Hello furniture friends,
After returning to Basel after the holidays, I was so excited to see the beautiful pink and white buds on my favourite trees. Of course, a freak snow storm may whomp us tomorrow in that ‘schizophrenic spring weather’ kind of way, but no bother…very soon we’ll be soaking it up on the banks of the Rhein. Ahh yes, spring is officially here.
Which means…spring cleaning! What?! Why am I such a buzz kill?! I know. These longer days are good for the soul, but less so on your sense of aesthetics as the sun’s warm rays shine through your windows, only to highlight all the streaks and hand prints on your windows.
So, let’s talk cleaning supplies. What have you got lurking under your kitchen sink? Many household cleaners contain chemicals that can be irritating to our health, especially our lungs, and polluting to both our indoor air as well as the planet. In the U.S., 1 in 3 people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis or bronchitis (U.S. National Center for Health Statistics). Treatment for these conditions should include reducing synthetic chemicals in the home environment—meaning we need to evaluate what’s in our homes. A good start is cleaning products.
Solution? Easy-peasy…make your own, using readily available natural products. My general all-purpose cleaner that I personally use on pretty much everything, is one-part vinegar to about four parts water, in a spray bottle. If you want to look up specific cleaning recipes, I recommend www.wellnessmama.com. I also find that old t-shirts, or stained kitchen towels make for good cleaning cloths. And that’s it! Store the solution as you would any other cleaner, and use it for chrome kitchen and bath fixtures, sinks, toilets, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. You can add a few drops of pure essential oil to the mix, perhaps something with anti-bacterial properties like tea tree oil or peppermint, to make it smell nice. You can also fill a small spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and pure essential oils as an alternative to synthetic air fresheners (many which contain Phthalates, which research by the NRDC suggests may be toxic). Once you’ve got your spray bottle or storage containers designated, just be sure label them clearly and keep out of reach of children.
Home-made cleaning products can also be used on furniture, for example:
- Wood polish, with olive oil and vinegar
- Basic cleaning, wood plastics and metals with vinegar and water
- Restore wood with lemon juice, vinegar and flax oil
- Refresh your mattress with baking soda – spread and even layer, let it sit and vacuum – voila, deodorized and refreshed.
I promise, you will not forsake convenience —and as a bonus, you’ll find this to be easy on your wallet. But wait—as a SECOND bonus, baking soda is sold package-free at Basel Unverpackt (just bring your own jar) so you can reduce your packaging. BAM! Take that, you asthma irritants.
Finally, if all this DIY-ing just isn’t your cup of tea, a growing number of commercial non-toxic home cleaning products are readily available, as healthier and environmentally responsible alternatives (check out the stock offered at Oekoladen near Barfusserplatz). If you’re into refilling to save on packaging, the package-free stores Basel Unverpackt and Abfüllerei Basel also offer an assortment of ‘eco’ cleaning products. Your use of these products helps promote the growth of green businesses, which are contributing to a sustainable economy. And that, my friends, will benefit us all.
After all that cleaning, you might also be inspired to do a bigger spring clearing-out of all your stuff. If so, we recommend reading Simone Aïda Baur's blog post about home detoxing to get you started - she's a local award-winning interior designer with some great tips.
Speaking of freshening up for spring, we at ecochair.ch have been busy refurbishing some fabulous chairs, something new we are trying out. So, while out walking the warm banks of the Rhein, stop by the showroom and see what inspires you. Maybe you'll find the perfect spring addition to your new dazzlingly clean digs.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Carrie and the ecochair.ch team