Spring has sprung. As we swap our parkas for windbreakers, we begin to ditch winter's clutter. It's time for spring cleaning! But before you roll up your sleeves and crack open the bleach, this spring can be a chance to try out some new cleaning tactics; ones that are a little softer on the hands, and on the environment. With everything going green -- from cars, to energy, to actual nature -- cleaning supplies can and are following suit. And while the standard argument is that they don't do as good a job, eco cleaning solutions can get the grime out while going a lot easier on the conscience when it comes to flushing chemicals down the drain. With a few easy recipes and a little DIY concocting, you can go green, ease up on the elbow grease, and also cut costs. To help you get started, the team at Bentall Kennedy Residential Services has put together a list of DIY cleaning solution recipes made with natural ingredients to help kick the season off right.
Floor and Window Cleaner + Wallpaper Remover
One of the most common natural cleaning bases is white vinegar and water. For cleaning linoleum floors, try mixing a cup of vinegar with a few drops of baby oil in 1 gallon (almost 4 litres) of warm water. For wood, use an equal mix of vinegar and vegetable oil and rub in well. Heavier duty brick and stone flooring can be cleaned with a full cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water. This has the benefit of killing weeds on outdoor flooring surfaces as well. Windows can be cleaned and wallpaper can be removed with the same mixture. Versatile stuff! Find out more here.
Oven and Counter Cleaner
For more abrasive cleaning, the second most used natural cleaning agent comes into play: baking soda. For ovens, stovetops, kitchen counters, and bathtubs, a simple mixture of baking soda, salt, and water answers the call. Combine 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup water into a thick paste. Apply directly to stovetops, tubs, and kitchen counters. Scrub as needed. Wipe down oven interiors with a damp cloth, apply the same mixture, and let sit overnight. Scrape it off the following morning. Add steel wool for stubborn stains. Arm & Hammer's baking soda based oven cleaner is also nontoxic.
Everyone knows chemical air fresheners can end up smelling more toxic than floral. They also apparently coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell. As such, we can turn to our old favourites baking soda and vinegar. With a dash of lemon juice mixed in, the concoction can be poured into small dishes and placed around the house to absorb odors. Other alternatives are buying plants (which absorb odors and clean the air), keeping fresh coffee grounds on the kitchen counter, putting fresh or dried herbs in bowls around the house, and buying cut flowers for fresh, natural fragrance. Baking soda in the fridge is a also a legendary odor absorbing tactic.
As opposed to a recipe, this point highlights the essential qualities of one ingredient: hydrogen peroxide. Whether mixed with water, white flour, or used full strength on its own, peroxide is a beast that can be used to clean tiles, whiten tile grout, clean glass and windows, disinfect counter tops and toilet bowls, and kill and control mold. It also disinfects cuts and scrapes. Check here for more information.
The Go-To Cleaning Recipe Pantry
You don't need much to whip together an effective DIY cleaner. And having this list of ingredients on hand can give you something to tackle nearly every cleaning need: baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, borax, essential oils like tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, or lemongrass oil, fresh herbs, citrus, or citrus peel, and of course, water. Read more here.
The Bentall Kennedy Residential Services blog team hopes this list helps you tackle this year's spring cleaning. For more information about Bentall Kennedy properties in your city, please visit our website.