For most people, there are three different ways to clean your own house:
1. Buy 7 different products or so, ranging from window cleaners to stove cleaners to floor cleaners. Most of these contain toxic chemicals that have been proven to be endocrine system disruptors or even worse, killers. This could end up costing you a small fortune.
2. Buy green cleaners from companies like Seventh Generation, Ecover, or Method. While these products will certainly reduce the toxins you are exposed to, they do cost about the same as regular cleaning products.
3. Buy a few natural ingredients that can clean almost anything and mix them yourselves. For the price of some vinegar, tea tree oil, baking soda and castille soap, you can clean your entire house without spreading chemicals onto every surface.
I have written extensively about natural cleaning products on my environmental site The Good Human before, but taking a look at the cost of regular cleaning products made me think that mentioning natural homemade cleaners here would be a good idea for people looking to both save money and reduce the amount of toxins inside their home. So without further ado, here are some tips on cleaning your entire house for mere pennies on the dollar, while reducing or cutting out the toxins so many of us breathe in from the very products we are sold to “clean” with!
Clean The Air:
For starters, the easiest way we have found to make things smell better is to use essential oils. In an empty spray bottle I mix water and a bunch of drops from a bottle of essential oils. You can adjust the amount of drops you put in the bottle and of course you can always change the scent any time you want. Right now I have some cranberry scented essential oil in our water bottle…the place smells amazing and it can be sprayed on anything.
You can add 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil to a gallon of water to wash windows, floors and toilets to scrub away the germs.
The first ingredient is water, of course. Get yourself a spray bottle and put 3 cups of water in there. Once the water is in your sprayer, you will be adding two additional items:
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
Add them to the spray bottle and shake the bottle up a little to make everything mix together. That’s it, that is all the wood polish you will ever need. Be sure to test the spray somewhere on the furniture just to make sure you have the mixture right and you will not damage the wood.
Cleaning the Toilet:
Lemon Juice – I use real lemons by squeezing out the juice. When I am done, I put pieces of the peel down the disposal to clean it out.
Distilled white vinegar – I know you have this already!
Borax – Ok, you might not have this one. But it is widely available for a few bucks and its cleaning powers go back years.
You will need to combine the ingredients to make a nice paste in a bowl. Put about 1 cup of Borax and about 1/4-1/2 a cup of either lemon juice or vinegar and it will mix together nicely. All you need to do is spread the paste you just made into the toilet bowl and let it sit a while. Then come back and scrub it with a scrubbing sponge (we use the washable kind, not the disposable kind) and flush the toilet.
Unclogging Your Showerhead:
Just remove the shower head, find a bowl or cup big enough for it to sit in face down, and fill it with about an inch of vinegar. After letting it sit for an hour or so, remove it from the bowl and run water through it at the sink for a few minutes.
To Remove Mold In The Bathroom:
You can use Borax and white vinegar to make a spray that you can aim directly at the mold in the tub or shower. Once you spray it , leave it to sit for 30-60 minutes and then go back in and wipe it off. Presto, the mold will start coming off and you did not have to inhale toxic chemicals to do so. Just mix about 2 ounces of Borax and a cup of white vinegar and you are ready to go. As a back up and a maintenance tip, you can also periodically spray the moldy “areas” with straight vinegar and just let it sit there and soak in.
To Clean Appliances:
Microwaves – Mix 1/2 of water with a few teaspoons of baking soda in a microwave safe bowl. Put the bowl in the microwave and run it for 2 minutes. Take out the bowl and wipe it clean with just a rag.
Coffee Makers – When the coffee maker is empty, pour in a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar and some hot water to fill up the reservoir to the top. Run the coffee maker like you were making coffee, just without any beans in it. Once the cycle has finished, run it twice more with just plain water, which will rinse out the vinegar and any build up left inside.
Refrigerators – Baking soda all the way…why would you want to spray chemicals in the giant box that holds your food! Make a nice paste from baking soda and water (equal parts of both) and scrub away.
Unclog Your Shower Drain:
Step 1 – Put the DRY baking soda down the drain. I use about 3/4 of a cup.
Step 2 – Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain after the baking soda. Be sure to cover the drain immediately afterwards with a rag or plug, filling the hole completely so nothing can escape. This is because the interaction of the two will cause a “mini volcano” that will want to come up and out of the drain..you want to keep it down there.
Step 3 – Leave this concoction in the drain for about 30 minutes. While you are waiting, boil a tea kettle full of water.
Step 4 – After 30 minutes, remove the plug and slowly pour the HOT water down the drain. All done!
What kinds of tips do you have for cleaning your house both on the cheap and toxin-free? And if you are looking for more household cleaning recipes, check out Being Frugal’s cleaning list!