How can you tackle spring cleaning without using cleaners that may harm both your family and the environment? Follow these tips for easy, economical and green ways to freshen and clean your home this spring.
- Kitchen floors: Whether you have vinyl, linoleum or ceramic tile in your kitchen, white vinegar - straight or mixed with water - is all you need to get floors clean. Use a sturdy mop, natural sponge or clean cloth to scrub, then mop up any excess. Vinegar and a stiff short bristled brush can also be used to clean grout.
- Kitchen sinks: Make your own sink scrub using one part vinegar, four parts baking soda and several drops of essential oil. Scrub the paste on with a sponge, let sit for a few minutes then rinse.
- Windows: Use white vinegar again, this time pour it in a spray bottle. Use crumpled newspaper or a lint-free cloth to complete the cleaning.
- Carpets: Before vacuuming, shake baking soda over the carpet; it will help to absorb odors. For spot cleaning, white vinegar will lift some spots. Spray it on, then scrub out the spot with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
- Upholstery: Sprinkle cushions and chairs with baking soda (made easier by putting it in a shaker container) then vacuum after letting it sit for a while.
- General odors: Make your own scented sprays by mixing distilled water, alcohol (keep this away from heat and flames, as well as from children and pets) and several drops of essential oil in a spray bottle, then spray wherever needed.
- Tubs and toilets: Spray with vinegar first, then sprinkle on baking soda for totally natural, fizzy cleaning power. Scrub with a sponge or toilet brush, then rinse clean and flush.
- Garbage cans: Sprinkle the bottom with borax (a natural mineral) to prevent the growth of mold and fungus and to keep away insects.
- Spring house pests: Spring is when ants and other pests start showing up in your home. To keep them out, mix equal parts sugar and borax in a shaker bottle and sprinkle along likely household entry points (keep away from areas accessible to children and pets).