Refresh a home the eco-friendly way
After the doldrums of winter it's so nice to be able to refresh a home for the arrival of spring. Pop on your apron, tie your hair up and grab a few eco-friendly cleaning essentials to give your home a complete spring makeover from top to bottom. Here are some spring cleaning hints and tips to get you started...
- As the weather starts to warm up you have the opportunity to take large pieces of upholstered furniture outdoors for cleaning. It makes more sense to do the cleaning outdoors rather than adding more dust indoors!
- Vacuum beforehand and then sprinkle furniture generously with baking soda. Make sure to get baking soda into the gaps between fitted cushions and at the back. Leave in the shade for a couple of hours and then vacuum clean.
- For large upholstered pieces use a squash or tennis racquet handy to wack out the dust. Turn pieces upside down, sideways and any ways to beat out as much dust as possible. While you're doing this you can clean out the folds down the sides of the sofa seat and back where junk collects.
- Vacuum and steam-clean curtains or have them dry-cleaned before putting them away. This is the perfect time to swap winter curtains for with lighter ones as the weather gets warmer.
- With furniture out of the way you can tackle the floor. Arrange for a carpet professional to come out of the day and give carpets a deep cleaning. If carpets aren't that bad, hire a carpet cleaner for the day. Open windows and doors so that carpets dry quickly before you put the furniture back.
- Get rid of carpet odours and airborne grease from your carpet with baking soda. Give your carpet a good vacuum to remove excess dirt and then sprinkle generously with baking soda, leaving on overnight before vacuuming away. Your carpets with look and smell fresh. If you repeat this regularly you will prevent odours from building up in carpets - a great tip for pet lovers.
- If you find that carpets are flattened by furniture, use a warm iron just above the surface to gently steam and lift the fibres up. A gentle rub with your finger will assist. For deeper dents, place an ice cube on the flattened area to lift up the fibres. Use paper towel to dab away any excess moisture, or use a hairdryer on cool setting.
- Strip tiled floors to remove excess wax polish build up. Once stripped you can apply a fresh layer of shiny sealer to keep floors looking good.
- Mats and rugs can be taken outdoors and given a good shake to clean them. Or hang them up and give them a beating with your tennis racquet. If you have wool carpets or rugs, or any that are valuable or delicate, contact a professional for cleaning.
Walls and trim
- Unless your walls are really grubby, you won't see how much dirt collects on the surface until you wipe it down. Add a sprinkle of baking soda to your cleaning water and wipe down walls with a soft cloth, especially around door frames, light switches and skirtings.
- For high walls or hard-to-reach areas, use a mop or squeegee to get to these areas with ease.
- Wash around skirtings and trim with warm water with added lemon juice to cleanse and freshen up.
Ceilings and fixtures
- Use a soft broom or long feather duster to wipe away dust that builds up around the cornice and in corners.
- And before you start spreading dust around the room,
clean a ceiling or room fan before the warmer weather arrives. If your homes has an air conditioner, don't forget to clean the grilles and rinse clean any filters.
- Use a stepladder and warm water with baking soda added to wipe clean your light fittings. Unscrew CFL gloves and lightly dust with a soft microfibre cloth, or use a feather duster for recessed lights.
Windows and glass doors
- Wipe down wooden blinds with a feather duster, or place your hand inside an old sock, to remove dust. Aluminium blinds can be taken down and soaked in a tub of warm water and lemon juice to remove built-up grime, or hung outside and washed down. Make sure to dry thoroughly.
- For squeaky clean windows use a rubber squeegee. Wash windows with warm soapy water (with just a dash of dishwashing liquid) to remove excess dirty and then - starting at an upper corner - draw the squeegee down in a sweeping motion. Repeat with overlapping strokes until the window is complete.
Even though you clean your bathroom regularly, a quick spring clean will add to the whole house freshness.
- Use a body scrubbing glove and baking soda to clean baths and basins in a jiffy. The gritty texture of the scrubbing glove is gentle enough to use on ceramic and porcelain, but gentle enough not to scratch.
- To remove hard water stains around drains, pop in the plug and pour spirit vinegar around this area and leave for about 30 minutes. An old toothbrush will remove the stains quickly. You can use the same method for hard water stains in a bathtub or shower.
- Refresh grout lines in bathroom and shower with an old toothbrush and white toothpaste - or a paste of baking soda and water - will take care of this. A quick rub will also remove any mildew from this area. If mould is present, dip the toothbrush in Tea Tree oil to kill off mould spores and disinfect the area.
- If the silicone seal around a bath or tub is looking grubby or needs replacing, you'll find easy instructions on how to do this here.
Wherever possible try to use natural cleaning products in your home, particularly in the kitchen. Natural cleaning products are non-toxic and provide the same level - if not better in some instances - than chemical products, plus you will save on using natural cleansers.
You will find plenty of hints and tips on using natural cleaning products for your spring clean here: