Spring is the time of year, when the days begin to lengthen and the weather starts to warm up again, that we start to think about doing that “once-a-year” clean out; however, do you know exactly what you are putting onto your floors, counter tops and other surfaces within your home?
Many common household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals and ingredients that may leave you feeling sick, dizzy and give you a headache; you may be surprised to learn that spring cleaning your home can be done with everyday products that you already have in your pantry.
Spring Cleaning with Vinegar
Distilled (white) vinegar is one of the most useful spring cleaning products that you probably have in your pantry; if you haven’t already got some, it is cheaper to buy than the majority of regular cleaning products. Add vinegar to water to dilute it; you can either use a spray bottle or add it to a pail of water, depending on the size of the area that you have to clean. Use vinegar to clean:
- kitchen and bathroom floors
- remove soap and hard water stains
- wipe down counter tops.
Spring Cleaning with Baking Soda
Baking soda is an alternative natural cleaning product to vinegar. In addition, baking soda is good at eliminating nasty odors. The uses of baking soda for natural spring cleaning are similar to vinegar but you may prefer to use baking soda if you want to remove unpleasant odors in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Baking soda is also effective in removing scum from bath tubs and kitchen counter tops due to its ability to turn into a paste when you mix it with water.
Spring Cleaning with Salt
Salt acts as an abrasive cleaner and is effective in removing stains and mildew; however, as it is abrasive, do not use it in areas that you are concerned about scratching. You can also mix salt with baking soda to turn black grime white (source: the Natural Home Magazine).
Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils
Essential oils are used in aromatherapy to help to alleviate health problems; however, essential oils are also useful to naturally clean many places in your home. The majority of essential oils are antiseptic and bactericidal which makes them extremely useful in not only cleaning the house but in preventing the spread of germs and bacteria.
Some of the most useful essential oils (because of their chemical make-up and properties) for natural spring cleaning are:
- tea tree
Combine two or more essential oils for a more synergistic effect; add the essential oils to either a pail of water or a spray bottle. Use essential oils to clean counter tops, floors, chopping boards, dishes, carpets and the bath tub (source: Aromatherapy Workbook, Shirley Price). You can also add a few drops of an essential oil, such as eucalyptus, to your bed sheets before washing them; not only will they smell fresh and clean after washing, the bactericidal properties of eucalyptus will ensure they are cleaned properly.
Valerie Ann Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, has several suggestions on how to use essential oils for natural cleaning in your home.
Natural Home Cleaning
Spring cleaning your home with natural products is not difficult; you probably already have a lot of the products that you need. If you are buying essential oils to clean your home, make sure that you buy therapeutic essential oils and not synthetic fragrance oils; fragrance oils may smell pleasant but they do not have any therapeutic powers, unlike essential oils.
In addition, if you find essential oils are too expensive for your budget, you may want to consider hydrosols as an alternative. Hydrosols hold many therapeutic properties too but are often less expensively priced because of the difference in the way they are extracted from plants. Hydrosols are essentially a “diluted” version of essential oils but are still extremely effective in their own right.
Photo by I am I.A.M.