All the time, we try to improve our bodies with natural remedies and whole ‘good-for-us’ foods. But what about the places where we live? The chemicals we breathe in and absorb through our skins affect us just as much as the things we ingest, so it only makes sense to investigate natural cleaning products — green chemicals.
Why would we go through all the effort of detoxifying ourselves and then continue to use harsh, abrasive, and even deadly chemicals to “clean” our homes? In this post, I’m going to be talking about ways to keep your home clean and free of chemicals and allergens. Best of all, the ingredients consist of things that many of us already have in our homes. Cleaning naturally is a breeze to make happen, and it can save you a ton of money in the long run.
Have a look at the following natural cleaning tips for the different areas of your home:
For the kitchen
- Disinfect cutting boards and utensils with lemon juice or vinegar before washing in soapy water. Lemon juice is one of nature’s most powerful antibacterials in the kitchen. Both agents also help to remove odors – two birds with one stone.
- Scrubbing pots and pans with kosher salt is a green way to get out those burned-on stains.
For the bathroom
- Mix ½ cup baking soda with just enough water to make a paste. This makes a creamy scrubber that can be used to clean the bathtub. We use baking soda to brush the enamel of our teeth to a glowing white – why not use it on that faded tub enamel? Alternately, use ½ cup washing soda, which is similar to baking soda but stronger, for those tough discolorations.
- For the toilet bowl, you can also pour in ½ to 1 cup borax and let sit for at least an hour. Then scrub for a clean, odor-free bowl without the dizzying chemicals.
- If your bathroom has mold, stir together one part hydrogen peroxide (alcohol) with two parts water and spray on the mold to effectively eliminate it – this kills the mold organism and so stops it from multiplying. Wait an hour, then rinse and enjoy a mold-free shower.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar (no more!) with one quart of water, then use in a spray bottle as you would a window cleaner. Old newspaper works best and leaves no fibers on the glass.
- A word of advice, though – you shouldn’t clean windows when they’re warm, because they streak easier.
For all-around cleaning
Make a batch of this stuff, then store in some spray bottles! Mix ½ cup white vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda into ½ gallon of water. This also makes for a good window cleaner, and great for all-around cleaning of countertops, sinks, shower doors, and just about anything on which you might use an all-purpose product.
For more tips, check out this article from Natural Home Magazine, and be sure to let us know if you have a tip, trick, or tried-and-true green product that you prefer in your home!
Maria (Niina) Pollari is a poet, editor, writer and translator. She wrote two chapbooks, Fabulous Essential (2009) and Book Four (2011). Pollari’s writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as the Brooklyn Rail and Jezebel.com. She has received her Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.