Cleaning All Natural
For over a hundred years harsh chemicals have been marketed and sold to consumers for all their cleaning needs. Many of these chemicals are harmful to the environment, dangerous to our lives, and some (like dish soap) is even poisonous. The thing that most of us don't realize is that we can clean all natural. It doesn't have to be hard, it can make a huge difference for all involved, and still has some kick to it.
Your New Best Friends
There are several natural products that you can use to clean with. Most of these products are so safe we cook with them regularly! With a little knowledge and a little prep you can replace your household cleaners and still have a very clean house!
- Vinegar- Distilled white vinegar is a great cleaning agent. It is a mild acid which makes it easy to clean with. It also has antibacterial properties because of the acid.
- Lemon Juice- Lemon juice is also a natural cleaner. It has a refreshing scent too! However, because it is a mild acid it cleans up all sorts of messes. It also has antibacterial properties.
- Baking Soda- Baking soda offers a bit of scrubbing grit, refreshes, and cleans. This makes for a great product for a lot of different processes.
- Hydrogen Peroxide- Going to medicine cabinet can provide your best germ killer ever. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as an antibacterial spray, a great floor cleaner, and can kill mold, mildew, and help bleach out stains!
Using simple ingredients you can make a wide range of cleaners to meet your needs. These cleaners can be used safely throughout your home and can make your home just as clean as if you had used a more expensive harsh chemical to clean them!
- All purpose cleaner- Sometimes one really does fit all, or at the very least most. To make an all purpose cleaner fill a spray bottle 1/2 full with white vinegar and then add water. If you dislike the vinegar smell (most of us do) then add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Small quantities of these oils can be picked up at health food stores, craft departments, and even some grocery stores. If you like a lemon scent you can use 1/4 bottle of vinegar, 1/4 bottle of lemon juice, and 1/2 bottle of water for a fresh scent without the use of essential oils.
- Anti-bacterial spray- We all like to spray the counters in the kitchen and certain areas in the bathroom with cleaners we know are going to kill bacteria. One great option is hydrogen peroxide. While this cleaner doesn't have much scrub or clean power for really big messes it is easy to use on counters and such that just need some extra "kill" power. Fill a spray bottle 1/2 full with hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 full with water. Add a few drops of essential oil or a couple of table spoons of lemon juice for a better scent. Your anti-bacterial cleaner can also be used on mold and mildew around the house. Check fabrics before hand because it can "bleach" them.
- Floor Cleaners- For quick touch ups to your floor you can use your anti-bacterial spray and a clean damp mop. For more extensive cleaning you can use a bottle of hydrogen peroxide that you have scented with a few drops of essential oil in place of expensive floor cleaners. This will leave a residue free clean floor.
- Scrub Power- There are many cleaning supplies that we choose because they have scrub power. You can do this with baking soda. Make a paste with water and baking soda and scrub difficult to clean surfaces. You can also spray the baking soda with vinegar for a fuzzy fizzy super cleaner. This works well on the dirtiest of tubs, nasty cooked on foods at the stove, and other tough cleaning situations.
Castille soap is made from all natural ingredients. In the past it referred to soap that was made from olive oil, water, and caustic soda. Now you can find castille soap that uses other oils as well. One really popular one is hemp oil. None the less, they are all natural and don't contain any harsh chemicals.
Cleaning naturally doesn't have to be difficult. You can use the cleaners in the same way that you use the products you spend a lot of money on. Only you will be safer for your household, safer for the environment, and save money while you are doing it.
- Clearly label bottles. This is one time that reusing old cleaner bottles is a bad idea. You can get clean, fresh, new spray bottles for about $2-3 each and you can then reuse them again and again. Just make sure they are clearly labeled so you remember what they are for! After all vinegar water and peroxide water are both clear!
- Keep it simple. There are a lot of all natural cleaning people out there. They have tons of tips, thousands of recipes, and many suggestions on making it all work for you. However, it doesn't have to be that complicated. All purpose cleaners really can be used for almost every cleaning project under the sun. Keep it simple to save yourself time, energy, and make your life easier!
- Give it a real go. When I first begun this project my mom said I would return to my old ways quickly. After all, vinegar couldn't have the cleaning power of harsh chemicals and peroxide couldn't replace my use of bleach. But I gave the all purpose cleaner a real go and found that I loved it. It really does have the power of clean in a safe way. I also love that I can choose scents I really like, change them each bottle, and even choose them according to season!
Taking it a Step Farther
These simple recipes will replace a whole host of cleaning supplies, but they won't replace all your cleaners. You still need to wash your dishes, clean your clothes, and soften your fabrics. Each of the products you use for these items also contains harsh chemicals. To make your own products for replacing these can be a little harder. But here are a few recipes and tips to help you with that if you want.
- All natural dish soap- Take two cups of castille soap, 1/2 cup of water, and a few drops of essential oil to make your favorite scent. Carefully stir in your water and essential oil, place in a squirt bottle (it is okay to use your old dish soap bottle) and use as normal.
- All natural laundry detergent- Place three gallons of warm water in a large bucket with a lid. Add 1 cup of washing soda, 1/2 cup of borax, and 1 cup of castille soap. Mix thoroughly. Put the lid on it and let rest for 24 hours. Stir well and use about 1 cup per load of laundry.
- Natural fabric softeners- Fabric softener is also a harsh chemical and lets off a lot of nasties into the air when you open up your dryer. You have a few different fabric softener options. You can add 1 cup of white vinegar to your rinse load. This can easily be done with a fabric softener dispenser or a "Downey" ball which will open and let your vinegar into the rinse cycle. You can also add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle of the wash instead of vinegar. A final option is to use dryer balls which help soften fabric while in the dryer.
- Stain fighters- You can use your all natural detergent as a pre-treat for harsh stains. In addition to that you can add 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda to loads of laundry that are really dirty or have stains in them. These will help get rid of stains, brighten whites, and won't cause dinginess to your colors.
Cleaning all natural or "green" doesn't have to be more work then cleaning normally is. In fact, you can have a very clean home with easy to use products and only a little more prep then normal. Plus you can save tons of money on cleaning supplies!