Seven Benefits of Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a rite of passage. Each year the weather begins to warm and the sun shines just a little bit longer each day. The furnace gets turned off and the windows are opened. Flowers begin to peek through the ground. Birds chirp happily. And people begin to clean out the dust and debris left behind from the long winter months.

Spring cleaning offers a number of benefits including:

1. You have a clean home. There’s nothing better than having a home that’s clean and free from all the dust and clutter of the winter. Like New Year’s Day or a birthday, it’s an opportunity to start fresh.

2. You know where everything is. When you go through each room, space, nook and cranny of your home you are able to take an inventory. You’re able to put things where they belong. You’re able to get rid of the things you no longer use. You can add space, light, and organization to your home. In fact, don’t be surprised if you find things you’d forgotten about or thought you’d lost.

3. Better health – free from mold, mildew, dust and bugs. When the windows are closed all winter long your home doesn’t have the opportunity to air out. Many scientists and environmental experts will tell you that the pollution inside your home is often much worse than outdoor air pollution. When you take the time to clean your home of mildew, dust, bugs and mold you’re improving your health.

You’re also improving the health of your family and your pets. And if you use environmentally friendly cleaners then you’re not filling your home with more toxins. So open those windows and enjoy some good old fashioned spring cleaning.

4. You’re able to get rid of clutter. Clutter is stressful. It collects and gathers dust. It prevents you from being relaxed and productive. Spring cleaning helps you eliminate the clutter. You’re able to get rid of what you don’t need and focus your time, energy and attention on the items that matter.

5. Your appliances last longer. Clean appliances last longer. Spring cleaning often involves a thorough appliance cleaning. You’ll save money in the long run because you won’t have to have your appliances serviced or replaced.

6. You appreciate what you have. When you clean your home from top to bottom it shows that you care. You’re able to look at what you have and take good care of it. This energy and attention helps you appreciate what you have.

7. It just feels good. Finally, it just feels great to have a clean, organized and efficient home. You can then focus your attention on the things that matter most in your life. Your family, your friends and your interests or hobbies.

This year, when you’re planning your spring cleaning consider what you have to gain. It may change your attitude toward spring cleaning. In fact, this may be your best year ever.

Eight Reasons Why You Should Always Have Fresh Lemons on Hand

Lemons are one of the most versatile foods in the world. They can be used for many purposes, including eating, cleaning, and healing certain health conditions. Lemons are something that you should always have on hand, and here are some of the reasons why.

1. Lemon and Water Upon Waking

Squeezing a half a lemon into a glass of water first thing in the morning is an excellent way to begin your day. It balances your body pH and helps to clean your liver. It is a great tasting way to give a kick-start to your digestion.

2. Kick a Cold

If you feel yourself coming down with a cold or other common virus, grab a lemon and mix it with equal parts apple cider vinegar and honey. Mix in some cinnamon, stir the mixture into hot water and drink. Do this several times a day and your cold will soon take a hike.

3. Easy, Tasty Food Topping

In a rush and not sure what topping to put on your chicken, fish, or vegetables? Try a squeeze of lemon before cooking. It is great with just the lemon, or along with a small shake of salt or a few drops of olive oil. Lemon as a topping is simple, delicious, and healthy.

4. Keeps Fruit Salad from Oxidization

If you have cut up a beautiful bowl of fruit salad and you want it to continue looking fresh, squeeze a lemon over it and stir until all the fruit is coated. Lemon prevents oxidation from happening. Instead of turning brown, the fruit will retain its nice, bright colors.

5. Clean Your Cutting Board

Think lemons are only for consuming? Think again. If your cutting board doesn’t smell fresh, or if it is retaining flavor from past foods, cut a lemon in half and rub it down vigorously. This will remove odors and help to sanitize it.

6. Combat Pimples

Who knew lemons could even help you when applied topically? If you have pimples, simply apply fresh lemon juice to them to draw them out. Your good complexion will return in no time.

7. Mirror Cleaner

If you are looking for a more natural solution to clean your mirrors with, try lemon juice. Put it into a spray bottle and add water. Spray the mirrors and wipe them down for a sparkle with no chemicals involved.

8. Microwave Cleaner

If your microwave is looking like it has years of food built up in it, lemons are your best friend. Cut a lemon in half and place both halves into a bowl of water. Microwave this bowl for 30 seconds and then wipe the inside of the microwave. You will be amazed at how easily you can wipe off all the grime that has previously insisted on sticking around.

Lemons are one of nature’s most versatile creations. You can eat, drink, wear and clean with lemons. If you have any problem in need of being solved, perhaps the first question you should ask yourself is whether a lemon could take care of it for you.

Five Things You Can Do with Tea Tree Oil

Experts say that there are at least five to ten pounds of chemicals found in cleaning products per household. If that estimate is true, it is important to try to find cleaners that will actually clean your home without using chemicals to do so. One option is to use Tea Tree oil while cleaning.

Tea Tree oil, taken from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree in Australia, is a wonderful, non-chemical essential oil. The Aboriginal people in Australia have been using the oil, found in the leaves of the tree, for thousands of years for killing bacteria, to help with achy muscles, and other health-related uses.

Tea Tree oil has antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. (Tea Tree oil should not be ingested.) Recently, however, Tea Tree oil has been touted for more than just medicinal uses. Following are five non-medicinal uses for Tea Tree oil.

1. Since Tea Tree oil does have antiseptic properties, it is a great addition to your warm mist vaporizer to help disinfect the air after someone has been ill in your family. Adding six to eight drops to the laundry when washing the linens following an illness is another good idea.

2. You can make a homemade all-purpose cleaner that will rival any store-bought, chemical cleaner. One such recipe is to combine three or four drops of Tea Tree oil with two tablespoons of vinegar and one tablespoon of borax. Add this mixture to a 12 ounce spray bottle and fill it up with warm water. Shake to combine and use as you would a store-bought cleaner.

3. Adding a drop or two of Tea Tree oil to your soap dispenser in your dishwasher prior to adding soap will help to disinfect your dishes, as well as getting them clean.

4. To kill germs in your laundry, add a few drops of Tea Tree oil to each load of laundry. Not only will it disinfect your clothing, it will leave them clean and fresh smelling, as well.

5. Do you have household pests such as ants? When you find a line of ants, follow the line back to the point of entry. Place a few drops of Tea Tree oil where the ants are entering the house. This will deter the ants from returning through that same point of entry. Wiping down cupboards with a solution of Tea Tree oil and water will also deter roaches, should you ever find them.

These five ways for using Tea Tree oil around your home are just a few available. Yes, Tea Tree oil is natural, but like any other natural substance, just because it’s natural does not mean that it’s safe. Research has shown, however, that Tea Tree oil, if used properly, will help make your home the cleanest it possibly can be.

The Best Ways to Use Vinegar in Your Cleaning

Most people are trying to live healthier lives today. One way they’re trying to do that is to cut down on the myriad of chemicals that they’re subjected to on a daily basis. Vinegar is just one eco-friendly product you can use to replace those chemically-laden products in your home.

Everyone knows that a splash of vinegar is great on a salad, and that it can be used as a tenderizer for meat. However, not everyone knows the many ways vinegar can be used around the home to clean without the use of chemicals.

Not only is vinegar versatile for cooking, but it is also a versatile cleaning product that can be used in any room of your house. These are just a few of the ways that vinegar can be used to clean around the home.

• Freshen and clean your automatic coffee maker by filling the reservoir with vinegar and then running it through a brewing cycle. Follow this up by running a rinse cycle of water. (Please check the owner’s manual for instructions for your particular maker.)

• Boiling a solution of one-fourth cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water and inside the microwave will help clean and deodorize your microwave. The moisture from the boiling solution will loosen the splattered food and make it much easier to remove with a soft cloth or sponge.

• Clean brass, copper, and pewter by creating a paste. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of plain salt in a 1 cup of vinegar. Stir in enough flour to make a paste. Then use the paste on any metal surface and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Make sure you rinse with clean warm water and then polish until it’s dry.

• Forget about using the window cleaners from the stores. The cheapest and most effective way to clean windows is to combine half water and half vinegar. Put it in a mister, and spray it on the windows. Dry the window with a soft, lint-free cloth. Your windows will sparkle and be streak-free.

• Remove stubborn toilet bowl stains by spraying them with vinegar. Use a little elbow grease and the stains will come off. You can also add 3 cups of vinegar to your bowl to help deodorize it. Let it sit for one-half hour and flush for a fresh-smelling bowl.

• Do you have baby clothes that aren’t as clean and soft as they used to be? Add one cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of the load the next time you wash. The vinegar will help break down uric acid and soapy residue. Clothes will come out soft and fresh.

• You can also add a cup of vinegar to the last rinse cycle of your normal load of clothes to help dissolve the alkaline base of soaps and detergents.

• How many of us hate the deodorant and antiperspirant stains on our clothes? Before laundering, lightly rub white distilled vinegar onto the areas where the stain would be. Toss it in the wash as usual.

• Soak clothes that have never been washed before in white distilled vinegar to help set the colors.

Reducing the chemicals we use in our homes has never been easier. And, it doesn’t require buying multiple products to clean the home, and keep it chemical-free. All it takes is a bottle of vinegar, and a little know-how.

10 Things You Can Do With Baking Soda

There are many items in your kitchen that can be used for multiple purposes. But one that stands out above the rest is baking soda. Yes, that’s right, simple, every day, right out of your pantry baking soda.

Here are ten ways you can use baking soda that goes beyond simply adding it to your favorite baked goods recipe:

• Did you know that you can use baking soda as earth-friendly alternative to unclog your drain? You sure can! It’s simple to do, less expensive than the store bought product, and just as effective.

Here’s what you do: Pour one cup of regular table salt, one cup of baking soda, and half a cup of plain white vinegar down the drain. Leave it alone for 15 minutes and then pour two quarts of boiling water into the sink. Follow this by running the hot water into the sink for at least one minute.

You’ll be amazed how effectively this combination works. The drains will be clean and you won’t have added anything toxic to the drain system.

• Baking soda, when mixed with salt, is also an effective stain remover and scouring powder. Mix one cup of baking powder with one cup of salt. Then use this mixture the same way you would any other scouring powder. Again, an effective mixture that is less harmful to the environment.

• Sprinkle some baking soda on your carpet and let it sit for 10 minutes. When the time is up, vacuum away any stale odors that may have settled in your carpet.

• Add a little baking soda to your dishwasher the next time you’re loading it. The baking soda will give your cleaner an extra boost to get your dishes sparkling clean.

• Make a poultice of baking soda and water then put it on a bee sting. This will ease the pain in no time.

• Adding two teaspoons of baking soda to lukewarm bath water will help ease the pain of chicken pox.

• Have you ever had a small grease fire on the stove when cooking? Sprinkle baking soda on the fire can safely put it out.

• Does your cat’s box smell? Thoroughly clean the litter box, let dry in the sun, and then sprinkle enough baking soda in the bottom to cover. Now add your litter. The baking soda will help absorb the odors.

• Making an equal mixture of baking soda and laundry detergent will stretch your detergent and make your laundry smell fresh.

• And, if your refrigerator has a sour odor, place an open box of baking soda in it to absorb those odors. Don’t forget to change the box once a month to keep your refrigerator odor free.

Baking soda is truly a multi-purpose item. The applications extend way beyond just using it to make your biscuits light and fluffy.