When the Cleaning Gets Tough

For particularly tough cleaning jobs, skip the abrasive chemicals and use simple ingredients to make these natural cleaners.


  • Creating a clean home doesn't have to require harsh chemicals, even for tough stains.
    Photo by iStock/kazoka30
  • Use a microfiber mop and reusable cloth to clean floors.
    Photo by Getty Images
  • Clean stainless steel by wiping it in the direction of the grain.
    Photo by iStock/pixalot
  • Use white vinegar and rubbing alcohol to clean stubborn water stains.
    Photo by iStock/YinYang
  • Simple ingredients pack a powerful cleaning punch.
    Photo by iStock/eskaylim
  • Brown sugar, lemon, water and yeast are all it takes to make this handy enzyme cleaner.
    Photo by Jill Nystul
  • Red wine stains? Cover the stain with a small mound of salt overnight, and wash afterward.
    Photo by Lauri Patterson

For those of us inclined to maintain our homes without chemical toxins, wiping down countertops and door handles with vinegar and scenting our homes with essential oils is probably a given. But maintaining our “all-natural” vibe gets a little more challenging when we’re dealing with more tenacious foes (water stains, shower scum and clogged drains come to mind). Before you panic and turn to harsh chemicals (“just this once!”), try these hard-hitting strategies cleaning experts recommend.


Bucket-less Mopping

One of the toughest cleaning jobs in our homes is washing the floor—especially kitchen floors that get a lot of traffic. To clean a hard floor correctly, it’s really best done on hands and knees, but who has time for that? Instead, I’ve developed a technique called “bucket-less mopping.” All you need to do is start by vacuuming the entire floor with a soft-bristle floor attachment to pick up all the large hair and dirt. Then use a microfiber mop with removable microfiber mop covers and a spray bottle filled with a DIY cleaner (see recipe below), and you can mop the floor in a few minutes without having to scrub on your hands and knees.

Start by wetting the microfiber covers in the sink. Wring out the first cover and place on the microfiber mop. Start at one end of the kitchen and spray cleaner in a 4-by-4-foot area, then wipe with the damp mop. The microfiber and cleaner combine to eliminate grime, leaving a small amount of water, which dries quickly. Continue to move through the kitchen, spraying and wiping. Replace the dirty cover with a clean one as necessary. The floor will come out spotless.

(Watch my “how to” video)



DIY Tile Floor Cleaner

• 1 cup boiling water
• 1/4 cup borax
• 1 cup white vinegar
• 10 drops essential oil of your choice, for scent



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Get the latest on Natural Health and Sustainable Living with Mother Earth News!

Mother Earth News

Your friends at Mother Earth Living are committed to natural health and sustainable living. Unfortunately, the financial impact of COVID-19 has challenged us to find a more economical way to achieve this mission. We welcome you to our sister publication Mother Earth News. What you sought in the pages of Mother Earth Living can be found in Mother Earth News. For over 50 years, “The Original Guide to Living Wisely” has focused on organic gardening, herbal medicine, real food recipes, and sustainability. We look forward to going on this new journey with you and providing solutions for better health and self-sufficiency.

The impact of this crisis has no doubt affected every aspect of our daily lives. We will strive to be a useful and inspiring resource during this critical time and for years to come.

Best wishes,
Your friends at Mother Earth Living and Mother Earth News

Save Money & a Few Trees!

By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of Mother Earth News for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Classifieds