Environment

Simple ways to clean your home naturally

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Eco-friendly natural cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemon and cloth. Homemade green cleaning.

Image: Geo-grafika/Shutterstock

If you’re ready to switch over to an all-natural cleaning regimen for your household, it’s probably easier than you think. Nearly every type of cleaning product has a homemade version that works just as well, or sometimes even better than store bought options. If you’re in a financial pinch, want to avoid household chemicals, or just simply want to give the earth a break, we’ve got a few simple ways to clean your home naturally!

Lemons, Vinegar & Baking Soda: The Must-Have Trio

Almost anything can be cleaned with the three must-haves: lemons, baking soda, and vinegar. You may be surprised how effective these items are for cleaning; especially simple, fresh cut lemons. Safe for most surfaces (double-check on yours before using), fresh lemon takes the elbow grease out of many cleaning tasks by being naturally acidic. As a natural stain remover and disinfectant, not to mention smelling fresh and fruity, a lemon can be a save-all for cleaning any room.

Reliable Lemons

  • Squeeze the juice of a lemon onto kitchen counters or cutting boards and/or stained surfaces. Mix a little baking soda onto tougher stains and let soak in overnight, then rinse with water.
  • Microwave a slice of lemon for 45 seconds to rid your microwave of odors.
  • Keep a half lemon in your refrigerator for freshening.
  • Clean faucets with fresh lemon and let soak in overnight, then rinse.
  • Grout stains can be handled with a paste made of fresh lemon juice mixed with Cream of Tartar, which acts as a natural bleaching agent. Just apply to a toothbrush and scrub on, let stand, then rinse with water.
  • Lemon glass cleaner and furniture polish can be made easily with water and vegetable oil. For glass cleaner, mix four tablespoons of lemon juice with one half gallon of water. Use this mixture on glass to clean as usual. Furniture polish needs one teaspoon lemon juice and one pint vegetable oil – then rub onto furniture with your usual cloth for a nice glow.
  • Apply lemon juice to clothing stains, put a tiny bit of Cream of Tartar on top, and then rub into the stain. Allow to stand until the stain is no longer visible, then launder in your washing machine.

Miraculous Vinegar

Another affordable miracle cleaner to clean your home naturally is plain white vinegar. Although it isn’t officially registered as an EPA disinfectant, regular vinegar kills many household germs. On top of that, use vinegar in every room for a variety of cleaning jobs like:

  • Unclogging drains (mixed with equal parts baking soda)
  • Cleaning coffee makers (run the normal coffee preparation cycle with water and vinegar in equal parts)
  • Cleaning mineral deposits off your shower head. Pour white vinegar into a plastic baggie, tie around shower head, then let soak overnight. Rinse when you take your shower the next morning. Voila!
  • Removing mold with straight vinegar in a spray bottle – just spray on, leave 15 minutes, then rinse.
  • Cleaning glass cleaner with one tablespoon vinegar in a quart of water to spray onto surfaces and then wipe off.
  • Softening clothes with a DIY fabric softener. Mix one part vinegar to two parts water. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the mixture during the rinse cycle. It shouldn’t smell like vinegar on your clothes if you stick to this mixture and don’t add more than recommended.
  • Cleaning your toilet with undiluted white vinegar. Pour in and around the top of the bowl, and scrub with your cleaning brush as usual.

The Wonders Of Baking Soda

Baking soda is the third member of the trio, and more potent than you might expect. It’s naturally abrasive and absorbs odors, which make it a scouring favorite. Sprinkle it onto surfaces with a squirt of lemon juice as a paste (it will fizz at first – gradually add your baking soda when mixing)

  • Use plain baking soda and water paste to make silverware polish
  • Use baking soda paste with steel wool to clean your oven.
  • Soak stained containers with baking soda water overnight to remove stains.

For more complex cleaning recipes where you’ll need a few more ingredients like washing soda or Borax, turn to the Wellness Mama or Live Simply websites. For making your own laundry detergent, dish soap and other handy stuff, check out the easy-to-follow recipes here: Laundry detergent tutorialhomemade scouring powder and multi-purpose floor cleaner for examples! For pest control issues like fleas or bed bugs, don’t miss out on the wonders of diatomaceous earth as well!

Happy Cleaning!

Kristen lives in the Michiana area, where she enjoys lake-effect weather, apple orchards and occasional South Shore rides into Chicago. She can probably tell you more about apple cider vinegar than you'd ever want to know. You can reach her at: http://lakesedge.wix.com/lakesidewriting