SOME CLEANING PROJECTS THAT GO A LITTLE DEEPER — NATURALLY
Eucalyptus oil for germy door handles. Baking soda for oven grime. Here are nontoxic solutions for often-overlooked cleaning jobs
Most of us keep up with everyday cleaning — dusting and vacuuming, wiping kitchen counters, scrubbing the bath. But what about those cleaning jobs that are a step beyond the regular routine? You don’t have to wait for spring to get them done. Fall, when we spend more time indoors and prepare for the holidays, is ideal too.
Here are some cleaning projects that will freshen up your home in any season. Many don’t take much time, and no toxic chemicals or smelly bleach is needed.
Detox your oven. Some oven cleaners can be highly toxic. But bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, can tackle any burned-on grime. Simple scrape off as much of the grime as you can, then mix plenty of baking soda with a little water to make a thick paste. Spread it all over the sides and bottom of the oven (make sure the oven is cold) and leave it overnight. The next day wipe it down with hot water. If necessary, repeat the process.
Clean and deodorize your microwave. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix 4 ounces of water with 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Place the mixture in the microwave and heat on high for two minutes. Remove the bowl and simply wipe the moistened interior surfaces of the microwave clean.
Descale your kettle. To remove the scale from your electric kettle, empty it and pour white vinegar over the element. Leave for one hour before rinsing it with cold water. Pour fresh water into the kettle to cover the element. Boil it, then throw this water away. Done!
Replace bed pillows. Can you recall the last time you bought a new pillow? If not, it’s time for a change. While you’re busy stripping the bed of those thick wool and electric blankets, think about swapping out those pillows, too. Look for pillows that contain natural materials, such as down, wool, organic cotton and natural latex.
Freshen clothes with lavender. Lavender has long been considered an ancient symbol of love and cleanliness, so why not use it to freshen the clothes hanging your wardrobe? Feng shui experts also sometimes burn lavender sticks to shift negative, stagnant energy in a home and create a feeling of space.
Clean your bathroom tile. Scrub the grout between floor and wall tiles with a mixture of baking soda and water on an old toothbrush. Work the baking soda paste into the grout, then rinse off with clean water.
Opt for a natural drain cleaner. Clean drainage holes by rubbing them with a cut lemon. And instead of resorting to bleach, flush boiling water and a handful of salt down any blocked or unpleasant-smelling drains.
Clean your office keyboard. The keyboard is a vital part of your computer, but it’s notorious as a breeding ground for bacteria. Before you start cleaning and disinfecting your keyboard, ensure that everything is switched off. Next, dust it with a soft brush before wiping it gently with a clean, slightly damp cloth.
Tip: Spray the cloth with a mixture of 1/4; teaspoon eucalyptus oil and & 1/2; cup water. It’ll do the trick.
Wipe door handles. Think of how many times door handles are used every day and how many germs might be lingering there. A simple way to clean and disinfect them at the same time is with a cloth dampened with a little eucalyptus oil.
Give your phone a good cleaning. You can also clean and disinfect your phone by wiping it with a clean cloth that has a few drops of eucalyptus oil on it. It will leave it smelling good, too. While you’re on a cleaning streak, use the same solution to give all the light switches in your house a good wiping.
Go heavy duty on the windows. Chemical window cleaners can be expensive and leave a strong odor and streaks. Try making your own cleaner — one that’s cheaper, smells great and is more environmentally friendly.
Here’s how: Combine 10 ounces distilled water, 5 ounces white vinegar and five drops each lemon and lavender essential oils. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake well. Spray it onto the glass, then wipe it off with a clean cloth.
Tip: Try washing your windows on a cloudy day and not in direct sunlight — streaks are caused by the cleaning solution’s drying too quickly.