Swap Out Commercial Cleaners for DIY All-Natural Alternatives

Before you roll-up your sleeves and get down to a good, deep cleanse around the house, let’s talk about the type of cleaners you’re using. When you walk down the cleaning products aisle, the labels call out with powerful statements about killing bacteria and viruses. Other bottles claim to root out mold and demolish mildew or give your windows a streak-free shine. Sounds good, right? 

What if I told you there’s something better? Something safer. Something that will deep clean and leave behind a fresh scent without chemical components. Even better, what if I told you that it’s something you could make on your own? Here are 5 do-it-yourself cleaners that will be good for the environment, good for you, and good for your wallet

The basics: 

When you’re making out your shopping list, you’re going to want to stock up on white vinegar, baking soda, tea-tree oil, and lemons. These simple ingredients are powerhouse natural cleaners. As you dig into the recipes here or find others to experiment with online, you’ll quickly learn that at least one of these basics is a component you’re going to need. 

1. Glass cleaner

Grab a spray bottle and add two cups of water to it. Combine ½ cup of white vinegar, ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of your favorite scented essential oil. I recommend trying a citrus scented oil or peppermint. Shake the spray bottle gently to combine the ingredients. Spray the solution on a microfiber cloth and apply it to your window or mirror to clean. 

2. All-purpose cleaner

You’re not going to want to use this one on your windows, but everything else is fair game. Combine ¾ cup of water with ½ cup of rubbing alcohol and a squirt of natural dish soap. Add the same essential oil you used to clean your windows. You can combine these in another squirt bottle for easy application. 

3. Removing mold and mildew

Tea-tree oil is a natural disinfectant and one you ought to keep around the house for a myriad of uses. One task ideal for tea-tree oil is banishing mold and mildew. Add a couple of teaspoons of the oil to 2 cups of water and spray the mixture on the area you wish to clean. You’re going to want to let it sit – the more deeply rooted the mold and mildew, the longer you want to leave it. When you’re ready to remove the cleaner, apply some baking soda. If you’re working on a vertical surface, you may need to make the baking soda into a thick paste with a bit of water. If you’ve cleaned a horizontal service and the tea-tree treated water is still pooled there, just sprinkle enough baking soda to form a paste. Using a small brush, scrub the area gently and then rinse. For tougher stained grout and tile, try using some peroxide, either on its own or in a paste with baking soda. Apply, let sit, and then scrub as needed.

4. Garbage disposal

If you’ve got a garage disposal that smells a little funky, there’s a natural freshen-up for that, too. The next time you’re enjoying an orange or using lemon in a dish, save the peels. Fill an ice cube tray with them and top each cube off with white vinegar. For an added aromatic boost, throw in sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary or lavender. When you want to freshen things up, toss in a frozen cube and turn on the garbage disposal.

5. Wood polish

Treat your wooden furniture to a natural clean with a few items from your kitchen. Combine the juice of one lemon with a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of grapeseed or olive oil in a small jar. Seal the jar tightly and shake the ingredients until they emulsify. Using a clean cloth, apply the mixture to your furniture.

by Anjie Cho

New Beginnings with the Vernal Equinox

It may not seem like it, with our recent blizzards, snowstorms and cold temperatures, but it is finally spring! As of March 20, we have experienced the Vernal Equinox and are moving toward warmer weather and new beginnings. 

In fact, though we often associate the change of seasons with temperature, the equinoxes and solstices are actually all about sunlight! On the Vernal Equinox, the sun crosses the celestial equator heading north, and all around the world, regardless of time zone, the day and night are roughly the same length. Once the equinox (which is Latin for "equal nights") passes, the Northern hemisphere can finally look forward to longer days of sunlight and yang energy. In ancient times, these changes in the sun's position were the only way of determining the new seasons and calendar days! 

Practically, and in feng shui terms, the arrival of spring is symbolic of the new beginnings of life and growth throughout. Worms begin tunnel their way out of the earth, trees and plants show foliage once more, and the extra sunlight even makes birds sing more! With such positive energy, spring is a wonderful season for starting anew in any aspect of life. Renew your space with a good spring cleaning and/or space clearing, clean out your closet to make way for beautiful new pieces you love, or just move nine things around in your space to stir up new energy. Now is also a great time to add new plant life to your home, open your windows to fresh air and sunlight and consider bringing additional wood element pieces into your space. If you're starting a particular project or hoping to make changes, you may even want to add a new beginnings mandala to your space! 

Whatever steps you may take to welcome the spring season, be sure to express gratitude for the chance to start anew and offer thanks to your space for providing shelter and warmth throughout the colder months!

by Anjie Cho

My Favorite Things: 5 Spring Cleaning Products!

Welcome to My Favorite things! Each month, we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

For March, our theme is 5 Feng Shui-inspired Spring Cleaning products to help you organize and spring clean your holistic spaces. Be sure to listen to our upcoming podcast this month: Spring Cleaning Challenge with Feng Shui, which goes live on March 14th.

Simple Human In-Cabinet Can

This is seriously the next best thing to a custom trash cabinet for your kitchen.

It's small enough so you take your trash out daily. And it cleans up the kitchen, leaving less stuff sitting outside to feel/look cluttered. A great way to get started spring cleaning in the kitchen!

This waste bin can sit inside the cabinet or on the outside. And it's grocery bag compatible! I love it! 

Available at: Amazon.com


Citrus All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate

One of the most important things you need for spring cleaning is... cleaners! I love Celedon Road's Citrus All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate.

Organic, green, non-toxic and concentrated! I use this as an all purpose cleaner, diluted with water. It can also be used for laundry, dishes, stain removal, and even cleaning wood floors and walls. Plus it smells great!

I personally know that Kimberly Cornwell, the founder, is truly committed to supporting women and green practices in her business and life. Check the Celedon Road website out for tons of sustainable products for your home. I also love their laundry detergent!

Available at: Celedon Road

Ultra Thin Space Saving Hangers

I don't know about you, but for me, spring cleaning always involves going through the closet. When the warmer weather starts, it's a great time to look through your clothing and perhaps let go of some items that you have not worn for quite some time. 

A few years ago, I treated myself to these thin velvet hangers. I'm what we say in feng shui, a very METAL person, so I am obsessive about having all my hangers match. These hangers hold clothing beautifully. The velvet surface prevents slippage and they are thin so you can have more space!

Time to toss out all your mismatched and wire hangers!

Available at: Amazon.com

Clear Storage Boxes

I can hardly contain myself when I talk about how much I love clear storage boxes! It makes life so much easier when you need to find something.

I use these clear containers to organize in my closet, my office, my pantry... the uses are endless. They come in many sizes, and even by the case!

Available at: The Container Store

Holistic Spaces HAPPY Spray

Last, but not least... from our Holistic Spaces Apothecary Collection:

Our formula no.1 HAPPY is a blend of orange essential oils and clear quartz crystals for uplifting abundance and positivity. 

  • Oranges provide positive and life-affirming energy to lift your mood
  • 9 pieces of Clear quartz in each bottle support positive transformation

We love to use the Happy spray before any spring cleaning to clear the space of any negative or stagnant qi that might be holding you back from really letting go! 

Available at: Holistic Spaces

Feng Shui Your Way to Better Health

featured this month on Examiner.com, by Cheryl S. Grant

image credit: Miles Willis/Getty Images via examiner.com

image credit: Miles Willis/Getty Images via examiner.com

As we get ready to spring clean our closets, now is the perfect time to create a sense of peace and harmony within your home. Anjie Cho, architect and author of 108 Ways to Create Holistic Spaces, offers up five tips for elevating your life and living space.

General health:
The Health area of the Feng Shui Bagua is called TAI CHI, which is related to your overall health, signified by earthy colors yellow-orange-brown, the number five, square or flat shapes, and the element of earth. The energy of the center affects physical, mental and emotional health.

The health area is in the center because it affects, and is influenced by, all eight bagua areas around it. This central area touches all aspects of your life, so of course it influences your health and well being.

A yellow toned square rug in the center of your bedroom, living room or home provides centralized stability, which is a great way to support your overall health.

Relieve stress:
Your bed, desk, and stove should be positioned so that you can see the door, the expanse of the room and you have your back against the far wall. You don’t want to be directly in front of the door. Instead, across the room, diagonally from the door, is typically the most ideal position or the “commanding position.”

This helps to curb your physiological response of fear that you may experience when you cannot see the door or what may be coming your way. Even if you are not consciously aware of it, it does affect you. It is like a stone that has water dripping on it lightly for years; the stress levels begin to wear down at you, “ says Cho. 

Kitchen nourishment:
The kitchen is the room where we are able to nourish our bodies with food. A kitchen with an open plan, cabinets that maintain between their tops and ceiling and white walls are ideal for promoting energy and proper nutrition.

Your refrigerator is also important so remove all expired or spoiled foods and keep it de-cluttered. 

Clear the Air:
The indoor air quality of your home is essential to our health and healing. Since we spend the vast majority of our time indoors we must eliminate toxic chemicals from your living environment. These chemicals are absorbed easily through the air and skin, and are also extremely dangerous if swallowed.

Non-toxic, green cleaning products are easy to find now at your local grocery stores. It is also easy to make your own with household items like vinegar and baking soda.

Cho’s favorite DIY recipe is for an all-purpose cleaning solution is to mix 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water, with 9 drops of essential oil. Eucalyptus and tea tree oil are good options, as they are naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. Shake up all the ingredients in a spray bottle and you’ve got a homemade, non-toxic cleaner.