Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Cleaning Tips

So now that Spring has officially "sprung", it is time to start thinking about all that comes with it, Easter, spring flowers, rain and mud, and.....yes, the dreaded SPRING CLEANING! In with the old, out with the new, a time to refresh and rejuvenate your home, if you are like me, you are probably looking for the easiest and most economical way to do this. You don't need a bunch of brand name, high end cleaners, they are expensive and contain harsh ingredients such as   Ethoxylated nonyl phenols, Naphthalene and Trisodium nitrilotriacetate (NTA) (no, I do not know what those are or how to pronounce them, but I know they are not good for you or the environment!)

Did you know that the Gypsy Sisters swear by using apple cider vinegar in the dishwasher to make the dishes sparkling clean? If you can get over the smell of the cider, this is actually a pretty clever tip! They also insist on using lots of bleach in the sink! I myself cannot stand the smell of bleach, and no matter how careful I am, seem to ALWAYS end up with it on my clothes!




Here is a list of the top 10 "Green" ways to clean your home this spring:

10. Glass:  Effectively clean windows with 4 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with a half gallon of water. Other effective cleaners for glass and mirrors are rubbing alcohol and witch hazel!

9. Vinyl: A cloth dipped  in straight lemon juice and rubbing it onto the stained area can remove stains on vinyl items such as recliners or tile flooring.

8. Furniture Polish:  Mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice and apply it to your furniture using a soft cloth. The combination gives your wood furniture a nice smell and a sparkling shine.
When a hot serving dish or glass of water has marred the surface of a wood table, you can quickly get rid of the mark by making a thin paste of salad oil or lemon oil and salt. Wipe the paste on, then lightly buff the area as you wipe it off with a soft cloth. * I'm kind of leary on using salad oil on my furniture...what if the dogs like it and decide to eat it? (mind you my stupid dogs eat the furniture without food substances being rubbed on it)

 7. Metal:  Give loads of shine to tarnished copper or brass without doing any damage by bringing in salt and vinegar and adding one more ingredient from your kitchen cupboard: flour!   Using equal parts of the three ingredients make a paste; rub the paste onto the brass or copper item with a soft cloth. Cover entire surface and let the whole thing dry out ( about an hour).  With a clean, soft cloth, wipe off the dried paste.
Lemon can also be used for lightly tarnished brass or copper pieces. Slice one lemon and dip it in salt, then rub the item with the salted lemon. Afterward, rinse and dry thoroughly.
Another fix for lightly tarnished copper is to use a spray bottle filled with undiluted vinegar. Just spray the copper piece and sprinkle the tarnished area with salt. Wipe thoroughly with a sponge or cotton cloth; be sure to remove all the salt, or the item will turn green. Repeat if necessary.


 6. Fireplace: If your wood-burning fireplace has gathered soot and smoke smudges around its exterior, you can spruce it up by applying a paste of cream of tartar and water. Rub the paste into the stains, let it dry, then scrub it off.
If it's the inside of your fireplace and chimney you're worried about, you can help loosen soot buildup by tossing an occasional handful of salt into the fire the next time you're enjoying your fireplace. The burning salt will help loosen the soot a little, buying you some time between major cleanings.

5. What to do with accumulated "clutter":  
Cleaning your home can also lead to a massive decluttering of your house. Often after a big cleaning binge, you may find that you've accumulated a small mountain of items that you don't need anymore. If any of it is reusable, you may want to consider joining an online community called Freecycle (www.freecycle.org), which has localized chapters of members who let each other know what stuff they have hanging around that they would like to give away -- anything from kitchen appliances, bicycles, and furniture to magazines, clothing, and diapers (unused, of course!).
The Freecycle community takes place entirely online, after you sign up to be a part of an e-mail group (also called a listserv). The groups are local even though Freecycle is a nation-wide program. It's a great way to declutter the house and provide somebody else with something they need -- all without the hassle of staging your own yard sale. Plus, moving around possessions already in existence is a way to prevent more goods from being manufactured or being dumped into a landfill.
Similarly, you might look into turning other outdated items over to charitable programs such as Goodwill, or the Salvation Army. There are also organizations that will take your old electronics (such as computers and cell phones), your printer cartridges, your eyeglasses, and even your sneakers and distribute them to others who need them. A simple Internet search will offer many options to help you get rid of some of these items in your home.



4.  Drains:  Prevent clogged drains with a strainer to keep hair, food and other gunk from building up in the drain. If you cook with a lot of oils, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain once a week to flush fats and oils away. When it's time to unclog, first use a plunger (PLEASE use a different plunger than the one you use for your toilet!!!!) -- this works better and faster than the most powerful chemicals. If that doesn't work, try a combination of 1/2 cup of baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar -- then cover the drain if you can, and let the foaming pressure do its stuff. Other recipes call for 1/2 cup of salt and an equal amount of baking soda, followed by 6 cups of boiling water -- wait a few hours, then flush with cold water. As a last resort, get a plumber's snake and "snake it out."

3. Air it out! :   Don't kill yourself  (or your kids) to get a fresg smelling house. The NRDC tested 14 different household air fresheners and found that 12 contained the hormone-disrupting chemicals known as phthalates. Keeping your house generally clean should eliminate any odors, or try natural odor-eaters like vinegar and baking soda. Best air freshener of all - crack a window!

2. Oven Lovin':   If you don't have a self-cleaning oven, there aren't many green cleaning options, and commercial oven cleaners tend to be caustic products with plenty of toxic compounds.  Some folks recommend sprinkling baking soda on the oven, then sprinkling water on it, and leaving it to soak overnight. (No mention of how this will clean the sides of the oven, however.) Then, the next morning, scrub and scour like the devil in heat. Or, get a commercial oven cleaner, use it carefully, and don't feel guilty about it. Placing a layer of foil at the bottom of your oven will make this task easier next time. I hate cleaning the oven!



Ok...so there are 9 tips....maybe you can come up with the 10th! What are some tips/tricks you have for easy, green, spring cleaning???






11 comments:

  1. Spring is about to “spring” again, so bring out those superb cleaning agents! Apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and citrus peels are on my top choices too; not only is it something you can depend them on while cleaning stuff around the house, they could also be used as alternative for beauty and health remedies. Deidra @ Minuteman

    ReplyDelete
  2. No one hates oven cleaning more than me. and I am useless at it too.

    Until last year when my friend mentioned to me, i was not aware you can actually get oven cleaning services to do it for you. and they have your oven looking brand new too after.

    What I did was went to Google. being that I am from the city of Sheffield i typed Oven Cleaning Sheffield and found loads. it's well worth the money to get your oven looking like new again!

    Just an idea for those who are useless at oven cleaning, like me :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for this cleaning tips that you share. I really need this because I want to clean my home perfectly. But in my office, I need this office and commercial cleaning in Perth because they are great in cleaning job.

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  5. Interesting tips on spring cleaning and also easy to follow. Very nice blog. Thanks for Sharing.
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  6. Thank you for your comment! I am not a huge fan of carpets, so I don't have any! But here is an article from Better Homes & Gardens that should be helpful! Good luck! :)
    http://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/surface/best-way-to-clean-carpet/#page=0

    ReplyDelete

  7. Almost every home has a carpet as a necessity, as carpets help make the floor and house warm all seasons round. Carpets are also used as décor in many homes, as different colors and designs are great to look at. These carpets are susceptible to dust and other forms of dirt. Some stains are too stubborn to clean, and it may take ages before the stain can come off from your special mat. Although there are different techniques of cleaning carpets, special detergents and cleaning materials are required to make the cleaning exercise worthwhile. If you have been dealing with carpet stains and are still worried how they can become clean again, maybe it is time you tried carpet cleaning experts.
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