That’s the question burning in my mind when we moved out to the country four years ago.
With all the tractors, and cars speeding down our road, the dust and debris are flying everywhere. Not to mention the manure and rotting onion smell we seem to have wafting through the windows.
Living out on a farm whether it’s a full-fledged farm or a little hobby farm like we have can feel like a losing battle when it comes to cleanliness.
Okay even if you DON’T live out in the country or have a farm, keeping the house clean can be a challenge.
If you are constantly tired of all the mud, dust, and dirt in your farmhouse, I hope this article encourages your cleaning routine. Brightens your day, and more importantly reminds you, that you are not alone in what feels like a losing battle.
We currently have two larger dogs in our home. One long-haired cat, and a barn full of 10 ducks, 20 chickens, a couple of goats, and three mini pigs. And barn cats coming in and out.
The barn chores with the animals and cleaning up out there can take quite a bit of time. Sometimes it’s all you have to come in and decide today will be the day you shower after cleaning out the pens.
And after that shower you’re exahusted and the floors, and housework will have to wait.
Until it has waited too long and you are in a crazy must clean everything mood.
Here are things I have found to help in the sanity and time saving of our farmhouse.
The first thing is your mindset.
Understand there is a difference with a home that is clean and a farm house that is clean.
Even having a dog or cat in your home, creates a mess a home with no shedding animals does.
But out on the farm with the dogs swimming in the pond, or rolling in the mud, you have a different battle.
It’s okay to lower your expectations with a farmhouse clean.
You are NOT a terrible mother for not having a sparkling clean house out in the country. It’s usually not possible. And most of us would rather be enjoying the days outside in the summer than inside dusting and such.
Here’s some practical tips to help keep the balance of having a cleaner farmhouse.
Dusting is my least favorite but it does make a difference. I’ve enlisted my kids to dust one room in their daily chores. Our girls have to do chores before any screentime or friend time Monday through Friday. Dusting is on their list.
When you dust using a regular feather duster, you stir the dust up into the air. No big deal as long as you plan to vacuum after dusting, right? When you dust and stir the dust into the air, you’re releasing bits of skin cells, dust mite carcasses, their feces, and other allergens like fungal spores into the air.
That’s not something you want to inhale yourself or have your kids inhale. By learning to get rid of dust the all-natural way, you can have a healthier home. If you’re using a feather duster, stop.
All you’re doing is swishing the particles around. Make sure that you have a good HEPA filter vacuum and vacuum often. Also, use good particle trapping filters in your heating and air system. Using an air purifier can help cut down on dust, too.
But when dust does manage to accumulate, get rid of it by using organic cleaners that repel dust.
These are cleaners that will have vinegar as one of the ingredients and the upside to using vinegar-based cleaners is that will also kill dust mites, which offers you even more protection in the battle against dirt and grime.
Organic dusting spray and organic surface cleaners can help keep dust from coming back as often. When you dust, don’t use ordinary cloths or even unbleached cheesecloth to dust with, because these items don’t hold onto the dust.
All you’re doing is smearing dust around with these. Instead, use a cloth that’s designed to hold onto the dust and you’ll find this in a microfiber magnet cloth. If you have to use a regular cloth in a pinch, then make sure that you wet the cloth first.
If you need to dust a floor, use a wet mop to trap the dust and cut down on the release of dust into the air. ( This is my favorite mop so far!) You can also use a slightly dampened cloth mop to get the dust off of walls and ceilings.
Make sure that you also use a dust repellent on your furniture, too because upholstery is a place that dust loves.
ROOMBA IS MY FRIEND
I got a Roomba for Christmas two years ago now, and at first, I hated it. Our floors are uneven because we live in an 1850s farmhouse. It is loud and ran for two hours. I kept seeing spots it missed.
I thought I could vaccum this entire house in 20 minutes.
Until I realized it has to learn your home. For us with the dogs daily shedding- German Shepard and Lab dogs here, this Roomba is a lifesaver.
It saves on time and that’s something we all love. Now it’s added to my oldest daughter’s chores. She is responsible for emptying it out and turning it on.
You will need to make sure any large objects and socks are picked up. I won’t go into a full on review but using it daily has made a big difference in the dirt and dog hair on the floor.
Designated Mud Area
I have found it is helpful to keep an area where everyone in the family comes in. In the summertime its through the garage into the kitchen.
I’m still working on the kids taking their shoes off IN The garage, not in front of the door in the kitchen. But at least we are minimizing the dirt and mud to one area.
Crocs are a must for the country kids. It’s easy to spray these off daily with a hose.
Organic Cleaning Products
Organic cleaning products offer many benefits that chemical-based ones do not. By using organic cleaners, you can rid your home of chemical cleaner toxins.
Organic cleaning products don’t contain harsh chemicals that will not only damage your skin but can affect your lungs if you breathe in the vapors.
Cleaning products are used in every room in the house, on counters, on floors, and on furniture – and everyone in the home is exposed to whatever active ingredients make up the compound of the cleaning product.
What do you want your family to come in contact with?
The number of children diagnosed with asthma continues to rise and concerns have been raised by study groups that exposure to the toxins found in household chemicals may be to blame.
One form of asthma, called extrinsic asthma, is caused by environmental contaminants. By using organic products, you’ll create a safer home environment for everyone to breathe in.
Because they’re non-toxic, organic cleaners are safer to use around kids and they’re also safer to use around your beloved pets, too.
Organic is better for allergy suffers as well as asthma sufferers. Going organic cuts down on (and in many cases eliminates) illness brought on by being around chemical cleaners.
Not only are organic products better to use in your home for health reasons, but they’re also better for the environment.
Check out the list of our favorite natural cleaning products here.
Chemical cleaners can contain harsh abrasives that damage the surfaces of counters – even granite ones – and bathroom fixtures too, whereas organic products are gentle and won’t hurt the surfaces.
Even when you’re finished using a chemical cleaner, the chemical toxicity can stay on your counters, tubs and toilet for several hours if not longer before evaporating.
Natural Cleaning Laundry Solutions
A lot of consumers use off the shelf commercial products to clean their laundry. Sometimes the choice is made based on the least expensive laundry product or the product offering a coupon for the week.
Laundry is listed as one of the least favorite chores and the fact is no one really likes to do laundry, but everyone loves to have clean, fresh-smelling clothes. But by using laundry solutions that contain synthetic ingredients, you’re cleaning your clothes with harmful chemicals.
These chemicals don’t always come out in the rinse cycle. Then if you toss the clothes into the dryer and add a chemically treated dryer sheet or you use a liquid fabric softener, you’re adding even more chemicals.
Laundry cleaning solutions are one of the top causes of skin allergies and eye irritants.
But by choosing to go the more natural way and use organic products, you won’t miss out on that quality laundered smell and appearance.
You’re still going to have clothes that look their best and smell great, too. What you will miss out on are the things that aren’t healthy for your body – or the environment.
You can use some laundry cleaning solutions you make at home, but this is time consuming and if you’re just getting started with using natural cleaners, it’ll take some time before you get the hang of making the mixture.
An easy way to go natural and save time is to use a ready-made organic laundry cleaner. Not all laundry cleaners that claim to be natural really are, so you’ll have to check them carefully.
The organic cleaners that are best for your clothes will say that they’re without any synthetic dyes and they won’t contain any phosphates.
Look for laundry detergents that say that they’re free from chlorine chemicals. Also, look for labels that say the product is hypoallergenic and the ingredients are based on plants and not on synthetics.
Buy the concentrated laundry detergents that you can buy in the larger containers so that you’ll save more money.
To whiten clothes, especially clothes that have a stain, you can use Borax to treat them. If you have sweat stains on shirts, put some vinegar in a spray bottle and cover the stain with the vinegar.
For clothing that needs to be pretreated for stains like an ink stain, you can put the clothing in vinegar. The smell isn’t all that great while it’s soaking, but it does come out in the wash and the vinegar will remove the ink stain.
Vinegar is also an excellent stain remover to rid clothes of tomato based stains. I always grab the big jug of vinegar at Costco and BJs for all the cleaning.
Once you’ve pretreated any stains, just wash the clothes in the organic detergent for a natural way to clean your laundry that’s better for your health and safer for the environment.
The floors in your home handle a lot of foot traffic and of course, we add in pets. It’s no wonder that floors can be tough to keep clean.
Besides foot traffic, there’s human hair, pet hair, dust, and anything tracked in from the outside that can build up. Plus, you also have to take care of any accidental spills and make sure you get up liquids that stain the floor.
Some stains get ground in and can be tougher to get out if you didn’t know they had occurred.
It’s easy to buy into the belief that using a steam cleaner is the only way to truly clean carpets. And you might also think that chemical cleaners are the best product to use on wood or tile flooring, but you would be wrong.
Cleaners have too many dangerous chemicals to use in your home and the water used after a chemical steam cleaning ends up in the sewer system, while the non-biodegradable containers end up in the landfill.
Not only are these chemicals bad for you and the earth, but they don’t do the best job at cleaning.
You want floors that are safe and clean enough to walk barefoot on and you also want floors clean enough for your children to be able to sit on or crawl on if you have little infants learning how to navigate the world.
Starting with carpets, you’ll first want to use an organic stain remover. You’ll find organic stain removers that don’t have any fumes, so there’s no odor for you and they don’t have any toxins so they’re great for the environment, too.
Once you’ve gone over any stains on the carpet, you can apply the carpet cleaner. Most organic cleaners are concentrated so a little can keep your carpets looking new all year long.
Even if you use a carpet cleaning machine that doesn’t use heat, organic carpet cleaners will still work for you.
Some of the carpet cleaners can be specially mixed in a small dish and used as a stain remover, so you can even skip the pretreatment of stains depending on the brand you get. Look for cleaners that have soap bark and great smelling scents like sage.
For tile floors, get a cleaner that’s multi-purpose and contains linseed oil. This is safe to use on marble flooring as well.
If you have hardwood flooring, make sure the organic cleaner you buy specifically lists hardwood flooring, because not all organic ingredients are suitable for hardwood.
Some organic cleaners will contain vinegar and an essence, which are good for cleaning and shining wood floors. For any floor polishes that you use, make sure they’re vegetable based.
A Better Way to Clean Your Dishes
Food is the center of many of life’s celebrations, but at the end of the celebrating, when all the guests are heading home, the clean up has to begin.
Doing the dishes, whether you put them in a dishwasher or wash them by hand, takes up a lot of time. And depending on what you use to aid in the cleaning up, the product you use can be environmentally unfriendly and unsafe for your skin.
Organic cleaners are for every task you need to do – so that means you don’t have to skip using organic materials to clean your dishes with, regardless of whether you choose to wash them by hand or load them in a dishwasher.
There are a lot of organic cleaners that can give your dishes sparkle and get them shiny clean. If you choose a dishwasher, you can buy organic cleaning pods that come with delightful fragrances like thyme.
This scent can give your entire kitchen a fresh smell.
Because organic ingredients are better at cleaning than non-organic, you won’t use as much of the product when you do your dishes. Look for organic dishwashing detergents that don’t have any chlorine or phosphate in them.
Organic cleaners can make a greasy clean up job a lot easier by cutting through the grease. And if you get the pre-measured organic pods, this even cuts back on time spent in the kitchen, too.
All you have to do is stick one into the dishwasher – no time needed to measure and no chance of accidentally overfilling the soap dish.
If you want to hand wash the dishes, then using organic soap won’t only clean your dishes without unsightly spots, but the soap is also good for your hands, too. Find one that contains aloe vera or chamomile to soothe your skin.
Instead of using dishwasher detergent that has synthetic scents and colors, use ones that have citrus extracts like lemon so that your kitchen is instantly refreshed after you cook a meal with strong odors.
This may not have the beautiful color and suds that you had when you used store-bought dishwasher detergent, but you also won’t be putting anything harmful down your drain.
Make sure you play around with the do it yourself recipes for organic cleaners, because each of us has a different level of hardness to our water at home. And watch how your skin reacts to the ingredients, too. You might need to wear gloves while cleaning.
I hope this helps encourage you and give you a few practical tips when it comes to keeping your house clean.
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