How’s the compulsive cleaning going? Oh, you know who you are. You can’t control the virus but you can control the dust and microbes in your own home. Am I right?
When I feel my world is out of control, I clean. I will have order. I hear a lot of you are the same, taking on organization projects, massive spring cleans. Every morning I tackle a home project to kick off my day with some order. Yesterday, I cleaned my front-load washer/dryer until it sparkled (smells so fresh!); today it was the refrigerator (like new, I tells ya). Tomorrow, I will be reorganizing every cabinet and drawer in the kitchen. It’s sooooo satisfying.
Of course, there are very real reasons to keep the house clean during this outbreak, especially “high-touch” surfaces like doorknobs, key pads, phones. And not to freak you out, but apparently the virus can live a few days on metal. (I’ll pause here while you grab the disinfectant wipes and go to town.)
Since we’re all cleaning fools, I thought I’d devote this entire post today to tips, and re-share some of my best ideas for toxin-free cleaning. Grab those rubber gloves and have at it!
LISA’S NON-TOXIC SPRING CLEANING TIPS*
We’re overdosing on chemical disinfectants these days. So why not balance that out with some non-toxic solutions where it makes sense? None of these are substitutes for chemical disinfectants in terms of potency, but for regular cleaning, they don’t require any more time or work than chemical-based cleansers.
White Vinegar: Magical stuff. In Paris, we have very hard water that leaves water stains and white scale on everything. I keep vinegar in a spray bottle and zap it away. My electric tea kettle gets encrusted also, but I just boil a small amount of vinegar and water, and it lifts out without wiping. (Rinse well afterward.) I also clean my mirrors with vinegar. Streak-free every time. (Note: Not for marble or other stone surfaces. Opt instead for rubbing alcohol.) A plus: White vinegar also reduces surface bacteria (though not as effective as chemical disinfectants).
Baking Soda: I buy this in giant bags because I go through it so quickly. I scrub the sink and shower with it. It’s gentle, gets things sparkling and smelling fresh. Or you can combine it with 3% hydrogen peroxide (another bacteria fighter) to remove stains from white clothes. Make a paste, pack on the stain, and let sit until the stain lifts. Then toss in the wash (rinse or not). This mixture doesn’t yellow your whites like bleach can. Make sure to test on fabric, and check the garment’s washing instructions before using.
Lemon: Used to sanitize non-porous surfaces (though not as potent as vinegar or chemical sanitizers). Also, great for mold, grease, deodorizing. I put it directly on moldy spots in the shower or sometimes mix it with baking soda. Easy and effective. You can also mix lemon with salt as a gentle scrub your copper pots, or your wooden cutting board. (Note: don’t use bleach on mold. It actually promotes growth. Lemon or hydrogen peroxide work best.)
Castile soap: Mixing liquid Castile soap and tea tree oil helps fight bacteria. Plus, it’s great for grease. Soap in general, especially bar soap, when used with hot water, is a great germ killer. So says the CDC.
Microfiber cloths: Paper products are scarce in the States, I hear. I use these cloths, in place of paper towels most times. Damp or dry, they pick up dust like a Swiffer (but way cheaper), plus, they buff my faucets, mirrors, and my laminate kitchen cabinets without scratching. Not for sanitizing. I like these.
*Note: I’m not a cleaning expert. This is friendly advice. You should test all cleaning solutions on a small, hidden spot to assure best results, and wear rubber gloves to prevent any allergic reactions. When in doubt, leave it out.