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Oh, Arkansas, how we love your natural beauty and fragrant Spring breezes! They are almost enough to make us overlook the dusting of pollen all over our cars and the allergies that ensue as soon as we throw the windows open. Almost.
When the windows are open, many of us start thinking about spring cleaning, that annual ritual we love and hate all at once. We have it easier than our great grandmothers, certainly. Dirt floors are a thing of the past, and our instant flow hot water makes filling a bucket full of soap suds a little less laborious. But let’s be honest. No one loves scrubbing baseboards.
Since we live in the Natural State, how about some natural cleaning options that are not only easier on the environment, but less expensive than most store-bought cleaners as well? Great grandma would be proud.
Glass Cleaner: A quarter cup of white distilled vinegar and four cups of water can be mixed in a bucket, then poured into a spray bottle for easy use. Use it to clean windows, stainless steel appliances and mirrors throughout the house. Newspaper is still the best way to wipe the solution off without streaks.
Grout Cleaner: Mix a good squeeze of lemon juice to two teaspoons cream of tartar to make a paste. Apply to the stains in your grout and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse, and repeat as necessary until the stain is lightened to your satisfaction.
Baseboards: Using a 2” paintbrush – the kind angled to cut in around trim – simply dust baseboards onto the floor and vacuum up the pet hair and dust. If you haven’t dusted your baseboards in a while, you may need to scrub a bit. In that case, use the paintbrush first to remove loose dust, then follow with a sponge or rag dampened (not soaked) in the same vinegar water you used to clean your windows. Use a cotton swab or old toothbrush to get into the tight spots.
Tile Floors: Fill a bucket with four cups of white distilled vinegar and a gallon of hot tap water. For an extra freshness boost, add a couple of drops of peppermint or lemon essential oil to the bucket. You will notice the smell of vinegar as you mop, but it will evaporate as the floor dries, leaving only the scent of the oil.
Mold and mildew: It happens, we know. This is a no-judgement zone. Undiluted white distilled vinegar is all you need. Soak a rag and wipe it down. Leave it to evaporate and the mold should be killed, but you can return and scrub it good later if it makes you feel better.
Air freshener: Sprinkle a few drops of a favorite essential oil on cotton ball and stash them in vintage salt and pepper shakers, or unused votive candleholders around your home. Be sure to keep them out of reach of curious little hands, as some oils, such as peppermint, can damage the skin in concentrated amounts. You can also grow plants to clean the air. NASA has done studies that found peace lily, spider plant, golden pothos, mother-in-law’s tongue, bamboo palm, ficus, and gerbera daisy to be especially good at filtering “bad air”.
Furniture Polish: Mix one cups mineral oil with three drops of lemon extract or oil. Use a lint-free cloth to work it into your unpainted furniture. A little goes a long way. Once you’ve polished, dust with a wool cloth to create static electricity that attracts dust.
Wall Cleaner: If your walls are white or light colored, use equal parts of baking soda and water to erase crayon marks. Let it dry before brushing it off with a clean cloth.
Patio and Garage Floor Cleaner: Generously sprinkle washing soda (sodium carbonate) on oil and grease stains on concrete surfaces, and add water slowly with a watering can or spray bottle until a paste forms. Let it stand for 12 hours, then scrub with a damp brush, hose it down, and wipe clean. Smaller applications should also work for concrete countertops.
Grills and barbecue utensils: If you didn’t clean your grill and utensils well last fall (remember, this is a no judgement zone!), you can use washing soda on a stiff- bristled brush as a scrubbing cleaner to get the grime and grease off.
Do you have any spring cleaning tips to add to our list? Share them in the comments below!
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