Nontoxic Spring Cleaning Kit – DIY Diva
In the old days, spring cleaning meant giving everything in the house–curtains, bedding, corner cupboards–a thorough wash to remove the soot from winter fires and lamp oil. These days, of course, most of us heat with central heating systems that don’t leave soot, and have electric lamps. So why bother with spring cleaning?
I think that spring cleaning nowadays is mostly about removing dust, and that dust is its link to the tradition’s heritage. As heating systems begin to shut down and we can open windows, the winter’s dust accumulation begins to blow around the home. As the days get longer and there is more sun, it is also easier to see dust and cobwebs. Visible dust inspires one to want to remove it!
Truthfully, whatever the reasons, as the days get longer and warmer, what better excuse do you need for a top-to-bottom cleaning of your home, and to get at all those places regular cleaning maintenance doesn’t reach, such as washing curtains and getting under the bed.
When you undertake this enterprise, the last thing that you want to do is to pollute your home with toxic cleaning chemicals, so I have put together a green spring cleaning kit that uses the most natural and least-toxic ingredients.
I do recommend detergents –the least toxic available–and they are not found in nature and are not nontoxic. When cleaning with just soap, the minerals in water combine with soap to result in soap scum. For those with hard water, the switch to using soap instead of a detergent doesn’t produce successful results.
Read more about these ingredients in my article Five Basics for Nontoxic Cleaning.
Here are some of my best formulas for making natural cleaning products.
Welcome the Sun and the Longer Days
Choose a sunny weekend for your spring cleaning, and hang as much outside on a clothes line as possible, as sunlight is known to kill dustmites and be antibacterial.
With the increase in sunlight you can see just how dirty your windows are and what a perfect time to clean them so you can watch spring unfold. Here is my best window cleaner recipe:
The Best Window Wash
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
2 cups of water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to blend and spray on your windows.
Soft Scrub for Tubs, Stainless Steel, and More.
This is my can’t-do-without formula, and the best one I ever created.
½ cup baking soda
A few squirts of a green liquid soap
Place the baking soda in a bowl and add enough liquid soap or detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop some of the mixture onto a sponge and scrub the tub, sink, or the stainless steel. Rinse well.
After cleaning with the above soft scrub, for stainless steel, some people like to bring the metal to a high polish by rubbing the surface with straight household vinegar. I’ve found that just rinsing the soft scrub well does the trick, but each to their own.
Note: Stay away from all chlorine-based products on stainless steel.
Heavy Duty Cleanser
Wearing gloves, make a thick wet paste of the mineral and layer it onto the area that needs to be cleaned. Let the paste rest for up to eight hours (longer for big stains), and then rinse. Note that this washing soda cleanser is powerful enough to peel wax off a floor, and if you choose the OxyBoost or OxyClean, is very whitening (great for porcelain tubs and sinks!).
All Purpose Spray Cleaner
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap or detergent
2 cups very hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.
Light and Lemony Dusting Cloth
Light and Lemony Duster
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
a few drops of pure, food grade lemon oil (as opposed to an essential oil)
a few drops of olive oil
a soft cotton rag
Learn more about lemon for cleaning, and its aromatherapy benefits!
Whitener – Sinks, Tubs, and Clothes
Sodium percabonate is a wonder if you want to whiten a sink, tub, or clothes, without using bleach. I’ve become a devoted fan because of what it will do for my kitchen sink!
Use a stopper to block the drain of the sink or tub. For cleaning a sink, add 1/4 cup of sodium percarbonate (Ecover’s Laundry Bleach is readily available in health food stores), followed by a couple of gallons of hot water. (For a tub add 1/2 cup of sodium percarbonate and a few inches of hot water to cover the bottom of the tub.) Let set for an hour or so before draining out the water and lightly scrubbing with a sponge.
Follow the directions on the box.
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).Nontoxic Spring Cleaning Kit – DIY Diva,