Not only are most commercial cleaners costly, but they often work no better than cleaners you could make, for pennies, using ingredients you probably already have.
Most people are pleasantly surprised when they make the switch toward natural cleaners, as aside from the cost savings they are able to ditch their chemical cleaners for safer natural ingredients. The fact of the matter is, with every spritz and spray of a commercial cleaner, you’re adding toxic air pollution to your home’s air. The American Lung Association states:[i]
“Many cleaning supplies or household products can irritate the eyes or the throat or cause headaches or other health problems. Some products release dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other harmful ingredients include ammonia and bleach. Even natural fragrances such as citrus can react to produce dangerous pollutants indoors.
VOCs and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches. Studies are underway to assess how these chemicals affect people who have asthma and other respiratory illnesses. However, past studies link exposure to chemicals from cleaning supplies to occupational asthma and other respiratory illnesses.”
There is a Better Way! 15 Natural Cleaning Tips
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your family’s health for the sake of cleanliness. Try the tips that follow instead, to remove grease from pans, disinfect your kitchen counters, remove tough soap scum and more … safely and effectively.
1. Burned-on Food: Sprinkle salt and fresh lime juice into the pan, then scrub away, using extra salt as needed. If necessary, add a little water and a few tablespoons of salt and let the mixture soak first. You can also try putting the pan in the freezer — the frozen mess will be easier to remove.
2. Tea and coffee stains: Remove these stains from your coffee cups using salt mixed with vinegar. You can also try a mixture of baking soda and water, and allow to sit overnight.
3. Grease on pans: Sprinkle salt in the bottom of the pan and let it absorb the oil. Add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to your regular dish soap and the grease will melt away. Another trick is to pour club soda into a still-warm cast iron pan to help keep food from sticking and make cleanup easier.
4. Grout: Add lemon juice to two teaspoons of cream of tartar.[ii] Put the paste on a toothbrush and scrub away.
5. Cutting boards: Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto you r plastic or wood cutting boards. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then rinse, to remove stains.
6. Dishwasher: Put vinegar in the soap container and let it run as normal to clean out your dishwasher. You can also fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with vinegar and set it on the top rack, then run a cycle as usual.
7. Oven: Make a paste of baking soda and water then apply it to your oven. Let it sit overnight then scour off the grime.
8. Coffee maker: Pour a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water into your coffee maker and let it brew. Stop the cycle halfway through to allow it to sit (45-60 minutes) then restart. Run a few cycles of plain water afterward to clear out the vinegar.
9. Toilets: Combine two teaspoons tea-tree essential oil to two cups of water in a spray bottle. Spritz your toilet bowl (inside and out) and let sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing.[iii]
10. Shower doors: A few drops of lemon essential oil on a sponge will help remove soap scum from your shower doors, and even protect them from future buildup.[iv]
11. Mildew: Try a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar on mildew, let it sit for a few minutes, the scrub off.
12. Windows: 10 drops of lavender or lemongrass essential oils mixed with about two ounces of water is an excellent window cleaner.[v] Vinegar and water in a spray bottle is another natural solution to make your windows sparkle. Try using newspaper instead of paper towel to scrub.
13. Disinfecting countertop spray: Try mixing tea tree oil (30 drops) with two cups of water and a few tablespoons of castile soap for a natural disinfectant (makes a great bleach alternative).
14. Carpet deodorizer: Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets, let it sit for 30 minutes then vacuum. You can also do this on your upholstery.
15. Garbage disposal: Cut up half a lemon and grind it in your disposal for instant freshening. You can also pour in about half a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar, let it sit for 15 minutes, then run your disposal for a tougher cleaning.
Do you have favorite natural cleaning tips of your own? Please SHARE them with your fellow readers in the comments section below, and be sure to pass along the tips above to your natural-minded friends, too.