Everyone loves a clean house, but when the residue of chemicals left behind leave your surfaces tinged with toxins, what’s a mama (and papa) to do? Head to the store for these ingredients: lemon, white vinegar, baking soda, salt and oil and you’ll have an arsenal of cleaning products in minutes. Added bonus: non-toxic means the kiddos can help, too! Read on for 13 ways to clean without the chemicals.

photo: fede13 via flickr

Lemon

1. Use lemon juice to polish all that chrome and stainless steel in your kitchen or bathroom. We like to keep an extra bottle of already juiced lemon on hand for just such a reason, but if you’ve made lemonade and have lemon rinds left, you can actually use the lemon half right on corners.

2. You can also use said lemon rind, juice or a wedge to clean a cutting board. The lemon not only disinfects, it removes trace odors left behind from things like onions and garlic.

Vinegar (White)

3. Mix vinegar to water at a 3 to 1 ration (3 cups vinegar to one cup water) for cleaning windows and mirrors.

4. Use straight vinegar in a spray bottle to combat mildew. Spray offending area and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing with hot water.

5. Mix vinegar and lemon juice in equal parts to disinfect almost any surface in the bathroom or kitchen. If you have granite, quartz or marble countertops try using rubbing alcohol instead as the acidity in the vinegar can damage your counter tops. (Tip: add lavender and sweet orange essential oils to combat the “rubbing alcohol” smell).

6. Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab an extra one-gallon jug of white vinegar for your laundry room. Add a good 20 drops of essential oil, shake, and keep on hand for a fabric softener. Just add a half cup to each load (shake the jug to distribute the oils before each use).

7. Almost every hard-surface floor, from vinyl to hardwood, can be effectively cleaned with a simple water and vinegar solution. One cup vinegar to a half-gallon of hot or warm water should do the trick.

photo: evitaochel via pixabay

Baking Soda

8. Use baking soda with a hint of essential oil, like lavender, sprinkled in to deodorize your carpets. Sprinkle, vacuum up, inhale.

9. DIY your own room freshener without all the toxic chemicals. Just put some baking soda in a cute jar, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (we love the combo of mint + lavendar) put the lid on, and shake. Once you’ve got your baking soda + essential oils distributed, remove the lid and place several holes in it to let the freshening begin!

photo: andreas160578 via pixabay

Salt

10. Use a teaspoon of salt to tepid water (not hot or even warm) to clean and disinfect water bottles (and sippy cups). This keeps you from that dreaded soapy water taste and neutralizes any lingering odors in your bottle. You can even soak the lids and sippy attachments in a mild salt solution, just be sure to rinse the heck out of it to flush the salty flavor away. A cotton swab with a salty paste can help get in the nooks and crannies of lids, too.

Oil

11. Cast iron skillet hack: If you properly season your pans, you won’t need to scrub too much but sometimes it happens. (Never, ever use soap and water on a cast iron skillet!) If you have a tricky sticky spot, use coarse salt and a vegetable scrubber dedicated to this purpose with a helping of cooking oil to clean off the gunk. While we recommend seasoning your pans after each use with a helping of cooking oil, try this lazy hack for every once in awhile: wipe your pan clean with a dry cloth and then spray with a cooking spray like Pam before storing.

12. Mix vinegar and oil together to make a furniture polish! Do it a 3 to 1 ration (so 3 tablespoons oil to 1 tablespoon vinegar). Or sub lemon juice for the vinegar. We recommend making this one in small batches (a little goes a long way) and applying with a super soft cloth, not a paper towel.

photo: marthaposemuckle via pixabay

Toothpaste

13. Toothpaste cleans stains and tarnish on any silver surface. If you’ve got a detailed edge on an antique plate, a gentle toothbrush + toothpaste can take the tarnish out of the nook and crannies and is way less harsh than some commercial silver polishes out there (which can actually strip silver plating). Ditto this method for jewelry.

Got any tried and true non-toxic household cleaning tips? Share them with our community in the comments below.

—Amber Guetebier

featured image: stevepb via pixabay