Archives for posts with tag: Cleaning
Ukrainian Easter eggs

Ukrainian Easter eggs

This Easter weekend we are taking it easy, reflecting on life and the new life that springs all around us. We take note that today is Earth Day, and a cause for another pause and reflection.

If you are so fortunate as to have both some time off and a garden, this seems like a good time to research seeds, plants, and garden ideas and set out what you would like to grow this year!

Or maybe you will take a day to Spring Clean. I know I am overdue…

If you are dying Easter eggs or decorating cupcakes, you could try some of the natural dyes that we used for Snow Painting With Plant Pigments. I would recommend Turmeric (for a bright gold) and beets (for a nice purple). The traditional method for eggs is to add some onion skins into the water, as you boil the eggs with the natural dyes. For icing colour, just add the colourful ingredients in the same way you would more toxic chemical “food colouring”.

Have a wonderful, verdant Easter weekend!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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Dust bunnies

dust bunnies, just in time for Easter

A Sweeping Epic: An Epic Sweeping.

In recent weeks I’ve been feeling a stirring, an urge… and it cannot be denied much longer. Obsession. Thoughts drifting off at highly inappropriate times. Should I do it? Am I ready? I break into a nervous sweat. Getting ready to… clean.

In pre-Spring-cleaning mode, I am thinking about my methods of attack. To tackle the more persistent dust bunnies before, or after dusting the shelves? Should I just sweep really well, or invest in having my vacuum fixed? The little details are something of a luxury for me, details that for a different type of person would be more of a necessity.

I am not a slob! I do not embrace a messy lifestyle, nor do I endorse living amongst personal rubble. However, it might appear that way. I call this: Being Busy. I also call this: Putting On The Necessary Blinkers. Sometimes we have to “put our blinkers on”, so that we don’t see things that we can’t deal with at the moment. I think everyone does this. Perhaps not everyone does it in regards to dust bunnies and heaps of miscellaneous papers, but I do.

I am inspired to use natural, home-mixed cleaning agents this year. Earlier, Tammy had written an article that gave the recipes for them, and it’s most certainly time for me to give it a whirl. Thus far I’ve been non-toxic, in that I really haven’t cleaned properly since moving into my place… a while… ago.

ah, my pretty floor. Soon you will be seen and gleaming again. The same goes for the other surfaces in my home, sweet home.

While cleaning, I am going to re-arrange my home. I like to increase functionality (and feng shui, if I can manage that too, well, bonus!) in my home whenever possible. There are so many inspirational magazines (paper and on-line) as well as home-decor books from the library! I could look at painting a wall, getting some more shelves… Wait. This smells faintly of procrastination. Right, I’ll just start with the cleaning and let the decoration happen later. Willpower, be mine!

Two things are made a lot easier by warmer weather: leaving windows open, and leaving “stuff” out on the street. A small sign: “A Donner, Free” and I’m happier and so is someone else.

A win-win situation, this de-cluttering. Hello, Spring! Bye-bye TV! Bye-bye VCR!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Did you know that you could actually clean most anything using insanely common items such as baking soda, soap and vinegar? Way back in the day, yes, all the way back in 2005, I went to a “make your own cleaning products” workshop at La Co-op La Maison Verte .  At this very workshop my hunch was confirmed; it is possible to make cleaning products with simple and cheap ingredients.  For many of my clients, it is important to avoid using harsh chemical cleaners in their homes.  You too might enjoy seeing how easy it is to make your own green products.

Bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Image via Wikipedia

Scrub Paste.  (It’s excellent!) In a tight fitting jar, mix together in the following order:

1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap (dish-soap, Dr. Bronner’s, etc.), 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree essential oil.

(If there is a little residue from the baking soda, just spray with a wee bit of vinegar and wipe)

Uses: any greasy, grimy job, like tubs, sinks, garbage cans, counter tops, super dirty floors, toilet bowls, it works!

All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner

In a 16 oz. spray bottle:

Put 3 tablespoons liquid soap or 1 tablespoon of liquid hand-dishwashing detergent and 30 drops tea tree essential oil in bottle and fill with purified water.

Uses:  Kitchen and bathroom floors, toys, doorknobs, phones, toilet seat and rim, garbage cans, dirty windows, baseboards, floors, walls

Chrome/Glass Cleaner

Fill any spray bottle with club soda.

Other uses for club soda: clean plants, stains like wine, juice, tomato sauce.

Scented Baking Soda

In a glass sugar container with a perforated top, fill with:

Baking Soda and your favorite essential oil

Uses: any stainless steel surface, like the kitchen sink, removes odours (carpet, cat box, garbage can), scuff marks and smudges

Scented Vinegar

In any size spray bottle, fill with:

Cats help with so many things in this life, just not the cleaning!

White distilled vinegar and your favorite essential oil.

Uses: to prevent soap build-up in the bathroom spray shower a couple times a week, removes baking soda residue, removes odours, any stainless steel surface, also can be used as a fabric softener.

Oven Cleaner

Spray water on bottom of the oven, sprinkle 1/4 cup salt mixed with 3/4 cup baking soda, spray again with water and let sit overnight.  Next day scrape with a putty knife/steel wool/ pumice stone.  Rinse with scented vinegar.  Prevention: Use oven liners which are pure aluminum, so you can recycle them when you are done.

Cutting Board Cleaner

Spray cutting board with water, then work salt or the cut side of half a lemon into the surface.  Let sit, then rinse with water and dry.

Lemon

Image via Wikipedia

Furniture Polish – love it! In a 16 oz. spray bottle:

2 teaspoons olive oil, 20 drops pure lemon essential oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar and fill with purified water. Shake well before using.

The vinegar and lemon oil dissolves dirt and smudges, while the olive oil shines and protects the wood.

Uses: wooden surfaces such as cabinets, picture frames, wood paneling, varnished wood floors, dusting furniture and dust mopping floors.

A few additional tips:

1) Replenish these products on a regular basis.  If the oil goes off in the bottle, throw the old stuff out and make new stuff.

2) If you are concerned about using petroleum based products, remember, if the soap is made from synthetic ingredients it is likely a petroleum based soap.  There are many good brands out there that use vegetable oils so be sure to read labels!  Castille soap is an amazing option.

3) Also, most distilled vinegars are made from petroleum.  Heinz is a grain-based vinegar, so look for that.  Do not use any vinegar on any stone or marble.

4) If you do not like the scent of tee tree essential oil, try pure lavender essential oil or pure lemon essential oil.  These oils are also disinfecting oils.

Happy Cleaning!

Many of these recipes are found in “Clean House, Clean Planet” by Karen Logan

This info was compiled by Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

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