Spring is just around the corner, and it’s a perfect time to open up the windows in your house, let in some fresh air and give the whole place a good scrub. But you should also be aware of some of the possible health hazards involved in getting your place spic and span. You don’t want to be breathing harmful chemicals, and it’s a good idea to remove any health hazards that may be lurking in seemingly innocent areas of your house. Instead of using chemical-laden cleaning products, try to use simple non-toxic cleaners include vinegar, baking soda and water in varying combinations. They are just as effective for many jobs and will not expose you to harmful fumes. Read on for some healthy spring cleaning tips!
For sparkling windows
Far better than commercial glass cleaner, this window washing solution is non-toxic and leaves no streaks: Combine ¼ cup of vinegar, 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of liquid dish detergent in a spray bottle, and voila! You’ve got window cleaning solution that will cut through the waxy buildup of years’ worth of cleaning products, leaving your windows crystal clear. More tips:
- Try to clean your windows on an overcast day. Sun shining directly on windows can dry the washing solution too fast and you end up with streaks.
- Use either a rubber squeegee to remove the solution, or use newspaper. Dry newspaper will not leave streaks or wipe marks the way that paper towels can.
- When removing the washing solution, use vertical strokes on one side of the window and horizontal strokes on the other. That way, if you leave a streak or two it is easier to figure out which side of the glass the streak is on.
To clean a toilet
Pour about ¼ cup of white vinegar into the toilet bowl and put some vinegar in a spray bottle to spray the sides of the bowl. Add a sprinkling of baking soda, let it sit for 5 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush as usual. To remove hard water marks from the bowl, add two cups of vinegar to the water in the bowl and leave it overnight to dissolve the marks.
Remove the dust
Dust is heaven for dust mites, which can trigger allergies and make life generally uncomfortable. Old wool sweaters or fabric make good dust cloths, as they will pick up dust easier than other cleaning cloths. At the same time, replace air conditioning and heating filters so they do not serve to redistribute the dust and other airborne allergens around your newly clean house.
Get rid of mold and mildew
Provoking allergic reactions and worsening asthma, mold and mildew are constant enemies in areas of your home that remain warm and damp for extended periods of time. The most effective non-toxic mold remover is tea tree oil. Mix two teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of water and use it in a spray bottle on any mold or mildew. The scent will dissipate in a few days, but if it is too strong for your taste, straight vinegar works almost as well, killing 84 percent of mold spores. You can add a few drops of your essential oil of choice if you do not wish your bathroom to smell like a salad for a few hours.
To clean sinks, counters and bathroom tile
A mixture of one part baking soda, two parts vinegar and four parts water makes a good scouring cream for these surfaces. One of the most germ-laden locations is your kitchen sink, so give this an extra scrub with straight vinegar every so often to kill pathogens.
To clean and polish wood surfaces
Use a solution made of equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. Rub in and let it dry.