Spring Cleaning the Environmentally, Frugal Way!

Ah March, the end of winter and the beginning of spring. At least that’s what the calendar tells us. It may not feel completely spring like, but the sun is stronger, warmer and out longer each day. With spring comes the itch to do spring cleaning, so this month I thought I would share some frugal ways to clean our homes.

Homemade cleaners are healthier for us, our family, our wallet and the environment. They usually take a bit more elbow grease than commercial cleaners, but we all need a little more exercise –especially after winter.

When the sun hits our windows we sure can see the effects that winter has had on our ability to view out, so let’s start there. Here we use 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water and a couple of drops of the essential oil of lemon or tea tree to give it a great scent. Spray on windows on an overcast day and rub clean with newspapers. Remember, horizontal wipes on one side, vertical wipes on the other.

Laundry is another thing that needs to be done. In the spring there are curtains, coats, sheets etc that are extra items to be washed and hopefully hung out to dry. (This alone is a great way to reduce your energy bill and usually smells fantastic!) Here is a homemade recipe we use, but I don’t recommend it with your white clothes. I’m not sure why, but they seem to get dingy here with this recipe.

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap (sunlight)
1/2-cup washing soda (arm and hammer makes this and it's in the laundry detergent aisle)
1/2-cup borax
6 cups water
4 cups hot water
1 gallon and 6 cups more water

You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallons in size

Grate the soap and put it in a saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add mixture and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for 24 hours and it will gel. Use 1/2 cup per load.

To clean the bathtub and get it nice and shiny and rid of any soap scum build up, mix together 1 cup of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Rub it all over the tub and scrub, then rinse and rub clean.

Toilet bowls are another thing that need lots of attention. I have found borax, vinegar and lemon juice cleans the best for toilet bowls. 2 parts borax, 1 part vinegar and one part lemon juice.

A good disinfectant is also a must. Try using 1 part vinegar to one part water with 10-15 drops of tea tree oil in it. It will clean all of your doorknobs, light switches, sinks and countertops and anything else you want to disinfect.

Finally, there are always walls to be scrubbed, light fixtures to be washed and baseboards and trim to be cleaned. Everyone needs a good all-purpose cleaner. This is a great recipe to get the dirt and grim out of your home.

Mix in a 16 oz spray bottle:
2 tbsp. of vinegar with 1 tsp. borax.
Fill 3/4 of the bottle with very hot water.
Shake until all the borax is dissolved in the water.
Then add 1/4 cup of liquid soap.
To scent, add 10 to 15 drops of an essential oil.

It’s best to use purified or distilled water for this. Make sure to dissolve the borax in hot water so that it doesn't clog the spray nozzle. Please follow the order of the recipe to make sure that it doesn’t clog together.

Do you have other recipes to share? Please drop me a line at fighting2bfrugal@yahoo.ca I would love to hear from you.

Happy Spring!

1 comment:

MWA Little said...

Just a note that I was informed at a Food Handling Course here in Nova Scotia that vinegar is NOT a disinfectant. That was news to me and something to remember if you are looking for something that will disinfect surfaces.