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Green Spring Cleaning

When sunny days beckon the longing to be outdoors more, the opportunity for getting things organized inside begins to present itself.

If your home, like many, has forgotten about projects and covert locations where dust has stockpiled, spring cleaning is a productive housekeeping ritual to adopt.

The first step to a cleaner home is to inspect the cleaners already on hand. Toxic chemicals may in fact clean, but they can also offer health hazards that aren’t wanted. It isn’t necessary to have a separate product for every household chore, and most of the time money-saving, natural cleaning solutions can be concocted with a few ingredients.

Vinegar and baking soda are two main items that can be used on many household chores or as a base for making cleaners.

Vinegar, some prefer distilled white and some swear by apple cider, can be mixed with distilled or boiled, cooled water. A solution of about half and half seems to be effective, though you can experiment with the levels a bit. Some dirtier projects may require more vinegar, while some surfaces warrant more water. Put it in a reusable spray bottle or bucket and nearly everything in the home can be wiped down with this mixture.

Baths, kitchens, and floors can be cleaned, disinfected and deodorized with it. For dust that won’t let go, for example – the ceiling fan that hasn’t been cleaned in a while – will shine when wiped with vinegar and warm water. Also, if still purchasing chemical glass cleaners this solution may sway you to stop.

When used with a towel made for cleaning glass, like a microfiber fabric or squeegee instead of paper towels, it leaves glass gleaming and streak-free. Also, pour it in the dishwasher’s rinse aid compartment instead of typical rinse agent, and dishes will be spot and residue free. Do a spot test first, though, if unsure about the finish of an heirloom piece or favorite dishes.

Baking soda can be used for everything from scouring dirt and grime to putting in baked goods for an after cleaning snack. It can be added to a little water and used as a stain fighter for laundry and as a paste to tackle hard to clean cooking pans or delicate fixtures like tiles and faucets that you don’t want to scratch.

After the house cleaning is finished, baking soda also works as a non-chemical air freshener. Placed in a jar or dish it will absorb any lingering odors. A few drops of a natural aroma, like pine, mint or eucalyptus oils can be dropped in for a just cleaned smell that will last.

For specific green cleaning projects and tips, look at ApartmentTherapy and CrunchyFarmBaby.

Saving money as well as saving your home and the environment from unnecessary toxins may be enough inspiration to do a little spring cleaning and conquer what is standing in the way of a refreshed home.


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