Simple Spring Cleaning
As Winter melts away and Spring flowers bloom our spaces, stuffy from a long Winter’s nap, are in need of a little refreshing. Here are a few simple natural, chemical free cleaning tips to add some lightness and life into your space in the Spring cleaning season.
1. Bathe House Plants – House plants get dusty and can look a little tired by Winter’s end. If you have a sprayer in the kitchen sink you can wash plants gently one by one. If you have numerous house plants you can put them into the bathroom shower. Don’t be afraid to get in there and get wet with the plants. Wash leaves gently and be aware of not washing soil out of the pots. Remove all dead leaves and trim up extra limbs.
2. Open the Windows and Doors for a day – Stagnant, dry air builds up over the Winter when we’re hunkered down and blocking out the cold. On a beautiful, breezy Spring day open the windows and doors in your home and let the air flow through for a minimum of 4 hours. When you close the windows you’ll still feel the change in your space.
3. Air out Rugs, Throw Pillows, Curtains and Blankets – Get those larger linens in the house outside for a little refreshing. Even floors need to be refreshed in Spring, especially given the pollutants we bring in on our shoes on a regular basis. Start a new Spring house policy to leave shoes by the door as you come in. In the season of fertilizers and bug sprays it is even more important to keep chemical residues at the door. Take throw rugs (and blankets, pillows, curtains) outside and shake out thoroughly. Lay or hang in the sun. Spray with a homemade linen spray: mix 1 1/2 Cups Spring water, 4 Tbsp Rubbing Alcohol (or unflavored vodka) and 40 drops of your favorite essential oil scent in a spray bottle, shake thoroughly. Change out air filters in heating and A/C units, lightly mist new filters with lavender spray. For essential oils I really loveMountain Rose Herbs in Eugene, OR.
4. Spray down and clean windows and glass with homemade Lemon Spray – Squeeze fresh juice from one lemon, pour into a small plastic tub or spray bottle. Add 1 tsp cornstarch and 2 cups club soda to lemon juice. Mix thoroughly to dissolve cornstarch. Clean windows when not in direct sunlight (to avoid streaking) with a paper towel or soft cloth or rag. Can also be used on tile and linoleum. Note: If you use a spray bottle be sure to use one with an on/off nozzle- the fresh club soda makes this active and bubbly under pressure and when you open the nozzle it will spray on its own!
5. Bring fresh flowers into the house (think outside the box including fresh cut blossoming tree branches in a repurposed wine bottle) – Fresh color and life with brighten and enliven your space and remind you of the changing season, even when you have to be indoors.
6. Wash heavy winter bed linens and put them in storage, Dress bed with lighter weighted and colored linens – Heavy bedding, like down comforters, and dark colors are warm and inviting in the winter, but become smothering as Spring sets in. Pull out Spring linens and get a fresh, light look started in the bedroom.
7. Clean out fireplaces and candle holders – Wood burning fireplaces are a welcome comfort in the Winter, but soot and ash adds significantly to the carcinogens in your home. Clean all partially burned wood and ash out of the fireplace. Take all fireplaces tools, grates, etc. outside and spray down with a hose and dry before bringing back inside. Some varieties of wax candles (if not soy based or bees wax) will leave a black soot on the rims of candle holders. Clean all candle holders with the homemade lemon glass cleaner in 4 above.
8. Clean out the fridge – I will admit up-front that I am OCD about keeping my fridge in order, but I know many people loathe the idea of getting it cleaned out. But this is a great time of year to get it done. Clear it out, throw out expired foods. Wipe down shelves, drawers and doors with the homemade lemon glass cleaner in 4 above, and reorganize food into categories in your fridge. If everything is in its section, you’ll know where to look and are more likely to use it before it expires. I suggest the following major sections – vegetables, fruits, leftovers, beverages, cheese, meat, dairy, sauces/dressings.
9. Dust, clean and reorganize bookshelves -All that dust really builds up in the nooks and crannies of your shelves behind your favorite books and treasures. Clear all books and knickknacks off your shelves. Dust with a long-arm duster or microfiber cloth. Wipe down wooden shelves with a light, fresh furniture polish. Replace all items on shelves in a new, inspiring configuration.
10. Vacuum upholstered furniture and air vents – Any pillows that aren’t easily taken outside for a cleaning can be vacuumed to remove dust and dirt. Vacuum all large pieces of upholstered furniture – arm chairs, sofas, ottomans – to clear out the old dirt and dust of Winter. Be sure to get in all of the crevices where crumbs and dirt gather. Vacuum all air registers and vents throughout your house to get free the vents of accumulated winter dust.
Those are ten simple steps to being a little fresh into your home this Spring season. You can also use the sprays to clean up and freshen the inside of your car. Get cleaning and enjoy!
UPDATE: I just found this article on Green Spring Cleaning at the Mountain Rose Herb’s Blog, I am loving it!