Spring Cleaning: A Good Time for the Soul

 

Being in a family home for the past 9 years has shown me very quickly that spring cleaning is not a one-day operation.

Actually, it’s become more like a month-long torture machine, which explains why I procrastinate for as long as possible.

To add insult to injury, traditional cleaners are not mandated to list their toxic ingredients, and they don’t. Pair that with yet another “Toxins All Around Us” article or anti-chemical blog post from a friend with cancer, and I’m ready to wave the white flag of surrender and chuck all currently-owned harmful cleaning supplies to the curb.

But how will I survive?

It’s taken many years for me to appreciate and accept that non-toxic cleaners are as effective in cleaning as their poisonous counterparts. Before I was pregnant with our first child, all you could find in a natural foods store was a citrus-based all-purpose spray. I found it hard to believe that it was cleaning the kitchen and common surfaces well.

Then I had a baby, a cat, and numerous germs being brought into the house:  I felt the need—the need to disinfect!

As my boys grew, I didn’t want them to be exposed to any toxins while they crawled and explored the house. The stores offered more variety in natural cleaning supplies, so I also transitioned into finding safer alternatives for my wood protector, floor and glass cleaners, dishwashing and clothes washing detergents, and soaps.

But research showed me there was far to go!

Both boys now have a desire to help me clean the house (50 percent true interest to help, 50 percent desire to not lose their Legos for a week), and I feel that it is my duty to keep them as safe and protected as possible when they handle any cleaning agent.

A good, responsible natural cleaner will list its active and inert ingredients, but years of reading has proven to me that good ‘ol vinegar and baking soda can clean just about anything, including bathroom and kitchen surfaces, drains, windows and floors.

Here are a few of my favorite and most-proven homemade cleaning concoctions:

All-pupose cleaner:  Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. (You can add a few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide for even more germ-fighting and disinfecting power!)

Drains:  Pour ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup vinegar down drain, let sit for 15 minutes, flush with hot or boiling water.

Grout: Mix water and baking soda into a paste, rub into stain, let sit for 3 minutes and rinse.

Stainless steel:  Place vinegar-soaked towels around faucets, let sit for 25 minutes, then rinse with water.

Interiors of kitchen appliances: Sprinkle baking soda on a sponge, wipe down and rinse with water.

Toys:  Combine 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 quart of water. Wipe down toys.

Bonus new idea:  15 drops of tea tree essential oil mixed with 1 quart of water is another great disinfectant spray for most surfaces!

Please SHARE your favorite all-natural cleaning methods in the comments section for us all to enjoy!

 

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