5 Recipes for Natural Spring Cleaning

Spring rolls around this Sunday and I hardly feel ready.  It's time to get into quick action clean mode so when the sun comes out I'm ready to hit the outdoors without worrying about cleaning the house.  There are always the tasks I typically forget about throughout the year.  For example, behind the refrigerator.  We had a debacle the other morning that included steamed milk rolling down the cupboard behind the refrigerator.  Pulling it out makes one realize it's time to start looking around the house for other overlooked areas that need cleaned.

At an estate sale last fall I came across a book called The Natural Formula Book for Home & Yard edited by Dan Wallace.  Some of the best books can be found at estate sales and this one was no exception.  I'll be the first to admit that I don't always use natural cleaning products. I know.  Shock.  I am conscious about it though and try to use natural products when I can.  This book makes it so easy to concoct homemade cleaners that do just as well as the chemical stuff and you probably have most of these items at home already.

I've picked out the top five formulas for those not so regular jobs.   Hopefully you won't have a disaster like I did to propel you forward into spring cleaning action.  Cleaning for fun? Well, it helps to plug in the earphones, blast some 80's music, and dance while you're it.  

1.    Easy Fireplace Cleaner
Full-strength white vinegar brushed on vigorously will clean the tiling around the fireplace.  Sponge away the excess immediately.
I also used a shop vacuum to clean out the dust bunnies.
2.     Noncaustic Drain Opener
1 cup baking soda
1 cup salt
½ cup white vinegar
1 kettle boiling water
Pour baking soda, salt, and vinegar into drain.  Wait about 15 minutes, as these dissolve organic matter and grease.  Flush drain thoroughly with boiling water.

3.    Ammonia Grout Cleaner
1 tsp household ammonia
¼ cup hydrogen peroxide
¾ cup water
Blend ingredients in a small jar.  Saturate stained areas and scrub vigorously with stiff brush; let soak for several minutes. Rinse well and repeat if necessary.

4.     Washing Machine Cleaner
Fill the washer with warm water.  Add 1 cup of white vinegar and run through entire cycle.  Tip: use regular car wax on the outside to prevent rusting.

5.    Leather Cleaner/Polish
¾ cup isopropyl alcohol (70%)
½ cup white vinegar
1 ½ cups water
Mix ingredients together thoroughly.  To use, dampen cloth with mixture and rub into leather until clean.  Mixture can be stored in a clean jar.
Note: If you are anything like me you might worry about putting alcohol and vinegar on your leather.  I started with my ottoman because I figured if it didn't work I wouldn't have ruined the entire chair. It worked!  I couldn't believe it.  It did not get some of the deeper stains (someone sat on it with a wet bathing suit) but it got all of the stains closer to the surface.  I keep my jar handy for new stains.
TIP: When using these formulas it is best to wear gloves.  While I don't have a problem using just my hands, they do dry out the skin very quickly.

Download the PDF here.

What other natural spring cleaning tips do you have?