By Nancy Mattia | CTW Features
The next time you’re ready to clean your home, skip the trip to the store for supplies and head to your kitchen instead. That’s where you’ll find most of what you need. Before today’s popular chemical-loaded products were invented, people cleaned their homes with natural, toxic-free ingredients such as fruits and baking mainstays. They were easily available, affordable, and effective. The same still holds true today. If you’re interested in going green and limiting your exposure to potentially harmful ingredients, check out these top five alternatives:
1. Table salt
This common seasoning can do more than perk up bland food—it can also perk up a dirty sink. Make a mixture that’s half table salt and half baking soda and pour in the sink and get scrubbing. Salt also works well on cast-iron skillets. Cleaning the skillet with soap and water may warp it but salt won’t. You can remove food particles by scrubbing a dry skillet with salt then wiping with a paper towel.
2. White vinegar
Vinegar’s acidic composition makes it the perfect cleaning tool. It can dissolve dirt, grease, and even mineral deposits. One of its best uses is getting rid of food gunk clinging to the walls of a microwave. Combine ¼ cup white wine vinegar and one cup of water, microwave on high for five minutes; let the mixture cool then wipe the inside walls with a sponge. White vinegar is also excellent at cleaning glass windows, shower doors, countertops, and the inside of a dishwasher.
This sunny citrus fruit is a powerhouse when it comes to cleaning; for example, it gets rid of smelly odors like garlic emanating from wood cutting boards. It’s a simple fix: Sprinkle some coarse salt on half a lemon, rub the juicy side all over the boards, and rinse. Got a foul odor in the fridge? Put some lemon slices in a bowl, set it in the fridge, and when you come back a few hours later, the rotten smell will be gone. It is also widely known that an old lemon is a very useful in cleaning garbage disposals and ridding smells from your sink.
4. Baking soda
When you’re not sprinkling sodium bicarbonate into cake batters and cookie dough, you can use it to clean shower walls, sinks, toilets, and ovens. Mix ¼ cup baking soda and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl, heat for 60 seconds, then pour into a spray bottle. After spraying an area, wait a few minutes before wiping away residue with a cloth.
5. Olive oil
A tasty ingredient in salad dressings, olive oil can also be used to put the shine back on stainless steel appliances. First remove any grease on the surface of, for example, the oven, then apply a small amount of olive oil in a circular motion to get rid of any lingering grease and grime and bring back its lustrous shine.
The power of heavy-duty cleaners is no doubt effective on tough surfaces, but given the many positives that come with cleaning naturally, it is worth considering the switch, at least for some spots in the home.