Spring is almost here and you know what that means. Well, it means a lot of things, but to those of use with a little Joan Crawford in us it means it’s time for Spring Cleaning, an annual ritual that some of us actually look forward to.
The weather had been beautiful lately so it is kind of depressing to go from a bright sunny outdoors to the confinements of a bunker that could use makeover, and there are many ways to brighten and freshen up things without having to reach for a bucket of bleach, ammonia or other environment destroying poisons.
First step, air the place out. This if course can be done in conjunction with washing your windows, but even if you don’t remove the panes you can still change the air. It’s amazing what a little cross ventilation will do, especially once the breeze becomes scented with the blossoms of the season.
If you have carpets, take them outside and give them a good beating. In my experience, rug-rats love to do this, especially if given a broomstick and a cape. No doubt you have vacuumed all winter, but you will be amazed what a little pugilism will do to release ground in dirt. After beating up your throw rugs, let them hang in the sunshine all day. If they are particularly odouriferous, sprinkle them with baking soda. Stains can usually be removed by mixing a paste of vinegar and baking soda and rubbing in the stained area.
Good old baking soda and vinegar; your granny knew what she was doing. A classic homemade formula for an all-purpose cleaner is ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda mixed into 2 liters of water. This is great on windows, appliances and the bathroom. The nice thing about it is you can mix up only as much as you need, and can dump it down the drain guilt free.
You probably have some 3% hydrogen peroxide in the bathroom, the kind you get at the drug store. That is handy because 1 part hydrogen peroxide mixed with 2 parts water is great for zapping bathroom mould. Use a sprayer and let it sit for about an hour before rinsing off.
Kitchen floors (vinyl or linoleum) can be cleaned with cup vinegar and a few drops of baby oil mixed in a gallon of warm water. For wooden floors, a one to one mix of vinegar and vegetable oil applied sparingly and rubbed in will clean and polish, and of course, good old lemon oil is the standard for polishing wood furniture; mix a few drops of lemon oil into ½ a cup of warm water and lightly spray on soft cloth, then wipe with a clean, dry cotton cloth.
To keep the air in your home fresh, oxygenated, and to filter out some nasty chemicals, you needn’t invest in an energy sucking air filter. Good old houseplants are not just decorative, they have been used for ages to freshen and filter the air. Here is a list compiled by NASA of the best plants to naturally keep air fresh and filtered.
There are dozens of other ways to naturally clean your house or apartment and procuring and using the ingredients for environmentally friendly cleansers won’t break the bank, or your back. And mixing up just the amount you need means you won’t end up with a pile of scary poisons under your sink. If you do have little ones to help with this, so much the better; you’ll be teaching them important life lessons, they will learn to respect the environment and all that jazz, and you get some free labour.