Sure, there are several highly effective cleaning products on the market. But many of these cleaners are harmful to our skin, the environment, and the air we breathe. Manufactured cleaning agents that really work also tend to be fairly expensive.
Are you looking to keep costs down and your apartment home as sustainable as possible? Do you also want your apartment to be sparkling clean all the time?
Go back to the basics with five natural cleaning agents. You might even have all of them in your home right now!
When life gives you lemons, you can do a whole lot more with them than make lemonade. A natural cleaning agent with dozens of applications, lemons and pure lemon juice can be used for cleaning in every room of your apartment. Lemons are particularly useful as a natural cleaning agent in the room where they are most likely to be found: The kitchen.
A mixture of lemon juice, baking soda, and water is an effective solution for cleaning up stovetop and oven spills. Eliminate unpleasant odors coming from the sink by running the garbage disposal after throwing small pieces of lemon down the drain. Clean your dishwasher by running a fresh lemon wedge along its interior surfaces. You can even prevent the transfer of garlic and onion flavors to fruits cut on the same cutting board by squeezing a few drops of lemon juice on the board and spreading it around before slicing.
Your grandparents probably used vinegar to clean just about everything. If you don’t have this natural cleaning agent in your home or you do but it rarely finds its way out of your kitchen cabinet, it’s time to make some changes to your cleaning regimen. As versatile as any natural cleaning agent, white vinegar can be used to clean countertops and tile floors, stained carpets and clothing, plumbing fixtures and windows. It’s also a great multi-purpose deodorizer. Try cleaning smelly food containers with a mixture of vinegar and water or let a bowl of vinegar sit in a smelly room overnight. The effects can be almost mesmerizing.
If the world of natural cleaning had a sacred trinity, it would almost certainly consist of lemons, vinegar, and baking soda. Often used in tandem with one or both members of this trio, baking soda is something you should always keep around your apartment. From keeping your fridge smelling naturally fresh to cleaning your child’s or dog’s toys between uses, there are few applications for which baking soda doesn’t work.
Have you ever let too little oil burn for too long in a frying pan and been left with burnt oil that no amount of scrubbing seems able to clean off? Bring that pan back out from its hiding place, generously sprinkle baking soda on the burnt oil, add hot water, and let it soak overnight. This solution works best when tried right away, but it can also remove burnt oil residue and restore that like-new gleam to pots and pans that were stained ages ago.
Another natural cleaning agent that deserves a place on the cleaning supply shelf of any eco-friendly apartment is hydrogen peroxide. The oxidizing effects of this natural chemical compound are good for disinfecting more than open wounds. Hydrogen peroxide is great as a toilet bowl cleaner, stain remover, food residue cleaner, and sponge renewer. Wiping down refrigerator shelves or cleaning scents and natural dyes from cutting boards is easy with hydrogen peroxide. This natural cleaning agent can also serve as a fungicide for houseplants. Use a solution that contains one part hydrogen peroxide for every 16 parts water once a month and when sprouting seeds.
Olive oil has increased in popularity as a cooking oil in recent years as awareness of its relative health benefits have grown. It is, however, still under used as a natural cleaning agent. Olive oil can be used for a variety of cleaning purposes, but its efficacy as a polish for metal cookware, jewelry, wood furnishings, and hardwood floors is probably its most attractive and unique trait. Olive oil can also be used in place of WD-40 as a solution for noisy door hinges.
Like we said earlier, with the exception of hydrogen peroxide, each of these natural cleaning agents is probably sitting somewhere in your apartment right now.
We’ve only scratched the surface of eco-friendly cleaning. There are dozens of other natural products that can help you keep your counters, floors, clothes, and furniture clean. The next time you face a cleaning dilemma in your apartment and don’t want to default to an abrasive or toxic cleaner, run a quick web search on natural ways to to clean up whatever mess you’re dealing with. If it’s easier and more convenient for you, stock your cleaning supply shelf with plant-derived and other natural cleaning agents from lines such as Bon Ami, Dr. Bronners, method, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, and Seventh Generation.
Do you have any natural cleaning tips to share with readers? If you do, post them in the comments!
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