We all want our house to be neat and tidy, which includes cleaning our surfaces until they’re sparkly. But, when you use many commercially available cleansers, the term, “A floor so clean you could eat off of it,” becomes a bit dubious. True, many store-bought products do the trick when it comes to making your house smell good and your appliances shine. But, they come with the added side effect of chemical additives that are not only dangerous for humans, but also detrimental to the planet.
Let’s face it, while these products come with the bonus of convenience, the larger health and environmental price we pay make it far less of a bargain. Plus, the ingredients list for natural products are much more minimal with their components often coming in at highly affordable price points. Really, as long as you have salt, baking soda, vinegar, water, essential oils and a few other staples you can make virtually anything!
Just be sure to label all of your cleaning solutions once you’ve made them and, even though the ingredients are natural and far friendlier toward the environment, you still want to keep them out of the reach of children and pets. It’s also always best practice to try a little dab of any cleaning solution in a small, inconspicuous place on your appliance or fixtures first as variations in materials can cause discoloration or scratching with any new cleaning method, commercial or natural alike. Better safe than sorry! Now let’s get to brewing up some all-natural cleaning supplies to brighten up our homes.
1. Vodka, it’s not just for happy hour!
You can also clean your porcelain, glass and chrome fixtures with this natural disinfectant. A bottle of cheap vodka and a clean cloth will have your surfaces shining like new and don’t worry, the smell dissipates as it dries so your house won’t smell like a brewery. Simply spritz some on and wipe it off.
2. It works on your clothes too!
The alcohol in vodka kills odor causing bacteria which can cling to clothes that might need more of a freshening as opposed to a complete wash. Simply put some in a spray bottle and lightly spritz your garment (making sure to spot test the cloth first if you’re worried that it might not be a color safe material). The vodka doesn’t leave a scent when dry and eliminates the need for unnecessary loads of laundry.
3. Not really interested in dropping by the liquor store for cleaning supplies? This all-purpose cleaner recipe is your best buddy
This is perfect for cleaning your environment without harming it…see what we did there? This can be used on virtually any surface (remember to spot check) and tailored to the aromas you like best, so get creative with those oils. Lemon, lavender, orange, pine and verbena are awesome options, but the sky is the limit!
4. We sure aren’t salty about how awesome a little NaCl is for cleaning up tough messes
If you need something a bit more abrasive, but would rather avoid Comet and it’s 146 chemical additives, you need look no further than good old salt. A sprinkle on an oven spill before it hardens, in the bottom of a cast iron pan with a bit of water so it forms a paste or in the bottom of your coffee maker can help to gently remove caked on residue. You can also mix it in with some baking soda and borax for an all purpose cleaner when you need a bit more oomph, like for tough bathtub or toilet rings. Simply smear on, scrub and rinse.
5. See your reflection in your stainless appliances, without scary additives
Stainless steel refrigerators, dish washers and ovens are very popular these days. Even coffee makers and toasters come in this finish! But, anyone who has them knows that they show every little thumb print and water fleck. Commercial polishes often include monoethanolamine, which is corrosive to the skin, can cause respiratory problems and is even a potential neurotoxin . Bring it back to a shine with this instead! Just be sure to use a micro-fiber cloth, go with the grain of your appliance and wipe the vinegar solution right away.
6. De-gunk your cooktop the natural way
Did you get a little overzealous with your bean soup and have the burnt on spot on your glass or ceramic cooktop to prove it? Avoid buying the expensive (and chemical laden) ceramic cooktop polish and whip this up instead! First, scrape the spot (carefully!) with the flat edge of a razor blade to remove anything chunky. Next, sprinkle the area with a liberal dose of baking soda and then spray the whole thing down with two parts water and one part vinegar (your all-purpose cleaner from above is great here too.) Let it sit anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on just how crazy dinner got last night. You can even cover everything with a warm, damp towel to help loosen the grit. Then merely wipe the residue away, using more cleaner if the baking soda residue wants to be stubborn.
7. Get that pine-ariffic smell for your floors, without all it’s toxic buddies
This recipe not only works just as well to get your floor squeaky clean, it has the pine fresh scent that proponents of Pine-sol know and love! Except, without all that pesky toluene, which has been linked to birth defects, hormonal imbalances, cardiac arrhythmia and even depression.
8. While you’re in the market for stuff to do with those awesome essential oils you bought
Use them to freshen the air without scary propellents. A few drops of your favorite essential oil in the inside of your toilet paper’s cardboard roll will release a fresh scent with each turn of the paper. A little eucalyptus oil mixed with water in a bottle sprayed on shower walls helps make your bathroom smell great as well as opens up airways when the water gets steamy.
Lead Image Credit: Fox News Magazine
Graphics by Hannah Williams
Re the scented cardboard toilet paper roll; cardboard is porous, the oil will seep through or soak it, which means it transfers to the toilet paper wrapped around it, for several layers. Wiping delicate parts with this oily tissue is perhaps not such a good idea. There are however, toilet paper rollers (dispensers) made expressly for this idea; the roller is slotted with absorbent material inside that one scents, so that the oil doesn\’t touch the actual toilet paper.