Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cleaning- Naturally, Simply and Frugally!

        Well, I've been on a bit of a cleaning binge the last couple of weeks.  This usually happens after the holidays when I've returned holiday decorations to their storage places.  The house always seems so empty and "naked" so I typically will rearrange and clean.  There is something about starting the year with a freshly cleaned and organized home.   This also seems to be a time of year for a variety of illnesses.  Since I have a constant trail of kids in my home it is even more important for me to try to keep up with cleaning.  

        Most of you know that I have long praised the attributes of white vinegar.  This wonderful, simple liquid is so good for so many things!  Cleaning is just one of many.  I got to thinking and decided maybe I'd share some other natural and simple cleaning options.  In a day and age where we are bombarded by more and more chemical solutions (in every area of our lives!) it's nice to have some more natural (and much cheaper) options when it comes to cleaning. 
        1. White vinegar (apple cider vinegar can stain)-kills germs, mold & bacteria
        2. Dish washing liquid
        3. Baking Soda
        4. Lemon Juice (a mild acid that has mild bleaching properties)
        5. Ammonia (I'm sure you all know NOT to mix bleach and ammonia!)
        6. Essential oils (a few drops -optional) - Lavender and Tea Tree oil have been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties - plus they smell good!

           Here are some recipes for specific projects.  As you all know, I rarely measure anything but these ratios seem to be about right.

          Greasy Cabinets - 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon of hot water
          Fridge Cleaner - 1 qt. warm water & 1 dash of liquid soap or 2 tablespoons of baking soda & 1 qt. of warm water
          Microwave Cleaner - a drop of lemon juice or white vinegar in a cup of water - boil in the micro and the let it sit for a while. The steam will softened any spills. Wipe the inside with a rag, rinse with a clean rag.
          Floor Cleaner - 50/50 solution of vinegar and water for vinyl and laminate floors. I have wood floors - just be sure you don't get laminate flooring sopping wet.
          Glass Cleaner - plain vinegar works great on mirrors. Try putting a little dishwashing soap in the vinegar spray first to get the chemicals and wax from your old cleaner off the glass otherwise you might have streaks the first time.
          All Purpose Cleaner - Ammonia diluted according to directions on the bottle or mix one part vinegar to one part water (do not use on marble)
          Toilet Cleaner - Flush the toilet, sprinkle sides with baking soda, add 1/2 cup white vinegar, let it sit for a while (it'll foam a bit) and then scrub
          Sinks & Tubs - Some dishwashing liquid mixed with a bit of vinegar or sprinkle with baking soda and then spray with vinegar and scrub
          Homemade Soft Scrub - mix a small amount of baking soda with a liquid detergent until you have a smooth paste. For stains that need a bit of bleaching, I put some baking soda on a half of lemon and rub that on the area
          Carpet Cleaner/deodorizer - when I shampoo our carpets I just use vinegar mixed with hot water in our carpet cleaner.  This works great for pet accidents as well.  The vinegar neutralizes the urine and removes odors. The vinegar smell dissipates. You can also sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and let it sit for about 20 minutes and then vacuum. 
          Room Freshener -Place little bowls of white vinegar strategically around your home.  Trust me... it works! 
                  One of the best things about using more natural cleaning solutions is that they are significantly cheaper than typical chemical cleaners.   If, like many of us you are watching your budget this is a great option!
        Do you have some natural cleaning options?  Why not share with the rest of us?  We'd love to hear about them.   Happy Cleaning!


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