With the Spring Equinox only a couple of weeks away and the weather clearing up, you may be getting an itch to start cleaning up your home. Spring Cleaning is an annual tradition that can help you get your home off to a great start before the summer months arrive and the kids are constantly home from school. The only problem is many of the products that we use to clean aren’t exactly eco-friendly. They also don’t help out when it comes to the monthly budget. There are ways to get a brilliant deep clean in your home that won’t cost you a small fortune though. So, prepare to get your hands a little dirty, because Spring Cleaning season is about to hit in full force.
1. Use Rags
Many people tackle their tough jobs by using paper towels to clean them up. This is probably only good in regards to convenience, because you can simply throw the paper away and get a fresh sheet to carry on the job. However, using paper towels can really add up in the long run. You can go through roll after roll, especially if you’re cleaning up the whole house. As each sheet of paper towel hit the trash can, you’re not only wasting a tree product but throwing away whatever chemicals you have used to clean your home. Neither of these are great for the environment. Not to mention, using so many paper towels will add up in price, especially since using one isn’t always good enough to clean up a mess. Alternatively, a rag is a great option to get the job done. You can use an old towel or wash cloth as well as other clothing items. You might also want to see if your local dollar store has rags in a set as the low price will be worth it. This will allow you to simply wash an item after you clean with it. Rags also allow for more scrubbing capabilities.
Mold can be one of the biggest culprits to take care of when it comes to Spring Cleaning. Since the house was often closed up during the winter, you may find rooms with little ventilation, like the bathroom, have a good amount of mold that needs to be tackled. There may also be mold lingering outside of the home from constant moisture. These problems can be taken care of without chemicals though. Usually people use bleach to tackle these problems, which can sometimes work. However, there’s a cheaper and more natural approach to this problem. That is, vinegar. You can buy a bulk bottle of white vinegar for next to nothing. All you have to do is soak the molded area in the vinegar for a little while and you should be good to simply wipe the mold away. In harsher cases, you may need to do a light scrub, or spray the exterior of the home with the water hose. If this doesn’t work, then do a second soak. Before you know it, you’ll be mold free though without the use of a chemical.
Whether you have just a few items of wooden furniture or you have full hard wood floors, taking care of the wood in your home is incredibly important. Although cleaning it usually doesn’t take much, you may want to go to greater lengths in order to protect the wood and to leave it looking new for years longer. One way to do this is to use castile soap to clean it. This is gentle on most woods and will give it a fresh look that will make you feel like you’ve accomplished a job well done. Once your floor has dried then go over it with some essential oils. Usually orange, lemon or cedar oils are the best for this job and will leave your home smelling fresh too. You don’t need a lot of these oils to work either, just make sure you dilute them before using them. These oils will also help keep dust at bay, which is important if you have allergies. If you have scuffs on items, then use baking soda to remove them. Before you know it, your floor will look like it was just installed in your home.
Pets, children and clumsy behavior can leave your home covered in stains. It’s almost impossible to avoid this problem on the carpets, countertops and even the furniture. Luckily, there’s lots of great ways to get rid of the stains without having to pour chemicals all over them. For starters, peroxide is a simple way to get rid of stains on the carpet. Simply mix it with water and pour it over the stain. After it has soaked for some time, wipe it up and enjoy a stain free carpet. Lemons are another amazing option here. These great citrus fruits can take care of stains on your clothes, countertops and even on the cutting board. They even work for pots, pans and the microwave which may have food caked on. Lemons will leave the home spelling nice and fresh too, which will save you money on air fresheners.
Most households keep the windows closed during the winter months, which can cause bacteria to build up as well as smells that aren’t exactly satisfactory. This causes many people to buy expensive air deodorizers that can add too many chemicals into the air you breathe. There’s many natural alternatives though. For starters, if you can leave the house windows open for just 15 minutes a day then you will get rid of some of the toxins while adding a fresh burst of air into the home. If you still don’t like the smell in your home, then consider using essential oils in a diffuser or dehumidifier. Many oils have antibacterial and anti-fungal principles anyway, which will help your health out. Another option is to consider a Himalayan salt lamp. These help cleanse the air as well as other health properties. Of course, make sure you’re careful here as many brands have been recalled. Finally, if you’re willing to sink money into the problem, you may want to grab an air purifier, which will even help reduce allergies when Spring begins to bloom.
Vacuuming frequently can help keep your carpet looking and smelling good, but sometimes you may want to go a bit further when it comes to the care of your carpets. If you’re looking to deodorize safely then you can easily whip up a mixture of essential oils and baking soda. Simply let the oils dry in the mixture and then sprinkle it on the ground. You can really make the home smell amazing this way and many essential oils will kill bacteria that may be lingering in your carpets. If you have pets or kids then you probably have a whole lot of stains in the home too. These can easily be fixed with vinegar and a bit of heat. Simply pour some vinegar, or a vinegar and water mixture onto the stain, then place a damp cloth over it. Once your iron is heated up you can place it over the cloth and you’ll be good to go. With summer making a rapid approach this year, you may want to consider a little flea prevention too. This can be done by adding borax to the carpet whenever you vacuum.
7. Reusable Bins
Tackling closets, the garage, basement or attic can mean going out and buying a whole lot of cardboard boxes to keep your items organized. Whether you’re putting away winter clothes, saving your child’s favorite toys or simply storing junk, cardboard boxes can be a huge drain on resources and the planet. Instead of storing items in these, consider using a bin for everything. Sure, you will still have to spend money on a bin but it won’t be a whole lot more than you’d spend on the cardboard boxes. The best thing about the bin is you’ll get a good seal on your items. This will help keep dirt, dust, moisture and bugs out of your personal belongings. So, when you go to open them up again you won’t have to worry about cleaning up a huge mess or being surprised by a bug that might not look very friendly.
The inside of your home isn’t the only thing that needs cleaning. You may find that after months of not even being able to see your lawn that you now have a ton of weeds that are growing and spreading faster than you’d like to admit. You could go the easy route and spray all of the weeds with a weed killer, but this may destroy your lawn and it isn’t exactly the best thing for the environment. You can easily take care of the weeds that have already popped up by spraying them down with apple cider vinegar. This will knock out the weed from the root and will keep it from coming back any time soon. Apart from that, you may want to grab some corn meal to add into your soil. This will help prevent the seeds of weeds from spreading, so you won’t end up with a crisis on your hands.
Anyone that gets allergies knows that dust can leave you sneezing all day every day. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do for dust without using sprays to counteract it. The first thing you can do is open up the windows. This will help move air in so you’ll feel great and will have a lot less clean up to do. Another option is to get a floor mat, which will help you from dragging in any extra dirt and dust when you come through the door. If your allergies seem particularly bad, then you may want to consider enclosing your mattress to help protect from dust. You should also vacuum it whenever you change your sheets. Decluttering the home will help cut back on dust too and will ensure the dusting you do have to do will be fast and easy. Finally, if the air is particularly dry then turn on a humidifier to help bring moisture into the air that will help prevent some dust from building up.
It’s pretty easy to neglect cleaning the windows when you have a million other things going on, which is why you should probably do a good job when Spring Cleaning rolls around. It’s easy enough just to spray some chemicals on the window for a quick clean, but you may find natural solutions help keep the windows looking good for much longer. If you have a waxy feeling on your windows, then you should clean them with soap and water before you do anything else. This will allow the gas to shine through and look better for much longer. When this is dry then go over them with a little vinegar to give them the shine that you see advertised on all of your favorite window cleaners. If you clean your windows and mirrors with a sponge, then you will reduce the amount of streaks on the glass. Of course, if you have a lot of birds in your area you may want to consider decals or blinds to help prevent accidents.
Spring Cleaning time doesn’t mean you have to force your budget or use an over-abundance of chemicals. With these simple tips your house should smell incredible and look great too in no time at all. So, ditch the bottles this year and enjoy cleaning the way Mother Nature intended.