My basic, all-natural, cleaning tool kit
So I’ve posted a list of things you are to avoid when looking at different cleaners, but let’s look at things to use instead of these multi-ingredient cleaners. The best part is that these are things that you likely already have in your cupboards at home. If you don’t have them, then they are things that are inexpensive to buy. I’m not advocating that you get rid of all your cleaners right now, that would be wasteful. But if you are more aware of these natural products that often work just as well, or better, than the expensive big name brands, you may be more likely to use them.
My house is never without a spray bottle filled with vinegar. I use vinegar daily to clean different messes in the house. It is a great disinfectant and with two cats and a dog running around the house, I don’t need to worry about poisoning anybody. Vinegar is made from soured grains or juices with a composition of 5% acetic acid. It’s a mild acid, but that means it can cut through grease and remove many things like odour, stains, traces of soap, mildew and wax buildup. You can use vinegar on almost anything, from carpet to stone. I use vinegar to clean dishes that contained food that was left in the fridge a little too long, my water bottles and meat cutting boards. If you have children and you want to clean up their high chair trays, or anything they might put in their mouths (so, pretty much EVERYTHING), vinegar is incredibly safe and useful.
2. Baking Soda
Many of us know about the great deodorizing effects that baking soda can have, but it can be used for hands-on cleaning as well. It is used in baking, so we know that it is edible. I use it when I have particularly tough bathtub grime. Sprinkling it on, then spraying some of my handy-dandy vinegar on over top, it fizzes helping to remove the grime. Basic chemistry, take a base and an acid, mix them together and get a reaction. Although I’ve never tried it, it can also neutralize hard water and can be use for scouring pots and pans. One little, orange box never did so much before!
3. Lemon Juice
Many people like to strive for that freshly cleaned smell. The problem with this is that often the fragrance comprises some of the worst chemical ingredients of a product, all hidden in the word ‘fragrance‘. As someone who cleans with vinegar 99% of the time, it is something that I’ve lost the need for. However, for those of you out there who love that ‘clean’ smell, I suggest adding a little lemon into your cleaning day. Lemon juice on its own can be used in a variety of cleaning situations. Like vinegar, it is a mild acid that can be used to cut through grease and stains. Remember when you were younger and put lemon in your hair before sitting in the sun to lighten it? The same idea applies to sweat stains on your white clothes. Mix it with vinegar and baking soda to make cleaning pastes, too. The easiest way to use a lemon is to cut it in half, sprinkle on some baking soda and use the lemon itself to scrub away.
*Lime juice has much of the same properties and can be used in the same way, if you prefer.
4. Hydrogen peroxide
Use hydrogen peroxide when you need to know something is sterilized properly. It can be used on your body as well. It is more gentle and much safer than chlorine bleach. You are also less likely to get dizzy off the fumes.
These four ingredients are always in my all-natural cleaning toolkit, but there are many other options for you to explore, depending on preference. Many of us don’t have the time to make nifty concoctions to clean, and these ingredients are easy and inexpensive. However, I’ll soon be posting a more complete list of natural ingredients you can use to clean with.
Any suggestions that you’d like to add to the upcoming list? Feel free to let me know and tell me what you use them for.