People clean their homes to be safe and sanitary—but when using toxic chemicals, it can be a counterproductive effort. Many commercial cleaning products found on just about every supermarket shelf contains ingredients that are as harmful to your health as the dirt you’re trying to clean. Not only are they unhealthy for your family to touch or breath in, but they’re also environmental threats.
The good news is that you can find substitutions that do just as good a job cleaning and disinfecting your home on those same supermarket shelves—and for a fraction of the cost of the poisons. Try some of these natural cleaning products to get your home sparkling without risking your health.
White vinegar is a disinfectant. Just like commercial window cleaners, it cuts grease so it’s perfect when diluted to use on mirrors, windows, ovens, appliances, floors and in the bathroom. Put it into a spray bottle and use it liberally just as you would Windex.
Not only are they unhealthy for your family to touch or breath in, but they’re also environmental threats.
Throw about ½ cup of vinegar into the laundry rinse cycle in place of fabric softener. Vinegar cuts odors, mildew and has a softening effect on the clothes. Don’t worry—you won’t smell that strong acidic scent. The clothes will smell fresh and clean.
At the end of the day, soak your sponge in water with a splash of vinegar to kill germs it’s picked up throughout the day. Wring it well and let it air dry, or throw it in the microwave for a minute to really sterilize it.
Would you believe that the key ingredient in those expensive yet harsh oven cleaners that make you feel like you want to choke is the same chemical as in baking soda? After cooking, when the oven is still warm, remove the racks. Spray some water in the oven over any stains or burnt-on food, and sprinkle liberally with baking soda. Be careful not to get it on any of the heating elements, though.
Let it sit overnight, and wipe it with a damp rag the next day. You will be amazed to see how much comes off easily. The remainder is easily scrubbed away, the baking soda acts like a gentle abrasive.
Speaking of abrasive, use baking soda in place of scouring powder in the sink, tub and even on the countertops. Baking soda also helps get rid of odor, so use it as a carpet freshener. Sprinkle it around and let it sit for a while before vacuuming.
Liquid castile soap is an oil-based soap that can relplace just about any soap cleansers in your kitchen cabinet. Diluted, you can use it for your dishes, your floors, even your wood fixtures. It is gentle enough to not dry and damage things, and very gentle on your hands.
Olive oil can be used in place of wood polishes and oils. Just add a little bit to your rag and rub away. If you would like to bring in some pleasant scents, add a few drops of essential oils.
Salt is not only a disinfectant, but kosher salt makes an excellent abrasive. If you've got cast iron cookware, you don't have to ruin the seasoning with harsh soaps. Just add salt and scrub with a rag, it will clean your cookware thoroughly. Salt combined with lemon juice is the best copper cleaner you will find. It will really make your copper cookware shine. You can also use it to help polish your silver. Any metals in your house with rust or mildew, add some salt to the rag and it will help break it up and scrub it clean.
These natural cleaners will get the majority of your regular cleaning jobs done, making your home fresh, clean and safe for all living in it.