April is spring cleaning month! Whether or not you eat an autoimmune-friendly diet or not, it’s probably time to spring clean out your pantry and swap out some old with some new. I love using this month as an excuse to purge all of the excess stuff from my life and start off with a clean slate for spring. Today I’m giving you my tried and true spring cleaning process and a few of my favorite products for springtime.
How to do a pantry clean-out
To start, you need to remove everything from the shelves. If you don’t have anywhere to put your items, bring a bag or box over to your cabinet or shelf and place all of the items in them. While you are doing this, try to place similar items together so it will be easier to organize when you are done.
Now it’s time to clean. Use a vacuum to suck up all of the crumbs. Then use a general household cleanser to wipe down the shelves and walls. Note, if there is mold anywhere in your pantry, you will need to be extra careful. (For more information on how to clean mold, check out this article). Allow the shelves to air dry before restocking your pantry.
Now it’s time to organize and purge. Hopefully, you sorted all of your pantry items by category. Go through each food category and check the expiration date. Toss out any items that are expired. Also look for damaged, stale foods, or foods that have been attacked by insects. Throw all of those out as well. Lastly, check the ingredients. If you are shifting more towards an anti-inflammatory diet, you want to start avoiding foods with a lot of added sugars, processed oils, flavorings, colorings and chemicals.
Now is the time to toss those items and replace them with cleaner alternatives. As you restock your pantry shelves, wipe down any sticky food containers. Arrange your pantry by food type, and place the most used items near the front. If you have open bags, consider investing in silicone or glass containers that are sealable. Place the longest expiration date items near the back of the pantry and the shorter expiration items near the front.
Make your own cleanser
- The easiest go-to cleanser is simply vinegar and water. Mix ½ cup of distilled vinegar with 2 cups of water. You can add a squeeze of lemon or a few drops of essential oil for scent. Invest in a couple of glass spray bottles to refill as needed. Note that you don’t want to use vinegar on tile, grout, or wood as it can cause damage.
- A slightly stronger option is to use borax. Borax is like baking soda but more alkaline, so it works great on stains in the shower and bath. You want to mix this right before you use it – ¼ cup vinegar and 1 cup borax. Apply to the area, let it sit for 5 minutes, and then wipe away.
- Lastly, for a disinfectant-level spray, use hydrogen peroxide. Diluted hydrogen peroxide is generally safe, and carries an A rating from the environmental working group. Mix ½ cup hydrogen peroxide with 1 cup of water and 2 Tb of lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil.