How to Clean Practically Everything in Your House Using Only Natural Ingredients

Are you looking to reduce your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals but don’t know where or how to start?  Here is an incredibly simple guide to replacing toxic household cleaners with safe, natural alternatives, many of which you probably already have on hand.  You’ll find out how to safely clean practically every surface in your house, from the windows to the toilet and everywhere in between.  These cleaners are safe enough for kids to use, so the whole family can pitch in around the house without any concern about what they’re being exposed to.  You will still want to keep these things away from young children who might accidentally ingest them.  While perfectly safe to use for cleaning, some of these ingredients can be harmful if ingested, so make sure they will only be accessible to people who won’t try to drink them 😉

There are a few basic things you’ll need to make the switch to natural cleaning:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Lemon Essential Oil
  • Various other essential oils (optional)
  • Dish Soap
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Olive Oil
  • Microfiber Cloth (or any lint-free cloth)
  • Glass Spray Bottles (plastic can break down over time from essential oils)

Using just these supplies, you can clean just about every surface in your house.  Sounds easy, right?  It really is! Here are some specific tips for tackling all of your chores with no harmful fumes or chemicals.

Dusting– This is one of those chores that’s perfect for little hands so I usually let my kids do the dusting, but I don’t want them exposed to commercial dusting sprays.  There are two all-natural dust-busters we use in our house, so I’ll share them both.

  1. The simplest method is to dampen a microfiber cloth, add 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil to the cloth, and simply wipe the surface with it.
  2. If you want extra shine, however, you can make this all-natural dusting spray that’s safe for all finished wood surfaces.  Simply add 1 cup of water, 2 T. white vinegar, 1 T. olive oil, and 15-20 drops of lemon essential oil to a glass spray bottle and shake well.  Lightly spray the surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Tubs,Tile and Grout– A paste made with baking soda and a little water can make scrubbing stains from grout and tile a cinch.  Soap and water will also work on tile for everyday cleaning.

Toilets and Ceramic Sinks–  Sprinkle baking soda in sinks and toilet bowls and let it sit for up to an hour, then pour vinegar over the baking soda and scrub with a toilet brush or cloth.  The baking soda deodorizes while the vinegar sanitizes, leaving your bathroom naturally clean!

Floors (wood, vinyl, linoleum, and laminate)-  A basic solution of 1/4 C. white vinegar and 1 C. water will clean most floors easily.  For extra shine, you can also add 1 T. oil to the mix.  Spray floors with the mixture and wipe with a soft cloth or mop.  Alternatively, you can fill a bucket with 1 gallon of water and 4 cups of vinegar and mop the floor with this solution.

Marble and granite– While vinegar is an amazing natural cleaner, it should never be used on natural stone like marble and granite, which can be etched by acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus.  Mix 1 C. water, 1/4 C. rubbing alcohol, 3-4 drops of dish soap, and 5-10 drops of any non-citrus essential oil (such as lavender, peppermint, cedarwood, etc.)  Spray on surface and wipe clean.  This solution can also be used for most floors, and it dries quickly without leaving streaks because of the alcohol.

All-purpose cleaner– If you want to keep things really simple and just have one bottle of cleaner for most jobs, this is it.  Mix 3 parts water with 1 part white vinegar in a glass spray bottle, add 15-20 drops of essential oils, and shake well.  You can use this solution to clean countertops, sinks, tubs, showers, windows, floors, and even cutting boards and appliances.  Just be sure to avoid using this one on granite or marble.

If the idea of making your own cleaners is too overwhelming, or you don’t really want your house to smell like vinegar every time you clean something, there are plenty of non-toxic, natural cleaners available to purchase.  I’ve tried several companies over the years, but my absolute favorites are from Red’s Gone Green.

Her products smell so amazing that I genuinely want to clean my house just so I can enjoy the scent of clove-cinnamon-vanilla (which smells just like chai tea) or lavender-vanilla (incredibly calming.)  Check out all of her products here.  The all-purpose cleaners (except the grapefruit-orange-lavender) are even safe on granite and marble, so you can basically reduce your whole cleaning cabinet to just one incredibly fragrant bottle!

Hopefully this is a helpful crash course on how to start swapping some of your commercial cleaners for more natural alternatives.  It really is simple and affordable to enjoy the benefits of non-toxic cleaning supplies.  Have other natural cleaning hacks or tips to share?  Leave us a comment below!

Borax

 Have you heard of Borax?

It’s only some of the coolest stuff ever. Well–ok that might be just a *slight* exaggeration, but it’s super useful, super diverse, and super “green”! If you’re like me, however, you might not have known a whole lot about it. I’d never heard of it till a few years ago when I looked into making my own laundry detergent. Since then I’ve seen it popping up in great ideas everywhere! So I wanted to bring you a few ideas of just what Borax can be used for, and also a great Borax sweepstakes where you will have a chance to win money and some Borax of your own! Also I’m doing a giveaway-so be sure to scroll aaallll the way to the bottom to enter!)

First off, though, you might be asking:

What is Borax?

The reason that Borax makes such a great natural alternative to many things is that it’s not a chemical–it’s actually a naturally occurring mineral that forms white crystals composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water (Na2B4O7 • 10H2O for any of you Chemistry buffs out there!)

So now that we cleared that up…

Uses For Borax

As you can see–you can do a TON with it! Here are just a few of the things I’ve come across and love!

Around the House Borax:

  • Can be used as a laundry booster
    • this is most common use probably, it’s great if you have hard water
  • Can be used as a homemade cleaner
    • I scrubbed down the bathroom with it (shown above!) and it did a great job getting the counter and sink shiny bright! It doesn’t scratch and can be used on tiles, showers, tubs, and in toilets!
  •  Can be used to clean dishwashers & remove carpet stains.

As I mentioned I first came across Borax as I was looking into making my own laundry. You can find how to make your own here!

Borax isn’t just practical, though, here are two super fun ideas to do with your kids!

Borax Crystal Star

 

Glow in the Dark Slime

Don’t forget about the great Borax Sweepstakes going on! Enter to win the $1,500 Grand Prize, or one of 171 coupons for FREE BORAX! Why 171 coupons you ask? The TOTAL prize value is $2013!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nicole Elliott

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Vinegar, Apple Pie, and Pinterest

apple pie

 This is the story of a beautiful apple pie-the apple pie shown above. Quite possibly one of the tastiest, most wonderful, most beautiful apple pies I have ever seen-and I made it with my hubby! (here’s the om nom nom delish Apple Pie Recipe)

Orchard Apples

The *only* problem with this most delicious pie was that I used “non-baking” apples for it (we had a bunch of juicy ones from the orchard)…..I was unaware why this would be a problem…until the smoke alarm went off. I opened the oven to find that while the pie was perfect and golden there was now a sticky, black, charred boiling mess on the bottom of my oven–gross!!! (fyi-you use baking apples because they aren’t as juicy and won’t spill over like that)

Later that night I attempted to tackle the yuck. I used every caustic cleaner I could find-even some that I had specifically gone out and purchased for the task. I was literally gagging on the fumes and it wasn’t getting clean-not good.

Then I had a stroke of genius and remembered seeing this pin on Pinterest. Here is what the text said:

healthy cleaning

“The best oven cleaner! Cover bottom of oven with baking soda, then pour vinegar so it’s all wet. Let sit around 20 minutes or so then wipe all of it out with damp cloth or sponge. I leave my oven door open too. After drying you may see some white residue, wipe again.” 

vinegar

I’ve been interested in green cleaning lately-as you all know-but hadn’t trusted it to handle any “heavy duty” problems up until now. I figured it was worth a shot so I tried it out. I was shocked when it actually worked!!! Good ol’ fashioned chemical-free cleaning with baking soda and vinegar did what the nasty chemicals couldn’t!

Heinz Cleaning Vinegar

Now you can even buy Heinz Cleaning Vinegar which is specifically designed for cleaning with! Me and hubby recently went shopping to pick some up-I love that when you use healthy cleaning solutions not only are they better for you-they’re also *so* much less expensive!

WalMart Vinegar

There are *so* many different ways to use vinegar for cleaning-my Suzie Homemaker Solutions Board is full of them-but here are some of my favorites!

All Purpose Cleaner from Vinegar and Citrus Peels
101 Uses for Vinegar
Vinegar to Clean Microwaves
 Clean Burnt Pans with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Happy Baking & Green Cleaning!

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and HEINZ #CBias #SocialFabric #HeinzVinegar

Written by Nicole Elliott

Spring Cleaning Tips

With the warm in the air, the beautiful flowers poking their heads up out of the earth, and my parents flying out next week we are in full on Spring Cleaning mode over here! I thought I’d share some of my tops tips-please share yours in a comment or leave a link to your blog post–I’d love to read!

Spring Clean all Year Long ~ Ever since January I’ve been using FlyLady’s zone method and am super pleased with the results! I’ve been able to get my kitchen and our bathrooms super organized and decluttered using it and all by just doing a little bit 15 minutes a day–definitely do-able even with my crazy busy schedule!

Game Plan ~ Even if you have been “spring cleaning” all year long it still feels good to go on a good cleaning spree–especially before company comes. I found that I am the most productive when I write down a list of what exactly needs to be done–then I can even accomplish “deep cleaning” when I’m on the phone–I just look at what is next on my list and tackle it!

Set that Timer ~ another idea from FlyLady–set your timer and clean as fast as you can! You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in a short amount of time! Don’t try to go TOO fast though…if you’re clumsy like me you’ll end up bumping into everything and spilling things, haha!

Try Some New Products ~ I’ve also mentioned before that ever since having kiddos I’ve been straying away from all the more toxic cleaners and starting to use green cleaners a lot. I even used good old baking soda and vinegar to clean the inside of my stove shiny bright (yes it really did work!) In the bathroom though I have a hard time not using something more “heavy duty” though–so Colorox Green Works has been a great solution for me!

I don’t normally use wipes but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how nice they are for quick tidy ups throughout the week of the bathroom counters and also for wiping down the outside of the toilet. The toilet cleaner has been my favorite–it works just as good as any of the bleach kinds do and I will definitely be purchasing it again. The All Purpose cleaner worked well also for the counters in the bathroom during my weekly “deep” cleans. I wouldn’t recommend it for the bathtub though, ours usually need something with a little more “omph”.

What are your spring cleaning tips and what products do you love to use for it?