Non-toxic, Homemade Cleaning Products, Part I

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Wary of using harsh chemical-based cleaning products around your children, pets, asthma sufferers, and those with chemical sensitivities?  Here are some easy-to-make, inexpensive, and effective homemade solutions using an amazing ingredient that you likely have in your pantry:   white vinegar.

  • Household cleaner (for kitchen and bath countertops, backsplashes, stovetops, and exterior surfaces of toilet):  mix together 1 cup of white vinegar & 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Window cleaner:  use above mentioned spray and dry with a soft cloth.  Helpful tip:  avoid washing windows while the sun is shining on them because they dry too quickly and leave streaks.
  • Tub and tile cleaner:  To remove film buildup on bathtubs, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe with vinegar first. Next, use baking soda as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  • Floor cleaner and floor polisher:  Dull, greasy film on no-wax linoleum can be washed away with 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed into 1/2 gallon water.  For Wood Floors:  mix a 1to 1 ratio of vegetable oil and vinegar into a solution, apply a thin coat, and rub in well. For Brick and Stone Floors:  mix 1 cup white vinegar into 1 gallon water; scrub the floor with a brush and the vinegar solution; rinse with clean water. For Ceramic Tile: mix 1/4 cup white vinegar (more if very dirty) into 1 gallon water. This solution removes most dirt without scrubbing and doesn’t leave a film.
  • Toilet bowl cleaner:  Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. This combination both cleans and deodorizes. Use a pumice stone to remove any remaining hard water rings.
  • Clogged showerheads:  place 1/4 to 1/2 cup undiluted, white vinegar in a plastic food storage bag, and secure the bag to the shower head with a rubber band. Let stand for 2 hours to overnight, then rinse and buff the fixture to a shiny finish.
  • Fabric Softener:  add 1 cup of undiluted, white vinegar to the laundry rinse cycle.  To get wool and
    cotton blankets soft and fluffy as new, add 2 cups undiluted, white vinegar to a full tub of rinse water.  DO NOT USE VINEGAR IF YOU ADD CHLORINE BLEACH TO YOUR RINSEWATER. IT WILL PRODUCE HARMFUL VAPORS.  If you feel you must use chlorine bleach, cut the amount in half by adding 1/2 cup baking soda to top loading machines or 1/4 cup to front loaders.
  • Paintbrush cleaner:  boil a cup of undiluted, white vinegar and rest hardened bristles in it overnight to loosen up dried on paint.
  • Air freshener:  boil 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors.
  • Remove onion odor from hands when cooking:  rub undiluted, white vinegar on your hands before and after slicing.
  • Oven cleaner:  retard grease buildup in your oven by dampening your cleaning rag in vinegar and water before wiping out your oven.  Minimize use of self-cleaning feature as it uses a lot of energy.
  • Stainless steel cleaner/polisher:  moisten a cloth with undiluted white or cider vinegar and wipe clean.
  • Copper, bronze, brass, & pewter cleaner/polisher:  dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste.  Apply paste to metal surface and let sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse with clean, warm water, and polish dry.
  • Chrome cleaner/polisher:  wipe with a soft cloth dipped in undiluted white or cider vinegar.
  • Remove price tags and other stickers from glass, wood, and china:  Apply undiluted, white vinegar to label and let soak for a few minutes before rubbing it clean.
  • Drain opener for slow-moving drains:  Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain, if possible. Let set for a few minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD AFTER ANY COMMERCIAL DRAIN OPENER HAS BEEN USED OR IS STILL PRESENT IN THE STANDING WATER.

Sources:  Organized Home, This Old House, Michigan State University Extension

Tag(s): For Kids, Green Cleaning, Kitchens And Baths, Money Saving


3 Responses to “Non-toxic, Homemade Cleaning Products, Part I”

  1. Personal Care Items on July 24th, 2010 2:51 pm

    Home made products sound very good for home use.Non toxic ways of cleaning help us go eco friendly which is an added advantage.

  2. a toddler, a baby, & cleaning supplies… | Love Deeply Live Simply on October 10th, 2010 10:10 pm

    […] Unfortunately, nontoxic cleaner is more expensive.  I prefer Method, Seventh Generation, or Mrs. Meyers.  Even though it is more expensive paying a few dollars more for a safer cleaner is something I am willing to do.  And there are ways to get nontoxic cleaners for less.  One way is to sign up for the companies mailing list and coupons, or keep an eye out for a sale.  I first used Mrs. Meyers because I found it on sale, and I grew to love it!   If you are not willing to fork over the money for safer cleaners there are many homemade cleaners that are very cost effective.  I love to use a mixture of vinegar and water.  It may stink up your house for a few minutes, but I promise the smell goes away.  Or you can always add a few drops of dish soap or lemon juice to make it smell better.  You can find a list of homemade, nontoxic cleaners here, here, and here […]

  3. green cleaning supplies on November 24th, 2010 7:23 am

    I do hope that we all make it a habit to use only environmentally safe cleaning products so that we remain healthy and our environment is kept safe for years to come. With new and helpful information being shared on the Internet and other kinds of media, we now realize that making use of harmful chemicals in cleaning not only pose threat to our health but to the environment as well.

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