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Non-Toxic Spring Cleaning

Non-Toxic Spring Cleaning

While nothing feels as welcoming as a freshly cleaned home, a clean house doesnít always mean a healthy home. Most conventional cleaners are laden with chemicals that linger in your home, contribute to poor indoor air quality and put your familyís health at risk. Many glass cleaners are made with ammonia, which can irritate the eyes and lungs and cause headaches; floor and furniture polishes are known to include nitrobenzene, a known carcinogen and reproductive toxin that can cause nausea and shortness of breath; and many disinfectants contain petroleum derivates that can cause dizziness and fainting. Chemical-laden cleaners also pollute our air and waterways, and their packaging creates unnecessary waste that clogs our landfills.

Fortunately, itís possible to thoroughly clean your home without treating it to a chemical bath. And all youíll need is a handful of natural ingredients, many of which can be found in your kitchen!

Hereís a quick look at some of my favorite natural cleaning ingredients and what they can do:

  • Vinegar: This natural cleaning ingredient works wonders around the house. Dilute 1 part vinegar in 4 parts water to create a solution that can disinfect any surface: kitchen countertops, bathroom floors, even toilets. Vinegar also makes a great window cleaner. (Discover 23 uses for vinegar.)
  • Baking soda: Polish silverware, scour sinks and remove scuff marks with this multitasking ingredient. Baking soda is also a great deodorizer, so use it anywhere you want to banish smells: the fridge, garbage disposal, trashcan, etc. (Discover 51 uses for baking soda.)
  • Lemons: When life gives you lemons, clean! The citric acid in lemons can cut grease, banish odors, dissolve soap scum and naturally bleach. The fresh scent isnít bad either. (Discover 17 uses for lemons.)
  • Salt: Naturally abrasive, salt makes quick work of food-encrusted pots and pans or mildew in the bathtub. Pour salt on fresh carpet stains like red wine or coffee, let dry, then vacuum it up.
  • Castile soap: This natural soap works great for floors and all-purpose cleaning solutions. Combine 2 teaspoons of soap with 3 gallons of water for a natural floor cleaner, or Ĺ teaspoon of soap to 2 cups of water for an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Tea tree oil: Although tea tree oil is most often used medicinally or in beauty products, its antibacterial and antifungal properties make it a great addition to homemade cleaners, too. Mix 15 drops of tea tree oil to 1 quart of water for a multipurpose cleaner. (Discover 20 uses for tea tree oil.)

All-Purpose Disinfecting Cleaner

2 cups hot water
ľ cup vinegar
Ĺ teaspoon washing soda (similar to baking soda, but more caustic)
15 drops tea tree oil
15 drops of your favorite essential oil (for fragrance)

Combine all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and shake well.

Interested in cleaning your home the natural way? Get more recipes for homemade cleaners!

Image credit: Franny-Anne / Fotolia

Read more: Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning

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Susan Melgren

Susan Melgren is the web editor of Natural Home & Garden magazine. She enjoys writing about natural health, nontoxic homes and tips for green living.


+ add your own
9:59PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

yum, those are all excellent cleaning ingredients that i already use and thank you for the recipe! i wish my house were clean as can be; alas, i am always working at it.

7:46AM PDT on May 8, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

1:05PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

Great tips, I already use some of these and will try the others too. Thanks.

12:57PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

Yes! I already knew about these, but it's a shame that not everyone uses them instead of conventional cleaners. Thanks for helping to spread the word.

7:45AM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

great tips! thank you for sharing! :)

7:38AM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

thank you for sharing! :)

12:04PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

to get more energy work to live eat healthy sleep and relax

12:03PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

natural energy is hard to come by in our workaholic society

12:02PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

good ideas

1:07PM PDT on Mar 20, 2012

Very cool - and just in time - thank you very much!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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