One of the things that I love to do on HOT summer days, when I don't feel like being outside, is to let my kids help me wash things. I put them in their swimsuits, give them spray bottles and rags, and let them help wash the dishes, the windows, the shower, the floor, the table--almost anything. Even my 6 month old gets in on the fun--I put her in her highchair in the middle of the kitchen and fill her tray with water. She splashes like crazy, gets the floor all wet, I mop it up and both she, the floor, and her highchair get clean!!
If you're like me and live in fear of your kids getting their paws on toxic cleaners (have you ever noticed how similar Pine Sol looks to apple juice in color? or a bottle of Thoro to Sprite?) then you'll want to have some completely kid friendly cleaning supplies for your kids to use. Below are some recipes for cleaners you can make at home that your kids could drink and there would be no harm done, plus--they work so well that you can toss the toxic stuff, and these cost a lot less:
General Spray Cleaner
1 c. vinegar
1 c. water
Put in a clean spray bottle, shake, and use. This is great for counter tops, stove tops, windows, mirrors, and for polishing metal surfaces like doorknobs and faucets.
A NOTE ABOUT VINEGAR: I've heard people say that they don't want to clean with vinegar because they don't like the smell. But vinegar is one of your most powerful non-toxic, earth friendly cleaners. It is a natural disinfectant, as well as an odor neutralizer. The smell of the actual vinegar only lasts a couple minutes, and when it disappears--so do other odors. If you really can't stand the smell, feel free to add a few drops of essential oils to your cleaners. Try lemon, lavender, grapefruit, or peppermint.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
flush your toilet and then pour undiluted white vinegar around the rim and into the bowl. Let sit for a couple minutes, then clean with a brush and flush. You can use the general spray cleaner to clean the exterior surfaces.
Baking Soda Soft Scrub
Pour 1/4 to 1/2 c. baking soda into a small bowl, then add a little water at a time, mixing until you get a frosting-like consistency. Put a dob on a wet sponge and go to town on your sinks, tubs, and showers. If you rinse it down with hot water and leave for a couple hours, it will deodorize your drains, too.
1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
Shake well in a spray bottle and then apply a small amount to a flannel or cleaning rag. Spread over furniture and then wipe with a clean, dry rag. (I also use this to shine my stainless steel sink.)
So put your kids to work--they'll love being needed, your house will be a cleaner, greener place to be, and you can spend your evenings doing something besides cleaning up after them. (Like blogging. *grin*)