Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Cleaning . . .

Well, it's that time of year when I really have to start thinking about spring cleaning!  I know, it's not always an easy thing to think about, but it must be done!  It's been a long winter, and we have been cooped up in the house, we've had colds and viruses and quite frankly, it's time to do a deep cleaning and get rid of all the evidence!

I'm not an advocate of commercial cleaners, the only one I really use is Murphy's Oil Soap, because it is just natural soap and natural oil.  I also like Dr. Bronners peppermint soap and Sal Suds Cleaner.  I worked for a cleaning company once and ever since, if I even get around heavy duty cleaners, I have an asthma attack, they're not good for you!

So, here are a few suggestions that I use to get myself started:

1.     Make sure that you are dressed for the job - wear your grubbies.  Now, this next one is a hard one for me . . . wear shoes!  You will more than likely be on your feet all day, you don't want sore feet, and more than likely you will be going in and out, so lace up!

2.     Open all of  your windows and really let the fresh air come in and get rid of all the stale, winter air in your house!  Good clean air is the best air freshener!  If it's still cold outside, turn off the heater - yes, I do this!  You don't want frost bite, so don't do this if it's under 35 degrees outside.  When it gets too cold, shut the windows.

3.     Do one room at a time - make a list of all the cleaning that needs to be done in that room and stick to it.  Don't wander around cleaning here and there, you'll never get anything accomplished that way (don't ask me how I know this), clean one room at a time until it's finished. 

4.     Make sure that you have all of your cleaning supplies in one spot.  I have a caddy with my Dr. Bronners, baking soda, vinegar, scrubbies, rags, old toothbrush . . . everything I need is in the caddy and I just bring it from room to room, along with my bucket.  Make sure you have your broom, mop and vacuum cleaner handy,  but not in the way, where you can trip over it (don't ask about that one either).

Now, it's time to get down to business!! 

I just want to share my favorite homemade spray cleaner and air freshener recipes with you:

One of my favorite spray cleaners,  is a gentle, but effective spray cleaner made with 2 cups white vinegar, 20 drops tea tree essential oil and 20 drops rosemary essential oil, and about 2 tsp. of Dr. Bronners liquid soap.   Just put it in a spray bottle, shake, and clean away.   I sometimes add lavender oil until it smells like a lovely day in the fields. This spray is antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial. 

Vinegar is one of my all time favorite cleaners and it's a mild germicidal -  I know, it doesn't smell good!  But, it's  wonderful to clean just about everything with!  One good use is in the bathtub.  To clean the bathtub, sprinkle baking soda in your bathtub, mix with a little water and scrub, add a little vinegar and you have your own scrubbing bubbles - it works great, try it!   You can go on-line and  find a trillion uses for vinegar!

I also like to make my own air freshener by filling a large mister bottle ¾ full with white vinegar, add 1 teaspoon baking soda and 5-20 drops of your favorite essential oils.  Once it has stopped bubbling, put the sprayer back on the bottle and spray away.  My favorite is a mix of lavender and rosemary oils, and for fall and winter I like to combine sweet orange with a touch of clove and cinnamon oils...mmmm. Experiment until you find your favorite!

Now, last but not least, you will need to take care of yourself,  you've worked hard and you deserve it!  Run the tub full of very warm water, add your favorite bubble bath or essential oils.  Turn the lights down or off and light a candle to provide a soft glow to help you relax.   Turn on some soft music to really set the mood!  Enjoy, but don't stay in for more than 30 minutes - you could fall asleep.  After enjoying your bath, put on your favorite body lotion or body oil, put on your night gown and slip into bed for a relaxing night’s sleep!  Yaaawwwnnnn.

I can't leave you without giving you the most wonderful recipe for an all natural, Brown Sugar Facial Scrub.  I got this recipe here, you will love it! 

Brown Sugar Scrub: 2 cups brown sugar (lightly packed)
1/2 cup olive oil, safflower or almond
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla (real, not extract)
Place the brown sugar in a medium-size bowl.  Add the oil, honey and vanilla.   Mix well.  This will fit perfectly into a pint jar or two half-pint, one for you, one for a friend.

Your all-natural scrub will separate. Stir before each use. Moisten your face with warm water, scoop out a bit of the scrub, and apply to your skin.  Work it in gently–you can even leave it on for 10 or 15 minutes, (while you are taking your bath) to increase the nourishing benefits before washing off with warm water.  Use a couple times a week and you won’t believe how soft your skin will be! 

The brown sugar in this recipe is the exfoliant. The olive oil is for the moisturizer. Honey is a natural antibacterial (as well as another moisturizer), and vanilla is for the added scent.

Now, these are all just suggestions and fun ideas, please comment and let me know what you do to make Spring Cleaning easier!  I would also love to hear your homemade cleaner recipes and tips!




  1. I need to get busy with Spring Cleaning too. Okay...started actually. I've been doing my 15 minute a room clean up. I love using newspapers to clean mirrors and windows! I too have a caddy to carry around.

  2. I like the end of your spring cleaning...taking a nice bath!!:>) I haven't started any spring cleaning here in NJ. Its been nice but I think its too soon for us. The 40's are coming back to us on Sunday!

  3. Rhonda - I've been slow getting started too! Do you do Flylady? She is a big help to so many people. I had forgotten about newspapers to clean windows - thanks for the reminder, I know it works great! Thanks for stopping. Hugs

    Kimberly - I know it has been so cold in the Northeast! You should take a nice warm bath . . . just because! I hope you warm up really soon! Good to see you. Hugs

  4. Hi Barb,
    I wish you had posted this before I stared spring cleaning my home. lol. You have given some wonderful tips and I like the cleaning recipes you have given.
    I am not familiar with Dr Bronners, could you tell me where I could get some, and where do you get your essential oils. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    I didn't wear shoes when I was cleaning and my legs were very tired.


  5. You know my favorite part was the last few, the bath, the facial scrub, the music, the bubbles, the candles. Forget about the spring cleaning. Just kidding. Although as I am typing I am listening to your music. Three Dog Night-Pieces of April. I love that song. Your suggestions were wonderful and I love Dr. Bronner's. Thanks for suggesting it to me several months ago. I use it in my recipe for shower cleaner and it is delightful. Love you.

  6. Sue - I saw your kitchen after you cleaned it, I don't think you needed my help, it was beautiful!! But, I buy my Dr. Bronner's at any health food store, or, I get really good deals at, it's cheaper that way. I also buy me essential oils at the health food store - but I know that you can get them online also. Thanks for stopping. Hugs

  7. Karen - I knew you would like the "take a warm bath" part! You deserve it - you have been Spring Cleaning! But, you must make the facial scrub and let it sit for 15 min., you will love that! And, if you get a little on your lip, just lick it off, it's so good!!

    I love my music - I know that some people don't like it, that's why I have it on top, then they can turn it off right away, but I love it, and I'm glad you like it too.

    I want your shower cleaner recipe - I keep forgetting to get it from you, I always think about it in the shower! Love you.

  8. Spring Cleaning!

    Yet another way I differ.

    No such thing as Spring Cleaning Duty, for me.

  9. Hey Barb - now those are some wonderful cleaning products there. I've got to dig into my spring cleaning, too. Just been putting it off. I'm gonna try some of your mixtures - I especially like the mixture of warm bath, candlelight, & soft music!

    Only problem I have is that I have 2 houses to spring clean!

  10. Ugh, Spring Cleaning....I can't wait to get outside and wash our windows, they need it! I love a nice spring cleaned house AND yard--which reminds me to add that to my TO DO list....have a fab day good luck this morning!

  11. I love when the weather starts to get warm and you can open all of the windows and clean and everything feels so fresh. Thanks for the recipes, they sound wonderful.

  12. Aunt Amelia - I envy you! Isn't that the wonderful thing about us women . . . our differences? And it's all good! Hugs.

    Vickie - It's such a hard thing to think about, especially if you have to do it twice! Please, indulge in the warm bath, we all need that! Hugs.

  13. Jess - You were always my best Spring Cleaner! Too bad you have your own home to clean now! Don't work too hard today. Love you.

    Laura - Thanks for stopping, how are you feeling? You will probably start getting really nesty pretty soon and have all kinds of energy to do Spring Cleaning! That was one of the things I loved about being pregnant - I got a lot done. Love you.

  14. Barb that was an awesome entry. You actually caused me to try and start my own spring cleaning. Thanks, for the cleaning recipes to.
    I love you blog.
    If you get a chance email me how you get the link to all of your favorites and the time they blogged. I am struggling with that part.
    Love ya! LeAnn

  15. Hey, I came back to read your tips again. I have been to Fly Lady's blog. She has a lot of great information. I need to go visit again! I deep cleaned 1/2 of the kitchen yesterday. Cleaning/organizing cabinets, pulled out the fridge (GROSS!) feels so good. Oh, and you reminded me of the Murphy's oil soap, so I got mine out to wash all the smelled so good!! Thanks for that reminder.

  16. I love this post. I've been waiting to use up my cleaners and then transfer over to using the homemade versions. I wonder sometimes if they will really work so it's nice to hear that they do. We have hard water and I love my tolet cleaner, so that is the one I worry about the most. How do you keep the ring from forming from the hard water in the tolet bowl? I've never been able to get myself to swiss and swipe daily as FlyLady does. As far as Spring cleaning I've been doing it since Jan.


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