I am a fan of spring cleaning. It just feels good. I think our Northern clime makes it even better for us. I think that because we survive one of the longest winters on the planet we experience the most rapturous spring cleaning in the world.
For 6 long months (at least), there just isn’t enough light to penetrate into the farthest nooks and crannies of our homes, and the light that does make it in is just too thin and non-committal to bother illuminating the grode that is busily accumulating while we scheme about flying to Mexico to join all the other Croc-sporting Canadians for una cervza, por favor.
When the light finally returns to thaw our decks and burn our shoulders, so much is revealed. I’m not talking about what you saw your neighbour mowing his lawn wearing, save it for your therapist. I’m talking about the filth in every room of our homes. And the clutter, Oh! The clutter! And all the crap in our yards that, months ago, looked so pure and clean blanketed in snow with chickadees flitting through the bare branches of our trees.
It’s just so awesome to muscle a broom, a wet rag, and a Goodwill donation bin at all the crap, grime, gunk, scuz, dust and amassment. It’s just so satisfying to make it all gleam in the lemony sunshine.
This year, we went a step cleaner than last. For years I’ve been meaning to switch to homemade, non-toxic cleaning products. I want to run an ecological household. And I want my army of munchkins to help with the spring cleaning without Mr. Clean and Windex seeping into their wee helping hands. But I didn’t bother before. I don’t know why. This year, though, I did. I just stopped restocking store-bought cleaners. Then I printed off these recipes:
Then I stocked up on soap granules and castile soap, washing soda, white vinegar and borax. I already had olive oil and essential oils of lavender, grapefruit and bergamot. I bought some dollar store spray bottles and collected some containers to re-use like milk-jugs to store large batches of solutions in and laundry soap containers for laundry soap. Then I just made the recipes as needed and put a little elbow grease into cleaning with them. They work! The ingredients are easy to find at Earth’s General or the aisles of Superstore.
The all-purpose spray and the stainless steel polish are my favourites. I love how nice the spray smells and how handy it is to have something on hand that cleans without poisoning. And the stainless steal cleaner — which is more a method than a recipe: put some olive oil on one side of your rag and wipe away the smudges, then put some vinegar on the other side of your rag and make it brilliant — is hugely better than store-bought.
The laundry soap and the dishwashing powder (all purpose scour) are the big money savers. Wow. We do a lot of dishes and a lot of laundry and would probably spend about $40 a month on these products. This month I estimate we spent less than $5. And I’ve got jars of homemade laundry soap (that smells like lavendar!) left. Do these products work? Absolutely.
I like how much money we’re saving, I like how much safer they are for my home/children/planet, and I like how it helps us shrink our ecological footprints.
Try it — if you’re any where near as cheap and dirty as us, you’ll love greening your spring cleaning.