Anyone who’s ever cleaned a house knows how much dirt and grime can be found, even in unexpected places. It can be tempting to buy the fiercest-looking cleaner from the nearest store, but it’s much healthier to use a combination of harmless products that are consistently kept in most homes. The following substitutes for cleaners are quick, easy, and benign ways to achieve sparkling results.
To polish furniture: use a small amount of mayonnaise on a soft cloth, then rub it into furniture for a superior shine. Another option is to moisten a dusting cloth with cool tea, then polish as usual.
To clean the oven: create a thick paste using baking soda and a small amount of hot water. Apply it to any problem spots, then wipe clean. For tough stains, leave the paste on overnight, then remove to reveal a clean oven.
To clean windows: mix ¼ cup of plain vinegar with 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of liquid soap. Make sure it’s well blended in a spray bottle, then use just like regular window cleaner.
To kill dust mites: brew black tea, let it cool, then put it into a spray bottle. Test a small section of the carpet to make sure it won’t be stained, then cover the area.
To freshen the garbage disposal: grind ice cubes and citrus peels. Baking soda left overnight will also work.
To freshen the air: don’t risk carcinogens and allergens just for air that smells good. Simmer a clean, harmless air freshener on the stove instead by leaving any of the following mixtures on low heat.
- 1. Cut 2 lemons into quarters, then cover them with cold water.
- 2. Drop 6 sprigs of fresh mint into 4 cups of water.
- 3. Combine 5 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 4 cups of cider.
Stuck on an irreplaceable chemical? Try MIT’s “Green” Alternatives Wizard. It can be used to find alternatives for specific chemicals or processes and can also provide more information on alternative chemicals or methods. The Wizard is a fast, easy way to eradicate even the most convenient chemicals from regular use.
About the author: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger researching areas of online college degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop. More from Alexis;
How much stuff do you throw away each day after a use or two? Each week? Each month? Now multiply that times the billions of people on earth and you can see how that single, seemingly tiny item can really add up to quite a mess. In 2008, Americans alone created 250 million tons of trash and recycled and/or composted 83 million tons of it – the equivalent of a 33.2% recycling rate. Solid waste generation has increased from 3.66 to 4.50 pounds per person per day between 1980 and 2008 – we are, in fact, going backwards. Wasn’t the digital revolution supposed to ween us off a huge amount of this waste? It doesn’t seem to be working. Luckily, there are a bunch of very simple things you can do at home, starting today, to ween yourself off of disposables in your own life. Each one of these is simple, cheap, and very effective at reducing the amount of trash you contribute to the waste stream. Give a few of them a shot this week!
– Instead of single use ballpoint pens, buy refillable pens.
– Instead of disposable razors and/or razor cartridges, try a straight razor…or just stop shaving your face like yours truly.
– Instead of a paper coffee cup, get yourself a reusable coffee mug or thermos.
– Instead of regular batteries, buy rechargeable ones and a charger. I haven’t bought (or disposed of) a new battery in years.
– Instead of buying bottled water, get your own reusable bottle and never pay for plastic bottles again.
– Instead of disposable diapers, look into using unbleached cloth ones.
– Instead of using plastic wrap at home, get yourself some resealable glass containers.
– Instead of plastic straws, get your own glass one at GlassDharma.
– Instead of single-use sponges, buy some washable sponges. I put mine in with the laundry.
– Instead of virgin plastic garbage bags, find ones made from recycled plastic.
– Instead of plastic utensils on a picnic, bring your metal ones from home.
– Instead of paper towels, buy some dish rags and keep them handy in a drawer. I haven’t bought a roll of paper towels for 2 months ever since my cat died. The only reason I bought them was to clean up after him.
– Instead of tissues, try out a handkerchief!
– Instead of paper or plastic, bring your own bag when you go shopping.
– Instead of using the produce bags, just put the produce in your cart. You’re gonna wash it before you eat it anyway!
– Instead of using plastic bags for bulk purchases, bring your own reusable container. The store will weigh it for you to get the tare weight (the weight of the empty container) before you use it.
– Instead of using paper coffee filters that get thrown away, get yourself a gold filter that you can wash each day.
Peter writes – actually there’s something good about not throwing away coffee grinds 1. it makes good compost. 2. It’s a natural slug repellent. 3. Collect enough and get enough pressure on it – you can squeeze out a natural oil that cah run in diesel engines and/or be used as a fuel in oil burners.
More ways to clean – using essential oils.