I spent yesterday up to my elbows in dust bunnies, paper filing, and boxes of old memories. I have started Spring Cleaning. In the middle of this seasonal ritual, I stopped to read an old letter that revealed a secret, found a bulging folder full of fun city facts dated about the time Indria (our home) was purchased, and discovered a buried file that Liz had labeled Essential Oils and Homemade Air Fresheners. I thought it would be fun to post the old-fashioned cleaning remedies. Have you ever tried Borax, white vinegar, Ivory soap?
Homemade Cleaning Remedies
All Purpose Cleaner I
1 tsp Borax
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp dish washing liquid
2 cups hot water
All Purpose Cleaner II
Fill a 32 oz spray bottle nearly full with water. Add a squirt or two of Ivory liquid dish soap. Put the sprayer back on and gently shake the bottle until the soap has been evenly distributed. Use Ivory because most other dish soaps leave behind a filmy residue. Ivory is especially safe for Corion, marble and wood counter tops and butcher blocks. And it’s safe to use on brass or gold plated faucets.
1 cup crushed herbs (lavender or rosemary)
4 drops essential oil (lavender or rosemary)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove
2 tsp baking soda
Shake in a jar to blend & sprinkle carpet.
Homemade Air Fresheners for Household Odors
Cinnamon & Cloves
Boil the spices for a fragrant smell. For ease of cleaning, make a cheesecloth bag to contain the spices, and boil the cheesecloth bag. An excellent alternative when entertaining is to steep spiced tea or cider.
Oil of Wintergreen
Dampen cotton balls with oil of wintergreen and place out of sight, but where air will touch them.
Distribute partially filled saucers of vinegar around the room or boil 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors.
Place pure vanilla on a cotton ball in a small saucer. Place the saucer in the car or refrigerator to remove odors. Vanilla is renowned to remove even skunk odors. Keep the cotton ball out of reach of children; vanilla has a high alcohol content.
Place a partially filled box of baking soda on the refrigerator shelf. Replace every 2 months. Pour the contents of the used box down the drain to remove odors and keep the drain clean. Baking soda can also be used to deodorize bottles by filling them with undiluted baking soda and allowing the bottles to soak overnight. Then wash as usual. (To read about the difference between baking soda and baking powder, see WRITING TOPIC — COOKING FIASCOS.)
To inhibit growth of odor-producing molds and bacteria, sprinkle 1/2 cup Borax in the bottom of the garbage can. Empty garbage frequently and clean the can as needed.
Vinegar Or Celery Stalk
To avoid or remove onion odors from your hands, rub white vinegar on your hands before and after slicing. Rubbing hands with the end of a celery stalk will also remove the odor.
Buy or make your own potpourri from your favorite herbs and spices. Place the potpourri in a small basket or jar or in small sachet bags.
Open windows or doors in the house for at least a short period every day. This will help to reduce toxic fumes that may build up indoors.
We have written about cleanliness and attitudes about staying clean in WRITING TOPIC — CLEANLINESS. But seasonal cleaning rituals set a different tone. What home remedies were passed down in your family? What are your favorite cleaning tools (I’m fond of Wanda Wooley). How clean is clean?
Do you do windows once a year, twice a year? Does your entire family pitch in on the seasonal cleaning of your house, or does it fall to you. In Minnesota, Spring arrives late after a long Winter. Do you start your Spring Cleaning in February, March, April, or May? You can even write about how you hate Spring Cleaning!
Get out your fast writing pen, your laptop, or a spiral notebook and do a Writing Practice on Spring Cleaning. Fifteen minutes, Go!
-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, February 13th, 2011
-related to post: What If Madge Were Chicana?