Fresh! 5 Simple Ingredients for Total Spring Cleaning

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Do you worry how chemical compounds in everyday cleaners are affecting your home environment and our ecosystem at large? Harsh chemicals found in common household cleaning products are toxic to plant and animal life and pollute the air we breathe.  

You can enjoy a super fresh, sparkling clean space without compromising personal and environmental health. It's a snap to make effective, green and naturally fragrant cleaning products using using JUST 5 inexpensive, everyday ingredients!

1. CASTILLE SOAP

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A natural multi-purpose liquid soap made from vegetable oils. Castile soap is gentle on you and the environment because it's free of artificial foaming agents, harsh cleansers, oleochemicals, petrochemicals and/or chemical anti-bacterial agents. It's also biodegradable. You can find castille soap at many health food stores and stores that carry green products.
Beware: many synthetic cleansers and body washes pose as "liquid soap" but are not  authentic plant-based liquid castile soap. 

Floor Cleaner : Mop almost any type of floor with a solution of 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap and 2 gallons warm water. If the floors are greasy, add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar to the bucket. Try some drops of essential oils like lavender, orange or rosemary.

Wood Cleaner : 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar 1/4 cup water 1/2 teaspoon liquid castile soap 5 drops jojoba or olive oil. Then add 5-10 drops of pure essential oils like lemon, pine, spruce.

2. VINEGAR

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Distilled white vinegar cuts soap scum, creates an environment that inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, and some bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. And it's super inexpensive to boot!

Windows : Mix 2 ounces water, 1 ounce white vinegar and 10 drops lavender, lemon or lemongrass oil to wipe grime off windows. Bonus: These oils can repel insects!

Mould : Spray vinegar on the affected areas. After about 15 minutes, rinse and let dry thoroughly. Add drops of tea tree or thyme essential oil for powerful anti-microbial /anti-fungal effect.

3. BORAX

houseproudsigns-springcleaning-boraxBorax (sodium borate) is an alkaline mineral salt. Borax is very effective, versatile, affordable, and eco-friendly compared to petroleum-based ingredients in conventional cleaning products. When added to a laundry wash, borax makes detergents even more effective. It's also quite alkaline, so it kills mould and fungus while softening water. 

All Purpose Cleaning Spray : Combine 1/2 tablespoon borax, 1/4 cup liquid castile soap, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 2 liters warm water in a spray bottle. Excellent for cleaning countertops, bathroom tiles or gunk in your microwave.

Baseboards, Countertops, and Walls : Dissolve 1 part borax in 2 parts hot water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray generously on surfaces, wipe down with a damp cloth, and let air-dry.

Toilet Bowl : Pour a cup of white vinegar into the toilet with a handful of baking soda and soak about 10 minutes. Swish with toilet brush and flush. Option: Pour borax in the bowl and let sit overnight. Scrub and flush the next day. Borax will help to remove rust stains.

4. BAKING SODA

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Baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda, as it is also known) is a naturally occurring material, present in most organic life forms. It can be "made" from sodium carbonate, or soda ash. The soda ash is dissolved in a carbon dioxide rich solution, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) precipitates out. Baking soda’s fine, gritty texture makes it an excellent gentle abrasive cleaner. Its neutralizing action on scent molecules makes baking soda an effective deodorizer also. 

Homemade Soft Scrubber : Slowly pour liquid castile soap into ½ cup baking soda-stirring constantly, until the consistency resembles frosting. Add drops of essential oil or oils if desired. Scoop the creamy mixture onto a sponge, scrub the surface, and then rinse.

Garden and Garden Utensils : Dip a moist stiff-bristled brush in washing soda to scrub trimmers, clippers,grills and barbecue utensils. Place in a sunny area to dry. (Don't use washing soda on aluminum tools.)

Upholstery and Carpets : Sprinkle on soda, wait 15 minutes then vacuum.

Deodorize / Clear Drains : Pour 1 cup baking soda and one cup hot distilled white vinegar down the drain. Rinse after 5 minutes.

5. ESSENTIAL OILS

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These are powerful, pure botanical distillations. Some essential oils traditionally used in cleaning recipes include lavender, tea tree, orange, lemon, pine and rosemary but there are SO many wonderful oils to choose from. Essential oils boost the effectiveness of natural cleaners, leave a wonderful scent and help make house cleaning WAY more enjoyable.

Floor Wash : Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to a bucket of water. Add 10 - 20 drops of your favourite essential oil(s). Peppermint oil repels mice and ants, try lavender and orange oils to refresh and uplift.

Pest Control : Create a safe bug spray for people and pets. Create a base of half distilled water and half witch hazel. Add 10 drops of essential oil(s) for every 1 oz of base. Great oils for repelling bugs include lemongrass, lavender, tea tree, geranium and eucalyptus.

Support the environmental harmony inside and outside your home. Use these ‘Green Clean Basics’ to tackle any household grime, safely and organically!

Happy Spring!

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