Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Helpful Cleaning Tip

We have shiny black appliances in our kitchen, and one of my frustrations with them is that no matter how often and well I wipe them down, they always have streaks, which drives me a little batty because no matter how clean the kitchen is, it doesn’t LOOK clean if it’s all streaky. I have found something that does a very nice job of cleaning and taking care of the streaks, and it’s not a store-bought cleaner.

A few years ago a friend spoke at our MOPS group and shared some homemade cleaners she uses that are not as harsh as store bought cleaners can be. In the long run, it’s cheaper, too. Now, before I go further, I’m not weird about essential oils and homeopathic stuff or anything. There’s nothing spiritual or mystical or redemptive about essential oils and so-called natural cleaners, etc.  But I do like to look for cheaper ways to clean, and I have found that vinegar and lavender have antiseptic and antibacterial properties, plus I like the way lavender smells, so I think this cleaner is a safe way to go if you’re interested in saving a little money and making your own cleaner. Anyway, to take care of my kitchen counters and appliances I use the all-purpose cleaner she taught us to make, and if done properly, it leaves my kitchen clean, fresh, and shiny. I just spray some of this cleaner on the appliances and counters, scrub with a clean sponge ( you do know to clean your sponges or they become little germ spreaders, right?), then go over it once more with rinsed sponge, then use a clean dry towel to wipe away any excess cleaner. When you use the towel, make sure to put a little elbow grease into your wiping and when it dries, the appliances are clean and shiny, no more streaks. If you see a streak or two, just go back over with dry towel and it takes care of it. I love it. 

Also, if you spray it in your stainless steel sink and use a scrubby sponge, it easily takes care of coffee and tea stains, leaving you with a nice, shiny sink, too.

And it works really well in the bathroom, as well. Fresh, clean bathroom without the harsh smells of store bought cleaners.

Now, I said it’s cheaper, but when you first buy your ingredients it may seem expensive, but when you figure how many bottles of cleaning solution these ingredients will produce in the long run, I think I do end up saving some money. I need to say a word of caution about buying some of the ‘natural’ ingredients, but I’ll save that for the end.

Here’s the recipe for the homemade all-purpose cleaner I’ve been using:

2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp Borax
10 drops lavender essential oil
2 cups hot, filtered water
1/4 cup liquid Castile soap

Mix vinegar with borax in a 32 oz clean spray bottle. Fill with hot, filtered water and shake until all the Borax has dissolved. Add the liquid Castile soap, followed by the essential oil and shake well.

Now, a word about buying liquid Castile soap and essential oils. Unfortunately there is a whole fad market out there that is just plain weird about essential oils and ‘natural’ things that tends to make all kinds of unfounded, and dangerous spiritually, ‘wellness’ claims. Stay away from companies like that. Unfortunately sometimes when you go to buy these things you might end up having to go to new-agey kind of places to find them, so be careful. Especially with the liquid Castile soap. I had to stop making my cleaner for a while because the only liquid Castile soap I could find was the Dr. Bonner’s brand, and I bought it once without looking at what all those words on the bottle were saying. When I got it home and read the strange religious philosophies the company puts all over their bottle, I felt kind of sick. I don’t want my money going to something so overtly new age and just plain spiritually wacky as that, so I had to not buy it. In such cases, I've used other kinds of mild liquid soaps with success. I finally found another brand, and our Walgreens here carries it. It’s even lavender scented. Now, this company may be weird too, I don’t know, but at least they don’t have stuff all over their bottle that I don’t want my kids reading. Yes, it is that important to me. 

This is what I found at Walgreens, and I've been happy with it: 

And that’s my little cleaning tip for the day. Enjoy!

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