Saturday, July 14, 2018

Emergency surgery and hot water

About 5-6 years ago, we lost power after a big snow storm. After 4 days with no hot water or heat in our home, I was chilled to the bone.  When the power returned I remember plunging my hands into the hot soapy water and dirty dishes.  I was happy in a soapy sink of gratitude.

I pledged not to take hot water for granted and try to be thankful.  Throughout the years, most days, as I do the dishes or take a shower, I think of that moment of gratitude and warmth.   I don't spend much time with the thoughts of gratitude but they do appear.  I feel nourished, grounded, calm and thankful.  Such a little thing, I didn't think much of it until last Saturday.

 Saturday my husband and I found ourselves at the hospital emergency room. It was 2:30 in the morning.  Dallas had just arrived via the ambulance.  He was soon to be headed for emergency surgery.

 Dallas was in pain, I was helpless and stressed.  I needed to stay calm for both our sakes.  Who know a simple practice I had picked up would come to my rescue. 

While we waited in the emergency room I had to go pee.   When I washed up I felt the warm water hit my hands and my whole body relaxed.  Instantly, I felt grounded and safe.  I was grateful and calm.

  Somewhere along the way, I had turned a daily chore into a trigger to become present, grounded and thankful.  I don't know when it happened but it is absolutely there.

As for Dallas he is healing up very well.  Thank you to all the well wishes and support that have come our way. 

When gratitude becomes a daily practice they just might show up in unexpected places.

Thank you to everyone at CHI St Francis who cared for my husband and for hot water.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

An Ounce of Prevention for Returns

Today I returned my blog to its original name:  An Ounce of Prevention.  On Oct 6th 2009, this blog was created. The following was my very first post.  I've been writing about cleaning, healthy and happy homes for a long time- 9 years!  I still love it.  I'm a cleaning, clutter clearing and happy home nerd!

"Yesterday afternoon, I had a call from a lady with travertine floors. Her dog had thrown up and in certain light she could see an etch mark. During our conversation I explained the care and characteristics of travertineTravertine can be both acid sensitive and scratch sensitive. As we visited a light when on and she realized her house cleaner had just cleaned all of her travertine floors with vinegar! Her heart sank and so did mine.

Calls like this come in much too often. I love my builders, retailer and designers who call on me to teach their clients the care and characteristics of their new surfaces. This customer's frustration and future expense didn't have to happen. My caller could have provided her house cleaner with the correct cleaner and a phone number to us for any questions.

She voiced her frustration of not being taught the proper care and characteristics. I felt for her- I hate these calls. I love teaching and helping to avoid this very situation.

An ounce of prevention should be what we call our education services.

May you have happy homes,

Why did I leave this name?  When we sold the tile and stone cleaning part of our company, I thought I should remake this blog.  You might have noticed the shifts and changes.  Nothing felt quite right and nothing stuck.  An Ounce of Prevention was always its name in my head.  This week, I was doing a cleaning demo class and I saw over and over again how at the heart of  cleaning is always prevention.  You wipe down your shower walls and prevent soap scum.  You ask before you use vinegar and save a lot of money and stress.  You pick up your house throughout the week and cleaning day and your chore is faster: prevention-prevention-prevention. See what I mean??

 Travertine Care reminder:  Vinegar has an acidic pH.  Travertine is acid sensitive.  Put them together and you have taken the top micro layer off your travertine.  Tip, unless you want to damage your beautiful travertine floors, countertops and showers, do not use an acidic cleaner to clean them.   Instead use a microfiber mop and if a cleaner is needed use a cleaner with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. One preferably that doesn't leave a residue.  Call with Questions and call before you use a product your are not sure of.

As always, wishing you a happy and healthy home,
Home and Personal Coach- 27 years experience and 9 years blogging

Making cleaning easy and fast tip.  Use less cleaner on your floors.  Cleaner's can build up a residue making your beautiful floors look dingy, muddled and gray.  Cleaning is about removal not addition.  Removing germs, dirt, schmutz is what cleaning is.  Also, use big tools, make each movement count and go floor tools with big heads.  Here is one of my favorite things- the 20 + inch superior mop form Norwex.  It comes with two heads- one for dusting and one for cleaning.  This product will not only save you time, but keep your floors crystal clean and beautiful. Click here to check out this microfiber mop.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Clean faster...5 foolproof ways save time

Yesterday, I cleaned my house.  It took only a smidgen of time.  Over the years, I have talked about residue, chemicals, damaging products, healthy homes, clutter...on and on I went,
but I was missing an essential ingredient- time.  

This past week I swear every conversation had common subject:  time.  No space to breathe. Our schedules are jam packed.  Hmmm....  Time Clutter

This is a subject we could talk about for days but today I'm going to give you a gift.  The gift of speed cleaning.  I can't remove all your tasks but I most certainly can help you make one of your weekly tasks faster, easier and more effective.  This post is the start of a series in Speed Cleaning 

Start with the basics
 5 foolproof ways to clean your house
faster and easier 

1.  Clear your clutter!  Simplify, Downsize, Less is easier.  Part of cleaning is picking up and putting things away.  You can't clean your floors until you can see your floors.  Dusting is worlds faster if you only move 1-5 things verses 100s of things.  Biggest time savor - less stuff to move, less stuff to put away and less stuff to dust!  Tip:  Less is faster

2.  Minimize distractions!  Time and Space to Work.  Clear and focused time makes your work clear and focused.  If you want to spend the whole day cleaning and accomplish nothing then turn on your cell phone- especially texts and social media updates, keep your TV on and wander from room to room.   Distracted energy is wasted energy.  Tip: vibrant rhythmical music creates energy

3.  Pre-Clean!  Habits of prevention and daily light cleaning.  Rinsing and wiping down your shower after each use, wiping down countertops, picking up as you go, putting the kitchen to bed each night, taking off shoes and or having a great entrance matts- all these little daily habits make cleaning day a fast and effortless!  Tip: Hang a microfiber close to your sinks.  After each use do a quick dry and wipe out- they will always be clean!!

4.  Invest in smart tools!  For heavens sake... cleaning your whole floors with a 6" tool is wasted energy.  Recirculating your dust as you dust is crazy.  Cleaning with residue leaving and harsh chemicals is going to create more work for you.  Cleaning is something we do every week for our entire lives... invest in smart, effective and durable tools and productsTip: Invests in yourself

5.  Improve your skills!  Have you ever heard the saying... insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Hello cleaning habits.  There are systems, tips, skills you can learn to make your home easier to care for, your cleaning faster, easier and more effective and your clutter busted!  Cleaning is a life long activity- improve your skills as soon as you possible for a happier and healthier home and life.  Tip:  You are never too old to improve your habits

I teach hands on cleaning demo-classes.  Showing you how to make your cleaning fast, effective and easy.  What tools to use and how to best use them.  Prevention tips and time saving habits. How to clean for health and happiness.
If you would like to schedule a cleaning demo or join me in one of my demo classes
call 253-815-0446 or email me at
Let's get you some breathing space because you deserve to time to play too.

I can't give you more than 24 hours in a day,
but I can save you time and energy in your cleaning!

As always wishing you happy travels in your life,
Denise Frakes
Personal and Home Coach

A few of my favorite things.....Norwex Microfiber Mop ...
Time saving tip...
   I love having a small soft microfiber hanging by my sinks.  No more, scrubbing, hard water deposit removal, germs or schmutz.  A quick dry means less work on cleaning day.  Also, you can do a quick clean of faucets and light switches- lightly removing germs as you go. My favorites are the following. I like a soft, small cloth
Click on the following to go to the links  Travel pack -4 pack of the famous enviro clothes size:  6.3"-6.3" and the 3 pack of the recycled counter clothes microfibers.  All three have the bac lock and will also help keep your microfibers from smelling like mold.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Never have to clean soap scum again!

The moment I realized I would never have to clean soap scum out in my own shower was a moment I'll never forget!  I remember running my index finger up and down on my shower walls and it squeaked clean.  Not from cleaning but from prevention.  This was truly an aha moment!  I thought .... "really soap scum is preventable????  Seriously????!!!"  No more harsh chemicals, Saturday's spent scrubbing or moments of procrastination and guilt for having mucky showers??  Ha!  

When Dallas and I were in the midst of our stone and tile cleaning business we were called to remove soap scum and mold from showers a lot.  By far this was our most frequent request.  I wasn't the only one struggling with the built on, indestructible man made coating called soap scum, it was most of us!

As it turns out, soap scum is completely and easily preventable.  In the course of preventing soap scum, you also are preventing mold and hard water deposits!  I know, this just keeps getting better and better doesn't it?  You might be wondering why this little life ease tid bit has evaded your life.  Another of life's unexplained questions...

Dallas and I learned it from a little fiesty and wise lady in her late 80s.  She had a dark brown polished marble shower.  She had called us out to inspect her shower, thinking it might need sealed.  At the time, the shower was about 5 years old.  Her tough to care for shower - looked brand new- no etching - no watermarks and no soap scum!  If you are familiar with marble you will know this surface would be one of the toughest to keep looking great in a shower.  Anyway, we asked her how she kept her shower looking so beautiful. She looked at us blankly, like really dont you know?  Apparently we didn't...  "Well, I rinse and dry it after each use".  hmmm

Common sense isn't always so common......  Of course she was spot on, or maybe I should say no spots on.  Rinse and dry (wax on wax off).  As people, we rinse and dry ourselves otherwise we would all be walking around with soap scum too.  It makes sense- not quite sure why and how I had missed this nugget of wisdom...

So what is the magic recipe for no soap scum showers in your life every again:
      After each use rinse and dry your shower.  Don't put your shower to bed wet and soapy.  It is bad etiquette. 

A couple other helpful hints....

    Use your exhaust fan.  As soon as you turn on the shower water, turn on your exhaust fans and run them for a solid hour after showering.  Mold and dust mights love moisture- remove the moisture and help prevent high humidity and molds.

    Use good tools.  A product I love for drying my showers is the Norwex Microfiber shower mit.  It has two sides- one with the world's best microfiber and the other with a scrub texture.  When I wipe down my shower I'm actually cleaning and detailing it too.  This microfiber also has baclock technology- which is a silver filament keeping your microfiber from building up bacteria- as it self purifiers. 
   I recommend cleaning your microfiber once per week.  Click here to see this tool and order one if you would like.  Click here to learn how to care for your microfibers

So there you have it.  Live a life with no soap scum!  If you already have soap scum build up, feel free to email me.  If you live locally- the Seattle/Tacoma area, I can refer you to a company to help you get cleaned up so you too can live a life of no soap scum!  If you live out of the area, I'll be writing more about showers.  Comment below with any questions and thoughts- thanks;-)

As always, wishing you sweet travels and happy living
              Denise Frakes
Certified Home and Personal Coach at your Service

Quick microfiber care tips....  I'll write more about the care of microfibers but here is the reader's digest version...

Please do not use bleach, fabric softeners and dryer sheets to care for your microfibers.  The bleach breaks down the fibers and the fabric softeners and dryer sheets coat your microfibers, leaving them less effective.  Use a mild and clean laundry detergent.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cleaning is an action not a chemical

When you think of cleaning what comes to mind?  Sparkling surfaces?  Spray bottles of cleaners?  To-Do lists that run long and deep?  Never ending chores?  Freedom?  Bleach?  Little finger prints on your clean windows?

For me, when I think of clean I get this feeling of clarity, freshness, gratitude, openness.  I feel refreshed, at ease and happy.  I breathe deeper, my shoulders drop and my smile comes easily.  I accomplished a project and I see the results- it feels good, I feel good.  That's how clean makes me feel but do always joyfully dive into cleaning? No, but most times yes.

I have been a professional cleaner and educator of cleaning and residue free homes for over 26 years.  Through this journey my appreciation for this life long task has evolved from despise ( teenage years) to wonder and appreciation (now).  I have witnessed over and over again what happens when cleaning goes wrong- surface damage, clutter build up, chemical exposure - even emotional disruptions.  I marvel how much better I feel after my home is clean, my desk is clear and my chores done.

The fact is cleaning is an action we will need our entire lives.  And yet, how much time do we devote to actually improving our ability to clean efficiently, effectively and easily?  It seems to me, when we have a chore that requires daily, weekly and yearly energy it is worth learning about. This life long chore can cost you a fortune, make your home sick or leave you exhausted and frustrated.  It is the same chore that when done beautifully can create a healthy, welcoming, sparkly clean, fresh and inviting space.  One way diminishes you the other lifts you up.  hmmmm It's crazy.  Why would we ignore a lifelong task that has that much impact on our lives?

It is partly because we aren't taught to clean.  Sure we learn from our parents, from commercials and from our friends.  I think cleaning is thought of as genetic trait.  You are born with a smart cleaning gene or not.  Thankfully, cleaning isn't a gene and you can absolutely learn to make this little gem shine.

 I have found cleaning to be a minefield of emotional residues.  Did you know the emotional part of your brain is the same part of your brain you sense smells?  We buy cleaners because they smell good to us, they remind us of home, or they smell like clean- bleach, pine sol, lemon, tide.... The scent of clean is a billion dollar industry.

How you feel about your cleaning chores will tell me how much this action weighs on your spirit.  Cleaning is emotional, you have a relationship with cleaning and home care.  And like any relationship it can lift you up or weigh you down.

 The number one question I have been asked as a professional cleaner is ... What do you use?  What product is the magic bullet?  We did restorative cleaning for years.  Everyone thought we must have a mysterious, only available for professional cleaner's, amazing cleaner.  We actually used safer, milder products than most families do.  Most of our products were milder than 90% of what you can buy at the grocery store.

Why... because cleaning is an action not a chemical.  There is a science and an art to cleaning.  The action of cleaning is called TACT.  TACT stands for Time, Agitation, Chemical and Temperature.  Early in our career we learned this simple and life changing formula.  The difference between us a professional cleaners and the average household is we maximized the Time, Agitation and Temperature of our cleaning.... Which enabled us to turn the chemical part into the mildest, safest, most efficient product necessary.  Sometimes, a lot of times, our chemical of choice was and is water!!! 

Through the years we created what we call Residue Free Cleaning.  Residue free cleaning is as much a mindset as it is a science.  Focusing your efforts in prevention, using the mildest form of TACT and leaving your home and life residue free.

 Cleaning is a practice, a skill and a science.  Beautiful cleaning is a art. If you feel lost when cleaning, or frantic to get your chores done, if your home must sparkle at any cost, and if cleaning feels like a lifelong sentence then relax, there is help. There is no need for anyone to struggle with what could be a life enhancing gift anymore.  Master this skill now and lighten up the rest of your life.

    As always wishing you health, happiness and prosperity on your journey,
    Residue free cleaning specialist and your personal coach

Friday, February 23, 2018

Evolve your cleaning and happiness

Today, I'm sharing with you a new addition to my own personal cleaning system. And yes, after 26 years as a professional cleaner and residue free specialist I'm still learning, improving my skills and upgrading my tools.

This new upgrade came from not the giant cleaning industry by a unexpected source... my mom.  A while back, my mom started raving about her window cleaning microfiber and how easy it was to clean windows: two microfibers, no product, less time and far superior results.  I was interested but I was already selling a commercial line of microfibers and figured they were the best, so I didn't think much of it. And to be honest, although I get the science of microfibers but I wasn't fond of the tacky texture or the lack of absorbing quality.
Thankfully, my mom persisted not to convince me but out of sure happiness.  Those microfibers were making her whole home easier to take care of.  I ordered two.

This past October, I was visiting her when her house cleaner showed up with two microfibers and one floor microfiber- ready to clean my mom's full house! Three microfibers- the whole house!! This got my attention!  My mom, a very good cleaner, has never been happier and spent less time of cleaning in her life.

Those two microfibers I bought?  Well, the other day I realized I had stashed them in my office for safe keeping.  Keep in mind, I had a professional cleaning company for 26 years and had access to the best products.  After much internal debate... I said to myself, Oh for heavens sake Denise, if you love them this much you should share this with your clients and community.  Residue free cleaning is my expertise.   Cleaning without residue, making your work easy and efficiently while doing no harm is what I teach and have done for 26 plus years.  And so I signed up to offer these products to you.

Now in addition to being your personal source to residue free homes, huge time saving tips and ways to create healthier homes but I can also tell you what to use and when.  I can help you save time, energy all while creating a cleaner home and healthier home.

Being able to save time and energy on your to-do cleaning list brilliant!  Creating a healthier home in the process is priceless!  Having a way to make cleaning fun- spectacular!

Lesson for the day: always listen to your mom and when you have the opportunity to make your life and the lives of others easier, healthier and less stressed... do it!!!

If you have any questions, please contact me at  If you would like to try these microfibers for yourself, I recommend starting with the safe haven package.  This is your best deal for getting you the microfibers I love along with the laundry package... FYI- how you care for microfibers is essential.  If you want to add a floor kit in then grab the Just add water package

If you are skeptical- I get it. But do you want to create a healthier home, save money and spend less time cleaning?  I thought so- me too;-)  Keep in mind cleaning is a system and science- learning to make a lifelong chore effortless is worth the time spent learning.  I'll be teaching residue free cleaning around Puget Sound, contact me if you want training or a class taught in your area.

Next Class- Marlene's Market Green Cleaning March 8th, 2018 6:30-8:00pm Federal Way WA
   This class is sponsored by the city of Federal Way and is open to the public

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Improve your decluttering muscles with a tour of Seattle Chocolates

What do you love?  What do you love so deeply that it makes your spirit dance and eyes sparkle?  How do you decide what you truly love and what is only life clutter?

By building exploration and discovery muscles- that's how.

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I went on a sensory tour of the Seattle Chocolate Factory.

 At the end of the tour a 6 piece chocolate taste test was waiting for us to enjoy.  Our task was simple: taste each chocolate.  What do you love?  Each piece eaten with full awareness and curiosity.  Do I love this?  What do I love about it?  What do I taste?  How does it compare to the other 5 samples?  If I could only pick one, which one would I choose?  
The idea of choosing got me thinking...

Learning to discover what you truly love is an art.  Keeping everything just incase or because you feel obligated is like buying bad chocolate and then filling your pantry with it.

February is known as the month of Love and Chocolate.  I challenge you, not to look at your life full of clutter, but to elevate your senses into a place of playful discovery.  What do you truly love?  If you could only keep one book, magazine, bolt of fabric, craft, appointment, sweater, chocolate bar ..... which one would it be?

  Put order into your sorting process.  Which do I love the most?  By rating your chocolates in order of favorite to least favorite, you build the ability to identify what you truly love.  Keep the top 20%, let go of the rest.

   A sensory tour helps you ignite your discovery muscles. These newly strengthened muscles can be applied to your home clutter, your life clutter, time clutter etc.  Imagine all this because of a little, delicious chocolate tour.... priceless!

  FYI:  When you eat your chocolate savor each bite.  Life and chocolate are best when consumed slowly with full attention.  Let go of what you don't love so you have more time and energy for what you truly do love.
Clutter clearing is TLC for your spirit... keep it fun!

Meet Chis he was our guide into the world of Chocolate
 It was fun, delicious and worth repeating- Thanks Chris!!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Health and Culinary Discovery: Whole Frozen Lemons

Have you heard of freezing whole lemons?  It's new to me.  My curiosity got fired up when I read an article about the multiple benefits of whole frozen lemons.  You freeze the whole thing?  Yes, organic lemons, washed, peel and all.

 I love upping my family's nutrition and health with a simple process. Having grated lemon and zest at my disposal with zero waste- priceless!

Here is my whole lemon freezing and grating recipe: 

4 organic lemons, wash and put in freezer.
Wait overnight or until fully frozen.
Grate lemons
I used my processor to grate my frozen lemons.  It was a noisy process but quick and effective.  I ended up with 1 ice cube tray of frozen lemon grate and 2 quart bags of the grated lemon. That's it!  Easy! Simple! Quick!
The whole process took maybe 15 minutes of my time and smelled amazing!!


I love having ready to use lemon zest in my freezer.
My morning hot water and lemon tastes better- not as sour
I was catching a cold but then it just went away... coincidence? 
No more wasting any part of the lemon! 

3 ways to use the frozen whole lemon grate.

Adding to hot water - for an nutritional enhanced morning lemon water detox
       I'm not normally a fan of lemon water but this has a softer creamier flavor.
Substitute the whole lemon for recopies calling for lemon zest.  I made a delish macadamia cookie
Add to Salad dressings

I'm a true believer in grating whole frozen lemons.  There are big claims on the health benefits frozen lemons.  Such as the ability to fight cancer cells, improve immunity and help in weight loss. I'm not a scientist but I know from personal experience that food has been my best medicine and I believe food does heal.

I recommend you trying it yourself and see what you can do with an abundance of grated lemon.  Experiment, play, research, share and enjoy!!

On this first day of the new year, I choose to spend my time doing what I want to repeat for the new year.  Creating, experimenting, discovering simple solutions, sharing and of course eating delicious foods!

May your New Year be blessed, healthy, happy and prosperous!,

Friday, December 8, 2017

Simple hand scrub for dry skin

Tis the season of dry skin.  Last night my hands were dry and feeling winter rough - catchy.  Catchy - you know when your skin sticks to nylon -silk type material.  Microfibers are the worst. augh!!

There is a simple, inexpensive solution at your fingertips!  Shop your pantry!  I love recipes with limited ingredients and few steps.  This is so easy- in less than 5 minutes you will have soft smooth and happy hands again.

I used my kitchen's organic olive oil but feel free to use Organic: sunflower oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, walnut oil and safflower oils.  Anything you cook with will work.  You are using organic oils to cook with right??
                    Salt &/or sugar
  A fine salt but sugar or a combo of both would have been heavenly as well.  My favorite salts for a scrub are fine salts.  Leave the course salts for cooking.

Directions:  Last night I simply poured a little salt in my hand followed by a little olive oil.  Then rubbed my hands together for 2-5 minutes.  Get everywhere!  Rinse and dry!  Walla the worlds easiest, least expense and most productive hand scrub ever!

I decided to post this recipe this morning when I woke up and noticed how insanely soft and smooth my hands.

Enjoy!  Wishing you the gift of simplicity for the holidays,

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Go to list for staying healthy in the Winter

Hi All,
   As I type this it is raining cats and dogs outside.  Going outside for a run doesn't sound nearly as inviting as it did a couple months ago... and yet...

When I moved to Washington from Colorado, I struggled in the winter months.  The short days, cloudy skies and lack of sunshine created a less light and bright me.  Here are 5 of my go to strategies for staying healthy all winter long

1.  Go outside everyday!  Even if you just stand on your porch- get some fresh air.
2.  Up your veggies and minimize the processed  foods, sugars and over indulgences.
           Your body will thank you!

3.  When you come home from shopping, work, socializing wash your hands first thing. 
   This will help keep viruses out of your home.
  On that same note- always wash up before eating

4.  Stretch and breathe deeply.  Stretching gives you energy and helps keep you open. 
         Both stretching and deep slow breathing open up your lungs and heart.

5.  Lighten up your life- declutter the extras
              Add in a bit more TLC/play/recess/freetime/naptime

Wishing you all vitality all year long.
No need to go it alone
Call me and set up a time to create your own go to list of TLCs.  253-278-1082
Contact Dallas for a deep relaxing sound bath and personal Reiki session. 253-278-1244