Eco-friendly ways for a clean start in 2019
Go beyond vacuuming, dusting and bench wiping to give your whole home a fresh feel for the warm months ahead. Making your own environmentally friendly cleaning products to use around the home is not only cost effective but better for your health.
1. Declutter draws
Remove all the items from any drawers and cupboards and wipe them out thoroughly with an eco friendly solution of the juice of three lemons, three teaspoons of bicarbonate soda, one drop of dishwashing detergent and a drop of oil such as eucalyptus or lavender. Mix it all together and add to one litre of water. Replace items and cull any broken and unused items and donate any double ups to charity.
2. Clean the oven
Rather than kitting yourself up in biohazard suit, try using bicarb mixed with water. Scrape off as much grime as possible then make a paste and spread it over the walls, top and bottom of a cold oven and leave overnight. The next day use a cloth with hot water to wipe it all down and finish with a final wipe using paper towels. Spread a layer of bicarb on the oven glass and spray with white vinegar until it fizzes. Finish using a soft scouring pad to clean off the grease and wipe clean.
3. Check expiry dates
Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer checking for expiry dates. Throw out anything that is past its used by date and re-organise the remaining products. Position the ones that are due to expire soonest at the front of the cupboard as well arranging products in height order so you don't leave a small tin of beans to languish for years at the back of the cupboard.
4. Sparkling grout
Reseal any grout lines by scrubbing the tiles and grout with an abrasive pad then use a hard toothbrush to scrub the grout lines in a circular motion. Rinse the area with clean water and wipe with paper towels. Let the area dry completely before spreading the grout and tiles with a sealer. Allow to cure then remove any residual sealer with a dry towel. Repeat if necessary to achieve waterproof grout lines.
5. Clean the cabinets
Empty all the items from draws and shelves in the vanity and cabinets. Carefully discard any expired medications and cosmetics. Throw away or donate any unopened products that have been hanging around for years that you will never use. Wash the inside and outside of the vanity and cabinets and replace items so the most used ones are close at hand.
6. Detox the toilet
Pull on some gloves and thoroughly scrub the toilet inside and out using one cup of vinegar mixed with a quarter of a cup of bicarb soda. Don't forget to remove seat and clean around seat bolts. Wipe with a clean cloth soaked in warm water.
7. Cull your closet
Sweep and wash the cupboard floor, or for carpeted areas sprinkle baking powder over the area, leave for two to three hours then vacuum well. Put everything back into organised categories and donate items you no longer need to charity. If your cupboard is in desperate need of help call in the experts to work wonders in your wardrobe.
8. Banish bed bugs
Move your bed, get help if it's very heavy or awkward and put away anything stored under the bed. Sweep and mop or vacuum the entire floor before putting the bed back in place. If it's a sunny day take your mattress outside and let it sit in the sun, turning over after a few hours. The ultraviolet rays will kill any bacteria making your mattress more hygienic. Wash all bedding in hot water and hang in the sun for a day.
9. Window wonder
Throw open the windows and let fresh air fill up your bedroom. Wash curtains according to the fabric or clean blinds with a damp cloth. Wipe the window sills inside and out then clean the windows with a solution of two teaspoons of white vinegar mixed with one litre of water in a spray bottle. Sparkle up the glass using a clean cotton cloth when the sun is not shining directly on the windows.
10. Couch cleanse
It might be worth calling in the professionals if your couch as seen a few spills and thrills over winter. If it just needs a bit of a tidy then vacuum all surfaces and wash any cushion covers, blankets or snuggies! Spot clean small stains with a mix of quarter of a cup of eco friendly dishwashing detergent and one cup of warm water blended to for a foam. Apply with a soft brush gently working it into the fabric then use a clean, dry cloth to dab dry.
11. Dust decor
Dust pictures and photo frames then clean the glass as well as any mirrors that are hanging. Most marks on painted walls should come off with bit of bicarb on a damp sponge gently rubbed over the spot.
12. Disinfect door handles
Wipe away any sticky residue or just general grime on door handles and knobs with an environmentally friendly disinfectant. Mix three to four drops of natural soap and 15 drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil with two cups of water. Spray onto areas that need cleaning and wipe off with a soft, dry cloth.
13. Keyboard clean
Turn off your computer or unplug the keyboard before cleaning so you don't unintentionally press any keys. Rather than just turning the keyboard upside down and shaking the crumbs out, buy a can of compressed air from the hardware store. Attach the nozzle and aim the air in between the keys, blowing away any debris that has gathered.
14. Clean telephone
For those that still use a landline, unplug it and spray a clean cloth with an eco friendly disinfectant then wipe the handset thoroughly to remove any obvious dirt. Carefully use a toothpick to clean the small holes or slots on the ear and mouthpiece. Finally, give the dial pad a wipe over for a germ free phone.
15. Desk declutter
Clear the top and the contents of all the drawers in your desk and clean with an all-purpose cleaner made from half a cup of vinegar, one quarter of a cup of baking powder mixed with two litres of water. Start to tidy away, designating one draw to office supplies with pens, pencils, highlighters etc stored in their own tray. Organise your desktop so the surface only has the current projects you are working on at one time.