Now with the weather turning colder and the fact that we all tend to be spending more time indoors, the urge to spend some of that time cleaning may at some point hit you.

I am usually not a huge fan of this task, but have found over the years that if I use products that smell good, I am more likely to not completely resent cleaning as a chore and almost enjoy it. This is especially true when I realize I can do it without having all those off gasses, which make cleaning products smell good, lingering in my house. Thus, leading to making my own cleaning products where I know all the ingredients and can modify them to my liking.

One of the main ingredients I like to use is good old-fashioned white vinegar. While the scent of this alone is sometimes a bit overwhelming, and makes me feel like I am getting ready to pickle something every time I take off the cap, nothing seems to clean better than this stuff.

I make an all-purpose cleaner using a spray bottle, two teaspoons of white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap, one teaspoon of baking soda and two cups of warm water. Give it a good shake and then start cleaning with it.

You will most likely be as impressed as I am and end up using it on everything. It truly is amazing and I always have all the ingredients in my house as pantry staples anyways.

If you are finding trouble cleaning a drain, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar and then use a plastic lid or dish to cover the drain. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then flush the drain with hot water.

If you are looking for a homemade air freshener take a spray bottle, mix 12 to 15 drops of pure essential oil (scent of your choice) I prefer lemon, but you could use lavender, orange, grapefruit etc., and then mix with a 1/2 cup of white vinegar.

Seriously, you are going to want to stock up on white vinegar. It is beyond handy. My grandmother has always shown me that simply mixing some white vinegar in with hot water makes for an excellent window washing solution as well. Mix two parts water to one-part white vinegar to make this one.

Sometimes you may want to polish your furniture and make it all shiny and new looking again. For this, mix 1/4 cup of lemon juice with a few drops of olive oil and dip a soft cloth into the solution and wipe your furniture down. Be sure to spot test first before going hog wild.

Baking soda alone will eliminate odors by placing some into a small bowl and placing it in a refrigerator, freezer or any cupboard. You can also use it on a damp rag to clean countertops and other surfaces. Just follow by wiping the are with a clean wet cloth afterwards.

White vinegar, which by now you can tell I absolutely adore, can fix those stained plastic food storage containers that you may have set to the side waiting for a solution.

Then there is salt.

Salt is abrasive enough that you can use it to scrub out most stains including rust and mildew. You can also use it to clean up pans made of copper and items made of silver.

And lastly there is lemon. I love the smell of lemon. However, I like it even more when I can rub it onto my cutting boards to remove any stains that have formed into the boards. If you mix lemon juice with your dish soap when doing your dishes, it is also a great degreaser.

Hit the dollar store and pick up some of those little spray bottles and get to crafting up your own cleaners. Be sure to still be careful as you would with bought cleansers. Don’t spray into your eyes, try to ingest or any of the normal warnings that you would find on nearly all store-bought products that are out there.

Enjoy cleaning again and realizing that the leftover scent is the real deal and not a man-made synthetic that may be causing you other issues you don’t yet realize.

Sacha Burns is an organic gardener and owner of Sunkissed Organics in Pinola. She may be reached at sachabrittburns@yahoo.com.

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