With labels that read like a laboratory stockroom list, and without complete knowledge of what these ingredients might do to us or our loved ones, a foolproof way to know what’s in your cleaning products is to make them yourself. Natural Home and Garden recently featured this laundry list (so to speak) of products that will keep your home naturally clean and fresh.
It’s easier than you might think to keep your home clean and green. The make-your-own route is economical and reduces waste by cutting out the need for manufacturing and packaging–think smaller carbon footprint.
These 15 items will tackle just about any household cleaning task.
- Baking Soda: for scrubbing, whitening
- Beeswax: for polishing wood
- Borax (sodium borate): for removing stains/disinfecting
- Club Soda (or any unflavored fizzy water): for lifting stains
- Cornstarch: for absorbing stains
- Hydrogen Peroxide: for disinfecting, removing stains
- Lemon: for removing stains and odors
- Liquid Dish Soap: for sudsing power
- Olive Oil: for polishing wood
- Pine Oil: for cleaning soft wood floors
- Plant Essential Oils: a more chemical-free fragrance (do a sniff test before buying to make sure you’re not sensitive to the fumes)
- Salt: for scrubbing
- Toothpaste: for polishing metal
- Washing Soda (sodium carbonate): for scrubbing, removing stains and cutting grease
- White Vinegar: for disinfecting, removing stains
Improvise till you get it right, the way you would in the kitchen. Instinct plus trial and error will get you to where you know what works best–or in the case of essential oils, which scent you like best. Even natural cleaning products can irritate, so make sure your rooms are well-ventilated when cleaning, and wear gloves to protect your hands. Store homemade cleaners in sealed containers in a cool, dry place out of reach of little hands.
Natural solutions for cleaning carpets and drapes
Attack fresh stains and spills with absorbent baking soda or cornstarch. After 10 to 15 minutes, sprinkle with club soda to lift stains, and vacuum and/or blot. Don’t rub stains or use hot water, which may spread or set the stains.
Get rid of surface dirt on carpets and curtains by vacuuming, hanging, shaking or beating with a broom handle. Then presoak stains with the solutions below for 30 minutes (spot test first to make sure the color doesn’t run).
- For wool or silk, use equal parts cold water and white vinegar or lemon juice.
- For cotton, linen or synthetic fabrics, use equal parts cold water mixed with hydrogen peroxide, baking or washing soda, or borax.
Photo courtesy of Hoppo Bumpo (Liesl) via Flickr
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