Sometimes we don’t think about the chemicals we use in our home to clean with. Ever felt like you burned your lungs from breathing toxic bathroom cleaners? Here are some alternatives to the harsh chemical cleaners, with great results!
All purpose cleaner – Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup backing soda (or 2 tbsp. Borax) into 1/2 gallon on water. Store in a spray bottle. This cleaner will remove water spots, bathroom fixtures, windows, counters, etc.
Bathroom Grout Cleaner – Mold on your bathroom tile is a common problem and can be a health concern. To clean the grout mix one part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water in a spray bottle and apply to the tile. Wait at least one hour before rinsing.
Carpet Stains – Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and apply directly to the stain, let sit for several minutes, then clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water. For grease spots, sprinkle with corn starch and wait 15-30 minutes, then vacuum. For heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of Borax, salt and vinegar. Rub the paste into the carpet and let sit for a few hours, then vacuum up.
Coffee and Tea Stains – To remove stains in coffee/tea cups, apply vinegar to a sponge and wipe out the cup. To clean a coffee maker, run vinegar and water through the cycle. Rinse thoroughly when finished.
Drain Cleaner – For a light drain cleaner, mix 1/2 cup of salt and 4 liters of water, heat over stove (do not boil) then pour down the drain. For a stronger cleaner, pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The chemical reaction will break up fatty acids and allow them to wash away. Caution with plastic plumbing, boiling your water could melt the pipes. Do not use this mixture combined with commercial drain cleaners!
Floor Cleaners – most floor surfaces can be cleaned with equal parts of vinegar and water.
Vinyl/Linoleum – mix 1 cup vinegar and a few drops of baby oil in 1 gallon of warm water. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup of Borax.
Wood – apply a thin coat of 1:1 vegetable oil and vinegar. Rub into the floor well. To damp mop wood floors, mix equal amounts of vinegar and water. (you can add drops of pure peppermint oil to the mixture, mix well)
Painted Wood – Mix 1 tsp. washing soda and 1 gallon water. Rinse well with clear water.
Brick and Stone Tiles – mix 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon on water.
Furniture Polish – for varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil to 1/2 cup of warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth (should be only slightly damp). Wipe furniture then buff with a dry cloth.
For unvarnished wood, mix two tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon oil onto a clean cloth. Wring the cloth to distribute the mixture, apply to the wood using wide strokes (this helps distribute the mixture evenly)
Lime Deposits – most lime deposits can be removed by squeezing a lemon onto the affected area, letting it sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean.
Marks on Walls and Painted Surfaces – many ink, pencil or crayon spots can be cleaned by applying baking soda directly on to a damp cloth and gently rubbing the area. Wipe the mixture off with a clean damp cloth.
Metal Cleaners and Polishers
Aluminum – make a solution of cream of tarter and water, apply with a soft cloth.
Brass/Bronze – polish with a soft cloth dipped in lemon and baking soda or vinegar and salt.
Chrome – polish with baby oil, vinegar or aluminum foil (shiny side out)
Copper – soak a cotton rag in a pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup of white vinegar. Apply while hot. Let cool, then wipe clean. For tougher jobs, sprinkle baking soda or a lemon wedge with salt and then scrub. A simpler method is apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
Gold – clean with toothpaste or a paste of salt, vinegar and flour. Scrub with an old toothbrush. Rinse clean.
Silver – Line a pan with aluminum foil and fill with water. Add 1 tsp of baking soda and salt. Bring to a boil and immerse silver. Polish with a soft cloth.
Stainless Steel – clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar or olive oil. For stainless cookware, mix 4 tbsp of baking soda into 1 qt of water and apply with a soft cloth.
Rust Remover – sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2-3 hours. Use left over rind to scrub residue.
Scouring Powder – For the top of your stove, on your fridge or other surfaces that you don’t want to scratch, use baking soda. Apply directly with a damp sponge. Rinse with clean water.
Shower Heads – apply a plastic bag filled with vinegar over your shower head, secure with a twist tie, let sit overnight. Rinse clean in the morning.
Stickers on Walls – to remove, sponge vinegar over them several times, then wait 15 minutes, then rub off sticker. You can also use this for price stickers on items.
Stove Burner/Ring Cleaner – to clean the grease off stove rings, put them in a Ziplock bag with about 1/4 cup of ammonia. (store outside over night in case the bag leaks) Wipe clean in the morning.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner – mix 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar, pour into toilet and let is sit for a few minutes. Scrub with toilet brush and rinse. You can also use a mixture or Borax (2 parts) and 1 part lemon juice.
Tub and Tile Cleaner – for simple cleaning, rub baking soda with a damp cloth and rinse with clean water. For tougher jobs, wipe surface with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. Rinse clean
Wallpaper Remover – mix equal parts of vinegar and hot water, apply with a sponge over the old wallpaper to soften the adhesive. Peel off the wallpaper and reapply the mixture to stubborn patches. Open the windows or use a fan to remove the vinegar smell.
Water Rings on Wood – water rings are caused as a result of moisture that is trapped under the topcoat, but not the finish. Apply toothpaste or mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub into the ring. Be careful not to rub to hard so you don’t hurt the finish. Once the ring is removed, buff the entire wood surface.
Window Cleaner – mix 2 tsp of white vinegar with 1 liter of warm water. Use crumpled up newspaper of cotton cloths to clean. (Don’t use colored newspapers)
Tip – do not clean windows if the sun is on them or they are warm. Do not use more vinegar than this mixture calls for our you could cloud the glass or cause etching after time on mirrors.