Thursday, May 19, 2011

{ Spring Cleaning }

It must have been mothers who came up with the idea of "spring cleaning". I say this because the only way that I can get any cleaning done, without everything being pulled out right behind me and at least one little girl hanging on to my legs crying, is to throw the kids out in the backyard to play, which it has to be warm to do. Thus, my house was clean at the end of yesterday and today. All of this cleaning got me to thinking, which is never good because it's usually a random series of thoughts that only I can follow, so let's see if I can streamline my thoughts for writing purposes.

A while back, my girlfriend Kate wrote about little things that make cleaning a little more enjoyable on her blog Safe to Land. She mentioned several things, but one in particular met my dish hand need. She mentioned that she enjoyed putting lotion on her hands and then washing the dishes with gloves on. Kate said that it, "may sound weird but it’s really nice, you put on gloves like normal and then the heat from the water softens your hands while you wash!" I thought that this idea was genius for my dry dish hands.

Now, when I was cleaning Phoebe's chair after a dinner of macaroni and cheese last night, I found myself happily cleaning. Odd. Happily cleaning? Does the adverb happy ever really go with the verb cleaning? - Stay with me, I'm about to connect the thoughts. - This "happy cleaning" made me think of Kate's blog and how we all have our little things that can make cleaning more enjoyable. I was using mine to clean the chair. What is it you may be wondering that makes this grumpy worker a happy worker, well it's my homemade all-purpose antibacterial surface spray. Silly I know, but whenever I use it I feel good, enjoy cleaning and typically get into a cleaning groove.

Now there are definitely simpler anti-bacterial surface sprays you can make, but mine is special because it smells so good. For a short period of time, we were blessed to have a cleaning lady and Kyle loved the way the house smelled when he'd come home after she had cleaned. So one day I asked her what she used, she said she made all of her cleaning supplies and what we were smelling was the seasonal essential oil that she added to her solutions (she also told me she gets large quantities from the Oly Co-op if you're interested), in this case the oil was lavender. This got me to thinking that I should make some of my own cleaning solution, but it had to smell like lavender so that the house would smell good when I cleaned- there needs to be some evidence of my efforts since two little rugrats pull everything out behind me as quick as I put it away. 

As always my search began with Google, this time it ended here:


Antibacterial Lavender Surface Cleaner
2 Cups of warm water in a measuring cup
2 teaspoons of Dr. 
Bronner's liquid Lavender castile soap 
1 teaspoon vinegar 
2 teaspoons rubbing alcohol 
8-10 drops of lavender essential oil - optional
Mix well, add to your favorite spray bottle.

Final solution, this is a double recipe

[You can find Dr.Bronner's at Fred Meyers ($14.99) in the natural section, Target ($9.99, but less variety of scents) I believe I saw it in the natural beauty section and Trader Joe's ($9.99, but they only have peppermint) on the cleaning aisle. We also use our Dr.Bronner's mixed with water to clean the floors. For the record, this bottle will literally last you FOREVER; we bought our bottle last fall and we've only used maybe a quarter cup.]

I keep two bottles of this cleaning spray. One upstairs with the rubbing alcohol and one downstairs without rubbing alcohol. I keep the one downstairs without rubbing alcohol because it was removing all of the decal stickers off of my stove and toaster. The rubbing alcohol is only to make the solution dry faster, so the solution still cleans without it. 

I use this cleaner for everything. I don't quite know why it makes me happy, but it does so I wanted to share it with you. It's all safe household ingredients so I don't have to worry about Tabi crawling through it after I clean a spot on the floor or Phoebe spraying it. It's super easy to make, so see if it doesn't make you happy too.

Do you have any little tips or items that make cleaning more enjoyable for you?


Kristin said...

I got little bottles--travel size--of Dr. Bronner's at Target and these will forever as well as you really use so little. They were less than $3 each. I did not realized that I actually get happy every time I wipe my counter tops with this, but I do! Too funny.
So, what do you use for your toilets?

Oly Momma said...

Kristin, I use this on the outside of my toilets and bleach in the bowl. I am going to look into replacing the bleach with something a little less toxic when I finish the bottle - oh and something a little less damaging ;), my stairs bare some bleach spots on the carpet from the travel between my bathrooms. Window/mirror cleaner is as easy as vinegar (I've used straight vinegar but I'm sure there's a more optimum mixture to minimize streaking, jgi). Jeanette recommends baking soda for pretty much anything that needs abrasion.

Janelle said...

She's Craftaaaaay! Your full of great ideas!

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Amanda Michael said...

we use vinegar and water, half and half, with a couple tablespoons of Dr bonners mixed in for our windows. they are never streaky. Gonna try this solution. only use vinegar and water usually for cleaning.

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