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Cleaning Green! All-Natural Cleaning Solutions

by
Jan 14th, 2013

Whoever said that it’s not easy being green didn’t know the power that natural household items wield to tackle countless cleaning tasks. Did you know that lemons, vinegar, baking soda, and table salt can clean better than many chemical-laden cleaners and don’t harm our environment? Check out these helpful and natural cleaning solutions.

LEMONS

The acid in lemon juice removes dirt and rust stains. It’s especially effective when mixed with salt, which makes an excellent scouring paste.

Use Them to Clean Your…
Cutting boards: To remove tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards, slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Garbage disposal: Cut a lemon in half, and then run both pieces through the disposal. The lemon cleans it and makes it smell great.

Hands: When you touch raw fish, the smell can linger on your fingers. Rub your hands with lemon juice, which will neutralize the odor.

Plastic food-storage containers: To bleach stains from tomato soup and other acidic foods on dishwasher-safe items, rub lemon juice on the spots, let dry in a sunny place, and then wash as usual.

VINEGAR

This acidic wonder can wipe out tarnish, soap scum, mineral deposits, and more. Among natural cleaners, it’s the clear champ. Distilled white vinegar creates an environment that inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, and some bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.

Use It to Clean Your…

Coffeemaker: Pour equal parts vinegar and water into the machine’s water chamber, and then switch on the brew cycle. Halfway through, turn off the coffeemaker and let the solution sit for about an hour. Turn it on again to complete the cycle, and then run several cycles with clean water.

Dishwasher: To disinfect the interior of the machine, pour ½ cup vinegar into the reservoir and run an empty cycle. Or place a small bowl filled with vinegar on the bottom rack and run an empty cycle.

Floors: Add ¼ cup vinegar to a bucket of warm water to clean almost any type of floor except marble (vinegar can scratch it) or wood (vinegar can strip it).

Glassware: For spotless hand-washed glasses, add 1 cup vinegar to the rinse water.

BAKING SODA

Baking soda (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate) is a great cleaning agent and does an outstanding job absorbing odors.

Use It to Clean Your…

Can opener: Dip a toothbrush in a paste of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon water and use it to dislodge gunk.

Stained teacups and coffee mugs: Fill with 1 part baking soda and 2 parts water and soak overnight; rub with a sponge and rinse.

Scuffed walls: Erase crayon marks by applying a baking soda paste (equal parts baking soda and water) to white painted walls (baking soda may dull colored walls). Let dry before brushing it off with a clean cloth.

TABLE SALT

Salt’s granular texture makes it perfectly suited for scouring. Table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt can all be used, but table salt is the cheapest choice.

Use It to Clean Your…
Glassware: Salt won’t scratch the way a scouring pad can. To get out stubborn stains, add some salt for extra abrasion and scrub.

Greasy pots and pans: Sprinkle salt on cookware to absorb excess grease. Dump out the salt before washing as usual. (Not recommended for nonstick cookware.)

Spills in the oven: If that casserole bubbles over as you take it out of the oven, pour salt on the spill to soak it up. When the oven is cool, wipe with a damp sponge.

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