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Green Clean: Natural Methods are Better for your Family and the Planet

Bleach and other household cleaning products keep your family safe from bacteria, but they expose your loved ones to dangerous chemicals. Natural cleaning alternatives are a safer way to clean your home. Using common household materials also saves you money and is better for the environment. For a green clean that’s not dangerous for your kids and pets, start by visiting your pantry.

Vinegar 

Vinegar is a really versatile cleaning product that doesn’t have any harmful chemicals. It’s highly acidic, which makes it a powerful way to fight scum and prevent mold from growing. Apple cider vinegar has the same cleansing properties as regular vinegar, so you can use the one you already have in your pantry. Vinegar is better for the environment and safer for your kids and pets to be around, but people wonder if it’s an effective cleansing solution. Experts say yes, it is. Studies suggest that vinegar disinfects as well as bleach.

Clean your coffee pot, dishwasher, glasses and shower heads with a vinegar solution. It’s best to dilute the vinegar with warm water, and then you can use it to remove mineral deposits and leave an eco-friendly shine. The vinegar-water mixture also works to clean carpets. For an easy citrus solution, fill a jar with undiluted white vinegar and citrus peels, such as lemons. After letting this sit for a couple days, drain out the liquid and use it to clean windows, mop floors or wipe down counters. Although many vinegar cleaning tips suggest adding baking soda, that’s not always best. The properties in baking soda will neutralize vinegar’s acidity and bacteria-killing qualities.

Baking soda 

Baking soda is safe for your family and safe for our planet. It’s non-toxic, inexpensive and an effective way to absorb odors. Sprinkle the baking soda at the bottom of trashcans and laundry baskets, or leave a small bowl of it in your refrigerator to keep your house smelling fresh. Urine smells from potty training kids or pets are eliminated with a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and water.

Baking soda helps you clean pots and pans that have tough grease stains and burnt-on food. Outside of the kitchen, it can be used to clean the grease stain in your garage and the burnt food in your grill. Pour a little baking soda down your drain and rinse it with hot water to prevent clogged sinks. If your little artist has covered the walls in crayon marks, use a baking soda and water paste to erase them. Let the paste dry on the wall before wiping it clean. This works best on white walls, because it can dull colors.

Other household cleaners

Regular table salt is an effective way to clean your greasy dishes and your glassware. Salt absorbs excess grease from your cookware for easy cleanup. The grainy texture scours away grime, but doesn’t leave scratches. Salt and lemon juice combine to make an effective scouring paste. Lemons are very acidic, which helps them clean countertops and brighten laundry. They will also clean your garbage disposal and leave a fresh scent.

Olive oil and other vegetable and plant-based oils polish wooden furniture, hydrate wicker furniture to prevent it from cracking and remove scuff marks from leather shoes.

Standard toothpastes are formulated to fight stains and bacteria on your teeth, but they work around the house too. Gel toothpastes are different, so they won’t be an effective way to clean. Polish chrome fixtures, piano keys, tarnished silverware and scuffed linoleum with just a bit of regular toothpaste and a toothbrush.

Your pantry is stocked with regular household items that are great alternatives to the harsh chemicals found in most cleaning supplies. Natural cleaning solutions are cheaper, safer for your family and better for the environment. Next time you tackle the everyday stains, odors and grime around your house, go green while you clean.