Temperatures may be climbing, but it’s not quite summer yet. That means that you’ve still got plenty of time to squeeze in some last-minute spring cleaning around your homestead and make sure things look spick-and-span before summer arrives! Homestead cleaning doesn't have to be hard, so read on for some healthy homestead cleaning tips for both indoor and outdoor environments, as well as advice on keeping your animals’ habitats safe, clean, and spotless.
Homestead Cleaning Around the Property
In the Home
As a homesteader, you’re most likely very aware of products and chemicals that would be harmful to the animals you raise, and you would do your best to avoid any potential harm that these might cause; so why wouldn’t you do the same for your own home? These natural and non-toxic products will give your homestead cleaning efforts that deep-clean look that you’re after. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re contributing to the overall health and wellness of your home.
- Lemon juice – This natural product has a low pH, contains lots of acid and comes with a lot of antibacterial properties. You’ll notice that many multi-surface cleaning wipes that can be purchased at any regular store often come infused with lemon juice properties. This is for both the fresh clean smell and the acidic benefits, so why not save yourself some money and just cook up the concoction yourself? Lemon juice can be used on a variety of surfaces, like countertops, cutting boards, tables, microwaves, and grout.
- Baking soda – Like lemon juice, baking soda contains some antibacterial properties, but it's most useful for absorbing and neutralizing odors. It can also be used for a good deep-clean scrub, as the texture is slightly abrasive and works to strip those hard-to-clean messes. Baking soda can be used on tile floors, countertops, tubs, and even metals like copper and silver.
- Vinegar – This is a natural disinfectant that works its magic best when getting rid of lime deposits and even stains. Scrub some on your windows, microwave, blinds, floors, or shower doors to see the full effect!
- Olive oil – It’s so much more than a cooking essential. If you’ve got a little left over after a delicious pasta dish, use it to scrub wooden or wicker furniture; it can even work on leather and stainless steel!
In the Garden
Once you’ve used your everyday household items to get the inside of your home looking and feeling fresh, it's time to move the homestead cleaning agenda to the outside. Turn your attention to this quick and easy spring cleaning to-do list for your gardens and maintenance of outdoor habitats.
- Seed Planting – Planting seeds for the summer should be done first and foremost, as summer crops will rely on these seedlings. If you’ve saved any seeds from the previous summer it would be ideal to use these; however, regular store-bought seeds will work just fine.
- Tree pruning – Fruit-bearing trees such as apple, pear, or lemon trees will definitely need to be pruned and plucked, and spring is to perfect time to make sure your trees are trim. Free-growing trees such as oaks and maples do not require the level of maintenance that fruit-bearers do, but if you notice that branches and leaves are getting a little unruly, it's a good idea to prune them down. An approximate five-inch trim with a good pair of pruning shears will help to ensure that the branches are sturdy and strong.
- Livestock Check-up – Similarly to humans, farm animals are most susceptible to mild sickness (such as allergies and colds) during the spring. Make sure that all of your animals, from cattle to pigs, are getting a yearly spring check-up from a livestock vet. If you’ve never worked with a livestock vet before, be mindful that you might need a different vet for different types of animals, as most will have specializations with particular species. If it does turn out that one of your farm animals is ill, make sure to have the vet examine the rest of that same type to ensure that the sickness has not spread.
- Order your soil in bulk – Little known fact: tons of landscaping companies will sell soil in bulk and might even offer discounted shipping. Most will do a plain garden mix, but some companies will specify their soil selections, such as river bottom soil, forest soil, cacti soil, or tree soil. Now, you can tailor your selection to the particular homesteading environment you've created!
In the Barn and Coop
What’s last on your spring cleaning checklist? No doubt you’ll need to maintain the different habitats you’re running for your various animals, such as barns and coops, so read on to make sure that you’re keeping both your animals and their habitats happy and healthy this spring.
- Remove any bedding (either sheets/blankets or hay/straw), sweep, and outdoor vacuum the barn.
- Power-wash all areas of the barn (stalls, hooks, feed bins, cubicles and aisles) and then disinfect (might be a good time to give some of those home cleaning tips a try!) Vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide powder will be particularly useful in this environment.
- Replace bedding with fresh materials.
- Clean, sharpen, and repair barn tools. Ensure that there are no barn holes that could cause damage to your animals or your tools.
- Remove used bedding and place it in a compost pile.
- Power-wash nest boxes and wipe with disinfectants such as vinegar or pure neem oil. Then, replace the bedding with fresh materials.
- Deep clean the water dispensers, using vinegar, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide powder to achieve maximum cleanliness
- Do the same with the sprouting trays to make sure no bacteria lingers in the coops.
- Make sure all lights are working and replace burnt out bulbs. This is important for chickens’ bodily temperatures and overall moods.
- Test, repair, or replace any fencing that is no longer strong, sufficient, or safe.
These tips for your home, garden, and animal habitats will no doubt produce shiny, spotless, and safe results for your homestead. And remember, spring cleaning really can be done any time throughout the year to maintain your amazing results!
Have other natural and non-toxic cleaning products? Leave them in the comment section below!
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