“I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes, and six months later you have to start all over again.” – Joan Rivers
A season of new beginnings, Spring is the perfect time of year to catch up on your cleaning. Unfortunately, many household cleaners are loaded with caustic chemicals – including carcinogens, neurotoxins, and ingredients that irritate your eyes and skin. Skip the chemical concoctions, and put some green in your clean with these safe, natural cleaning alternatives.
Refrigerator. Eliminate grime and freshen your fridge with baking soda. It’s a powerful scrubbing agent that eliminates viruses, cleans, and brightens – while cutting through grease and grime. Mix half a cup into a bucket of hot water, dip a clean rag into the mixture, and use it to wipe down the fridge, inside and out.
Countertops. Vinegar’s acidity makes it an extremely effective cleaning agent – removing oil, soap scum, and grime. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle for an easy, versatile counter cleaner. If your countertop is marble, granite, or stone, opt for rubbing alcohol instead, since the acidity of vinegar can damage these surfaces.
Garbage Disposal. Pour a cup of vinegar into an ice cube tray, top the cubes off with water, and freeze. Once frozen, toss a few down the disposal and let it run to eliminate any food that’s still stuck to the blades.
Cutting Boards. All you need to clean and disinfect cutting boards – whether wood or plastic – is a lemon. Natural lemon juice eliminates mold and mildew, cuts through grease, and adds a beautiful luster to hard surfaces – plus, it smells amazing. Slice a lemon in half, rub it over the surface, leave it for ten minutes, then rinse the cutting board. For some serious scrubbing power, sprinkle some coarse salt onto the board, then go to work on it with the lemon.
Microwave. Your microwave can get nasty in no time, but a little heat can help you clean it quickly. Pour some vinegar into a small cup, add a little lemon juice, and heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Leave the door closed for several minutes, then wipe down the interior with a warm cloth or sponge.
Oven. Clean stubborn, caked-on food by warming the oven to 125 degrees, then spray down the interior with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Pour salt directly onto the caked-on mess, turn off the oven, allow it to cool, and use a wet towel to scrub it clean. If salt doesn’t do the trick, try using baking soda instead – allowing it to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
Shower And Tub. Grime and mildew may be tough, but they’re no match for the cleansing power of vinegar. Eliminate mildew by spraying it with pure white vinegar, wait half an hour, then rinse with warm water. If rinsing alone doesn’t wipe out the mildew, scrub it with a sponge. For daily maintenance, combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray down the shower, allow it to sit for five minutes or more, then wipe away.
Toilet. Create your own heavy-duty toilet scrub – that deodorizes while it cleans – by pouring half a cup of baking soda into the toilet. Add a quarter cup of vinegar to the bowl, scrubbing away while the mixture fizzes. For daily cleaning, fill a small spray bottle with one cup of vinegar. Spray down the toilet seat, let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the surface clean.
Throughout Your Home
Floors. For an easy, effective tile cleaner, fill a bucket with one part white vinegar to two parts warm water. Scrub the floors down with the solution using a mop – no need to rinse off!
Walls. Mix one quarter of a cup of white vinegar with one quart of warm water, using a rag to scrub down the walls. Remove marks from your walls by scrubbing the spot with a little baking soda.
Windows And Mirrors. Make your own all-purpose window cleaner by mixing one part white vinegar with four parts water.
Furniture. Combine two tablespoons olive oil, one tablespoon white vinegar, and a quart of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray onto varnished wood to clean it, drying with a soft cloth. For all-purpose furniture polish, mix ¼ cup vinegar with ¾ cup olive oil, using a soft cloth to apply the solution to your furniture. For wood furniture, blend ¼ cup lemon juice with ½ cup olive oil, and follow the same method. Since olive oil can leave behind slippery residue, avoid using it on wood floors.
Silver Cleaner. Clean silver utensils and jewelry the non-toxic way, by lining a sink or bucket with aluminum foil. Spread out the silver on top of the aluminum, then pour in boiling water, 1 cup of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Let it sit for a few minutes until the tarnish vanishes. If you’re hesitant to submerge a particular item in water, rub it with toothpaste using a soft cloth, then rinse it with warm water.
Spring cleaning should revitalize us, not make us sick! Stick with these natural alternatives, and enjoy your clean home the safe, effective, environmentally-friendly way.