Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sunshine and Baking Soda

From the laundry basket of The Homegrown Mama

This week has been in the low 80s.  Clearly, it's a record for Ohio.  Everyone is excited to see the flowers blooming and the green grass and the happy children playing outside.  I'm a little skeptical.  As badly as I want to get rolling on my garden, I know that the instant I get those delicate seeds in the ground it will snow.  Instead of planting, I cleaned.  There was a nasty bug traveling around my house for the last few weeks and I've had enough of it.

So yesterday, I stripped all the beds, all the way down to the mattresses and washed all the bedding.  Even the mattress pads were hung out on the laundry line.  It was perfectly sunny and warm, and I was thrilled that those nasty microbes were being killed.  The sun's rays can be used as a powerful disinfectant in addition to it's bleaching power, since the UV rays are capable of killing bacteria and yeast microbes.  Bonus: even my toddler commented on the nice smell.

The kids' mattresses have a smooth surface, so I scrubbed them down with vinegar and set them out in the sun to dry.  Our mattress is huge and has a cloth surface.  Dragging it out to the sun isn't really an option.  Instead, using my kitchen sifter, I sprinkled the whole mattress with baking soda.  I let it set there for a while, with the windows open so the sun shone in and the breeze blew by, and then vacuumed it up.  Because of the chemical makeup of baking soda, it can act both as an acid and a base.  This handy feature allows for it to neutralize compounds, bacteria, and dirt in your mattress, but it also can dissolve them.  It's been a while since I last cleaned my mattress like that and the canister on my vacuum was embarrassingly full.  I can only imagine how bad it would have been if I had left the baking soda on for a few days before vacuuming it off!

Up next, I need to clean out the humidifiers and refill them with tea tree oil spiked water and clean the air vents.  Even though we didn't have the furnace running very much this winter, the vents are still a haven to all sorts of dust and debris.  Even with this list, I woke up this morning feeling energized and much less stuffy!  For the last several weeks, I've woken up almost every morning convinced I was coming down with whatever was floating around the house.  Turns out, a little baking soda and some sunshine did the trick!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip about the baking soda for the cloth mattress! I never knew how to clean mine, except for simply vacuuming it once a year. Once the weather is warmer I'll try it this way.

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

Could you come and do this at my house?

Laura said...

Honestly, it's made a huge difference for me! I'm just so thrilled. We moved last year and at this point, I was still pregnant, so there wasn't a whole lot of deep cleaning going on. I'm excited to see what I learn this year in the house and the neighborhood... I heard there's a cottonwood tree down the street somewhere, so we'll see how long my sniffle-free days last!


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