Natural Cleaners: 8 Safe Ingredients to Clean Almost Anything

Use simple, effective, natural alternatives to let your family breathe easy.

| July/August 2007

  • Detox your arsenal of cleaning supplies by using simple, nontoxic staples.
    Photo by Mother Earth Living staff

Looking for a simple way to detox your arsenal of cleaning supplies? Pare down to the staples listed below. These safe, inexpensive solutions will do the trick for almost every household cleaning job.

1. White vinegar
2. Lemon juice
3. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
4. Mild liquid soap (castile, olive oil soap)
5. Borax (sodium borate)
6. Washing soda (aka soda ash, sodium carbonate)
7. Dry salt
8. Sodium percarbonate and hydrogen peroxide (alternatives to chlorine bleach)

Here are some basic tips to get you started:

• Baking soda cleans and deodorizes kitchen and bathroom surfaces. To make a general-purpose cleaner, dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. To replace abrasive cleansers, sprinkle baking soda directly on a damp cloth or sponge, and scrub. Add some dry salt for an extra burst of power.

• For removing mildew or stains, scrub the dirty surface with borax or baking soda.

• Naturally acidic substances such as vinegar and lemon juice remove mineral deposits and wax or grease buildup. To clean glass or stainless steel, dilute them in water (use equal parts white vinegar and warm water).

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