Spring Cleaning

Image from Google.
Spring cleaning season is finally upon us! We've scoured the web to track down the best tips and tricks for you to have your home sparkling clean with as few chemicals (and dollar signs) as possible. Read on for some sweet home-cleaning strategies.

Check out these great tips:


  • Fill a dish wand with half vinegar and half dawn dish soap. Keep the wand in your shower. Before taking a shower, scrub the walls with the wand then rinse off. (DIY Home Sweet Home) 
  • Simple toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar. (Spark People)
  • Ketchup is the perfect cleanser for copper pots and brass fixtures in your home. (iVillage)
  •  
    Recycle your worn clothing by turning old fabric into rags to clean quick spills and tidy up the house. - See more at: http://www.greenmomsmeet.com/2013/04/6-eco-friendly-spring-cleaning-tips/#sthash.dJZl1e6c.dpuf
    To clean fan blades, toss a pillowcase over the blade then slowly pull off. All of the dust and dirt will stay contained inside the pillowcase. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
  • Parmesan cheese containter lids will fit on mason jars! How about keeping baking soda by the sink for a mildly abrasive cleanser. Or flour near where you kneed your bread - just sprinkle on the counter. (The Make Your Own Zone)
  • Clean your burners without scrubbing. Place in a sealed ziploc bag with a 1/4 cup of ammonia. Leave overnight, then wipe clean with a sponge. (DIY Home Sweet Home) 
  • Pour boiling water down the tub once a week to keep the drains clear and prevent those nasty, hard-to-scrub tub rings, and do the same in sinks. Always try using water first to clean up spills on a carpet. (iVillage)
  • 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part Dawn (original blue) will take the stains out of almost ANYTHING...even if they're old stains!  (Pinterest)
  • Use a few drops of water, cream of tartar and a sponge to get your stainless steel appliances looking brand new again. (Buzzfeed)
  • Spend less time shining your facuets, sinks, and tiles by polishing them with Turtle Wax. The wax acts as a protective barrier preventing water and soap buildup. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
  • Homemade furniture spray: 1-3/4 cups water, 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon lemon essential oil (about 8 to 10 drops). Mix in a spray bottle; shake well to mix. While you use it, you'll need to continue shaking the bottle to ensure the combination stays mixed. (The Make Your Own Zone)
  • Easy way to get rid of mold in shower caulk : bleach and cotton coil, let sit overnight. (This Blessed Home)
  • Mix a few drops of essential oil with one cup baking soda. Sprinkle on your mattress and let sit for one hour before vacuuming. The baking soda will absorb any dirt, moisture and odors while the essential oil will leave the mattress smelling fresh. (DIY Home Sweet Home) 
  • Make your own citrus vinegar cleaner. Place citrus peels in a jar and cover with vinegar and let the solution sit for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, strain and dilute 1:1 with water. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
  • Clean Dirty Blinds with vinegar and old sock. (Keep Home Simple)
  • Use a lemon to remove hard water stains from your faucet. Simple cut a lemon in half and rub the open fruit against the metal. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
  • Clean up mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar. (Spark People)
  • Make your sink shine by mixing borax with lemon juice to make a paste. Rub it on, then rinse it and wipe clean. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
  • Use a rubber glove to wipe up pet hair off upholstery and bedding—hair will stick to the rubber.
  • Clean your pans with tea tree oil to remove tough stains. (DIY Home Sweet Home) 
  • Use a Q-tip to clean tight spaces in window tracks, then wipe with a paper towel. (DIY Home Sweet Home) 
  • Homemade daily shower cleaner spray: 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap, 1 tablespoon dishwasher rinse aid (like Jet Dry or Finish), 3 cups water. (Make Your Own Zone)
  • Clean stubborn stains by spraying with a water and vinegar solution and then use an iron to lift the stain. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
  • After cleaning your vents, apply a layer of wax to them to help repel dust. (DIY Home Sweet Home) 
  • Clean the glass on your wood stove by dipping a wet paper towel in the ashes then wipe your glass with it. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
  • To clean your cabinets: Mix 1 part vegetable oil with 2 parts baking soda, then scrubbing with a toothbrush.
  • Make floors look new again: Spray on a mixture of 7 cups water, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup ammonia (or lemon juice) and 1/4 cup vinegar. Let sit for an hour and scrub off. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
  • Remove rust spots from your kitchen knives by soaking them in lemon juice. (DIY Home Sweet Home)
Got a great cleaning tip you'd like to share? Email us at info@betterfarm.org.
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Think Clean Thoughts

Image from Care2 Healthy Living
We all like to keep a clean house; but have you ever read the back of a cleaning product label? The chemicals riddling the very products we use to make our homes sanitary have a frightening tendency to be extremely bad for us. Perfumes, dyes, and composition seem designed to wreak havoc with the systems of our respiratory, immune, and epidermis.

Here are some great recipes that will save you a bunch of money—and won't damage that temple of a body you've got.

BATHROOM CLEANER
  • 3/4 c. baking soda  
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 1/4 c)  
  • 3 tablespoons salt   
  • 3 tablespoons liquid dishwashing soap  
  • 1/2 cup vinegar  
  • 10 drops essential oil (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl to make a paste; use scrub brush or sponge to apply to tub, shower walls, & sinks.  (Be sure to test a small area to make sure paste does not scuff tub surface; if so, eliminate the salt from the mixture!  Rinse well with water and a wet rag, then dry with a clean rag or old towel. (From Living Well, Spending Less)

BLEACH ALTERNATIVE
Bleach is inexpensive, widely used and relatively safe when used in the correct amounts. Excessive bleach exposure, however, may cause irritation in the eyes, mouth, lungs and on skin—especially for asthma and allergy sufferers. Bleach mixed with other household cleaners, such as ammonia, can even result in the release of toxic fumes. Bleach manufacturing also produces dioxin, a chemical that is harmful to the environment. 
  • Vinegar is an effective natural disinfectant, and even kills both salmonella and E. coli, making it a valuable sanitizer in the kitchen.
  • Vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide work together to give you an effect equal to bleach.
  • 4-cup baking soda and 1⁄2-cup white vinegar with warm water to scrub down tile. Clean glass surfaces by mixing equal amounts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Skip using hydrogen peroxide on the countertops, and add it to your laundry as a bleach alternative. A cup of hydrogen peroxide will brighten your whites.
  • Or try this recipe for from Grit: 12 cups water, 1/4 cup lemon juice (or grapefruit juice), 1 cup hydrogen peroxide.  Add 2 cups per wash load or put in spray bottle and use as a household cleaner.
  • Sunlight! Ultraviolet radiation of the sun kills pathogens that cause diarrhea.E xposing a bottle of water to sunlight for 6 hours is an economical way to provide developing countries with safe drinking water. Use this to your advantage by taking objects outside on a sunny day for disinfecting. If you've got white laundry with stains, spray with lemon juice or vinegar, then hang in the sun.
FURNITURE POLISH 
  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • juice from 1/4  lemon 
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar 
  • 3-4 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
Dampen rag & squeeze out excess water.  Dip damp rag into furniture polish, the wipe on surface of furniture.  Buff off with an old dry towel.  Can also be used to polish stainless steel!
(From Living Well, Spending Less) 

GENERAL CLEANING
just 10 different products–most of which I already have on hand–can be combined in 10 different ways to make 10 different awesome, green, & super thrifty cleaners.  10x10x10….how cool is that?
Read more at http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/03/13/green-thrifty-cleaning-products/#psxoEcE5IPgvhhQm.99
There are 10 magic ingredients you can keep on-hand that can be combined in 10 different ways to give you 10 green cleaners. Here they are, courtesy of Living Well, Spending Less:
white vinegar
baking soda
lemons and/or lemon juice
salt
olive oil
Ivory bar soap
liquid dishwashing soap 
washing soda
borax
essential oils (I like lemon, lemongrass, & eucalyptus)

Read more at http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/03/13/green-thrifty-cleaning-products/#psxoEcE5IPgvhhQm.99
just 10 different products–most of which I already have on hand–can be combined in 10 different ways to make 10 different awesome, green, & super thrifty cleaners.  10x10x10….how cool is that?
Read more at http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/03/13/green-thrifty-cleaning-products/#psxoEcE5IPgvhhQm.99
just 10 different products–most of which I already have on hand–can be combined in 10 different ways to make 10 different awesome, green, & super thrifty cleaners.  10x10x10….how cool is that?
Read more at http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/03/13/green-thrifty-cleaning-products/#psxoEcE5IPgvhhQm.99
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemons or lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Ivory bar soap
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Washing soda
  • Borax
  • Essential oils like lemongrass, lemon and eucalyptus
GLASS CLEANER
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar 
  • 1 1/2  cups water 
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (optional)
Mix vinegar, water, & essential oil together in spray bottle.  Spray on glass & use squeegee, crumpled newspaper (Tip: use newspapers that are at least 2 weeks old to avoid black fingers!), or a lint-free rag to get a streak-free shine.  Also works well to shine chrome and countertops after you’ve disinfected them. (From Living Well, Spending Less)

LAUNDRY DETERGENT
  • 1 bar Ivory soap
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing powder
Place Ivory soap in a large microwave safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, until soap turns to foam.  Quickly stir foam until it becomes small soap chips, then mix well with borax and washing powder.  Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight container.  Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.  (Tip:  This detergent works best in warm or hot water; for cold water washing you may want to first dissolve in 1/4 c. of hot water.)  (From Living Well, Spending Less)

POWERFUL MILDEW AND MOLD SPRAY
Rooted Blessings has a great mold and mildew spray recipe that wreaks havoc on all things damp and dingy. With a combination of alcohol and anti-fungal essential oils, kick your existing mold problem and keep it from growing back.
  • 1 Cup Distilled Water
  • 1 Cup Vodka
  • 10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Combine all the above ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Spray this powerful mold and mildew spray directly on your mold or mildew problem. If it is really a bad problem leave on for 30 minutes or more before you wipe clean.

WALL WASH/MR. CLEAN MAGIC ERASER
If you're a parent with little kids in your home (or you live at Better Farm), you know the magical prowess of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.
First, place the 1/2 tsp. of Borax in a shallow bowl.  Pour the hot water on top and mix with a fork, spoon or whisk until dissolved. Then add the 1 tsp. of baking soda and mix until all powder is dissolved and the water is nearly clear in color. If after cleaning you have a white film left on your walls, reduce the Borax and Baking soda to 1/4 each as a little does a lot and reduce the chance of a film on your walls for those few that have had that experience. In addition, wipe your walls after cleaning with a damp rag. 

CREAMY SOFT SCRUBBER
Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.
Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time. (From Care2 Healthy Living) 

STAINLESS STEEL CLEANER 
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda 
  • 1/2 cup vinegar 
  • 2 cups warm water
Mix ingredients in spray bottle.  Mixture will foam up; when it stops bubbling, put on cap and spray stainless steel surface, then wipe clean & dry with lint-free rag.  To add extra shine, use furniture polish above. (From Living Well, Spending Less)

TOILET BOWL CLEANER
  • 1 cup baking soda 
  • 1 cup vinegar 
  • 10 drops essential oil (optional)
Turn off flow valve to toilet & flush 1 or 2 times until water is drained.  Pour in baking soda, then slowly pour in vinegar, being sure to get vinegar to cover as much of the bowl surface as possible, then add essential oil.  The baking soda will react with the vinegar–this is normal!  Use your toilet brush to scrub surface & remove any rings or stains.  Turn water back on and flush.
(From Living Well, Spending Less)

VINEGAR DEODORIZER
Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. Spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed, letting it sit overnight.  The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off. (From Care2 Healthy Living)
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.