I knew it was that time of year when I found myself standing on my kitchen counter, dust pan in hand, attempting to open my recessed lighting fixture to remove flies. Spring cleaning has begun.
This year I decided I'm going to do things a little differently. As I mentioned previously, I'm finding myself drawn more and more to traditional methods of getting things done. Spring cleaning will be no exception. Long gone are the chemical cleaners with noxious fumes and nasty residues. It's all natural this year.
Pretty much all of my new cleaning supplies were easy to find. Some of them I already had right in my own kitchen! The "ingredients" are simple. For a fume-free, healthy clean you will need the following:
Liquid Castile Soap
In the Kitchen:
Cut a lemon in half and dip the cut side in baking soda. Scrub your countertops, wipe it clean with a wet sponge and towel dry. Avoid using this on stone or stainless steel though. It can discolor.
To clean marble countertops, mix 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap to 1 quart of water. Wipe with a cloth, rinse and wipe dry with a clean cloth.
Squeeze lemon juice onto discolored cutting boards to remove stains. Let sit for 20 minutes then rise.
Clean tarnished silverware by polishing it with toothpaste on a soft cloth. Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
To clean a spill in the oven pour salt on the spill to soak it up. When the oven is cool wipe it clean with a damp sponge.
Cut greasy buildup on the stovetop and vent hood by mixing 2 cups of hot water with 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap.
Cast iron pans should never be washed with soap. Instead use a teaspoon of salt and some cooking oil to scrub off cooked-on debris. Rinse with hot water and gently heat on the stove until dry.
To clean your drains and pipes pour white vinegar down them, then flush with water 30 minutes later.
For super-clean dishes and to cut grease, add a teaspoon of lemon juice to your dish soap.
Clean china by soaking them in a dishpan of warm water and 1/2 cup of borax. Rinse and towel dry.
Clean stained tea cups by soaking them in a solution of 2 parts water to 1 part baking soda. Soak over night and wipe clean in the morning.
Make stainless steel shine by buffing it with a soft cloth and a little olive oil.
To clean stove burner grates soak them in a dishpan with 1 gallon of water and 1/2 cup of baking soda. Soak for 30 minutes. Rinse and towel dry.
Remove scuffs from floors with 2-4 drops of tea tree oil. Wipe with a cloth and rub in some white vinegar.
Mop floors with 1/4 cup liquid castile soap mixed in 2 gallons of warm water. Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar if your floor is greasy.
In The Bathroom:
For nasty soap scum on shower doors, wipe the glass with a few drops of lemon oil twice a month.
Make your own soft scrub for sinks, tubs and showers by mixing 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap with 1/3 cup of baking soda.
Polish chrome fixtures with a dab of toothpaste on a soft cloth.
Toilets could use some freshening up. Add 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray along the toilet's inside rim and let sit for 30 minutes. Scrub and flush.
Rid rust stains from toilet bowls by pouring borax in the bowl and letting it sit overnight. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush.
Remove buildup from shower heads by filling a plastic grocery bag half full with vinegar. Knot the handles over the neck of the showerhead and secure it with rubber bands. Let it soak overnight and rinse it off in the morning.
Combs and brushes could use a good cleaning too. Fill a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 15-20 drops of essential oil (eucalyptus, tea tree or lavender.) Let them sit for half an hour, rinse them off and let them dry.
Around The House
2 ounces of water and 10 drops of lavender oil will clean grime off windows AND repel flies.
Wash windows with a mixture of 1/4 cup of vinegar, 2 cups of warm water and 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap. Spray onto windows with a spray bottle and wipe clean with newspaper.
It's easy to make your own furniture polish. Just mix 2 cups of olive oil with the juice of one lemon. Gently work it in with a soft cloth.
To buff out scratches in light-colored wood, rub them with 2 teaspoons of olive oil mixed with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
Clean walls with 1/2 cup of borax mixed in a gallon of hot water. Spray onto walls and wipe with a damp cloth. Allow to air dry.
Got moldy walls? Spray mold with vinegar, wait 15 minutes and rinse. Let it dry thoroughly.
Want brighter whites? 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle in a medium load of laundry will whiten those right up.
Are you exhausted yet? Not to worry. I haven't done all my cleaning either. I barely got past getting the flies out of my fixtures. Here's a little tip for the other procrastinators out there. Just do one or two things per day. Commit to it and get it done. Remember, just one thing. Two if you're feeling ambitious. Your house will be sparkling clean before you know it.
For the magically inclined, there are extra cleansing steps left to do. By now your home should not only look cleaner, but feel cleaner with all that emotional buildup being wiped out.
Using a sage smudge is a great way to clear out negative energy and emotional "clutter." Start at your front door and smudge every inch, corner, cabinet and crevace in a clockwise route around your home. Don't forget to get the closets!
Candles are a good way to cleanse a room of unwanted energy. Black candles absorb negative energy, and white candles promote positive energy. Burn black first, then white.
Grind pine needles to powder and sprinkle on lit charcoals to cleanse an area of negative energies and entitites. Throwing pine cones into a fireplace will have a similar effect.
Hang bells or wind chimes near doors or windows to promote cleansing sounds. Drums and percussion instruments are also cleansing.
For continuous cleansing, place a cup or bowl of vinegar in every room that needs cleansing and replace it weekly. Frankincense, sandalwood or Florida Water can be added to improve fragrance. (It doubles as an air freshener!)
There are many more cleansing options out there, but I like to keep it simple. These are just a few things I like to do to keep my home clean and free of emotional clutter.
Do you have any suggestions, tips or tricks, either magical or mundane? Is there anything I've forgotten? I can be a bit scatterbrained sometimes, I'll admit. Give some of these cleaning (and perhaps cleansing) solutions a try and let me know what you think!