Cleaning the house is something we all have to do. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how important it is to maintain hygiene in your home. However, sometimes the harsh chemicals we use to clean our homes can be just as harmful as the dirt we’re trying to get rid of. Especially people with pets and/or small children should beware of the toxins that cleaning products can leave behind, not to mention the hazard of a little one getting into the kitchen cabinet…
Today I want to share some natural alternatives to chemical cleaners with you. These alternatives are cheaper, safer, and way better for the environment. And in most cases, they’re just as effective as your expensive specialty product!
Since I moved into my current apartment, I’ve been trying to clean as much as I can using natural cleaners. Let’s take a look at my top 5 favourite natural cleaners, and why I love using them!
5. Castile Soap
Castile soap is pretty much the most basic of soaps, oldschool. Its cleaning properties are pretty straightforward: it removes dirt. It degreases, picks up dirt, foams… This is probably most similar to your traditional cleaning products and it’s a very all-purpose product. Mixed with water, castile soap can be used on all surfaces. Removing dirt, however, is pretty much all it does. It works great but I’d recommend you to use it combined with another natural cleaner that has some disinfecting properties for a full cleaning of your surfaces.
4. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice, which is high in citric acid, has many of the same properties as vinegar (which I’ll discuss further down in this post). Lemon juice removes grease, soap residue and stains. A property that lemon juice has that vinegar doesn’t, is whitening. You can use lemon juice to bleach clothing or linnens.
Lemon juice can leave some sticky residue on your surfaces (it is a juice after all), so I recommend you go over with a wet microfibre cloth after cleaning with lemon juice. You can use lemon juice undiluted. It leaves a wonderful smell which many people associate with cleanness!
My favourite uses for lemon juice around the house:
– Bleaching stains in fabrics
– Freshening drains (pour some lemon juice into the drain to get rid of the smell. Leave for 2 minutes, then rinse with hot water)
– Clean food smell off my hands (briefly rub lemon juice on your skin, rinse well)
Essential oils are incredibly potent little things. They are plant extracts, and depending on the properties of the plant, essential oils can be great additions to your natural cleaning routine.
Essential oils smell amazing. You can add your favourite oils to your homemade cleaners to mix a scent that you’ll love to have around the house. The more essential oil you mix into your cleaner, the stronger the scent will be and the longer it will linger. Favourites in cleaners are floral scents like lavender or jasmin, citus scents like lemon or orange, and fresh scents like mint or eucalyptus.
Some essential oils have cleaning properties as well. Tea tree oil, for example, is a great disinfectant because it has strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Orange and lemon essential oils have some of the degreasing properties of lemon juice. Peppermint oil is said to deter pests, and lemongrass oil has antiseptic and deodorising properties.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is amazing. It has so many uses! Baking soda has the ability to absorb moisture and odours. It can also be used to scrub down surfaces.
Some of my favourite uses for baking soda around the house:
– Freshening up carpets. Sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet, leave for 15 minutes, then vacuum.
– Removing stains from upholstered furniture. Gently rub some baking soda into the wet stain. Leave for a few minutes, then remove the baking soda and clean.
– Removing odour from the fridge. Place a little dish with baking soda in the fridge to absorb the smells.
– Scrubbing grills and stovetops. Mix baking soda with a little water and use the paste to clean and degrease.
– Cleaning the oven. Mix baking soda with a little water. Spread the paste onto the bottom of your oven and leave for a few hours. Remove and clean.
– Deodorising shoes. Sprinkle baking soda into shoes after wearing, and shake it out before you put them on again.
The options are endless!
1. White Vinegar
White vinegar is probably the thing I use most often, out of all these natural cleaners. It’s incredibly versatile! Vinegar lifts stains, degreases, and its acidity prevents the growth of mildew, mold and some bacteria. This makes it awesome to use around the kitchen, in the bathroom, and on doorknobs to disinfect them.
To use vinegar as a cleaner, mix it with water (you can use distilled to make your cleaner last longer) in a 50/50 ratio in a spray bottle, and add a few drops of essential oil to make the cleaner smell nice. I don’t always do this because I don’t mind the smell of vinegar and it doesn’t linger, but if it does bother you, a few drops of your favourite essential oil should get rid of the smell. This mixture plus a microfiber cloth equals a power duo that will clean almost anything.
My favourite uses for vinegar around the house:
– Spraying down the kitchen counters at the end of the day to disinfect
– Cleaning windows and mirrors
– Cleaning my desk
– Cleaning the toilet inside & out
– As a fabric softener and colour perserver for my laundry (vinegar is actually used in the dying process of clothes to make the colours more vibrant!)
– To remove stains from clothes
– To remove odours from the kitchen (boil some water with a little vinegar to clear the air in the room)
– To clean doorknobs, handles, and other frequently-touched areas
– Cleaning hair brushes
With these five products, I feel like there is little I can’t tackle around my house. It’s a great place to start your natural cleaning routine!
Do you have any favourite natural cleaners? Let me know in the comments!