for a natural house: cleaning

Keep out the toxins - naturally

The time has cometh... andwe get to move into our own house! This is an old farmhouse in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04) and has been home to various tenants over the last 100 or so years. Originally a sheep barn this is where the kitchen is nowadays. Yesterday we discovered next door in the 'grange' the horse barn, still with the feeding trough and hay rack in place! So this is an old structure, entirely built in stone, but over the years many things have been added, most likely not with the types of materials we would have chosen.

So it is up to us to make improvements and do what we can to make our lives in this wonderful home as pleasant for us as possible.

That is why we use all-natural cleaning products, with ingredients straight out of the kitchen cupboard. To give your home a pleasant scent at the same time simply add lavender or teatree essential oil.

windows: Previously we had tried using vinegar and water only but that always left the windows a bit dull and streaky. I then read about the reason: it is the waxy residue from commercial (aka blue colored) window cleaners! So the first cleaning cycle should include liquid soap, to get rid of that waxy residue: 2 parts water, 1/4 part vinegar, up to 1/2 part liquid soap.
For the second and following cleaning cycles, simply omit the liquid soap or use this recipe: 1 part vinegar, 1 part lemon juice and 1/2 part water. Simply use a spray bottle for this and afterwards use newspaper to wipe windows and mirrors dry. Voilá, it works!

bath tub: We inherited an acrylic bathtub in 'English rose' color with a bit of soapy residue and limescale, courtesy of the previous owner. What works really well is baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) : mix baking soda and water until you get a frosting-like substance, then scour the bathtub with it.

fixtures: Put rubbing alcohol on a cloth and leave to evaporate, do not rinse!

tiles: Use 1 part vinegar to 4 parts warm water and wipe onto tiles. For the grout use vinegar straight up and scrub with an old tooth brush or put in a spray bottle and wipe tiles after 2 minutes.

toilet: Pour vinegar into the toilet bowl. Leave for 30 minutes then take a toilet brush, dip into the toilet to wet and some baking soda onto the brush. Scour the inside of the toilet with the brush repeating the sprinkle procedure until the baking soda is gone…..voila, clean toilet!

Mind you: doing all these chores under the Provencal sun makes it a lot of fun!

Jim & Claudia