Ditching those toxic chemicals in conventional cleaners will do you good, saving both money and exposure. Now going eco friendly doesn’t mean that you have to shell out for something twice the price with half the cleaning power. I’m going to detail five inexpensive ingredients (that you likely already have in your house) that will clean your house from top to bottom.
Does the space beneath your sink look anything like this?
If it does, you’re not alone. In fact, I’d say you’re likely in the majority of households that have a different cleaning product for every different occasion.
Cleaning was one of the first things that I tackled when I first started to reduce my waste. It dawned on me that I didn’t really know what it was the spray that I was using to clean my tub. I didn’t know what cleaned my toilet.
What I did know was that I wasn’t a big fan of not knowing (plus, having all those single use items in their own packaging is expensive.) When I started researching DIY natural cleaners, I found that I didn’t need all of that stuff. I just needed to have a few basic ingredients on hand, and that will take care of your basic needs.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda is like the god of the cleaning basket. Not only does it have fantastic deodorizing properties, which is great for getting rid of that smell in the fridge or the rug, but it is also perfect for scrubbing. Simply take the baking soda and add enough water to it to make a thick paste, grab your paperless towels or rags, and start scrubbing. This abrasiveness will catch on to the gunk that you’re looking to get rid of, and voilà, you’re all set. I purchase mine in bulk. It does come in a plastic bag, which is not ideal, but when I look at the overall impact that I make when I’m no longer purchasing the single use items it replaces, I see it as a net positive.
- Baking soda
Place baking soda in a bowl. Add a small amount of water to it. Stir. Add small amounts of water until you have a fairly thick paste (I like to make mine so that I have the consistency of a thick tomato sauce.) Apply to surface and scrub with rag or paperless towel until clean. Wipe down with water until baking soda residue is gone.
I also use this as part of the DIY dishwasher tabs I make.
Vinegar is an acidic liquid, which makes it great for breaking down grime and dirt. Vinegar makes a great all-purpose spray, since the acidity helps disinfect surfaces as well. If you want to use vinegar, but aren’t thrilled about the smell, you can infuse it with other better smelling things. You can make a citrus-scented one by letting the rinds of your oranges, lemons, and limes chill in vinegar for a minimum of four weeks. Simply strain the vinegar and compost/dispose of the peels. (One note, do not use it with baking soda. It may look, due to the fizz that happens when you use them together, that it’s doing some great cleaning. However, what’s actually happening is that they are cancelling each other out since they’re reacting to one another.)
I also use vinegar as a replacement for rinse aid in my dishwasher.
Can also be used as a replacement for fabric softener in laundry
All Purpose Spray
- 1 part vinegar
- 1 part water
Mix vinegar and water together in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe to clean surfaces. Note, do NOT use this on marble or granite countertops. This will break the seal down more quickly.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol has been a staple in my house from the start. It acts as a disinfectant, which makes it perfect for wiping down surfaces in the kitchen and around the house. I purchase it in the largest bottles that I am able to, and they last me several months, since I never apply it just straight rubbing alcohol. It’s something that is usually a 1:1 ratio or less in a recipe. This is the only thing that I use to clean my granite countertops.
Granite Countertop Cleaner
- 1 part rubbing alcohol
- 1 part water
Mix rubbing alcohol and water together in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe to clean surfaces. Let sit on clean countertop for two minutes to disinfect.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
This is a great disinfectant. To use this as such, simply pour into a spray bottle and spray hard surfaces you want to disinfect. Let sit for about five minutes, then wipe off with a clean rag. This can also be added to laundry as a bleaching alternative.
5. Hot Water
This one may have you wonder why the heck I’m talking about this. Hot water is actually a fantastic way to clear out clogged sinks. This goes for any sink in the house. Simply boil some water, either on the stove or in the microwave, and pour it down the drain, no Draino needed. This is a good way because it’s practically free, especially if you save the water from your noodles or potatoes and use that to dump it down the drain. Multi-use! (Those are also great for using on your house plants, once it’s cooled, of course.)