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Let’s face it: House cleaning doesn’t usually make the list of favorite past times. And commercial cleaners often bring a whole list of concerns with them, from irritating your skin to concern for children and pets who may come into contact with them.
But doing the weekend chores doesn’t have to mean using harsh chemicals. In fact, you probably have many natural cleaning ingredients around your home and may not even realize it. Making your own homemade cleaners is inexpensive and easy – and best of all, you’ll know where all the ingredients came from. They can be just as effective at removing fingerprints and grime, while leaving no streaks. Let’s take a look at a few ingredients that you probably already have around the house.
1. Lemon Juice
The juice of the lemon can dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. There are many ways to use this vibrant fruit in homemade cleaners. Mix lemon juice with vinegar or baking soda to make pastes. Lemon juice is good for cleaning and shining brass and copper. Cut a lemon in two, then sprinkle baking soda on the cut side of the lemon. You can scrub dishes, stains and all other surfaces. Again, it is a good idea to test on a small area first, as lemon juice can sometimes act as a natural bleach (which makes it great for removing stains!).
For a natural furniture polish:
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice
2. Baking Soda
Not only can baking soda be used in baking, but it’s an impressive cleaner as well. It works just like a commercial abrasive cleaner, but it’s gentler on you and the environment. Baking soda is also a great deodorizer. If your fridge is smelling less than fresh, place an open baking soda box in there and the odors will be absorbed. You can also put it in freezers, trash cans, even smelly shoes.
It’s also good for scouring pots, pans, sinks and stainless steel. You may need to scrub a little harder, but it works well. You can even help with a mildly clogged drain. Just pour some baking soda down the drain, add a little vinegar, and cover the drain. There will be foaming that will push the clog out.
Below is a recipe you can use for an all-purpose abrasive cleaner:
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- 1/4 cup of vinegar
- 10 drops of tea tree oil
3. Olive Oil
This tasty oil is wonderful for more than just salads. It can also be used for polishing wood. You don’t need to go out and buy top grade olive oil, either; any grade will do for polishing. You can also combine it with vinegar and lemon. The amount of each you decide to mix will vary depending on the wood type and the finish.
Here’s a natural recipe for floor cleaner:
- 1/4 cup of vinegar mixed
- 1 teaspoon of oil
4. Corn Starch
Looking for a natural homemade cleaner for your carpets? Once again, we can return to the kitchen for a wonderfully common ingredient. By sprinkling corn starch onto your carpet, and letting it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuuming, you can clean spots or use it as an overall treatment.
How about the kids’ stuffed toys? Place them in a plastic bag and sprinkle with the corn starch. Leave it for five minutes and then shake and brush off the toys. If the toys are lightly soiled, place some starch on a damp cloth and rub on the dirty areas, in the usual circular motion.
For your rubber gloves, keep them fresh and dry by sprinkling corn starch into them when you are done working. If you have glass, window or mirror cleaning to do, here is an option:
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups warm water
Vinegar can be considered an all-purpose cleaner. Mix equal amounts of water and vinegar (for example, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar) in a clean spray bottle. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. As with any product, test on a small, hidden area first. Please note: If the vinegar is not diluted properly, it can eat away at grout, as it is acidic.
And don’t worry about the smell. Once dry, vinegar doesn’t leave a scent. Here is a recipe you may want to try for an all-purpose homemade cleaner:
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 12-24 drops of essential oil
That’s right. Your beloved French fry dip is also a mighty cleaner. If you need to polish your copper and brass pots, get a damp cloth and squirt a small amount of ketchup onto it. Next, rub it on your pots in a circular motion. Once the pots shine, simply rinse with water.
If your stainless steel sink is looking dismal, fill a small bowl with ketchup and gather your silver items. Sit the silver in the ketchup bowl and leave for five to 10 minutes. Then, when the time is up, rinse the silver with warm water and dry with a towel.
7. Cream of tartar
By mixing vinegar (or lemon juice) and cream of tartar into a paste, you can use it to clean and buff metals, stainless steel utensils and aluminum objects. If you are a bit busy in the kitchen, but need that pot scrubbed, follow these instructions:
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 quart of water
Boil the ingredients in the pot for 10 minutes and it will virtually clean itself!
Whether you enjoy cleaning or whether you find it a chore, sooner or later it has to be done. So why not use natural products that are both inexpensive and safe for the whole family? You’ll save money, have a clean and fresh-smelling home, and you’ll feel good that you don’t have to use toxic chemicals.
So what are you waiting for? Put on those rubber gloves and finally enjoy cleaning your home!
What are your favorite homemade household cleaners? Share your tips in the section below: