But much of our spring-cleaning focuses on the closets and carpets, the dust that’s settled over winter. We scrub walls, organize drawers, snake the bathtub. And the kitchen, where we spend so much of our important time is usually last on our list to clean, when, of course, it should be first.
The heart of the home is the kitchen. And come springtime, when we’re all about renewal and blossoming, let’s remember that bacteria, mold and other unhealthy intruders can turn your kitchen into a petri dish.
A clean kitchen doesn’t have to mean you turn to toxic cleaning products. You can achieve a sterile kitchen with a few ingredients probably already in your kitchen and some fragrant essential oils.
1. To clean surfaces—from linoleum to marble to stainless steel, you can use a simple solution of one part white vinegar to three parts water. Add a few drops of orange or tangerine essential oil for a fresh clean scent.
2. Wood floors can be cleaned by mixing a gallon of hot water with a half-cup of lemon juice and three-quarters of a cup of olive oil. The lemon should scent it up nicely, but you can use a few drops of lemon essential oils too.
3. Say goodbye to chemical oven cleaners forever. Use one cup of baking soda, one-third cup natural liquid soap (like Dr. Bronner’s), enough water to make a paste and for a great smelling oven, a few drops of rosemary essential oil. This is labor intensive—you’ll need to paint the mixture into your oven and let it sit overnight before wiping off, but the result is a clean, great smelling oven and zero toxic chemicals!
4. Remember to clean your cutting boards, too. If you use a wood board, you can clean it easily with lemon and salt. Just sprinkle salt over the board. Cut a lemon and squeeze the juices as you rub the cut side (with pressure) over the salt. You can also add a drop or two (no more!) of lemon essential oil to the mix. Let the whole thing sit for five minutes before rinsing off. Remember to do both sides.