Natural Apartment Cleaning
By Chloe Mydlowski
Some of us enjoy cleaning, some absolutely dread it, and some have yet to really get their hands dirty. As a once-upon-a-time professional cleaner, I will let you in on a few secrets to make the process greener, easier, and less expensive. Add these tips to my Cleaning Checklist and you’ll be done in no time.
Before you start cleaning, you will need some essential products and tools:
- castile soap (soap made of olive or another plant-based oil) or other all purpose cleaner
- white vinegar and lemon juice or other glass cleaner
- baking soda or other tile cleaner
- antiseptic essential oils (orange, tea tree, eucalyptus, lemon, pine, rosemary)
- bleach (always water down bleach 10:1) or other disinfecting solution
- Hydrogen Peroxide (dilute 50/50 with water and use to sanitize kitchen counters and bathrooms)
- olive oil (great for wood or stainless steel)
- rubbing alcohol (great for marble)
- broom and dustpan
- steel wool scrubber
- strong, handled scrub brush
- old toothbrush
- rubber gloves
- empty spray bottle(s)
- used clothes to be cut and recycled into cleaning cloths or microfiber cloths
- newspaper (great for drying windows and mirrors)
…and if you want to get really detailed, use some cotton swabs too!
All of these ingredients (or their equivalents) can be found at your local grocer – or local discount shop/dollar store.
Make your own cleaning solutions from the above natural, inexpensive, and powerful ingredients:
- All purpose cleaner: Mix 1 quart water, 2 tablespoons of castile soap and a few drops of tea tree or other essential oil in a spray bottle.
- Glass cleaner: In a spray bottle, put a quarter cup of white vinegar, a few dashes of lemon juice, and fill the rest with warm water.
- Carpet stain cleaner: Mix equal parts baking soda, white vinegar, and salt. Apply the paste to stain and let it rest for 20 minutes before vacuuming (check first for color fastness in a corner).
- Mopping solution: In a bucket, put a quarter cup of vinegar, a few dashes of lemon juice, a few dashes of pine oil (or any other essential oil), and fill the rest with warm water.
- Tile, tub, sink, and shower scrub: Mix baking soda with a dash of castile soap, a dash of lemon juice, and a spritz of essential oil (peppermint, tea tree, or citrus). Scrub with a strong brush.
- Upholstery cleaner: Mix an eighth cup of soap with one cup of water and fluff the mixture until it triples in size with foam. Rub foam on fabric and scrub with a brush or dampened cloth. Rub a second time with a wet cloth and let the furniture dry for ten or more hours.
A few more valuable tips:
- To clean baseboards, moisten a cloth and run it across the length of the boards in as few swipes as possible.
- Let extra tough residues soak in soap and vinegar for a few hours or overnight.
- Maximize your time! While waiting on a longer cleaning task to finish, complete a smaller one.
- When a stain occurs on carpet or fabric, treat it right away! Soak up extra liquids with a cloth (blot, don’t smear) and spray or sprinkle cleaning solution on the affected area. Plain seltzer and club soda can also be used for immediate stain treatment.
- For extra cleaning power, sprinkle baking soda on your carpet/rugs and let it rest twenty minutes before vacuuming.
- For an extra fresh kitchen, clean all counters and surfaces (except granite or marble) with lemon juice.
- To freshen the air in your apartment, simmer two cups of water with cinnamon, clove, citrus peels, and fragrant oils on the stove.
- Remember to clean your fans and lampshades! For fans, it takes a few minutes more, but clean each blade individually to eliminate left-over dust. Grooved lampshades can be cleaned with an old soft toothbrush.
- Clean dust and goo from your washing machine with a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and a toothbrush.
- Spray glass and mirrors with vinegar water. Use newspaper to wipe away in a circular motion until all the streaks are gone.
- If you don’t know where to start, follow the rule of cleaning “top to bottom and left to right” and move from bedroom to living room to kitchen and bathroom.
- Put on some favorite music and sing along…
Our guest blogger is Chloe Mydlowski who loves exploring our entire, lovely planet. She has lived in homes large and small, but is currently enjoying her first suite apartment. She spends her time writing, painting, designing, studying language and science, enjoying music, and searching for fossils. Her personal portfolio can be found at www.chloe.yakbrother.com and her portal for travel musings and photographs can be found at www.yakbrother.com.