With the warmer weather coming and the seasonal changeover, Spring just begs as a time for cleaning. And while my intentions are always good at this time of year — I will clean out those closets, remove cobwebs and let the sunshine in! — sometimes I get sidetracked and spring cleaning ends up being more a closer to summer chore.
During Spring Break, since we didn’t have much in the way of plans for the week, it would have been a good time as any to get the mess out. But I didn’t.
However, this morning while cleaning myself in the shower, I was thinking about the mountainous chore ahead of me. It’s a bit overwhelming. There are so many bags of clothes in my daughter’s closet to go through. I need my son to try on his spring clothes too and once we start throwing things out, well then there is room to clean.
And that got me thinking about ways to clean. Normally I use conventional cleaners, but I have been known to dabble in the homemade ones as well. There are many tried and true natural cleaners sitting around here waiting to be used and thinking about them will help me procrastinate having to do my own daunting chores.
So, in an effort to not do what I have to, let me share some cleaners, remedies and just plain fun stuff so I don’t have to go clean.
White vinegar and baking soda. Yes, folks, it’s not just for science fair volcanoes! This bubbling concoction works wonders in my kitchen sink drain. Sprinkle a bit of the baking soda, pour in a cup or so of vinegar and watch the magic. After the bubbling show, wash it all down with some boiling water and a sparkling clean drain awaits you. I do the same for plastic garbage bins and recycling bins as well. Alka Seltzer tablets work similarly if you drop one in your toilet. They are supposed to get all the muck under the water. And while that works, I still have to clean the rest of the bowl with something else. But, I had one lying around and I tried it.
Lemons. What can you not do with lemons? I used to sniff them when I was suffering from morning sickness and would instantly feel better. Just having them around makes me cheery. But they also work wonders as a natural bleaching agent.
(Did Jan Brady NOT try to bleach her freckles away with this?) There is truth to it. My dark hair changed to copper with some extra lemon juice applied at the beach when I was a teen unhappy with my own brunetteness. Not something I recommend, unless you are going for the copper penny look. Anyway, add some lemon juice to your whites in the laundry. They will be fresher and brighter. There is a reason there are so many lemony smelling cleaners out there. But aside from the scent, lemons are synonymous with clean in my book.
Crest Toothpaste. I just recently unearthed a pair of tarnished silver candle sticks we got for our wedding. I wasn’t sure if they were sterling, but my mom once told me that something in Crest acts like a silver polishing agent. And sure enough, after applying a coating of Crest to these Pottery Barn candle sticks, I wiped it off and found gleaming and very shiny silver underneath the tarnish. Plus they smelled minty fresh. I could smile at my dinner guests and say “It’s not my breath, it’s my candle sticks.” Good stuff.
Liquid Castile Soap. Now, if you are not a soap maker per se, you may not know from Castile Soap. I am not such a crafty one, but my sister is, and she told me about it. And someone else had recommended it to clean marble surfaces and glass. So I went and bought a lavender scented bottle of it to clean my cultured marble vanity and I love it.
Not only does it deep clean and not leave a residue on the marble, but the lavender scent serves as aromatherapy while I clean. So I am actually happy to clean. OK, not really, but it is a calming and lovely scent none the less so maybe I do not feel like I am doing said chore. Lavender is one I my favorites. It comes in other scents, too or you could a little drop of aromatherapy scent you like. Just make sure the scent is one that will not cause damage. I think you are not supposed to use lemons on marble. Castile soap cleans up the soap scum from my glass shower door. This chore I do while I am cleaning myself. It’s not everyday you can clean your shower with a natural product you could use on yourself.
Apple Cider Vinegar. My mother-in-law once gave me a book filled with hundreds of ways apple cider vinegar worked around the house and while I enjoyed the book, my all time favorite has nothing to do with household cleaning. Mix a tablespoon of this with some baking soda and put it on your hair and you can kiss summer chlorine and salt residue goodbye. I tried this last summer because my hair was dull from so much lake, pool and beach and afterward, well let me just say my own stylist was amazed at my hair. Maybe because I am brunette, but the vinegar made my hair so shiny like I just used a salon gloss.
Speaking of hair again, I remember a long time ago when I was in elementary school, a new girl came to town. She had long blonde hair and one day, she came to school with her hair a greasy mess. Not just greasy hair, I mean something was actually in it greasing it up. Everyone asked what she had done and she answered : mayonnaise. Wha? Well, this girl, her name was Penny, was obviously beyond her years in hair knowledge. The next day she came to school, her hair was beautiful, silky and bouncy and shiny. Not bad for a 6th grader. Now I would not go so far as to promote using mayo on your head, but I do think it had to be the vinegar and soybean oil in Hellman’s that did it. Just sayin’.
So more vinegar stuff. I have also used a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to gargle a sore throat away. It does work if you catch it as soon as your throat starts to tickle.
Another trick with this is to make your own bug repellent by using apple cider vinegar, witch hazel and citronella essential oil and putting it into a spray bottle.
Baking soda. I have scrubbed away hard water and magnesium stains from my porcelain sinks by just using a damp sponge and baking soda. I also use this one to clean and freshen my stainless steel sink. It does leave a residue on that, so rinsing well is recommended.
So, with these and many more ways to clean my house, hair and even my throat, I suppose I should stop procrastinating and get to it.
Any secret family remedies or solutions you want to share? Have at it! They would be appreciated!
Happy Spring Cleaning.