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Cleaning Is NOT My Forte
I was one of those women. I was one of those women who loved the chemical aroma that lingered for two days after a bathroom had been cleaned top to bottom with one of those harsh chemical scrubbing Haley’s comet bubbles cleaners (not to name names). I was one of those women who cleaned her bathroom with harsh chemicals and did not even put gloves on to protect her skin (GASP!).
But this is no anonymous meeting for those once addicted to chemical cleaners and their chemical smells. I had to learn the hard way that there is a much easier, much healthier, much cheaper way to clean. My mother did not teach me these things, yet it has challenged me all the more to instill not just the “How” to clean in my daughters but also the “Why” we clean as homemakers.
Cleaning is not my forte, so if you are in the same boat as I, and you are sick of reading one more “cleanliness is next to godliness” blog post, then grab a cup of coffee, sit that broom down, hang that apron up and join me as we take a refreshing breath of air without getting chemical burns on our nostrils.
The Clean Freak Streak
I am a young mother. I have young children. My motto is, “You can come visit me anytime, but if you want to visit my house, you are going to have to make an appointment.” When you come to my house you can expect to see toys on the floor, a few crumbs on the counter, and clutter on the table. This is not because I do not keep a clean house. It is simply my family living during the day.
I have been to those houses where everything has its place and every surface is immaculate. This would be a completely unrealistic way of life for my family. However, there is a great wealth of wisdom to be gleaned and tools to be utilized from those ladies with the “clean freak” streak.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information these seemingly “perfect” ladies put out: organization strategies, schedules, cleaning recipes, tips and tricks by the thousands. My thoughts when I come to a blog that has at least a dozen posts on each of these categories is “I can’t even organize these blog posts much less my own home!”
When one of these women has 5 different glass cleaning recipes to try how do I pick just one? How do I measure up to her standard of cleaning and organizing my pantry once per week and getting the dishes done every night without fail before I go to bed. It is at this point of panic and self deprecation that I have to step back and admit that I am not her. She is not me, and that is okay!
The “Why” of Natural Cleaning
Why do I clean? I obviously do not have that “clean freak” streak, so I do not clean for the sheer pleasure of polishing that vase to see it sparkle in the sunlight streaming through my perfectly cleaned no streak window panes. I clean because I have to. I do not enjoy household chores.
Yet, my role as a homemaker is to keep a clean house and to care and teach our children while my husband is at work fulfilling his role as our leader and breadwinner. I do not always enjoy this work, but I have learned that there is difference between finishing my tasks in bitterness versus completing my chores with joy knowing that my family is better off for my perseverance.
When I battle laziness, procrastination, and a sour disposition, I look to the Lord first and foremost. Prayer is a wonderful way to keep our attitudes in check. Secondly, I search for a solution to the problem. I have found a few things that I have implemented or plan to implement that I believe are very helpful, simple, and inexpensive ways to make our homes what we would like them to be, not what someone else necessarily expects.
I have made myself a homemaking binder. These seem to be quite popular right now and there are a lot of tutorials and free printables out there to fill your homemaking binder to the brim with schedules, menu plans, lists, and more.
Putting your binder together is one thing, but actually using it is quite another. When you are choosing forms to add to your binder, make sure that you are only choosing those which will actually aid you in your homemaking. Skip those lists and extra schedules that will only burden you more and enslave you to methods that do not fit your personality or way of life.
My binder is set up into different sections with various forms in each. The various forms I use range from weekly cleaning schedules to menu plans. I even came across some special forms just for bloggers! I can now plan my themes and topics for each month so that I can share more of my oh-so-interesting thoughts and opinions with you. That probably excites me more than you, but I digress. If you would like to see my homemaking binder set up to spark some ideas and links to free printables, check out my blog. A little organization and scheduling might be just what you need to take the edge off your week.
A large part of my homemaking binder consists of my cleaning schedule. It is the ideal cleaning schedule that I would like to follow each week in order to feel good about the antibacterial state of my house. I tend to be a little more antibacterial than neat in my household.
Mind you, I have yet to actually fulfill the entire cleaning schedule within one week’s time. As I said, it is a guide and the ideal schedule that I would like to follow. It is helpful as it reminds me what needs to be accomplished each week within our household.
Your cleaning schedule will look different than mine because you have a different household and different chores which hold more importance. I have a friend who cleans her refrigerator once a week, whereas I am doing good to clean my fridge once every six months. It all comes down to priorities and these are different for each homemaker.
The “How” of Natural Cleaning
How do I clean? As I said, I used to be big on the chemical cleaners, but over the last five years I have discovered an easier, healthier, and cheaper way of cleaning my house. In a sense this discovery has also allowed me to feel more fulfilled as a homemaker because I am using my hands and knowledge in the preparation of the cleaners that I use and I am protecting my family by using the products that my hands have made. There is no need for the preparation of homemade cleaning products to be expensive or tedious. Keep it simple and have some fun!
If you have ever set out exploring the worldwide web in an effort to find recipes for natural homemade cleaning supplies, you will not have to search long. There is a wealth of every kind of cleaning product with its natural recipe alternative at your fingertips with just the click of a button. These alternative cleaning methods can range from the more complicated to simplistic. Many of these recipes cost pennies to make. Some recipes work well and some do not. One recipe may just work better than another depending on the appliance that you have. It really is trial and error to discover which one works for you. I urge you to try some of the recipes listed below this post, or discover your own.
One fun thing about ridding yourself of the need for harsh chemical cleaners is that you can get the kids involved. I have hand held brooms and dustpans for each of my girls because they like to sweep the floor and I give them each microfiber dust rags and they wipe the furniture down for me in our living room, all the while boasting about what good homemaking mommies they will make one day.
In the end, that is the purpose of it all anyway isn’t it? My home is for my family. My purpose is to guide my children in righteousness. By fulfilling my role as a woman, wife, and mother my daughters see my example and will learn from it. I am teaching them with every towel I fold and with every toilet that I scrub that I am doing this for the glory of God and for the good of my family.
They will also see in me that household work does not come before my family. I give you permission to leave dirty dishes in the sink at times, and go an extra week between cleaning the bathrooms. Be honest; you have done that. No one will die because you left a germ sitting stealthily on the door handle. Sometimes we need to kick back and relax while snuggling with our kids on the couch or taking a break to have a “mommy moment.”
Keeping a clean house has its place but what is the heart behind it? The heart behind the house is where the real cleaning should begin and the outflow from there should be making our house a home so that others may enjoy it and bring glory to God as they come and go even if they do have to step on a Lego as they cross the threshold (OUCH – Legos are the worst!).
Natural Cleaning Recipes
For the Kitchen:
Dishwashing Detergent – One Good Thing By Jillee has a dishwasher detergent recipe that I have been using for the last few months. It is different than all of the other recipes out there that leave spots on your dishes and just doesn’t clean like the name brand stuff. This is a personal favorite!
Counters – When I clean my counters I use just good ole’ plain Baking soda. It is safe to use on kitchen counters because it is edible and it gives a nice little scrubbing action with a refreshing smell. Baking soda gets the job done!
Floors – I use a steam mop on my floors, but for those that like a cleaning solution for their trusty sponge mop, mixing 1 cup of vinegar with two gallons of water should do the trick. If you would like to not have a lasting vinegar smell on your floors, however, you can soak a few orange peels in that solution. A citrus scent is a nice addition to any room, but you might just get a hankerin’ for a snack while you are mopping if you follow this recipe. Using a steam mop keeps me skinny!
For the Bathroom:
Tub, Tile, and Toilet – I normally use Twenty Mule Team Borax on the entire bathroom. It is the quickest and easiest way to get rid of soap scum. I just sprinkle a little on the counters. I put 1 cups worth in the toilet and I cover the tub in a light layer of this heavy duty powder. I am a huge fan of microfiber cleaning cloths. I use these to scrub it all down and then rinse thoroughly. If you need a little extra UMPH! to add to your toilet cleaning regimen, I follow How Does She’s recipe for the “Toilet Bomb.” I do this about once every two to three weeks to keep the throne of the powder room smelling nice and looking clean.
Laundry Detergent – I have been making our very own laundry detergent for the last four years. I follow the Duggar Family liquid laundry soap recipe and have never been sorry. It cleans our clothes thoroughly and saves us a lot of money!
Softener – I use dryer balls instead of fabric softeners on a regular basis, but in the wintertime when static is running high I add vinegar to a Downey liquid softener ball and toss that in the washing machine with the clothes before the load is run.
Stain Remover – I have always known that hydrogen peroxide works great for getting out blood and that original Dawn gets oil stains out really well, but I discovered this recipe for the “Only Spot Remover You Will Ever Need.” This combines the power of hydrogen peroxide with the stain lifting benefits of Dawn and VOILA! a stain remover that packs a punch. This will even remove those tough stains that have already been run through a dryer cycle.
Dusting – I use a microfiber cloth for general dusting around the how but when I need a furniture polish rubbing a little olive oil into a wood surface works really well.
Windows – I will never use another cleaning solution on my windows again. I discovered Norwex window cleaning cloths four years ago and have never looked back. You clean first with the microfiber cloth and then dry with the polishing cloth. I never have any streaks when I am finished, of course that lasts a whole of two seconds until my children come and press their little lips and noses against the window. I can’t get too upset because I love looking at those little nose and lip prints, one day they will be there no more.
What Are Some of Your Favorite Homemade Cleaning Recipes? What Are Your Thoughts On Having A Homemaking Binder?
Lindsey Stomberg is a pastor’s wife and loving mother to three little blessings living in rural North Dakota. Reading, sewing, and crafting are a few of the things that Lindsey enjoys doing when she is not cuddling with her hubby or playing with her children. Lindsey is cataloging her journey to become the Proverbs 31 woman on her blog, Road to 31. Her passion is helping women to understand their God-given role as a woman. Lindsey created Road to 31 to teach women how that role relates to singleness, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. Grab a cup of coffee and join Lindsey while she blogs about the Bible, natural living, marriage, homemaking, homeschooling and more!
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