Sofia’s Clean Summer Fun

School’s out and summertime – which officially starts next week – is heating up. The kids are reveling in summertime fun, splashing in pools, cutting loose at and delighting in family adventures. Meanwhile, you’re searching for ways to keep them entertained, fill their downtime, and probably noticed that summer fun means a bit more mess in the house. Here are some of our favorite tips for enjoying the dog days of summer (and keeping dirt at bay).

Get Outdoors

The more time that you can spend outside the house means that means is more likely to stay outside. So here are some ways to keep the fun (and the mess) outdoors. 

Water it Down

Skip the water park crowds and transform your backyard into your very own water playground. If you have enough space in the yard, inflatable pools are a game changer to every kid (and hold up surprisingly well these days). Don’t have space for a full pool? Check out these inflatable water slides and toys instead – some are actually better for smaller kiddos who are still learning to swim. And never underestimate the sheer joy that a simple hose and sprinkler can provide to kiddos during the dog days of summer. To decrease in-house drippage, keep a basket of towels just outside the door.

 

Sweet Sips

Skip sodas and make batches of fresh juice. Some of our favorite cooling indulgences are watermelon aqua fresca, strawberry lemonade with fresh basil, and – of course – a classic, refreshing lemonade. And then there’s Will Frolic for Food’s ultra-hydrating Watermelon Coconut Aloe Juice that is just about the best thing you can put into your body during the summer (except for plentiful H20, of course). 

 

Cool Eats

When it comes to snack time, look to the sweet bounty of summer’s seasonal produce. A perfect blend of simple, healthy and fresh, summer melons, berries, squash, tomatoes, and sweet corn are the staples of summer meals. Bonus, often you can whip up a fantastic snack with little to no time behind the stove. Need some sweet and savory inspiration? Camille Styles, one of our favorite lifestyle gurus, shows us the delicious diversity of hydrating watermelon hydrating watermelon. Or grill up one of Bon Appetit’s must-eat summer recipes (that tomato pie is calling our name…). 

Skip processed frozen treats this summer and opt for healthier, homemade popsicles. Have the kids help you to make their favorites and when it comes time to snack, you can feel better knowing they won’t go into sugar shock.

Photo: Camille Styles

 

Summer Adventures

Make a summer bucket list of family-friendly outings. Take a painting class. Check out a new library program. See a new museum exhibit. Have a picnic at a local park. Catch an IMAX movie. Take a trip to a nearby farm or zoo. Grab an Instagram-worthy ice cream cone from a local creamery. It can be kind of fun being a tourist in your own city and gives the whole family together time outside of the house. Backyard adventures include treasure hunts in the garage, a garden party, or pitching a tent for a backyard campout.

Then, there’s the obligatory summer road trip. Packing up the car, hitting the road and heading to a lakefront campground (or boutique hotel for the less outdoorsy) is a quintessential summer pastime. Make a killer playlist, pack a picnic basket (and activity kits for any kiddos) for the car, and hit the road on your next adventure. 

Summer Readings

Summer is the perfect time to use longer days to steal back a bit of time for yourself. Whether you’re using a book club recommendation, the NY Times summer reading list or asking a local bookstore for recommendations, there’s a whole world of wonder at your fingertips. Go old-fashioned with the simple pleasure of reading. Shut off social media, slow down and savor an escape into another story for a bit.

Summer Cleaning

With all the time spent outdoors, you’re likely going to be cleaning more than the winter months. Summer fun brings not-so-fun messes like grass stains, tracked dirt, wet towels, dirty grilling tools on a seemingly daily basis. But don’t like mess ruin the breezy summer days – this is totally manageable. Create a standing summer chore list gets the house in a habitual routine while school is out. Easy tasks to get the kids to do are cleaning up bedrooms, organizing legos and toys, tiding laundry. Make outdoor chores like washing cars, toys, bikes or letting them pull weeds as they search for earthworms. When it comes time to clean, Sofia’s Soy Cleaner easily wipes up dirt and mud from all surfaces. Break out the hydrogen peroxide to whiten earth-sodden laundry and easily wipe up tracked in dirt and mud. 

Essentially Sofia’s: Plant-Powered Cleaning with Essential Oils

Is there anything more satisfying than sitting back with a well-earned glass of wine on Sunday afternoon relaxing in a clean, fresh-smelling house? We agree. That’s why we sharing a little Sofia’s plant-powered secret with you: essential oils. Now, obviously, we haven’t invented essential oils (we were a bit preoccupied inventing an amazing green cleaner, after all). Essential oils are an age-old homeopathic remedy for nearly everything. But, we started playing with a DIY aromatherapy meets cleaning technique that amplifies all the satisfaction feels – and we’re here to share.

Let’s start with the essentials – the oil essentials that is.

Not all oils are created equal.

Extracted directly from plants, essential oils are natural concentrations of plant fragrance. They are perfectly safe and offer a variety of mood and health benefits. Our preferred brand is DoTerra because we think their purity and high-concentration oils are the best bang for your buck. Whatever brand you decide, here are the cardinal rules when shopping for oils:

  • Buy only organic, non-gmo brands
  • Buy brands that source their plants from their native regions (and aim for sustainability when possible)
  • Avoid any brands that have warning labels

Do keep in mind that while essential oils are safe, over-consumption can have health and environmental impacts.

The Bedroom

Lavender is a natural source of zen with calming qualities perfectly suited to creating a clam, serene bedroom. Floral, without being cloying, it’s a subtle way to soothe and relax your mind. We mix a drop into our bedding wash and use a spray bottle to mist oil infused water (just a couple drops to one part water) on linens. When it comes to the [hard] floors, we combine a couple drops of lavender oil with warm water and Sofia’s Soy Cleaner and give it a quick, simple mop.

Want to spice it up? Exotic scents create a subtle seductiveness. Ylang Ylang, lotus, cardamom, and jasmine are some that come to mind. The oil-infused linen mist trick is a great way to add some warmth to your room. Another way to use oils in the bedroom is as an antimicrobial mattress spray. Good oils for this are eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree and rosemary (in any combination you like).

Furniture Care

Essential oils not only smell wonderful but also add richness to wood furnishings when used appropriately. A particularly lovely mixture is lemon, sweet orange, and a wood-based oil like cedarwood, eucalyptus or myrhh. Combine a drop or two in a small spray bottle with Sofia’s all-purpose cleaner and wipe down dusty surfaces with a clean cloth. Be careful not to saturate the wood with oil, less is more when cleaning furniture.

Kitchen & Bathroom

We love a combination of a bright citrusy oil, an herbaceous oil such as oregano, coriander or basil, and a disinfecting oil like tea tree, eucalyptus or black pepper. Of note, black pepper oil was reported effective against several problem bacteria including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, e. coli, and salmonella. Simply mix a couple drops of each oil of choice with Sofia’s Soy Cleaner and grease, grime and germs will be gone in no time – leaving a fresh scent and luxurious shine.

A trick to mitigating food odors in the kitchen is to create a pan diffuser of sorts. Boil water on the stove, then reduce to a simmer. Add a few drops of oils (either a fresh citrus or floral scent or a warm scent like cinnamon or cardamom) and infuse the room with neutralizing aroma.

Keep a bottle of your favorite scent in the bathroom to add to lotion, body wash or shampoo. Here is a good breakdown of the health benefits of various oils.

Disinfecting

Tea tree and lemon oils are natural cleansers and antibacterial oils. Mixing a few drops with Sofia’s Soy Cleaner gives you double the protection with the added benefit of clean shine and clean scent. Since our soy cleaner is safe and all0purpose, you can use it to disinfect every room in the house. If you’re cleaning the kiddos toys, lavender oil has shown to have some antimicrobial properties and is mild enough for children.

Pest Control

You don’t need Sofia’s for this, but we wanted to share none-the-less. Essential oil blends are brilliant pest repellents. You can deter bugs easily and naturally with tea tree oil, peppermint, spearmint, lemongrass, and eucalyptus. Either apply directly onto skin or soak cotton balls then place into a jar to set on tables near you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sofia’s Spring Cleaning Guide (For Life)

It’s officially spring! We’re shaking off sluggish gray skies (at least until the next late-season blizzard) and embracing spring’s fresh energy. You might have caught our spring cleaning guide, but now we’re taking it a step further.

Here’s the thing – the transition from winter is our favorite time to purge and declutter our life. And, nowadays, technology makes simplifying your life and space more – well – simple. Some can even make you money…vacation fund, anyone? Let’s get organized one app at a time, shall we?  

Letting Go

When all of your stuff starts to feel old to you, repurpose it and make it new to someone else. There are a few apps we love for letting go of an old dresser (or whatever) and making a buck or two. Letgo is a platform for selling nearly anything in just a few seconds. Plus, it has tens of millions of users so your items get a lot more exposure. The in-app chat feature allows you to chat directly with potential buyers and you can also scope out the user reviews and ratings. Listing items is as simple as taking a photo. (Free, iOS and Android)

Decluttering your space is so satisfying, there’s an app named Decluttr. Decluttr allows you to sell things like old phones, books, DVDs, CDs, computers, and even Legos. Simply scan the barcodes and Decluttr instantly gives you an offer price. They also offer free shipping. (Free, iOS and Android)

Too often we forget that there could be cash in our closets (and drawers). When you have gently used clothes, there are several apps that help you earn a few bucks. Pick your platform based on your loot, and sort your pile according to resale or donation. When donating your items, consider checking CharityWatch.org to see if there are any organizations in need of direct donations.

Organization Apps

Organizing can prove a struggle for those of us who skew more to the disorganized side. Luckily, there’s an app for that.

No more searching for (or sifting through) manuals when the washer goes kaput. Centriq is a storage platform for virtual manuals, warranties and instruction guides. All you have to do is snap a photo of the product nameplate and the app stores the manual, manages service providers and sends you reminders for product upkeep. (Free, iOS and Android

With security and data breaches on the rise, virtual access is increasingly prompting password-strengthening changes. The result can be locked-out frustrations unless you diligently enter everything into a spreadsheet. Enter, The Vault app. It’s a secure, encrypted platform that stores your passwords as well as your IDs, credit card images and important documents. (Free, iOS and Android

Storage organization solutions don’t have to be expensive Container Store systems. Pinterest is an excellent app for finding inspiration for DIY or cheap hacks for storage and organization.

Making Memories

Pictures are worth a thousand words, but storing them is a space suck. For best, orderly keeping store life’s moments in Google Photos. It’s easy to use and the search function automatically detects people or objects. (Free, iOS or Android)

Families can store, and share, things like school artwork and projects that clutter the fridge with Keepy. The app allows you to share with the grandparents and declutter the build up. (Free, iOS or Android)   

Listicles

Writing things down is [scientifically] proven to improve memory. Evernote is an indispensable app that functions as a virtual notebook for life organization. The app lets you to snap photos of handwritten lists, create digital lists (and search the text of both), and compiles images, documents, links. (Free, iOS and Android).

Wunderlist is a favorite app that lets you digitize your honey-do lists. The app allows you to share tasks, set reminders and plan projects so that your house (or small business) runs smoothly. (Free, iOS or Android). Our Home is another digital family planner connecting your house on one platform. The app syncs calendars, coordinates chores and homework sessions, and organizes grocery lists – all while incentivizing meeting goals through a point system. (Free, iOS and Android

Tired of wasting food (and money)? The Fridge tracks the contents of your fridge and pantry. It also alerts you when food is near expiration and supplies recipes for the array of ingredients in your list. (Free, iOS and Android

CYA

Shoeboxed is a paid service that lets you snap receipts and store the data in categories for tax and expense reporting. This means that you can kiss that receipt box goodbye. 

Hopefully, you won’t have a reason to use it, but compiling a list of your possessions, both at home and for travel purposes, can pay off big in an emergency. Sortly creates a digital inventory of your material things (along with price, warranty status and location). Should you need to send an insurance adjuster a list, don’t worry – it’s all in one handy app.(Free, iOS and Android)

Getting Feng-ky with It

If you find yourself a bit restless or your energy is somewhat off, it’s a great time to set a “Therapy Thursday” date with a girlfriend and a bottle of vino. The purpose? To feng shui your space. Pull up the Feng Shui DIY app and get to work creating an atmosphere of health, harmony and success.

 

Five Reasons Why Sofia’s is the Best Household Cleaner for the Busy Bee

Cleaning is the necessary evil of every household and, let’s face it, life’s messy. The calendar is jam-packed and you’re constantly on the go bouncing between work and balancing your personal life. We’re on a perpetual goose chase to figure out how to crush the work day, kill the PiYo class, make that board meeting, publish that blog post, and meal prep healthy sustenance like a champ while making time for family, friends and self-care. But, one thing we no longer have to search for – the perfect household cleaner to fit into our busy lives.

So Fresh and So Clean

Sofia’s Soy Cleaner is a powerful all-purpose cleaner. It’s so powerful that it can replace most of your other cleaners, saving you space and money. The soy compound was formulated to remove black scuff marks from epoxy floors, and it performed so well, it earned itself a spot on our shelves. Sofia’s not only whitens and brightens; it cuts grease and grime effectively and quickly, leaving a luxurious shine.

Safety First

No one likes splashing their home’s surfaces with poison, us included. So we made Sofia’s Soy Cleaner from non-toxic, plant-based components without dyes or synthetic fragrances. It’s derived from soy and is safe for use anywhere kids, pets, food – or you – touch.

Earth-Friendly

Earth is our home, and we ought to be good to her. If you can make a powerful cleaner that is also environmentally friendly – well, why wouldn’t you? Sofia’s is plant-based, naturally derived, non-toxic and biodegradable. It’s ethically and consciously derived for safety — not just for you, but for the environment.

Making Lemonade

Automation is awesome. It saves us time and makes our lives easier. Sadly, most chores aren’t digital (or are costly to outsource). A Roomba can suck up dirt all day long, but the floors will still need mopping on Saturday. We’re entrepreneurs too; we know the value of that extra 20 minutes. Sofia’s cuts grime quickly, giving you back your time — so you can spend it on better things than scrubbing and funnel savings from outsourcing to your next vacation. Bonus, skip the trip to the store. Sofia’s is available online and conveniently ships straight to your door.

Bang For Your Buck

Sofia’s is a gentle household cleaner that can be used on almost all of your surfaces. Though you will still need some anti-microbial wipes, there is very little need to build an arsenal of cleaners. Powerful enough to use in the garage, gentle enough for cleaning the kitchen — it’s the perfect all-purpose cleaner for almost any function, simplifying your life and space without taking a bite out of your budget.

Sofia’s Guide to Surviving the Flu

Surviving the flu is rough. Most people are taken out for 7 to 10 days of sheer pain and suffering unless you’re lucky enough to get a mild version. Not only is it painful to endure, but keeping the rest of the house healthy when someone has the flu is challenging for us all. And, as evidenced by one of Sofia’s own – flu season is not over yet. In that [sickly] spirit, we thought we’d share some of her favorite tricks for trying to stay as healthy as possible when you’re an incubus of viral plague (related, watching Devil Wears Prada is also advised).

Designate your Sick Space

If you, like most of us, live in a house with other humans – you want to limit their exposure to your sick germs. To the extent that you can, make your bed your healing haven. We like to make “sick boxes” that are filled with the essentials to keep in the sick room. Water, meds, crackers, cough drops, vitamins, kleenex, hand sanitizer – whatever you need to get you through the day – go into the basket for easy access from the bed. As dull as lying on your back for seven days can be, flu is highly contagious, and it’s essential to avoid the common areas to the best of your ability.

Disinfecting

If you live alone, this is less important and can arguably wait until you can get up with ease. But, if you live with others, disinfecting daily is necessary to limit exposure. Wash hands frequently or use anti-bacterial sanitizer prior to touching shared objects like remotes, computers and door handles. Keep a spray bottle of a hydrogen peroxide solution and a few paper towels handy (hello, sick box) and spray surfaces immediately after touching them to disinfect. Follow our guide to thoroughly sanitizing after the flu once you’re well.

Eat Well

Did you know that your body burns significantly more calories when you have a fever? On average, with each 0.5 increase in body temp your basal metabolic rate increases approximately seven percent. This is great for weight loss, but not so great for fighting infection. Sustenance gives your body the strength to kick the flu, even though it can be hard to eat anything. Hopefully, you have a caretaker or a friend who can whip up soup or rice both of which are easy enough to eat and reheat. Smoothies are another great way to get quick, easy energy and nutrition into your body. Throw what fruits and veg you have on hand (bonus if you have protein powder) with some nut butter and coconut water and – voila, drinkable lunch. If you really can’t make any effort – either to cook or to chew – a sleeve of Saltine crackers could be your lifesaver. It should go without saying that you need plenty of fluids. We’re fans of putting gallons of water or the entire water pitcher in the sick room to limit trips to the fridge.

Delivery

If you live in an area with delivery services, now is the time to pay for convenience. Not only can it be physically challenging to walk around with high fevers and body aches, but you also shouldn’t be exposing others to your germs. Urban centers will likely have some delivery option for prepared food, groceries and even pharmacies. Have soup, smoothies or groceries delivered if feasible – it’ll be the best $10 delivery charge you’ve ever spent. If delivery services are unavailable, arrange for a friend or family member to drop off some supplies at the doorstep (repay the kindness with a nice meal or bottle of wine once you’re on the mend).

Breathe Easy

A humidifier can do wonders to help you breathe during the flu. If you don’t already have one, you can find them easily on Amazon Prime. Vick’s even makes a line of humidifier that retail for $14 – $60 and are fantastic for those sick days. They will help you breathe a bit better as well as ease that cough some. Bonus: double up with a HEPA-approved air purifier to remove germs from the air and get to feeling better quickly. If it is possible, keep a window open in the sick room to circulate fresh air into the room (and allow some germs to escape).

Pain Relievers

Unfortunately, you have little choice than to ride the flu out (often from the flat of your back). Body, joint, and skin pain; potentially severe headaches; a sore throat and cough; and high fever are all common with the flu. These symptoms vary per person and can range from mild to miserable to absolutely debilitating. When body pain is at its worst, walking can feel next to impossible. Sleep, which is essential, might also be evasive due to pain. Here are the best pain relievers to help make the best out of a bad situation.

  • Fever, Body and Joint Pain – Tylenol or Ibuprofen reduces temperature for temporary relief. A cold compress on your head and neck can also provide some comfort through the high fever.
  • Sore Throat – Traditional Medicinal makes a great sore throat tea called throat coat which can help ease some pain there. Bonus, combine it with a green tea for antioxidants.
  • Stuffy Nose – DoTerra makes a fantastic oil called breathe which is helpful with any congestion. Tea Tree Therapy makes a fantastic chest rub full of essential oils that not only soothes respiratory symptoms but is also antimicrobial.
  • Keep Coconut or Vitamin E oil in the sick box to rehydrate and soothe irritation from blowing your nose.

Those are Sofia’s suggestions for surviving the flu. Hopefully, you will manage to escape the flu this year, but if not – then we wish you a quick recovery.

 

 

The Benefits of Using Plant-Based (i.e. Green) Cleaners

 Sofia’s Soy Cleaner For Domestic Use

As the number of green (i.e. plant-based) cleaners on the market increases so does debate over perceivable benefits (and if they really clean as well as traditional cleaners). So what is the big deal with green products? Arguably, the most significant benefit is the health value of not using toxic materials to clean your home.

Plant-based cleaners contain no toxins, carcinogens or pollutants, or other harsh chemicals. Obviously avoiding these contaminants benefits you – and your children’s – health. Sofia’s Soy Cleaner uses soybean oil to make a house-friendly cleaner, limiting the toxins absorbed by the skin or breath. Plant-based cleaners also reduce headaches, allergies and other symptoms associated with toxic chemicals. Asthma, in particular, is less irritated by green cleaners.

 “Studies have shown that using a household cleaning spray, even as little as once a week, raises the risk of developing asthma. Snow says that using green cleaning products can reduce the chances of developing asthma, which today is the most common chronic illness and the leading cause of school absences due to chronic illness across the country.” – 7 Benefits Of Green Cleaning

Soy as a cleaning component is also safer than conventional cleaning products as it does not cause chemical burns to the skin and eyes. For those with sensitive noses, plant-based cleaners don’t have a strong chemical odor. Bonus: you can add essential oils to Sofia’s to create any aroma that you like, but that’s another blog post. Sofia’s Soy Cleaner is not only safe for the humans in your family, it is also non-toxic for your fur family.

The Battle over [Anti] Bacterial

The green versus conventional cleaner debate always touches on the use of antibacterial soaps to eliminate germs (food-borne and otherwise). What’s interesting is that the FDA has determined that antibacterial soaps are not any more disinfecting than regular soap. In fact, significant exposure to antibiotics has concerned the medical world as antibiotic resistance continues to grow in the Western world. Additionally, the antibacterial agent Triclosan has been linked to negative impact on the hormonal and thyroid.

Most antibiotics are consumed through food or the over-prescription of medications, however, limiting your exposure to them never hurts. Enter green products. Sofia’s Soy Cleaner is safe for countertops, refrigerators and other food prep surfaces in jeopardy of toxic exposure. Should you need to disinfect an area, you can look to your medicine cabinet for a safe, affordable anti-microbial. Use a hydrogen peroxide mixture to sanitize, then follow up with Sofia’s all-purpose cleaner for shine.

Knowledge is [Plant] Power

Sofia’s has only five ingredients, which are all listed right there on the bottle (water, surfactant, soybean oil extract, and co-solvent). Though the government does not require cleaning products to list ingredients, it’s important to us that customers know – and trust – what they are using in their homes.

Sofia’s Soy Cleaner for Commercial Use

The benefits of plant-based cleaners do not end at home; commercial and small business owners greatly benefit from switching to a green approach. Industries that are a particularly good match for a green approach are printing, manufacturing, automotive, and microprocessing plants. Essentially, any commercial space that does not need to meet food and beverage specifications is prime for Sofia’s Soy Cleaner. When companies replace petroleum-based cleaners with plant-based cleaners, they reduce workers’ risk of contacting toxic substances. In doing so, companies prevent symptoms caused by toxic chemicals in conventional cleaners like headaches, blurred vision, bone marrow and reproductive health damage.

In fact, Sofia’s was originally developed for a commercial customer of Pro Floor Design, an epoxy flooring installer. The customer was looking for an effective neutral cleaner to remove black scuff marks from epoxy flooring. The soy formula cut scuff and grime, leaving a lustrous shine.

“Along with powerful cleaning, soy-based cleaning products offer safety for the people applying them because they do not contain petroleum distillates, which are central-nervous-system depressants and can have adverse effects on the kidneys and liver.” – United Soybean Board

Plants are Better for the Environment

Soy is both renewable and environmentally friendly ingredient of a green cleaner. It’s a responsible raw material choice that helps to reduce pollution to our waterways and air. Green cleaners also minimize ozone depletion and global climate change with fewer smog-producing chemicals releasing into the atmosphere. Sofia’s packaging is also fully recyclable.

But…does green actually clean?  

The Florida Department of Environment Protection reported that green cleaners typically require less product per application to clean an area. Additionally, Sofia’s is an all-purpose cleaner. This means that you only need one cleaner (versus multiple) for the primary function of cutting grease, grime and dirt. Another study by William Nazaroff and Charles Weschler found that green cleaning products are as effective (relatively) at achieving cleanliness as non-green cleaners, according to Rice Catalyst. Bonus, Sofia’s is all-purpose, so you only need one cleaner versus one cleaner for each grimy task.

Sofia’s Quick and Dirty Guide to Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is still a few weeks (thanks a lot, Phil), but we’re getting a jump start on the annual sprucing. Why? Let’s propose a crazy concept – let’s be rebels and tackle spring cleaning in the winter. How about we throw on those Uggs and knock out these chores as [insert your favorite] winter comfort food is slow cooking? After all, we don’t want to be cooped up inside cleaning when the sun finally comes out and temps go above 50. Might as well spend these cold nights knocking out those spring chores! (Bonus, cleaning burns calories). Sold on proactivity? Here’s the one and only Martha Stewart’s chore list to knock out during spring cleaning. Don’t worry, Sofia’s will be right there with you. We’re in this together, guys. 

Time to Strip Down

Cabinets | It’s time to strip down…those cabinets and shelves, that is. You can typically see the dust on an exposed bookshelf, but ignorance is dirty, dirty bliss when it comes to cabinets. Alas, dust and grime are also hiding on your interior cabinets. The solution? Remove the contents and go to town on the whole surface with an all-purpose cleaner. After all, you only do this once a year (versus bookshelves), you might as well do it right.

Beautiful, Inside and Out

Windows | If you want inside to match what’s on the outside, you’re going to have to clean BOTH sides of that glass pane. House Beautiful gives this pro-tip: “Wash ’em on a cloudy day to ensure that the sun won’t dry the cleanser before you’re done wiping.” Wash window screens with warm water and mild dishwashing liquid, scrub each screen with a brush, then rinse. Wash, or dry clean, draperies and curtains. Dust wooden blinds with a feather duster and wipe with a damp cloth. For step-by-step instructions, see page three of Martha’s spring cleaning guide and substitute Sofia’s all-purpose cleaner when she calls for a non-ammoniated cleaner. (Concession, save the windows task for last – there’s no point cleaning all those windows if it snows again.)

It’s not Deeper than Surface Level

Surfaces | Countertops need to be properly cleaned, potentially sealed and dirty grout resealed. Use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect countertops, followed by Sofia’s Soy Cleaner for a gleaming finish. This goes for basically all surfaces – stainless steel, marble, wood, etcetera – but, please clean according to material specs. For example, if you have granite countertops, you’ll want to seal it again a year after insulation (which was, hopefully, properly sealed initially) to prevent stains. Wood floors can be spot-treated with Sofia’s, but will need to be properly conditioned and wet-cleaned in limited amounts (i.e. if you did it last month, skip this month to preserve your floors).

Don’t be a Grout Grouch

Grout | Grimey grout is a by-product of everyday use. Grout is extremely porous, an easy target for stains, grime and discoloration. When (not if) your grout is irreparably stained, The Spruce claims that replacing it is “so easy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.” We’ll let you be the judge with their guide. (Make sure you apply a grout sealant). 

Is your refrigerator running? Well, you’d better catch it before it gets away…

Appliances | Arguably the worst thing to tackle during spring cleaning are the appliances. Let’s start with the largest (i.e. the most daunting) – the fridge. Remove all food and shelves, taking the opportunity to purge old jars and condiments. Wipe down with a hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect any food-borne bacteria, then wipe down with Sofia’s. Wash shelves in warm, soapy water, dry them and replace, and – finally – organize the fridge contents. Martha also suggests dusting the fridge coils (yes, we aren’t thrilled either). 

Next up is the dreaded oven deep cleaning; here are Martha’s tricks for a clean oven. And then, the dishwasher and microwave. Use Sofia’s to cut food grime, followed by these Good Housekeeping steps for a dishwasher that runs like new. For the microwave, loosen residue with one cup of water mixed with a half-cup of lemon juice heated for 3-5 minutes on high. Use a Sofia’s-soaked towel to wipe down the exterior, then easily remove the grime from inside.

The washing machine and dryer are fairly simple. Clean filters, wipe down the outside, dust underneath (if possible). To clean your washing machine (and eliminate odors caused by front-loading machines), The Spruce says to add two cups of hydrogen peroxide to the empty washer drum and then run a hot water wash cycle.

Pot Calls Kettle Black

Pots + Pans | Stainless steel is prone to stains from heat and hard water. To remove them, apply white vinegar with a soft cloth and rub. Dry thoroughly after washing to prevent filming. Do not soak stainless steel cookware as it pits the surfaces. And, please, don’t spring clean your cast irons – simply scrub the pan with salt and rinse, wipe dry. This will lift away food and preserve the seasoning. 

Upholstery Woes

Couches and Rugs | Upholstered furniture holds millions of dust mites that can irritate allergies. Use your upholstery and crevice vacuum tools to suck up dust and dirt on upholstered furniture and rugs. Beat cushions by hand outdoors, and shampoo rugs and carpets according to specs (making sure to note that you dry-clean rugs without backings). 

No Dust Bunnies Around These Parts

Dusting | Dust your home thoroughly (including the fans and window casings. Work from the top down and remove shelf contents, wiping them down as well. Vacuum dust that settles on the floor.

Like we said, we’re in this with you. We’re giving away a Sofia’s Spring Cleaning Kit to help you out in every room of the house. The kit includes two microfiber clothes; grout scrubber; two Tuff Scrub microfiber sponges; three-pack sponges; two-pack of Dawn scrubbers; and, a 16-ounce bottle of Sofia’s Soy Cleaner. Entering to win is simple, just like, share or follow on Instagram (@sofiassoycleaner) until March 15.    

 

Disinfecting Your Home During Flu Season

We all know that winter months are prime season for the flu. Unfortunately, this year’s is shaping up to be the deadliest flu America’s seen in decades. The CDC is unsure when this season will end, but says that “everything we are looking at is bad news.” So, let’s talk about protecting ourselves and kiddos to the best of our ability with Sofia’s guide for disinfecting your home during flu season. 

Flu germs can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. It’s unlikely that you have surfaces that can withstand 167° F heat – and a device that generates that kind of heat – which effectively kill flu germs. Instead, to disinfect you’ll need to turn to common household cleaning products like hydrogen peroxide (the green option) or commercial disinfectants like bleach (which can be harmful to both humans and the environment).

Disinfecting Agent

Although it is a fabulous cleaning solution, Sofia’s is not a disinfectant. When if comes to the flu – especially this killer flu – we recommend using Sofia’s only to pre-clean and post-clean surfaces for a shiny finish. Hydrogen peroxide is your best disinfecting friend. Hydrogen peroxide is the safest household disinfectant and one of the only green options for disinfecting flu germs (ammonia, chlorine and vinegar are not effective disinfectants against Staph and Influenza bacteria). Hydrogen peroxide has antimicrobial ingredients and is also highly biodegradable. Concentrated hydrogen peroxide, however, is extremely dangerous and should only be used as a disinfectant at concentrations lower than 3 percent.

Note: If using a pre-packaged/commercial disinfectant, make sure to read instructions (and use accordingly). If using household supplies like hydrogen peroxide, understand the diluting instructions. Surfaces should be pre-cleaned prior to disinfecting. Use paper towels, disposable wipes or a washable towel to clean surfaces, versus a sponge which tends to spread more germs.

The Basics (Flu or No Flu)

Everyone in the house should be washing hands with soap frequently during the winter (especially if flu is in your house). Try to spend about 20 seconds washing hands with soap and hot water. Use disposable paper towels to dry hands (or dedicate a hand towel per person).

Giving the house a deep cleaning once a month during the winter months is a great way to lesson the germ count. Clean the floors, bathrooms, kitchens, door handles, soap dispensers, linens, any surface that humans touch daily. Then spend some time once a week doing a quick, but thorough, once over. Use disinfecting wipes to wipe down surfaces, sink and door handles daily.

The Nitty Gritty (Disinfecting Post-Flu)

If someone has recently had the flu in your house, here’s what you should focus on cleaning once the virus is kicked.

 

Bedding, Pillows, Blankets + Sick Clothes

Germs naturally cover our bedding, blankets and clothes when we’re sick. Not only are we rubbing our noses, sneezing and coughing our germs right into sheets and long sleeves – we also sweat more when sick. So once on the mend, gather the linens and clothes that were used during the illness. Wash everything on the highest heat that instructions allow for (and don’t overload the washing machine). You can add hydrogen peroxide to each load to kill germs (bonus, it brightens as well). Keep in mind the washing water is not going to be hot enough to kill germs, but high heat dryer cycles can.

Mattresses and Pillows

Spritz (don’t saturate) the bed and pillows with hydrogen peroxide as you wait for the wash cycle to be done. If there are windows in the bedroom, open the blinds and windows (weather permitting) and let the room air out. Sunlight helps to mitigate germs and the air flow will help freshen up the room. Be sure to let the mattress and pillows dry fully before making the bed with fresh linens.

Toothbrush

You should replace toothbrushes every three months or so, and after any cold or illness that can spread germs. This rule obviously applies to apres flu as well. If you have a Sonicare or another electric toothbrush, you can change the brush or soak the germ-ified bristle head in hydrogen peroxide (enough to completely submerge the bristles) for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Stuffed Animals and Toys

Stuffed animals should join bedding, towels and clothes in the hydrogen peroxide laundry cycle. Alternately, you can steam or give them an HP spritz if they are too delicate to run through the wash. You can use a steamer on hard toys as well, or soak them in hydrogen peroxide. You can also use a mesh bag to clean them in the dishwasher.

Surfaces

Clean bathrooms, kitchens, door handles, light switches, soap dispensers – any surface that humans touch daily in your house – with hydrogen peroxide and paper towels (or disinfecting wipes). For counters, sinks, tubs and floors, give a quick post clean with Sofia’s Soy Cleaner mixed with a little essential oil for a fresh, bright, shiny space post sickness.

So there you have it, folks. Stay safe this flu season with Sofia’s tips on disinfecting your home during flu season. Hopefully, they’ll help keep the whole family healthy before the flu becomes an unwelcome guest in your house. From the Sofia’s family to yours, may health be with you.

Introducing Sofia’s Soy Cleaner: A Powerful, Plant-based All-Purpose Cleaner

Sofia’s Soy Cleaner, a green all-purpose cleaner, started out as a solution to a problem. Customers of an epoxy flooring installation company (Pro Floor Design), were searching for a cleaner that could effectively remove black scuff marks from their epoxy floor. They took their search to the source, chatting with Tom Wolski – the owner-operator, about what cleaning solutions would best fit their needs and leave their floors shiny.

Tom brooded over the options with his chemist. They wanted a neutral cleaner, that was strong enough to cut through scuff marks without demanding a ton of elbow grease (or in this case, industrial mop and polishing equipment). Sure, they could send recommendations for the standard cleaning solutions, but why not customize a cleaner with the same chemist who formulates the epoxy? Besides efficacy, neutral and safety were paramount in the formulations. To preserve the life of the epoxy floors, the team turned to plant-based elements to build a powerful solution that is non-toxic both to the earth and to humans.

“The best things happen by chance because that’s life.”

Eventually, they formulated a neutral, plant-based cleaner that removed the marks in no time and left the floors gleaming. Satisfied with its efficacy on epoxy flooring, Wolski tested the green cleaning solution on other surfaces. First the counters and cash wrap, then at home in the shower, then sinks and the kitchen. The results were wonderfully clean surfaces. Not only did the cleaner whiten and brighten, it cut grease and grime effectively and quickly.

Naturally, Tom wanted to share this cleaning all-star outside his client base – after all, everyone deserves a clean home and a little extra time to enjoy that luxurious shine. Thus, Sofia’s Soy Cleaner was born. Shortly after, Sofia’s pitched it’s all-purpose, green cleaning solution to Walmart and was accepted into their online offerings. It’s now available for purchase both for residential and commercial use either directly from Sofia’s or walmart.com.

Are you excited to make your home safer and more beautiful (and save time in the process) in 2018?Here are some of the reasons that you want to check out this non-toxic cleaner for your home or business this spring cleaning! So long as supplies last, we are happy to send you a sample of Sofia’s for your home!

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