An International Longitudinal Study found that the use of common household cleaning sprays, even as little as once per week, is linked to chronic adult asthma and childhood throat problems. These common cleaning products have chemical ingredients that can seep into skin and be breathed in by family members, causing “inexplicable” health issues long-term.
Furthermore, the chemicals found in these products are released into the environment, highly contributing to air and water pollution. These cleaning products may even be killing your household plants.
At HomeRev, we believe in environmental sustainability and healthy solutions for our home products. With green products comes better air quality, purer environment, improved wellbeing, and even cost savings. Here are our 5 favorite natural cleaning solutions to get your house and health fresher and richer!
Distilled white vinegar is the ultimate go-to in natural cleaning solutions. It can get rid of mineral deposits, soap scum, tarnish, mold, mildew, and bacteria like e. Coli and salmonella (which is present throughout your kitchen, as discussed in The Dirtiest Places In Your Home). Distilled white vinegar will also neutralize odors, so it is especially great for food-related grime.
You can clean: drains, floors, glassware, moldy walls, windows, blinds, coffeemakers, dishwashers, microwaves, bathtubs, shower doors, showerheads, and even use it to clean your hair!
For general use, you’ll want to create a mixture that is ¼ cup vinegar with 2 cups water. This will ensure that the vinegar’s acidity is not overpowering, but it’s still getting the job done. Spritz the mixture on the surface, let it sit for 15-30 minutes, and then rinse and dry well.
For floors, use ¼ cup vinegar in an entire bucket of warm water to do the trick. (Don’t use vinegar on marble or wood, because it could scratch and scuff.)
One of our favorite vinegar uses is the showerhead hack to get rid of mineral deposits. Put vinegar in a plastic grocery bag and tie the handles over the neck of the shower. Secure the knot with rubber bands, so the showerhead is sitting comfortably in the vinegar bath. Leave overnight, and rinse it with cool water in the morning. Your shower pressure will normalize, and you won’t be showering your body with grime and mineral deposits every day.
Another inexpensive cleaning powerhouse is the lemon! The acidity removes dirt and rust stains while sanitizing. It is also a safe way to lighten or bleach without all the harsh chemicals of traditional bleaches. Rubbing lemon juice on food-stains like tomato soup and coffee, then letting it dry in a sunny place, will instantly lift and lighten stains. ½ cup of lemon juice added to the rinse cycle of your laundry will also brighten your whites!
Fresh lemon juice can also combat lime scale on faucets and lift grout stains around your kitchen. Rub on lemon juice and let it sit overnight; clean it in the morning with a damp cloth. Or, you can mix lemon juice with 1 or 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar to create a solid paste. Use a toothbrush to apply to tough grout in hard-to-reach crevices.
Lemon is also great to remove smells. Can’t get the smell out of your fridge or microwave? Wipe it down with some lemon juice and water, and it will be smelling fresh and clean in no time. It’s even great on your hands if you’ve got lingering smells after handling food like raw fish or onions.
When you’re done with the lemon, cut it up and throw it in the garbage disposal. Run the disposal with water, and it will clean and sanitize the drain—while also making it smell fresh!
Baking soda will remove orders and create a thick paste that’s great for heavy-duty and outdoor cleaning. When mixed with water, it works as a cleaning “exfoliant” to remove stains and dense gunk. It can remove grease spots from the garage floor, stove burner grates, grills, BBQ utensils, and garden tools.
For larger spaces and floors, let the water-baking soda paste stand overnight; scrub it with a damp brush in the morning. Hose it down, wipe it off, and your floor will be as good as new. For smaller grease stains, you can use a stiff-bristled brush dipped in the paste. Be sure to always rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly to avoid rust or damage.
Baking soda is not just for outdoor use alone, though. You can also use this paste to erase scuffmarks on white walls (including toddler crayon marks) and to lighten stained tea kettles and coffeepots. Sprinkling a little bit of baking soda on upholstered furniture will naturally remove odors without damaging the fabric.
Olive, vegetable, and sunflower oil are great way to minimize scratches and imperfections in sensitive surfaces, and it can also rehydrate and freshen wood.
Make your own natural polish by mixing 2 cups of olive oil with the juice of 1 lemon (more lemons). You can then use this on wood furniture by rubbing in with a soft cloth, or you can polish it onto hardwood floors to refresh the look of your room. This is better for light-colored wood due to the bleaching properties of lemon. For darker woods, skip the lemon and go only with a heavy EVOO for shine. You can also use vegetable or sunflower oil on rattan and wicker furniture to prevent cracking and peeling in the sun.
Combine the cooking oil with coarse salt to create a buffer for cast-iron pans and stainless steel surfaces.
Castile soap is made from olive oil and sodium hydroxide. Pure Castile can be an organic all-purpose cleaner, from home to body! It’s great for dish soap, laundry detergent, household cleaners, glass cleaners, shampoo, and so much more.
You’ve probably heard about essential oils as a medicinal, therapeutic, and relaxing solution to many common ailments. This is because essential oils are antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory—which makes them great for cleaning, too! They kill bacteria and mold, and they make your home smell wonderful.
For an all-purpose cleaner that you can use on almost any surface, add 3 or 4 drops of lemon oil and tea tree oil to 2 cups of warm water. Put in a spray bottle, and you’ll have a natural disinfectant. You can even use it to clean toilet bowls!
We like to use essential oils in the bathroom because the smell will be re-released every time you shower. The warm steam will act like a diffuser for weeks! Wipe your shower doors and curtains with a few drops of lemon oil or eucalyptus oil twice a month to prevent scum and grime. You can also put a drop or two of your favorite scent inside the toilet paper roll. The fragrance will be released every time the toilet paper is used!
Plus, essential oils like lavender, lemongrass, and peppermint work to repel insects and rodents trying to make a house out of your home. Just be aware that essential oils are very potent, and a few drops go a long way.
White vinegar, lemons, baking soda, cooking oils, Castile oils, and essential oils are natural methods to clean, sanitize, and freshen your home. Mixed with a bit of water, you’ll be able to create cost-effective mixtures that can clean floor to ceiling. You’ll be saving your home from damage and your family from chemicals, and you’ll finally feel good about cleaning!
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