Monday, September 27, 2010

Decluttering Your Main Rooms- Part 2 (Green) Clean it Up

 I don't know about you but it has been WAY too long since I deep cleaned the main rooms.  When was the last time you vacuumed the curtains, cleaned your ceiling fan, or cleared the rooms to completely clean your floor?  I'm not going to tell you my answer but can say I'm excited to see how great the rooms are going to look.

We recently discovered that our almost 3 year old, Rita Clare, has environmental-related allergies.  Our family doc suggested we invest in a air purifier, especially since we often run our ceiling fan.  The fan kicks up all the dust from the room and contributes to allergies.  Our 8 month old, Tyler, is also crawling/pulling up like crazy.  That boy is also putting EVERYTHING in his mouth.  Our floor and table space is overdue for a deep clean.  And it's time to eliminate all spit up spots and lost cheerios once and for all!

Materials Needed:
A lot of rags
Safe Cleaners (might need to purchase materials and spray bottles)

You're more than welcome to use store bought cleaners.  We personally like 7th Generation.  However, here's an opportunity to make your own and see just how easy it is.  I also want you to take this opportunity to COMPLETELY say good bye to all your harsh chemical cleaners.  Bye bye oven cleaners, drain stoppers, chlorine bleach, windex, Comet, and all other toxic cleaners.  Instead of the running chance your child might poison themselves or doing yourself harm from inhaling or absorbing these chemicals into your system, let them go and vow to only clean safely. Guess what?  Those harsher chemicals aren't going to outperform your green cleaners.  That's a myth!  In fact, they might actually harm the things you're trying to clean by eating away what they are trying to clean (pipes, clothes, floor surfaces, etc). What's even better is that you will save A LOT of money too.

What to do with your old cleaning bottles?
- Give them to a neighbor that uses them or use Freecycle.
- Dispose of them properly by bringing them to your local hazardous waste center.

Much like transitioning to cloth diapers, the hardest part about switching to green cleaners is the upfront education, purchasing the materials, and using them for the first time.  After that, you'll probably be thinking "why did I think this was going to be so hard?"  Let's just say "the man" wants you to believe that you are incompetent to do things on your own. Ok, enough of my soap box.  Here are some easy recipes for getting started:

Glass/Mirror Cleaner:
1 C White Distilled Vinegar
1 C Water

All Purpose Cleaner:
1 1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. borax
1/2 t. liquid soap or detergent ( Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap is recommended)
2 C hot water

Wood Cleaner (all types of wood, including bamboo):
1/4 C Vinegar
30oz warm water

NOTE: Oil-based cleaners are not recommended for wood floors, contrary to popular belief. 

Soft Scrub Formula (Stove, Bathtub Grime, etc):
-1/2 C Baking Soda
-2 T. Castile Soap (Dr. Bronner's)
-Enough water to make a paste.

Other Things to Clean with just Vinegar:
-Defogging glassware
-Deodorizing toilet
-Stove and Refrigerator- Removing sticky substances
-Coffee Pot

Most of these items can be purchased at a Dollar Store (white distilled vinegar, baking soda, borax).  Here in Tallahassee, Dr. Bronner's can be purchased at New Leaf Market.  I'm sure it can be found other places too.  Where have you found it? Also, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a nice fresh scent.  What's your favorite?  We like lemon and eucalyptus!

OK, now that we have our supplies here's what we're going to tackle.  Remember to clean from top to bottom or you'll spend time re-cleaning surfaces.

1. Cobwebs on ceiling and room corners (Tip: Wrap a rag around the end of your broom using a rubber band and swirl in circles on the webs).
2. Dust ceiling fan (all you need is a few damp rags).
3. Ceiling air vents (take off the covers and soak/scrub them in a bucket of warm water)
4. Clean windows inside and out (tip: Wipe vertically inside and horizontally outside to see which side still needs more attention)
5. Dust off all items on table tops.  If necessary wipe them down with a multi-purpose cleaner.
6. Wipe down all surfaces with a new damp rag (only water necessary).  After wiping down, dry off the wood surfaces.  Recondition them with olive oil.  Using a clean rag, dab olive oil on rag and rub it into the wood in a circular motion.  Get ready for some serious shine!
7.  Time to pull out those cushions and vacuum inside your couch and chairs.  How many cheerios did you find?  Any money found to treat you for doing a good job cleaning?
8. Move out your furniture and clean up your floors (don't forget the base boards too!).  Spot clean your rugs, vacuumed and sweep.  Then clean up your floors if they're wood (see cleaner above).  

This is also a good time to consider rearranging your furniture.  It's amazing how different a room feels when the furniture has been changed!

Special considerations for Kitchen:
1.  Clean under the heating elements with a baking soda/water paste.  Let the paste sit on it for awhile and it will come right off.
2.  Use the same paste in your kitchen sink.  Voila, a bright (and disinfected) sink!
3.  Use the same paste inside your oven too.  Bye bye toxic fumes in your house with the self cleaner!
3. Microwave and fridge can be cleaned out with the multipurpose cleaner.

Did I miss anything?  PLEASE share some of your homemade solutions with us.  We'd love to hear what you use!

Other Green Cleaning Resources:

Good luck and HAVE FUN!


Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887


Anonymous said...

I've found Dr Bronners at Target also. Lovethe all purpose cleaning recipe. I'm going to try that one next. I've been using vinegar, water and essential oils.

Caro said...

Carpet cleaner .. we've had a few accidents and a few newborn blowouts. Something like that resolve stuff thats a powder you vacuum up. I don't want to use Resolve bc of the chemicals.

OH and you can use just plain white vinegar instead of laundry detergent. It's great for diapers!! And 7th gen makes an eco-friendly bleach

Deanna said...

anything for mildew or bacteria?