Typical household cleaning products are loaded with harmful chemicals, and these are being linked to allergies, asthma, neurotoxicity, respiratory and reproductive disorders and even cancer. You can substitute these chemical cleaners with health-friendly ingredients you can find in your home. These are also inexpensive and good for the environment.
These are some of the common household items you may use as cleansing agents:
1. White vinegar
White vinegar is a versatile cleaner. When diluted, it can remove dirt, soap scum, bacteria in the grout and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces, leaving them looking clean and shiny. It can cut detergent residue, so it could work as a substitute for fabric softener for those with sensitive skin. Don’t worry about the scent – it actually acts as a deodorizer. The acid aroma of the vinegar disappears when dry.
You may also use undiluted vinegar for tougher cleaning problems. Removing mineral deposits clogs in the showerhead can be made easier by soaking it in undiluted vinegar overnight. Cleansing toilet bowl insides would not need to be a task for tougher chemicals if you would use undiluted white vinegar and a scrubbing brush.
However, you must avoid using vinegar on marble surfaces. Make sure you dilute vinegar properly before cleansing tile grout, because it might eat it away.
2. Baking soda
Baking soda can act as a mild abrasive and a natural deodorizer. It can be used to scrub surfaces and can work as effectively as scouring powders and non-abrasive cleansers. You can sprinkle baking soda to a sponge or scrubber to get rid of dirt in vanity units, grime in bathtubs and food deposits on the kitchen sink.
For tougher dirt and grime, you can make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply it to a surface. Let it stand for some minutes to soften the dirt before removing it. Baking soda can also aid in keeping bathroom drains running freely by pouring baking soda and hot water on it.
3. Lemon juice/extract
As natural substance that can act as bleach, lemon juice can be used to treat stains and dissolve dirt and grime. It effectively removes hard water deposits and scum on bathroom and kitchen surfaces, and can remove stains on fabrics and surfaces. It also works great on shining copper and brass, and for deodorizing areas in the house.
4. Isopropyl alcohol
Besides cleaning your hands and skin, isopropyl or rubbing alcohol can serve as a base for an evaporating cleaner to substitute for commercial glass and window cleaning solutions.
Using these ingredients plus some other usual household substances, you may try to create these homemade cleaners:
1. All-purpose cleaner
Baking soda works as a natural cleansing agent in itself. For every one cup of warm water, dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda. This solution can be used to clean kitchen counters, stovetops, appliances and the insides of a refrigerator.
If you want a tougher all-purpose cleaner, combine white vinegar and lemon with baking soda. Mix ½ cup of vinegar and 10 drops of lemon oil, and then add two tablespoons of baking soda. Blend it well and place it on a spray bottle. Fill the bottle to the top with water, then shake to mix all ingredients. Now you have a homemade all-purpose cleaner you can simply spray to any area and wipe.
2. Bathtub and shower cleaner
Tough stains and hard water deposits on bathtubs and showers bothers us all (assuming that you’re a person concerned with cleanliness, since you’re reading this article). There’s a simple, powerful cleanser that works effectively on removing them from your bathing areas: a combination of equal parts of white vinegar and dishwashing liquid. You need to heat up the white vinegar in your microwave and place it into a tough spray bottle. Add the dishwashing liquid, and shake the mixture. Now, you can spray it generously to your tub and/or shower, and leave it for an hour. Scrub it afterwards and rinse well with water.
However, this would create a potent mixture with a strong vinegar scent, so make sure your bathroom would be well-ventilated as you apply this solution.
3. Glass/window cleaner
Commercial window cleaners sometimes trigger allergies and asthma, so if you are sensitive, you may replace your cleaning solution with a homemade one. Plus, it’s really effective, too! You just need one cup of water, a cup of rubbing alcohol and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Mix them thoroughly and store in a spray bottle. Spray it on your wiping cloth, then on the glass and proceed in wiping. You may want to add drops of orange oil for a better aroma.
You can also use dishwashing soap instead of alcohol. For two cups of water, mix in ¼ cup of white vinegar and ½ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Add few drops of orange oil. Combine them well to blend and store the mixture on a spray bottle. Spray it on your window or glass surface and wipe it off after a few minutes.
4. Tile cleaner
Tile cleaners you can find on supermarkets usually contain harmful chemicals that are linked to health problems. For a greener solution, you can try to create your own scrubbing paste to clean those tiles. To start, get a mixing bowl and place ½ cup baking soda. Slowly pour in liquid soap while stirring it. Continue until the mixture looks like frosting, and then add five to 10 drops of essential oils (It can be tea tree, rosemary or lavender). Dip a sponge or brush you would to clean the tiles, and scrub all the way.
5. Grease cleaner
Food stains on stovetops and ovens are pretty much annoying, knowing you have another job to do after slaving yourself for hours cooking on the kitchen. As you clean, spare your stove or oven from harsh cleansing ingredients by using borax, dishwashing liquid and water. Mix two cups of hot water, one teaspoon borax and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Blend them well and put the solution on a spray bottle. Spray it on a food spill on your oven or stovetop and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. Wipe of the mess with cloth. If the spill is extra-greasy, you must first wipe off as much spill as possible using rags or a crumpled paper before using your homemade spray.
You may also use ammonia to do the cleaning for oven hoods and grills. Mix ¼ cup ammonia with ¼ cup detergent. Dissolve them in one gallon of water and mix well. Use it with a sponge to scrape grease and grime and, then rinse it with water.
6. Multi-surface cleaner
If you need a more powerful cleaner for different types of surfaces like those tiled bathroom floors and walls, try this cleaning booster. You need to dissolve two teaspoons of borax and one teaspoon of washing soda (not baking soda) into two cups of hot water in a large bowl. Then, add four tablespoons of vinegar, ½ teaspoon of liquid soap, and 25-30 drops of essential oil of choice (or even a mixture of them) such as tea tree, rosemary, tangerine, lavender, lemon or eucalyptus. Stir them all up and allow the mixture to cool. Store it on a spray bottle. Before trying it on a surface to clean, do a spot-test and observe reactions on the surface. If it doesn’t cause discoloration or any unwanted reaction, you can use it in that specific surface. Otherwise, discontinue use and try it on another type of surface.
7. Dusting solution
Using feather dusters is often not enough to keep your house dusted, so people use complementary dust remover sprays. However, these products are often loaded with harmful substances and air contaminants. Substitute it with a more health-friendly alternative using lemon oils, lemon juice and olive oil. All you need to do is to combine two teaspoons of pure lemon juice, 10 drops of pure lemon oil and a few drops of olive oil in a spray bottle. Shake it well and spray directly on dusty furniture and surfaces in your home. Wipe it dry using a cotton cloth.
8. Carpet stain remover
Even those stubborn carpet stains won’t need harsh chemicals to be removed. Just sprinkle baking soda on the stained area and leave it on for around 10 minutes before vacuuming. Prepare a mixture of one tablespoon liquid soap, one tablespoon white vinegar and two cups of warm water. Store it on a spray bottle, and then spray the mixture directly on the stain spots. Gently rub and dab away the mixture using a dry, absorbent cloth. You should be seeing some results. Repeat it until the stains are gone.