When cleaning our homes, it’s only natural for us to reach for commercial cleaning products that promise immediate results. Unfortunately for the environment, though, these products can be anything but natural. And they’re not too kind on your wallet, either. The good news is, there’s a greener and more budget-friendly way to maintain a sparkling clean living space. Here are eight green cleaning agents and DIY solutions for your home.
- Baking soda brilliance
Baking soda has long been hailed as the Swiss Army knife of green cleaning products. Sodium bicarbonate, the key ingredient in baking soda, can be mixed with water to create a powerful paste that can remove stubborn stains and grime from countertops, sinks and other surfaces. Pair with vinegar for a fizzy reaction that cleans and freshens drains. Or, you can mix four tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of warm water for enough paste to clean your entire kitchen.
- Lemon freshness
Lemons are so much more than a zesty addition to recipes. These highly effective cleaning agents are equipped with a natural acidity that cuts through grease and stains while leaving a fresh aroma. Use lemon juice to clean cutting boards, disinfect countertops and brighten up white fabrics. The combination of lemon and salt can also restore the shine to copper and brass items. For tough rust stains, dip half of a lemon into ½ cup of borax powder, scrub the surface and then rinse clean.
- Essential oils
Incorporate the power of essential oils into your DIY cleaning solutions to create a calming and refreshing atmosphere in your home. Tea tree oil is a potent antiseptic, ideal for disinfecting surfaces. Lavender oil offers a relaxing scent and has natural antibacterial properties. Mix a few drops of your preferred essential oil with water for an aromatic and effective cleaning spray.
- Homemade air fresheners
Commercial air fresheners often contain harmful chemicals that can affect indoor air quality. Create your own natural air freshener by simmering a pot of water with your choice of fragrant ingredients, like citrus peels, cinnamon sticks or cloves. The gentle steam will carry the pleasant aroma throughout your home without the need for artificial scents.
- The power of vinegar
Vinegar is a versatile and eco-friendly cleaning superstar that can tackle a range of cleaning challenges. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to create an all-purpose cleaner. The mixture will effectively cut through grease, disinfect surfaces and eliminate lingering odors. For a refreshing twist, infuse citrus peels into the vinegar solution and you’ll be rewarded with a natural, pleasant scent.
- DIY tile scrubber
To get your tub and other tiled areas sparkling, use a sponge to wipe the surface with a bit of vinegar. Then sprinkle baking soda or non-iodized salt over the wiped areas, scrub well with a damp sponge and rinse with water. Then, watch those tiles shine!
- Non-toxic floor cleaner
Keep your floors in perfect condition without resorting to toxic commercial solutions by mixing a small amount of liquid castile soap with warm water. Pour a moderate amount of the cleaner over your hardwood, tile or laminate floors and mop as usual. To keep your carpets fresh, sprinkle a bit of baking soda over them before you vacuum; this will neutralize any odors.
- Scented all-purpose cleaner
Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water, and then add lemon rind and a few sprigs of rosemary. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake well. For best results, let the solution sit for a week before using. The cleaner can be used to remove stubborn hard water stains, freshen up trash cans, get rid of wall smudges and more. Just be careful not to use this versatile homemade cleaner on granite or stainless steel because the acid from the vinegar can damage these surfaces.
You can have a spotless home without resorting to toxic, expensive cleaners. Use the tips outlined here for DIY cleaning solutions that are great for the environment, and your wallet, too.
Your Turn: Do you have a go-to green cleaning solution? Tell us all about it in the comments.