After the birth of my first grandchild and his soon-apparent sensitive skin, we had to make some changes in the way we cleaned everything, from bathrooms to laundry to dishes. All-natural cleaning products on the market left a lot to be desired in the way of cleaning power, plus they cost more than their chemical-laden counterparts. Through trial, error, and research, I’ve found that everything in the home (and many things outside) can be cleaned with a few cheap, chemical-free ingredients.
So as you gear up for this year’s spring cleaning session, do your skin, respiratory system, environment, and wallet a favor by passing up the cleaning supply section of your local grocery store and head over to the baking aisle, where you’ll find everything you need for a chemical-free spring cleaning.
An inexpensive bottle of white vinegar will clean, disinfect, and deodorize any washable hard surface. For light surface cleaning to remove spring pollen from countertops, floors, and other washable hard surfaces and to leave behind a clean shine, mix white vinegar and water in a half-and-half solution in a bucket. Dampen a cloth or sponge in the vinegar/water solution and wipe down surfaces, changing water as needed. For stubborn stains, use white vinegar at full strength. The vinegar not only deodorizes the surface you’re washing, but will also remove odors from the air in the room.
Wash inside of the refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and other small kitchen appliances with straight or diluted vinegar to remove odors, stains, germs, and leave behind a clean shine.
Pour 1 cup of white vinegar in wash loads when washing curtains, bedding, dog beds, washable throw rugs, and pillows to boost the laundry detergent’s cleaning power, disinfect the items, and add softness to fabrics.
When a little abrasion is needed on a hard surface to remove a stain, baking soda is the natural cleaning product that will get the job done. Sprinkle baking soda onto the surface and scrub in a circular motion with a damp cloth or sponge. Give the bathroom a spring cleaning by scouring away soap scum and hard water stains with baking soda. Freshen and clean the toilet bowl with a generous sprinkle of baking soda. Clean and shine stainless steel sinks with baking soda and as the natural cleaning product is rinsed down the drain it will also remove drain odors.
Non-washable, soft surfaces like wall-to-wall carpeting and upholstered furniture can be freshened for spring by sprinkling odor-absorbing baking soda generously on the non-washable items, let sit for a few hours, then vacuum thoroughly.
Salt is a natural, mild abrasive that also has the ability to absorb and lift away cooking grease stains on kitchen surfaces. Pour ordinary table salt into grout lines and scrub with a damp sponge to lift and clean grease stains. Dab salt onto grease-spatters on solid kitchen surfaces and allow to sit for an hour so the salt can absorb the oily residue. Wipe clean with a damp sponge.