Vinegar. Because vinegar is acidic, it's a great cleaning agent. Here are five places you can use it in your home:
- Make chrome sink and bath fixtures shine by removing lime buildup with a paste made from 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar.
- Deodorize your kitchen drain by pouring down 1 cup of baking soda; then, pour down 1 cup of hot white distilled vinegar. Wait five minutes, then run hot water to rinse the drain.
- Clean and deodorize a microwave by placing a mixture (in a microwave-safe bowl) of 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in the microwave and heating it until the mixture is boiling. Crusty food will come loose, and odors will be removed. Finish by wiping the microwave down with a clean, dry towel.
- Get a clean, spotless shower by pouring vinegar into a spray bottle and spraying it all over your tub and tiles. Allow this to sit for 15 minutes, then wipe down the tub and rinse. For stubborn stains, try a mix of lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar. Work the paste over the stains with a sponge, then rinse.
- To clean and rejuvenate wood cabinets, try a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Use a sponge to remove grease and buildup. (Avoid using steel wool or scrub brushes since they can damage the wood finish.) A paste of water and baking soda can be applied to remove any stubborn stains. To restore shine, try a mix of 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 cup vinegar. Using a spray bottle, spray your cabinets with the solution and buff with a soft cloth.
Baking soda. Baking soda is another great natural product that is probably in products you already use, like kitty litter, deodorant and laundry detergent. Here are four new tips for using baking soda to keep your home clean and smelling fresh:
- Sprinkle the bottom of your garbage can with baking soda to deodorize it. You can also sprinkle it in the bottom of every new bag you put in to keep each new load of garbage from getting too smelly.
- Clean silver using a paste made from three parts baking soda and one part water. Rub the paste onto each piece of silver, then rinse with warm water and dry with a clean, soft cloth.
- Clean kids' toys with a mixture of 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 quart warm water. Submerge the toys in this mixture, then rinse them with clean water and dry with a clean cloth.
- To clean and deodorize your microwavable food containers, rinse them out with a solution of one part water and one part baking soda.
Lemon juice. High in citric acid and low in pH, lemon juice is one of the best natural cleaners around. As an added bonus, lemon juice smells fresh. Here are four wonderful ways lemon juice can clean and brighten your home.
- Use diluted lemon juice to cleans stains from, and kill bacteria on, cutting boards. Rub the lemon juice into the stains and watch as they disappear. Tough stains might need to sit overnight.
- Make an even more powerful degreaser out of your dish soap with the addition of few drops of lemon juice.
- Put a mixture of water and 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice into a spray bottle, and use it to wash windows and clean mirrors.
- Rub half of a cut lemon on shower doors to get rid of hard water stains.
4. Salt. Not only is salt an excellent scouring agent, but it also works as a catalyst that improves and accelerates the effectiveness of other cleaning agents (like vinegar). We've compiled four unusual places salt can work for you:
- Get a slow drain moving again by pouring down 1/2 cup salt and following with a quart of hot water. Repeat if necessary.
- Clean cast iron pans by sprinkling salt in the bottom and scrubbing with a clean, dry cloth.
- Rub down white wicker furniture with a saltwater solution, and let it dry in the sun to keep the wicker from yellowing.
- Remove ring stains left by beverage glasses on tables by making a paste of vegetable oil and salt and rubbing the stains gently with the paste. Let the paste sit for an hour or so, then wipe it off.
What green/eco-friendly cleaning solutions do you use and love? We want tips!