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Spring has Sprung


Spring is the time to open our windows and clear our living spaces for the balmy sunny days ahead. A clean living space makes a house a home and gives a lovely sense of accomplishment and feelings of a fresh start. This is the time to rid our homes of the allergens and toxins that have accumulated over the winter months - not put them back with commercial cleaning products. Fortunately nature provides us with simple ingredients that clean and disinfect our homes safely and effectively.

Essential Oils
A clean fresh fragrance can make a room sing so use your favourite essential or fragrant oils in as many ways as you can to give your home a story.
Tea Tree and Manuka essential oils have powerful antibacterial and anti fungal properties so are invaluable to combat viruses and bacteria.  In a reusable spray bottle, mix 15 drops of either oil with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water and use this all purpose wipe down spray in all areas that need to be hygienic.  A teaspoon of them added to the wash (or rinse) cycle with ensure soiled laundry and cloth nappies are bacteria free.

Baking Soda
With 101 uses at least, baking soda is your best friend in the cleaning cupboard. Mix it with water, a little olive oil or glycerine and you favourite essential oil to make a stiff paste and put it into a shallow jar with a lid.  This gentle scourer will make your bathroom glow without scratching.  Ideal to attack that soap scum on the shower glass, rub mildew off the shower curtain and scrub that toilet spotless.  Ideal in the kitchen for cleaning every surface, you'll use it every single day. 
Put some baking soda into a shaker bottle and sprinkle it on carpets and rugs before vacuuming,  into rubbish bins and bags to attack odours, and around areas where ants will fear to tread !  Use dry baking soda on a damp cloth to remove scuff marks or stubborn stains.  Place a bowlful in your fridge or cupboards to keep them smelling fresh.

Olive Oil
Rub a wooden chopping board with olive oil to bring it back to life - it works well with wooden spoons too.  Add a few drops of essential oil to a small bottle of olive oil and use that as a furniture polish for all your wooden surfaces. 

White Vinegar
Powerful and economical, white vinegar is one of nature's most versatile cleaners.  If you find the smell too pungent, don't worry it dissipates as it dries.
Spray and Wipe - In a reusable spray bottle, mix a solution of 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar and add a few drops of either lemon, orange or peppermint essential oil for an effective all purpose cleaner than disinfects and deodorizes. Use this solution to clean and wipe down pretty much everything (except wooden and marble surfaces).
Bathroom - Your all purpose cleaner will look after all your bathroom surfaces. Pour undiluted white vinegar on mildew and allow to sit for an hour then wipe away with a warm damp cloth. Pour a cup of vinegar into your toilet bowl and let it sit for an hour to deodorize and clean.
Kitchen - Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 water in a bowl. Bring the liquid to the boil in your microwave. Smells will disappear and cooked on food and splatters with wipe out easily. Remove oil and grease from cooking tops and range hoods with a cloth soaked in 50/50 hot water and white vinegar.
Laundry - Many people have sensitivities to the perfumes and chemicals in commercial fabric softeners ( not to mention their shocking effect on waterways and marine life !) Adding a cup of white vinegar fragranced with a few drops of your favourite fragrant or essential oil will give you softer linens and clothes - without the nasties.

Salt and Lemon
Both of these are good grease cutters. Salt can be used as an abrasive anywhere that scratching isn't an issue. Ideal for scrubbing cast iron pans. Add a tablespoon of it to water in the bottom of a burnt pot or pan and let it simmer gently for 10 minutes.  Rub copper bottomed pots with both to make them shine again.  Rub plastic containers with half a lemon to remove odours. Send a cut up lemon down your garbage disposal unit to freshen it up and clean the pipes.  Rub wooden cutting boards and butchers blocks with salt and half a lemon to clean and disinfect them.

Fresh Air
Take down the curtains and drapes and hang them on the clothesline on a windy day to give them a new lease of life.  Rugs and floor mats need this too if they are too big to wash in the machine.  Hot wash all those extra blankets and rugs and air them outside for a day or two if possible before they head back into the cupboard for next winter.

Spring cleaning is a labour of love and so rewarding. Take it in baby steps, and as your energy levels allow.  Get it all done before the busy gardening and holiday seasons begin and then you can relax knowing you're all sorted before summer.

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