Thrifty Thursday: Green Spring Cleaning on a Budget
Sunshine. Chirping birds. Warmer weather. Spring is on its way! Have you been bitten by the spring-cleaning bug? There's nothing quite like a thorough cleaning session at the start of the new season to kick out and dust away all of those winter blahs! Unfortunately, many standard cleaning pro ducts can do some major damage to our wallets and to our environment.
Good news! It's totally possible to get a sparkling fresh and spotless place on a budget by using natural cleaning products that do just as well as those with harsh chemicals and hefty price tags!
Freshen the Air
Put a pot of water on the stove and add either a few drops of tea tree oil or (my favorite) leftover orange peels and cinnamon sticks. Set to a rapid boil with the stovetop fan on. Mmm! You can leave this going as long as you like - just be sure it doesn't boil over and be sure to refill with water as needed. Dump the orange peels down the garbage disposal when you're done and turn it on for a little extra natural cleaning and a boost of citrus scent.
Wave Goodbye to Winter Dust
If it's warm enough, turn off the heat, open the windows and set a few fans near them to blow out all of that stale air. To get rid of unseen dust, dirt, and those annoying semi-invisible cobwebs, fill a bucket full of hot water and add a tiny squirt of natural liquid soap (Dr. Bronner's is a popular choice.) Dip a rag in the water, wring it out, and lay it over the bristles of a broom. Run the broom along the angles of the ceiling and walls, re-rinse it when it gets gross, and repeat.
See Clearly Now, the Streaks are Gone
Prepare to be amazed at how clean and clear your windows and mirrors become without any cleaning product! Just spray some water on them, and wipe away in circular motions with crumpled up newspaper pages. Microfiber cloths and unused coffee filters work well, too.
Replace your normal household cleaners with a bottle of cheap, distilled white vinegar and you'll never look back! Just pour some onto a rag and wipe down every surface - including your cabinetry and refrigerator! If there's some stuck-on gunk that doesn't want to budge, break out a little baking soda, which works as an abrasive. Sprinkle some in your sinks, let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe away. Ta-da! | Related: Vinegar: The Budget-Friendly Miracle Worker
Make Those Floors Shine
Give your floors a good sweep and get rid of any dried-on stuff with baking soda. Then, mix up a bucket of hot water and natural liquid soap and mop the floor. Make sure you dry them quickly, especially if they're hardwood, by placing fans in the room. Add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to the water for added freshness.
Borax the Bathroom
You can find Borax soap in the detergent aisle. Pour about 1/4 cup into the toilet and let it sit like you would any other cleaner, then scrub and flush. Use a little Borax in the bathtub and sink, too. Clean with a scrub brush and rinse away with hot water.
Help Drains, Drain
If you've noticed water building up around your feet in the shower, or unpleasant odors coming from the sink, chances are, the drain is filling up with, err, gunk. Use a wire hanger, straightened out, to reach down and pull out as much as you can. DO NOT PUSH THE GUNK DOWN. Warning: It's gonna be gross when you get it out! Then, pour one cup of baking soda, followed by one cup of table salt, followed by one cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain. This will bubble up and work its magic. Let it sit for several hours or overnight, then rinse with hot water.
If you've got wood furniture or fixtures, combine a few drops of lemon juice and a half a cup of warm water and spray it on a damp cloth to wipe down surfaces. Do your wood surfaces have some scratches or wear and tear? Add a bit of olive oil to the mix and watch them fade away!
Clean the Carpets
Sprinkle a little baking soda on your carpets and let it sit for a couple of hours, or even overnight, before vacuuming it up for an extra clean and fresh sweep! The baking soda helps to lift dirt and stains and acts as an odor neutralizer, too.
Let No Washing Go Unnoticed
When is the last time you washed your pillow? Not the case - the pillow itself! Or how about your bedspread? The living room curtains? Some of these items get overlooked or require special care when cleaning, but most of the time, you can do it at home with a little research.
- Wash pillows in a separate load and toss a few tennis balls in the dryer with them to keep them fluffy. Make sure they're totally dry before putting them back on your bed.
- You should also take some time to wash: Curtains, throws, quilts, rugs (bathroom rugs should be washed once every couple of weeks, separate from other laundry, on the hottest setting anyway, to kill bacteria and mold), kitchen tea towels, and hot pads, shower curtains and liners, and so on and so forth.
- Remove plastic blinds and spray them down with a little borax and the garden hose to get rid of that dust and grime build up!
Since most of these items are pretty large and will take up lots of space and energy in the dryer, it may be wise to invest in a few drying racks or consider installing a temporary, makeshift drying line in your basement or backyard if you can.
Also, check out the several items you can get squeaky clean in the dishwasher! Who knew?!
Most of these tips can be found in The Bust DIY Guide to Life.
What are your best budget and environment-friendly spring cleaning tips? Share them with our readers in the comments section below!
You might also like: 5 Household Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself | 12 Ways to Save by Going Green | 10 Ways to Improve Your Home Without Buying Anything New | Vinegar: The Budget-Friendly Miracle Worker | 30 Ways to Repair, Restore + Re-do Any Piece of Furniture | How to Prepare Your Home for Summer | How to Spring Clean Your Finances