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Spring Cleaning The Old-Fashioned Way

Back when our grandparents were housekeeping, they had basic ingredients and they made their own cleaners. 

Here are some good items to have on hand to create your own cleaners:

Baking Soda 
Lemon juice 
Liquid dish soap 
Essential oils 
Vegetable or olive oil

All-purpose cleaner

Small amount of liquid dish soap 
1/2 teaspoon soda ash or baking soda 
2 cups hot water 
Combine the above ingredients in a spray bottle; shake until the mixture has dissolved. Clean surfaces by spraying and then wiping away with a towel or sponge.

Furniture polish

1/2 cup lemon juice 
1 cup vegetable or olive oil 
Mix the above ingredients in a bottle. Apply a small amount to a lint-free towel or rag, then dust or polish furniture and other surfaces.

Glass cleaner

1 gallon of water 
1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap 
1/2 cup vinegar 
Combine the above ingredients in a spray bottle; shake until the mixture has dissolved. Clean windows, mirrors and other glass surfaces by spraying and then wiping away with a lint-free towel or sponge.

Source: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection


And to get the air smelling sweet, try these homemade remedies:


Buy or make your own potpourri from your favorite herbs and spices. Place the potpourri in a small basket or jar or in small sachet bags.


Open windows or doors in the house for at least a short period every day. This will help to reduce toxic fumes that may build up indoors.

Cinnamon & Cloves

Boil the spices for a fragrant smell. For ease of cleaning, make a cheesecloth bag to contain the spices, and boil the cheesecloth bag. An excellent alternative when entertaining is to steep spiced tea or cider.

Oil of Wintergreen

Dampen cotton balls with oil of wintergreen and place out of sight, but where air will touch them.


Distribute partially filled saucers of vinegar around the room or boil 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors.


Place pure vanilla on a cotton ball in a small saucer. Place the saucer in the car or refrigerator to remove odors. Vanilla is renowned to remove even skunk odors. Keep the cotton ball out of reach of children; vanilla has a high alcohol content.

Baking Soda

Place a partially filled box of baking soda on the refrigerator shelf. Replace every 2 months. Pour the contents of the used box down the drain to remove odors and keep the drain clean.


To inhibit growth of odor-producing molds and bacteria, sprinkle 1/2 cup Borax in the bottom of the garbage can. Empty garbage frequently and clean the can as needed.

Vinegar Or Celery Stalk

To avoid or remove onion odors from your hands, rub white vinegar on your hands before and after slicing. Rubbing hands with the end of a celery stalk will also remove the odor.

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