Home & Garden

harvest on the hudson: Spring Eco-Cleaning

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healthy-living-logo| by Marcie Cuff |  

Spring is on its way! Here in the Hudson Valley, the last spring frost is typically around Mother’s Day. Soon, you’ll throw those windows and doors wide open. Don’t be caught off guard. It’s time to get all your affairs in order. Spring cleaning is much more pleasant and much less costly with the use of natural, non-toxic cleaning products. 

It’s time to branch out and experiment with the natural things in your kitchen pantry. Discover 10 trustworthy household treatments and recipes— sprays, cleaners, polishes and scrubs—using only a few eco-friendly ingredients. You’ll be astounded by the simplicity of throwing together a few common things—distilled white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, water and some essential oils—to make first-class ecological alternatives to harsh commercial chemical cleaners.

Unscented Clean-It-All Spray

2 oz distilled white vinegar (1/4 cup) 30 oz warm water (~4 cups)
1 oz 1/8 cup baking soda (1/8 cup) 32 oz spray bottle

In bowl, dissolve baking soda in vinegar by combining and stirring. Add water and stir. Transfer to spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray on surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Sweet and Spicy All-Purpose Disinfectant Spray

2 oz baking soda (1/4 cup)
30 oz warm water (~4 cups)
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
10 drops thyme essential oil
32 oz spray bottle

In a bowl, dissolve baking soda in water by combining and stirring. Transfer the solution into spray bottle. Add essential oil. Shake well. Shake before each use.

Dusting Spray

6 oz distilled white vinegar (3/4 cup)
24 oz warm water (3 cups)
1/8 oz olive oil (2 tsp)
½ oz fresh lemon juice, strained (1 Tbsp)
32 oz spray bottle

Combine all ingredients and stir well. Transfer the solution into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.

Mold and Mildew Buster Spray

32 oz warm water (4 cups)
10 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops cinnamon bark oil
10 drops grapefruit seed extract
32 oz spray bottle

Pour water into spray bottle. Add essential oils and grapefruit seed extract. Shake before each use. Spray surfaces with solution and wait 2 hours. Wipe with a soft cloth. Re-spray and do not rinse.

Oven Cleaner

6 oz baking soda (¾ cup)
2 oz salt (¼ cup)
2 oz warm water (¼ cup)

Wet all oven surfaces with damp cloth or sponge. Mix ingredients together in a bowl and add just enough water to form a paste.  Remove oven racks and spread paste throughout oven interior avoiding vent openings. Let it sit overnight. Wipe clean with a wet sponge or cloth.

Wood Floor Polish

2.5 oz distilled white vinegar (1/3 cup)
2 oz olive oil (¼ cup)
½ oz lemon juice (1 Tbsp)
128 oz warm water (1 gallon)
10 drops essential oil (lemon or orange)

Add ingredients to bucket and stir. Apply to floor with mop.

Stovetop and Grimy Oven Window Cleaner

4 oz baking soda (1/2 cup)
3 oz warm water (6 Tbsp)

Mix baking soda and enough water to make a paste. Apply liberally to cool stovetop or oven window. Wait 20 minutes. Scrub lightly and remove with sponge.

Bathroom Grimy Grout Cleaner

4 oz baking soda (½ cup)
2.5 oz lemon juice (1/3 cup)
2 oz vinegar (¼ cup)

Combine all ingredients until baking soda dissolves. Pour solution onto the floor tile so that the grout lines are flooded. Allow the solution to sit on the grout for 15 minutes. If it completely soaks into the grout, add more solution, making sure there is always plenty of cleaning liquid on the grout. Scrub the grout lightly.

Drain De-Clogger

4 oz baking soda (½ cup)
4 oz distilled white vinegar (½ cup)
Teapot of boiling water

Pour baking soda down the drain followed by vinegar. Cover the drain with small bowl or plate. Let the mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes. Pour boiling water down the drain.

NOTE: Before you start cleaning, it’s always best to test any product on a hidden area to make sure no color change or damage occurs. Be aware that improperly diluted vinegar is acidic and is potentially harmful to some surfaces.

Marcie Cuff lives in Irvington and is the author of the blog Mossy. She is also the author of the book “This Book Was a Tree” by Perigee, an imprint of Penguin Books. For more hands-on projects like this, visit http://mossymossy.com

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