For many, eating healthy and having a refrigerator and pantry stocked with organic foods is enough to make us feel we are leading our healthiest life. For others, buying natural cleaning products along with healthy eating is living our healthiest life. Then there are others who would love to take it a step farther by making all of their own cleaning products, but don’t because they think it is too hard or too time consuming. I can tell you, it is not as hard or as time consuming as you think.
To begin with, the most common, most useful and completely non-toxic cleaning products are easily found in most grocery stores. The first product those who want to live a more natural life should have in their cupboard is baking soda. Baking soda has proven virus-killing abilities in addition to effectively cleaning and deodorizing. Castile soap is another “must-have” product. This is a soap that is made from 100% plant oil. Vinegar is another product that every natural household should have on hand as it is has a plethora of household uses. In the arena of combating mildew and mold lemon juice is one of the strongest contenders. It destroys mold and mildew on contact. One that may be surprising is olive oil. In addition to being healthy to cook with, olive oil actually has strong cleaning abilities and is great for polishing. Essential oils should without question have a place in every home due to their potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties. With just these simple products, it is possible to naturally clean your entire house, including making soaps and laundry detergent. One word of caution though: while most of the above ingredients can be used together however it is advised not to mix castile soap with vinegar or lemon juice.
So, how do you get from this collection of ingredients to amazing all-natural cleaners for most common household needs? Very easily. For kitchen uses such as counter and stove tops mix together equal parts vinegar and water. Adding an aromatic essential oil such as orange oil, lemongrass, lime oil, cypress oil, eucalyptus or lavender can add to that fresh kitchen feel. If you have countertops that are marble granite or stone, instead of vinegar use rubbing alcohol, for the acidity in vinegar is destructive to these surfaces.
Another natural trick for kitchen cleaning is the very simple, very natural solution of using a fresh lemon to clean cutting boards, whether wood or plastic. Simply cut a lemon in half and run it over the surface, letting it sit for 10 minutes. This destroys the bacteria and any mold present. After ten minutes, rinse. If you need stronger cleaning for stuck-on foods, sprinkle some course salt on the cutting board after rubbing it down with lemon, then rinse.
Though the microwave is not often mentioned, it can get quite messy in there. For a quick fix, pour vinegar into a small microwavable cup and add some lemon juice. The exact amounts don’t matter. Then place the cup in the microwave and let the microwave run for 2 minutes and then leave the door closed for several more minutes. Then open the door, remove the cup and then just wipe down all sides, no scrubbing needed!
For those with a dishwasher, you don’t have to buy premade dish washing detergent. Mix together 1 cup of liquid castile soap and 1 cup of water and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, if you prefer, all in a large glass jar. Add some of this mixture to one detergent compartment in the dishwasher and fill the other compartment with white vinegar. This combination cuts grease and stuck on food, as well as kills bacteria and other germs. If washing dishes by hand combine 1 cup of liquid castile soap and 3 tablespoons of water, plus a few drops of the essential oil of your choice in a bottle. Shake well and use just as you would any other dish soap.
One of the least fun kitchen spots to clean – the refrigerator – can be the easiest. Add ½ cup baking soda to a bucket of hot water, dip a rag into the mixture and wipe away all of that refrigerator yuck. Another not so fun kitchen cleaning spot is the oven. Again, naturally, it can be a relatively painless experience. Heat the oven to 125 degrees and use the spray bottle created for countertops mentioned above. Once the oven is warm, spray the caked-on stuff until it is lightly damp and then pour salt directly onto the affected areas. Turn off the oven, let it cool, and then use a wet towel to scrub the mess away. For persistent gunk, go through the process again but using baking soda instead of salt, letting it sit for several minutes before scrubbing. These are just a few of the simple ways to create a brilliantly clean, all-natural kitchen in your home.