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Don’t forget to clean before winter

By Staff | Sep 14, 2014

The phrase “Spring Cleaning” goes hand in hand with the changing seasons. But, many people also take the opportunity in the fall to clean their homes before being pent up inside for a long winter.

But, amongst the people doing some deep seasonal cleaning they have their minds set on one thing and it probably isn’t going green.

Sara Smith, of Blue Earth, has a way to combine both effective deep cleaning and doing it in an all natural way.

“I started using all natural cleaners because there are a lot of allergies and sensitive skin in my home,”?Smith says.

Now, Smith has been using homemade green cleaners for more than three years.

“Many of the recipes I have for cleaners involve vinegar,”?she explains.

So, as people are delving into some deep, fall cleaning, she recommends using a stronger version of the recipe.

Fall is a good time to clean the coils on the fridge and clean up under the stove. For those jobs Smith says a vinegar and water solution works best.

“But, just add less water so the vinegar is stronger,”?she adds.

Some may not like the smell of vinegar and there is a natural way to solve that issue as well, which is adding essential oils.

“Just add five to 10 drops of the oils into the cleaner and that will cover the vinegar smell,” she explains.

Another important task to accomplish in fall cleaning is to freshen the home before being cooped up during the cold season.

But, in freshening the house, using conventional cleaning products leaves the harsh smell of chemicals.

“I hate the smell of chemicals,” Smith adds. “So, by using all natural products you don’t have that smell. It stays fresher.”

Another way to freshen things up in the house is by washing drapes, linens and pillows. For laundry, Smith has a cleaning recipe which will save time, money and will improve the level of cleaning.

She mixes one box of borax, one box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and one box of baking soda. Then, she will mix in two bars of Zote Soap by grating it in with the other ingredients.

“I mixed this laundry soap and it amazed me how much cleaner my laundry is,” Smith says.

She uses just one tablespoon of this mixture per load and that is all it takes. The recipe will last her and her family for about six months.

“And, I have a front load washer so I can use that one tablespoon of the homemade detergent on about 20 towels and it comes out clean and fresh every time,” she says.

Cleaning bathrooms and kitchens may be more of a regular chore in a lot of households, cleaning the tile and grout in either room may not come up as often. Fall is a great time to remember these more detailed cleaning tasks while the weather is still warm and individuals are more motivated to get it done.

Smith found a recipe for even the most detailed fall cleaning task of bathroom tiles and kitchen counters.

All it takes is combining vinegar, dish soap and water in a spray bottle.

“Then you can just spray it on your shower tiles and walk away,”?she says.

For tougher jobs, like hard water stains and cleaning new grout Smith says it is better to warm up the vinegar in the mixture before spraying it on.

“But, you can have it all mixed up in a bottle to use for everyday cleaning tasks,”?she adds.

Many people switch out decorations in the fall which makes it a good time to dust in places that don’t get attention everyday.

This can be accomplished by using many of the same ingredients, including vinegar, water and essential oils.

“All of the things I use to clean in my home, I?purchase right here in town,”?Smith says. “All of this stuff I use I?bought right at the Walmart here in Blue Earth.”

By following some of these all natural, homemade recipes for cleaning this fall, you can save money and kick the chemicals out of your home.

“I?feel good about the choices I’m making for my family,” Smith says.

However, she admits that getting started was a bit of a challenge at first.

“It was overwhelming,” she adds. “There is a lot of information on this online.”

Luckily, Smith will be teaching a Blue Earth Area Community Education class on this topic, just in time for people to learn how to do it before fall cleaning this year.

The class will be held on Thursday, Oct. 2, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Blue Earth Area High School.

“We do still have openings for this class,” Sarah Ferring of BEA community education says.

The sign up date is Sept. 25 and has a fee of just $15.

“This is an introduction to green cleaners,” Smith explains.

In addition to her laundry soap and shower cleaner she will also be teaching how to make homemade all natural body scrub, homemade window cleaner and several more items.

“Everyone who takes the class will take home samples as well as recipes so they can make them at home,”?she says.

She will also share some websites she used to find recipes when she first began to transition into all natural cleaning in her own home.

So, instead of waiting until spring to do a deep, yearly clean, break the list up and do half in the fall.

And, this fall when you decide to start washing windows, cleaning linens and doing an overall clean of the house before settling down for the winter, you might want to think about trying some natural cleaners in your own home.

To sign up for Smith’s Green Cleaners 101 community education class call BEA Community Education at (507) 526-3172.