Cleaning Naturally — A Review of #Earth Brite

EarthBriteFlipping though the stations, this product caught my eye on HSN — ShopHQ, as it’s now called. A little name change, a branding re-do — to confuse the armchair consumer and blur the lines with another shopping network, QVC. Is that playing fair? What do you think? I’m not sure how I feel about it, or if I even really care — but as a marketing professional, I’m always fascinated by branding and new directions in marketing from an established company.

I don’t often purchase from these TV shopping shows: first and foremost, I’m a natural skeptic, and unless it’s a VERY GOOD DEAL like the Canon Rebel camera (that I’m impatiently waiting for),  I normally bypass this method of shopping as I’m a touchy-feely kinda gal; I want to see it, touch it, smell it–before I buy it.

However, on this day, two very excited and animated hosts were scrubbing and smiling, telling me all about how Earth Brite’s natural, clay-based all-purpose product cleans, polishes, and protects everything from silverware to tile to boats and RVs, while the XR51 degreaser helps remove grease and grime.

Intrigued by the spiel; I thought I’d spend twenty dollars to test it out myself. I checked out the product information online and this is what I learned:

Earth Brite’s natural, clay-based all-purpose product cleans, polishes and protects everything from silverware to tile to boats and RVs, while the XR51 degreaser helps remove grease and grime.

When it arrived, I put on my trusty yellow rubber gloves to see first-hand if those claims are true.

  • I used it instead of Comet on my porcelain sink. Earth Brite did indeed work, but I had to scrub a lot harder to get the same results.
  • In the bathroom, I scrubbed the shower floor and glass doors, which is a big test here in SoCal where we have SUCH hard water that it sometimes takes a chisel to get the shower clean. The results were OK but not “earth” shatteringly better than plain vinegar or any of the other array of products I have around Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
  • The final test was an old Revere copper-bottomed saucepan. Again, Earth Brite shined and polished the copper, but with additional elbow grease, and it wasn’t as easy to shine as the TV hosts told me it would be.

Not a spectacular shine, right?earthbritepan

Product Review:
In the final analysis, I was hoping that this all-natural product would replace most or all of my chemical-laden cleaning supplies, and it has not done that. I’m happy that it contains ingredients that are healthier for my family and for the environment, but I was disappointed that it did not live up to the live on-air demonstrations that initially compelled me to make the purchase. However, the companion product, XR51 Power Cleaner & Degreaser Concentrate turned out to be a wonderful surprise and it’s become part of my daily cleaning — and it smells great, too.


Here’s What I Received:

  • (2) 10.5 oz. Earth Brite All Purpose Cleaner
  • 2 Round applicator sponges
  • 8 fl. oz. XR51 Power Cleaner & Degreaser Concentrate

What The Website Wants You to Know:

  • Work All Purpose Cleaner into wet applicator sponge before applying to any surface. Failureto thoroughly wet product may result in scratched surfaces.
  • Always use the application sponges included.
  • Apply light pressure and increase pressure only as needed to clean surface.
  • Rinse thoroughly to avoid possible clay residue after cleaning.
  • After each use, let the All Purpose Cleaner paste dry before closing the container.

De-tri-tus

Definition: waste or debris of any kind.

It’s a fact that our individual personas embody a plethora of idiosyncrasies, quirks.

Anima is the source of the female part of personality and animus is the source of the male part.

Anima is Carl Jung‘s term for the inner part of the personality or character, as opposed to the persona or outer part.

Facets.

Diamonds.

Yin and yang.

And then there’s me…

I don’t know if it’s a male/female thing, but I’ve got two powerful forces inside me that fight it out on a regular basis.

Side One: Clean freak. A coaster under every cup. Sparkling windows. Pristine bleached tile and grout. Yes, you CAN eat off my floors.

Side Two: Packrat. Bubble wrap saver, Box hoarder. Receipts from 1985 to present.

Regarding old bills and receipts,  I’m not sure if the rule is to keep them for seven years or ten years, so I’ve settled on forever, just to be safe.

Once a year, I roll up my sleeves, gird my loins, and purge the office of all the detritus that I can bear to throw out.

…Empty WinFax box from 1997…Keep or toss?
…Receipt from a chair purchased in 1985 we no longer have. Keep or toss?
…Wrinkled and then refolded tissue paper from a thousand birthdays and holidays. Keep or toss?

Here’s a wonderful elliptical that shares space in my multi-use office, sewing/crafting room – what a mess.

office10

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

I threw most of the boxes away and all of the decades old wrapping paper. I saved the bubble wrap; I HAD to, ‘cos well, you never know when you’ll need it, right?

It was painful, but I feel cleansed.

office9

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

Boxes and boxes of old phones boxes. Just empty boxes. Gone.

office

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

Nice neat books and financial documents.
Well, mostly nice and neat, definitely better than they were.
Look closely and you’ll see all of Emily Giffen’s books. I love her!

office7

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

All my crafting supplies nicely organized.

office3

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

Seashells, seashells, and rocks.

office4

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

Every office needs a sofa, right? 

office5

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

The view.

office1

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

And finally, this is where the magic happens, my workspace, with a pretty little MacAir, ginger tea, and hand sanitizer.

 ***Notice how the dinosaur computer is a wonderful canvas for notes and pictures.

You didn’t think I’d be able to throw everything away, did you?
That’s something I’ll put off ’til next year, or the year after.

There’s no hurry; I’m sure I’ll have a brand new collection of empty boxes by then.

officespace

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

One last thing…my Retin-A ; save or toss? If I cut it open, I can probably scrape out the very last bit. We wouldn’t want to waste any of it, right?

What do you think?

offices

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Vacuum, Mop, Paper Towels, Wax, and Windex…Do You Know What This Means?

What did YOU accomplish this past weekend?

This is what my Saturday and Sunday looked like…h-armstrong-roberts-woman-with-mop-and-bucket

  • Washed, ironed, re-hung curtains.
  • Washed all the windows; inside and out.
  • Moved all the furniture in the family room, waxed the tile, put it all back.
  • Vacuumed and then wiped sofas and chairs with a barely damp cloth.
  • Dusted and polished all the furniture; piano, and way too many shelves displaying my bounty of seashells.
  • Cleaned out the refrigerator.
  • Started a grocery list. I don’t eat much more than smoothies, hardboiled eggs, salad, and hummus.
  • Created a computer folder of favorite recipes; definitely making Lemon Meringue Cupcakes  — they were THAT good.

fireworksDo you know what all that hustle and bustle was all about?

I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now--my tugboat man’s coming home! 

After six weeks; forty-two  LONG days and nights.

Not sure what day exactly, hopefully before the 4th —  fingers crossed anyway.

The remaining days are set aside for welcome home decor and THE VERY IMPORTANT personal maintenance that MAY have been lacking whilst my mariner was out to sea. (Sometimes there is no better word than “whilst” which implies a certain wistfulness, don’t you agree?)

I don’t know if this is how other wives of mariners feel, but I seem to miss him most just before he comes home. It’s like the “missing” part gets put on hold until I know I’m going to see him again.

A little Carole King and James Taylor “So Far Away” is perfect right now.

And how ’bout some INXS “Tear Us Apart”

And yup, I confess, I missed that big surfer — A LOT…The Carpenters “Close to You”

Excogitate Inside The Box.

EXCOGITATE:
To think out; devise; invent.
To study intently and carefully in order to grasp or comprehend fully.

TO THIINK IN OR THINK OUT…WHAT IS YOUR METHOD?

According to wiseGEEK, to think outside the box means means to “handle a situation or challenge in an unconventional manner. The origin of the phrase is believed to date back to the 1960s, and is often associated with a famous mental puzzle called The Nine Dots.”

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years and I’ve found that no one really wanted me to think outside the box — independently, creatively, with imagination or compassion. I felt the overwhelming corporate mantra was to agree with everything and keep quiet.

So much for my employment history…and on to another one of my obsessions–

I love boxes; cardboard boxes (hubs throws out the cardboard boxes I stash in the garage), wooden boxes, large and small boxes. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a massive collection. (I’m not a hoarder, I’m not a hoarder, I’m NOT a hoarder. Stop thinking that!)

But a box full of Bandit was my favorite.
Our poor baby died of chronic renal failure in 2010. Wasn’t she soo beautiful? Sniff.

banditjuly10 003BOX

She’s speaking to me with her eyes, ” I don’t feel very good, Mommy.”

We haven’t been able to have another petchild because we still miss her way too much but I do have a collection of boxes to add to my love for seashells, rocks, beach glass, blue glass, and elephant-y things.

This is a text box.

text box

Do you have a favorite box? What do you collect?

Fox Box.

Fox box

My tugboat man always brings back a trinket or two from his travels.

2013-05-16 23.03.01 Seattle box

Vintage Russian lacquer box. 
My mom got this for me when I was in high school.
I’ve always loved to collect boxes!

Russian lacquer box

Blue lacquer metal box with white flowers

2013-05-16 23.20.22

Unicorn box from India.
Since I can’t collect unicorns…
Unicorn box

Shell box from Crystal Cove Gift Shop.

Shell box

Sparkly boxes from Pier One.Sparkle boxes

Korean lacquer and mother-of-pearl box…from one of hub’s trips.
It’s so beautiful. My pic doesn’t do it justice.

Korean box

This is the inside. It’s an exquisite work of art.

inside Korean box

Box for loved ones.
It contains two heart necklaces to be worn whenever apart so we always carry our hearts with us.
My tugboat man carries his necklace in his ukelele case.

love box

Mirror box.

mirror box

Multi-colored enamel box.

redlacquer box

Little pill box my mom got on a trip to Italy or Venice.

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Painted wooden box from Ensenada, Mexico

2013-05-16 23.07.29

Limoges violet round box.

violet box

Pretty little flower box.

flower box

Rosebud box. Just because…

Rose box

I think this box is carved from rose quartz.
It was a gift from son/DIL.

Pink stone box

My fave colors and a cool shape.

Aqua/blue boxOpen aqua/blue boxShelf of boxes.

2013-05-16 23.15.24

Even a naked lady box!
From an art gallery in La Jolla in the 1970s.
And no, it’s not me — but EVERYONE asks that question.

2013-05-16 23.15.07

I hope you enjoyed my boxes. This is only about half of my collection but I didn’t want to BORE you any further, so I’ll save the rest of them to share another day.

Next time: my collection of perfume bottles. Yup, I have a bunch of those, too.

Step into my boudoir…

Not really, but welcome to our living room.

I penned a haiku to celebrate my day of cleaning in preparation for Tugboat Man and Angel Boy later this week:

White shirts softly worn

Lemony-scented polish

Teak oak walnut shine

This is what I was doing on Sunday. ALL day.

I took every single item off every single shelf and cleaned each and every one of them.

That included all the pictures on the piano.

In case you’re wondering, not everything was acquired by me–a lot of what I have was given to me by my mom and by my tugboat man from his travels around the world.

And then I put everything back.

It was all very Zen and quiet and lovely.

Finally, I polished the furniture and vacuumed.

I like to work from the top down. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’ll save the rug shampooing ’til the end of summer when it’s really hot.

shelf5 shelf6 shelf4 shelf3 shelf2 shelf shelf7 hawaiipic piano

Sometimes Things Fail…Epically

This is an example of a fail.

Not a major failure in the grand scheme of things, but a fail nonetheless.

It’s okay to laugh — I laughed at myself.

It’s one of my better qualities; self-deprecation, not taking myself too seriously.

But seriously, WTF was I thinking?

Check out my Goldfinger — 24K pond — I got a little carried away with being all crafty and thought a simple restoration was in order — you know, Mother’s Day is coming up and my Angel Boy is gonna be here, and I’m singing  the song of a happy mommy.

This morning I received an email to let me know that my tugboat man is a comin’ home too!

Yay!

My Angel Boy AND my Tugboat Man! Woooohoooo!

I’ve been re-inspired to complete a bunch of projects and clean the house (yes, again) so I’ll have free time to play with my two best boys.

So…ya wanna see the debacle? Here ya go — you might need to put your shades on, it’s kinda bright…in the sun….the blinding glare of a haphazardly spray painted nature pond.

I’m definitely conveying a mixed message here.

Is it a garden sanctuary or Jersey Shore? Wow.

Image

I had to turn off the pump for the waterfall; too much overspray from the gold paint. Yes, you’re seeing correctly–for some reason, I painted the trunk of that tree.

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I’m very proud of this pond — except for the gold. I dug it out, mixed and poured the concrete with no help from anyone, and that includes placing each and every rock and boulder.

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This is an epic fail. My task this afternoon is to empty the water and try a wire brush to remove as much of the paint as I can.

If THAT fails, I’ll have to send out a mayday call for a captain to assist.

The path (or post) not taken

Dear Darling WordPress,
You lost another post, probably an award-winning post, full of levity and wit and irony, and all the best things in the world rolled into one post. Ahh, such is life….

So, there I was,  in a quandary about what path to take and just like that — click –the old lightbulb snapped on!

Clap on, clap off…cat clap on

I had to THINK which involves a level of introspection that I rarely attain. Here’s my brain on any given day: “…work out, clean, garden, cook, bake, shop, read, shop…”

Rinse and repeat. Deep thoughts? Not so much.

 

As I was looking out our patio doors, I noticed all the different paths in our yard.

Curvy paths of rocksRocks of dry river bed

straight paths of pavers to the pond

pathtopond1 or a meandering path to the greenhouse and beyond

pathtocompost

and the steps that lead you to another level.

steps up yard

I thought about how that’s another one of life’s important lessons.

If one path doesn’t work, you can choose another. And if none of those work, you can change course by moving the rocks or the pavers just a little bit to reflect a different direction or to avoid an obstacle in your way.

It doesn’t really matter where you go, the success is in the path you take to reach your goal or your destination.

Today I wrote about something other than my original idea because WordPress threw up a barricade that blocked my way.

I toyed with the idea of giving up altogether or trying to recreate my initial thoughts, when, for the first time, I became aware of the paths in my yard.

It opened my eyes to a deeper reflection, not unlike the reflection you’d find if you followed the path to the pond and gazed in the water.

So that’s it for my philosophical sputterings, I have no idea what came over me!

Now I have to pack fourteen outfits to accompany hubs to San Francisco for a two-day business meeting. Road trip! And yet another road taken.

Don’t hate me, but I love to clean house

vintage_cleaning_ad-300x201March means spring cleaning, right?

  • Vacuuming
  • Polishing furniture
  • Laundering curtains, drapes, bedspreads
  • Ironing
  • Bleaching grout
  • Shampoo carpets

Nothing compares to a job well done–the satisfaction of sparkly tile and a well ordered linen closet…the sweet perfume of bleach, Pine-Sol, and vinegar.

And it’s great exercise, too.

I don’t understand why housecleaning is the victim of such visceral loathing. I’ve always found it to be a source of –well, not quite mindless activity– but rather a Zen-like state.

I’ve come up with some of my best ideas while vacuuming.

UNKNOWN_CleaningDishesMotherAndDaughter_WIt’s ‘cos of my mom. When I was growing up, she made chores fun— not drudgery to be avoided. Whether it was washing the crystal in the china cabinet or ironing scarves and handkerchiefs, we always had a great time. A time to joke and chat, working on a project together.

“Good morning, Rosebud, guess what we’re going to do today?”

“What, mommy. what?”

“We’re going to take ALL the books out of the bookcase, wash the shelves, and dust the books! Do you think we should put them back by size, or subject, or alphabetically? Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

“Oh, mommy, that sounds like so much fun!

If a job has to be done, why not enjoy doing it?

I think that’s a wonderful gift for a mother to bestow upon her child.

men-housework1- travelerstipsnpicsI’m all for equality; equal pay and all that, but cleaning and organizing is deeply satisfying.

Even my tugboat man enjoys the virtues of a clean garage and he’s a great window washer, so it’s not a gender thing.

 

 

 

When I’m cleaning, I love  Cow Cow Boogie by the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.

Do you have a favorite song list for cleaning?

MY BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES

This would be “during”, more than “before”messybedroomAfter…much nicer, don’t you agree? I’ll sleep good tonight.After...