Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Green Clean

It's pretty tough for me to get myself motivated to deep clean, as I barely have the energy to actually clean. That being said, lately I've felt myself energized by a certain amount of smelliness I started to notice around the house. First it was the diapers. Considering they're cloth this shouldn't be news, but they seemed particularly stinky. Then I noticed our regular laundry had an odd odour about it. Next it was the carpets upstairs. Today I noticed our furniture had a certain kind of odour wafting from it. We've had a lot of humidity these past few week and it seems all that moisture is bringing out all the stinkies in everything! So, I got motivated to beat the funk. Because I have an aversion to conventional cleaners with all their chemicals (and they`re so expensive!), I started looking online for more natural solutions. I thought I'd share with you guys a few of the things I learned!

First of all, I had some suspicions that one of the reasons even my regular laundry wasn't smelling fresh was that the washer itself wasn't clean. After a year of washing three kids worth of cloth diapers and soiled clothes in it, I can honestly say I'm surprised it didn't come up sooner. After a lot of research, I put 2 cups of lemon juice in the empty machine and ran it on the longest, hottest wash cycle. You can also use vinegar for the same results. I did a test wash in the machine after and not only did it not stink, it smelled fresh and clean. Now that I had a clean washing machine, I knew it was time to try some different detergents that wouldn't leave so much residue and would rinse more easily while being more environmentally friendly. I discovered this amazing recipes for homemade diaper detergent that I also use for our regular laundry. My laundry hasn't smelled this fresh while looking so clean in a LONG time. The best part, it was so inexpensive and easy to make!

Even with my new diaper detergent, there was still a lingering smell. Not enough to make my eyes water or anything, but enough that when I folded all my diapers up together they had a collective smell that I could live without. What I did to battle the latest funk was to rinse all the diapers thoroughly by hand, and then let them soak in the bathtub for over an hour in very hot water with about a cup of baking soda mixed in. Even though I had pre-rinsed all the diapers and rung them out thoroughly, the water slowly turned a very unpleasant colour! After the soak I rinsed them all again and popped them in the washing machine for a full wash cycle with 2 tbps of my home made diaper detergent on the hottest cycle. After that I put them out in the sun to dry, which both deodorizes and whitens cloth diapers. Not only do they not reek like the mouth of Hell, they smell pretty like the outdoors. Win!

Next up I tackled the carpets. The ugliest carpet you`ve ever seen. I`d post a picture, but I don`t want you guys to gag to death. Let`s just say that most of the carpeting in our house is a vomit coloured green, sometimes with `white`mixed it. Also, it`s shag. 50 year old, smelly, ugly coloured, dirt-concealing shag. The boys room, which is the only carpeted room without shag carpet, but instead what was once cream, plush coloured carpet, had the remnants of their latest book tearing contest (that's a thing, right? It must be, because my boys LOVE tearing books to shreds and then marvelling at the remnants with their ridiculously high pitched cackles), not to mention far too many toys. After cleaning up the debris, I did the easiest thing ever: I sprinkled baking soda on the floor. I let the baking soda rest on the floor for about an hour to absorb all the stink and nastiness, then simply vacuumed it up. Brilliant! For the spots that had stains (can anyone say potty training disasters?), I took 2 tbps of borax and 2 tbps of baking soda mixed in a bowl of very warm water, and scrubbed the spots like crazy. After that dried I vacuumed up the dried out powder. As I mentioned above, the carpet in the boys room is, or should I say was, a lovely shade of cream once upon a time. While I wasn't able to completely restore the colour (darn Easter egg dye got on the carpet from when my Mom used it as her craft room),  it was now at least clean in the spots where the boys had left their own mark. To make sure the smell was absolutely gone I took about 4 tbsps of vinegar diluted into a small spray bottle and sprayed the carpet down once more. All I had to do was wait for it to dry and the smell was finally gone. An additional tip if, like me, you have a little bug problem, including tics (you can feel me shudder from a distance, can`t you) is to sprinkle borax on the carpet at the same time you sprinkle the baking soda. Leave it on there for 4-6 hours so the borax can do its work. This will help deodorize the carpet while dealing with any unwanted pests of the many-legged variety.

Last but not least, I had some furniture to clean! First I vacuumed, because I didn`t want to get all the toast crumbs and bits of goldfish wet and rub them into the furniture. I took a bowl of warm water and diluted 2 tbps baking soda into in and then carefully scrubbed down all the soft furniture. I did my best to not oversaturate it as too much water can lead to mould! On a warm day like today it dried up quickly, leaving everything fresh and clean. I went over everything with a vacuum again to make sure I got up all the dried baking soda, then took my spray bottle of vinegar and water and sprayed everything down and let that dry.

So, while there are still mysterious odours coming up from the laundry room, all the main areas of the house smell so much nicer! Well, except me, because I worked so hard I`m sweating like a pig!


  1. Whoa mama! That is some serious cleaning!!! Good on you. I think I will try to wash out my washing machine with some vinegar since we've not done anything like that since we moved in. It's so humid in the house and without a dehumidifier it's worse. Time for some cleaning here too me thinks!

  2. We're having someone over to assess the house so I'm highly motivated! Plus, I want the school room ready for my little lady. Between that and the stink it was plenty of motivation. Haha! Plus, I'm not carrying a baby. You have the best reason in the world to take it easy!