Five Cleaners for a Safer House
Switch to something a bit more natural to clean your house from top to bottom
What Makes Natural Cleaners Better?
Most natural cleaning products are based on three items that you probably already have: vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. You already use them in cooking, so you know they’re safe. But just because they’re safe for consumption doesn’t mean they can’t take on soap scum or oven stains. These green ingredients will clean your house and make it shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.
1 Vinegar The all-purpose cleaner
Vinegar may be the only cleaner you will ever need. It’s your number one all-purpose cleaner, cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and floors. Though it’s not a disinfectant, vinegar will kill mold, bacteria and germs. This means it’s a safer substitute for bleach, especially for children’s toys.
Mix one part water to one part vinegar and use a spray bottle to clean everything from the tub and stovetop to your floors. Straight vinegar will rid your toilet bowl of rings while the water-vinegar solution will battle soap scum and hard water stains.
Newspaper is the key to getting your windows to really sparkle. Mix two tablespoons of vinegar in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray the mixture onto the window and wipe down with newspaper. Paper towels leave your windows with streaks, so be sure to switch to newspaper.
Use cloths: an estimated 3,000 tons of pape r towels end up in landfils everyda y. You can have up about $100 a year by using washable towels and rags.
2 Tea Tree Oil. The mold repellant
It’s a antifungal, antibacterial antiviral and anti-infection oil. Plus it has no known allergic reactions. Tree oil is one of the most popular and useful essential oils and makes for a great cleaner. It works wonders on mold and mildew and even gets rid of the musty smells.
Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil into 2 cups of water. Using a spray bottle, spray onto mold and don’t rinse. If sprayed on grout, it will repel and kill mold and mildew but won’t take care of discoloration.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree oil to a load of towels or other fabrics that tend to get moldy.
Dangerous chemicals: The U.S. Environmental Protection agency reports that air pollution within the home can be 2–5 times higher than outside.
3 Baking soda. The ultimate scrubber
Baking soda is one multi-purpose substance. Rather than using powerful abrasive cleaners, use baking soda to scrub just about any surface. And if your fridge reeks with last week’s leftovers, stick a box inside and it will absorb the odors.
Commercial oven cleaners are some of the harshest cleaners out there. Well, they have to be in order to remove baked on spills. Save yourself the fumes with baking soda and water. Make a paste and slather your oven with it. Leave it on overnight and then scrub away the stains. Finish it off with a moist cloth to really make it shine.
4 Hydrogen Peroxide. The natural sanitizer.
Switch out the cap on hydrogen peroxide bottle for a sprayer top. Since it’s just oxygen and water, hydrogen peroxide is completely safe for the environment and you. When you use it undiluted, it’s a great kitchen cleaner. Spray it on your counters to sanitize and disinfect. Just wipe down with your dishcloth. Using both peroxide and vinegar is said to be more power than bleach, and some studies have shown that it can kill nearly all salmonella. You can spray your cutting boards — either plastic or wood — after each use to sanitize the surface.
5 Lemon Juice. The stain fighter.
You know your house is clean when the air has a tinge of citrus to it. Well, instead of buying harmful products with a fake lemon scent, go for the real thing. Lemons, with their citric acid, will eat away stains, dissolve soap scum and hard water rings, and really make your brass and copper shine.
If you have stains on your counter tops or cutting boards, use a lemon to get them up. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice onto the stain. Use the lemon half to rub the juice into the stain. Let it sit under the stain disappears, and then rinse with water. An added bonus is that the lemon will also disinfect the surface.
To make your coffee table shine, use lemon juice and olive oil. Mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1 cup olive oil and rub on wood surfaces with a soft cloth. Polish with a clean cloth.