The holiday season can wreak havoc on your home. There’s a lot of cooking going on, clutter from decorations and gifts and the extra load of guests coming and going. Adding to the chaos is that it's "sick season," when kids seem to bring home all kinds of illness from runny noses to sore throats to the flu. But don’t despair, we have some tips to help you keep your home holiday ready and healthy, without using harsh chemicals.
1. Keep it tidy
One of the best ways to combat holiday chaos in your home is for each family member to spend 10 minutes every day picking up their personal items. You can even make a game of it. Set a timer and the person to get the most of their stuff put away in 10 minutes wins.
2. Wipe it when you see It
Keep microfiber cloths in every room so you can quickly wipe up smudges, dust, and other messes when you see them. Really, it will only take a minute, and you won’t have to remember that smudged wall later when you’re busy with other things.
3. Keep guests in mind
Leslie Reichert, The Cleaning Coach says it’s important to keep guests’ health in mind, especially when trying to make your house smell nice.
“Remember that some people are more sensitive to smells and chemicals so when you are having guests over you want to avoid some of these:
- Scented candles – the synthetic chemicals and wicks can trigger asthma and allergy attacks. If you are looking to create a mood, use battery operated candles. If you are looking for a holiday scent, use organic essential oils in scents like mulberry or pine mixed with witch hazel in a spray bottle and spray the room and door jambs.
- Harsh chemicals – avoid using strong cleaning chemicals. The toxic fumes can trigger breathing problems. Instead use natural cleaners made from items in your pantry.
- Avoid Plug Ins and other chemical based products – again, the heat mixed with synthetic chemicals can trigger breathing problems for some people and are not healthy for most. Instead use an air-cleaning machine to remove smells and dust from the air.”
Hosting a get-together or holiday party? Try putting orange peels and cinnamon sticks in a pot of water on the stove at a low simmer. The citrus will freshen the air while the cinnamon creates a pleasant cooking scent.
4. Avoid harsh chemicals
Although you may be tempted to use harsh cleaning chemicals, especially during sick season, Reichert says it’s unnecessary. Simple household products like white vinegar and baking soda can clean and shine without the worries that come with harsh chemicals. Reichert offers these tips for cleaning naturally:
- Clean with microfiber and water. Microfiber is a great way to remove toxic chemicals from your cleaning. The microfiber cloths do a great job cleaning kitchens, dusting and even mopping floors. All you need are the right cloths and a spray bottle of water to clean most of your home naturally.
- If you need to scrub your sink, use a mixture of salt and baking soda. These two ingredients do a great job of removing stuck-on food and deodorizing. And it rinses completely down the drain.
- Your disposal smelling stale? You can make up your own disposal pods using citrus-based fruit and distilled white vinegar. Just freeze and pop them down the drain with some baking soda.
You can make up almost any natural cleaning with my basic four ingredients: vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice. With these you can make a counter top cleaner, a sink scrub, a floor cleaner and a dusting spray.”
Want to make your own natural cleaning products? Try these recipes by The Cleaning Coach, Leslie Reichert:
The Cleaning Coach’s "Happy Hour Cleaner" as seen on the Dr. Oz Show
Using a 16 oz. spray bottle: Fill the bottle half way or with 8 oz. distilled white vinegar. Add 7-9 drops of your favorite essential oil (use something nice for the holidays like mulberry or maybe a mint oil). Add 4 oz. (cheap) vodka and 4 oz. lemon juice. Add 3 drops of castile soap. Shake together and use to clean your countertops, tabletops or even things in your bathroom.
Green Cleaning Scrub
If you are looking to replace your cleansing scrub this combination will work wonders.
1 cup baking soda
1 cup salt
1 cup Borax or oxygen bleach
10 drops of your favorite essential oil (again look for something that will work for the holidays)
Mix all ingredients together in a shaker container. Use mixture in your kitchen or bathroom sink with a wet sponge. Rinse completely and dry. Your sink will sparkle.