It’s been dreary and cold and completely uninspiring outside our windows lately. Naturally, all I want to do (and am doing quite a lot of) is to eat expensive cheese, drink coffee, and burrow into couches and beds with my babies. I don’t particularly want to run (not to mention, I’ve given up regular running due to injuries, and only sneak in a quick jog occasionally). I don’t particularly want to get dressed for the day. And I see the same tendencies reflected in my children’s behavior.
They fluctuate from cuddly, pajama-clad snugglers to wild banshees running laps in our small house on a daily basis. It’s exhausting.
I am now embracing the fact that I am a seasonal girl. I love winter up until Christmas, and then I’m ready for Spring flowers, thank you very much. I love summer until that sweltering week in July when our lack of A/C makes me rethink my life decisions and crave cool mornings and cozy sweaters. But more than that, my soul and physical body are seasonal. Humans may not hibernate, but I come as close to it as possible in February.
Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance. ~Yoko Ono
Despite the gloom, anticipation and (perhaps) perseverance also are powerful forces, and I can feel myself gearing up for Spring cleaning, organizing, purging, and long park dates where my children can frolick like freshly-born foals to their hearts’ content. I will lay on a blanket and stare at the blue sky and feel the sun warm my goose-bumped skin and bring out all my freckles. Micah will ask for snacks, and Abby will need an endless number of jars to store all the treasures, rocks, sticks, and blades of grass that appear in the soggy earth below the melting snow. They will be muddy and happy. I will be warm and freckled and happy.
Then, we will all troop inside with dirty boots and empty lunch baskets and mud beneath our nails. There will be an inexplicable urge to clean all the things, wash the windows, organize the closets, pack up the coats, and throw open the windows. I can already feel the pull of Spring like a wave just about to crest. I will contemplate it from my current February vantage point, simply waiting for enough motivation to overcome my hibernation and help me finish the dozens of projects of which I’m currently, lackadaisically in the middle.
So go with me on this one. The very last thing that I want to do after a long winter is spray lots of chemicals, use lots of harsh toxins to scrub, or fragrance my home with synthetic ingredients in complete contradiction to the beauty and newness blooming out in nature. So, I, my friends, am prepared. 😉 You can be too.
I am prepared to sink my feet into some mud soon. I am also prepared with spring cleaning DIYs. These recipes are plant-based and just as effective (or more) as something you would by off your grocery store aisles. And, you need very few ingredients for each cleaning formula. A bottle of Thieves Household cleaner concentrate from Young Living (a concentrated blend of essential oils such as clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and a few natural stabilizing ingredients) is the base of most of my recipes. Baking soda, white vinegar, liquid coconut oil, lemon juice, and water make up most of the rest of my ingredient list. Cleaning is cheap, easy, smells amazing, eco-friendly, and (technically) safe enough for your child to lick your floors right after you mop. (I wouldn’t have any personal experience to back that up. Sigh.)
So here you go: these are my favorite DIYs to start kick-off your Spring cleaning.
All-Purpose Cleaner for All. The. Things. This one is safe on any surface and about $1.50 per spray bottle. Simply put one capful of the Thieves Household cleaner concentrate in a spray bottle with 16 ounces of water, and you are all set. So is your busy toddler. Arm him or her with a small spray bottle, a rag, and a window. And, let magic work for you.
Also, just in case you are a germophobe, you can see how well Thieves household cleaner killed bacteria after sitting for six days in a Petri dish with a swab of bacteria from the bottom of a shoe. I did not personally conduct this experiment, but I’ve seen it done and watched Thieves Household Concentrate kill bacteria better than your average run-of-the-mill disinfectant. Also noteworthy is how well the single essential oils Oregano and Thieves did (the oil blend used for immune support versus the cleaning concentrate).
Glass Cleaner. In a spray bottle, add 1.5 cups of water, 3 drops Citrus Fresh essential oil, 1/2 capful of Thieves Household cleaner, and 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar. Some people find that they like to up both the essential oil drops and the vinegar ratio. Experiment and find your perfect blend.
Stainless Steel Cleaner. Because we all know these gorgeous appliances were definitely not a mama’s idea. I can see evidence of EVERY single time that Micah hangs on the fridge begging for more snacks or does a drive-by with his sticky fingers. Ugh. In a spray bottle, add 2/3 cup of water, 1/4 cup of liquid coconut oil, and 1 capful of Thieves Household Concentrate. You can thank me later.
Dishwasher Detergent. You can buy pre-made detergent from Young Living, but this recipe is incredibly cost effective. I have noticed that it cleans everything well other than silverware covered in nut butter and plastic milk bottles. In a glass container, add 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of food-grade citric acid, and 25 drops of essential oil such as lemon, tea tree, orange or citrus fresh. Citrus oils specifically will help your glass dishes sparkle. I use 2-3 tablespoons per load of dishes.
Laminate Wood Floor Cleaner. I don’t personally clean my floors much these days other than sweeping up the meal of crumbs below Micah’s chair, but I realize that many of you still do, so here is my favorite recipe to-date for engineered or laminate floors. In a spray bottle, combine 1 3/4 cup water, 2 tbsp. white vinegar, and 6-8 drops of essential oil like lemon, pine, purification or citrus fresh. I happen to love the smell of pine on my floors, and pine has been studied for its cleansing properties, but choose something that makes you happy. You deserve it, after all, since you are dutifully mopping floors.
Wood Floor Cleaner. If you have real wood floors, you are probably accustomed to babying them a bit more. This recipe is gentle and effective and suited to traditional mopping. Combine a gallon of warm water, 2 capfuls of Thieves household cleaner, 1 cup of olive oil and 5 drops of citrus fresh. Your floors will gleam for a few blissful minutes before the kid, the cat, or the dog happily tromp through the room.
Foaming Hand Soap. Once again, you can buy Lavender or Thieves pre-made foaming soap from Young Living, but I prefer to make my own from my budget’s perspective, taking into consideration that my children go through a lot of foamy bubbles. In a foaming hand soap container with foaming pump (you can buy foaming pumps HERE from Amazon that fit on mason jars and have stood up to vigorous pumping at our house), combine 2-3 tbsp. unscented Castille soap, 5 drops of Thieves essential oil, 1 drop lemon essential oil, and 1/2 tsp. of plant-based vegetable glycerin such as THIS ONE. Fill with water and screw on the foam pump. Voila.
Bathtub & Shower Floor Scrub. Just in case your bathroom surfaces become grimy and stained with scum like mine, this scrub is satisfyingly cleansing and a far cry from the toxic cleaners like Lysol and Clorox sprays. You will need a scrubber and elbow-grease to get the most out of this powder. In a jar, combine 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup Thieves Household Concentrate, 1 tsp white vinegar, 10 drops lemon, and 10 drops pine. A little bit goes a long way, but sprinkle on desired, grimy surface with a bit of water or a wet scrub brush. Go to town. I have seen this scrub remove stains from old homes that we had assumed were simply a permanent characteristic of old bathroom surfaces. Also, I may have used this to remove permanent marker illustrations from my in-laws wood coffee table courtesy of Abby. Just sayin’.
Last but not least, Toxin-Free Bleach. In a large gallon jug or mixing bowl, combine 1.5 cups of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 10 drops lemon essential oil and water to the top of the gallon jug (or equivalent 16 cup container). Stir slowly and then portion out into mason jars if desired for later cleaning. I love this for white clothes and the inside of toilet bowls.
Now go lay out in the sun. Let your babies or your puppies or the grasshoppers frolick all over you. Text me a picture of your freckles. Solidarity, friend.
If you are already part of my Young Living tribe, then simply go to your virtual office and purchase a bottle of Thieves Household Cleaner for $22 as a quick order or on your monthly wellness subscription Essential Rewards. If you aren’t a member yet, you can easily become one by clicking HERE. For the most cost-effective option, skip the retail customer option (24% more expensive) and you can get started as a member with an oils/diffuser kit, an antioxidant-filled NingXia Red kit, a plant-based mineral make-up kit, a basic membership kit, or (ideal for spring cleaning) a Thieves cleaning kit filled with all the cleaning and personal care supplies that you might need for a plant-based home. If you purchase an option other than the Thieves starter kit, make sure to add a bottle of Thieves Household Cleaner to your order before checking out. Although the monthly wellness subscription box is NOT required, I highly recommend it. Between essential oils, toothepaste, diaper rash cream, and mineral mascara, we love receiving our box each month and earning points through the subscription option for lots of free products. But this is always optional. There are no annual or monthly fees associated with Young Living membership, and you are never required to share your obsession with plant-based living 😉
Keep in mind too that Young Living is a low waste company on the road to being completely zero waste in five years, so all of your packing materials and product containers are eco-friendly and recyclable. Young Living is also socially conscious, and the Young Living Foundation is impacting lives around the globe. Read more about the foundation HERE and make sure you round up at checkout to participate in giving back. Quality is unrivaled, and you can read about the entire testing and the scientific process HERE by which each plant harvest is tested along the way before products enter your home (called the Seed to Seal guarantee). Young Living now has farms and headquarters globally, so if you are reading this and live outside of the United States, then please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or a message on Instagram @laurenhasz. I have a landing page HERE for dozens of countries around the world. You can still be part of my tribe with my Enroller and Sponsor number 1075771.
So happy hibernating to those of you still in the part of the world that is frigid (my state of Colorado included). And congrats to you friends I see on social media in warmer climates already walking in the sunshine. February is a balmy month for you, and I may be a wee bit jealous. Then again, I have cheese and coffee and a couch. So there is that. 😉