3 Tips to Help You Clean Your House and Shop This Fall, Without Chemicals
Every time the seasons change, we’re presented with an opportunity to clean the slate and start over. For some of us, this might look like setting new goals, or even compiling lists of new recipes to try. For the majority of us, however, the changing of seasons calls for something more practical: cleaning.
That’s the bad news, if you hate cleaning. But here’s the good news: With the right tools and knowledge, cleaning doesn’t have to be a chemical-laden chore.
Instead, turn to your pantry for green, affordable, and chemical-free cleaning solutions. To make an effective and fragrant all-purpose cleaning spray, for example, just combine one part white vinegar with one part water, a little lemon rind and some fresh thyme. Pour all of these ingredients into a spray bottle and you’ll be ready to clean everything from countertops to walls. Alternatively, to make a kitchen-specific cleaning solution, just combine 8 tablespoons of baking soda with 2 quarts of warm water. Mix together to create a paste and you’ll be able to clean all of your stainless steel pots, pans, and appliances.
Add a little elbow grease, and the right tools, to the mix and you’ll have everything you need to clean your home or shop in the best, healthiest, and most sustainable way possible, whatever the season.
Here are some tips and tools to get you started.
1. Prevention is the best medicine.
The easiest mess to clean is the mess you don’t make in the first place—so take a few minutes to think of ways you can minimize your (dirty) footprint in your shop or home. Some messes are unavoidable, sure, so the key is to save your time and elbow grease for those tasks, while introducing new policies or tools into your space to help minimize the mess of other, more easily preventable ones.
For starters, be mindful of how you enter your space. Can you take off your shoes? If so, invest in an easy-to-clean shoe or boot tray to avoid tracking dirt or mud through your space. If you can’t take off your shoes, invest instead in a heavy-duty door mat with bristles and make it routine to clean your shoes on it every time you enter your space. The mat’s super stiff, black PVC bristles will catch any dirt your shoes or boots may be carrying—meaning you won’t need any chemical-laden cleaning products to lift dried dirt or mud from your floor later.
2. Organization is the key to success.
Upon first glance, it’s hard to tell the difference between a dirty space and a messy one—but in general, most spaces aren’t actually dirty; they’re just cluttered and disorganized. This is especially true in spaces that get a lot of use, like kitchens, workshops and other utility spaces. So how do you stop your messy but otherwise clean home from looking like a dirty, chaotic space? You organize.
First, think about the best, most user-friendly ways to arrange your things. Would it be useful, for example, to move your aprons from their usual spot—tangled, in a knot, in a drawer—to a hook on the wall? If so, that’s an easy fix: Invest in sturdy, attractive wall hooks. Problem solved!
Next, consider the placement of your tools. Rather than cramming them in a drawer, Tetris-style, think of creative ways to utilize your space to make them easier-to-find, easier-to-use, and less likely to get lost, while keeping your work area more serene-looking than ever. Start small, with a great toolbox. Then, invest in a great can shelf and a high-strength magnetic tool storage panel. Not only is the latter customizable, to suit your needs, but it’s a game changer in terms of workflow. With all of your tools visible, as you work, you’ll be able to just grab what you need as you go. That your space will look clean and organized as you do so is just another bonus.
3. With the right tool, all you need is elbow grease.
Now that your space is organized, life can resume again—in all its messy glory! Don’t despair the mess; just invest in the right tools to make the clean up as easy, green and low impact as possible.
Rather than default to a disposable mop, made with chemically-laden pads destined only for the nearest landfill, invest in a USA-made alternative like this Vermont “Slack” Dry Mop & Duster. Made in Vermont by a small company for decades, these mops feature Lanolin-coated wool strands, which naturally and efficiently attract all manner of dust, dirt and other particles you’ll want to remove from your home. No chemicals required.
A good broom—that is suited to your specific needs—is also a must have. Select yours by considering the space in which you plan to use it. For your garden or garage, you’ll want a heavy duty broom with strong bristles. Indoors, you’ll want a broom and dust pan combo, like this stand up set, or this hand-held one.
If the space you’re cleaning is smaller or more intricate, opt instead for a high-quality bench brush. These little hand-held tools are great for cleaning your car, keyboard, little cracks in your workshop, kitchen, or garage, and hard-to-clean appliances. Invest in one of these and you’ll never need an aerosol can of compressed air again.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a clean and organized house or workshop this season. So happy cleaning! May your freshly organized and sparkling-clean space bring peace to you and your home.