With every spring comes a wonderful sense of renewal, a new beginning from the drab of winter. And with each spring I like to do some very much needed cleaning. A few years ago, I watched a documentary called Chemerical, which goes into detail on the toxins used in commercial cleaning products. What I discovered from this was how unsafe many of these chemicals can be for the environment and bad for your health, your skin, your children, and your pets if they should be exposed to them. Not only can some of these chemicals be toxic, they can also have high risks such as causing cancer. So, if making all-natural, eco and budget friendly cleaning products sounds like the best way to refresh, clean, disinfectant, and deodorize your home this spring, then keep reading to find out how to make them. Plus, stay tuned to the end to discover cleaning tips and tricks to get out those stubborn, tricky stains.
These next three items are going to be your new best friends. The first item is vinegar. Distilled white vinegar kills micro-organisms, works as an effective disinfectant and deodorizer, plus it’s safe and non-toxic for you and the environment. It also works as a natural bug repellent. And don’t worry about that vinegar smell since it becomes odorless once it is dry. A huge gallon of this only costs a few dollars and lasts for about six months to a year. The second item is Melaleuca oil otherwise known as tea tree oil. This essential oil is very effective as an anti-bacterial, anti-infectious, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial. And the third item that’s an excellent natural cleaner is baking soda. It is anti-bacterial and works well as a deodorizer and mild abrasive.
Now that you know of these natural products, here is a recipe to make your own natural cleaners to use around your house.
All Purpose Cleaner
In a bowl add:
¼ – ½ cup of distilled white vinegar
15-20 drops of tea tree oil
Enough water to fill a spray bottle
Pour cleaner into a spray bottle (you can find a cheap one at the Dollar Store or Target). For long term storage you will ideally want to use a glass or aluminum bottle due to the acid content of the vinegar. This cleaner works great to clean surfaces, clean messes, or for dusting surfaces. However, do not use this cleaner on granite or marble since the vinegar will erode the stone’s finish.
If you have a small child with plenty of toys, or a dog or two with toys that easily become dirty, a great thing to use after a simple rinse is a disinfectant to kill all microbials and germs lingering on the surface.
Natural Disinfecting Spray
In a small spray bottle (can be found at Dollar Store or Target), add 20 drops of tea tree oil to water. Feel free to add any other essential oil drops like lemon or lavender to leave a nice smell behind.
Here are a few tips and tricks to clean pesky appliances using these magical, natural ingredients.
Tip 1: To clean hard water buildup in your coffee maker, make a solution of ½ water and ½ vinegar and run that through your coffee maker. Then after that has ran through, run your coffee machine with just water twice to rinse out the vinegar. This will help your coffee taste richer and fuller as well clean out an appliance often neglected.
Tip 2: To clean dirt and food buildup inside your microwave put ½ cup of vinegar into a bowl of water. Place bowl inside microwave and run it for three minutes. This will create a steam that will loosen caked on food and allow you to easily wipe off with a sponge.
Tip 3: To unclog and freshen your drain, fill your sink (or tub) with water about halfway (about ¼ way for a tub) and use ½ cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar (2 cups baking soda and 4 cups of vinegar for a tub) into the sink. Let this soak for a few minutes, then unplug the sink (or tub) and let the solution drain. This will remove the buildup that accumulates on your pipes and it will also leave your disposal smelling fresh.
Tip 4: To remove caked on food buildup in your oven, combine ¼ cup of baking soda with 2 cups of water. Apply mixture on tough spots and let it sit for 20-40 minutes. For cleaning the oven door, leave the door open so the mixture can stay put on it. Then, wipe clean with little scrubbing effort.
I hope these all-natural products and cleaning tricks and tips help you this spring and will be of further use to you in the future. If you are further interested in natural cleaners, essential oils as cleaners, and the toxins in commercial cleaning products, I’ve provided links below.
Documentary on chemicals in cleaning products Chemerical (streaming on netflix) http://www.chemicalnation.com/content/
More information on chemicals in cleaning products and your health http://www.greencleancertified.com/gr…
Vinegar as a cleaning agent http://greencleaning.about.com/od/Gre…
Research on effectiveness of Melaleuca aka tea tree oil http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic…
Antibacterial properties of essential oils http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/a…