on grout lines with a toothbrush and let sit several minutes before wiping off
-clean your shower curtain by scrubbing with baking soda on a damp sponge and rinsing it off
-baking soda is a wonderful deodorizer, sprinkle on carpets and mattresses and vacuum up
-put baking soda in a jar to deodorize closet, in a sock to and keep in a drawer, add to laundry, add some to a litter box
-remove tarnish from sterling silver jewelry by lining a dish with aluminum foil shiny side up, Dissolve 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 1 cup of boiling water (solution may bubble). Place jewelry in the dish, making sure it’s touching aluminum foil and pour the solution into a dish. Let sit for2-10 minutes. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
-clean your grill by sprinkling baking soda on grill grates. Scrub with a brush and wipe clean.
-sprinkle a line of baking soda along basement windows and doorways to repel ants
-clean lawn furniture by wiping down with ½ cup baking soda and 1-quart warm water
-remove oil stains from your driveway or garage floor by sprinkling baking soda over stains and scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush
Baking soda may also be added with vinegar to do the following:
-clean your drain by pouring ½ cup baking soda followed by ½ cup vinegar down the drain. Let fizz then pour 6 cups of hot water down the drain.
-remove stains from coffee mugs by mixing equal parts vinegar and baking soda inside a mug and let sit 5 minutes (do this in sink-it’ll fizz up) and wash the mug as normal
-remove carpet stains by mixing 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup salt and 1 cup white vinegar into a paste. Apply to the stain and allow to dry and vacuum.
-soften stiff paint brushes by boiling them in a mixture of ½ gallon water, ½ cup vinegar and 1 cup baking soda
White vinegar is also a great cleaner and deodorizer while being relatively inexpensive. It can be used for many of the same things as baking soda. Some uses include:
-descale your coffeemaker or electric tea kettle by pouring several cups of straight white vinegar into the water chamber and let sit for 30 minutes. Then run the vinegar through the coffee maker. Run a few more brewing cycles with plain water to rinse the vinegar out.
-clean the exterior of the microwave by applying vinegar directly to the door, handle and keypad rubbing in with a microfiber rag
-a DIY cleaning solution of white vinegar and warm water (about ¼ cup of vinegar with 2 cups of water works wonders on all glass surfaces from mirrors to stovetops and shower doors
-a mist of white vinegar can eliminate smells throughout the house
-add ¼ cup of vinegar to any load of laundry with your normal detergent. It will neutralize odors and even enhance colors
There are certain things vinegar should NOT be used to clean because of its acidity. Do not use it on waxed wood, granite, marble, soapstone, aluminum, and cast iron.