Today’s modern home is loaded with toxic and polluting substances designed to make domestic life easier. The cost of these commercial, chemical-based products can be high–causing long-term health concerns, poor inside air quality, and environmental pollution caused by their manufacture and disposal. As well, they can be very expensive. There are a growing number of safer commercial green products on the market. However, many of them still contain a number of toxic chemicals. Without knowing different types of chemicals and how the manufacturing process works, it is challenging to know what is safe and what is not. If you want to be completely “safe” in choosing products to clean your whole home, stick with the basics–vinegar, soap and water, and baking soda. Over time, these ingredients have proven to be completely safe and effective in cleaning your home.
Nature’s purest cleaning product can work wonders in the home! In many cases, especially if the dirt or stain is fresh, flushing with lots of water will do the trick. Rinsing and/or soaking in water can lift off many types of dirt without the need for stronger chemicals.
Salt is a common household product that is not appreciated enough for its cleaning properties. Mixing salt with alcohol (one part salt to four parts rubbing alcohol) creates a great product for tackling grease.
Use salt when you have a redwine spill or find a bloodstain. “Salt is a fabulous stain remover, pour a generous amount over the stain and watch it absorb and lift the stain”.
Baking soda (4 tbsp) and warm water (1 litre) is a good general cleaner. A damp sponge with baking soda will clean all kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Mixing baking soda with lemon juice, vinegar or even just some water and making it into a paste will create a great all-purpose cleaner and stain remover.
Baking soda is also an incredible deodoriser. It doesn’t just absorb odours, it also neutralises them as well–making it a great cleaner for the fridge. Sprinkling it onto carpets ten minutes before vacuuming will also help with any unpleasant lingering smells in the room–especially pet odours.
White vinegar is a great all-round stain remover, whether it is food stains in pots and pans, stains in toilet bowls, perspiration from clothes or scorch marks. Like baking soda, it is also a natural air freshener. If you have a room filled with smoke or paint fumes, place a small dish of vinegar in the room, or spray some into the air. This will help remove strong smells.
Like vinegar, lemon juice is mildly acidic and dissolves grease very effectively. It also has a bleaching and deodorising effect. Use lemon juice to remove smells and stains from cutting boards and clean many household items–from stainless steel cutlery to the kitchen sink! Combined with salt, it can shift a whole host of stains from fabrics. Rubbed directly into your hands will help you get rid of any stains from berry juices.
Martina Schumann is the owner of Naturally Clean. At Naturally Clean, we believe that the way your home is cleaned can affect your well-being, as well as the health of our planet. Working with 90 clients a year over the past 6 years, we have perfected a unique 100% guaranteed green cleaning system that is more effective, healthier, and safer than traditional methods.
Do you have action items which get stalled? Leslie Shreve of Productive Day provides some useful tips in her article “Where Your Productivity Stalls, What it Costs You and What to Do About It.”
What will you change to become more productive in 2014?
“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
- Leo Tolstoy, Russian Novelist (1828-1910)
Spring has finally sprung! What a winter it’s been! As I’m writing this post, the street sweeping truck is going around our crescent. Unfortunately, there’s still an ice mountain on the circle, and we had a dusting of snow last night!
The calendar, however, ushered in spring a couple of weeks ago.
One sure sign of spring is our annual Maple SyrupFestival. Elmira celebrated its 50th event this past weekend! The crowds were smaller this year because of the cold weather, but people still came out to enjoy the pancakes and maple syrup!
Spring cleaning is generally thought of as cleaning your home from top to bottom.
I always thought spring cleaning dated back to Europe when homes were heated with coal, oil and wood. Walls and home furnishings were cleaned to remove soot and ashes. In doing some research, I discovered there are a number of origins for spring cleaning.
wiseGEEK states that homes are completely cleaned prior to Passover. “[P]eople also get rid of any leavened bread, called ‘chametz’, which are forbidden foods … Even crumbs of chametz or a few leftover specks of leftover grains from forbidden flours need to be removed from the home, and typically, Jewish families hunt for any possible chametz crumbs the night before Passover begins.”
Wikipedia tells us that “Iranians continue the practice of ‘khooneh tekouni’ which literally means ‘shaking the house’ just before Norouz [numerous spellings], the Persian new year.” Scotland’s ” ‘New Year’s cleaning’ on Hogmanay (December 31)” is “also widespread in Ireland, New Zealand, and … North America.” “In Greece, and other Orthodox nations, it is traditional to clean the house thoroughly either right before or during the first week of Great Lent, which is referred to as Clean Week. This also often corresponds with the Julian New Year, or April 1.”
Our centrally heated airtight homes need a breath of fresh spring air. So it’s time to throw open the windows–unless you’re allergic to the budding trees!
The bright spring sunshine will likely expose a few cobwebs.
So let’s get started and turn over another leaf!
You may complain that you don’t have time to spring clean your home from top to bottom. If you’ve read any of our previous newsletters, I always recommend that you start with a plan.
Create a Master List
Go through your house thinking about one room at a time. Your master list should contain all of the projects that you want to complete. Estimate how long you think each project will take. Be realistic.
The next step is to prioritize your list, and determine which room you will work on first.
When you schedule cleaning sessions in your planner or calendar, you’re making a commitment to do the required work.
You may not be able to complete a room all at once. If necessary, divide it into sections, and work on one section at a time. If you only have one hour, pick a project from your list that you can complete in that time period.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to do all the work yourself. If you want to clean a number of areas, schedule a family meeting. Involving the whole family in the process can teach them valuable life-long skills.
Before starting any cleaning session with children, remember to keep their attention span in mind. You might be able to clean for 3 or 4 hours at one session, but most children can’t stay focused for that length of time. Try to make it fun!
It’s also a good idea to schedule a snack break; prepare snacks ahead of time. Plan ahead–when cooking, double a recipe and freeze one batch. At the end of the day when you’re tired, you’ll have an easy meal!
Stock up–cleaning supplies, garbage bags, recycle bin, empty boxes, rubber gloves, etc.
Start with the first room on your list. Focus on one room at a time. Don’t start the next room until you’ve finished.
Take a break–set a timer–to keep up your energy level. This is especially important if your children are helping.
Maintaining your freshly cleaned space will require some effort from everyone. Schedule a daily or weekly clean-up time, so things don’t get out of control.
When you’re done, don’t forget to reward your children and yourself for all your hard work!
Remember, you don’t have to complete your entire list in one weekend!
Check out our “Get the Associate Scoop” section below. Martina of Naturally Clean provides some great natural cleaning solutions.
A friend shared this recipe from Cleaning for a Reason‘s Facebook post.
I hope to try it soon!
SWEET POTATO CAULIFLOWER SOUP
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 large head cauliflower (at least 7″ in diameter)
olive oil for drizzling
3 medium/large peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
7 cups filtered water
few dashes garam masala (optional)
diced green onions for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F, and cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle cauliflower lightly with garam masala. Place cauliflower onto ungreased cookie sheet, and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven. Roast until golden brown on the tops and tender, but not mushy–about 20-30 minutes. There’s no need to flip them. Just remove from oven, and let cool while you cook the rest of the soup.
In large stockpot, bring sweet potato, onion, garlic and water to a boil. Salt (3/4 tsp) and stir. Reduce heat and allow to remain at a constant simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Add in cooked cauliflower, and divide soup into 2 parts.
Let soup cool and then blend one part soup in blender until very smooth. Combine with second part soup and stir. Salt to taste, and warm up over stovetop if needed. Garnish with diced green onions before serving.
It’s never too late to make healthier choices!