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Note from Kresha: Did you know we've got an entire e-book of homemade cleaners – and that it's FREE? Grab your copy here. Now, let's hear Ally's tips for keeping a home shiny and clean on a day-in, day-out basis! I love this!
I've found that one of the best ways for me to keep the peace in my home is to maintain a regular cleaning schedule, including a daily wipe down of my kitchen and bathrooms.
But you know what?
Cleaning everyday? It uses a lot of cleaning product!
I've tried to avoid using chemicals in my home as much as possible, and spraying chemical cleaners all over my home daily wasn't something that I wanted to do. “Yes” to the clean house… but “No” to the toxic chemicals.
Not to mention the fact that cleaning products can be so expensive!
(Cheapskate me and semi-crunchy me are in agreement on this one.)
So, after some research and some recipe tweaking, I now have a favorite “go to” cleaner- and it's easy to make, cheap, and most importantly, doesn't spread chemicals around my house and into the air.
Vinegar has so many amazing uses- and its non-harsh cleaning properties make it perfect for all purpose daily cleaners.
And the scent? Well, the first time I used a vinegar-based cleaner, my husband walked into the bathroom right after I'd cleaned the sink and asked why everything smelled like ketchup… so, yeah. The vinegar scent may take a little while to get used to, but the smell does dissipate when it dries, and it really didn't take me long to start to enjoy the vinegar-y smell (ahhh, clean!).
I used a simple vinegar and water solution to clean my kitchen counters and to dampen dust rags for several months- just one part vinegar to two parts water- but I wanted some extra cleaning power for doing the bathrooms without sacrificing our health by adding lots of chemicals.
And that's where the orange peels come in.
To make the orange-vinegar base of the cleaner, I grab a couple of quart sized mason jars, some white vinegar, and about four oranges. And then I eat the oranges (with the help of an obliging husband).
The orange peels go into the mason jars, and then I fill up the jars with vinegar. I put the jars in my linen closet for about two weeks (but no longer than a month)- and then take the orange peel out.
Usually by this point, the vinegar has gotten darker and almost syrupy. The orange peel is discarded, and sometimes (if I have the time or motivation) I put the vinegar through a fine strainer before I use it, but I haven't found that to be necessary.
I mix one part orange-vinegar with two parts warm water and shake it up in a spray bottle. The rest of the orange-vinegar can stay in the mason jar until I need it, and then I'm off to clean my bathrooms!
I don't use all natural products all the time, and I still have a lot to learn about ways that our home can be more eco-friendly and healthy. In my home, it's all about the small steps- and for us, this small step makes a big difference. Not only does it save us some money, but I feel good about cleaning my house knowing that I'm keeping our home a safe and healthy place.
What small steps (or big ones!) have you made to clean your home in a more eco-friendly, natural way?