Fall Cleaning Tips & Tricks

Fall is fast approaching and it’s time to think about doing your seasonal/semi-annual cleaning. Big cleanings like this can feel so overwhelming. Where do you even start?! I know I’m already a bit overwhelmed at the thought of all the cleaning I need to do.

I’ve got some tips to help make your fall cleaning, and mine,  a little bit easier and better. Once you are done you will have a beautiful clean home ready for the new season.

Fall Cleaning Tips & Tricks*This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own.*

Fall Cleaning Tips and Tricks

  1. Don’t Do It All At Once. There is no way you can get everything done in one day. Depending on what’s on your list and your size home it could take a week or two, even more. Make your list and figure out how much time you want to spend each day. Then just work down your list each day for the amount of time you have set aside for it.
  2. Choose Natural Cleaning Products. Using natural products to clean with will not only help the environment but will also help you breath better and have a safer home.
  3. Work From the Top Down. When cleaning you should always start on the top and work your way down. Dust and dirt may fall as you are cleaning and you don’t want to mess up your hard work.
  4. Donate What You Can. Avoid throwing out things that can still be used. This can make you feel better about your efforts because someone in need is being helped. It also can motivate you to get rid of more stuff.
  5. Give Yourself a Reward. Having a reward planned for when you are done can help motivate you. I like to decorate my home for fall after it’s all clean. I love decorating so this is a great reward and motivator for me. On a smaller scale, a cup of hot tea after each day’s cleaning helps me unwind.

Bonus Tip:  Use your mornings wisely! When your morning starts off right the restof your day is set up for success. I recommend checking out the Make Over Your Mornings online course. It’s a 14-day online course that takes only 15 minutes a day. It will help you to use your mornings better and to set up the rest of your day well. And don’t worry, it’s not about getting up earlier, just about using your time better! If you aren’t sure it’s for you, you can get the first day free to check it out!

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Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

*This post was sponsored by FilterBuy. I received compensation in exchange for this post.
All thoughts and views are my own.*

When thinking about air pollution we often think in terms of outdoor air pollution but indoor air quality can be even worse. As we make our homes more airtight for efficiency sake, we are also trapping pollution in our homes.

Indoor Air Pollution Facts

  • On average we spend about 90% of our time indoors.
  • “The prevalence rate of pediatric asthma has increased from 40.1 to 69.1,—a 72.3 percent increase. Asthma is the sixth ranking chronic condition in our nation and the leading serious chronic illness of children in the U.S.” – American Lung Association 
  •  One source of indoor air pollution can be radon. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can enter homes through cracks in the foundation, walls, drains, and other openings. Radon is a known carcinogen and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.
  • Poorly ventilated homes also can have high humidity levels which can lead to mold and even structural damage. Repairing this damage can be very expensive.

Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

  • Use natural cleaners. Cleaners can contain harmful chemicals that contribute to poor air quality.
  • Buy some air cleaning plants. Several plants have been shown to reduce different air pollutants in our home. My favorite is aloe vera because it’s very hard to kill.
  • Look for furniture that uses fewer chemicals. Flame retardants found in a lot of furniture can give off cancer-causing VOCs. Thankfully many companies are removing some of the worse flame retardants.
  • Air out your home. When the weather is nice and pollen counts are down, opening up your house for an hour or two can help bring fresher air into your home.
  • Use a good quality furnace filter. This will help with indoor air quality in general and also help reduce allergens for those in your home with allergies.

I think of improving air quality in my home as just another one of my homemaking tasks. My husband and I both have allergies and I have asthma, making even more vital that I keep the air quality as good as possible.

If you want even more information and a helpful checklist for improving indoor air quality, click here. I’d also love to hear what you do to improve the air quality in your home.

Original Photo By- mahalie

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How to Clean Your Mattress

How to Clean Your Mattress

*This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own.*

We spend a lot of time on our mattresses but not a lot of time keeping them clean. Cleaning a mattress is very simple and can help reduce allergies and keep your mattress in better shape.

How to Clean Your Mattress

  1. Remove and wash bedding.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda all over the bed and leave for about an hour.
  3. Vacuum thoroughly. (If you have a Dyson vacuum I recommend getting the mattress tool, it makes vacuuming your mattress and other furniture much easier.)
  4. Spray with DIY fabric refresher spray and let dry before putting bedding back on.

It’s that easy. I recommend doing this once a month. Using a mattress cover will also help keep your mattress clean. Look for one that is machine washable and made from cotton to avoid the chemicals that can off-gas from plastic covers.

When you clean your mattress is a great time to wash your mattress cover as well. Keeping bedding clean is important for your health and for keeping your mattress in good shape.

Also be sure forget to make your bed in the morning! That’s not a typo, letting your bed air in the morning will help keep it cleaner longer.

Do you clean your mattress? If you do, how often? Let me know in the comments below.

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Green Cleaning Essentials

Conventional cleaning products are full of questionable ingredients. Making the switch to green cleaning products is not only better for our families, it can also save us money! Many of the items I’m going to share with you are very cheap and you may already own them.

Green Cleaning Essentials

Green Cleaning Essentials | Retro Housewife Goes Green

*This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own.*

Castile Soap

Castile soap can be used just like you would any other soap. I use it as an all-purpose cleaner (good ol’ hot soapy water!), to hand-wash dishes, hand washing,  and pretty much everywhere in my home. It also makes a great cleaning scrub when mixed with baking soda!

My favorite castile soap is Dr. Bronner’s. You can find it just about anywhere; Whole Foods, natural food stores, Target, Walgreens, Amazon, and most places that sell soap. I have found that Thrive Market is a great place to buy it. The price is really good and it’s always nice to have it just delivered to my door.

Note: Don’t mix vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s.

Vinegar

I go through a few gallons of vinegar most months. I use it to disinfect, kill weeds, clean my toilets, clean my garbage disposal, clean blinds, as a fabric softener, and so much more! I keep some in a spray bottle at all times and usually there is a gallon on my washer.

Note: Vinegar can damage stone surfaces because it is an acid.

Baking soda

Baking soda is another great cheap cleaning ingredient. While you will see many cleaning recipes calling for it to be used with vinegar this is only good if you are clearing a clogged drain. Vinegar and baking soda, when mixed, react and become carbonic acid, which then decomposes to water and carbon dioxide gas. They are great when used separately though! Baking soda is great for a gentle cleaning scrub and deodorizing. One way I love to use it is as a carpet freshener.

Vodka

Vodka isn’t only for cocktails, makes a great cleaning ingredient! I use it to make a daily shower spray, fabric freshener, air freshener, and it works well to disinfect. Just make sure you buy non-flavored vodka! Everclear can also be used in place of vodka, in case you can’t stand to use perfectly good vodka for cleaning.

Soap Nuts

Soap nuts are my go-to laundry soap! They are berries that create soap and are pretty magical. You simply boil them, let them sit overnight, and then you have natural soap. The soap is great for HE washers as it doesn’t create suds or leave a film for bacteria to grow on. You can also use the soap for cleaning.

Cleaning Cloths

Paper towels get expensive and are not the best for the environment. There are many options when it comes to reusable options. I like using old t-shirts cut into rags but you can also buy cloths that look and work like paper towels, or bamboo cloths, or a favorite of mine Skoy cloths, which are biodegradable sponge-like cloths.

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If you are just starting off this is a great place to start. You may find other things you want to add to your green cleaning kit overtime but with all of these things you can easily clean the whole house.

I’d love to hear about your favorite green cleaning products. Share below, also share your cleaning recipes and tips!

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10 Green Cleaning Hacks

10 Green Cleaning Hacks
Cleaning is rarely something we are excited to do but there are ways to make it easier. These ten cleaning hacks will do just that and they are also eco-friendly. Since it’s Earth Month there is no better time to start greening up your cleaning routine.

Green Cleaning Hacks

1. Make your own washing soda.

Green Cleaning Hacks

2. Use flour to clean your stainless steel appliances.

stainless

3. Use vodka as an air freshener.

DIY Natural Air Freshener

4. Clean your blinds with 50/50 white vinegar, water, and an old sock.

10 Green Cleaning Hacks

5. Use citrus peels to clean your garbage disposal.

Deep Clean Your Garbage Disposal

6. Baking soda,water, and a little Dr. Bronner’s make a perfect cleaning scrub.

10 Green Cleaning Hacks

7. Lay warm, wet rags on your stovetop for several minutes
and then wipe clean with little or no effort. Works on all stove types!

10 Green Cleaning Hacks

8. Iron clothes with buttons inside out.

10 Green Cleaning Hacks

9. Line dry clothes to remove stains and lighten whites.

10 Green Cleaning Hacks

10. Keep your toilet brush clean by spraying it with some vinegar when
done cleaning the toilet and place it under the seat to let it dry.

10 Green Cleaning Hacks

 What green cleaning hacks have you tried out and found work? I’d love to learn some new tricks.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more green cleaning tips! You can find lots of DIY cleaning recipes and tricks on my DIY: Cleaning/Household board.

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Deep Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Deep Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are an often overlooked part of our house and they can be pretty filthy. If neglected for too long they will start to smell pretty bad. Deep cleaning your garbage disposal will help keep it smelling fresh and working well. It may seem like a lot of steps but as long as you keep up with it, it won’t take long at all.

Deep Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

What you need:

  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Citrus Peels
  • Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s which I get from Thrive Market)
  • Old Toothbrush

Directions:

  1. Clean the sink hole cover with hot soapy water. You may want to use an old tooth brush to get to all the parts. If you haven’t done this in awhile, or ever, be prepared to be grossed out! When you are done, rinse well with hot water.
  2. Next, pour some baking soda in the drain. I use around half a cup. Follow with vinegar, about twice as much as the baking soda. This is just breaking up clogs, the reaction doesn’t clean but it does help break things up.
  3. Run some hot water again to finish breaking up all of the gunk.
  4. Now is the part that will help get your garbage disposal smelling nice and clean. Cut up some citrus peels. I like to keep mine in the freezer for when I need them. Put the peels in the garbage disposal and run it. With water running, of course!

This should leave your garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh! It’s a great way to keep your kitchen smelling good and to use up leftover citrus peels. You can also put them in ice cube trays with vinegar and freeze them. These cubes also help sharpen the garbage disposal blades.

Have you ever deep cleaned your garbage disposal? Let’s be honest, how bad was it really? I hadn’t done mine in awhile so it wasn’t pretty.

Don’t forget to check back often for more cleaning tips. And check out my DIY cleaning board on Pinterest for more great ideas. 

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Natural DIY Carpet Freshener

Natural DIY Carpet Freshener

*This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own.*

Carpet fresheners on the market normally contain synthetic fragrance. Synthetic fragrance is not an ingredient but a group of ingredients that companies don’t have to disclose. They often include harmful ingredients that have been shown to cause a number of health concerns.

Another harmful ingredient found in many carpet fresheners is benzyl benzoate. The European Union has found benzyl benzoate to be a possible human immune system toxicant or allergen and wildlife and environmental toxicant. It is also possibly a endocrine disrupter.

Making your own DIY carpet freshener is simple and can also save you money. And of one of my favorite parts is being able to make whatever scent I want. In the fall I like to use an orange, cinnamon, and bay leaf scent. Currently I’m enjoying using a mix called Cheer Up Buttercup. It’s a mix of bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit, and lemon. Lime and bergamot is another scent I like in the spring and summer.

Natural Carpet Freshener

Ingredients:

  • Baking soda
  • Essential oil(s) of your choice
  • Clean glass jar
  • 2 metal lids that fit the jar
  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Optional: Label or washi tape

Directions:

  1. Using a hammer and nail, carefully poke several holes in the top of one lid.
  2. Fill jar with baking soda.
  3. Slowly add the essential oils to figure out how strong you want it. I used a 16 ounce jar and used around 30 drops.
  4. Place the lid without the holes on and shake well. Store with this lid on.
  5. Optional: put washi tape or label on the jar.
  6. When you are ready to use it, switch to the lid with the holes.
  7. Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and let sit 15 minutes – 1 hour. The longer it sits the better.
  8. Vacuum normally.

It’s that simple. It works wonderfully and no worrying about what is ending up left behind on your carpet. I’d love to know what scent you choose to use. I have so much fun playing with the scents.

Check out my Pinterest for more fun DIY ideas. And check back often for more spring cleaning tips! 

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Natural Air Freshener Spray

DIY Natural Air Freshener

*This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own. *

Chemicals found in air fresheners have been linked to many health issues. One chemical commonly found in air fresheners is 1,4-dichlorobenzene or 1,4-DCB. 1,4-DCB is linked to lung damage. And this chemical has been found in 96% of American’s blood.

“The 10% of people with the highest blood levels of 1,4-DCB did 4% worse in a test of lung function than the 10% of people with the lowest blood levels of the chemical, found Stephanie J. London, MD, and colleagues at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).”-  WebMD

For people with asthma and other lung conditions this reduction in lung function could be serious. It also puts people at an increased risk of lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

A group of chemicals also commonly found in air fresheners is phthalates. Phthalates have been shown to alter hormone levels and cause other health problems.

“Phthalates are known to interfere with production of the male hormone, testosterone, and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities. Numerous animal studies have linked prenatal exposure to certain phthalates with decreases in testosterone, malformations of the genitalia, and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates—including one that we found in air freshener products—are “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.” Phthalate exposure in indoor environments has also been associated with allergic symptoms and asthma.”- Natural Resources Defense Council

These are just a few of the harmful ingredients found in most air fresheners. Making your own natural air freshener with a few simple will help protect your family’s health and even save you some money.

Natural Air Freshener

Ingredients:

Directions:

Simply pour the alcohol into a spray bottle, add the essential oil(s) of your choice, and shake. The amount of oil you will need depends on how strong you want it and how big the bottle is. I start with about 10-20 and work my way up.

Many recipes call for water but I choose to leave this out because alcohol dries faster than water and it helps prevent bacteria from developing in the spray. Be sure to shake this before you use it because the essential oils and alcohol will separate.

flowers

I like to change the scent I use with the seasons. Right now I’m using a citrus scent. If you choose to make this I’d love to hear what scent you use. Also, do you avoid artificially scented items in your home?

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Simple Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Simple Toilet Bowl Cleaner | Retro Housewife Goes Green

You have likely seen many people suggest a toilet bowl cleaner made with baking soda and vinegar. While these are two great cleaners this is the wrong way to use them. Learning why they react will help explain why they shouldn’t be used together.

They react because baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid dissolved in water. When you mix an acid and a base in a solvent, which in this case is the water, usually the acid transfers hydrogen to the base to form a new compound. In this case, the new compound is called carbonic acid, which then decomposes to water and carbon dioxide gas. – source

So when you clean with baking soda and vinegar, you are basically cleaning with nothing. This reaction does work well for clearing clogged drains though!

Simple Towel Bowl Cleaner

A better way to use these two ingredients is one at a time. Here is a simple toilet bowl cleaner, it’s so simple it’s only one ingredient.

  • Spray the inside and outside of the toilet with white vinegar.
  • Let sit for about 10-15 minutes. This is a good time to clean other parts of the bathroom.
  • Wipe down the outside of the toilet with a clean rag, start with the cleanest parts and work to the dirtiest.
  • Scrub the inside of the bowl with a toilet brush.

For an even deeper clean, flush the toilet and sprinkle baking soda inside the bowl. And then scrub again. Baking soda will help scrub off tough stains.

The easiest way to keep the toilet clean is a quick wipe down everyday. This should prevent the need for deep cleaning.

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Did you know you shouldn’t clean with vinegar and baking soda at the same time? I’d also love to know, how do you clean your toilet?

Be sure to check back each week for more tips for your spring cleaning. And don’t forget to print the free spring cleaning planner printable. 

 

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Free Spring Cleaning Printable

 

Spring Cleaning Printable | Retro Housewife Goes Green

We may still have some snow on the ground but spring is less than a month away! This is great news to anyone, like me, that is not the biggest fan of winter. I’ve been pinning lots of spring decor ideas and I’m getting ready for some spring cleaning.

Confession, my house is not in the best shape right now. Last year was so busy and my house suffered. This year things are somewhat less crazy after we decided to scale back our family business a bit. I also am learning to say no to extra things I don’t really have time for.

Spring is going to be a fresh start for my home! I’m planning on giving it a good deep clean and getting ready to start some projects that need taken care of. I really need to get some painting done but that will be easier with everything in order and cleaned. De-clutting is another project that needs to happen.

I will be starting my spring cleaning, as well as my spring cleaning series here on the blog, in March. And before I start my spring cleaning I like to come up with a plan. Did you know there are only three days left in February?! Isn’t that hard to believe? So it’s time to start planning if you haven’t already.

To help myself get prepared I have created a printable to fill out and I want to share it will all of you!

Spring Cleaning Printable | Retro Housewife Goes Green

Hope you enjoy this printable. If you have any tips for preparing for spring cleaning share them in the comments below. And check back in March for some more spring cleaning posts.

Bonus-
Sign up for my newsletter for a quick spring cleaning tip each week! You will also get a summary of the past weeks posts. 

 

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