Spring Cleaning for Your Home

By Kim Banting,

Spring is a time when we naturally want to let go of extra stuff cluttering our homes, get in behind the furniture we haven’t moved for a while and really give our living space a good cleaning.  It feels so good and afterward there is a powerful feeling of satisfaction!

But what if the cleaning supplies we are using are actually bringing harmful chemicals into our homes and hurting our health or the health of our families? Unfortunately, most of the common cleaners available to us are filled with ingredients that are known carcinogens (cancer-causing), disrupt our hormones and can even affect our fertility, as well as irritate our skin.   Have you heard that the air inside our homes can be many times more toxic than the air outdoors??!!  Did you know that more than 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into our environment in the past 50 years and many of these have been untested for safety.  Of those that have been tested, many have been found to be toxic, irritating to skin and eyes, cause tumors in laboratory animals and cause reproductive issues.  Parabens, pthalates, sodium laurel (laureth) sulfate, VOC’s, fragrances, triclosan, and the list goes on.

So what do we do?  One of the simplest things you can do is to open your windows daily for a little while, but of course, we also need to clean our homes and there are lots of great products and simple ingredients in your pantry you can use right now.  Baking soda is a great scouring agent.  Vinegar kills salmonella, E coli and may other bacteria and leaves a nice shine on windows, mirrors and chrome.  Dr. Bronner’s castille soap can be used to create your own cleaning solution and can be used as a body wash and shampoo as well!  Essential oils can be used to create a nice scent that won’t harm you or your loved ones and many have antimicrobial properties.  Also, there are great products on the market that we can buy from companies like Norwex that are environmentally friendly and safe for your family.

Here are a few of the recipes that I use in my home:

Cutting boards:  Wooden cutting boards harbour a lot of bacteria!  They can get deep into the wood and come out when moisture is present.  How to get them clean?  First, give your board a good scrub with hot, soapy water.  Lay it flat and sprinkle the surface generously with salt and scrub, rubbing the salt into the board.  Allow it to sit for 30 minutes and rinse well.  I also like to give it a final spray with white vinegar and allow it to sit again for a few minutes before wiping it with a clean, dry cloth.

All purpose cleaner:  Combine 1 tsp castille soap and 2 cups of water to a spray bottle.  You can also add a few drops of pure, organic, high quality essential oil like tea tree oil, oregano oil, lemon oil or even Thieves.  I use oils from Young Living which are certified organic therapeutic grade essential oils.

Floor cleaner:   To cut through tough dirt, use 2 tbsp liquid castille soap to 1 gallon hot water.  For shine combine 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon hot water.

Scrubbing paste:  To cut through soap scum in your bathtub, shower or sink, combine 5 tbsp baking soda with enough castille soap to make a paste (about 3 tsp).  Dip a cleaning cloth in this paste and rub into your surface and rinse clean.  You can also prevent soap build up in the shower by spraying down the walls with vinegar after showering.

Mold and mildew in your towels:  No one likes the smell of mildew in their towels and we all know that simple washing in regular detergent won’t get rid of this.  You will need to run your washing machine for two cycles.  Round 1, use 1 cup white vinegar and no soap for a full cycle.  Next, run the same load again with 1 cup of baking soda, no soap.  In the dryer, I love using dryer balls and you can even scent them with a few drops of essential oil from lavender, lemon or any scent you like!

One last idea:  Get some green, living plants in your home.  They help to clean the air while bringing some life into your surroundings.  Two of the best plants to buy are spider plants and Boston ferns.

Have fun with these ideas and feel great that you aren’t just cleaning your home, you are also helping to protect your health!