Vinegar, baking soda and salt are your all-natural friends when it comes to bathroom cleanup, says Expert Home Tips. To deep-clean a crusty shower head, for example, put two teaspoons of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar in a sandwich bag and secure it over the shower head using a rubber band. Let the shower head soak overnight, and the following day, that buildup will wipe away effortlessly. And if your bathroom is prone to mildew, soak your shower curtain in salt water before you hang it up— the salt will absorb excess moisture and keep the space odor-free.
You can make your own all-natural cleaning products, Apartment Therapy says, using only a handful of basic ingredients. For example, an all-purpose tub and tile cleaner can be made from baking soda, liquid soap, vinegar and water. A toilet bowl cleaner is simply borax, baking soda and vinegar, while floor cleaner is borax and water. Glass cleaner? Vinegar and water. Drain cleaner? Baking soda and vinegar. And if you want to add a bit of scent to your homemade cleaning concoctions, simple add a drop of fresh-smelling essential oil such as lemon, mint or lavender.
Once your car is clean, you’ll want to keep it smelling fresh in a natural — and thrifty — way. Use essential oils to create an inexpensive, chemical-free air freshener, OneGoodThing suggests. Soak a clothespin in the essential oil of your choice (or put it inside a bag of fresh herbs such as mint or rosemary) and clip it to an air vent once it’s absorbed up the scent. Alternatively, you can make a Mason jar air freshener that fits in a cupholder, or craft a decorative felt-and-foam hanging air freshener that’s infused with a refreshing natural scent such as lemon, mint or lavender.
The “dog days” of summer may remind you just how much hair and dirt your four-legged friends bring into the home. Fortunately, warm weather affords pet parents the opportunity to treat their dogs to an outdoor spa day that results in less fur and dirt in the home, the American Kennel Club says. Wash your dog with a gentle dog shampoo (or flea shampoo if necessary), and brush them once dry to reduce shedding. Inside the home, keep harsh chemical cleaning products out of pets’ reach and consider using pet-friendly cleaning solutions that contain only vinegar or baking soda. Wash pet bedding regularly, and you’ll be able to cut down on pet odors, too.
Many moms will want a big brunch, cards, jewelry and a bouquet of flowers on Mother’s Day. But some would rather have a little bit of quiet time or an hour of extra shut-eye than a big celebration. And a break from everyday chores is a gift that moms young and older will always appreciate.
Money magazine talked to a number of bloggers who write about motherhood, and found that the best Mother’s Day gift is basically a day off—meaning zero time spent in the kitchen, and some space to relax. Simple outings can also be good, but only if mom doesn’t have to lift a finger to help out.
One of the most-wanted “gifts” the moms mentioned is a clean house. “My ideal Mother’s Day gift would be my family all pitching in together to clean up the house, do the dishes, fold and put away the laundry, and make me something yummy to eat while I took a bubble bath or read a good book,” moneysavingmom.com’s Crystal Paine told Money.
That comes as no surprise to this writer, who cleans, sweeps, vacuums and organizes some area of the home every time he visits his longtime neat freak of a mother. Since she’s getting older and downsizing, we often declutter and give the extra stuff to ClothingDonations.org, which makes it easy for us to keep the house tidy while contributing to a good cause.
If your mother has allergies, consider a “real” spring cleaning that cleans up the indoor air after a long winter, Huffington Post writer Amy Ziff says. Open the windows and give her potted plants instead of cut stems; they’ll help keep the indoor air clean. Clean under the sinks and replace the toxic chemicals you may find there with natural alternatives.
“Our homes need to become healthy-air oases,” Ziff says. “By conducting a health check-up this (and every) Mother’s Day, we can help our moms, ourselves and all of our loved ones breathe easier.”
Cleaning and decluttering cost very little, and the effort is sure to be one that Mom treasures. Once the place is neat, spotless and fresh-smelling (and you’ve worked up an appetite), you can take her out to brunch or dinner, too!