Bring sunshine into your home
With the beautiful sun shining its golden rays right onto our doorstep, it’s time to give your home a sparkling facelift. If you love using natural products, get things in shipshape for the new season with these easy natural cleaning tips from Aisha Pandor, CEO & co-founder of SweepSouth.
Declutter your make-up
Use a cutlery tray to sort out messy make-up in an instant. Divide up your foundations, brushes, blusher and eye shadows, or use the tray to sort out nail polishes, nail files and cotton wool. Slip it into a drawer and when you need it, lift it out en masse.
Make use of this time now to spring clean your make-up collection, too. It’s better to have a few good products that you use often than a jumble of make-up that’s building up bacteria.
Refresh your bedroom
Tackle your bedroom armed with just a few packets of bicarbonate of soda and the vacuum cleaner, advises Aisha. Give your mattress an instant refresh by sprinkling bicarb onto the mattress surface, then wait an hour and vacuum it up, making sure to remove every granule of bicarb. Spruce up your bedroom curtains next by giving them a quick vacuum. If your carpets smell musty after the long winter months, liberally sprinkle bicarb on to the carpet, wait an hour, then vacuum.
Bathroom deep clean
Refresh your shower and get rid of soap scum and mould with a natural shower scrub. Mix three cups of water with three teaspoons of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Spray on the shower walls and floor, leave for half an hour, spray again, then scrub to remove residue and rinse.
A surprisingly germ-laden item in the bathroom is the common toothbrush holder. In a US study that looked at items in the home that contained germs, toothbrush holders beat tap handles and light switches for being real bacteria traps. Sanitise your toothbrush holder by washing it thoroughly with hot soapy water. Make it a new-season resolution to do so at least once a week.
Dust and marks, be gone!
Clean dusty Venetian blinds by closing them, then wiping them down with a tumble dryer sheet. It works wonders in picking up the dust and creating an anti-static barrier to slow down dust build-up.
Other store cupboard ingredients can also be used as natural cleaners, advises Aisha. Wipe down televisions, phones and screens with a soft cloth moistened with white vinegar. And, if your mirrors are looking dull, wipe with a used, wet bag of black tea, then dry the mirror with dry newspaper. The black tea has tannic acid that will leave the surface sparkling clean, without filling your bathroom with a harsh chemical smell.
Appliances need TLC, too
Give your vacuum cleaner a fresh feel by dipping a ball of cotton wool in an essential oil with a fresh scent like lavender, lemon or peppermint, and adding it to your vacuum bag, says Aisha.
Get rid of limescale build-up in your kettle by emptying it, then covering the element with an equal solution of white vinegar and water. Allow it to soak for an hour, or longer if you can, then rinse well. Add fresh water, boil and drain. Tea tastes better when your kettle is clean!
While you’re in the kitchen, haul out your wooden chopping boards, which are known to harbour an alarming amount of germs and bacteria. Give them a deep cleanse by sprinkling a generous amount of coarse sea salt onto the board. Cut a lemon in half and, using the fleshy side, scrub the salt across the board. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly.
Fridge clean out
We usually give the shelves in our fridges a wipe when they start looking grubby or there’s a food spill, but did you know germs lurking inside the everyday fridge can put your health at risk? According to the consumer site Which?, seven in every 10 fridges harbour harmful bacteria. Even though the cold temperatures inside slow down microbial growth, they can easily turn into a breeding ground for nasties. Various microorganisms that can contaminate food and make you ill thrive in extremely low temperatures, so it’s best to practise good fridge hygiene on a regular basis.
Start by emptying the fridge of all food items, then remove shelves and drawers and wash them in hot soapy water. Wipe down the inside of the fridge with hot soapy water, removing crumbs, dirt and old spills, then wipe down again with clean water. Put the clean, dried shelves and drawers back and, as you pack food items back, throw out anything that’s past its sell-by date.
Declutter and sort out untidy shelves
Open shelves are great for storing books and displaying pretty accessories, but they easily become dusty and overcrowded. This kind of display looks best when open space is left between items so, if your shelves are looking jumbled, resolve to declutter.
Take everything off the shelves and give them a good clean. As you’re packing items back, think of the process as decorating, rather than just packing every inch of space full of books, photo frames and sentimental objects. Edit items down and, if you can’t decide whether to keep something or not, ask yourself: Would I keep this if I moved house? If the answer is no, bin it. If you still can’t decide, put it in a maybe pile for eight weeks. If you can live without it for that long, it’s time to say goodbye.
Perfect pot plants
It’s amazing how dusty pot plant leaves get, leaving them looking dreary, says Aisha. Gently wipe down their leaves with a soft cloth dampened in a mixture of water and a little milk. Use another soft cloth to dry the leaves afterwards. With the weather warming, it’s a perfect time now to feed pot plants for new growth. Make your own DIY plant food by using coffee grounds, finely crushed eggshells or tea leaves as fertiliser.
Lastly, give your spirits an instant pick me up each morning during this beautiful season. Keep a bottle of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil in the shower and sprinkle a few drops on the floor as you shower. Breathe the vapours in to feel rejuvenated for the day ahead,and welcome in spring!