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How To Clean House Without Chemicals

Updated on February 22, 2014

Clean with simple, safe products you already have in your home!

You don't have to use harsh chemicals to clean your home effectively. You'd be surprised at the power of the simple products you already have around your home that can double as cleansers.

Items such as salt, vinegar,and baking soda, are literally 'safe enough to eat', (although I admit, none of them are very tasty eaten alone). Try some of these cleaning tips with safer, household products, and you won't have to worry as much about kids or pets getting into your cleaning supplies either.

soap with loofa
soap with loofa

Soap is Soap!

Did you know that regular soaps and shampoos will work as well as specially marked cleansers for most things? It's true!

This is especially handy in the bathroom, where a quick wipe-down with a soapy cloth will retard mildew and keep everything smelling fresh. All it takes is an old washcloth and a bit of leftover shampoo or soap. This is a great use for the shampoo you thought smelled great in the store, but found out that didn't work well on your hair when you got it home.

Don't waste money on chemical-laden products when the milder products that clean you can be cleaning your house, too!

Cleaning with Salt

Salt is a safe, cheap and effective cleaner. Regular table salt is a natural cleaner and has tons of uses. It's easy to find, inexpensive to buy, and it's literally 'safe enough to eat'!

Your regular brand of table salt from your local supermarket will clean perfectly well, regardless of whether you use the iodized kind or not.

Here are some ways to clean with salt:

  • Clean metals ~ Mix salt with lemon or lime juice, and it will clean brass and pewter. Just sprinkle the salt into an empty squeezed-out lemon half and then rub down the metal. Rinse thoroughly after-wards, and buff the surface to a shine with a soft cloth.
  • Use salt instead of dish-washing soap ~ Just sprinkle salt into the water and wash as usual. Rinse the dishes well. Remember than because salt can be drying to your skin, you may want to wear gloves or use a good lotion after washing dishes with it.
  • Clean off burned-on food ~ Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of salt to burned pans as soon as the damage occurs. It will mask them *much* easier to clean.
  • Clean cast iron pans ~ Just sprinkle some salt in your cast iron cookware, and then wipe clean. If you haven't burned on any food, you can actually do this instead of washing it in water. It will help protect the surface and it will make your cast iron cookware more like a non-stick pan. (But don't wash your real non-stick pans with salt, because it can damage the finish.)
  • Mosquito bites ~ Salt takes away the itchiness! Just wet the the bite and rub some salt in the area. (I know, this one isn't about cleaning; but I really hate to itch!)
  • De-stain glass ~ Ice and salt, used together, will rinse away stains in glass container. This is especially useful for coffee carafes.
  • Break down suds and grease ~ If you end up with too much suds in the sink, sprinkle a bit of salt to break down some of the bubbles. (You'll still be able to use the soapy water as usual.) After you've finished the dishes, clean away remaining grease out of the sink by rubbing it with salt on a wet sponge.

vinegar in spray bottle
vinegar in spray bottle

Cleaning with Vinegar

 

Here are some ways to clean with vinegar:

  • Kill Bathroom Germs ~ Load a spray-bottle with fill-strength white distilled vinegar, then wipe clean with a damp clothl.
  • De-Yuck Sponges and Dishrags ~ Place your icky sponges and dishrags in just enough water to cover them. Then, add 1/4 cup of vinegar, and let then soak overnight.
  • Remove Paint Splatters ~ Get those pesky paint splatters off of your windows by wiping them with a paint brush soaked in vinegar.
  • De-Germ Doorknobs ~ Doorknobs are some of the most germ-covered places in your house! Make them, less gross by applying full-strength vinegar to them with a spray-bottle, and then letting them air dry.
  • Clean Grill ~ Spray white distilled vinegar over a ball of crumpled-up aluminum foil and use it to scrub the cooked-on charred bits away.
  • Sanitize Baby Books ~ Vinyl baby books and board books that your kids have chewed on will be fresh and germ-free again after a wipe-down with white distilled vinegar. (Just be sure to wipe away the bitter taste with a water-dampened cloth or sponge before your baby puts them back in his or her mouth!)
  • De-Lime Shower-head ~ Fill a plastic bag with about a third of a cup of white distilled vinegar, and and tie it over your shower-head, (so that the shwoer-head is soaking in the vinegar). Leave it there for at least two or three hour. It will break up the lime deposits and unclog the sprayer holes so you'll get a better shower.
  • Deodorize Garbage Disposal ~ Put full-strength white distilled vinegar into a few holes of an ice cube tray and freeze. Run several cubes down the disposal while flushing with cold water. (Caution: Don't mix up vinegar cubes with regular ice cubes and put them in your drink!)
  • Cut Fridge-top Grime ~ You know that icky layer of grime that accumulate on top of your refrigerator? You can wipe it away with a paper towel soaked in vinegar!

Happy Scrub Brush
Happy Scrub Brush

Cleaning with Baking Soda

 

Here are some ways to clean with baking soda:

  • Clean Stuffed Animal ~ Those hard to wash bundles of love will perk right up if you dust them with baking soda, let them sit for 15 minutes, and then dust them off.
  • Fluff and Freshen Laundry ~ Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle of your washer to make your sheets and towels extra fluffy and fresh-smelling.
  • Garage Stains ~ Get rid of that oil stain that the car made on the garage floor by dumping baking soda directly and scrubbing with a stiff brush.
  • Clean Dentures and Retainers ~ Soak your dentures or orthodontic retainers in a solution of warm water with 2 teaspoons of baking soda to disinfect and deodorize them.
  • Clean Tile Floors~ Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to a bucket of warm water and mop, them rinse, for shiny tile floors.
  • Deodorize Your Dog ~ Yes, you can even use baking soda on your dog! Just sprinkle your pup's fur, and then brush it through.

Do you have any green cleaning tips? Tell us about them here!

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    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 4 years ago

      Great list of uses. Gotta remember the mosquito bite one. Thanks for sharing all these tips.

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      Good information. I hate those store bought regular cleaners because they have so many fumes and it makes me sick

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Great lens. Very useful tips for cleaning without chemicals.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      All the time when we can eliminate chemicals is great, so i learn a lot from your lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The natural products are naturally the best and we don't have to wonder what damage we are doing with them. Vinegar, alt and soda are inexpensive and effective. Congratulations on being one of the Best of Squidoo - Earth Day 2012!

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      Congratulations on being featured in the Best of Squidoo 2012 Earth Day lenses. Blessed.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      p.s. forgot my green tip. Salt and ice. Swirl it in the bottom of your coffee carafe that is stained or even has burned on coffee. A handful of salt, a handful of ice. Keep swirling. Stains and burned in coffee will disappear.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      I'm bookmarking this lens for sure! Love the solutions. d

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      "Squid Angel blessed."

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Vinegar is my friend. I keep diluted vinegar in a spray bottle, and use it to wipe down my kitchen counters and to clean my cutting boards every day.

    • profile image

      creativechic 5 years ago

      This helps me a lot considering I have asthma and harsh chemicals send me running for cover.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Thank you for these gret tips. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Earthday and what is wrong with our planet earth. Hugs

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Love your ideas! I have a book by Vicki Lansky detailing 500 ways to use baking soda - it's amazing!!

    • teristazko profile image

      teristazko 5 years ago

      I clean spots on my carpet with rubbing alcohol, but I'm not sure if alcohol is considered a chemical. You have great ideas. I use most of them and I learned some new ones. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great tips on the lens

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I found this just in the nick of time...spring cleaning begins tomorrow! :)

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

      I didn't know about salt taking the itch out of mosquito bites! Love all these tips!

    • dcopps profile image

      dcopps 5 years ago

      Nice lens, very green. Note a typo in your introduction ("salt, vinegar, and salt..."). Will look forward to spring cleaning via your advice.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      This are axactly what I use myself! Salt on cast iron pan works great. vinegar + baking soda is a great way to disinfect sinks.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      These are great tips and so timely as I'm about to embark on the usual clean up prior to guests arriving this pm. I'm going to try out a few of these. (PS Many thanks for the mosquito and salt tip - even though it's not cleaning).

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Mix baking soda with a little liquid soap and rub dirty sink and taps with it, then add distilled vinegar to the mix, rub again, rinse and they look like new! :)

    • profile image

      Mosoma 6 years ago

      Very good lens. Thank you.

    • Marigold Tortelli profile image

      Marigold Tortelli 6 years ago

      Toothpaste makes the best silver polish. I've used expensive silver polish and it didn't work at all, but then I read that toothpaste works. I use organic, natural toothpaste and every brand of toothpaste I've used to polish silver works a lot better than expensive silver polish.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 6 years ago

      You did a great job. I'll have to try some of these. I used baking soda and vinegar to declog my bathroom sink the other day. Worked well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great uses that people should be using, I'll refer this the next time I have to clean the house and I bet it smells better too. If you also like to browse lens, mine has a great educational topic with poll questions for my readers to do.

    • vermontmom profile image

      vermontmom 6 years ago

      Lots of good tips. I'm glad to know how to freshen up the stuffed animals (we have way too many!) and the tip about washing dishes with salt is a great one. Not that I've ever run out of my dishwashing soap. : )

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Yay!!!! Great cleaning tips :) Baking soda is great for a lot of things, as is the peel of a lemon.. you can actually rub it on wood. (skin side out) Use tea tree or lavender for antibacterial anti microbial action!

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 6 years ago

      I'm always looking for safer products to use for cleaning. I hadn't heard the salt tip before, thanks for the info, I'll give it a try.