Natural Spring Cleaning Tips
Spring is in the air! The urge to open the windows and invite the longer days, warmer weather and fresh air into your home abounds. The desire to clean away the dust and stuffiness of winter just feels natural. What’s not natural is using toxic agents to do your freshening. To help you clean and green, we’ve got a week’s worth of natural spring cleaning tips …if we’ve missed a good one that you use, be sure to share it with us!
Day 1 - Choose your cleaners carefully. Your best choices will be bio-degradable, all-natural and non-toxic but be sure to read the label. Many manufacturers are making “cleaner” cleaners but you may be surprised to find harmful ingredients lurking in the small print. If you can’t find a cleaner you trust and that works well, you may want to make your own. You’ll be surprised what some basic pantry items can accomplish. If you’ve got baking soda, vinegar, salt and liquid soap you’re in good shape to get most of your cleaning done. Note: You may love these green recipes your marble surfaces won’t! Check with your manufacturer before using any of these on marble.
Recipe #1 This is the simplest solution we found. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar . The vinegar kills viruses, mold, and bacteria making your homemade cleaner just as effective as any you could purchase. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to arrive at a pleasing scent. Lavender, lemon, peppermint and tea tree are some popular choices.
Recipe #2 Combine 8 drops lemon or peppermint essential oil, 1/2 tsp. liquid Castile soap, 1/4 cup white vinegar and enough water to fill a 16-oz. spray bottle. Castile soap is a very versatile bio-degradable agent that you can find online or in a good health food shop.
Day 3 – Be a Clean Green Bathroom Machine Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add a few drops of essential oil -lemon and tea tree are good choices since they have anti-bacterial properties. About 5 drops per cup of vinegar should do the trick. Just spray and wipe any surface you want to disinfect. Great for mirrors too. Store it in the shower stall as a reminder to use it on the walls after showering to keep soap scum in check. Make a second batch with a little Castile soap added in for cleaning counter tops and walls.
For tougher jobs or cleaning the commode, make your own planet friendly Soft Scrub. You’ll want to make this in small doses since it can dry out when stored. Combine 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup Castile soap, 1 Tablespoon water and stir with a fork. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of vinegar and stir (don’t mind the fizzing) until it gets soft and pasty.
In a 16oz. spray bottle, combine 2 teaspoons of a light olive oil, a 1/2 teaspoon lemon essential oil, a 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1-3/4 cups of water. The oil will rise to the top but just shake before using, spray onto wooden surfaces and wipe with a soft cloth.
You’re furnishings will not only be clean, they’ll be nourished by the oils and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t have to sacrifice the environment to accomplish that.
Day 5 – Planet Friendly Yard Clean Up Composting the stuff mother nature deposits in your flower beds and by your stone walls is a great alternative to bagging it and sending it to the local landfill. If you’re new to composting this article offers some helpful tips for getting started even if you’re a condo dweller! You’ll save money on the leaf bags you won’t have to buy and feel good knowing you’ve spared the landfill. Plus, you’ll be building a source of great home grown fertilizer – saving you more money, keeping your your gardens chemical-free and giving your plants a super healthy boost!
Day 6 – Make your own spoon garden markers. This is more of a spring recycling/craft idea than a cleaning tip but it was too cool to pass up! With a few basic craft supplies and some old spoons, you can create garden markers with personality. Here’s what you’ll need for this project: paper and waterproof art supplies like pens, crayons, markers, outdoor Mod Podge (an all-in-on sealer glue), paint brush, acrylic coating. You can be as bold and creative as you like with this idea which comes from DomesticSimplicity.com, where you’ll find step-by-step instructions for this recycled project that adds fun and function to your garden .
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