Getting the Most from Natural Homemade Cleansers

Chemical-based products are costly to the health of the environment and maybe the health of your family.
Chemical-based products are costly to the health of the environment and they may be affecting your family's health too. Treatments for allergies, sinusitis, bronchitis or asthma often include decreasing the amount of chemical cleansers in the home. Toxins from chemical cleaners build up in the indoor environment, especially during cold months when doors and windows keep fresh air out. If you'd like to use fewer chemical cleansers but are worried that natural ingredients won't be strong enough for the deep-down clean you prefer, your inner clean-freak may feel better knowing which natural cleansers work best for which job.

White Vinegar -- removes odors, stains, cuts through grease and will remove mildew. It is also a mild disinfectant.

Lemon Juice -- kills most types of household bacteria and removes odors and hard-water deposits.

Washing Soda -- mixed with water, washing soda, or sodium carbonate decahydrate (not baking soda) is an excellent all-around cleanser for floors, walls, sinks, tile and tubs. Wear gloves when using washing soda and don't use it on aluminum.

Sodium Borate (Borax) -- disinfects, deodorizes and is a good choice for cleaning papered walls.

Citrus Solvent -- cleans grease and oil

Soap -- biodegradable, unscented soap in flake, bar, powder or liquid form kills germs, removes stains and is gentle enough to use on almost any surface.

Baking Soda -- deodorizes and is a mild abrasive for cleaning porcelain sinks and stove tops.
Lemon juice kills most types of household bacteria.


To make the switch from chemical-based products easier, start by making one or two basic cleaning formulas yourself. Pour your cleansers into a spray bottle after mixing the ingredients; label the bottle clearly and keep cleansers out of the reach of young children. Remember, natural cleansers are still strong; ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice and washing soda can be caustic.

Window Cleaner -- Pour 2 cups of white vinegar and 2 cups water into a spray bottle. Add three to four drops of liquid soap and shake gently. Use on windows, mirrors, granite or marble countertops and for light cleaning of hard surfaces.

All Purpose Cleaner -- Mix 1/8 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup vinegar into 1 quart water. Use for cleaning the tub, sinks, chrome fixtures and for removing water stains.

Mold and Grout Cleaner -- Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 2 cups water. Spray the mixture into grout lines and scrub lightly with a brush. The same mixture can be used to remove coffee or tea stains from cups and glass carafes.

Disinfectant -- Mix 4 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 teaspoons sodium borate, 3 cups hot water and a few drops of liquid soap. Spray directly onto kitchen counters, bathroom fixtures and other surfaces that require disinfecting and wipe with a clean cloth.

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