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I wish I was one of those super organized mothers who kept her house nice and spotless just by the sheer nature of her innate ability to stay on top of things - and that this post was going to outline for you all my fancy tips for keeping everything this way in your own home. But alas, I am a very messy, disorganized person who admittedly doesn't clean beyond the bare minimum level of necessity until things get pretty close to out of hand. Thank goodness for spring though, because as soon as the weather gets to a place where we can open the windows I am suddenly possessed by a foreign instinct that tells me there would currently be nothing more gratifying than a good deep house cleaning. And thank goodness my equally messy, disorganized husband gets the spring cleaning bug too. And furthermore, thank goodness our also messy, disorganized toddler thinks that spring cleaning is the most fun game ever and loves joining in. And finally, thank goodness for the fact that I legitimately only need a few things that we already have on hand on the regs in our house to get the whole place back to a condition that doesn't make it appear to be overrun with slobs (even if we really are). So while I may not be sharing the perfect mothers' guide to a constantly sparkling home today, I am sharing how we get into spring cleaning mode as a family, and exactly what we use to make it happen - including two great DIY cleaners that only use a few (all natural) ingredients and cost next to nothing to whip together.
The first, and most important part, of course, of spring cleaning days here in the Baswell Williams house is motivation - something we don't often have when it comes to cleaning. To get motivated, we open all the windows, turn on music, and pull out the cleaning supplies. I'm telling you guys - if you can pick days that are nice and sunny and breezy-warm as your spring cleaning days, when you can open all the windows and literally smell that fresh spring air, you're going to want to to get that house in tip top shape. Trust me on this. Music is a great motivator because, duh, music. Really though, having some energetic music playing in the background just makes the vibe more upbeat (and you can also play fun games, like "I'm going to have the stove spotless by the end of this song.") And having all the cleaning supplies sitting out and ready to go creates a "no turning back" sort of head space. On spring cleaning day, we put our homemade lemon spray cleaner, homemade lemon baking soda scrub, and rolls of Viva® Towels and Viva® Vantage® smack dab in the center of the dining room table (which is right in the middle of our downstairs, where you can see it). Then we get to it. If you're in the "cleaning = meh" camp like we are but want to give your place a nice spring cleaning session, try these tips. They work.
And now for the DIY cleaners! These are both so simple to make, cost next to nothing, contain only natural ingredients, and work so well - especially when combined with Viva® towels (more on that in a minute).
DIY Lemon Vinegar All-Purpose Spray Cleaner
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of distilled white vinegar
3 cups of filtered water
optional: pinch of baking soda
Combine all of the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to combine. That's it, guys. This is an incredible all-purpose cleaner. Both the vinegar and lemon are acidic so they get things nice and clean together, but I really only add the lemon because it makes everything smell so fresh. I spray on surfaces and then wipe clean with Viva® Towels for more delicate areas or Viva® Vantage® for tougher jobs. This works well on glass, countertops, appliances, and even floors. (Just make sure to test a small area of each surface first since it is an acidic cleaner.) I usually make this with just the first three ingredients, but I'll add a couple pinches of baking soda if I have a job that requires a little bit of abrasiveness. Keep in mind though that baking soda is a base and will neutralize the acidity of the vinegar if you add too much, so keep it to a pinch or two.
DIY Lemon Baking Soda Scrub
1 cup of baking soda
1-2 tablespoons filtered water
half a lemon
Pour the baking soda into a container (I use a ramekin because I'm weird). Add water until it's a paste consistency. Squeeze a few drops of lemon (again, I do this for the scent). This make a killer scrub for sinks, stoves, and bathroom surfaces, removes grease and scuff marks off floors, cleans grimy patio furniture, and even helps get stains out of carpets. I take a piece of damp Viva® Vantage®, dip it into the paste, and gently scrub. The combination of the gently abrasive paste with the scrubby texture of the Vantage® makes for the perfect deep cleaner.
Oh and psssst... When you're done with your lemons, cut them into pieces and put them down your garbage disposal. It will clean the disposal and make your kitchen smell divine.
As for the Viva® Towels and Vantage®, we love using them with our homemade cleaners for several reasons. First, although it's not necessary to have both products on hand at the same time since both work like cloth to tackle tough messes, we really like how each has a unique textures for cleaning different items. Viva® Towels are soft and smooth - like an undershirt cloth. Viva® Vantage® has a scrubby texture, like a terrycloth. Second, their uses are practically endless, guys. Viva® Towels are incredible for cleaning delicate surfaces (glass, countertops, tables, baseboards) and for spills. They're also super strong and hold up to multiple rinses, so you can use them for things like washing dishes. They're even soft enough for the hands and face, so we use them to wipe off our toddler's mouth and hands on a regular basis. We use them as dinner napkins as well. Viva® Vantage® is perfect for getting stainless steel appliances and glassware to shine, for scrubbing toothpaste off bathroom counters, for removing grease and grime from stovetops, and even for getting winter build-up off outdoor furniture. We also keep a roll in our car. And while I may not be that super organized mother of the year type I talked about at the beginning of this post, I do feel like a badass babe combining my DIY cleaners with Viva® for our family spring cleaning days (and everyday!) because they get the job done, and they get it done well.
Before I go, and while we're on the topic of spring cleaning, I have to mention this incredible clean-up event for which Viva® Brand and actress and home/DIY expert Monica Potter (oh hey Kristina Braverman) teamed up to host, as a benefit for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Ventura. Held at Avenue Thrift and Vintage Store in Ventura, CA, it demonstrated how Viva® Towels can transform used, forgotten items with just a thorough cleaning. Donated household items - from kitchen appliances to outdoor patio furniture - were cleaned and then donated to 22 deserving families across the community. Pretty great, huh? You can read more about it here, and check out the Facebook video of the event here.
Okay, now you have to tell me - are you one of those amazing people I envy so much who is naturally organized and keeps your house clean as you go? Or are you a messy person like me who lets the ick build up before finally tackling it? Do you have family spring cleaning days too? Oh, and if you're in the mood, you can check out a fun little homemade video of Essley and I showing how we clean stainless steel over on my Instagram.
Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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