Did you know the same substance that flavors many of your favorite foods and drinks is also one of the most effective cleaning fluids in your house? Or that a key ingredient in your favorite salad dressing makes an awesome furniture polish? Our grandparents and great-grandparents certainly knew the natural way is the best way to clean a home. If you’re concerned about the effects of commercial cleaning products that include toxic substances, look no further than your kitchen cabinet for safer alternatives.
Go chemical-free by creating your own cleaning spray using a mixture of white vinegar and lemon juice. This homespun solution disinfects, loosens dirt and cuts through grease as effectively as any commercial spray, and with none of the toxic residue. It even leaves behind a pleasant aroma. If you have a tough surface to scrub, grab the baking soda, combine it with some lemon juice or vinegar and you’ve got a potent scrubbing material. The next time you need to polish the furniture, leave the furniture spray in the drawer and use some olive oil and a damp rag instead. And castile soap isn’t just for scrubbing dirty hands. It also makes a strong, foaming cleanser that’s a great alternative to harsh abrasives for in the bathroom and the kitchen sink.
Keep these natural substances in mind as you go about your spring cleaning this year. If your home needs a deeper clean, consider using a professional service to hit all those nooks and crannies — and it’s perfectly okay to ask if they use eco-friendly, chemical-free products. Some services might charge more for environmentally friendly cleaning, but if you do your research it shouldn’t be an issue or a major investment. In Los Angeles, most homeowners only spend between $117 and $223 for a single cleaning.
Save yourself a few bucks by foregoing that ammonia-filled blue bottle at the grocery. Instead, try a quarter cup of white vinegar with two cups of warm water and use it to spray down your dirty windows. Add a few drops of lemon or mint essential oil for a pleasing aroma, and wipe it down with a clean cotton rag.
Heavy duty in the oven
The oven is one area where you normally wouldn’t think of using eco-friendly substances given the difficulty of getting up stubborn, thick, caked-on grease. But the oven is a great candidate for baking soda. Simply create a baking soda paste with water and coat the entire interior of your oven, letting it sit overnight. In the morning, grab a scrubbing pad and go to it! If necessary, repeat the process to clear out the really tough stuff.
If you’re finding your air isn’t feeling so fresh, your first instinct may be to reach for the plug-in air freshener, but think again. Many air fresheners contain phthalates, formaldehyde and other toxic substances that can pose a threat to your family’s respiratory health. A better alternative is an essential oil diffuser. It’s a great way to safely add customized scents to your home and remove stubborn odors.
Energy flow and organization
With all of this green cleaning, you don’t want to forget to make changes to your home overall. Apply the feng shui method to create a palpable and nurturing energy flow throughout your home. A great way to accomplish this is to eliminate clutter and avoid overdoing it with the furniture. Be careful about a layout that dissipates energy too fast. Sometimes, a throw rug or small table can help establish and maintain a steady, healthy flow. Create an open, airy feel around your doors and add a mirror to enhance the feeling of clean, uninhibited space. These are modifications that will help reduce stress and anxiety, as will a well-organized home. Creating a strong sense of order will be empowering.
Cleaning your home without spreading harsh, toxic substances is surprisingly easy. Common kitchen staples, like baking soda and lemon juice, can do double-duty in the kitchen and throughout the house, leaving your home looking shiny clean and smelling lemon-fresh. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about breathing in harmful substances when it’s time to relax in your sparkling home.
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