Sustainable Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning time is here! And sustainable spring cleaning at that. Though we all know I would rather be sitting on the West Verandah with the assorted crew.

Spring cleaning has to be done fast. Before I lose interest. And at a speed that I can sustain. One room at a time.

And low impact sustainable cleaning products are a must. Of course!

After all we are working in The Sustainable Home that sits in the middle of The Kitchens Garden.

The sunrise is beginning to creep Northish again.

Sunrise with all the shades of orange. Sun rises above a flat horison across the prairies.

Once that late winter light starts to change into early spring light and the days get a little longer; Spring Cleaning becomes less of a choice and more of a matter of pride! My eyes lift up and the COBWEBS suddenly leap out at me. The windows look terrible. And there is dust in places I don’t even want to think about.

Cream coloured cow looking over wooden fence with winter trees and blue sky behind.

So what do we use for cleaning products in a world where we are cutting down on plastic containers and chemicals.

Sustainable cleaning spray in brown smoky glass spray bottle, in front of bird painting. Cleaning rag in foreground.


I have three cleaning spray bottles:

The Simply Vinegar and Water spray is for glass and shiny things.

In a glass spray bottle:
🌻 1 cup of water
🌻 1 cup of cleaning vinegar

🕺🏽 SHAKE!!

The Orange spray has orange oil added to the Vinegar and Water. This is for all those kitchen surfaces. And walls, ceilings, etc.

In a glass spray bottle:
🌻 1 cup of water
🌻 1 cup of cleaning vinegar

🌻 10 – 15 drops of orange oil

🕺🏽 SHAKE!!

The Soapy Spray is for tougher jobs. Grate a cup of Castile soap (or your homemade soap) into a container. Add 6 cups of hot water – stir until melted. This is an excellent liquid soap.

In a glass spray bottle:
🌻 1 cup of water
🌻 1 cup of cleaning vinegar

🌻 10 – 15 drops of orange oil

🌻 1 teaspoon liquid soap

🕺🏽 SHAKE!!

Don’t forget the phone: Phone screens are one of the most common carriers of bacteria. Just about anything airborne lands there from your breath. (No sharing phones) Wipe that screen a couple of times a day.For computer screens and phones: spray the Simply Vinegar and Water mixture lightly onto a well worn raggy-arse old cotton tea towel from your rag bag. Just a smidgen.

💦 Wipe your screens.
🎐 Allow to air dry.

TIP: For hard to clean surfaces, the oven top for instance or the corners of the window frame, spray your cleaner onto the area then walk away and leave it for a few minutes before wiping out. .

Like stains in your clothing, a good soak makes all the difference. Getting everything clean in an instant is a modern marketing construct. (And no that does not mean you can leave the pots to SOAK in the sink forever, John). Sometimes elbow grease is the best!

TIP: Orange oil has d-limonene which is an antimicrobial agent. Anti-microbial and anti-fungal, actually. This stuff is the shit. Don’t have a home without it.

TIP: Shake Before Use.

🐜 Ants hate orange oil by the way!

Have an excellent day. As you can see my day will be busy!

Shall we make some orange oil soon? I will look for some organic unwaxed oranges when I am next in California. Oranges are not local here in Illinois!

And if you are in another hemisphere – Autumn cleaning is a thing too you know!!


PS Our Misky is still blogging! And her poetry is as strong and inspiring as ever. (I am loving looking up the old crew – but ashamed that I let things go so badly! – I blame it on the pandemic!).

I had a yarn with my friend David Ketchen from Wellington, NZ last night. He is not a blogger but a utuber. His account is all about his art. In the clips he explains his process. He really is quite lovely and his portrait work is beautiful. If you pop over leave him a note and say Celi sent you!

30 Comments on “Sustainable Spring Cleaning

  1. When I had a nightclub in Barcelona (1992) the bartenders used gin to clean everything. Spanish gin is very cheap 😉

  2. Will you tell us how to make Orange oil??? I have Oranges hanging on my tree in California now😁

    • YES! Absolutely. You don’t need anything special except maybe a good straining cloth. I will find some oranges! (Supermarket ones need a good scrub to get the wax off – the ones on your trees will be GOLD!).

  3. Thanks for the mention, C! Orange oil is brilliant, as you say. Bay leaves are also a good deterrent for all sorts of insects and mice! Just scatter them about in the cupboards. During the lockdown, I had trouble with flour mites, and fresh bay leaves sent them off in a hurry. I’ve been freezing my flour since that happened.

    • Freezing or at least refrigerating flour is a very good idea. Especially if it is real flour. I recommend this to all my bakers. Bay Leaves will deter them but they leave behind their eggs!

  4. YES! The vinegar based solutions have been my go-to for some time now…but some orange oil for my counters…I need to do that.

  5. Vinegar for cleaning is great. Interested to hear about the orange water. Would have trouble cleaning with gin and not drinking it! In fact gin and orange water sounds brilliant! Not a lot of cleaning would get done though! Oh yes it would, the vinegar🤭

  6. Orange oil… adding that to my list. Currently we use local lemon myrtle oil. You make a good point with your mention of autumn cleaning… especially relevant if a humid-rainy summer and autumn weather creates lerfect conditions for mould which undetected-untreated can have serious health impacts (vinegar and clove oil helps treat mould and sometimes a bit of metho). Last year and the year before, during and after the summer and autumn flooding we constantly cleaned… it seemed nenever-ending. Currently we’re watching, waiting fingers crossed for enough rain but not too much.

    • Lemon Myrtle oil sounds quite lovely – especially if it is local.

      I hear you on the humidity – I had t literally move my oil skins to another state/country – they were getting pretty stinky from the wet air out here.

  7. I used to only clean with vinegar and water(I am allergic to so many cleaning products). But a friend of mine introduced me to Kookaburra products (they make awesome wool scour for raw sheep fleeces) and they make a lovely all purpose concentrated cleaner that has tea tree and orange oils. It’s amazing! (Made in Colorado). It’s very reasonably priced as well.

    • Thank you!! Locally made products are the way to go and I think I buy my oil skin treatments from them – i will have to go back and look. Thank you so much for the reminder – I shall add them to my list!

  8. I often just take my orange peels and plunk them into my vinegar water spray bottle. Smells so much better than just straight up vinegar and you still have the benefit of the oil. Grapefruit and lemon peel work great too. In fact I almost prefer the grapefruit scent to the others but they all work. After awhile you can just compost the peels and start with fresh. For folks that have garbage disposals..just put the peels in with a few ice cubes and wa lah…a clean, fresh smelling disposal.

    • That sounds delightful! What an excellent was to add scent. I sometimes add a few sprays of lavender in the season for the same reason. How are your flower beds this year Christina?

      • Well, right now they are mostly still asleep under their blankets of leaves…I am seeing a little new growth poking up on some of the perennials and the daffs are up 3-4 inches..Spring is doing it’s best to get here! Where did the winter go?..Says NO one Ever! 🙂
        Speaking of old bloggers, can you recall the name of Jean’s blog in France? I want to pop over and see what they’re up to these days but I can’t remember the name of the blog. They were the couple who moved from this area to France to start their own cattle farm.

  9. I know you know I’m still blogging but I also try to be as sustainable as possible. Last year I wrote this blog and mentioned making the orange oil and vinegar cleaner. Our neighbour has six orange trees so I’m fortunate to have dozens (and dozens) of unwaxed oranges. I LOVE that cleaner, it smells so good and does a better job than most commercial cleaners for just about everything. Here is my blog post in case your readers are interested. xx

    • Thank you Ardys!! And thank you for the link. We are all about sharing information here!

      You are very lucky to have local unwaxed oranges – I literally have to fly across the country to find some!!

  10. Great post .. thank you! I have been making my own window cleaner for ages. I’m going to try that orange spray too. Love the idea of using natural products. Celi, what would you recommend for a wooden floor. I’m currently using vinegar, water and lavender, but I would love something a little stronger if poss. Cheers and thanks

    • For my laundry liquid I whisk grated Castile soap with hot water to make a liquid soap. A capful of that can be mixed with the vinegar and orange. Then give it a good shake.

      Castile soap is made with oils so I use it tor general cleaning.

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