Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Green Spring Cleaning!

All Natural Cleaning Recipes
Using all natural cleaning recipes is easier and cheaper than you think.  Purchase a few spray bottles, vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil, and you are ready to mix some disinfectant, powerful, all-natural cleansers to keep your house clean and chemical-free.

Natural cleaning:

Saves money!
Improves indoor air quality 
Avoids exposure to chemical toxins 
Decreases toxins leached into our groundwater 

General Disinfectant:  Mix in a spray bottle 1/2 cup of vinegar, 15 drops each of tea tree and lavender essential oils* (EOs may be purchased locally from Earthfare, or online). Fill remaining bottle with distilled water.

All Purpose Scouring Powder:  Baking Soda works great for cleaning counters and the tub. Purchase a baking soda shaker in the grocery store and refill it with a bulk bag from Costco or Sam's Club. It lasts a long, long time. Mix in a few drops per shaker of peppermint EO for a fresh smell.

Windows/Mirrors:  Straight vinegar in a spray bottle is sufficient, and also disinfects.  You will need to wipe just a tad longer than with Windex, but you will not be inhaling poisonous vapors.  Add only 2 drops of lemon EO to give it a more fresh smell and help it evaporate more quickly.

Wood:  Add 1/4 cup of virgin olive oil to a spray bottle, 5-6 drops of orange EO (optional, but it really makes a difference), and fill the rest of the way with vinegar. The vinegar cleans the wood, and the olive oil moisturizes it. If it seems too greasy, decrease the olive oil. If it seems too dry, increase the oil.  Do not use the orange oil if your furniture is in the sun.  Otherwise, this mixture is safe and effective for your fine wood.

All Floors:  Start with a bucket of hot water, add a 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar, and 5-10 drops of lemon EO.  This is wonderful on any laminate, tile, and even hardwood.  Dry your hardwood with a towel afterwards if needed.

Carpet Freshener:  One cup baking soda with 20 drops of lemon or lavender EO, mix well. Store overnight in a sealed container to let the soda absorb the oil. Sprinkle on carpet. Leave on a few minutes and vacuum as usual. You may also put a few drops of your favorite EO on the vacuum bag before vacuuming.

Bathroom Solutions:

The Toilet -  Pour in 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda around the rim like you would Comet, and scour with a brush. For a strong disinfectant and fresh scent, add 15 drops tea tree oil to the bowl before scouring.

Soap Scum - Spray the tub thoroughly with vinegar (you can use the same solution you mixed up for windows). Use baking soda on a rag to scrub away scum. It takes some elbow grease, but it keeps the tub cleaner for longer than commercial products.

Surfaces - Scrub out the sink with baking soda. Use the above general disinfectant on surfaces. Use a bucket of warm water with 1 cup vinegar and 15 drops tea tree oil to the gallon to clean and disinfect the floor and remaining surfaces, such as the toilet seat.

*Many essential oils are highly disinfectant, most notably tea tree oil, which is as disinfectant as phenol, the industry standard. Essential Oils, as with any natural product, may cause allergic reactions in some people, so make sure that you are not sensitive to them before using them. The ones used for cleaning are safer than chemicals. Pregnant women should avoid most essential oils (and chemical toxins as well)

Enjoy your spring cleaning!

To spring clean your body, click here.