9 Household Ingredients to Green Your Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is here! Hometalk.com has tips to swap out your harsh chemical cleansers for inexpensive, natural solutions to make your home a pristine and healthy environment for your family.
To get your house clean while maintaining your sanity, remember to take deep breaths, keep an absurdly organized checklist, and handle one project at a time.
Make sure you have all the materials you need before you start wiping everything down and clearing everything out, including cleaning solutions and sprays. But instead of reaching for the store bought chemical mixture, try these handy (and inexpensive) solutions, so you can start spring cleaning and spring greening all at once!
Tip #1: Club Soda
For any carpet or fabric stains, blot with club soda (or sprinkle with table salt first and then blot). Try club soda in a spray bottle to rejuvenate tired upholstered dining room chairs or for a streak-free glass cleaner.
Tip #2: Vinegar
This one is kind of the cheater's method because vinegar is literally a miracle cleaner. You can clean and disinfect just about anything, from sponges (soak overnight) to countertops (mix with equal parts hydrogen peroxide, spray, and wipe), to fruit (mix with water and soak for 10 minutes), to carpets (spray and scrub or blot), to your sink drain (pour baking soda in first, then follow with vinegar).
See also: How to Use Vinegar to Clean Your Home
Tip #3: Salt
Use salt, flour, and vinegar to shine metal, or clean a wood cutting board by rubbing salt into it with a lemon. In general, salt enhances other natural cleaners and adds grit to natural cleaning liquids to help them adhere to surfaces and assist scrub action. However, salt on its own is also a great abrasive scrub and can be used to get rid of deposit inside vases or remove coffee and tea stains from mugs.
Tip #4: Hydrogen Peroxide
Scrub away built up greasy grout goo by taking a toothbrush and some hydrogen peroxide to it. The degreasing effect of hydrogen peroxide will do wonders to cleanse your grout, not to mention disinfect and freshen it. Use this strong disinfectant to clean other things that come into contact with food as well, like your kitchen countertops, sink, or cutting boards.
Tip #5: Baking Soda
The best natural feature of baking soda is its ability to absorb smell and leave the object or area you're cleaning with a fresh, pristine scent.
Sprinkle it in sneakers to stop smelly odors, or mix it with water and an essential oil of your choice for a lovely air freshener spray.
Baking soda is also great to add to your laundry, for its cleaning and color boosting capabilities, which will make your whites brighter and your colors bolder.
Tip #6: Lemon
So many cleaning products are lemon-scented because citrus really does invoke a sense of cleanliness in our minds. If chemical citrus feels clean though, just think how effective the real thing is!
Make a tray of citrusy ice cubes by freezing a solution of vinegar and water, and a piece of lemon rind in each slot. Then toss those into your garbage disposal and grind while the water runs. You can utilize the acidity in lemons to clean mineral deposits and water marks off of faucets, by simply rubbing the metal with a lemon wedge. Add lemon to vinegar for a great general cleaning product (heat it up in your microwave to clean scrub-free).
Tip #7: Rubbing Alcohol
If you have any permanent marker-lovers in the house, this is an important one to know! Rubbing alcohol will take sharpie marks off many surfaces, like paneled wood, stainless steel, painted walls, some fabrics, and countertops. Rubbing alcohol mixed with distilled water also makes a great spray for cleaning screens on laptops, tablets, phone screens, and TVs.
Tip #8: Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils
Many essential oils are antifungal and antibacterial, so it's no surprise that when looking for a good cleaning agent with a great smell, people tend to add a few drops of oil to their green cleaning mixtures.
See also: How to Use Essential Oils in Your Home
One of the most popular essential oil cleaning tricks is adding it to a homemade laundry detergent mix of Borax, washing soda, and a grated bar of Dr. Bronner's or Fels Naptha soap. You can also try this fabulously fresh natural linen spray, made of water, the essential oil of your choice, and a dash of vodka or rubbing alcohol, to not only refresh your linens but disinfect them as well.
Tip #9: Olive Oil
Olive oil is great for bringing the shine back to different types of materials and furniture. Make a paste from oil and salt to scrub cast iron, or use olive oil on its own to shine stainless steel. To brighten the sheen of wood furniture, mix two cups of olive oil with one cup of lemon juice or vinegar, and rub the solution into the wood thoroughly. Olive oil can even repair scratches on leather furniture - just rub a small amount over the area gently with a cotton ball.
These tips are only a few examples of ways to clean your home without harsh chemical cleaners. Don't feel like you're stuck with the poison products you have - check the cleaning tips page on Hometalk.com for more ideas and how-to's.
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