Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Green Cleaning

I have been trying to revamp a few ways in our house this year before we start the new season in order to deliver a more natural experience for our guests and my family! We are already doing all we can in the garden by avoiding any kind of inorganic products on our plants and vegetables and work instead with natural compost, chicken manure, potash and blood and bone. If needed I spray my roses with a drop of dish washing liquid in water and we compost all the natural waste from the kitchen and recycle as much as is possible. I avoid as many prepackaged products when shopping as I can and encourage Liliana to use the recycling bin as a source of art supplies! I make my own jams, soaps, cookies, cakes, bread [well...only toast bread as the French bread is part of the experience!] and try to only use natural moisturisers and body oils. I have always maintained a 'keep it simple and natural' philosophy and almost always cook from scratch...

So today I have spent some time researching 'Green Cleaning' and what I have discovered is below....I am now going to give this a go...let me know if you have any other suggestions and ideas to share! 

White vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are about to become your new best friend.

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray:
For benches, sinks, toilets, and for spot cleaning floors
Mix 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle. Spray and scrub.
For really tough soap scum or mineral deposits, warm the solution first, spray, and let sit before scrubbing, or use straight vinegar (but avoid straight vinegar on tile grout – it can cause the grout to break down). You can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
Another multi-purpose cleaner idea is as below:
Save squeezed lemons and limes and store them in the freezer. Once you have a good collection boil them up in a large pot of water then use the strained lemon water to clean teapots, coffee pots and as a multi-purpose cleaner.

Bathtub / Sink Scrub:
In a bowl, make a paste with baking soda, a squirt of your dishwashing liquid, and a squeeze of lemon, to the consistency of frosting. Dip cloth or sponge into paste and scrub.
For really stubborn grime, allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.

Mirror & Glass Cleaner:
1 tsp vinegar
2 cups of water
Mix in a spray bottle. Spray on mirror or glass, and wipe clean with old newspaper. (The ink doesn’t smear, and it leaves no lint!)

Floor Cleaner:
1/4 cup dishwashing liquid
1/2 cup white vinegar or lemon juice
7 litres of warm water
6 drops essential oils
Combine in sink or large bucket, and use with mop.
You can use this on any floor, unless the manufacturer has specified to avoid all detergents.

Toilet Cleaner:
1 cup baking soda
2 cups vinegar
6 drops essential oil
Add baking soda and drops of oil to toilet bowl and then pour in vinegar and it will react Let sit 15 minutes and use your brush – white clean and germ free or nasty deposits gone.

Laundry powder:
1 part olive oil soap in flakes [grate a block of simple castile]
1 part baking soda
1 part boric acid
 Use 3 tablespoons per load.
Clothes Softener: 
Use white vinegar for fabric “softener

 Homemade Dishwasher Detergent:

  1 cup of borax
 1 cup of Washing Soda
 1/2 cup of citric acid [You can find citric acid in most natural and health food stores]
 1/2 cup of kosher salt
 Mix together and use 1 Tablespoon in each load
 Use white vinegar as a rinse agent (fill the rinse agent area with vinegar}

Oven Cleaner:
Baking Soda + Lemon Juice

Furniture Polish:
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
I love this! Works better then pledge in my opinion!

Kettle Descaler:
I keep a cheap bottle of white vinegar under my sink solely for this purpose...simply empty it into your kettle...heat the kettle then turn it off and leave it...then when cool empty the vinegar back into the bottle and put it back under the sink till next time!

Some other tips:

    *Don’t use vinegar on marble – it can damage the surface.
    *If you’re concerned about the smell of vinegar, you can always add a few drops of essential oil to your mix, but know that the odour of vinegar disappears as it evaporates.
    *For really dirty toilets, you can shake in some baking soda in addition to using the all-purpose cleaning spray, and add a little lemon juice, too, if you like.
    *If you don’t want to cut up fresh lemons, keep a squeeze bottle of lemon juice in your fridge. You can buy this, or make it yourself by squeezing some lemons ahead of time. If you buy it, make sure it only contains 100% lemon juice, with no added oils or essences.
    *Use 100% cotton micro fibre cloths for your cleaning – they will not leave lint behind, and you can throw them in the wash afterward and re-use them.
    *About dishwashing liquid: when you purchase look for words like biodegradable, septic-safe, and non-toxic. Don’t buy anything that contains petroleum distillates or phosphates.
    *Don’t scrub. Let the cleaning solution do the work for you. Spray tough spots — such as a soap scum-covered shower wall — with cleaner and let it soak while you clean something else. You’ll make double use of your time and save elbow grease.

If you are are unable to come to grips with making your own products as a daily then try changing your products to eco products or buy a natural range which is easily found on all supermarket shelves. Run a critical eye over your cleaning cupboard and see what you really can do without...keep it simple. You will spot the difference in your supermarket bill!