Your home should be a safe, comfortable place, but most modern cleaning solutions are loaded with polluting and toxic substances, including harsh cleansing agents like ammonia, bleach and acids and artificial fragrances and colors. These chemicals emit toxic fumes and gasses that can irritate lungs and eyes. Some products also contain antibacterial agents that can actually increase the strength of bacteria, making them more resistant to antibacterial drugs.
Fortunately, it’s easy and inexpensive to make effective, all-natural substitutes for toxic housecleaning solutions. The following homemade solutions can be used safely in place of commercial products and are environmentally friendly. These can be especially useful for families that have someone with multiple chemical sensitivities living in their home.
Cleaning the Kitchen
For a general all-purpose cleaner, mix one half-cup of white vinegar with one quarter-cup of baking soda in a half gallon of water. This gentle but effective solution can be used to remove water deposit stains on shower stalls and clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
If your chopping block happens to be looking particularly grimy, rub a slice of lemon across the surface a few times to disinfect. Lemon juice is naturally acidic, and can get out tougher stains when allowed to sit for ten minutes before wiping.
Instead of spraying chemicals around your house, try these all-natural air fresheners. Place small dishes of baking soda with lemon juice around the house to absorb odors. Grind a slice of lime or lemon in the garbage disposal occasionally to disinfect and remove smells from food decay. You can also simmer cinnamon and other spices in water on the stove to release fragrant aromas naturally throughout your house.
Tiles, bathtubs, and showers can be cleansed regularly using baking soda and a damp sponge. For a more intense cleaning, wipe the surfaces down with a good dose of vinegar, then follow with the baking soda.
Scrub the toilets with a mixture of one quarter-cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Just pour the solution into the basin and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
Tackle bathroom mold the natural way by mixing one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the mold to give it a good soak, let the solution sit for at least one hour, then rinse with warm water.
Carpet stains can be lifted using a simple solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Spray on the stain, let it soak in for a few minutes and clean with warm water and a brush.
To clean wood floors, mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water, and rub a thin coat into the floor. For linoleum or vinyl floors, mix one cup of vinegar in one gallon of warm water. Add a few drops of baby oil and mop. Be careful not to add too much baby oil, or your floors will quickly become an ice skating rink!
When used regularly, these do-it-yourself solutions will keep your home clean and fresh without exposing your family to the harmful chemicals found in commercial cleaning products. Eco-friendly cleaning options also tend to be wallet-friendly too, so spend wisely and happy housecleaning!
Guest post by Cory Mathis of Sylvane, an indoor air quality company helping people breathe better air.