Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Greener Spring Cleaning: Part 3 (Homemade Floor Cleaners)

Mud season is officially under way here in Michigan and that means plenty of dirt getting tracked in on my linoleum and wood floors. (And occasionally onto the carpet, as well, even though we have a no shoes in the house policy.) These are my current favorite homemade solutions for cleaning all of my floors.

All-Purpose Cleaning Solution: (For Hard Floor Surfaces)

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap (your safest bets are Dawn or something like Seventh Generation)
  • 1 teaspoon Borax
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (one that did not previously contain chemicals!) and shake gently. Using a funnel is helpful when filling your bottle. Optional: Add a few drops of essential oils if you would like a light scent. Label your bottle with the recipe using a permanent marker. Cover the writing with a piece of clear packing tape to prevent it from being wiped away over time.

To mop the floors, add a small amount to your bucket and then fill it with hot water. This solution cleans up all sorts of gunk and it disinfects, too. Personally, I have had no issues using this on our floors, but of course, you may want to test it on a small area before tackling all of your floors.

Now, what about carpet cleaning? If you have kids and pets, you are sure to get an assortment of spots on them. For small messes, I often grab my spray bottle of All-Purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. But let's be honest. Most of the messes on my floors aren't small!

For bigger stains, I have successfully used baking soda and vinegar to remove every kid and dog-related bodily fluid that can possibly end up on the carpet. I'm talking blood, vomit, urine, and poop -- completely eradicated with just a couple of simple to use, inexpensive, and totally safe things. To get this nasty business out of your carpet without resorting to commercial carpet cleaners (which are loaded with toxins and do NOT work as well -- Believe me, I've tried a number of them, even the ones that claim to be specifically for pet stains.) follow these steps. This even works on old stains!!

{Urine Stain: BEFORE}

{Urine Stain: AFTER}

Carpet Stain Removal
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • water
  • clean cloths (microfiber cloths are good for this)
  1. First, sop up as much liquid (and solids, if that applies. Ew, I know...) as possible.
  2. Next, cover the soiled area with a generous sprinkling of baking soda. Let this set overnight.
  3. Vacuum up the baking soda. You will see that this has already absorbed some if not all of the yucky stuff (and hopefully, taken a lot of the smell away, too).
  4. Pour undiluted distilled white vinegar over the soiled area. Sit back and let the bubbling action do its thing for a minute or two.
  5. Now, grab your microfiber cloth and start scrubbing the carpet. This should get out the remaining grossness.
  6. Pour some fresh water over top scrub/mop it up with a second clean cloth.
  7. Allow the wet spot to dry. You will be amazed! (However, if it is not as clean as you would like, repeat the above steps.)
{Unknown Set-in Stain: BEFORE}

{Unknown Set-in Stain: AFTER}

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