It’s that time of the year again….holiday shopping, parties, family gatherings, and house guests! Keep your home looking good and smelling fresh by cleaning with natural, homemade, non-toxic cleaning products.
Most toxic cleaning products contain strong, artificial colors and fragrances and harsh cleansing agents like bleach, ammonia and acids. These chemicals can produce indoor air pollution by releasing toxic fumes that can irritate eyes and lungs. Many cleaners also contain unnecessary antibacterial agents that actually make bacteria stronger.
Some of the biggest messes and toughest stains can be tackled effectively with baking soda, borax, lemon juice and other simple ingredients.
Bathroom Cleaning. Baking soda and water: Dust surfaces with baking soda, then scrub with a moist sponge or cloth. If you have tougher grime, sprinkle on some kosher salt, and work up some elbow grease. Lemon Juice or Vinegar: For stains, mildew or grease streaks, spray with lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit a few minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush. Disinfectant: Instead of bleach, make your own disinfectant by mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil.
Kitchen Cleaning. Baking soda and water: Clean counters by sprinkling with baking soda, then scrubbing with a damp cloth or sponge. If you have stains, knead the baking soda and water into a paste and let set for a while before you remove. This method also works great for stainless steel sinks, cutting boards, containers, refrigerators, oven tops and more. Kosher salt and water: If you need a tougher abrasive, sprinkle on kosher salt and scrub with a wet cloth or sponge. Natural disinfectant: To kill germs, mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. Spray on countertops and other kitchen surfaces.
Window Cleaning. White vinegar, water and newspaper: Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water. Spray, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels. Paper towels cause streaking. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you can substitute undiluted lemon juice or club soda.
Carpet Cleaning. Beat rugs: Take any removable rugs outside and beat the dust and hair out with a broom. Club soda: Club soda works well on carpet stains if you attack the mess right away. Lift off any solids, pour on club soda and blot with a rag. The soda’s carbonation brings the spill to the surface, and the salts in the soda thwart staining. Cornmeal: For big spills, dump cornmeal on the mess, wait 5 to 15 minutes, and vacuum. Spot cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent in a blender, with 1/3 cup water. Mix until foamy. Spray on, then rinse with vinegar. Deodorize: Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the carpet, using about 1 cup per medium-sized room. Vacuum after 30 minutes.
Hardwood Floors. Vinegar: Whip up a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 30 ounces of warm water. Put in a recycled spray bottle, then spray on a cotton rag or towel until lightly damp. Mop.
Oven Cleaning. Oven cleaners are loaded with toxic ingredients, like ethers, ethylene glycol, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), methylene chloride and petroleum distillates. The products are harmful to skin and eyes, and the fumes are unhealthy. Use baking soda and water instead. Coat the inside of the oven with a paste made from water and baking soda. Let stand overnight. Wipe off grime with a moist cloth.
Clogged Sink. Baking soda and hot water: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water. If the drain is still clogged, pour a 1/2 cup of vinegar and cover tightly, allowing the vigorous fizzing of the chemical reaction to occur. Flush with one gallon of boiling water.