By Assia Mortensen
The chemicals in many household cleaners can aggravate asthma, bronchitis, headaches or other health problems. Natural home cleaners tend to be healthier, are better for the environment and take less time to decompose in landfills.
Substitutions for common chemical-laden cleaning products are meant to minimize the use of toxic substances in your home. Always use caution with new products — results can vary. Keep all homemade cleaners well-labeled and out of the reach of children.
Green cleaning needs not break the bank. A number of cleaners can be made at home, mainly using common, grocery store ingredients and some spray bottles.
- To make an earth-friendly all-purpose cleaner, try 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda in half a gallon of water. Store in spray bottles; shake and use on counters, fixtures, walls and more.
- For oven cleaning, cover the dirty area with plenty of baking soda. Spray with water until it is paste-like, and then wait 12 to 24 hours before wiping clean.
- For an easy toilet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup baking soda with one cup vinegar, pour into your basin and let it set for a few minutes to an hour, depending on the desired level of cleaning. Follow by scrubbing with a brush.
- A mixture of two parts borax and one part lemon juice will also work for tough jobs, use a scouring pad.
- For tub and tile cleaning, rub baking soda directly on with a damp sponge, then rinse. For really tough stains, wipe with white vinegar first, then use the baking soda to scour.
- For mold on bathroom grout, spray hydrogen peroxide on the surface, then wait an hour before rinsing.
Living Room Cleaners
- An all-natural window cleaner can be made by mixing one part vinegar with two parts water. The first time you clean the windows with this method, add about a teaspoon of detergent. This is necessary because you will need to dissolve the waxy buildup many chemical cleaners contain.
- You can create a simple furniture polish using two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice. Shake well and apply a small amount with a cleaning cloth, then turn to the dry side and polish.
- Soak food storage containers in warm water and baking soda.
- Grind lemon or orange peel into the garbage disposal to freshen the drain.
- Carpets will smell fresh and clean after sprinkling baking soda over the surface, waiting two hours, then vacuuming.
- Add ½ fresh lemon juice; ½ filtered water, to a spray bottle and you can use it as a substitute for air freshener.
- Eartheasy suggests cellulose sponges in place of polyester or plastic sponges that take a long time to biodegrade. Cellulose sponges are good for the environment and will soak up spills fast–they are naturally highly absorbent.
- For a cleaning rag, try an old cotton T-shirt cut into four sections.
Looking for eco-friendly cleaning products? Check out iHerb’s Healthy Home Category. New to iHerb? Use Coupon Code WOW123 to get you $10 off any first time order with a $40 minimum purchase.
Cynthia Ewer; The Dangers Under Your Sink; MSN; accessed Aug. 8, 12
Non-toxic Home Cleaning; Eartheasy.com; Accessed Aug. 8, 12
Pantry Cleaners: Recipes for Homemade Cleaning Products; organizedhome.com; Accessed Aug. 8, 12