Wednesday, March 13, 2013

That's Pinteresting! Spring Cleaning Edition

In two weeks from this Friday we should be closing on our house! Can you believe it!? I am SO excited!!

Of course, as of late it has been a marathon of finding more moving boxes and packing each day. It's taking me a little more time to pack on my own, especially since I am sorting through our things before sending it off to our new house. Goodness knows that clutter has a way of creeping into our belongings, and I don't want to spend any extra energy hauling or putting away things that we don't need! 

Today's blog entry is about some essential Spring Cleaning tips that I've been stock piling on my pinterest boards. Not only do they come in handy for helping me clean house on our way out, but we have a new home that will be in need of spring cleaning, and I will be doing double duty! I want to be able to efficiently get great results in both places. Here's a list of 5 Spring cleaning tips that are quite popular on Pinterest!

1. Wool Dryer Balls. They're great for fluffing your laundry, decreasing static cling, and help reduce drying time.  Be sure to use an 100% wool yarn (no blends), or for an even more eco-friendly/cost effective option, unwind an old wool sweater and reuse the yarn.

There are a TON of DIY instructions for wool dryer balls, and I have been meaning to make my own for a while now. I FINALLY got around to making some, and let me tell you-- it's so easy! I seriously don't know why I waited so long. The above picture is a "before felting" view. I didn't bother taking more pictures to post my own tutorial because there are TONS on the Internet. They're basically all the same so if you search for DIY Wool Dryer Balls on pinterest or Google, you'll be sure to find some fail-safe instructions. I bought three bundles of yarn, and was able to wind two balls per bundle. WARNING to those of you who have CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)! Your hand will seriously cramp up if you try to wind six balls in a row! 

2. Eco-friendly cleaning products.

Baking soda is your friend. Seriously. It's cheap, non-toxic, and it is AWESOME at cleaning a crusty oven. I'm pretty good about giving our oven a good scrub-down at least once a month to keep buildup at bay, and I can pretty much tell you that is almost effortless with the help of baking soda and some white vinegar. I pretty much dust my oven door (or any other crusty areas) with baking soda, spray on some white vinegar, and walk away while it does it's bubbly-magic thing. Whatever doesn't wipe clean takes a minimal amount of scrubbing or I just wipe and repeat. 

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I keep a spray bottle of distilled white vinegar handy for various cleaning needs. It's great for cleaning windows, and I love using it to wipe down the inside of our fridge. Somehow the shelves on our fridge always manage to get grimy. Vinegar helps cut the greasy, sticky mess and leaves the shelves clean and disinfected. The vinegar smell vanishes rather quickly, but I honestly don't mind it as much as I dislike the fumes of harsh chemicals like bleach. 

3. Freshen up:

Baking soda is another great way to deodorize carpets and mattresses. Sprinkle a little on your smelly surface, and leave it sit for a while. Then, simply vacuum! If you want to add a little more freshness, simply mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil with the baking soda before sprinkling it onto your carpet or mattress. It's an inexpensive, non-toxic way to keep your allergies in check by keeping dust mites or pet dander at bay!

4. Bathrooms:

I keep a spray bottle of vinegar handy in the bathroom to spray down the shower, toilet, sink, and mirror. Instead of using paper towels I use microfiber towels that I purchased at the Dollar Tree. Not only does it clean better, but I feel better about not wasting half a roll of paper towels when cleaning up. I even cut and sewed some cloth diapers into pads that slip onto the base of my Swiffer-style mop instead of wasting money on expensive disposable mop pads. 

5. Clean your cleaning tools:

Don't waste your time by pushing dirt around with dirty cleaning tools. Regularly clean your mop/broom, vacuum, and scrub pads/brushes. We have two dogs, and so dirt and hair on the floor is abundant in our home. I sweep and mop regularly, but dog hair has a way of sticking to your cleaning instruments-- especially the broom. I make it a habit to spray off the broom to remove all traces of dust and hair. This can easily be done in the sink with your hand sprayer, but be sure to catch the hair so that it doesn't go down the drain. 

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For those of you who are fortunate to own a Dyson like we do, it's best to give it a good cleaning around every 6 months. Ask Anna has a great tutorial on cleaning a Dyson, but you can always refer to your manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. We have had our DC14 Animal for almost 8 or 9 years now, and it is still running as well as the day I bought it. Definitely worth the splurge!

I use Ocello microfiber scrubbing sponges in the kitchen. They've got a textured scrubbing side, and the other side is microfiber. They're washable, so after a few days of hard use, I just toss it in the wash and grab a fresh sponge from the drawer. I find myself using the dishwasher less and less these days, and I usually wind up just using it as an oversize drying rack. Not only do I save on utilities, but there's no need to buy expensive dish washing detergent. You can always make your own detergent (and I do), but sometimes nothing gets dishes (especially glass) sparkling quite like a good hand wash. I use Method dish washing soap in our kitchen. Target regularly puts out coupons for Method, and I stock up when a great deal is to be had. 

This Ginger Pear scent is a favorite. So is the Clementine.

So that's it! It's not a detailed nitty-gritty checklist (although there are a bunch available on Pinterest), but I'm not one to tell anyone how to clean their house. I just wanted to share some of the more popular cleaning tips that have been floating around the pin-o-sphere-- especially ones that we have adopted at our household. They make cleaning quick and easy, and are a whole lot better for our planet and health!

Have you started your spring cleaning yet? Have any other great tips or tricks that I may have left out? Please share them with me! 

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