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For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is giving way to spring. The days are getting longer and trees and flowers are starting to bloom. And for some of us, it’s time to set our clocks ahead by one hour for daylight savings time.

And with spring’s arrival comes the tradition of Spring Cleaning.

Lots of heads of households are concerned about the use of chemicals and turn to natural, homemade options. If you have vinegar and baking soda in your pantry, you practically have everything you need! And it’s always a good idea to test a small area first.

Safety Tip: Never combine ammonia-based cleaners with chlorine bleach or products containing bleach, such as powdered dishwasher detergent. The fumes are extremely dangerous. Always read the product labels first before doing any mixing. And be sure to label all your DIY containers with the ingredients. In case a child or animal gets into it, you’ll know what the mixture contains.

Here are five of our favorites:

  1. Homemade Glass Cleaner: Combine one cup of rubbing alcohol, one cup of water and one tablespoon of white vinegar into a spray bottle. Add one or two drops of orange or lemon essential oil for scent. Spray cleaner onto glass, mirrors, and chrome finishes with a microfiber cloth for sparkling clean.
  2. Pet Stain & Odor Remover: You’ll need 12 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 teaspoon of natural dish soap, and 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Combine all in a spray bottle. First, soak up as much of your pet’s liquid with an old rag, puppy pads or towel. Then apply the solution liberally to the stain and allow it to air-dry completely. Vacuum up any remaining residue.
  3. All-Purpose Cleaner: This recipe is a 3:1 ratio so scale up or down as needed. To start, combine three cups of water (distilled preferred) with one cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. You can even use apple cider vinegar. Want a disinfecting all-purpose cleaner? Mix one part lemon juice, one part white vinegar, and two parts water in a spray bottle. Typically, this mixture can eliminate 99% of bacteria making it ideal for sanitization.
  4. Degreaser: All you need to tackle those stovetops, grills and oven racks is sudsy ammonia. Pour half a cup of the ammonia in a gallon container and then fill with water. You can soak racks and grills directly in the solution and add a bit more ammonia if they’re especially dirty. We’ve poured solution directly on our cooktop and covered with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. Cleans beautifully.
  5. Heavy-Duty Scrub: This concoction is great for rust stains on porcelain or enamel sinks and tubs. However, do not use on marble or granite. You’ll need half a fresh lemon, and 1/2 cup of borax powder (in the laundry detergent section of your grocery store). Dip the lemon into the borax and scrub the surface, and rinse.

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