Cleaning… Sadly, it never ends. Your house could be shining like diamonds in the morning, but if you intend to live in it, it’ll be dirty by the afternoon, and then the cycle starts all over. Laundry, dishes, dusting, floors… The trouble is, the home-cleaners we buy in stores, despite their efforts to make our living spaces cleanlier, leave us breathing in toxic chemicals and smearing them on every surface of our homes. If you mix the wrong two cleaners, the reaction can be lethal. Have you ever heard of death by bathroom cleaner?
Luckily, these chemicals and toxins can be easily avoided by making our own home-cleaning solutions. Chances are you have all the necessary ingredients in your cabinet already. All you need are a few basics: baking soda, white vinegar, lemon, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol and water, obviously. Between those six ingredients, all kinds of cleaning can be done, without the harmful side effects of chemicals and animal testing.
Before you get cracking cooking up your own home-cleaners, make sure to save your used containers. If you buy milk by the gallon, save your empties, and make sure you rinse them thoroughly as soon as you run out! You’ll need large ones for whipping up big batches from which to pour into smaller containers. Stock up on these little ones as well. You may want to save a variety just to have handy, in case you need a pump or spray bottle. Not to mention, reusing these containers does wonders for our planet, which is running out of room for all our waste.
- White vinegar can be combined with water and conditioner to make your own fabric softener, scented precisely to your preference! I swooped up some coconut conditioner, and now my clothes are breathing like an island breeze, no trace of vinegar at all. See the full recipe on the REAL Housewife and Mommy blog.
- According to Crafty Little Gnome, heating a bowl of vinegar and water in your microwave will help dissolve the stains and loosen the food caked on the walls. See their website for step-by-step instructions.
- White vinegar can be used alone as spray or mixed into a baking soda paste to tackle countertops and showers. It can also be added to water and used as mopping fluid, or used alone in place of Drain-O. Check out the recipe on Elephant Journal.
- Also, see Potholes and Pantyhose’s recipe for a white-vinegar-based dishwashing solution.
- Lemons, likewise, have many uses. Life gave them to us for just that reason. I don’t know about you, but when life gives me lemons, I clean with them. For one thing, I use them to treat those pesky stains on my cutting board. See full instructions on Real Simple.
- Lemons can also be used to de-gunk your garbage disposal. Find out exactly how on Elephant Journal.
- One Good Thing suggests combining white vinegar with used halves of lemons. The benefit of this is you can have your cake and eat it to, or lemons, as the case may be. For those of us who can’t resist a nice tall glass of lemonade, we can kill two birds with one stone by squeezing the juice out for a citrusy refreshment and use their empty carcasses for cleaning, by combining them with vinegar. There is a wait time on this recipe, so make sure you read the full instructions.
- Baking soda has more cleaning uses than I am even capable of listing. Consider this the basics—Baking Soda for beginners. For one thing, you can create a paste, combining baking soda with water to scrub the stains out of old porcelain and china, or polish silver with it. Sprinkle it around the carpet to remove unpleasant odors. Scrub the tough stuff off your skillet with it after you burn breakfast, as suggested on Real Simple (see website for full instructions).
- Baking soda can also be dissolved into hot water to make your own homemade shampoo. It may not smell like peaches, but it does the job (for cheap!), and without all those mysterious ingredients that might even be harming you. Find out more about which toxins may be hiding in your favorite hair care products and what they’re really up to on this article on Take Part, and please do read it! I am boycotting my current brand because of it, and have been treating my hair and scalp with cancer causing agents for years, apparently. You may be, too. One helpful tip: steer clear of any ingredients that end in –eth. So, baking soda: Make the switch. It just might save your life. For full instructions, see the recipe on Naturally Curly.
- As it turns out, hydrogen peroxide has numerous uses other than disinfecting boo-boos. Make your own Oxi-Clean with A REAL Housewife and Mommy’s simple recipe, containing only three ingredients you’re almost sure to have—water, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. See the original recipe for full instructions on how to mix and use.
- Hydrogen peroxide can also be combined with lemon juice and water (distilled) to make natural, nontoxic bleach. Find out exactly how at Thank Your Body.
- Hydrogen Peroxide can also be used to whiten teeth, believe it or not, as well as sanitize a wooden cutting board. Find out how at My Thirsty Spot.
- Rubbing alcohol “cleans windows like a champ” according to The Huffington Post, which also suggests you keep some cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol handy for cleaning your germ-and-bacteria-infested cell phone as well as various other electronic devices. See the original article to find out exactly how.
- It can also be used to clean your toilet seat, and sink, and bath and shower. Just go ahead and spritz it all over your bathroom, mirrors included. It should do the job without leaving detectable odors behind, leaving your restroom smelling fresh and squeaky clean.
- And if you happen to be Santa Claus or Gandolf, use rubbing alcohol to clean your pipe, as instructed by the Mother Nature Network.
And there you have it! Natural, totally non-toxic, homemade and affordable… What’s not to like? Clean up your house while cleaning up your act, environmentally. Be conscious of the products that you use and learn the art of sensible alternatives.