Wait, We Need to Clean Our Rugs *How* Often?

My least-favorite chores are the ones that only need to be done a few times a year, because, frankly, I always forget to do them. I’m talking about things like washing curtains, dusting the fridge coils, and yes, deep-cleaning your carpets.

Can’t reme…

My least-favorite chores are the ones that only need to be done a few times a year, because, frankly, I always forget to do them. I’m talking about things like washing curtains, dusting the fridge coils, and yes, deep-cleaning your carpets.

Can’t remember the last time you called in the pros to shampoo your rugs? You’re certainly not alone, but basically any cleaning expert will tell you that simply vacuuming your rugs isn’t enough. As the months go by, grime and bacteria inevitably accumulates deep in rugs, and even the most powerful vacuum cleaner can’t get it all out.

Read More >>

Did You Know Your Cane Furniture Needs to be Moisturized?

Add a piece, or a set, of cane furniture to any room and the atmosphere instantly relaxes. Your proximity to the nearest beach dwindles, your vacation days increase (and inch closer), sunshine glimmers in the forecast. Barefooted-ness becomes a regular…

Add a piece, or a set, of cane furniture to any room and the atmosphere instantly relaxes. Your proximity to the nearest beach dwindles, your vacation days increase (and inch closer), sunshine glimmers in the forecast. Barefooted-ness becomes a regular consideration. Ice cream for dinner. I'm not kidding. Have you tried it?

The plants used to make woven, natural-fiber furniture take many shapes, but two of the most common materials used are rattan and cane. Often confused and used interchangeably, rattan and cane are different applications of a similar material. Rattan includes over 600 different species of solid timber vine (different from a material like bamboo, which is hollow), native to tropical forests. Cane, on the other hand, is actually a specific part of rattan, which is removed from the thorny outer skin of the plant. It’s naturally very light in color, somewhat shiny, and far less porous than other parts of rattan—making it exceptional at repelling liquid spills.

Read More >>

The Surprising Oven-Cleaning Hack That’s Hiding in Your Laundry Room

I confess: the one thing I have never, ever cleaned successfully is my oven rack. Has anyone? No matter what I cook, and no matter how careful I am to put pans underneath bubbling pies and roasting vegetables, the racks somehow get covered in a layer o…

I confess: the one thing I have never, ever cleaned successfully is my oven rack. Has anyone? No matter what I cook, and no matter how careful I am to put pans underneath bubbling pies and roasting vegetables, the racks somehow get covered in a layer of greasy gunk and are now permanently reddish-brown. I’ve tried scrubbing them with dish soap and baking soda, but long ago gave up hope that they’d ever be silver and shiny again. Besides, I had more visible cleaning problems to tackle.

Then a friend told me about a surprising cleaning tool for oven racks and stovetop grates: dryer sheets. I don’t typically stock dryer sheets, since they’ve got lots of chemicals, which I try to avoid adding to my laundry. But, sources confirmed (when I Googled it later), that dryer sheets are excellent at tackling stubborn oven buildup—and I had half a box left behind by a former roommate that I didn’t want to waste. Could dryer sheets have an unintended, actually useful purpose?

Read More >>

How I’m Getting My Home Ready for the New Year

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.

I think we are all ready to say goodbye to 2020. As we head int…

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.


I think we are all ready to say goodbye to 2020. As we head into the holidays, I am merrily wrapping presents and baking cookies, but I’m also running a covert operation to kick this year out of my home. With a long winter ahead, it feels more important than ever to take care of my home as a way to support my family’s wellbeing. Little by little I’m working to make my home more orderly and ready for a fresh start in 2021. Here’s how:

Read More >>

All the Ways to Clean Silver: Ranked from Worst to Best

If you’re lucky enough to have inherited a set of silver flatware or invested in some ornate candlesticks, you know that its shine can begin to dull and tarnish in as little as a few months. This is actually because household silver (used for jew…

If you’re lucky enough to have inherited a set of silver flatware or invested in some ornate candlesticks, you know that its shine can begin to dull and tarnish in as little as a few months. This is actually because household silver (used for jewelry, platters, tea sets, etc.) is a composite of pure silver, which is very soft, and other, stronger metals like copper to create a long-lasting final product.

Tarnish on sterling silver can appear in the form of a yellow-gray or almost black film on the surface of an item, but unlike rust which eats away at metal, tarnish is easily dealt with. Sterling silver, like many other metals, just requires a bit of upkeep to maintain a mirror-like shine. 

Read More >>

5 Clever Tips for Decluttering the Kitchen Table

It happens as predictably as the sun rises.

In the morning, our kitchen table is as clear as a bottle of cleaning vinegar. But as the day continues, things happen—meals are made and eaten; we go and we return, emptying our pockets of keys, coins, and …

It happens as predictably as the sun rises.

In the morning, our kitchen table is as clear as a bottle of cleaning vinegar. But as the day continues, things happen—meals are made and eaten; we go and we return, emptying our pockets of keys, coins, and hand sanny each time; my daughter Mimi’s toddler things seem to materialize out of thin air—a sippy cup here, a cardboard zebra there. By dinner time, our kitchen table is covered with bits and bobs.

Read More >>

The Surprising Baking Tool That’s an Organizer’s Dream

Until recently, I believed that I was immune to the “Target spell”. The phenomenon of walking into a Target thinking you’re going to walk out with the dish soap you needed, and only the dish soap you needed, but walking out with a yoga mat, an impossib…

Until recently, I believed that I was immune to the “Target spell”. The phenomenon of walking into a Target thinking you’re going to walk out with the dish soap you needed, and only the dish soap you needed, but walking out with a yoga mat, an impossibly fuzzy blanket, and a whole set of acrylic paints—because this quarantine hobby will pan out, right?

On a recent catharsis trip to said retail heaven, I thought I’d pick up some cleaning supplies and that’s pretty much it. To no one’s surprise at this point, I walked out with much more than that, including a couple of sturdy, lightweight baking sheets in the quarter- and eighth-sheet sizes (read: the cute ones).

Read More >>

Is Your Home Thanksgiving-Ready? Here’s Our Checklist

I’ve been thinking a lot lately (as I’m sure many of you have) about how to maintain the nostalgic feeling of the holiday season when things look so completely foreign this year. Thanksgiving, for me, usually meant: waking up just in time to catch the …

I’ve been thinking a lot lately (as I’m sure many of you have) about how to maintain the nostalgic feeling of the holiday season when things look so completely foreign this year. Thanksgiving, for me, usually meant: waking up just in time to catch the tail-end of the Macy’s parade; kitchen smells indicating my mom’s actually-early call time; and if we weren’t inviting over 20+ guests (my mom has five sisters), traveling to see them all.

While the gatherings have shrunk in size over the years (inevitable moving, and passing, of family members), this year has whittled away at our core group even further. There’s a silver lining there, though: fewer people to host means more time to focus on the little details that get overlooked in favor of convenience and utility. Instead of huge, single-use trays heating over sterno, we can serve sides in carefully selected vessels, and in lieu of bringing out the folding chairs for extra seating, we can use the dining table as it was designed.

Read More >>

Your Couch Is Calling for a Clean (& You Must Go)

When it comes to cleaning your house, you’re mostly on the ball. You’re cleaning your sheets weekly, vacuuming your curtains and blinds, and making sure all of your surfaces are sparkling clean.

But what about your couch? You can’t toss the whole thin…

When it comes to cleaning your house, you’re mostly on the ball. You’re cleaning your sheets weekly, vacuuming your curtains and blinds, and making sure all of your surfaces are sparkling clean.

But what about your couch? You can’t toss the whole thing into the wash and call it a day, unfortunately. Your sofa is likely very large, possibly made of a finicky material (hello, linen), and probably an absolute magnet for pet hair and little colonies of crumbs. But no one likes sitting on a musty, stained, smelly couch, so take a deep breath and heed the advice of a few pros we’ve assembled for the job. Meet Angela Bell and Georgia Dixon, the Grove Guides at Grove Collaborative, a natural and sustainable cleaning company, and Bailey Carson, the Head of Cleaning and Home Improvement at Handy.

Read More >>

How to Clean Copper Cookware for That Like-New Shine

There’s no denying that copper pots and pans look stunning when displayed in the kitchen, but these shiny pieces also cost a pretty penny. To protect your investment and keep copper cookware looking as good as the day you bought it, it’s incredibly imp…

There’s no denying that copper pots and pans look stunning when displayed in the kitchen, but these shiny pieces also cost a pretty penny. To protect your investment and keep copper cookware looking as good as the day you bought it, it’s incredibly important to care for it properly.

Unlike stainless steel or cast iron, copper is fairly delicate and reactive to other substances, so you can’t just scrub away at it with steel wool or go to town with Bon Ami. Plus, we all know what happens when you leave copper wet… great if you love the patina look, but not ideal if you want to preserve the red-orange color and bright luster.

Read More >>