Water to the Rescue
My first tip is as simple as it gets – just use water! Before you think I’m crazy let me do some explaining;)
Years ago my husband watched a demonstration where filtered and softened water was used to clean grease and oil from carpets and mirrors. I didn’t really believe him so I had to try it for myself.
He had come home from the demonstration with a water bottle that he’d been drinking from, emptied and filled with the softened/filtered water. I was SHOCKED the next time I needed to clean a spot on the carpet (we were renting at the time and I was not going to lose our hefty deposit over this spot) and the water lifted it easily and with NO residue. I know I sound like an infomercial, but this is WATER I’m talking about!
It took me back to the days I used a product that somehow supposedly made “water wetter” or something like that. I loved that stuff but it’s not something easily found in the stores. After cleaning the spot (and every mirror in my house) I decided water was highly overlooked as a viable cleaning agent.
For the most part I use my all-time favorite microfiber cloths and water for cleaning almost all of my house and garden.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
I’ve sung the praises of tea tree oil for so many years that when I went to Walmart to pickup my favorite brand for cleaning, and found that they were out of stock…I felt responsible for the shortage;) There are many essential oils that are great to put into your box of cleaning supplies but in our family the mother of all of these is good old tea tree oil.
This oil is antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal. It’s extremely strong when undiluted, so simply put a few drops into any cleaning solution such as vinegar and water in order to give it an extra boost.
If you have a problem with ants or bugs of any kind for that matter, just wipe down the area with a strong solution of tea tree, mixed with soap and water. You may have to reapply the solution for a few days in a row before the ants/bugs get the message to their friends that this isn’t a fun place to hang out.
You should be aware that some people do have an allergy to tea tree when it’s applied directly to the skin. This is true of most essential oils (they are potent substances and should be treated with care). I say this as a reminder that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be used with common sense caution.
While I’m not thrilled with the smell, vinegar it is by far one of the most popular non-toxic cleaners. Ask anyone who avoids chemicals what their stand-bys are, and they will certainly mention vinegar. Vinegar is an acidic substance, and because of this, it effectively combats everything from grease to other build-ups of all kinds.
**Acidic substances should NOT be used on marble surfaces. This is another plus for using water – it can be used safely on almost all surfaces!!
Use vinegar on a clean rag or microfiber cloth to make mirrors squeaky clean, and to give a nice shine to sinks and toilet bowls. For floors that shine, mix vinegar with water and a few drops of soap, and wipe with a rag.
Like vinegar, lemon juice works because of its acidity. Clean your cutting boards by slicing a lemon in half and rubbing it into the board, as this removes both stains and germs. If your glass shower doors appear scum-laden, wipe a lemon over them to remove the build-up.
When was the last time you washed your microwave? This is a spring cleaning essential. Put a few tablespoons of lemon juice into a glass of water, and microwave to the boiling point. Keep the door closed for another 10 minutes and wipe clean with a cloth once it is opened. You will find that the food particles wipe away easily.
Baking soda is another highly versatile cleaning agent. It kills viruses, and has deodorizing and grease-cutting capabilities. If you want to get rid of bathtub scum, sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth, wipe it over the grayish scum, and wipe it away easily.
Olive oil is a great cleaner, and perfect for polishing as well. Olive oil emulsifies and lifts dirt, so it’s perfect to use as wood cleaner. It will also give it a nice shine while you clean.
If you want it to have an extra pleasant scent, simply add a few drops of orange or lemon oil. Put this all in a spray bottle, or dip a rag into the solution before wiping the wooden table or floors.
Spring cleaning is a perfect time to freshen your home making it feel like new. It absolutely doesn’t require dangerous and toxic chemicals to do so. Simply use some of these tried and tested natural cleaning supplies and you’ll be feeling great about your clean home and peace of mind about how you got it that way!