Written By Jane Wilson / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
It's more than easy to go to any supermarket and buy a regular chemical cleaner. But commercial products with big labels and even bigger names (usually starting with Mega, Power, Heavy Duty) sold over the counter might be risky to you and your family's health.
There are many reports of allergic reactions and other complaints every year. So, here is a short collection of recipes for easy-to-prepare, at-home alternatives, which are not caustic, neither expensive, but will still get the cleaning job done.
For Natural Kitchen Cleaning
Green all-purpose cleaner
With many types of surfaces in our kitchens and around the house, we need something which would be able to clean them all without damaging the material that they are made out of. Having an excellent, mild all-purpose cleaner is an essential step in maintaining a beautiful home.
Similar to everyone's favorite lemon cleaner, this recipe is the perfect concoction for any surface. It's an all-purpose cleaner that you can use on various surfaces in the house, plus it also smells fantastic.
So it would help if you had some orange peels, salt, vinegar and water. First, cut the orange peels into small pieces. Next, fill a glass container with these pieces. Then sprinkle the salt on top of them and let them sit for a bit (at least 30 minutes).
This will extract the essential oils out of the orange and make the solution more potent. Put a lid on and allow the mixture to ferment for at least two or three weeks. Once it's ready, pour the liquid into a spray bottle and apply where needed.
Homemade oven cleaner
I must admit that I used to clean my oven quite rarely. It was just one of those most unpleasant cleaning chores, which I liked to avoid at all cost. Most of the standard oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide, which can practically burn your skin while you attempt to clean your oven and stove with it. But then I discovered the cleaning powers of baking soda, and now nothing can stand between me and the clean cookstove.
As it turns out, all you need to do to achieve a clean oven is to spread lots of baking soda inside the oven and then sprinkle it with vinegar. The whole thing will start fizzing, and it needs to stay there for at least half an hour to dissolve all the dirt.
After that, you'll have to scrub a little to remove the rest of the dirt. When you're done, rinse everything with water. You can implement the same trick when you try to clean a greasy barbecue.
Natural drain cleaner
Cleaning the drain should be an essential part of the whole kitchen cleaning routine because the kitchen drain contains lots of food particles and other types of dirt, which can start rotting and producing a bad smell. Fortunately, there is a straightforward answer to all such problems. All you'll need is some baking soda, half a cup of vinegar and some boiling water.
First, get the vinegar and sprinkle it down the drain. Then get the baking soda and pour it inside on top of the vinegar. It will start fizzing and dissolving all the dirt. After about an hour, you can get a kettle filled with boiling water and pour it inside the drain. This will finish the disinfection process and wash off all the dirt.
Homemade soft scrub
Nobody likes scrubbing. It's a lot of effort and usually doesn't feel like it cleans the surface in question. But with this amazing scrub, it's both easy and highly effective. All you need is to mix some bicarbonate-washing soda, some laundry soap and grapefruit seed extract until you get a thick paste.
Then apply the area to be scrubbed and rub it around with ease, doing away with all unnecessary dirt. Plus, you get a pleasant citrus smell, thanks to the grapefruit extract.
Green Cleaning for Surfaces Around the House
A DIY floor cleaning solution
Most home cleaners can contain ingredients you already have somewhere in your kitchen. And this first recipe is a beautiful example.
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- A bucket
- Warm water
- A mop
Get the vinegar, measure one cup of it and add it to a small bucket (four to five liters). Fill the bucket with water, preferably warm, as warm water is better in dissolving oils and dirt stuck to the floor. Grab the mop and enjoy the non-toxic and efficient cleaning solution.
The vinegar mixture is perfect for all kinds of wooden floors and most tiles, except those expensive and porous ones, like limestone. And if you have carpets, you can find some excellent DIY solutions here.
Natural glass cleaner
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1-½ cups household ammonia
- Spray bottle
Vinegar is unavoidable here, too. Blend one part of it plus three parts ammonia. Add just enough water to fill the whole sprayer - you can use an old plastic bottle of a commercial window cleaning product. Of course, you'll still have to give it a good shake before applying.
Keep in mind that even though household ammonia is a natural cleaner, it still smells very strongly, and it's recommended to use it in a ventilated room only. We can't avoid cleaning windows because it's perfect for removing smudges and dirt from the outdoor glass.
- 2 cups bicarbonate soda
- Mild dishwashing liquid (enough to make a paste)
Tough job? Need to remove stubborn stains from a metal surface? No problem. When elbow grease is not enough, you can rely on the following fix to ease your scrubbing experience. Just take a bowl and put a good amount of bicarbonate of soda in it. Spray some mild dishwashing cleaner over it to form a paste. You can apply it straight on any dirty surface that allows rubbing.
DIY wood polish
Most wood polishers have a potent smell or are too greasy, and they leave an unpleasant residue on the surface. It's tricky to clean wood because water is not suitable for it, and you can easily cause scratches if you have to scrub something off.
Not many people know that olive oil is the perfect wood polish, and in combination with some white vinegar, it will remove all kinds of stains without damaging the furniture. All you'll need is five spoons of olive oil, half a cup of vinegar and one cup distilled water. Mix those in a spray bottle, spray on a soft cloth and wipe the wooden surface. Never spray directly onto the wood because this can leave smudge marks.
Green Bathroom Cleaning Solutions
Cleaning shower doors
Shower doors get a lot of soap scum on them, and after some time, they become white and covered with a solid layer of soap leftovers. However, there's an easy way to deal with it. All you need is identical amounts of white vinegar and grease-cutting solid dish soap.
Heat the vinegar a little so that the dish soap can dissolve quickly. Pour both ingredients into a spray bottle, spray both sides of the glass shower door with it, leave it to work for at least 30 minutes and then rinse it with water. After that, dry the panels with a microfiber cloth to avoid any streaks. Avoid using this solution if your shower tiles are from natural stone, as vinegar can damage them.
For easier regular maintenance, apply some lemon oil over your shower doors every week. It won't allow any soap scum to buildup in the first place.
A green tile cleaning solution
There is an effortless way to clean your tiles without the need to scrub like crazy or expose yourself to dangerous fumes produced by conventional cleaners.
Add equal amounts of water and vinegar into a spray bottle, and add a few baking soda spoons. Let it fizz a little, and then spray the tiles with the solution. The vinegar is a potent degreasing agent, and the baking soda will allow you to scrub off any difficult to clean stains.
These two ingredients also eliminate unpleasant smells, so you won't have to worry about adding a fragrance later. For better results, leave the mixture to work on the tiles for a few minutes.
Hard water stain remover
For most homeowners, hard water stains mean lots of scrubbing and maybe permanent marks in their bathrooms. However, there is an easy DIY mixture, which will dissolve the difficult stains without any effort.
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup Epsom salt
- 1 tbsp dish soap
- 15 drops citrus essential oil
- Spray bottle
- Soft brush
Mix all these ingredients in the spray bottle and shake it well to dissolve the salt. Spray it on the affected surface or pour it down the toilet (it works great for cleaning toilets). Please leave it to work its magic on the surface for at least half an hour, and then scrub a little with the brush to remove the most stubborn dirt. After that, rinse with water and dry to avoid more watermarks.
DIY laundry detergent
Most laundry detergents sold on the market can easily cause a rash on sensitive skin or if you're allergic to some of the chemical ingredients. And many natural laundry detergents still contain borax, which is not harmful, but it's also not perfect for everyone. Here's the greenest laundry detergent alternative you can prepare:
- 3 Castile soap bars
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 cup washing soda
- ¼ cup of salt
- 20 drops citrus essential oil
First, you need to grate all the Castile soap bars. Then mix all the dry ingredients and make sure they are well mixed. Add the essential oil drops and stir some more to ensure everything is homogenous. Store the mixture in an airtight container and use one to two spoons per load; it's more than enough.
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Jane Wilson is a mother, blogger and marketing executive living in Melbourne, Australia. She works for the local branch of Fantastic Cleaners, a licensed cleaning company that provides a broad range of services. She also owns a small lifestyle blog called Modern Housewives, where she shares all kinds of home improvement and parenting tips.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.