When it’s time to put the Christmas tree outside, or put the artificial tree away and take down the decorations, then it’s time to clean house. Winter is as good a time as spring to clean and make your house feel fresh and new. I take a few extra steps when I clean because I like to keep it as natural as possible. Here are some of my natural cleaning tips.
Natural Cleaning Tips
Start at the top
I start with dusting and cleaning the ceiling and corners first. I use a static duster with no sprays. Twirl it a few times to charge the static and swish it in the corners and along the ceiling. When it looks like there is a lot of dust on it, take it outside and twirl it again. This will dislodge the dust and allow you to start over.
When I was at my dad and stepmom’s a few years ago, they showed me a fairly new product on the market for cleaning. It was a microfiber cloth. All it took was warm water and elbow grease to clean the windows to a sparkling shine. No harsh chemicals. While you can wash them in the washing machine, don’t use fabric softener. The waxes found in fabric softeners will smear up windows and mirrors. Use wool felted dryer balls (read about wool felted dryer balls as fabric softener here), white vinegar in the rinse cycle of the washing machine to soften, or nothing at all. Find microfiber cloths here.
I used to just vacuum at the end of my cleaning, but now I do it more than once. That way I don’t miss anything.
Use vacuum sachets
There are products on the market that make the room smell nice while you vacuum, but who knows whats really in them? I make my own sachets easily and cheaply. Take pieces of cotton fabric that can be cut into small pieces. This helps use up some of the scraps in your fabric stash! They need to be cut small enough to be sucked up by the vacuum – about and inch or two across. Then drip a few drops of an antibacterial essential oil, such as lavender or eucalyptus on them, and place in a jar. I keep a few baby food jars around just for this. Then when you vacuum, toss a few on the floor and whisk them away. They’ll scent your room, kill germs in the chamber or bag, and biodegrade over time.
Use DE now
If you use diatomaceous earth in your carpet, now’s the time to do it. If you’ve never used it, it’s easy. Take some food grade DE powder and sprinkle it evenly over the carpet. Walk on it, working it into the carpet, for a few days. It may be a little unsightly for a few days, but the results are worth it. After a few days has passed, vacuum up the excess. The DE that’s left in the carpet will kill bugs and fleas over the next 6 months or so. After about six months, the crystals break down and need to be reapplied.
Note: It’s important to use only food grade diatomaceous earth in your home (find it here) – do not use DE that’s made for swimming pools.
Vacuum your electronics
Instead of spraying cleaner directly on electronics, and potentially damaging them, use the small brush attachment on your vacuum hose. It’ll pull dust and dirt out of DVD players, computers and more.
My favorite floor cleaner is steam. It will clean, loosen stuck on dirt, and disinfect your floors. To make an inexpensive steam vacuum, take a cotton washcloth that’s a bit worn and wet it well. Place it in a vegetable or rice steamer and wait a few minutes. I use a metal rack placed well above the water. When it’s hot, use a pair of tongs to remove and slap it on the floor. Use caution as it will be very hot! Then take the end of your mop or Swiffer-type cleaning device and swish it around on the floor. I was really clumsy with it at first, but now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, I won’t use anything else.
Natural furniture cleaners
White vinegar will clean furniture without destroying the finish. Rub store-bought toothpaste gently over water rings on wood to remove them. Use black tea to clean and fill in tiny scratches. Use a brown crayon for larger scratches.
Natural furniture polish
My favorite furniture polish goes back to the old days. It’s a salve-type mixture of beeswax, almond oil and lemon essential oil. You can make your own using the recipe below.
Natural Furniture Polish Recipe
- ½ cup sweet almond oil (find it here)
- ⅛ cup of beeswax pastilles or grated beeswax (find them here)
- 10-15 drops lemon essential oil (find 100% pure lemon EO here)
In a double boiler, heat almond oil and beeswax until beeswax is completely melted. Wax varies in hardness, so test it before adding the lemon oil. To do this, take a teaspoon and dip it in the oil/wax mixture. Place spoon on a clean piece of paper and allow to cool until firm. Once cooled, test the consistency. If it is too soft, add a bit more wax to the mixture and melt completely. If it is too hard, add a bit more oil. It should be firm enough to dip a cloth into and rub across the top, but soft enough to give and melt a bit on contact. Once desired consistency is achieved, add about lemon essential oil and stir well. (You could also use other oils such as lavender, or my favorites, rose and rosewood.) Pour it into a widemouth glass jar and allow to harden and cool before using.
Rub a clean cloth across the polish and rub into the top of your table, or other wood furniture that needs polishing. Work it in and buff with a clean dry cloth. The oils will keep the wood hydrated and the beeswax will prevent more scratches and protect the wood. Lemon essential oil dissolves fingerprints and other dirt.
Share your knowledge – what’s one of your favorite natural cleaning tips?
image credit to McKay Savage