Showing posts with label Spring cleaning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring cleaning. Show all posts

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring Cleaning: Make-at-Home Cleaning Solutions

Spring has finally arrived. The flowers are beginning to bloom and the warmer weather begs you to open the windows and let the fresh air in. You may also feel the need to do a thorough cleaning of your home. If the Spring cleaning bug has bitten, consider making your own cleaning solutions this year.

Why choose make-at-home solutions?

  • Cost: Generally, make-at-home cleaning products are less expensive than store bought products.
  • Healthier: Non-toxic products can be made simply and easily with products you already have at home.
  • Choice of fragrance(s): By adding (or omitting) essential oils or other ingredients, you can create one-of-a-kind products that are pleasing to you and your family. In addition, the ability to add or omit fragrances(s) is helpful for any type of allergy or sensitivity within your household.
Products you already have in your home often make great cleaning solutions. For example, baking soda alone can serve as a toothpaste, laundry freshener, and carpet deodorizer.

Want more great ideas? Here are some great make-at-home cleaning solutions from Mother Earth Living to get you started: 

All-Purpose Cleaner 

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • ½ cup liquid Castile soap (What is Castile soap? It’s a soap made from 100% plant oils, typically olive oil or coconut oil, with no animal fat or chemicals.)
  • 10 drops essential oil of your choice
Combine ingredients and mix well. Pour into a spray bottle and shake well before using. 
This all-purpose cleaner works great on a number of surfaces in both your kitchen and bathroom.  

Window and Glass Cleaner

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar

 Mix ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.  Shake well before using.

Wood Furniture Polish 

  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle. Shake well. Spray onto wood furniture surfaces. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.

Stain Remover 

  • Equal parts coconut oil and baking soda 
Mix ingredients well. Apply directly to stains on upholstery or carpets. Let set for a few minutes. Thoroughly wipe off mixture and allow the area to dry.

All-Purpose Scrub 

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • ½ cup liquid Castile soap
  • ½ cup water
Mix ingredients well and use in hard-to-clean spots.

While the make-at-home solutions listed are a great start for all your cleaning needs, you can learn more by checking out books such as “Homemade Cleaners.” In addition, sources such as Rodale Organic Life and The Old Farmers’ Almanac offer many ideas for cleaning solutions you can make at home.

The possibilities are endless. Happy Spring cleaning!

Live Healthy. Live Smart.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Cleaning, Naturally

When you think of spring cleaning what comes to mind? Washing windows, polishing furniture, and cleaning closets may be part of your plan. For others, decluttering and reorganizing every room in the house might be in order. Regardless of what constitutes spring cleaning for you, you can tackle it efficiently, effectively, and naturally.

What are the benefits of homemade natural spring cleaning products?

Natural cleaning products, also known as green products, are safer for your family and free of hazardous toxins.
Natural home cleaning is relatively inexpensive.
You may already have ingredients for natural cleaning recipes in your home.

What ingredients do you need for natural cleaning recipes?

The basics for most natural cleaning solutions are:

Baking soda
Liquid detergent
Hot water

When combined, these ingredients can make:

Natural window cleaner: Combine vinegar, water, and ½-1/4 teaspoon liquid detergent.

Oven cleaner: Use 1 cup of baking soda, water, and a squirt of liquid detergent to form a paste.

Soft scrub: Mix ½ cup baking soda with liquid detergent.

Furniture cleaner: Combine lemon juice and olive oil.

Check out this chart for more natural cleaning recipes.

What if you’re not inclined to make your own cleaning products?

Commercial natural cleaning products are available. They probably won’t be as inexpensive as do-it-yourself products. But, if you don’t have the time or desire to make products yourself, they can be a good option. It’s a good idea to check a green product’s rating and safety with the Natural Products Association (NPA) before using.

Are natural cleaning products effective?

According to a variety of sources, including AARP and Green America, natural home cleaning is effective. While you might need to use a little more elbow grease than you would with commercial brands, natural cleaning products really do measure up.

How to get organized for your spring cleaning:

1. Gather supplies. Decide what ingredients you’ll need for green cleaning solutions. Old T-shirts make great cloths for dusting and cleaning furniture. Recycle newspapers for washing windows.
2. Create a plan. Which rooms will you tackle and what tasks will you perform in each room? Also, will you perform one specific task throughout the house, i.e. dusting and polishing furniture, or will you handle each room from top to bottom?
3. Enlist the help of your family. Assign age-appropriate duties to children. Responsibilities such as dusting furniture, cleaning out closets, and changing water can be fitting for children of all ages.

Green cleaning hints:

*Hydrogen peroxide makes a great bleach alternative for your laundry.
* Plants make great air fresheners.  Best bets: Boston fern, English ivy, bamboo palm, ficus, gerbera daisy, peace lily, spider plant, golden pothos, and mother-in-law’s tongue.
*Natural potpourri is inexpensive and easy to make. Fill a small pot of water with citrus slices, cloves, and cinnamon. Simmer on the stove, and you have a fresh citrus scent that quickly fills your home, naturally.
*If allergies aren’t a problem for anyone in your family, open your windows as soon as it gets warm enough to allow fresh air into your home.

By enlisting the help of your entire family, you’ll make this year’s spring cleaning a family event and teach your children the benefits of green cleaning.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spring Cleaning-Make it Family Fun

The frost is starting to disappear in the morning and the days are becoming warmer which means we will be heading outdoors. Before we head outside to smell the freshly cut grass and maybe catch a few baseball games, we always get the fever for a little Spring cleaning.   
Spring cleaning usually involves cleaning out closets, getting rid of house clutter, deep cleaning the bathrooms, and all the stuff that we don't like to do, mainly because it takes up so much time. I found a list online on how to Spring clean and what should be done. Now this detailed list isn't for everyone and it will take some time, but it helps you get organized and pretty much tells you room by room what to clean. So, if you want to Spring clean to bring your house back to smelling and looking new. then check it out! You won't be disappointed.

If you are looking for a little closet cleaning, and just wanting to find out how to make your house clean while incorporating the whole family, here are some tips on how to clean the house quickly and make it fun for everyone at the same time. It's a great way of cleaning your house in a jiffy so the whole family can enjoy the great outdoors together.
house clutter
Make spring cleaning family fun!
  • Competitive Garage Sale - Plan a garage sale and make a section for each family in the household and see who makes the most money. This will give everyone a little extra incentive for cleaning out their closest and drawers and getting rid of the stuff they don't wear or use anymore.  
  • Bathroom or Bedroom Challenge - Making up cleaning games to get things done is always a great idea. This gets everyone involved and we all know that your child's clean bedroom always puts a smile on your face! What you can do is do this individually for a bedroom or pair up with a partner and pick a bathroom and see who does the better job. The winner can receive a special prize or maybe will be able to pick what is for dinner that night. Just make sure you get an outsider (maybe a grandparent of close friend) to judge so you don't have any bickering going on! 
  • Garage Game Room - If you want to get your garage looking spic and span, give your family a little incentive by rewarding them when it is done. When the garage is done being cleaned out make it a place for playing games too. You can go as basic as a dart board or some chalk for hopscotch to finding an old ping pong table. Find games that can be put away and stored easily so the cars can still be parked when not playing. This will also help with keeping it clean and clutter free if everyone uses the garage.
  • Sale or Donate to the Salvation Army or Thrift Store - Garage and yard sales are great but very time consuming. If you want to get rid of your stuff quickly why not donate it to the local Salvation Army or thrift store? If you have young children, this is a great way to teach them about donating and helping out the community. This will give everyone a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing they helped someone out. If you want to make a little cash, you can also put your items on consignment at the thrift store.
  • Watch Hoarding Buried Alive -- Okay I know this sounds funny but as a family sit down and watch an episode or two of the TLC TV show. My family watched this for the first time last year and as a family we all decided we would NOT keep things that we don't need. So if you are wondering how to clean your house and keep it clean, this is for you. After we watched the show the whole family went through a cleaning frenzy and it actually helps keep things organized and clean around the house. A great show to watch to jump start the spring cleaning.
  • Online Garage Sales -- There is a website where you can post or find garage sales.  Facebook also has one that is becoming very popular. It's an easy way to advertise your garage sale items to get your items sold quickly and get all the clutter out of your house. You can either post your garage sale or post your items. This may be a better route for some if you don't want to have a full blown garage sale. It's also a great way to recycle and lighten the load on land fills.
Whatever method you and your family choose to get that spring cleaning done, in the end you will all feel better knowing everyone chipped in. Sure you may get some moans and groans at first but power through and make it a family affair. Plus your family may realize that spring cleaning, or for that matter any cleaning, is a huge chore and shouldn't be done by just one person. WHAT'S GOING TO WORK? TEAMWORK!

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer