I love spring...the fresh air from the open window, the warm sunshine streaming into the home; and of course spending time in the great outdoors hiking, playing and exploring.
Spring is a wonderful time to get out all the cobwebs, dust bunnies and gunk from the ceiling to the floor inside your home.
But did you know that many of the chemical based household cleaners you see in the stores and advertised on TV and online can be dangerous to you and your dog?
From the bleach you use in your laundry, to the toilet bowl cleaner, to the solution you mop your floor with, to the carpet cleaner you use to clean and freshen, to the air fresheners you may spray to give off a nicer scent; many of these chemical based items may be very harmful to you and your dog.
Just this past May it was reported that a powdered carpet cleaner was to blame for the death of a pet cat and pet bird in a Washington state home.
And don't be fooled by the 'green, eco-friendly, healthier' marketing hype of your potential cleaner; do your research to be certain that what you use to clean your home is really safe and healthy.
Why? Because many of those chemical based drain, window, furniture, floor, carpet, laundry, dish washing products and more, are reeking havoc on our health; not only from the exposure to the air our dog's breath when we use them, but the poisonous residue that they leave that may potentially be ingested by our dogs as they lick and are exposed to surfaces.
The Organic Consumers Association shares that, 'cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer.' You can read their article to be more informed on their website.
Also, you can research virtually every cleaner on the market at Environmental Working Group to see if your products are safe for your dog. That's what we do.
So how do you clean your home and make it healthier and safer for you and your dog? We've got some great steps and ideas:
First, safely dispose of any chemical-based cleaners that may be harmful. Make sure you check with your local waste disposal company or organization as some of these cleaners may be considered hazardous materials.
Then, put together a healthier cleaning kit. We recommend:
- White vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Baking soda
- Washing soda
- Glycerin bar soap
- Liquid Castile soap
- Old towels
- Swiffer dry mop
- Either a carpet cleaning machine or a steam floor cleaning machine.
Start with dusting!
With our kit in hand we start making our way through the cabin, starting with the duster. We start with the duster because many times dust, dirt and webs may fall on the floor, so we work top to bottom. We dust everything from the ceiling corners to the lampshades to the light bulbs to the table tops and ceiling fans, and make sure to dust underneath any furniture that can't be moved.
Once that's complete we get out the vacuum. We own a Dyson, which we love and it has many attachments to get in all those crevices, as well as an attachment to get all the dog and kittie fur from the couches and easy chairs. We move the couch and the beds and sweep well under those too!
Move to the floors, rugs and carpets
Now that we have a steaming floor cleaning machine we use it to steam clean all the floors and rugs that we have in the cabin. The machine digs in deep, sanitizing, scrubbing and cleaning all the surfaces on our floor with only one machine.
If you don't have a steamer, we recommend after vacuuming that you clean your floors with a wonderful solution of water and vinegar. It's safe for wood, tile and more. We used to utilize an old Swiffer Duster and dip a wash cloth in the solution to wipe down the hard floors. The best part is you don't even need to rinse! And for those carpets and rugs? Start with just water for stains. If that doesn't work move on to adding a little vinegar to your water. We've even used a carpet cleaning machine and added our own homemade carpet cleaning solution, works great!
Once you've tackled the dust and the floors it's time to start on the windows. Our favorite way to clean any glass (windows, mirrors) and other surfaces in our home is utilizing our fallback solution of water and vinegar, making sure that the windows are very dry when finished to get any potential streaks.
Wipe down all kitchen surfaces utilizing our all purpose cleaning recipe including counters, appliances, cabinets and more. Utilize a good baking soda paste to scrub down the kitchen sink, then add more baking soda and white vinegar to keep your drain clean and clog free.
Once we've finished with the kitchen, we head on to the bathrooms. Many people believe that stronger cleaners are needed to disinfect the bathroom. But the reality is that simple solutions of water and vinegar have powerful disinfectant properties. For tougher toilet bowl stains, try adding some baking soda to the mix for scrubbing rings and hard water stains.
Check back later in the week for our upcoming post of our favorite cleaning recipes for the health of your dog!