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Natural Products for Cleaning Your Home

Simple combinations of lemon, salt, baking soda, and vinegar have hundreds of uses around your home, contain no harsh chemicals, and you’ll be stunned at the amount of space you save when these become your primary cleaners.

| July 2016

  • “Household Hints: Amazing Uses for Salt, Lemon, Vinegar, and Baking Soda” by Heather Rodino
    Photo courtesy of Wellfleet Press
  • These four basic items, plus the handful of others mentioned in “Household Hints”, are natural alternatives to the harmful chemicals in your home.
    Photo by Fotolia/Franny-Anne

Specialized products exist for every imaginable housekeeping task and beauty need. While it is undoubtedly convenient to have this many choices, consider the amount of money you spend on various products, the space in your cabinets that’s fit to burst, and the harsh chemicals these products contain. In the meantime, there are natural ingredients already sitting in your kitchen that can clean with the same results! Abrasive salt can cut through grease and fight mildew. Lemons can gently bleach stains and prevent mold. Vinegar can tone your skin and replace your fabric softener. And baking soda can eliminate odors in carpet, stuffed animals, and even mattresses. Household Hints (Wellfleet Press, 2015) by Heather Rodino addresses these four alternatives and teaches readers uses for other common household products like rubbing alcohol, tea tree oil, and hydrogen peroxide. Organized by room of the house, this book is full of countless tips and tricks for safe, time-tested methods that take care of every square inch of your home, from standards like the bathroom and basement to yards, cars, and even pets! Learn how to be greener and more frugal by simplifying your housekeeping.

You can purchase this book form the Mother Earth Living store: Household Hints.

The first and largest chapter of this book is on cleaning. As cleaning agents, baking soda, vinegar, salt, and lemon are virtually unparalleled, and there’s little these four mighty — and frugal — superheroes can’t do either alone or in tandem. For example, vinegar can leave your drinking glasses spot-free, clean windows, clear a clogged drain, replace your fabric softener, and clean your tile floor or your toilet. Baking soda can deodorize laundry, soften water, act as a scouring powder, get your oven clean, and freshen up your mattress. Lemons can clean your cheese grater, gently bleach stains, cut through tough grease, and fight mold in the dehumidifier. Salt is great as an abrasive, but it can also fight mildew, clean cutting boards, and even eliminate some stains, such as wine.

There are dozens of tips for the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, laundry room, basement, and more. You’ll also discover natural solutions for tackling floors, windows, and walls, as well as simple suggestions for keeping furniture and appliances in top shape. As an added bonus, you’ll probably be surprised at how easy it is to pare down the number of cleaning products — and by extension the number of chemicals — you use in the home because of the versatility of these ingredients. And finally, you’ll discover some clever (non-cleaning) household tricks and repairs.

A few words of common sense are in order though. Always use caution. If you’re not certain a tip is appropriate for your particular surface or fabric, try a patch test first on an inconspicuous area, or check the manufacturer’s recommendations. While baking soda, vinegar, salt, and lemon are fairly gentle as cleaning products go, they’re not ideal for every circumstance. For instance, acids like lemon and vinegar are generally no-nos on surfaces like granite and marble and fine fabrics like rayon and silk. And baking soda is not a good match for aluminum.

While cleaning may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, there is something incredibly satisfying about being able to do it in a way that minimizes your environmental impact, is safer for you and your family, saves money — and most importantly — works!

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