Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning

Have you ever wondered why we Spring clean? I have always thought that it was because the increased light which pours into our homes during the bright spring days shows up all the cobwebs! I decided that as spring was the blog subject for April I would research the history of spring cleaning.

I found various articles citing the origins of spring cleaning. These included:

The Persian New Year (Iranian Norouz) falls on the first day of spring. It is customary to carry out “khooneh tekouni” (shaking the house) before the festival so that everything in the house has been thoroughly cleaned; new clothes are also made as part of this festival. Another version of this is the Scottish “New Years cleaning” which takes place on Hogmanay (December 31).

The Jewish people practice the thorough cleansing of their houses in anticipation of Passover. They rid their houses of all leavened foodstuffs (anything containing yeast) to commemorate the Jews hasty flight from Egypt following their captivity. During Passover the Jews refrain from eating any leavened products. There is also a traditional hunt for crumbs by candlelight on the evening before Passover commences.

In orthodox countries it is traditional to clean the house (Clean Week) before the first week of Great Lent which commences on April 1st.

The Chinese New Year which this year fell on Valentines Day is a traditional time for cleaning houses. They also have a special day for Tomb Sweeping.

Using Essential Oils as part of your house cleaning routine is a simple and very effective way of reducing dust, allergens, bacteria and mites. It also leaves the house with a wonderful clean fresh smell. A little care needs to be taken with the choice of oils so that the overall effect is not too overpowering. Some of my favourite ways of using oils include:

Washing the pots:

Add 6 – 8 drops of essential oil to a new bottle of unscented washing up liquid (Ecover do a good one!). It adds a wonderful aroma as well as helping remove grease.

My favourite oils include – Lemon, Lime, Thyme, Pine & Orange

You can also add a drop of essential oil onto a dishwasher tablet before adding it to the machine or put a few drops into the rinse aid

 

Washing wooden and tiled floors

I have tiled floors throughout my downstairs rooms which are great for keeping down dust etc. They really sparkle when I use the following mix to mop them:

2 tablespoons of soda crystals

3 drops Lavender essential oil

2 drops Petitgrain essential oil

2 drops Lemon essential oil

You can also use this on wooden floors or cushion floor

 

Vacuuming

I add a couple of drops of essential oils either onto the filter or bag of the vacuum to help scent the air whilst I am using the vacuum.

My Favourite oils include – Roman Chamomile, May Chang, Lemon, Lavender and Orange

Laundry

There is nothing like getting into a bed with sheets that have been blown dry in the sunshine! You can use essential oils as part of you laundry routine in quite a few ways:

Wash cycle – add a couple of drops to your fabric conditioner

Tumble Drying – add a couple of drops on a piece of kitchen roll or cotton handkerchief along with the drying

Hand Washing – add a couple of teaspoons of hydrolat to your rinsing water

My favourites include – lavender, chamomile and rose

 

Ironing

You can add essential oils or hydrolats to the water used in the steam whilst you iron in a couple of ways:

1. Use hydrolat and water (about 50/50) in the water tank of your iron

2. Dissolve a couple of drops of essential oil on some alcohol and top up with about 300ml of water. This can then be used in a spray bottle or the water tank of the iron

My favourites include – lavender, chamomile and rose

 

Cleaning the windows

You can make up a solution in a spray bottle for cleaning glass and windows in the following way:

50ml white vinegar

6 – 8 drops of essential oils (I tend to use citrus oils – lemon, lime, orange, petitgrain, grapefruit)

Blend these two ingredients together in a spray bottle

Then top up to 500ml with water.

Spray on the windows, wipe over, then polish with a separate cloth or chamois

 

Cleaning surfaces

For a general surface cleaner you can make a spray using:

20ml alcohol (vodka)

12 – 16 drops of essential oils (these can be a mix of antibacterial and other oils – I tend to include thyme, lavender and lemon)

Blend these together in a spray bottle and then gradually fill up with water. Shake before use each time.

Cleaning paste – you can make a very effective cleaning paste using:

2 desert spoons of bicarbonate of soda

 

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