Spring cleaning is as much a ritual as a necessity. Throwing open the windows to welcome the fresh spring air energizes people, who feel like they’re preparing for a fresh start and sweeping winter out of the house.
Ever-vigilant for profitable opportunities, manufacturers of cleaning supplies capitalize on the spring-cleaning frenzy by offering a multitude of sprays, scrubbers, cleansers and mold removers. It’s a huge market, raking in more than $8 billion a year.
Anytime an industry makes that much money selling anything, frugally minded people start wondering how much of the product is legitimate and how much is hype. The cleaning industry has a lot of hype. If you’ve got some liquid detergent, bleach, baking soda, vinegar and borax, you can clean almost anything in the house.
Sample Vinegar Solutions
The Internet abounds with recipes for frugal cleaning products. For instance, mixing baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzy mixture perfect for cleaning drains. Pour the baking soda into the drain first, and then add the vinegar. And stand back—the mix fizzes enthusiastically.
Pure white vinegar has an overpowering smell, but can kill 80 percent of mold. Spray the vinegar onto the mold, and let sit for a while. You might want to open a few windows until the vinegar odor dissipates.
Vinegar-based solutions make great window and mirror cleaners. Put ½ teaspoon of liquid detergent into a spray bottle, then add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 cups of water. Shake it up and use like any commercial window spray. Don’t use this mix on television or computer monitor screens, however; it can damage the screen.
Baking Soda Cleaning Recipes
Take about ½ a cup of baking soda and mix it with liquid detergent. Add detergent until you get a soft cream about the same consistency as cake icing. The result is a great cleaner for bathrooms and tiles. The mix doesn’t leave gritty residue and cleans off easily.
Baking soda also forms the basis for an effective oven cleaner. Spray water over the bottom of the oven. Pour a generous amount of baking soda over the water, completely covering the oven bottom. Add another layer of water and allow to penetrate overnight. In the morning, wipe up the greasy mixture. Remove any remaining material with a rag and small amount of liquid detergent.
One note on the oven-cleaning trick: you have to be generous with both the water and the baking soda. Skimping on either reduces the mixture’s cleaning power.
Cleaning up Clutter
People tend to accumulate clutter. Remove and organize clutter as part of your spring-cleaning project. Firewood, old building materials and piles of unused garden tools can attract mice and rats. While modern rat control traps work well, removing possible homes for the creatures lowers your risk of a vermin problem.
Carly is a freelance writer who loves animals, spending time outdoors, and traveling. She loves how blogging allows her to share her writing with a large audience on the internet.