Spring cleaning, along with spring pollen, often aggravate asthma and allergies out of control. This year, try it without the chemicals and see if your asthma and allergies are a little less severe. In addition, you may find that cleaning with natural solutions saves you a lot of money.
Spring cleaning isn't only a great time to get your whole house really clean, but also to inspect your home or apartment for damage that can be addressed before it becomes a larger problem. This article includes general maintenance inspection tips as well as a good, thorough list for a very effective spring cleaning. It's best not to try to do everything at once. However, once you complete each room, you will be surprised at how great it feels to have another space that is fresh and clean, which may give you the ambition to take on another room. Involve the whole family in the project and take breaks between sections to keep from feeling overwhelmed. Use the recipes in Sunflower Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide to clean wood, windows and floors. Use a natural non-petroleum based dish liquid for washing surfaces. Open windows to freshen the air and provide ventilation to keep dust from bothering asthma or allergies and to prevent sinus problems.
The Bathroom: Vacuum the floor, walls and the closet floor. Fill the sink with a vegetable-based natural dish soap. Use a cloth to wipe down all surfaces, such as light fixtures, baseboards, the floor, but skip the potty for now. Drain the water and make a fresh batch of soapy water in the sink. Take everything out of all cabinets and closets. Wipe down all of the shelves, check for mold around the floor of the closet and keep all doors open until the shelves and such are completely dry. While you are waiting for the closets and cabinets to dry, sort through everything and get rid of as much junk, such as broken barrettes, old razors, unused things such as outdated make-up, old towels and old washcloths. Put all the things away in their proper homes. Wipe everything down with a cloth dampened with the soapy water and rinse the cloth frequently before putting things back in cabinets or the closet. Use small wicker baskets instead of plastics as organizers to reduce chemical emissions from plastics in the air in your home. Use a natural abrasive, such as arrowroot powder or baking soda, to scrub tile and the inside of shower doors. Clean and protect woodwork with a natural furniture polish, such as the recipe in Sunflower Naturals Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide, saving you a lot of money over pricey, 'green' products. Wash glass and mirrors with a natural glass cleaner, or use the recipe in Sunflower Naturals Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide to make your own and save money.
Think about the number of chemical products you have in your bathroom and get rid of as much as you can - with all the new studies showing how much damage these products are causing to our bodies, spring cleaning time is probably the best time to start making the change to a healthier, natural lifestyle. Trade in the plastic shower curtain for a cloth shower curtain. I love mine - it's easy to wash and I've had mine for over five years now. A liner is not needed, the cloth catches the shower water just fine. In addition, a cloth shower curtain seems to let the tub area dry faster, reducing the need to recaulk as frequently.
The Bedroom: Remove all linens from the bed and wash. While they're washing, start cleaning. Vacuum the bedroom thoroughly. Vacuum the curtains, walls, around the corner where the walls meet the ceiling, around the light fixtures, under the bed. Mix up a bucket of soapy water with a vegetable oil-based natural dish soap. Wipe down all surfaces and nick-knacks, pictures and wall hangings, around the baseboards, the door and closet doors. Remove everything from closets and dressers and put on the bed. Get rid of everything you haven't worn in over two years, is outdated or you just don't like. Some of the stuff can go to a clothing recycling center or can be saved for a yard sale. Vacuum out the closet and dresser drawers, wipe them all down with the soapy water. Allow everything to dry completely before putting things away. Vacuum the mattress and box spring. Flip the mattress to help it last longer - you might find that it's a lot more comfortable, too. Clean and protect woodwork with a natural furniture polish, such as the recipe in Sunflower Naturals Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide, saving you a lot of money over pricey, 'green' products. Wash glass and mirrors with a natural glass cleaner, or use the recipe in Sunflower Naturals Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide to make your own and save money.
Living Room, Den, Family Room: Clean out under cushions, under the couch, under end tables, the video cabinet and everywhere things can hide. Mix a bucket of warm water with a vegetable-based natural dish soap. Wipe down all surfaces, nick-knacks, photo frames, books, video cases, cabinets, baseboards, window ledges. Vacuum the curtains, walls, all furniture and all sides of all cushions. Move all the furniture and vacuum carpet or wipe up the floor if the floor is not carpeted. Put everything away after the cabinets are thoroughly dry. Get rid of old magazines and any other clutter that can be removed. Clean and protect woodwork with a natural furniture polish, such as the recipe in Sunflower Naturals Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide, saving you a lot of money over pricey, 'green' products. Wash glass and mirrors with a natural glass cleaner, or use the recipe in Sunflower Naturals Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide to make your own and save money.
Kitchen and Dining Room: The kitchen is probably the most intense room to clean when cleaning during the spring. First, clean everything as usual, put everything away. Remove everything from the refrigerator and wash all the shelves with a solution of warm water and a non-petroleum based dish liquid. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall. Vacuum the back of the refrigerator, wash all sides, top of the refrigerator and the floor and wall with hot soapy water, and check the wall for signs of mold. Scrub mold off with hot soapy water. According to the EPA, bleach is not needed to remove mold. Push the refrigerator back into position and then put everything back into the refrigerator. Wipe down all containers before putting them back in the fridge. Wash down all cabinets with warm soapy water to remove dust and grease build-up. Hot water will soften it for easier removal. Remove the filters from the stove exhaust, soak them in hot water and then run them through a cycle in the dishwasher to remove grease and grime. If your exhaust is connected to outside, go outside check the vent to be sure it is functioning properly. If you do not have soffits above your cabinets, vacuum off the top of each cabinet thoroughly and then wash with warm soapy water. Clean off light fixtures. Remove all dishes from cabinets and wipe off all the shelves. Go through all cabinets that contain food and remove all of the products. Wash down the shelves with warm soapy water. Discard any food that has expired or is stale. Place everything back into the cabinets.
Laundry Room: Vacuum the floor thoroughly. Pull the washer and dryer away from the wall and vacuum, then wash the floor, back, top and sides of the washer and dryer with a solution of warm water with a non-petroleum based dish liquid. While the washer is away from the wall, inspect the plumbing for slow leaks and the hoses for any signs of deterioration such as cracking or rough areas. Replace anything that is needed or notify your landlord of potential problems. While the dryer is away from the wall, remove and clean out the hose that goes from the dryer to the dryer vent. Clogged dryer vents and hoses are a major source of home fires, cleaning the dryer pipe annually will greatly reduce the risk of a fire. If there is a lot of buildup in the pipe, use a toilet brush to loosen the lint and vacuum up the dust. Replace the hose and seal with heat resistant metal tape. Push the washer and dryer back into position.
Garage, Basement and Attic: Sort through one section at a time. Make a pile for trash, yard sale and to be put back. Get rid of anything that is broken, missing parts or just not used. Inspect each wall for signs of structural issues such as cracks in foundation block or termite damage. Especially check around the area where the foundation meets the flooring in the basement and where the attic floor meets the house walls for termite damage, mold or cracked wood.
Toys/Toy Room: Sort through all the toys and organize in baskets. You'll be amazed at how having the toys organized will give your children more of an urge to play with the toys they already have. Ask your children for help and make it a fun project rather than work. It will give you a lot of quality time with your children as well as teach them to care for their things. If they get bored (or you do), take a break and go for a walk in the park or visit a playground rather than pushing to get the job done.
Remember, it is important not to feel stressed over spring cleaning. Take frequent breaks, do the projects as you desire to do them. The hardest part is getting started, the second hardest part is finishing up. If you find that you don't want to finish a room because you are tired of it, set a timer for ten minutes and focus on keeping at it for just ten more minutes and then reward yourself with a nice break by taking a walk, reading a book or checking your email. Post your accomplishments to your FaceBook, or other social media pages, to help provide your contacts with the incentive to do their own spring cleaning. Feel free to refer this article to give them a comprehensive source for completing their spring cleaning chores.
Have fun - time for me to start doing my spring cleaning, too. I think I'll start with my room…