Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Days Two & Three


The second and third days of Simple Mom’s Spring Cleaning Party are focused on the living room or central area of your home. After the quick sweep on day one, my living room wasn’t in very bad shape. It mostly drew my attention to the fact that our sofa really needs to be cleaned professionally. Otherwise the process entailed some dusting, vacuuming and cleaning the wood floors, none of which are worthy of pictures or further detail.

I thought today I’d focus on cleaning the natural way, a work in progress for my house. It’s hard after years of antibacterial products, disinfectants, and bleach-based cleaners to believe that the house can be just as sanitary using far less toxic tools. Feeling a little light-headed after cleaning the bathroom has always given me a sick sense of accomplishment. But I think it’s common for many families to rethink their cleaning products when a baby arrives. The day that you watch your newly-crawling infant lick the wood floor causes you to rethink what they might be taking in along with the knowledge that no, the floor is not that tasty.

I have yet to fully abandon the old cleaning products, but I’ve switched to “green cleaners" for the areas that Baby comes in contact with the most. I recently read an article in Natural Home magazine that outlined the uses for super basic products that are far less toxic and far cheaper than the standard buzz-inducing stuff. Here are a few of the alternatives.


Cut a lemon in half to clean wood cutting boards or to remove stains on the countertop. Just let the juice sit and then wipe down.

Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle to help brighten your whites.


Coarse salt can help remove stubborn food from pots and pans. Soak the pan with 3 tbsp salt in a few inches of water before scrubbing.


Mix 1 part water and 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner with natural disinfectant properties (avoid granite because the acid can damage the finish).

Pour 1 cup vinegar into the toilet and let sit for a few hours before scrubbing to remove rings, deodorize and disinfect.

Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle to help soften sheets, towels and clothing.

Baking Soda

Mix 1 part water with 3 parts baking soda for a natural abrasive cleaner to remove stains on tubs, counters and sinks.

Sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of the garbage can or in the bag to help control odors.

Tea Tree Oil

Mix 15 drops tea tree oil with 1 quart warm water in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner with antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Mix 2 tsp tea tree oil with 2 cups water for a more powerful spray to use on toilets or to kill mold.

I have to say I was pretty impressed by all the different ways to cut down on the junk that pollutes our home. It’s bad enough to have a hangover from cleaning the shower and I don’t need to be worrying about Baby dealing with the same problem.

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