Spring is here, which means all kinds of exciting things are on the horizon — spring salads, spring break, spring festivals… But there are also some not so fun things coming. For instance, you might be planning to try your luck at spring cleaning.
This head-to-toe scrub of your family’s home is a daunting task. You’ve consulted every guide; you know every time-management technique to conquer that wild to-do list. But what the guides don’t guide you through is how to clean your home without resorting to store-bought chemical warfare.
Bleach, all-purpose cleaner, and detergents are effective, but they have a cost. They’re expensive, not great for the environment, and even worse for your body. If you have kids, especially, you might consider keeping these chemicals out of your home. Do you know what horrific things could happen if someone were to accidentally consume one of these toxins?
It’s not pretty. But cleaning doesn’t have to be so risky. There are all-natural alternatives to these conventional cleaning methods that could save you time, money, and worry.
If your oven emits a powerful stench every time you turn it on or is covered in char-looking stains, it’s time to give it a good, thorough clean. The problem is that pieces of food are often caked on the sides and welded on by the repeated exposure to heat. To wash them away without too much elbow grease, use a paste of baking soda and water. Leave the paste for a couple of hours and then wipe away. Your oven won’t just be shiny — it will also be chemical-free!
Set aside a cup of borax in a small bowl and add a half cup of lemon juice. Stir into a paste. Flush the toilet before you begin to wet the sides of the bowl; then, rub the paste onto the sides of the toilet with a sponge. Allow to sit for two hours and remove. This is a surefire way to get rid of a toilet ring or other stain for good!
Cleaning marks and stains off your walls can be tricky. But borax serves as a quick and all-natural fix for all kinds of scrapes on your wall and your countertop. Dissolve a half cup of borax into a gallon of hot water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray the affected area. Wipe with a damp cloth and allow to air dry.
For a cheaper, greener solution for an all-purpose cleaner, simply infuse a jar filled with vinegar with powerful citrus such as lemon or lime. To do this, fill a jar with the peels and cover with white vinegar. Allow to sit for a few days and then use to disinfect any and all surfaces.
You don’t need to pay for an expensive interior car cleaning — this simple, all-natural solution can help keep your upholstery spic and span. Mix together Dawn (or another gentle dish detergent), baking soda, and club soda (not seltzer!) to clean the inside of your car.
You could say these potent oils are essential for the environmentally conscious cleaner. Essential oils are powerful enough to kill bacteria and mold. Just don’t use too much! They smell surprisingly strong.
If you use your kitchen sink often for ditching food scraps and leftovers, it can get pretty smelly. Luckily, there is an all-natural way to clean it out of those abhorrent smells. Simply freeze cubes of vinegar mixed with lemon and orange peels in an ice cube tray. Whenever you need to freshen things up, put one of them down the disposal and run it for around 10 seconds.
They’re good for more than just lemonade. The acidic nature of lemons is powerful enough to wipe away stains from caked-on dirt and even rust. Lemon juice is especially effective when mixed with salt.
You don’t need one of those harsh-smelling sprays to keep your home feeling fresh. Some of the worst kinds can spread pollution and tiny particles of toxins through the air. Make your own blend to spray by using the natural origins of your favorite aromas — such as orange peels, nutmeg, or vanilla — dissolved in water.
Avoid wasting paper towels and spreading excess cleaning chemicals by using a microfiber cloth. These cloths are reusable and more absorbent than your average flaky paper towel, meaning you’ll save yourself time, money, and environmental consequences.
Using oil — which seems impossible to get off of surfaces — to clean might seem counterintuitive. But as long as you know how to mop things up afterwards, it can be extremely effective. To remove prints and smudges from stainless steel, spread olive oil across the surface or appliance. Then, buff the surface and clear the oil. To do this, you can use flour or corn starch to soak up the oil and wipe away with a wet paper towel.
Scrubbing at a greasy pot or pan after cooking can be the worst part about cooking healthy meals for the family. But sprinkling a bit of salt on your pan while you clean it can help by absorbing any excess grease before it becomes grime.
Mold not only smells disgusting, but it can be dangerous if it somehow contaminates your food. Get rid of mold for good by using an easy-to-make cleanser. Simply mix two teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of water.
Did you know you could scrub your tarnished spoons just like you would scrub your teeth? It might seem silly, but rubbing your toothpaste into the metal with a damp cloth will leave your silverware looking good as new.
Stain removers and other laundry chemicals smell strong because they are strong — but you don’t need these bottled items to remove the stains from your clothes. Keep your clothes white, bright, and toxin-free by using natural options that work just as well. For a full list of which stain removing techniques to use and when, click here.
Bleach can smell harsh and have harsh effects on your skin. Avoid the substance entirely by using an all-natural alternative. One option is to mix equal parts vinegar and club soda — with your favorite essential oil for scent.
Polish your wooden furniture with a DIY solution instead of those expensive chemicals. Mix two cups of vegetable oil — which isn’t what you think it is — with the juice of one lemon. Work the solution into the wood with a soft cloth.
Your coffeemaker is one of the grossest places in your home — and one you probably forget to clean. Yet you use your coffeemaker every day! Avoid inadvertently adding mold to your breakfast by running vinegar through your coffeemaker now and then.
Your dishwasher does a great job at washing your dishes, but who ever washes the machine itself? It’s actually a fairly simple task, and one you can accomplish without using any harsh chemicals or toxins. Just fill a bowl with two cups of vinegar and place it on the top rack, then run the machine through a hot water cycle. All those musty odors will disappear!
Your showerhead is supposed to keep you clean — but it could be hiding all kinds of germs. To disinfect it, simply fill a plastic bag with vinegar, submerge your showerhead in the bag, and seal with a rubber band or tie. Leave it like this for 12 hours and carefully remove, discarding the dirty vinegar. You’ll probably see in the dirty bag afterwards that your showerhead needed it — it’s one of those places in your home you would never think to clean, but really should!