Cleaning and even sanitizing your home does not have to be a toxic matter. There are inexpensive solutions for cleaning the house that work great and avoid anti-bacterial and harsh chemical cleaners that have a whole range of dangers associated with them. This article will cover simple, inexpensive and safe products that do an excellent job in cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. These do it yourself natural products work as well as commercial cleaners, oftentimes better.
You can safely clean your home with these readily available and inexpensive supplies:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Liquid castile soap or dishwashing liquid
- Essential oil
- Scouring pad
- Spray bottles
White cotton washcloths are great to clean with. They are easy to wash, cheap and they last for a long time. If you have a washing machine with a sanitary cycle, that is the best way to clean them, otherwise, use the hottest water you can and wash them on the heavy duty setting in your washing machine. They are handy to have for cleaning up all types of messes instead of using paper towel or sponges.
Another excellent tool to have on hand is a scouring pad; also called a green scrubby pad. Here is an example.
These can be purchased in the paint aisle of the hardware store cheaper than at the grocery store, but they are large and will need to be cut in half or into thirds. These are great for cleaning the bathtub, shower, sinks, and counters.
Baking soda, vinegar, and liquid castile soap or dishwashing liquid are the most commonly used natural cleaners. They all do an excellent job for a variety of cleaning jobs. The bonus is that they are not expensive, they are easy to come by and use for a naturally clean house.
Start with a spray bottle of Mildly Scented Vinegar and Essential Oil Cleaner – Click for link to easy recipe. Plain white vinegar will do, but a bit of essential oil makes a huge difference in toning down the smell.
Put some baking soda in a container with a scoop to keep it handy and dry. Add some to a jar that has holes in the lid. I use a container meant for sprinkling cheese that I bought at the restaurant supply store. You can get something similar here.
Soap is an emulsifier. It suspends dirt and oil so they can be washed away. Using soap for cleaning significantly increases the effectiveness of wiping a surface, because it draws the dirt and germs into the soap.
Non-toxic cleaning is not expensive or complicated. Simply sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on the area you want to clean, add a drop of liquid castile soap and scrub with a wet non-scratch scouring pad or washcloth. This will clean everything from stains to grease. I use baking soda with a tiny bit (just a drop) of soap to clean surfaces in the kitchen and the bathroom. You may need more soap when cleaning the bathtub, but don’t use too much to begin with. Try a little and add more as needed. It does a fantastic job of cleaning the bathtub and the sinks.
For toilet cleaning, squirt a couple of drops of soap into the bowl, scoop in about a cup of baking soda. Swish all around the inside of the bowl with a toilet brush, then let sit for five minutes while you clean the outside of the toilet.
Clean the outside of the toilet with a hot, soapy wash cloth. Rinse with a clean, hot, damp washcloth. If you are concerned about disinfecting the toilet, click here for instructions. Once the outside of the toilet is clean, scrub the bowl and flush.
A quick way to rinse off baking soda residue is to use a very damp washcloth. Spray on vinegar, then wipe again with a damp washcloth. The vinegar will dissolve the baking soda to clean up and easily remove all residue.
It may take a little more time to clean with baking soda due to the need to rinse well, but at least with baking soda you can feel the residue, so you know whether you got it all off or not. With commercial cleaners, you don’t really know what you are leaving behind on your surfaces.
To clean mirrors and windows, spray with vinegar. Add a drop or two of soap to about 4 or more cups of hot water in a sink or a bucket. Dip the washcloth into the water. Wipe clean. Rinse washcloth, then rinse the mirror with hot, damp cloth. Go over the mirror with a dry washcloth for a sparkling finish.
Vinegar is a good cleaner for pots and pans. If you have food that has been cooked onto the pan and stuck on, it will come off fairly easily with vinegar. I pour a bit of vinegar into the pan and let it sit for a minute or two, then use a scraper, followed by a scrubby pad to get it clean. This even works with cooked on egg. Try spraying it on your broiler pan, let it sit for a minute or two and see how much easier it is to clean.
Cleaning the floor with vinegar works great. Add 1 cup to a bucket of hot water and mop the floor. There is no need to rinse. If the floor is greasy, you can add 2-3 drops of dishwashing liquid, but then you will have to rinse the floor with clear water, after thoroughly rinsing out the mop.
A non-chemical way to sterilize your dishcloth is to put it in the microwave. Some people have been known to leave it in too long and the dishcloth catches on fire, make sure it is quite damp all the way through before you put it in there. It doesn’t have to be dripping wet, but it should not be even close to dry. Microwave the dishcloth for two minutes. It will be scalding hot, so let it sit for a while to cool down before touching it. Use the same care as you would for microwaving anything else.
To clean your microwave, put a cup of vinegar in a heat proof cup, like a Pyrex® measuring cup. Heat until boiling and leave it in the microwave for 5 minutes. It should be easy to wipe off anything stuck to the inside of the microwave. Simply use a hot, damp washcloth to clean up. If it is still stuck on, use a scouring pad that has been dipped in hot soapy water, followed by a hot, damp washcloth.
These tips should help you clean virtually any surface in your home without expensive or toxic chemicals. Go green with your cleaning. It’s better for you, your family, and the environment. If you have any questions, please post them below.
For more information on green cleaning, click here to check out the series Green Cleaning Series: Simple, Effective, and Cheap.
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