Spring cleaning is a custom in some cultures, but for most of us it’s a combination of tradition and biology.
Back before vacuums and dust mops, people realized spring was the best time for dusting and sweeping – it was warm enough to leave doors and windows open yet cool enough that bugs were not yet in full bloom. This post-frost tradition was carried through the years, but nowadays we know that our physiology also comes into play.
During the winter months, the decreased sunlight means our bodies produce more of a hormone called melatonin which triggers the urge to sleep. The chilly air causes us to be more inclined to curl up on the couch. In the spring we get extra hours of daylight which helps to boost energy levels, so as we crawl out of our hibernation, we notice our living space could use sprucing up. It’s time to open the window, air out the house and start scrubbing!
Cleaning out the clutter, cobwebs and cabinets doesn’t mean that you have to contend with chemicals though. We’re gearing up for a greener clean, and it’s easier than you think to incorporate natural products.
Here’s a few of our favorites.
For cleaning, it’s hard to beat citrus scents. Not only is lemon a great cleaner and deodorizer, it also has an energizing aroma that comes in handy when you are tackling tough tasks. Try adding a few drops to vinegar when cleaning windows, or use it to remove scuffmarks from wood floors. Leave the laundry sitting in the machine too long? A few drops of lemon will help freshen it right up.
See? Citrus! Sweet Orange Oil is another must have versatile oil. To clean your fridge and freezer, mix 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons baking soda, 15 drops of orange oil and wipe down shelves, walls and doors. For stubborn grease on stovetops, or for scrubbing sinks, try a combination of straight baking soda with a few drops of orange oil and a damp sponge. You can also make your own wood polish by adding 5-7 drops of orange oil to ½ cup flaxseed oil, your furniture and wood cabinet doors will shine.
This little wonder from down under works wonders when cleaning. It’s a must-have in the bathroom where germs, mold and mildew take up residence. Mixing a teaspoon (about 50 drops) of Tea Tree oil with a cup of water can help to keep your bathroom sparkling clean.
As the story goes, this was once the blend of bandits, but we prefer fighting grime to a life of crime. A great all-purpose cleaning spray for your entire house can be made with ½ cup water, ½ cup vinegar, and 15 drops of My 4 Thiefs. You can whip up some extra to keep under the sink in a spray bottle for spot cleaning surfaces.
Relaxing and floral, lavender is also great for cleaning. Make a simple floor cleaner by combining ¼ cup Castile Soap to a gallon of water, and liberally sprinkling in some lavender Want more of this great scent wafting through your home? Turn your vacuum into an air freshener by dousing a cotton ball with lavender (or your favorite oil) and dropping it into your vacuum bag or canister before cleaning floors and furniture.
Have any helpful hints for how you tidy up? We’d love to hear them!