Your Official (Eco-Friendly) Spring Cleaning Guide

by Trina Remedios
Spring cleaning has almost become like a tradition. Year after year, families across the country partake in a sort of cleansing ritual, getting rid of the excess and unused items in their home and giving their space a thorough sprucing.

Now, while it can be fun to head to the store for cleaning supplies that make you feel like quite the pro, sometimes the simplest everyday kitchen ingredients can prove to be just as good and more cost-effective when it comes to removing stains and restoring household items; not to mention, less toxic. Like, did you know that corn meal and baking soda make for awesome carpet cleaners? 

Upholstery & Carpets: It is a big challenge to remove stains from carpets, drapes and couches. Dust a mixture of 1/2 cup corn meal and 1/2 cup baking soda on a dry rug, but go easy on the portions as it will be a pain to vacuum it up later. Leave the mixture on the fabric for 30 minutes before cleaning it off. Use a brush for those hard to reach places. Alternately for tough grime, prepare a paste with 1tbsp white vinegar and 1tbsp cornstarch. Apply it on the stain and let it rest for two days, then vacuum.
 
Polishing: Silver, copper and brass items lose their luster over time, but you can bring them back to life with some household items. For silver products, buff with a toothpaste, let it dry and then rinse. As for copper and brass items, sprinkle a pinch of salt on half a lemon and rub the flesh side down on the product thoroughly; you will notice the difference almost instantly. Rinse off the lemon juice once you're done.   
 
Glass Cleaner: Rain and dust can taint your windows over time. This can easily be tackled with a combination of 2tsp vinegar and 32oz warm water. Spray the window with it and clean dry with a newspaper sheet or soft cloth to avoid streaking.

PS: This will work on glass tableware and utensils, too.
 
Wooden Furniture: You need a solution that won't strip off the polish or dampen the sheen of the varnish; something strong yet forgiving on wooden surfaces. So, in a bowl prepare a concoction of 1tsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil. Dip a rag in the solution with which you can wipe down the wooden furniture. 
 
homemade cleanerLeather: So easy to spoil and unravel, leather products need some extra TLC and regular care to keep them clean without introducing moisture into their grain. For stains, gently rub in a paste of 1 part lemon juice and 1 part cream of tartar using a soft cloth. If the stain persists, work it in again and let it settle for a few hours before wiping it off.
 
Fabric Stains:
  • For sticky stains, pastes, or even if you've somehow managed to get chewing gum on your clothes, apply ice cubes on it. The sticky residue will flake off.
  • For wine stains, dip the area in hot water with salt; soaking in milk before rinsing will help get stubborn stains.
  • For oil or grease, pour boiling water on the stain and then rub baking powder on the area; you can use cornstarch as an alternative. Leave it on for 15-30 minutes to absorb the oil before you wash.
  • Lastly, rust stains can be tackled with a lemon juice and salt rub. Leave it to dry under the sun and then wash.
 
Mildew: Moisture is the biggest perpetrator for mold and mildew which can make you want to tear down that wall. The best way to restrict the spread of this bacteria growth is to spray white vinegar over it.
 
Air Freshener: Potpourri is a great economical option. Simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to dried flowers. You can also make a room freshener by mixing 10 drops lavender or lemongrass in 2oz water. Pour it in a spray bottle and spritz away.

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