Spring cleaning is an annual tradition for many homeowners across the country, my home included. The weather is finally warm enough to have the windows open and the fresh breeze pushes out that stale winter air, dust and dirt. Aside from putting away winter clothing, changing out dark throw pillows for brighter ones and splurging on fresh tulips for the dining room, deep cleaning your home can be incredibly refreshing! Windows, baseboards, drapes and carpets are just a few of the deep cleaning chores that should be on the spring cleaning list. We try to keep our home as “green” as possible which means we do not use bleach, ammonia or other harmful chemicals for cleaning. Our consumer culture has unfortunately taught many homeowners it’s not clean unless it has been doused, scrubbed or sprayed with chemicals. However, natural ingredients do the trick to rid your home of germs and dirt just as well and you can find them in your baking cabinet! Today I am going to share with you a few of my favorite natural recipes for the most common household cleaners.
All-Purpose Cleaner – An all-purpose cleaner is great for when you are cleaning kitchen counters, appliances, sinks, toilets, tubs, toys…well, really anything! For this recipe you will need:
- 1 tablespoon borax, 1 tablespoon washing soda
- 1 teaspoon dishwashing soap
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 cups hot water
- 25-30 drops essential oil of your choice
- Spray bottle
Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together until they are thoroughly mixed then pour into spray bottle.
To use: Spray on soiled surface and wipe clean with a damp cloth. This mixture can be used to clean and disinfect almost any surface!
Deep Clean Scrub – When you need to get those hard-to-clean places like the oven, grout, bathtubs and tiles clean this all-natural deep clean scrub is an excellent option! For this recipe you will need:
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 1 bar of organic soap (grate it until you have about ½ a cup)
- 15-20 drops of essential oil of your choice (lavender, mint, eucalyptus and lemon all have antibacterial properties)
- 1 glass mason jar (poke holes in the lid to make it a “shaker”)
Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until all of the soap has been broken up then transfer all of the ingredients to your glass jar.
To use: shake some out onto the surface you want to clean and use a wet sponge to work the mixture to create a sudsy soft scrub. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Air Freshener – Whether you want to freshen up an old rug, your sofa, bed linens or just take care of a pesky odor, an all-natural spray will definitely do the trick! For this recipe you will need:
- 25-30 drops of essential oil of your choice
- Distilled water
- 1 Tablespoon of vodka
- 8 ounce spray bottle (make sure the bottle is cobalt or amber in color so sunlight does not dilute the potency of the essential oil).
In your clean spray bottle pour your essential oil and vodka. Top the mixture off with distilled water. Shake before each use.
To use: Spray in the air to get rid of any unwanted smells. Reapply as desired. This mixture is safe to use on fabrics like sofas and pillows but I would NOT recommend you use it on silk or extremely delicate fabrics. You can have a little fun with this one and make a different freshener for different rooms: use lemon or orange essential oil to freshen your kitchen, eucalyptus essential oil for your laundry room or rose essential oil for your bedroom!
Air Purifier – NASA recently conducted a study of the best houseplants to purify in-home air. Most of us think of trees when we envision air purifying plants but apparently there are great, easy care houseplants that will work just as good, if not better than those high end in-home air purifiers! According to NASA English Ivy tops the list as a natural air purifier and is actually capable of removing formaldehyde from the air! Others on the list include Aloe Vera, the Rubber Tree, a Peace Lily, a Snake Plant, Bamboo Palm and Spider Plant to name a few. All of the plants on the list are incredibly easy to care for because they require little water and only partial sun!
Remember, basic soap and hot water will kill 99% of germs and bacteria. If you think about it, our hands touch some of the nastiest things in the world but we feel safe cleaning them with soap and water so why do we feel we need chemicals to clean messes off the countertops or spots off the fridge? In reality, we don’t. If you stock up on a couple of supplies and have a few recipes handy you can mix up your own all-natural cleaning supplies and make your home more clean and healthy than it has ever been! Happy spring cleaning!