Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cleaning with Natural Ingredients

To get things clean around the house you don’t have to depend on tough, chemical cleansers. I am constantly seeing ads for new cleaning products that produce “sparkling” results. Sure there are plenty of products out there that will “do the job for you,” but what kinds of chemicals are they made of? Call me old fashioned, but I think there’s nothing wrong with using a little elbow grease to get the job done. Besides I don’t want to pollute my house and family with strong chemicals when I can use natural ingredients to do the same thing!

There are three main natural ingredients that I use in my house to do a variety of jobs. All three are affordable and you probably already have them in your kitchen.

1. Vinegar.

Vinegar is my staple cleaning product because it works as an all-purpose cleanser. I prefer to use distilled white vinegar for cleaning. Costco sells huge containers that last a long time. Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle and you’ll have something to clean most parts of the house. You can play with the proportions according to what works well in your house, but it is best not to increase the amount of vinegar in your solution. Vinegar heavy solutions are too acidic and can eat away at tile grout.

If you have tougher spots to clean, try adding a few drops of normal dish washing liquid to help cut the grime. And don’t worry about the smell; it goes away as soon as the surface dries. Vinegar is safe to use on most surfaces, except marble. It also acts as a deodorizer and disinfectant. Always test your surfaces with your solution in an inconspicuous area before use. Use a vinegar solution for glass and mirrors, in the bathroom (toilet, sink, tub, countertops, floor, etc.) and in the kitchen (appliances, refrigerator, stovetop, countertops, floor, etc.)

2. Lemon juice.

Lemon juice can be great to clean your home, plus it smells fresh. Lemon works best to clean and shine metals such as brass and copper. It also works to get rid of soap scum and hard water deposits. If you mix lemon juice with baking soda, you can make a cleaning paste to get out stains and scrub surfaces. To make furniture polish, mix 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil.

3. Baking soda.

Baking soda works like an abrasive cleanser as well as a deodorizer. Put a box in the refrigerator to absorb odors or anywhere else you might need to neutralize smells. Mix baking soda with water to make a paste to scrub out grease and stains.

Depending on the cleaning project that I have, sometimes I find it useful to look up natural cleaning recipes online. For example, I recently looked up a recipe to naturally polish silver. I found a great recipe which consisted of warm vinegar, water, and lots of salt and it worked pretty well!

What are your ingredients for natural home cleaning? Leave a comment!

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