It’s spring and the time our homes frequently receive a thorough cleaning. We know that the cleaning process separates the dirt from the item being cleaned and results in a sense of renewal. As we use cleaning routines in our homes to sanitize them, it is helpful to multitask and use the time for personal spiritual cleansing. First John 1:9 teaches, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As we become proficient in our cleaning routines, let’s direct our minds to the spiritual cleaning we may need to accomplish rather than allowing them to dwell in mental emptiness. This intentional action allows us to honor our Lord in even the most mundane tasks (Colossians 3:16-17).
Stores, both online and in a shopping mall, offer an incredible number of gadgets and gizmos, all designed to make your chores easier. Since many are nice to have but not necessary, consider focusing on purchasing the basics before expanding into the extras. The basic cleaning tools include:
- a broom
- paper towels
- a mop
- a dustpan
- dust cloths
- toilet brush
- a step stool
- rubber gloves
- a vacuum cleaner
- cleaning products
- basket or caddy for carrying cleaning supplies
Taking the time to care for your cleaning tools will increase their lifespan. Consider investing a few extra minutes to pamper your cleaning tools:
- Wash and rinse brushes frequently with warm water and detergent.
- Wash and rinse mops often enough to keep them clean and odor free. Mops should be hung by the handles and without touching the floor when put into storage.
- Regularly wash sponges, dust cloths, and rags. Be sure to allow the sponges to dry thoroughly to prevent odors. Use a mini-clothesline (with clothespins) attached to the back of a closet door to hold dust cloths and other cleaning rags.
- Dispose of oily or cleaner-soaked cloths. Because they can be combustible, storing them in a closed closet can cause a fire. If they must be stored, choose a well-ventilated area.
- Rinse buckets after each use to prevent dried cleaning product and residue from building up at the bottom.
- Check the vacuum bag frequently. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care and cleaning. Be sure to keep some extra vacuum bags in your cleaning storage area.
- Use cup hooks on the side wall of your cleaning storage area to hold the dustpan and any other items that can be hung.
- Look for a place other than under the kitchen sink to store laundry and cleaning supplies. These products may be poisonous, so you are wise to store them where young children will not get to them.
Cleaning Products from Your Pantry
What is your annual budget for cleaning supplies? Even with the help of coupons or purchasing the products at a warehouse club, the total cost by the end of the year can be hefty. One way to save money is to use resources already found in your pantry or medicine cabinet and make them do double duty as cleaning agents. Consider replacing some of the pricey name-brand products with the natural cleaning agents suggested below. They are normally safer and healthier to use.
- This heavy-duty cleaning liquid agent is effective for cleaning all kinds of things around the house.
- It is available in both plain and sudsy formulas.
- Ammonia is poisonous and the odor and fumes can be irritating, so use with caution in a well-ventilated area.
- Cut the lid off the box and leave on the back of a shelf in both the freezer and refrigerator to absorb odors. Replace several times a year.
- Its mild abrasiveness provides a good scouring powder.
- Light soil and stains on sinks, counters and stove tops can be removed.
- Mixed with water it makes an all-around, light-duty cleaner.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a disinfectant.
- It can also function as a bleaching substitute.
- A mild abrasive, salt can be used to absorb grease or grape juice stains.
- Salt softens water.
- White vinegar is a mild acid.
- It is a good all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer.
- Mixed with water, it cuts grease and dissolves film on glassware and windows.
From the kitchen to the bathroom and beyond, vinegar is the most flexible and economical of products sure to have a daily use in your home and life. Visit the Vinegar Institute Website (www.versatilevinegar.org) for information about how to use vinegar in and around, and even outside, your home. If you want to improve the taste of your morning coffee try cleansing your coffee maker following the procedure below.
Vinegar naturally dissolves the mineral deposits that build up in your coffee maker. Monthly cleansing assists the heating element to remain consistently hot, allowing your coffee to brew better.
- Pour 1 quart (4 cups) white vinegar into the top of the coffeemaker.
- Place empty decanter and brew funnel in place on the coffeemaker.
- Turn on coffeemaker and allow approximately 1/2 of the vinegar to “brew” through the coffeemaker into the decanter. Turn coffeemaker off.
- Pour “brewed vinegar” back into the top of the coffeemaker.
- Allow vinegar to remain in the top of the coffeemaker for at least ½ hour.
- Turn coffeemaker on and allow all the vinegar to “brew” into the decanter.
- Discard the vinegar solution.
- Flush the system by cycling a full pot of clear tap water through the coffeemaker.
- Flush the system a second time by cycling a second full pot of clear tap water through the coffeemaker.
The procedures for preparing the cleaning solutions are simple and quick. You do not need to be a chemist to mix them successfully —and the best part is that, in most cases, they are much safer than many of the commercial products that contain toxins. April’s Hints will provide recipes for Cleaning Products from your pantry.
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
"The Lord thy God hath chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession." (Deuteronomy 7:6).
Therefore I may boldly say, "I am a treasured woman."
The February post provides the introductory description of the monthly homemaking hints if you wish to place this post in context.
Visit The Everyday Homemaker next week as we focus on resting in the Lord as we multitask in our homes.
If you are in the Fort Worth area consider scheduling a tour of Horner Homemaking House, Southwestern’s Management Model where our Homemaking classes are taught.
Blessings on your week as you focus on making your house a home!