You can make your own highly effective, non-toxic cleaning products using safe, natural ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard. Baking soda, fresh lemon, pure soap flakes, salt, soap nuts, washing soda, and white vinegar all have cleansing and scouring properties.
Of course, the world’s best cleaner is still water. Most bacteria will die when they come into contact with hot soapy water. A very effective method of dirt removal is soaking.
It's easy to get started with healthy do-it-yourself cleaning
Baking soda is a very common baking ingredient and is a naturally occurring mineral (sodium bicarbonate) containing many cleaning properties. When it reacts with fatty acids, it forms a mild detergent that can cut through grease. It is great for doing your laundry because it removes stains, softens water, and serves as a whitening agent.
Lemon juice contains citric acid. Citric acid is good for removing odors and stains as well as brightening whites. It can also be used to clean glass, impede mold growth, and it's great at disinfecting toilets. It cleans bath edges and showers plus grouting on tiles. When used at full strength, lemon will remove stubborn grime at the base of taps.
Pure soaps refer to crystal-like flakes of pure soap concentrate. A natural and biodegradable washing agent, pure soaps are made from 100% vegetable oils and purified water. Using pure soap flakes and hot water with a little soda will perform almost all cleaning jobs in your home.
Salt is probably the oldest disinfectant known to humanity. A natural, gentle abrasive, salt can be very useful for clearing drains and cleaning stained kitchen utensils. Add it to baking soda and it cuts through tough grease. It can also remove burn marks from the edges of dishes as well as stains from chinaware. Salt and cold water will whiten a discolored breadboard but only if you use it as a scrub daily.
Soap nut is the fruit of the Ritha tree is a tree found primarily in India and Nepal. It is a wholly natural and completely renewable and biodegradable laundry detergent alternative. The shell of the fruit contains saponin, which is a natural surfactant. If you put 6 to 8 half-shells of the soap nut into a cotton bag and place in your washing machine, you should have enough for 4 to 6 washes. When the shells become darker and softer, it is time to toss them into the compost heap. You can also grind soap nuts and make a fine natural washing powder out of it.
Sodium carbonate is a natural product also known as washing soda. It is one of the oldest cleaning products. With a stronger base than baking soda, washing soda can get rid of strong stains such as grease, petrol, or oil stains on a garage floor. It can also be used as an extremely effective heavy duty cleaner for hard floors, painted walls, and kitchen surfaces. Although washing soda does not produce fumes in direct air, it is recommended to wear gloves and masks while using it as a cleaning agent.
White vinegar is a very versatile cleaning agent. It contains acetic acid that will dissolve calcium build-up in dishwashers, coffee pots, kettles, sinks, shower screens, and windows. It cuts through grease and soap scum and helps to carry away foul odors as it evaporates. This makes it an ideal cleaner and disinfectant for the bathroom and toilet.
These are just some of the many natural alternatives to chemical cleaning products that are easier on your wallet and on your health. The products and what you can do with them is nearly limitless. What natural cleaning products do you use?
Melissa King, a Savings.com DealPro, lives in Savannah, GA. She enjoys "Paying It Forward" in her community. Check her out on her blog at ThisMommySavesMoney.com.
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