Natural Spring Cleaning Tips

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spring cleaningEven though it still feels very much like winter where I am, the decluttering and prepping for our annual spring cleaning begins. The moment when we can open the windows and let in the fresh air is the day that the rugs go out and the deep scrubbing begins. More and more, I get questions about alternatives to the potentially harmful cleaners on the market.

Many cleaners that are commonly found in most homes are filled with ingredients that have proven negative long-term effects on our health. Ammonia, sodium hydroxide and triclosan are some of the culprits found in products ranging from laundry detergents to glass and mirror cleaners. These ingredients can linger on just cleaned surfaces and are easily absorbed by human tissues, exposing us and our children to hazardous chemicals with unhealthy side effects. For more information on what’s in your cupboard, check out the Environemental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

Although there are some fantastic safe products available to purchase, there are also plenty of tried and true items sitting in your pantry right now that can clean your house from top to bottom without any harmful effects. And they work! Here are four recipes for green spring cleaning.

All-Purpose Cleaner

1 part warm water
1 part white distilled vinegar
25  to 50 drops of essential oil (optional, and adjust according to amounts of water and vinegar)

Combine ingredients in a jar or spray bottle. Gently shake to mix. Use on counters, floors, toilets and other surfaces. Note: For tough jobs, increase the vinegar-to-water ratio to 2:1. The essential oil helps cut down on the strong smell of the vinegar.

Furniture Polish

2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake before use. Spray on furniture and wipe with a damp sponge or cloth.

Glass & Mirror Cleaner

1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar

Combine ingredients in a jar or spray bottle. Gently shake to mix. Spray on glass or mirror. Use wadded-up old newspapers to wipe clean and avoid streaks.

Stainless Steel Cleaner

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white vinegar

Drizzle olive oil on one side of a cloth. Rub all over oven, kettle, fridge or other stainless steel appliance. On the other side of the cloth, drizzle white vinegar. Wipe over the same area and let dry.

Happy green spring cleaning!

Photo from here, with thanks.

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