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 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.