Spring Cleaning Part 3: Actually gettin down to it…

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So, I have reached the point where I can no longer put it off anymore. I must now get on my hands and knees, get a swift kick in the ass by motivation, and start the actual cleaning part of the whole “spring cleaning” thing. This past week has not really been all that inspiring; wind, sleet, rain, cold cold cold. But, I just booked my train ticket to see my mother during spring break, so the sooner I clean up the better.

This year though, no bleach, no “green” windex products, no hurting lungs and burning throats. Only good clean cleaning! I have been researching many sources of DIY cleaning products and found some products that showed up on all lists: vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil, course salt, lemon juice, and castile soap. All of these things (minus the tea tree oil) are very very inexpensive and can pretty much be consumed without hurting the body. That is always a great sign.

Vinegar: the best and cheapest kind to get is the white distilled vinegar.

  • For mold and mildew-spray with 100% vinegar (you can add essential oil for a better scent)
  • For clogged drains- pour 1/2 c baking soda and follow with 1/2 c vinegar, cover and let the fizzy reaction break up the gunk. May need to do two or three times.
  • For window cleaner- Mix 1/4 c vinegar with one gallon water and spray on glass. Clean with newspaper.

Tea Tree Oil: A natural disinfectant that can be used both on the skin and on surfaces. Check out this list of 20 different uses for this great stuff! It may be a little expensive, but most recipes call for “drops” not cups or anything.

  • For an overall disinfectant spray: 1 T liquid castile soap (I use Dr.Bronners), 2 T vinegar, 2 c hot water, 1/4 tsp eucalyptus and lavender essential oils, and 3 drops tea tree oil (taken from Raleigh Briggs Make Your Place)
  • For extra help cleaning mold: Mix 2 c water with 2 tsp tea tree oil and spray on infected area, let sit.

Baking soda is great for everything from carpets, to scrubs, to disinfectants.

  • For anytime you need a good scrub: sprinkle baking soda on the surface (counters, tubs, walls, etc) and scrub with wet sponge or rag. If you need more of an abrasive scrub, add course/kosher salt to the mix.
  • To deodorize carpet: Sprinkle baking soda over carpet, wait 30 minutes, and vacuum up.
  • For grease build up (in stoves, ovens, etc): make a thick paste with baking soda and water, spread over grimy areas, and let sit over night. Scrub off the next day and wipe clean with wet cloth.
  • For toilets: Mix all the above! 1/2 c baking soda, 1/4 c vinegar, and 10 drops tea tree oil. Combine everything, pour immediately into toilet (this stuff will foam up), and scrub away.

Borax (sodium borate) was another common ingredient I found, but I am unsure if I will use this product. It is useful in things like laundry soap, but I have found a few websites that seem wary of using the product. Borax can cause mild inflammation and itching (so wear gloves if you use) and can be toxic to infants. Almost every recipe I have found for DIY laundry detergent seems to contain either washing soda or borax. So any opinions/knowledge about this stuff would be greatly appreciated!

Oh I almost forgot, stumbled upon this website during my cleaning searches. 80 things that can be composted (I never though about dumping vacuum bags in there…)

Happy cleaning!

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About Megan French

I am a dreamer. I am a hopeful soul that thinks one day we could come together to support each other in a community; support one another's services, hard-work, products, and knowledge. I hope that one day we can be global and local thinkers; supporting each other economically through local interactions and supporting the world globally by respecting other cultures and learning from them. Through local thought and community relationships we can clean up our world environments, power figures, and idea about what is most important in our lives. It all begins with knowledge and understand about how to get back to the basics: cooking, sewing, foraging, preserving, scouting... DIY for life and for the future of our society.

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