It’s Spring Cleaning Time: Part I

11 05 2010

“Peter,” she said, faltering, “are you expecting me to fly away with you?”

“Of course; that is why I have come.” He added a little sternly, “Have you forgotten that this is spring cleaning time?”

There is one pleasant part about that dreaded, old-fashioned term – spring cleaning.

That part is the feeling you have when it’s over and done with, with the windows flung open, curtains flapping slightly in that warm breeze, and the thought for just a moment, your entire home is as fresh as can be. Ah… just drink in the sunshine, with perhaps a well-deserved glass of sweet iced tea and a bouquet of fresh flowers as your reward, and breathe easier knowing that your home is a sanctuary of order and polished surfaces that would make your mother proud.

Ok, I give you all that image to keep in mind as we get down to it. We all know it’s necessary, but it’s not the most fun task of the year. But after a long, dimly-lit winter, you’ll want your home to be spic and span for a spring-full of fun, without any dusty baseboard corners hanging over your head.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty of it.

Now, I’m probably the least “green” person you’ll ever meet. BUT there is one area where I’m totally green, I use homemade cleaning products. They are super easy to make, smell much fresher, and you can feel good knowing you’re not setting your food/little ones/own skin on harsh chemical products.

So today is going to be all about some easy cleaning products you can whip up yourself. You don’t need much, and a lot of this you might already have.

[Don’t mix products you’re unfamiliar with with extra ingredients, or with quantities not listed, as so many chemicals are perfectly safe in small doses, but might cause bad reactions if mixed together. Don’t even use an old, empty cleaning spray bottle. You’ll need fresh ones as even small traces can cause bad effects when it comes to those pre-made cleaners. See, more good news is once you’ve banished all these harsh chemicals from your life, you’ll never have to worry about such reactions again!]

Go to the store and buy yourself these simple, inexpensive products, perhaps a pump bottle or two to mix with, and make sure to pick up a Sharpie for labeling. Don’t want to spray your precious garden with what you thought was pure water!

Then tomorrow, we’ll get into the hows of cleaning with these products so you might want to block out your morning or afternoon (no more than about 4 hours, I promise), but your only homework for today is to get ready.

You’ll need:

A LOT of distilled white vinegar (Trust me, get the big jar… you will love this stuff. If you’re worried that your home will smell of fish and chips with all the vinegar spread about, don’t worry. It won’t. The telltale vinegar smell is quite strong at first, but it dissipates quite quickly so by the time you’re done, no one will be able to walk in and tell, at least with their nose, that you’ve cleaned today.)

Apple cider vinegar (This will change your life in your bathroom, I promise… no more of that “disinfectant” that smells like a hospital. All our little bodies need is a little sanitation, not to go antibacterial crazy and ruin our immune system.)

HOT water (you’ve probably already got this at your house, no?)

Lemons (And lots of them! How much more natural, and wonderful smelling can you get?)

A few tiny bottles of your favorite smell of essential oils (This will be the most costly part, but just a couple of drops goes a long, long way. I prefer Tea Tree oil, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Lavender, but whatever you wish will be fine)

Baking soda

Borax (This can be a mild skin-irritant, but is much more natural than chlorine bleach. I don’t personally use bleach, but if must, seek out a hydrogen-peroxide based bleach instead.)

An old toothbrush or two (for those little corners)

Mineral oil or Linseed oil

Real soap flakes (you can even use 1/2 cup these instead of laundry detergent)  or mild dishwashing soap

Salt (Great abrasive, as well as toothpaste sometimes for those hard to clean countertop stains. Cornstarch also often works well to absorb oils.)

Cedar chips or herbs for those musty drawers

Rags (If you must, those microfiber clothes, but husband’s old tees will do just fine… and while you’re at it, dash through his closet for an old button down shirt “he’s” been meaning to get rid of… throw it on over your clothes, and there you have a smock so as not to ruin your pretty little dress… you are wearing a dress, and heels, and pearls, aren’t you? Good. So am I.)

Steel wool

Broom and dustpan

Elbow grease (Sorry girls, this is the least fun ingredient, but remember our window/sweet tea/envious-friends image and it will get you through it. Of course, the obvious alternative is an extra $300-400 dollars to call a cleaning service, but then you don’t get the satisfaction of personally doing it yourself. But, um, if anyone has an extra $$$, we won’t blame you.)

Yes, these few things will do your entire home. Trust me, the harmony of fragrance (or lack thereof) will alone, make you a very happy girl.

Now, for the “recipes.”

Surface Cleaner

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

3 drops of Tea tree essence

1 drop of Eucalyptus essence

1 tiny squeeze of Lemon

Glass Cleaner

1/2 teaspoon soap

3 tablespoons vinegar

2 cups water

Tile Cleaner

Baking soda. Yup, that’s it. (You can add a little water or lemon juice if you like.)

Furniture Polish

Wipe in a circular motion with your rag, rinsing off with plenty of hot water. Dry.

4 ounces Linseed oil

5 drops Lavender essence

5 drops Rosemary essence

Carpet Cleaner

Mix white vinegar and baking soda to paste consistency. Work the paste in with an old, clean toothbrush. Allow to dry, then just vacuum up. If it’s a tough stain, you might have to do this more than once to get it to lighten and lift. (Test this on a tiny corner, especially if you have colored carpet, just to make sure your carpet is color-safe.)

Oven Cleaner

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 gallon hot water

Wear your gloves, girlies! Scrub with very fine steel wool. Rinse well.

Now that you have all this arranged neatly in a basket, and have a nice, new space in your cleaning pantry for all your goods, relax for today. We’ll see you tomorrow!




3 responses

1 03 2011
Tuesday Tip: No Soap Puddles « Sweet Iced Tea

[…] Sweet Iced Tea’s Guide to Spring Cleaning Part I : The Products […]

16 04 2013
Tuesday Tips: Beautiful Bathroom Spruces | Sweet Iced Tea

[…] haven’t yet done a deep spring clean, take this chance to mix up a batch of lovely natural homemade cleaning products. Add a little orange oil and store (well-labeled) in good quality spray […]

23 04 2013
Tuesday Tips: Beautiful Bathroom Spruces Part II | Sweet Iced Tea

[…] out and buy a pretty glass container to store your favorite all purpose cleaning product – baking soda. Great for scouring or, if you are so brave, a gentle wash of your hair. This is a fresh supply to […]

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