As spring settles in, the days get sunnier. Doesn’t it feel like it’s time to open the windows and spruce up your living space with a little spring cleaning? In these rough financial times, we’re all looking to save a little green. However, for those of us who are trying to live green and are already paying a little extra for organic foods, shelling out a little extra for greener household products might not be an option.
Here’s some good news: You can make your own cleaners for a fraction of the cost. And not only can they lift dirt and grime to leave your house sparking clean, these cleaners, with ingredients like bay leaves, lime, and peppermint, can also lift your spirits with their fragrance!
To make a simple cleaner for wiping down counter tops, sinks, and cupboards, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. For cleaning linoleum and tile floors, place this same mixture in a bucket and dip your mop in.
To get rid of unpleasant odors, leave out a halved lime (make sure that the cut side is facing upward) in a bowl of baking soda. Instead of throwing the lime and baking soda into the trash when you’re finished using them, grind them up in your garbage disposal instead to freshen the surrounding area. If you’re a coffee drinker, don’t toss out your coffee grounds after use. Instead, put them in a bowl to absorb odors. To keep kitchen cupboards and drawers smelling fresh, add a few dried bay leaves.
To freshen couch cushions, use a spray bottle filled with water and two drops of an essential oil such as lemon, orange, or peppermint. Essential oils are very potent, so one or two drops is all you need. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients and mist whenever freshening is needed.
Crush a couple of bay leaves and mix them with a bowl of baking soda. Add one to two drops of an essential oil and mix with a spoon. Sprinkle this mixture on rugs and carpets, and allow it to stand for a few minutes before you vacuum it up.
Cooktops and Ovens
For cleaning cooktops, dust with a bit of baking soda and squeeze some lime juice over it. You can use the cut lime half as a scouring tool to scrub the cooktop. Use a toothbrush to scour any hard-to-reach spots. For tough spots, make a paste out of some lime juice and baking soda, and let it sit on the problem areas for several minutes before scouring. For ovens, make a paste out of lime juice, baking soda, and salt. Wipe out the inside of the oven with a damp sponge, then apply the paste. Allow the paste to stand for about a half-hour, then scrub it off using a scouring pad.
Have an oddly shaped vase that you can’t seem to clean the inside of? Squeeze a drop of dish soap or some vinegar into the vase and add water along with a small amount of dried rice. Cover the top with your hand, shake and swirl the rice around, then rinse.
Happy spring cleaning!