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Spring Cleaning...Naturally

With Spring right around the corner we have turned our thoughts to our Spring Cleaning ritual.  Each year we take this time to evaluate the products we use and reduce the chemical load in our home.  Here are a few tips for doing the same in your home.

All Purpose Cleaner

   A simple and effective recipe for an all purpose cleaner is to mix white distilled vinegar and water at a 50 / 50 ratio in a spray bottle.  This is great for cleaning just about any surface from counter tops to windows and mirrors to sinks and tubs(it is not recommended for marble and granite countertops).  

  A great way to clean your microwave is to put 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup vinegar in a glass bowl and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes until it boils.  Remove the glass bowl and easily wipe away food residue from inside the microwave.

  Finally, you can use vinegar as a floor cleaner.  Just mix a 1/2 cup of vinegar per gallon of warm water and mop like you mean it!  

  If you want, you can add a few drops of essential oil to your vinegar solution.  It won't completely get rid of the vinegar scent but may help to tame it a bit.

 Please note that while vinegar is a highly effective cleaner it is not a registered disinfectant and may not kill some bacteria like staphylococcus.  

Drain Cleaner

   To prevent clogged drains here is a great weekly ritual that will prevent you from showering in ankle deep water.  

      1.  Pour a pot of boiling water down your drain

      2.  Pour 1/2 a cup of baking soda into the drain and let sit for a minute or two

      3.  Pour a 50/50 mixture of white distilled vinegar and hot water into the drain and close the drain plug.  Let the reaction do its work for a few minutes.

      4.  Pour another pot of boiling water down the drain and your done!

  Let me reiterate that this is a preemptive measure and won't work on badly clogged drains.  For this you will need a plunger and some elbow grease.

Laundry Detergent

   For those who have followed us for a while, you may remember that we use to sell laundry detergent.  We stopped selling it for a variety of reasons but we have been using that same recipe ourselves for years and still love it as an alternative to the traditional products you find on the grocery store shelves.

  Mix 1 lb of borax and 1 lb of Arm & Hammer washing soda with 8 oz of baking soda.  That's the recipe; quick and easy!  Best of all, you only need a tablespoon per load of laundry (a little more for really large or dirty loads) so this recipe will do about 60 loads.  

  If you want to add a little scent to the detergent get your favorite bar of soap, I recommend our Lemongrass Shea.  Cut the bar in half.  Take one of the halves and cut into smaller pieces.  Throw the pieces of soap and the detergent in a food processor and blend until the soap is chopped up into little bits (about 20 - 30 seconds).

  This recipe is totally safe for  HE washers though we don't recommend it if your washer is a liquid only machine.  

  We also recommend using white distilled vinegar in place of fabric softener and replace those dryer sheets (yes, even the Free & Clear ones) with wool dryer balls.  You will have a week or two with some static issues as the chemicals from these products work out of your clothes and your dryer but on the other side of the transition is a chemical free wardrobe!

We hope these tips help you take a step or two towards making your Spring Cleaning ritual a little greener.  If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comment section.