Spring is here—and for many of us that brings thoughts of spring cleaning.
The spring equinox (this year on March 20) has been celebrated as a time of rebirth by nearly every culture and religion for thousands of years. The Persian tradition, dating back centuries, includes literally emptying the house of everything and cleaning from top to bottom.
Your spring cleaning routine may not be that extreme, but spring is a convenient time to clean up and clear out clutter to make way for new spring arrivals, both inside and outside our homes.
But before you pull out the rubber gloves and scrub buckets, take a moment to assess what you’re cleaning with. At Feeling Groovy Wellness, we’re all about finding holistic and healthy ways to live … and that includes a cleaner and healthier environment at home!
With nearly a third of the US population suffering from allergies, asthma, sinusitis or bronchitis, it’s no secret that toxic chemicals play a role in our overall health. One place to start minimizing and eliminating harmful chemicals are cleaning products.
There are some good quality, commercially-available non-toxic options on the market. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Safer Choice” program may guide you to commercial products that are more environmentally friendly for your home. Access their list more than 800 products here.
It’s still a good idea to read labels for chemicals that may trigger allergic or respiratory reactions. The American Lung Association says that even products advertised as “green” or “natural” may contain ingredients that can cause health problems. For example, both ammonia and bleach are “natural” yet can cause respiratory reactions.
Spring Cleaning the Natural Way!
You probably have all the makings for a few natural spring cleaning solutions right in your kitchen!
Each of these inexpensive, natural and easy-to-use alternatives can be safely used in your home in place of commercial household cleaning products. After reading these simple at-home spring cleaning ideas, you’ll probably want to stock up on white vinegar, lemons and baking soda.
How it works: cuts grease, removes mildew, odors and some stains
Where to use it:
- For crystal clear windows without streaks, mix about 1 c. of white vinegar per gallon of warm water. Wash the window with a clean cloth, and use a squeegee to dry the window. Wipe the edge of squeegee with a cloth or paper towel with each pass. For interior windows, place an old towel on the window sill to catch any drips.
- Make an all-purpose cleaner by mixing ½ c. vinegar, ¼ c. baking soda and a drop or two of lemon essential oil into ½ gallon of water in a spray bottle. Use it to clean shower walls, chrome bathroom fixtures and mirrors. (Be sure to clearly label the bottle and always test a cleaner on a small, hidden area before use.)
How it works: cleans, deodorizes, is mildly abrasive
Where to use it:
- Freshen carpets by sprinkling with baking soda an hour before vacuuming.
- Sprinkle toilet bowls with baking soda; pour in 1 c. vinegar. (It will bubble up fast!) Allow to sit 20 minutes before brushing the bowl clean.
- Dissolve ½ c. of baking soda in warm water and wipe down the walls, bins and shelves of your fridge and freezer to clean and deodorize.
How it works: a strong food acid, anti-bacterial, deodorizes
Where to use it:
- Slice up a lemon and place in the food disposal (and turn it on) to remove funky food odors.
- Steam clean your microwave: place 1 cup of water and a few strips of lemon peel in a microwave-safe bowl. Place in the microwave and heat for 2 minutes on high. Leave it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Wipe down the inside of the door, walls and ceiling of the microwave with a clean cloth. Stuck on splatters will just wipe away.
How it works: oxygen power disinfects, whitens
Where to use it:
- Soak toothbrushes in peroxide for 20 minutes to keep them clean and bacteria-free.
- Use full-strength on organic stains like coffee, grass, blood and even wine. (Test on an inconspicuous area first as peroxide is a whitener and can “bleach” some fabrics.)
- Kill mold and mildew on bathroom grout: Mix 1 part peroxide with 2 parts water in a dark spray bottle (light weakens the strength of the peroxide). Spray on moldy areas. Wait one hour before rinsing.
Finally, another great eco-friendly alternative for your spring cleaning are microfiber cloths or mitts. There are many brands on the market. These cloths work either dry or dampened with water to lift and trap dirt, grease and dust from a variety of surfaces. Get the best-quality cloth you can, as it will last for years!
Now that the spring cleaning essentials are taken care of, how about something special for you? In the spirit of new life, renewal and rejuvenation, be sure to include something new and fresh for yourself. Come by the boutique at Feeling Groovy Wellness where we’ve got delicious body scrubs (the coffee scrub is a favorite!); bath salts and bath bombs; scented candles; and a wide range of essential oils.