The weather is warming, and spring cleaning is just around the corner. The annual scrub and purge is an important part of maintaining your homestead, but it takes time and can be challenging to navigate all the potentially toxic chemicals that pervade the deep cleaning market.
Whether you are washing dishes, doing laundry or cleaning your kitchen, there are many natural materials and easy DIY techniques that will save you time or help you to avoid harmful chemicals during your spring cleaning.
Here are nine of our favorite natural spring cleaning hacks.
Clean your toilet with white vinegar
White vinegar is a natural disinfectant and a great alternative to bleach for whitening your porcelain throne. This DIY from The Hearty Soul says that pouring white vinegar into your toilet tank will not only clean the tank, but it will help clean the bowl with every flush. You can also use a white vinegar and baking soda mixture to clean your toilet bowl for an extra scrubbed shine.
Upcycle newspaper for streak-free windows
Newspapers help prevent streaking and cut grease on glass. The ink in newspapers is an added abrasive. We like this easy DIY from Mavis Butterfield’s One Hundred Dollars a Month using newspaper and vinegar. Sunshine will cause your windows to dry too quickly, so time your cleaning wisely. To avoid streaks do your window cleaning on a cloudy day.
Use a dishwasher to clean more water-efficiently
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, hand washing dishes uses up to 27 gallons of water per load compared to 3 gallons per load with an Energy Star-rated dishwasher. Not only is running a dishwasher often more water- and time-efficient, but it can be used to wash more than just dishes. Contact lens cases, hair brushes, pet dishes, plastic kids toys, refrigerator shelves and even your showerhead can all be safely and thoroughly cleaned in your dishwasher. Cosmopolitan Cornbread has a complete list of just about everything you can put in the dishwasher.
Clean your dishwasher naturally
After deep-cleaning an assortment of household objects, it is well-worth it to thoroughly clean your dishwasher. Place a glass or dishwasher-safe container of vinegar in the top rack and running the hottest cycle by itself. Then, sprinkle baking soda on the floor of the dishwasher and run it again on a short but complete cycle. This tutorial from House One shows you how with written and video instructions.
Make your own tool to clean blinds
Blinds are notoriously tricky to clean, but instead of buying disposable dusters, try this ingenious hack that we found on One Crazy House that uses simple tools that are laying around your kitchen: wrap two microfiber towels around a pair of tongs, then wipe across each slat.
Steam-clean your microwave
Instead of cleaning your microwave with chemical cleaners, follow Practically Functional’s written and video instructions to clean your microwave with ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water, vinegar and a few drops of essential oils for a fresh scent, and zap the mixture for a few minutes in the microwave. The steam will make it possible to easily wipe off built-up stains.
Freshen up your garbage disposal naturally
No need to buy commercial garbage disposal cleaners when you can get rid of those lingering smells naturally. Run half a lemon, some crushed ice, and a little salt in through the garbage disposal the way you would discarded food to help neutralize odors. This DIY by One Good Thing By Jillee goes the extra mile of freezing the lemon slices into ice cubes for a charming little cleaner.
Clean faucets naturally
Family Handyman says you can cut lime build up on your faucets using lemons. Cut a lemon in half and twist the flesh around the nozzle to remove hard water stains and rust on any stainless steel faucet in the bathroom or kitchen. Plus, it leaves behind a natural, citrus scent instead of lingering chemical fumes.
Kill mold with vodka
Because of its alcohol content, vodka is a natural disinfectant and can replace a lot of harsh chemical cleaners for cutting mold and mildew. This DIY from eHow says you can spray vodka on any grimy spots in your shower and let sit for 10 minutes.