18 Easy Chemical-Free Cleaning Tips
By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
Greener cleaning products, for the most part, work just as well as industrial-strength products, but they don’t have the same chemical makeup. Therefore, you and your home won’t be exposed to these harsh chemicals. Chemicals found in cleaning products over time may affect your health, including hormonal balances and thyroid to name a few. There’s a good reason green cleaning products are all the rage, and the good news is that you can make effective chemical-free cleaners using a few pantry staples found right in your kitchen.
Try using these kitchen pantry items to make green cleaning products:
Olive oil isn’t just for cooking or adding to salad dressings, it’s also a cleaning agent. Use olive oil the following ways:
- Remove paint from skin: Rub olive oil into your skin and let it sit for 5 minutes before washing skin with soap.
- Shine stainless steel: Pour a little olive oil onto a cotton swab and buff the desired stainless steel.
- Clean wood furniture: Combine 2 cups olive oil with 1 cup lemon juice (or vinegar) and then you can use it to clean the furniture using a soft cloth.
Baking soda is another pantry item that you may use to cook with, or to keep your fridge smelling fresh. But it’s also great when it comes to cleaning. You can use baking soda to do the following:
- Clean silver: Make a mixture of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water and rub the paste onto each item, and rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
- Clean pots: Baking soda makes for a great agent to remove burnt food items from pots and pans. Simply sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of the affected pan, then pour hot water on top of the baking soda, let soak overnight then clean as usual.
- Prevent clogged drains: Pour ¼ cup baking soda down each sink drain weekly to prevent a clogged drain.
White vinegar is usually thought of as a cleaning product, but can also be used when poaching an egg to keep the whites intact amongst other things. As a cleaning product, vinegar is great for many things including to do the following:
- Prevent bathroom germs: Spray full-strength vinegar around the tub and sink to prevent germs.
- Save a garment that has been scorched: Use white vinegar to remove light stains on fabrics due to scorching. Rub a small amount of white vinegar on the fabric and wipe it clean with a cloth.
- Remove stains from coffee and teacups: Scrub equal parts white vinegar and salt or baking soda into the stain and remove with water.
Lemons are great for making salad dressings, adding to hot water in the morning, flavoring dishes and so much more. Like the rest of the items on this list, it’s also great for using when it comes to cleaning various things. Try using lemon to do the following:
- Scrub bathtub grout: Use lemon juice and an old toothbrush to clean the grout in the bathtub.
- Remove grease stains from clothing: Rub lemon juice into the stain on the clothing and let it sit overnight, then wash as usual.
- Remove hard water stains on shower doors: Use a half cut lemon to clean the glass shower doors and remove water stains.
Table salt certainly belongs on the table, but it can also be put to great use when it comes to cleaning the house. Here’s how you can use salt to help you clean in a green way:
- Remove a wine stain: I remember this one vividly from every family gathering growing up when someone (usually my father) would spill the wine. Blot up as much of the wine as possible from the tablecloth, then pour a pile of salt over the stain. Soak the tablecloth in cold water before washing.
- De-ice walkways: So many of the chemicals used in commercial salt products can be toxic for many reasons and for anyone with dogs, can be dangerous for the health of their paws. Instead, try using table salt as a method for preventing freezing ice from building up on walkways.
- Remove perspiration stains: Make a mixture of 4 tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and use a sponge to dab the stained fabric until the stain has been removed.
Alcohol is usually thought of as something to disinfect wounds and to drink (think the vodka martini you had on Saturday night) but also makes for a great replacement to more chemically-laden products you might have in your house. Try using vodka or grain alcohol to do the following:
- Make flowers last longer: Add a few drops of vodka and 1 tsp sugar to the water in the flower vase to make the flowers last longer.
- Rid pests: Use a spray bottle of vodka or alcohol to kill ants and other common household pests.
- Clean glasses: Spray vodka or grain alcohol on your sunglasses or reading glasses for a streak-free glass-cleaning method.
What do you use to practice green cleaning in your home?