Six Essentials for Green Spring Cleaning
No matter how many times the weather teases us with springtime, we all know winter will linger for a while. It’s still a good idea to get a jump on spring cleaning, though. What better way to leap into the cleanup than using natural household ingredients? In order to get a thorough cleaning, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with six products: lemons, salt, vinegar, tea tree oil, baking soda, and essential oils.
Lemons – Lemons are natural disinfectants and their citrus scent exemplifies cleanliness.
- Clean wooden furniture with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil. Apply in small amounts using long, even strokes.
- Dip a cut of lemon in coarse salt and use it to scrub the bottom of copper-bottomed pots and pans.
- Lemons are also natural bleaching agents. Add ½ cup of lemon juice the rinse cycle for a fresh citrus scent and increased brightness.
Salt – Table salt can be used as an abrasive cleaner that physically scrubs off dirt and stains.
- Salt comes in handy when pots, pans, and other dishes are encrusted with food. Simply soak 3 tablespoons of salt in water and the mess should come off easily.
- Salt can also be used as a multi-purpose cleaning agent for stains on stovetops or residue build-up in the bathtub. Mix with baking soda to whiten while you remove the grime.
Vinegar – Vinegar is one of the most powerful and versatile cleaners. However the smell may too pungent. Try adding a little lemon juice to improve the odor.
- Vinegar can be used to make an all-purpose disinfectant by combining vinegar and water (one part each). This can be used to clean appliances, countertops, floors, and sinks. But, avoid granite or marble because the acid in vinegar can damage them.
- Vinegar, as opposed to conventional toilet cleaners, is free of toxic chemical. Pour a cup of vinegar in the toilet, allow several hours to disinfect, and use your toilet brush to scrub.
- Microwaves are known to accumulate powerful scents and hard-to-remove food, but one simple trick will clear the air and loosen the food. Microwave ½ cup white vinegar with ½ cup water, and bring to a rolling boil.
Tea Tree Oil – While tea tree oil is known for its medicinal uses, its antibacterial and antifungal properties are useful around the house.
- Tea Tree Oil does a great job of combatting mold. Mix 15 drops of tea tree oil per quart of water. Spray on mold and wipe, but don’t rinse.
- Add a teaspoon of tea tree oil to your laundry to prevent bacterial and fungal infections.
Baking Soda – Baking soda is known for absorbing odors, but it can also dissolve dirt and grease in water.
- To remove floor scuffs, sprinkle with baking soda and wipe clean with a warm, damp cloth.
- You can also use baking soda to remove odor from carpets. Sprinkle baking soda on the flooring, wait 10 minutes, and vacuum.
Essential Oils – While we usually think of using essential oils for their aroma, many also have antimicrobial properties.
- When the house is spotless and you take a deep breath, and realize the air still isn’t refreshed, sprinkle some essential oil on a cotton ball, and store in the corner of the room. These cotton balls, soaked in oil, become hidden air fresheners.
- Add lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, pine, or lavender oils to any of your natural cleaning products to help them deodorize and disinfect.