Spring Cleaning Continued

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When it comes to the nitty gritty part of cleaning, removing dust, scrubbing sinks and stoves, I like to keep it simple. My home is part of my every day environment and I don’t want harmful chemicals in it any more than I want them in or on me. I use non-toxic, biodegradable, and mostly homemade cleaning products. They are inexpensive, easy to make, and do their job leaving your home cleaner than when you started. Obviously that is the goal when cleaning, but most conventional cleaning products are made with chemicals that are not healthy for your home environment. For more information on which ingredients to avoid, I recommend two websites The Naked Truth Project and the Environmental Working Group.

For most of my cleaning I use vinegar, water and baking soda. I fill a spray bottle about 2/3 full of water and 1/3 full of white vinegar. This solution alone is ideal for cleaning windows and glass. For sinks, the stove top, and the bathtub I sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the surface and then spray it with the vinegar and water mixture. I save my retired dish sponges for scrubbing these other areas of the house.

For spots that are harder to get clean (like stuff that is stuck on the stove top or in the oven) I make a paste of baking soda and water, spread it on the area and let it sit for a few minutes. Then I give it a little vinegar and water spray and start scrubbing.

When a drain is clogged, a treatment of hot vinegar helps. Bring 1-2 cups of white vinegar to a boil, then pour it down the affected drain. Follow this with a quart of boiling water.

I mop our hardwood floors with a bucket of hot water and a few splashes of vinegar. By the way, if you don’t like the smell of vinegar, it doesn’t linger for more than a few minutes. Don’t forget to open windows in your house daily to let in fresh air.

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It might seem like I have a vinegar and baking soda obsession, but they work perfectly to get things clean. Lately I haven’t had as much time to devote to tending my home as I would like, so it’s best to keep cleaning simple. We buy biodegradable dish soap in bulk at our local co-op. I’d like to try making this laundry detergent but Ray is in charge of laundry and usually buys Seventh Generation before I have a chance to gather up the ingredients to make our own.

If you prefer to purchase cleaning products there are a number of truly green companies that make them. These companies print a list all of the ingredients on the product bottle so you know just what you are using. The websites I mentioned above can help you figure out which ingredients to avoid. Many conventional products don’t even reveal what is in them which seems reason enough not to use unnecessary and harsh chemicals.

Do you have any simple cleaning tips or homemade cleaning solutions?

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5 Comments

  1. El

    April 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I need to start spring cleaning to. I'm with you on the household products. We usually make out own laundry soap too except we use Fels Naptha instead of the soda ash.

  2. Anna

    April 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    El, thanks for the tip. I haven't been able to find soda ash/washing soda, though I haven't looked too hard, so it's good to know there are other ingredients I can use, too.

  3. dani fazio

    April 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    To welcome spring in these cold, wet, gray days, I have been wearing the brightest colors of clothes I have and accenting my outfits with colorful earrings, too! It makes me feel good and spring-y. We also did a spring cleaning and it feels so nice to take down the plastic from the windows and let the good air in.

  4. Anna

    April 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Bright colors — great idea! I have been thinking about how as soon as it warms up everyone breaks out the summer clothes, even if it's not warm enough. Today, though, it felt to stifling to be wearing my normal winter outfits.

  5. Catherine

    April 7, 2011 at 3:16 am

    It has been a very good sap season this year…I feel like it is time to stop lighting fires to keep warm. I wore sandals today. It snowed this afternoon.

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