A lot of people think that your home is not truly clean unless you can smell the Lysol (or what have you). Unfortunately, those pine-fresh fumes are harmful not just to you, your family and your pets, but to the environment as well. Fortunately there are a lot more “green” alternatives on the market now a-days. And they are more effective now then they have been in the past. But I wanted to talk about some great, safe, effective cleaners you probably already have in your home.
Cleaning with kitchen staples is not only affordable and green, it is very effective. And it keeps your home from smelling like a hospital or hotel (or a mop bucket). Lemon juice and distilled white vinegar are two very effective, totally safe alternatives to bleach (and dozens of other cleaners).
I mix equal parts white vinegar and water to clean glass and mirrors. I use it in the rinse cycle of my washing machine (it cuts grease, whitens fabric and softens water, making it rinse cleaner). It cleans floors and eliminates soap scum.
Lemon juice removes stains and whitens fabric as well. It disinfects counter tops and removes odors, and can even remove mineral deposits on your faucets or the stains in your coffee pot.
Here are a few recipes for general house hold use:
- For glass & mirror cleaner, mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Clean with a lint free (or microfiber) cloth. This solution can also be used to clean wood floors finished with polyurethane (not water-based finishes) and, of course, tile.
- To remove soap scum, use that same sprayer bottle and simply spray on and wipe off. It may be helpful to leave the vinegar solution to set for a few minutes and/or use a plastic brislte brush to remove stubborn spots.
- I also use this mixture to clean my counter tops in the kitchen. Even after cooking chicken.
- For mineral deposits, apply a paper towel soaked in either white vinegar or lemon juice to the area and let sit for at least an hour. Wipe away residue.
- Run a pot of clear water mixed with either lemon juice or white vinegar through your coffee pot. Rinse well, and run with just water (so your next pot of coffee doesn’t have a vinegar/lemon taste).
- To disinfect used toys (or, say if your son poops in the tub and then you have to clean all his bath toys), mix 1/4 – 1/2 cup white vinegar with hot water in the tub (enough water to cover the toys). Let soak, and the scrub with a cloth or a brush. Rinse and let dry.
- To whiten with lemon on the stove top, fill a pot with water and a few slices of fresh lemon. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add linens, and let soak for up to an hour. Launder as usual. This is great for socks and “pit-stained” white shirts. As well as for linens, white napkins, etc.
- For tough stains on whites (I used this to whiten my Fuzzi Bunz inserts before I sold them), apply lemon juice to the stain and let sit for a few minutes before washing.
- Add 1/8 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the first rinse cycle. You will be surprised at it’s whitening power. Note: Do NOT use this with bleach!
- For extra brightening, dry your whites out in the sunlight to take advantage of nature’s own bleaching agent. Also this conserves energy and is free!
When you look at all the different cleaning products these two kitchen staples replace, you really are saving a lot of money. Window/glass cleaner, tub & tile cleaner, counter top cleaner, bleach, stain remover, tile floor cleaner, wood floor cleaner…. the list goes on. Once you start using these safe alternatives, you will find more and more uses for them.
Next week, the many many uses of baking soda. As the saying goes, everything old is new again. Our great grandmothers cleaned this way.