Let me start by saying that if you told me a year ago that I would be giving tips on cleaning, I would have laughed. Or smacked you. That just wasn’t my bag.
Before I had kids, I had a friend that I thought was the quintessential mom. She had her poop in a group, was doing everything naturally and organically, yada yada, and her house was a pit. She was really my first friend to have kids, and so I didn’t really question it. When I had kids, I was the same me- messy, cluttered, LAZY- but with two crying diaper-soiling machines to help further the cause. When I had friends over (and I use the word “when” to mean “never” as in I never had friends over) I would wave away the mess. “You understand,” I would apologize. And for the most part, people would understand a bit. I didn’t see the stacks of dishes or the trash and toys everywhere; I saw happy kids who got played with and loved.
When I started work about a year ago, same deal. Fast forward to about six months ago when things started getting stressful. There were some major issues going on at work that whoopsie daisy spilled into my home life. I was at stress level red all the time, worried about my kids getting sick. I went to my doctor about two months ago because I couldn’t stop stressing, and cleaning obsessively. She wisely told me that I was channeling my anxiety into something that I could “fix”. I couldn’t change the swirling vortex of insanity in my life, but I could clean the daylights out of my house. That insight definitely helped me step down off my soapbox filled with Lysol, and I eventually took a hard look at my life and decided the stress of the job was too much for me.
Fast forward to everything being peachy keen. Nope. Still a bit anxious, as this was all less than a week ago. However, I’m not going to let my house get back to where it was pre-freak-out. I realize that my house can be a source of pride (I know, body-snatchers have taken the old me away. It’s a very strange feeling, I assure you). I like knowing that if my kids come down with the pukes again, it is not because of the cleanliness of my house, and I can give the stink eye to the kid’s museum or their cousins or whichever viral incubus they were subjected to. So looooong story short (and way too much TMI but that’s what my life is- one big overshare) I am a wealth of cleaning knowledge. Or at least a well-oiled machine of cleaning proportions, as I am not one to spend hours upon hours, just minutes here and minutes there.
My recipe for all-purpose cleaner
Backstory- I had Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose cleaner, which I am a big fan of. It smells great, seemed to do the job, but when you are in FREAKOUT mode, you need something more to add to the mix to make sure you have your bases covered. I used Lemon Verbana, so I can’t speak to how well the scents will mingle if you use another flavor. I have tried others, really enjoyed Clementine I think it was, until I got pregnant and had morning sickness. The smell of Clementine reminds me of that and is in the back of the cupboard and will never be used again. Much like that first liquor you overdo, you can’t go back. Impossible.
I have a big ol’ spray bottle. I got it on Amazon. You could use any sort of spray bottle. I suggest one that hasn’t been used for anything else, especially something soapy. Could be an issue- just saying.
I eyeball the portions, and some days I switch it up a bit, but for the most part:
1/10th of the bottle filled with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lemon Verbana All-Purpose
1/10th Thieves Oil Household Cleaner (whether or not you believe in the mumbo jumbo of essential oils, etc, they do leave a nice smell- and when you are a nut about germs, you can use all the mumbo jumbo you can get)
Fill to about half with vinegar. Depending how much of the other two ingredients you have used, it may be more or less vinegar. If you want to put in half a bottle of vinegar and then add the other portions, go ahead. Sometimes I use a whole lot of vinegar.
Fill the rest of the container with hot water. Just shake the spray bottle before you use it and apply liberally (disclaimer- I read online (thanks Google) that vinegar shouldn’t be used on marble. I don’t need to worry about that as I am a commoner and won’t ever be able to afford marble. If you have marble you probably shouldn’t use vinegar on it. Or instruct your cleaning lady not to use vinegar.). I use the spray on my counters, flat-top stove, microwave, windows, and on our wood dining room table. It seems to strip the varnish off of the chairs, but the whole set we got for $75 from a local thrift shop, so the varnish could probably stand to be stripped. If this isn’t your idea of a good time, test it first.
Does it leave a vinegar smell? For a bit. I like to think that’s the smell of a clean house. My mom came over after I had cleaned the other day and said she smelled a hint of cloves, which I believe is from the Thieves Oil. She didn’t say anything about hint of vinegar, so I have a feeling that dissipates rather quickly. I have a couple spray bottles and I just fill them both up at the same time. I spray this pretty frequently throughout the day, whenever there is a spill or mess or after meals. It cleans up the highchairs, boosters, appliances. Two thumbs up.