For anyone with allergies, anyone looking to escape the chemicals in our cleaning products, or maybe you are just trying to be earth friendly – there is an alternative! The solution is chemical free cleaning products that are probably in your kitchen pantry right now! These products are also much lighter on the pocketbook!
I grew up with my grandparents on a small rural farm, where my grandmother was a stickler for a clean house! She kept our home sparkling bright, crisp and clean with only four products that came right out of the kitchen pantry! I never knew different products existed until I was grown and married. I’ll fess up and tell you, I was curious about of all the commercial cleaners and I blazed a trail through just about all of them! And, oh Lordy! There was one, no – make that a dozen, for every job in the home! Then troubles started. I was having respiratory allergies, hives, blisters, bumps on my hands and arms and my kids started having allergy symptoms every time I cleaned. Suddenly, these overpriced cleaners weren’t so appealing anymore. It was time for me to ditch the toxic cleaners and go back to the chemical free cleaning products.
What if I told you there are four VERY common household products that are chemical free that will not only give the commercial chemical laden products a run for the money, they will do the job just as well? My lesson had been learned! Grandma had been onto something all along!
So, what are these four chemical free cleaning products?
You will be amazed to know that vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and salt will clean just about anything you have to clean WITHOUT all the fumes and warning labels! Let’s look a few things (or a lot of things) each are used for….
White Vinegar is my number one go-to cleaner! It contains acetic acid which is great for cutting through dirt and it has an array of uses. Here are a few that I use it for:
- Clean mirrors and windows with a half vinegar/half water solution.
- Use in coffee pot. A couple of cups run through your coffee maker monthly will keep the mineral deposits from forming and your coffee maker running smoothly.
- Make a scrubbing paste using white vinegar and baking soda to use on sinks and countertops.
- Use a 50/50 mix with water to wipe down the inside of your fridge to clean and freshen
- Pour 3 teaspoons of baking soda down the drain and follow with the approximately 3 teaspoons of heated white vinegar. It helps keep drains clean and clog free.
- Remove soap buildup in the dishwasher by running it empty and adding vinegar in the detergent compartment.
- Place a bowl containing ¼ cup vinegar and 1 cup water inside microwave and run for five minutes on the highest setting. Use the cooled solution to wipe away the loosened grime.
- If you have a garbage disposal, pour a cup of hot white vinegar down it to deodorize and freshen.
- As a toilet cleaner – pour 2 cups of vinegar into toilet and allow to sit for a few hours. Scrub with toilet brush. Toilet will be clean and disinfected.
- Use full strength white vinegar to wipe down tub and remove grime, bacteria, and mildew. Rinse well with warm water.
- If your showerhead is corroded over and slow spraying, soak in vinegar overnight by placing vinegar in a baggy and attaching by using a rubber band.
- Use 1/2 cup added to 1 gallon water to mop floors to bring out the shine.
- Apply a small amount before laundering to stains such as mustard, ketchup, tomato sauce, grass and underarm deodorants to remove. DO NOT USE WITH BLEACH! IT CAUSES A DANGEROUS REACTION!
- Soak whites in vinegar solution to help whiten.
- Add 1 cup of vinegar to the final rise cycle of laundry to soften fabrics, kill bacteria, eliminate static, and remove lint from dark clothing.
- Remove soap scum and residue from the washing machine by running an empty (no laundry) cycle with one cup vinegar added.
- If you have pets like I do and they have a run-in with a skunk, vinegar is a wonder worker! It will take care of the smell better than even tomato juice and it’s a whole lot less messy! Use a 50/50 vinegar/water solution spray and rub into the dogs fur. Rinse with warm water. You may need to repeat.
And the list goes on!!! You can see why vinegar is at the top of my list!
It’s hard to say Baking Soda is my second go-to product, because it is running right up there with the vinegar! It also has a ton of uses from personal care to cleaning. It not only removes stains but deodorizes and polishes also! For now, I will concentrate on the uses that I use it for.
- Of course everyone, or at least I think, has a box sitting in their fridge and/or freezer. It works to absorb food odors.
- Use with water to wipe and freshen the fridge.
- Sprinkle on carpets before vacuuming to deodorize.
- Works great to remove scuff marks from floors and it’s safe for no-wax floors!
- Freshen dishes that have left over food odor by sprinkling with a bit of baking soda and adding a small amount of water. Allow to soak overnight.
- Sprinkle in the bottom of trash cans to help absorb odors.
- Sprinkle a little each day into the dirty clothes basket to absorb musty odors.
- Works great in a cloth diaper pail in between laundering.
- Use in sneakers and boots to absorb odors.
- Use in the litter box to help with odors.
- If your mattress is smelling a little musty, you can sprinkle a bit over it and allow to sit for a while. Vacuum off.
- Use half and half with laundry detergent for fresh smelling laundry.
- Rub a little into grass stains before throwing into the wash.
- If you have a minor grease fire in the kitchen, throw some baking soda on it to put it out!
- Clean your hairbrushes and combs with it. It helps remove styling products from them. I love using it one a week when I shampoo my hair! To use, just sprinkle a dallop in your hand, add shampoo and mix, making a paste. Shampoo into hair and rinse. You can actually feel all the styling residue and gunk slipping off your hair!
- Pooch been out in the rain and have “wet dog” smell? Sprinkle a little into the fur and brush to freshen.
Read about more uses for baking soda!
And this list could go on and on! You can see why it is an everyday necessity for cleaning and deodorizing.
Lemons and Lemon Juice
Most everyone can agree that lemons have a fresh, light and welcome scent. What better way to freshen and deodorize your home?! Lemons and lemon juice also have several more uses:
- The acid in lemons makes them a work horse of a degreaser!
- Use lemon juice on your cutting boards to freshen and remove stains. Just rub with a lemon and allow to sit for a few hours. This also works for stains on countertops (do not use on marble – it may etch the surface).
- Great as a deodorizer for the disposal. Just add the peelings, run a little water in and turn on for a few seconds. Allow to sit.
- Make your on furniture polish by adding one part lemon juice to one part olive oil. It cleans and shines your furniture.
Read about even more uses for lemons!
I am adding salt in here because it makes a gentle abrasive scouring powder. Salt is also known to be a mild disinfectant.
- Mixed with vinegar, it can be used to remove stains from glassware and coffee cups.
- Clean windows and tiles with a salt and vinegar solution.
- Mix salt and vinegar for a great all-purpose cleaner.
- Mix salt and lemon juice to clean metal pans. Rub in, rinse and buff!
- Use salt to clean cast iron skillets instead of soap and water. Strange huh? But, the skillet will take on a more non-stick interior!
- Too many suds in the sink? washer? Sprinkle with salt and they melt away!
- Added to vinegar or lemon juice, salt adds an abrasive to the mix.
Read about even more uses for salt.
By adding vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and salt to your cleaning supplies – you can eliminate the need for harsh, chemical laden and expensive cleaners.
I use these items for so many different things it’s hard to list them all, if there is anything you have a question about – just ask!
Have you tried any of these ideas? Do you have other uses for them? We would all love to hear them!