non-toxic spring cleaning

SEASONS, SIMPLE RHYTHMS + ROUTINES, SPRING, THE FAMILY HOME

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As the dreary (and rather long) winter weather draws to an end, something shifts in us too, doesn’t it? The spring sunlight has a way of imparting new and necessary energy to our souls as well as our environments. It becomes what Leo Tolstoy called “a time for plans and projects.” Although we’ve spent much of our recent days working outdoors clearing and planting (more on that later), indoors we’ve been welcoming the new season in a few simple and specific ways, too.  The flannel sheets and heavier linens have been tucked away and exchanged for crisp white linens and lighter coverlets. Oil diffusers replace most of the warmer candles and small hand-picked flowers gather in glass jars along our surfaces and shelves again.

There’s a reason so many people talk about cleaning in the springtime. The bright air and soft light draw attention to all the collected dust of winter, the closed window crevices and unused shelves. For years, our family has aimed to practice more natural cleaning, making or purchasing products that rely on naturally occurring ingredients rather than harmful chemicals. Since we’ve always lived in old homes, I’m also always looking for natural ways to brighten the scents that linger in older spaces.

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Over the years, I’ve skeptically dabbled with essential oils, trying to distinguish truth from trend, and while we haven’t subscribed to any one organization or product, I can testify essential oils are wonderful for a variety of purposes from personal health to home. If not used medicinally–although we’ve dabbled a bit with that too–they are incredible for bringing new life into spaces through natural aromatherapy. A few of the oils, including tea tree oil, eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint have also been known to contain antibacterial properties, too–making them an ideal choice for safe, non-toxic cleaning around the home. Like most concentrated substances, it’s best to leave the blending of oils and carriers to adults.

After a discussion about the benefits of oils, Nicole recently sent me a bottle of Young Living‘s Thieves (a blend of clove, lemon, rosemary, cinnamon, and eucalyptus) to try at home. I’ve included it in a few cleaning recipes below, and it smells divine. Beyond house cleaning, I’ve added a few drops to my own and my girls’ baths, to our diffuser, and even tried using it a bit topically. Although in several ways, I’m a novice to the world of essential oils, I jotted down a few ways our family is currently using oils to create natural cleaners for our home. I purchased amber glass spray bottles to use since oils tend to encourage the leaching in plastics. Happy spring!

 

| multi-purpose spray |

16 oz. glass spray bottle

2 cups filtered water

4 tsp. castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Eucaplyptus soap)

40 drops of Thieves (or another anti-bacterial oil)

Shake and spray on any surface. We use this on most any hard surface in our home, including kitchen counters and tabletops, cabinet doors and knobs, bathroom counters and sinks.

 

| linen spray |

16 oz. spray bottle

1 cup filtered water

4 tbsp witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or vodka

20 drops lemon oil

20 drops eucalyptus oil

20 drops lavender oil

Shake and lightly spray on any linens, including bedding, fabric pillows, sofas, or rugs. As always, if you’re nervous about the material’s reaction, test a small spot first. Thank you, Kaylan, for the recipe.

 

| window cleaner |

16 oz. Spray Bottle

1 1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup filtered water

8 drops of any citrus oil  (I always lean toward lemon or orange.)

 

| tub |

hand scrub brush

1 cup baking soda

1 tsp. castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Eucalyptus)

5-10 drops lavender

Mix all of the ingredients together. Add just enough water to create a paste and scrub the tub with it.

 

|toilet|

toilet brush

16 oz. glass spray bottle

2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 tsp. Thieves essential oil

1/2 cup baking soda (I prefer the shaker style lid.)

Mix the vinegar and essential oils together in the spray bottle. Shake and spray all areas of the toilet. Sprinkle the baking soda in the toilet–it should bubble a bit with the vinegar–and scrub.

 

| freshen the air |

add the following to your oil diffuser:

1 drop lime oil

1 drop grapefruit oil

2 drops lemon oil

6 drops orange oil

I also love diffusing the YL Purification blend (Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Lavandin, and Myrtle).

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Comments

  1. Hey! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I love it! Your style of writing, the information you provide, the photos, your home, and your lovely family.. One would say, a dream come true!:)
    I tried today your glass cleaner recipe… And I wanted to say, for my taste, there is too much vinegar in the recipe… I’m sure it does the job right, but the 8 drops of lemon did not cover the vinegar smell… Next time I’ll try 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water and see how it goes. By the way, thanks for sharing the recipes, this is what I’ve been using for a while now and I love it! So much simpler and easier!!!

    XO,
    Vio

    1. Author

      Thank you for sharing, Vio. I’ve probably adjusted to the vinegar scent too much (which I still prefer to the ammonia in Windex). I’ll give your adjustment a try next time, too.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. The Linens spray is for the rugs and sheets to smell good? Or to wash clothes ? Also do you make your own toothpaste, shampoo and conditioning ? If not what brand do you recommend for adults and toddlers ?
    Gracias!

    1. Author

      Yes, the linen spray is for freshening sofas, pillows, or even the car. You don’t want to soak the fabric but instead leave a light mist. I don’t currently make my own toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner. We’ve used Tom’s toothpaste (which I’m looking to switch) and I generally use Avalon organics shampoo/conditioner. I’ll definitely share if I ever try my own, and maybe I should. ;)

  3. This morning I found and I read a lot of your blog and IG, how much inspiration, thank you for sharing , your children are adorable.

  4. Just discovered your blog. Love this post. Wondering what type of materials do you use to scrub your bath tub? I too use a paste and find it requires a lot of effort to clean with my brush. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks In advance

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jackie. When I wrote this, I used a wooden natural bristle brush to scrub the tub, but we’ve since resurfaced our tub, which means I can’t use abrasives for scrubbing as it could take off the new finish. So, I’m now searching to find what non-toxic, non-abrasive tools are most effective. Currently I’m using the homemade multi-purpose spray with a sponge, and honestly, I don’t think it’s quite as effective as the paste. I am hoping to come across something that will be a new happy medium. I hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for such a wonderful site. We use YL as well and with slight variations, make things as you do. I will add something that will “curl you hair” concerning re-surfaced or new bathtub/showers. I spoke with a contractor a while back about how he advises people to keep their tubs shiny like new. Get ready, he suggested waxing the them down before ever using them. Then he uses Dawn Detergent with a cloth and simply wipes it down when needed. Of course, we can make our own dish detergent, but boy I wish I had known. I am older and my elbows and shoulders just can’t take that brutal scrubbing anymore. Ultimately, a little wax is worth it to me.

  5. Hello Bethany-I just recently rediscovered your blog, and I love it. I too have been experimenting with EO for about 6 months now, at first I wasn’t so sure it was working. But now I use them for many things, including my deodorant! They really are quite amazing, and a healthy, non-toxic way to keep your family healthy.

    1. Author

      Thanks for popping back over here again, Jordan. I’m love hearing the ways you’re using EOs in your home. I have so many friends who have shared them with me over the years, and I’m continually amazed at how large the world of oils is. There’s so much to learn and I’m just at the beginning, so thanks for sharing a bit of your own journey. x

  6. Hey Bethany! I recently found your blog and Instagram and I am SO glad I did! I just love your site and style and especially your love for JESUS! Your posts have inspired me to spring clean my home this week and try to simplify things as much as possible. :)

    I hope your family has a blessed Easter weekend!

    1. Author

      Hi Roz! Welcome and thank you for sharing such life-building words. I’m so glad you were inspired here. Wishing you a sweet weekend as well–and a refreshing week of cleaning, too. ;)

  7. I love this, very helpful. I have been trying to find some natural cleaners to try. Now I just wish I had an oil diffuser!

    1. hey dear! young living has some amazing diffusers for your home and i’d love to help you find a good fit for you. feel free to shoot me an email if you want more info. XO

    2. Author

      I’m so glad, Melissa. And yes, oil diffusers are a dream, especially in an older space. I’m of the opinion everyone should use one in their home or even when they travel.

  8. what a great round up of all the household staples! i’ve been looking for a single resource like this, as we too have been experiencing that invigorating pull towards fresh starts and renewal. xo

    1. Author

      I’m so grateful to hear that, Lucinda. I also love having several helps in one place–makes for simple work, right? I hope they’re helpful for your own home and brighten your spring spaces. x

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