Saturday, May 4, 2013

Leader Enterprise - May 1, 2013 - Spring Cleaning Tips & Homemade Cleaners

Hopefully, spring has sprung and we're going to be enjoying more sunshine and warmer temps for a while. It's been hard to think of spring cleaning when it hasn't felt like spring, don't you agree?
Before I share some tips for spring cleaning, I want to first remind you of some of the FUN things about spring.  

~The flowers and trees begin blooming, adding color to our world, and everything'greens up'. Many look forward to planting a garden.
~We get to see more birds, and maybe, even wake up early because of all the birds chirping. (!)
~We all spend more time outdoors, soaking up the Vitamin D.
~No more heavy coats and flip flops and sandals enter our world again. AAAHHH that feels good!

I know it seems rather redundant to WASH your top loading washing machine, but think of all the dirt and grime that go through it yearly. It needs a bath too! 

Fill the washer with HOT water. Add 1 quart of chlorine bleach - no detergent and let the machine agitate for a minute, then let it sit for one hour. After one hour, allow the washer to run through its longest wash and spin cycle. Immediately fill the washer with HOT water again and add 1 quart distilled white vinegar. Let agitate for a minute, and again, let it sit for one hour. Using the bleach and vinegar will clean away bacteria, soap scum and mineral deposits from the wash basket and hoses. Every washer should be cleaned at least twice per year.

I think most of us believe that a ceramic stovetop will be easier to clean because it's smooth, but sometimes it takes a lot of elbow grease to get it in shape. Here's what you need to give your stovetop a real shine..
Bowl of hot soapy water
Baking soda
A clean rag
Gloves (baking soda can be harsh on your hands. You'll be glad you are using them).
Fill a bowl with hot tap water and add a little dish soap. Wet the rag. Apply baking soda over the stovetop, especially any affected areas that need extra attention. Wring about half the hot water out of your rag. You want it soggy, but not dripping; lay it over the baking soda. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Swirl the rag in circles, using the soda paste as a gentle scrub. Dry the surface and give it a good shine.
*To clean microwave, place about 1 - 2 Tb. lemon juice in water in glass bowl. (I love using my 4-cup glass measuring cup for this) Microwave for about 4 minutes, then let it stand a few minutes while the steam works on the dirt inside. Using a damp cloth, wipe out the microwave and you'll leave it clean and lemon-y smelling. You might want to add this to your weekly list too.
Cleaning grout is a good springtime job. It's made easy with this formula: 7 c.water, 1/2 c.baking soda, 1/3 c.ammonia (or lemon juice) and 1/4 c.vinegar. Spray on grout,let stand for about an hour, then vigorously scrub with a brush. You'll be pleased with the changes.
I found these great thoughts about de-cluttering - 'letting go' - at While it may be very difficult to get rid of clutter, it can bring great relief by doing it. I want to challenge you to get rid of one thing each day this month. 31 things that you don’t need.
You may think that’s impossible; that is until you think about it for a minute. Let’s quickly brainstorm to come up with some ideas of things we may be keeping around our home but don’t need, use, or love.
Old magazines
Books we’ve never read
Expired coupons
Clothes that don’t fit
Duplicate items
Gadgets that are never used
Outdated paperwork (ex. insurance policies from previous years)
DVD’s never watched
Toys the kids have outgrown
Formal dresses that will never be worn again
I bet the majority of us could knock out the entire month just by getting rid of one magazine or book each day! If not, I’m sure you can come up with 31 random things to trash, sell, or donate. Look at it this way. If you can get rid of 31 things that you don’t need, you’ll have 31 less things to clean or clean around. The chore of keeping your home clean and organized will be so much easier!!
I love using homemade cleaners, so I wanted to share these great ideas that work nicely. The same day I made these refreshers, I put green onions down the disposal. Then tossing one of these refreshers into my disposal made the whole kitchen smell better, and it also helps clean the disposal. Keep them handy to use anytime an unpleasant odor hits.
3/4 c. baking soda 
1/2 c. salt
1 tsp. liquid dish soap 

2 tsp. water

1 fresh lemon

Cookie sheet covered with waxed or parchment paper

Small spoon or scoop

Airtight jar or container

Gather the ingredients. Add baking soda and salt to a small mixing bowl; stir until smooth and blended. Grate the lemon peel into the mixture along with adding the liquid dish soap and water. Slice the lemon in half; squeeze the juice into the mixture. Add juice and stir until mixture resembles course sand. Using a small spoon or scoop, tap mounds onto the covered cookie sheet. I used my smallest spring loaded scoop and thought it was perfect. Allow to stand and dry overnight. Keep handy in an airtight jar or container.

1/8 c. fabric softener
2 Tb. baking soda
hot tap water
spray bottle (about 30 ozs) 
few drops of essential oil (lavendar or orange)for fragrance, optional

Using a funnel, pour fabric softener and baking soda into empty spray bottle. Fill bottle with hot tap water and shake well. (Be sure nozzle is closed before shaking). Spray away! Being frugal can save as much as 90% of what you'd pay in the store.