Want to guess my favorite thing about spring? Cleaning. It sounds warped, I know, but we’ve had a little extra time inside lately and I swear, it’s driving me nuts. For some reason I am feeling organic and all-natural these days, so this year’s spring clean will feature Grandma’s tried and true, all-natural cleaning methods.
My Grandma Myrtle could always be counted on for three things: little mini glass-bottled Cokes (hidden in the sun porch closet); that nasty gold-colored Listerine in the paper cylinder under her sink; and vinegar. I think that woman may have bathed in vinegar here and there for good measure. I always remember her house being spotless, though, so let’s dig into this all-natural-vinegar-cleaning thing.
Did you know you can use vinegar to:
- Clean your hard-surface floors: Use a 1-1 ratio of vinegar and water to clean hard-surface floors. Be careful on porous/un-sealed wood surfaces.
- Clean windows and mirrors: for a streak-free shine, use a paper coffee filter dipped in a half vinegar-half water solution (not the most eco-friendly, but definitely streak-free).
- De-germ your bathroom: Put full-strength vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz over surfaces, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. For toilets, pour in a full cup of vinegar and let it sit – minimum 10 minutes, maximum overnight – then flush.
- Remove hard water stains: mix 1 tsp vinegar with 2 tbsp salt. Do not use on soft/porous surfaces.
- For super scrubbing powers, mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda or salt. This will remove stains from coffee/teacups among other things. Again, not for use on soft surfaces; it will scratch.
- Get paint out of a paint brush: Soak for at least an hour in pure vinegar. Heat on stove until the vinegar is near-boiling, then rinse brushes and pan thoroughly.
Let’s talk lemons…this is something I always have around, but rarely use. Lemon is awesome for:
- Getting stains and smells off cutting boards (wood, plastic, you name it)
- Getting stains and smells off your hands: Just rub fresh-cut lemon all over and rinse off. (Tip: if this doesn’t work, my restaurant-biz bestie says to rub your hands on a stainless steel surface.)
- Cleaning toilets: Drain the water, swish in some fresh lemon juice or rub fresh-cut lemons over the interior surfaces. Let it sit 10 minutes, then brush out and turn the water back on.
- Removing fabric stains: Cut a lemon in half, then sprinkle the stain with salt. Rub the lemon over the salt and let sit for 10-30 minutes. Wash as usual.
- Surface scrubbing: Sprinkle baking soda on the surface of a cut lemon and use it to remove tough dish stains.
- Furniture polish: Mix 1 cup olive oil with half a cup of lemon juice (2-3 lemons). Use this just like you’d use a “normal” furniture polish.
Baking Soda has been mentioned a few times already; here are some more uses for it:
- Teeth whitener: wet your toothbrush and dip into baking soda, then add toothpaste and brush as usual.
- De-odor-izer: Set a small dish of baking soda in the fridge and freezer to absorb odors. You can also sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash bag/can to absorb those odors as well.
- Silver cleaner: 3 parts baking soda to one part water. I definitely prefer this to that slimy silver cleaning cream!
What are your favorite tried and true spring cleaning tricks?