It’s been unseasonably cool these last weeks. Most days, it’s been too chilly to fling the windows wide open and really enjoy the weather. Though we’re only just beginning to see the signs of an Alabama spring season, we’re preparing our supplies to begin the task of spring cleaning. We’ve previously shared some wabi-sabi cleaning tips, but thought we would share another post of our favorite cleaning tips and recipes for those of you who are also in the spring cleaning spirit.
Hydrogen peroxide: It removes mold and disinfects. You can even dip a cotton swab in peroxide and use it to disinfect your computer keyboard. If you stain your linens, pour on a little peroxide, allow it to soak for 30 minutes, then rinse. Start with a mixture of half water and half peroxide. If the stain is still there, soak again using a stronger solution, then rinse.
Club Soda: Use it to clean and shine windows and fixtures. It also shines up a scuffed stainless steel sink. And the old club soda trick really does work on rug stains, since the carbonation lifts up the stain to the surface and makes it easier to clean. If you catch the spill in time, cover it with cornmeal to absorb the liquid then vacuum it up first.
Vinegar: Cuts grease and lime deposits and soap build up. You can also use it to clean countertops, deodorize the toilet and, if you are using white vinegar, clean your grout without staining. Vinegar removes film on floors as well. It works on linoleum, but when diluted, is gentle enough for hardwood flooring, too. For bathroom surfaces, you can heat until just warm, and then spray on for 15 minutes before wiping clean. DON’T use vinegar on marble because it might ruin the surface.
Baking Soda: It scours and removes smudges or scuffs. It is a natural abrasive and can be a good substitute for cleaning powders. Pour some onto a damp sponge to scrub sinks and bathtubs. For tougher stains and grime, make a paste out of baking soda and water or lemon juice. Spread the paste across the surface and leave it there for 10-20 minutes, then scrub. Mix with vinegar to clean stainless steel.
Lemon juice: Removes grease and tarnish. It kills mold and mildew and is a streak-free window cleaner. Use a lemon half to remove stains from wooden or plastic cutting boards. You can also rub lemon juice onto stained plastic food storage containers. Let them dry (preferably in the sun), then wash. Lemons have the added benefit of making your house smell clean without artificial fragrances. Put your lemon peel through the garbage disposal to clean and deodorize.
Salt: Mix it with water to destroy bacteria. This also works in place of baking soda when you need a tougher abrasive. Oven and stove spills can be cleaned by covering the spill with salt and allowing it to sit for a while. The salt absorbs the liquids and makes them easier to clean up. This works especially well with grease and oils. You can also toss some into a burned pan, right after it has happened. The burned spot should wipe off easily.
Olive Oil: Use it to polish wood furniture (mix 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar for a cleaner shine). To prevent drying or cracking of rattan or wicker, lightly brush them with oil and rub in with a soft cloth. If you warm the olive oil first, it thins and can be applied more easily. You can also polish leather shoes with just a drop or two and a clean cloth.
And, don’t forget, those Old Wives’ Tales can often be true:
Don’t rub it in; dab it off – in other words, blot; don’t rub it in more.
A stitch in time saves nine – get to it as quickly as possible to avoid more work.
Out, then in – start on the outside of the stain and work your way in.
Don your French maid costume along the way? Who knows what can happen.