Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Cleaning - The Natural Way

One good thing about the dark and cloudy winter we have had in my part of the world: You can't see just how dusty/dingy my house is! But the sunlight is not so forgiving and I have been working to get my house back under control. Last week, I spent some time tagging and sorting clothes for a consignment sale. There are lots of different ones out there and I have shopped at several in my area but my favorite is Just Between Friends. My check, after fees and such, should be around $130.

Now on to actually cleaning....Do you ever suffer from a headache or sneezing after cleaning your bathroom? A few weeks ago, a speaker at MOPS spoke on the topic of making our homes and lives less toxic. She gave some great tips on how to make some changes for your family that will make you healthier while helping the environment be cleaner and safer too. That in turn makes YOU healthier once again, so it's a win-win situation.

I have been using homemade and eco-friendly commercial cleaners for my floors, bathrooms, glass/mirrors, and woodwork for over a year now.

The easiest recipe to start with? Glass Cleaner! Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a squirt bottle. The first batch or so, you will want to add 1-3 drops of liquid soap and shake. This will help cut the residue left behind by commercial cleaners. If you don't like the vinegar smell, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender is really popular). I skip this step since vinegar is a natural deodorizer. It will quickly evaporate, taking the scent with it. A recent MOPS speaker inspired me to experiment with making and using my own laundry detergent and I have been pleasantly surprised! I discovered an excellent tutorial at Big Doll's Boomtown - she made it sound so easy. Guess was! Not only that, it was surprisingly inexpensive.
A few simple ingredients are all it takes. I found all of them at my local grocery store. You only use 1 -2 tablespoons per load, so I think this should last me a good while. To make another batch, you would have to buy more of the laundry soap but there is more than enough of the other ingredients left.
  • 2 C. grated laundry soap (Zote, Fels Naptha, or Kirk's Castile)
  • 1 C. borax
  • 1 C. washing soda
  • 1/2 C. baking soda
Here is a run-down of my cost: Fels Naptha laundry soap bar: $2.29; Arm &Hammer Washing Soda: $2.79; 20 Mule Team Borax: on sale for $2.99; Baking Soda (store brand): $0.56 = $8.63. I made a double batch and plan to see just how long it lasts.

After trying vinegar for lots of household cleaning with fabulous results, I decided to give in and test it as fabric softener. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in your softener dispenser and be prepared to be amazed. Admittedly, my towels are not as soft and fluffy as with a commercial fabric softener. But, they are much softer than going without - which I had been doing for over a year since reading how much it can pollute our water supply. As a side note, I have a partially used industrial size jug of Snuggle softener gathering dust in my basement if anyone wants it!

I haven't tried this recipe for homemade dishwasher soap yet but is sure sounds interesting! Let me know if you try it!

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