Last weekend Tomas and I embarked on a thorough spring-cleaning of our apartment and I thought I'd give a little update about what was accomplished and what we learned along the way. First, we were a bit too ambitious in attempting to complete everything on our checklist, but we did get most of it done. We did want to enjoy some of our weekend so editing and organizing the closets and storage locker will have to wait for another weekend. One of the themes of the weekend for Tomas and I was sourcing and making green, non-toxic cleaners to use. When it comes to commercial brands, we love using Method. It's the most effective and inexpensive non-toxic cleaner we've been able to find on the market. (We also love Martha Stewart Clean, obviously, but this brand has become increasingly difficult to find in Canada.) I've also heard that Mrs. Meyers cleaning products are very efficacious but their products are pricier.
Our greatest discovery this weekend, however, was baking soda. It is a miracle worker and, aside from plain white vinegar, it is probably the most useful and effective natural cleanser you can use in the home. We used it to clean the oven, forgoing the harsh, toxic stench of Easy-Off for this much gentler cleaning solution. To clean the oven, we sprinkled baking soda liberally around the bottom of the oven and then spritzed generously with water to form a paste. We let it sit overnight and any burnt-on food and grease came right off with the wipe of a damp sponge the next morning. For the inside of the oven door and the sides of the oven, we made a paste using baking soda and the juice from one lemon. (Use more lemon juice if necessary.) We spread the paste around the surfaces with a cloth. The combination of these powerful natural cleaners eliminated stuck-on grease after just a few hours. Doing this frequently (once every three months, for instance) will prevent very stubborn build-up.
Here are more ways you can use baking soda as a natural cleaner in your home:
1. A box or small bowl of baking soda in the refrigerator, freezer, or any cupboard will keep away unpleasant odors.
2. Similarly, baking soda will keep away garbage odors; sprinkle the bottom of the pail, and then sprinkle again after you put a new bag in.
3. Grease fires can be extinguished by sprinkling them with baking soda.
4. To clean any surface, sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth. Wipe and then rinse with clean water.
5. To remove stale smells from food containers, rinse out with hot water and baking soda. If the smell persists, let the container soak overnight in the baking soda and water mixture.
6. To clean silver, use a paste of 3 parts baking soda to one part water. Rub the paste onto each item, then rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
7. To remove scuff marks or grease spills from the floor, sprinkle with baking soda and then wipe with a warm, damp cloth. This is even safe for no-wax floors!
8. For burnt-on food in the bottom of pots, sprinkle with baking soda, then add hot water. Let soak overnight; the dried on food will come loose much more easily.
9. To remove stubborn stains from most surfaces, use a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda, one part water). Apply, let stand, then scrub or wipe clean.
10. To avoid clogged drains, pour 1/4 cup baking soda down weekly. Rinse through with hot water.MY FAVOURITE GREEN-CLEAN BRANDS: