Excerpts from a great article by Beth Swanson posted in Mother Earth Living magazine:
Nature provides simple, effective materials that clean and disinfect naturally, leaving your home clean and safe. Just open up your cupboards—five simple, nontoxic items can handle all of your household cleaning.
Lemons are natural disinfectants because of their antibacterial properties. For many, the refreshing citrus smell exemplifies cleanliness.
• Cut a lemon in half and use it to clean wooden chopping boards or to help remove stains from countertops. Let the lemon juice sit for a while, then wipe clean. Avoid marble and granite surfaces because the acid can be corrosive. (Try club soda instead.)
• Dip a cut lemon in coarse salt and scrub copper-bottomed pots and pans. Use the same preparation to help dissolve soap and hard water stains in sinks. Throw the used lemon into your compost pile for eco-friendly waste disposal.
• Odors and bacteria can build up over time in your garbage disposal. Place a whole lemon in your garbage disposal and turn it on for a quick, easy way to clean this hard-to-reach area (chop it into chunks if your disposal has trouble processing large items).
Good old-fashioned table salt can be used as an abrasive cleaner.
- • Abrasive coarse salt can help remove stains, caked-on food or mildew on stovetops and in bathtubs, or anywhere scratching is not a concern. Mix baking soda with salt to whiten while scrubbing away grime.
Salt works well on pots and pans with caked-on food. Soak pots and pans with 3 tablespoons of salt in a couple inches of water.
Powerful and economical, distilled white vinegar is one of nature’s most versatile cleaners. Its odor can be overwhelming, but the smell dissipates as it dries. If you find the smell is too pungent, try adding lemon juice to neutralize it.
• In a reusable spray bottle, mix a solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar for an effective all-purpose cleaner that disinfects and deodorizes. Use this solution to clean countertops, sinks, appliances and floors, but avoid granite or marble because vinegar’s acid can damage them.
Tea tree oil
Australian tea tree oil is well-known for its medicinal purposes, but the antibacterial and antifungal properties of this ancient remedy can also be useful in the household.
• In a reusable spray bottle, mix 15 drops of tea tree oil with 1 quart warm water for a multipurpose cleaner. For a more powerful antiseptic spray for areas that need specific attention—such as toilets—use 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil to 2 cups of water. The more potent mixture also works well on mold; just spray on the moldy area and don’t rinse. Although discoloration might not disappear, the mold will be killed.
Baking soda is a staple in many refrigerators because it helps absorb odors, but it can also dissolve dirt and grease in water. Like vinegar, baking soda has a wide variety of uses.
• Baking soda’s mild coarseness is similar to common abrasive cleaners. When mixed with water, baking soda turns into a scouring paste you can use to remove substances from tubs, sinks, countertops and dishes. Mix 1 part water with 3 parts baking soda to scrub away unwanted stains and messes.
• Use baking soda anywhere you need deodorizing action—especially in the refrigerator or cupboards. You can also control garbage-can odors by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of the can and into each new garbage bag.
To read the full article visit: http://www.motherearthliving.com/homemade-cleaners/a-fresh-start-natural-spring-cleaning.
Photos By Povy Kendal Atchison