Friday, April 20, 2007

Natural Spring Cleaning

As spring arrives, many people start clearing their home of the clutter and dirt from winter. When cleaning, keep in mind all the chemicals you may be exposing your family to. After all, you want to purify, not pollute your home. Did you know that it is easy and inexpensive to clean safely? Here are some tips for natural spring cleaning:
  • Vinegar, baking soda, lemon, washing soda/soda ash, borax and peroxide are all cheap and effective natural cleaning agents.
    • Baking soda can be used for anything that needs to be scrubbed (sink, bathtub). Cleans, deodorizes and softens water.
    • Peroxide can be added to a squirt bottle and sprayed onto areas that need disinfecting.
    • Vinegar mixed with water works like an all-purpose cleaner. Cuts grease and removes mildew and odors. It's also a great natural fabric softener when adding 1/4 cup to the rinse cycle (it will also help to break down laundry detergents if you use those nasty chemical ridden ones). Do not use on marble. Undiluted vinegar should not be used on grout.
    • Lemon juice dissolves soap scum and can be used to clean/shine copper and brass fixtures. Add to baking soda to create a scrubbing paste that smells fresh and clean.
    • Borax cleans, deodorizes, disinfects and softens water. Can be used on walls, floors, etc. Pick up a box and read through all it's uses. Quite handy to have around and a box lasts forever.
    • Washing soda or soda ash is another water softener that cuts grease, removes stains, and can be used on walls, floors, tubs and sinks.
  • Adding a few drops of lavender or tea tree essential oils will add to the anti-septic and disinfectant properties of the cleaners listed above.
  • I make a Lavender anti-septic cleaner by adding 2 tablespoons washing soda, 1 tablespoon borax, 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin soap and up to a teaspoon lavender essential oil to 2 cups of warm water. Leave on surfaces for 15 minutes to give the lavender time to disinfect. Tea tree oil can be used as well.
  • Don't want to make your own cleaners? Itsa Greener Clean natural laundry detergent is not just for clothes and diapers! It contains 4 of the cleaners mentioned above. Add 1/4 cup to a gallon of water to clean floors, walls, etc. I even use it in the dishwasher with vinegar as a rinse aid. Samples are now available in my stores.
  • Citrus solvent is my second favorite method of cleaning floors. I find that it is very effective in removing all traces of dog from the house. The smell can get overpowering so I try to use it sparingly, and to mix it with lots of fresh air. Cats do not like citrus scents so it's not recommended for areas cats frequent. It also keeps fleas away.
  • Cleaning rags can easily be made from old shirts, towels, cloth diapers, receiving blankets, etc. You may be surprised by how much money and waste you can save by using cloth over paper towels.
  • Keep in mind that bleach is a very powerful substance which should only be used in a well ventilated area. The alternatives listed above are MUCH safer.
  • One of my favorite clutter busters (and I am really not one to talk, but here it goes) is to use three boxes or baskets while cleaning. Mark them "trash", "store", and "donate". Be honest when going through your things. The hardest part is making sure those boxes get to their intended destinations :) More boxes may be necessary unless you've got appliance boxes handy!

1 comment:

Rona's Home Page said...

It's Earth Day today! Your post is so appropriate.
I've recently started using Borax instead of fabric softner. And it's so much better! Our teen's shirts smell much nicer and the towels are fluffier.
It's also a great scouring powder for the sinks and counters.