Now that you’ve bought land for your farm in Jefferson, GA, you’re probably thinking about how to keep your cute little farmhouse clean. Isn’t that the reason you chose to move out to the country – to breathe that clean, fresh air? But it’s only truly clean if you are avoiding harsh chemicals and using green products. How do you stay green in your cleaning? You replace your store-bought cleaners with natural compounds. (Did you realize that of the nearly 17,000 chemicals found in commercially-made home cleaning products, less than a third have even been tested for your safety?) If you’re wondering what to use and how to use it, keep reading.
What You Can Use: Cleaning windows is something no one looks forward to. No worries – we’re not going to make it too much harder. Make your own cleaner with lemon juice (1 part) and water (6 parts). No lemon juice on hand? You could also make a solution with alcohol (1 part), vinegar (1 part), and water (4 parts). Be sure to add a little cornstarch to keep the streaks away.
Technique: Spray your solution on the glass directly and wipe until completely dry with a clean cloth. (Avoid the mess of lint left behind by paper towels or newspaper.)
What You Can Use: Don’t even think about buying that bottle of wax cleaning chemicals to rub all over your table and chairs. Instead, try mixing olive oil (2 parts) and lemon juice (1 part). Your furniture will smell just as good as it would with the store bought cleaner, without the waxy buildup.
Technique: Spray on from a spray bottle, or apply lightly with a soft cloth, buffing as you go. This solution also makes a good cleaner for stainless steel, so keep on going!
What You Can Use: Probably your favorite part of your new farmhouse is your fireplace. Keep it clean by scrubbing it with a paste of dish soap and salt (equal parts) or cream of tartar and water.
Technique: Scrub the paste thickly onto the bricks and in the mortar and rinse clean with water. Pat dry with a clean cloth.
What You Can Use: If you are looking to get your tile, linoleum, or vinyl floor clean, you won’t need much more than some white vinegar, though a more thorough clean will be achieved with a little dish soap and baking soda, too. Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda (not more than 1 cup) with 1-2 gallons warm water.
Technique: Mop lightly, straight from the bucket, and allow to dry. Go over the floor again with club soda if you want more of a shine. Then be sure to tell your family to keep their shoes by the door to keep it clean longer.
What You Can Use: Don’t buy air fresheners at the store when you have a garden full of lovely scents. Isn’t this the whole reason you have a garden? Even if your garden is a little thin during the fall, a lot of herbs, spices, and fruit from the grocery store will work just fine. Cinnamon, rosemary, basil, or mint are good choices. Oranges or apples are readily available this season too.
Technique: Start with a pot of boiling water, and set to simmer. Cut up the available fruit, herb, or spice to help release the scent more. (There is no set amount to add to the water – it depends on your taste to decide how strong you want your aroma to be.) Add some of your contents to the water, but put some aside so you can refresh the scent as needed.
Now that you have all these great green cleaning ideas, be careful when discarding all your old cleaning chemicals. And once you have switched to the green side, you’ll be feeling even better about your healthy farm-life living.