Take a trip down the supermarket aisles and you’ll find an abundance of products to clean every surface in your home. We use them to disinfect counters, strip away grease, remove stains, and polish wood. But many of these products can be a double-edged sword.
To keep our families safe and healthy, we use a variety of products to kill germs and fight mold and mildew. A couple common household cleaners are ammonia and chlorine bleach. Bleach can help whiten clothes, remove stains, and is a great antimicrobial agent. Ammonia is an agent used in glass and surface cleaners, as well as oven-cleaning solutions. However, bleach can be toxic when ingested or combined with vinegar or ammonia. Ammonia is generally a non-toxic cleaner, but can irritate the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.
These are just a couple examples of household products that can be dangerous, even if used properly. Take a look at the labels of your other cleaning products and you’re sure to find a number of other toxic substances. However, there are alternatives and you can find many of them in your own home. By mixing and matching, you can create solutions for various situations. You’ll need a few basics if you want to create your own non-toxic home cleaners.
Easy to make non-toxic home cleaners:
- Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is fine white alkaline powder that is commonly used as a leavening agent in baking. You may have placed an open box of it in your fridge or freezer to neutralize bad odors. According to Care2, baking soda can be used as a non-abrasive cleaner, odor eliminator, and air freshener.
- Washing soda is closely related to baking soda, but more strongly alkaline. While it releases no harmful fumes, it should be handled with care as it is caustic. Make sure to wear gloves to protect your skin. It has a multitude of uses from cutting grease to removing wax.
- Distilled white vinegar and fresh lemon juice are mild acids that can neutralize alkaline substances. Most commercially available vinegar is sold as a 5% solution. It can is good for cutting through grease, removing mildew, and breaking down waxy buildup. While less effective than some commercial cleaners, both vinegar and lemon juice can be used
- Oils, oddly enough, can also make excellent additions to cleaners. It doesn’t have to be olive oil. While somewhat pricey, essential oils not only add a pleasant scent to our cleaning solutions, but they can also help fight mold. Cooking oils can be used to hydrate wood and leather as well as removing dirt.
There are a few other things you can also use, including borax and hydrogen peroxide. You’ll need some spray bottles or glass jars to hold your household cleaners. In addition, you’ll need a cellulose sponge or microfiber cloth. Make sure you keep them carefully labeled and away from young children to prevent any irritation to sensitive tissues. While you can find recipes all over the internet, we’d like to provide you with a few easy ones to get you started.
- An all-purpose cleaner is fairly simple. Just combine 1/2 TSP washing soda with a dab of liquid soap and 2 cups of hot water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle to apply to surfaces and wipe off with a sponge.
- To make a fantastic, easy furniture polish add a few drops of lemon oil to warm water. Spray onto a soft cloth so that it is just damp, then wipe the cloth onto the furniture. For unvarnished wood, use 2 TBSP of olive oil and an equal amount of lemon juice. Use a soft cloth to apply the mixture.
- If you have mold or mildew, don’t reach for expensive commercial cleaners. You can use lemon juice or vinegar by itself. To apply it, you can either spray it on or use a sponge or scrubber.
- Many ovens now come with a self-cleaning feature. However, if you don’t wish to use it or your oven doesn’t have that feature, you can use 3/4 C baking soda, 1/4 C salt, and 1/4 C water to make a paste. Just spread the paste over the inside of the oven, let it sit overnight, and then wipe it up the next morning.
There are many more combinations you can make, depending on what you need to clean. Aside from being non-toxic, homemade solutions are also cost effective. Use them around your home and take pride in knowing that you’re keeping your family healthy.
Do you have any homemade cleaning recipes? Share them with us in the comments below.