Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning

The sun finally shone through my French doors today, and I saw a winter's worth of dirt spots, dog nose prints, and finger prints. Alas, the time has come to throw open the windows, shake out the rugs, and do a little (okay, a LOT of) spring cleaning. I don't really mind, though. After a through cleaning I feel organized and ready to face the looming thought of my children's pending summer vacation! There is something about working up a good soapy lather (and a little bit of sweat) that is very therapeutic (at least to me). As I posted earlier, I have started making my own cleaning supplies. Partially, because it is cheaper (and you don't have to run to the store when you run out - just make up another batch), but also because it seems that they are more environmentally friendly. Here are a few recipes for cleaner's that I have really liked.

Multi Purpose Cleaner (I found this recipe off of Pinching Your Pennies; I have tweaked it a little bit so that it isn't so soapy):
2 cups of water
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon dish soap
1 tablespoon of Borax
Whisk the ingredients together in a measuring cup until Borax is dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle.
This cleaner is great for:
  • greasy kitchen messes (especially stove tops)
  • dirty refrigerators doors
  • cleaning kitchen counter tops
  • cleaning kitchen cabinets
  • dirty finger prints on doors and walls
  • cleaning bathroom counter tops and tubs. Your faucets will sparkle when you are done!
Disinfecting Cleaner
(This is my favorite. I found it on Living On A Dime, and I use it to clean everything)

2 tablespoons ammonia
1/2 cup alcohol
1/4 white vinegar
2 1/2 - 3 cups water

Pour first three ingredients in a spray bottle. Add in water. Screw spray nozzle on spray bottle tightly and shake to combine ingredients.

This cleaner is great for:
  • cleaning windows, mirrors, and glass ( it cleans streak free, and is great for getting hairspray off bathroom mirrors)
  • cleaning ceramic tile in showers (gets off soap scum and hard water)
  • cleaning bathroom and bedroom doors
  • shining surfaces
  • cleaning and disinfecting toilets
  • cleaning and disinfecting bathroom counter tops
  • spritzing micro fiber (or regular dust clothes) before dusting
  • use it to dampen a cleaning cloth or paper towel to wipe down computer keyboards
  • disinfect hard surfaces (door knobs, toilet handles, refrigerator door handles, etc.)
Baking soda is great for:
  • Cleaning toilets. Plunge excess water out of toilet bowl with a toilet brush. Sprinkle one cup baking soda around inside of the toilet bowl. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar over baking soda. Let it foam up and sit for 10 minutes. Use brush to scrub toilet bowl, and under the rim; flush. It will clean, disinfect the toilet, and prevent hard water rings.
  • Scrubbing grimy tubs and counter tops. Sprinkle on a damp sponge and scrub away. You can use baking soda with both of the cleaners listed above for a little more cleaning power.
  • Scour kitchen sinks.
  • Remove scorched food from cooking pans. Dampen scorched food and sprinkle with a thick layer of baking soda. Let sit for 5 minutes. Fill pan with three inches of water and bring to a boil on the stove. Boil until black bits begin to surface. Turn off heat and let pan sit until water has completely cooled. Pour out water. Wash pan as usual.
  • Sprinkle on carpet. Let it sit for 15 - 30 minutes. Vacuum up to remove stale odors and pet smells.
  • Sprinkle on counter top stains and dampen with lemon juice. Let sit for a 5 - 10 minutes and wipe up with a damp cloth to remove stains.
  • I keep old Parmesan Cheese containers filled with baking soda in both bathrooms and under the kitchen sink. Make sure you label the containers so somebody doesn't see it sitting on the kitchen counter and sprinkle it on their Spaghetti (this is a true story).

White Vinegar is great for:
  • Removing hard water from faucets, and drains. Soak paper towels with vinegar and place around drain openings and on hard to reach faucet areas to dissolve hard water.
  • To remove sour smells from kitchen dishcloths, kitchen towels, and bathroom towels. Add 1 cup vinegar to wash water (1/2 cup for front load machines) as washing machine fills (with hot water). When machine is full agitate for a few minutes, turn off machine, and let towels sit in vinegar water overnight. In the morning drain the tub, and wash towels as usual.
  • Add to dish water to remove hard water on glass ware.
  • Use in place of Jet Dry in dishwashers (just add it into the dispenser cup, or place a plastic cup full of vinegar in the bottom rack of the dishwasher(just secure it so it won't flip over. I use a rubber band to secure it to the silverware dispenser).
Don't forget that old toothbrushes (perfect for cleaning grout, around faucets, and window tracks), cloth diapers (wonderful for cleaning windows and mirrors), cotton T shirts and socks (great for scrubbing and wiping) are all great (reusable) cleaning tools.


  1. What a great post! I've made a copy to tape on the inside of my laundry room to keep. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Thanks for all the great "cheap" cleaner ideas. I am going to be whipping up a batch soon!!



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