Note from Betty: The following is a guest post from Emily Kil.
Do you sometimes feel that your world is spinning out of control because responsibilities you shoulder are overwhelming?
Join the club. It’s not exclusive. You pack lunches. Chauffeur the soccer team. Sit up half the night because someone’s cutting a tooth. On the other hand, your home is a happening place and you’re the sun around which all constellations revolve.
Thankfully, you’re up to the task—so when we suggest how important it is to care for your home using eco-friendly cleaning products, the adventurer in you is likely to say— “You betcha! I’m in.” But where will you go from there?
We’re here to help. We’ve got ideas. Formulas. And earth-friendly ways to clean your castle that won’t offend mother nature. As a bonus, whip up and use homemade, eco-friendly products and you will save you enough money to buy yourself whatever tops your current wish list. Motivated? Of course you are.
Before you Clean: Stock Your Pantry
Even the best intentions to convert a home into a Mecca of environmentally acceptable cleaning products won’t hold water if you don’t dump the harmful stuff to make room for proper cleaning supplies.
Donate those iffy chemicals and suspiciously labeled products to homeless shelters, arm yourself with a shopping list that includes all-natural items and purchase cleaning agents known to tackle a variety of challenges, like:
- Baking soda
- Castile soap
- Citrus peels
- Essential oils (e.g., tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus or lemongrass)
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Olive or veggie oil
- White vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide
Brand-name earth-friendly solutions for your shopping list
-Bon Ami is the eco-friendly version of Ajax. Use it for toilet bowls, porcelain sinks, tubs and tile.
-Sal Suds, available by the gallon from Amazon and eVitamins.com, is so concentrated, it may last 6 months.
-Greenshield Organic Glass Cleaner delivers the power of vinegar without the offensive smell.
-Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap is gentle, won’t dry your skin and comes in scent and scent-free versions.
-Oxo Brite Non-Chlorine Bleach removes stains, brightens white laundry and scours grout, too.
-Fit Organic Laundry Detergent gets an A-rating from ewg.org and you can get the job done for only 9 cents a load!
-Enlist Ecover Zero Dish Soap to make hand-washing a breeze.
-Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Bleach behaves like Clorox bleach but it’s non-toxic and odor-neutral.
7 Salty cleaning solutions
When you learn how many cleaning tasks a single box of salt can perform, you’ll give this household staple more respect. It’s cheap, organic and gets a bad rap when ingested, but if you use salt as a cleaning agent rather a flavoring that promotes hypertension, you’ll kill two birds with one hefty stone.
-Deter ants from contaminating your kitchen (sprinkle it around your home’s entry points).
-Remove wine stains from carpet and fabric (scrub area with salt; allow it penetrate before rinsing).
-Prolong the life of cleaning sponges (soak them in salt water after use).
-Remove spills, grime and caked-on food from pot and pan bottoms and stove burners (Scrub like crazy).
-Get rid of pesky rust stains when paired with lemon juice.
-Clean wood and tile floors using a mop and half cup of salt in a bucket of warm water.
-Remove blood stains from clothing by soaking garments in cold salt water before washing in soapy water.
Why vinegar should be your new BFF
It’s inexpensive and readily available. And if you can find a cleaning job that doesn’t take kindly to vinegar-infused cleaning solutions, maybe that job should be outsourced! Load vinegar and water into a spray bottle and keep it on your kitchen counter so when colorful spills and greasy agents start flying, you’re ready for action.
Place a pan or bowl of vinegar inside stoves, microwave ovens and other appliances that resisted the will of scrubs, powders and other cleaning weapons. Allow the vinegar to do its thing for several hours. Those fumes will bust a move in your absence. When the job is done, remove the vinegar, pour it down the drain to freshen your pipes and wipe out the remnants of dirt and grime. Don’t stop there.
Vinegar is happy to do so much dirty work without being paid or complemented, you might wish your spouse was this versatile. From crud removal to brightening laundry, the number of jobs vinegar can polish off are so diverse, you may be tempted to ask it to make coffee. It won’t, of course. But you can always ask.
7 foods you can enlist to keep your home clean
How does the idea of empowering food to help you with your cleaning tasks sound? Fresh and delicious ideas lurking in your produce bins put an innovative, creative spin on all-natural cleaning ideas, especially these:
- Deodorize a stinky garbage disposal by feeding it lemon halves.
- Banana peels make great utensil-polishing cloths.
- Cucumbers can erase marks from your walls and polish stainless steel.
- Pair used teabags with cooled tea to polish wood (tannins in tea do the job).
- Use half an onion to clean your grill grate while it’s still hot.
- Used coffee grinds will absorb ‘fridge odors and deodorize the cabinet.
- Clean your coffee grinder by running it while it’s filled with raw rice.
What eco-friendly cleaning solutions have you found that work well?