Spring is my favorite season of the year. It’s the time to throw open the windows and let the fresh air and sunshine into the house. And – though it’s far from my favorite – it’s also the time for spring cleaning.
The age-old tradition of spring cleaning allows us to sweep out all the dust and grime that has built up over the dreary winter months and start afresh. (If you have a wood stove, you know that I mean literally sweep out!)
Since working to detoxify my home, I’ve had to make changes in my cleaning routine – namely in the cleaning products that I use. I want to share with you some of the cleaning recipes I’ve found to help you get your spring cleaning done the all-natural way this year.
I love sparkling windows. It always amazes me how much clearer and brighter they appear after I clean them – even though I thought they looked pretty good to start with…
Springtime means being able to get outside and clean the outside of all the windows too. This can be an awfully big deal, especially if your home has more than one level. (God bless the person who invented tilt-in windows! Unfortunately, my second story doesn’t have them.)
Make sure you have everything you need before getting started.
- step stool or ladder
- window cleaner
- lint-free cleaning cloths
- squeegee (helpful but not essential)
- helper (very useful if you’ll be using a ladder)
I like to use old cloth diapers for cleaning windows. They’re lint-free and absorb excess liquid nicely. If you don’t have any old diapers, you can pick up a pack of birdseye cloth diapers at any discount store. They’re no good for putting on babies but make great window cleaning cloths!
For my regular window cleaning, I use liquid Castile soap, but it’s simply too sudsy for cleaning all the outside windows. My favorite, no suds homemade glass cleaner is:
- 2 C. water
- 2 tsp. Corn starch or Arrowroot powder
- ¼ C. rubbing alcohol
- ¼ C. white vinegar
- ¼ C. lemon juice (optional)
Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and shake before each use.
It gives a good, streak-free shine very much like commercial window cleaners. Awesome!
Washing Curtains & Bedding
While you’re cleaning the windows, it’s a great time to take down all the curtains for their semi-yearly laundering. I like to wash all of our quilts and comforters at this time too, so I can get them put away for the summer.
Assuming you have a washing machine (if you don’t, I’m really sorry), this will be the easiest part of your spring cleaning. I use my homemade laundry soap, which requires no grating and melting bars of soap – just a good mixing with a stick blender.
I highly encourage you to hang your curtains and blankets outside to dry. It’s so uplifting to get outside in the sunshine and soft breezes of spring and hang the laundry on the line.
And nothing can compare to the sweet scent drying in the sunshine leaves on fabric. Try it!
If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now – I don’t like to clean. Anything I can get away with not doing, I will. One thing I definitely let slide is dusting.
When I see women on television dusting, I think, “You know, it really doesn’t take that long. I should dust more often.” And then … nope.
A few times a year, though, it’s just got to be done. When I was growing up, dusting … or at least wiping the end tables … was one of my favorite ways to help my mom clean. Because I loved the smell of lemon Pledge.
Spray and wipe, spray and wipe. It’s hard to tell how many pounds of that stuff I inhaled. I kept using it through the first five or so years of my marriage until I learned that, of all household cleaners, spray furniture polish is the most toxic.
Study after study shows that this type of cleaner causes cancer because of its high level of carcinogenic chemicals and highly airborne nature. Needless to say, I cringe inside when I remember the time I sprayed half a can on a wasp that was in my bedroom. I wanted that thing dead!
Thankfully, dusting is easy even without the cancer in a can.
For basic dusting of shelves, knick knacks, baseboards, etc., I like to use an old cotton sock. I just dampen it a bit with water and slip it over my hand to wipe wherever needed. The water makes the dust cling to the sock instead of just getting pushed into the floor.
To polish wood furniture, like our end table and china cabinet, I use light olive oil. It nourishes and protects the wood while giving it a nice, glossy shine. I just use an old cloth that I don’t mind throwing away, put about a teaspoon of olive onto it, and rub with the grain of the wood.
Be sure to use only a small amount of oil at a time and make sure you rub it in thoroughly. If you leave excess oil, it will go rancid and start to smell bad.
Cleaning Carpets & Upholstery
Deep cleaning carpets and upholstery has been one of the hardest places for me to convert from standard commercial cleaners to non-toxic options. It seems that many of the all-natural options I’ve tried simply don’t work.
This homemade carpet cleaner solution does work well for light traffic areas:
I find that it doesn’t do the trick for heavy traffic or stained areas, though. For those, I really like this Carpet Miracle cleaner solution from a company called Sunny & Honey. It’s 100% non toxic and works just as well as the regular commercial brands. The company offers a 60-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like how it preforms – pretty nice!
Now you’re ready to put on some music and conquer your spring cleaning. The longer daylight hours and warming temperatures are such a blessing – having a fresh, clean home is a great blessing too, even if it does take work to get there. Your house is going to look so good when you’re finished!
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