Well, now that spring has really sprung, you all know what that means!!! Time to CLEAN!! Yay!!! So, too further cement in your mind the idea that I'm bonkers, I'll admit that I love spring cleaning. I love any excuse to clean and throw away (or repurpose, recycle etc) excess junk. I just have to make sure that in my cleaning furor I don't throw away stuff I really need, bleach the dog or recycle all my underwear. I've already been cleaning and reorganizing for a few weeks now and have a few big chores left so I thought I'd do a spring (green) cleaning post and give ya'll a few of my recipes and ideas for sprucing up the house for warm weather. I think most of ya'll know I make most all of my cleaning supplies because it's cheap but mostly because it's better for our earth and I don't like washing nasty chemicals down the drain. Plus, homemade cleaners work great. Or at least I have found these to. First, is the cleaner you see in the photo above. Basically, I keep a half gallon glass jar and as I use lemons, limes, oranges or any citrus fruit like that, I toss the rinds in the jar and then fill it with plain, white vinegar. I let this sit for about 2 weeks in the pantry and then I use to to fill my spray bottles in the bath and kitchen. As you have new peelings just refresh the ones in the jar and add more vinegar as you fill your spray bottles. That way you always have some ready. If it sits for more than 2 weeks it's okay. To clean sinks, tubs and such I dampen the surface with warm water, sprinkle some borax around the sink or whatever, spray everything good with the vinegar, scrub and rinse. For toilets I pour about a cup of the vinegar in the bowl and then spray the seat etc. Dump some borax in the bowl and scrub. I let this sit for a while and then flush. Meanwhile, wipe the toilet clean with a damp cloth where you sprayed the vinegar. It cleans great and has a nice citrusy smell.
For tile showers I have a separate recipe but you could use this lemon vinegar in place of the plain.
7 cups of water
1/2 cup baking soda
1/3 cup ammonia
1/4 cup vinegar
Mix well and using a brush or sponge scrub over shower walls, let sit for a few minutes and rinse/ scrub off. I actually have to about double this recipe for my shower but this stuff really works and the clean lasts for quite some time. Of course, since it uses ammonia, please run your bath exhaust fan or open a window while you are doing this. If you don't like using ammonia just leave it out. You can also use a few drops of essential oil if you like for a nice smell.
And of course, cleaning windows are always part of the spring ritual so I thought I'd give ya'll that recipe too. I think this recipe works great but you can adjust it a little too and I've found that you don't have to be real exact with the measurements. I also use this to clean my stainless appliances as it doesn't streak but removes greasy fingerprints.
Glass/ Surface Cleaner:
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup isopropyl alcohol
There are tons of variations and recipes all over the place though. Just Google and you can find all kinds of stuff.
Generally, for my spring cleaning, I do all the windows and dust/ clean the trim for each all around. I wash all my interior rugs. (I do this periodically anyway but, you know). Clean and sort all the pantry shelves. Clean the refrigerator. Clean/ dust cabinet shelves and all bookcases. Clean all vents and filters. Clean behind/ under all furniture and probably some more stuff I'm forgetting.
We are also trying to purge a good bit this spring because we have another town yard sale coming up in May. Even though I try not to make any frivolous purchases throughout the year, and don't really, I still manage to some up with stuff I don't need. Now, some of it this year is stuff I found I had stored at my Mom's from way back that I had forgotten about. It's mostly stuff from my first marriage so it has absolutely no value to me and can make me a few bucks for something I do want! I've always read how some people get like a "shopper's high" from buying stuff and use shopping, and buying, to alleviate stress and unhappiness but I think I have just the opposite situation. I really love to find stuff I don't need anymore and am able to sell it!! To get rid of all that stuff and pocket some money just gives me the biggest rush!! Woowee Babyyy!! Of course, I also love those uber contemporary houses with like 2 pieces of furniture and a bonsai on the counter; you know, nothing else. I love Spartan aesthetics. With Jack here I'm fighting a losing battle over that one, but I sort of manage to keep things under control. Just one of the concessions to having a mate. Spring, however, really brings out the Spartan in me......
EDIT: Some people do not consider alcohol and ammonia to be "green" choices for cleaning based solely on the fact that they can be irritating to breathe, to some people's skin etc. My choice for using them comes from the fact that they are naturally produced (our own bodies produce ammonia), biodegrade easily and naturally and I use them ONLY in very small quantities. However, read up for yourself and make your own decisions.