A Nontoxic Spring Clean

31d8a85e-5cd4-4ad7-9686-0a3da6d9cf38Longer days and spring cleaning……it’s bittersweet.  While the thought of a new season and new beginnings is always exciting the question of how to tackle the winter build up of clutter and dirt always seems to kill the buzz.  In order to be in control and not let your negative thoughts take over, you need to be realistic with your expectations and your plan of attack. Your entire home will not get clean in one hour or one day.

Start your spring cleaning project by making a checklist for each room in your home and the tasks that need to be completed in each area. Work from the top down and dry clean before wet cleaning (i.e. dust before you mop). Be honest and realistic about what needs to get done. You’re doing this for you – so you can enjoy your space. Rushing will cause you to lose your energy, feel overwhelmed and ditch your efforts before you’re finished.

Make sure you have all the tools you need for the job before you get started: a broom, fabric mop, plenty of cloth rags, a stiff cleaning brush, old toothbrush, a bucket and a spray bottle.

Did you know you can make most of your cleaning potions in your own home? By doing this you’re also ensuring a non toxic environment for you and your family.

Natural All purpose household cleaner –mix 9 parts water and 1 part white vinegar in a spray bottle. Optional: add a couple of drops of essential oils, like lavender or lemon to eliminate the vinegary smell.

Natural Glass & Window cleaner – Put equal parts warm water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Add a few teaspoons of corn starch for extra shine.

Natural Furniture Polish – Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar, lemon juice, or lemon essential oil with 1 tablespoon of oil. You can use this in a spray bottle or a small amount on a cotton rag.

Make Homemade Air Freshener – For an easy air freshener, combine a few drops of vanilla, almond or other extract with a cup of water, and spritz the mixture in the air with a spray bottle.

Some of the dirtiest areas of your home can actually be the easiest and most rewarding to clean.  Here are a few suggestions on where to get started:

The shower is a great place to start your clean up because you can clean yourself and your grimy shower at the same time.  You’ll need baking soda, a spray bottle of vinegar, a plastic cup and an old toothbrush close by before you hop in.  Pick a small area where grout is dirty and sprinkle baking soda on it. Let the shower water spray on it to form a paste.  Once the paste is formed, turn the shower head away from the area and spray it with the vinegar.  In a few minutes, the dirty area will start bubbling. Once it’s done scrub with the toothbrush. If the dirt is gone then you’re done. If not, do the process one more time. When finished rinse the clean area with a cup of water.

In the kitchen, the microwave tends to be an area that gets really dirty and neglected; partly because when you shut the door the mess is out of sight and mind.  In order to tackle this spot, fill a bowl with water and place it in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. The steam from the water will loosen any stuck food particles. Open the mircrowave door and spray with an all purpose cleaner and wipe down.  Wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Did you know that keeping your windows clean will actually prolongs their life (and gives you a clearer view of the outdoors)?!  Make your own window cleaner by following the directions above.  If possible, remove the screens before you start to clean.  Spray the windows generously and wipe them down with a dry cloth. It’s best to clean windows early in the day. As it heats up outside, there is more of a chance of you ending up with streaky windows.

Definitely allow yourself time for some breaks during your cleaning session(s).  A walk and/or enjoying the outdoors is the best way to tackle the mental clutter which is just as important as cleaning the inside of your home.

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