The promise of spring is an exciting time of year. It is a t ime to plan and prepare for gardening, parties, vacations, and great weather. It is also a wonderful opportunity to rejuvenate our homes with spring cleaning. I find it rather incongruous to greet th e blessing of new life by using harsh and dangerous chemicals to clean my home. Instead choose to make my own safer and gentler solutions and methods for breathing new life into my home.
A few basic item s are all that is n eeded for almost every cleaning task. These are baking soda, vinegar, water, castile soap, lemon juice, olive oil, cleaning rags, a broom an d a va cuum cleaner. These items are easily found in most households and are very safe to store and use.
When cleaning, it is logical to start from the top and move downward so that no surface needs to be cleaned twice. Running a broom across ceilings and down corners will remove dust and cobwebs. After cobwebs have been dislodged, I make a vinegar and water solution in equal parts. I dampen my rag and first wa sh the window s, as they are usually cleanest, then wipe down walls. This vinegar – water solution is also used for wiping out lamp globes.
Get a clean cloth and dust all surfaces and objects in the room. A furniture polish for wood is made with a quarter cup olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Dampen a clean rag with the polish and rub into wood furniture going with the grain. Upholstered surfaces and mattresses should also be vacuumed before moving on to the floors.
Carpets should be sprinkled with baking soda before vacuuming to freshen and clean. Tile and linoleum floors should be washed with equal parts warm water and white vinegar. If there are very stubborn dirty spots, let the vinegar solution soak for a short time to loosen the grime. For wood floors use 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar and damp mop with a very well wrung rag. Dry with a clean rag and buff with olive oil and lemon solution if needed.
Kitchens require additional cleaning, as they are such a vital and well – used part of our home. I clean my oven and drip pans by creating a paste of baking soda and water, spreading it across all surfaces and leaving it over night before wiping away. I also remove the refrigerator shelves and soak in a sink of warm water and castile soap while I wipe down the walls with the same solution. The shelves are rinsed with clear water and replaced. Cabinets are decluttered and wiped down wit h the vinegar-water solution before I finish by polishing the sink with baking soda.
I also use my homemade cleaners exclusively in the bathroom. B aking soda makes an excellent scrubbing powder for the tub and shower. Vinegar water shines mirrors and tiles. Both vinegar water and baking soda work well for cleaning the exterior surface of the toilet, but the toilet bowl should be scrubbed with a baking soda paste to remove any stubborn stains or water deposits. Finally, I pour boiling water down all the drains to clea r any bui ld up.
Spring is a promising time of year and spring cleaning should be an enjoyable event. When I know that the cleaners I am using are both safe and effective, I can clean and beautify my home without worrying about the children helping or worrying about getting a headache from fumes. I have been making my own nontoxic cleaning supplies for several years and love my home after spring cleaning.