Green Housecleaning

Published on April 27th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans


Natural Cleaning Recipes

Why spend a fortune on cleaning products that introduce toxic chemicals into your living space? You can use simple ingredients, such as baking soda, lemons, and vinegar, to make effective natural cleaning supplies that work in every room of your house.

Why spend a fortune on cleaning products that introduce toxic chemicals into your living space? You can use simple ingredients, such as baking soda, lemons, and vinegar, to make effective natural cleaning supplies that work in every room of your house.

Besides being a snap to make, natural homemade cleaning recipes cost mere pennies!

Common Natural Cleaners

Combined in various ways, these common household items work just as well as the most expensive and noxious cleaners on the market — and these natural cleaners don’t leave your living space smelling like a freshly sanitized hospital.

  • Baking Soda – The cleaning powers of baking soda reach far beyond its role as a natural fridge deodorizer

    Baking soda works as a non-abrasive scouring cleaner on countertops and ovens, and in bathtubs and sinks. It also rids clothes of perspiration odors when used in conjunction with laundry detergent in the washer.

    • The next time you do laundry, try adding 1/2 cup to a cup to your load.
    • Before you vacuum, sprinkle it on your carpet as a deodorizer.
  • Super Washing Soda – Also known as sodium carbonate, washing soda is a caustic cleaner that is far safer than other solvents. Wearing gloves when you use it, however, is still recommended.
    • Washing soda is great at cutting grease, getting wax or lipstick out of clothing, and neutralizing odors.
  • Lemon Juice – The acid in lemon juice neutralizes hard water deposits, dissolves buildup and dirt on wood, and tarnish on silver.
    • White Vinegar – can be used in place of lemon juice. The infamous strong smell dissipates as the vinegar dries.
  • Antifungals/Disinfectants – Grapefruit seed extract and essential oils such as lavender, clove, and tea tree oil have antiseptic properties and operate as natural fungicides.
    • To keep mold at bay, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of essential oil to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, or 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to 1 quart of water.

Natural Cleaning Recipes

Here are a few quick and simple natural cleaning recipes to help you on your way to a spick-and-span, non-toxic living space. You can mix-and-match many of these natural products for use on a variety of surfaces…

Always perform a test for allergies before using new ingredients or essential oils. Simply dab a bit of the item on the underside of your wrist and watch for any indicators of inflammation.

All Purpose Surface Cleaner Mix together equal parts white vinegar and salt. Scrub surfaces with a natural cleaning cloth.

Cookware Cleaner Coarse salt does wonders for scouring copper pans and ceramic baking dishes.

Disinfectant Mix 1/2 cup of borax powder with 1 gallon of hot water. Add a few drops of fragrant essential oil such as thyme, rosemary, or lavender. Store the mixture in a labeled spray bottle.

Floor Scrubber To scrub out tough messes and stains, use washing soda and rinse well. For lighter washing, dilute 1 cup washing soda in 1 gallon of warm or hot water. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice for extra shine.

Furniture Polish Mix 1 cup lemon juice with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp water; lightly apply to furniture using a soft cloth. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then buff.

No-Streak Glass Cleaner For sparkling mirrors and windows, combine 1/4 cup undiluted white vinegar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, and 1 quart warm water. Divide into spray bottles. For a lint-free shine, wipe dry with a sheet of crumpled newspaper or a coffee filter.

Tile and Grout Paste 1 cup water and 3 cups baking soda mixed into a paste works great for cleaning tile and grout. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste into grout.

Wallpaper Shiner Rub wallpaper marks with a piece of white bread until they disappear.

Wood Buffer Hide wood scratches by rubbing them with the meat of a walnut.

To dress up your homemade cleaners, use a pretty spray bottle or container and add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil. These all-natural cleaning products smell so sweet and work so well that you can even give them as gifts!

And here’s a recipe for a great DIY all purpose cleaner to keep on hand.

Post-Cleaning Hand Soak

Once you’ve done your eco spring cleaning, you won’t need days of moisturizing lotion therapy to smooth out your hands again, but… it’s always nice to treat yourself after a hard day’s work!

For moisture treatment:

  • Microwave or oven-warm a small bowl of olive oil. Kick back and soak your hands.
  • Add some granulated sugar and scrub away the extra layer of dry skin that accumulated over the winter.

For an invigorating handwash:

  • Place a tiny bit of powdery ground mustard in a bowl with some other herbs and essential oils, such as rosemary and thyme or lavender and mint.
  • Add hot water and wait for the tingling sensation of mustard to warm your skin.

You’ll be so invigorated that you may be tempted to join in helping to clean your friend’s or neighbor’s house!

Photo from Shutterstock

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