By Ash Stevens
Green cleaning only gets more popular by the day so it’s time to get those pesky chemicals replaced with a safe and healthy substitute. Whether you need a cleaner for degreasing, disinfecting, scrubbing, cleaning glass, or knocking out mold, there’s a natural remedy to address all your cleaning needs.
Finding the green alternative powerful enough for those stubborn grease spots isn’t hard. In fact, it’s as simple as high school chemistry! You see, in terms of pH grease would be considered a base. In order to counteract its strong alkaline properties you simply need its acidic counterpart.
Both vinegar and lemon juice fit the bill thanks to their chemical makeup (the standard distilled white vinegar is 5% acetic acid while the average lemon is about 5% citric acid). Their powers of acidity may seem modest, but try these bad boys out on that oily stove hood and see their magic for yourself. Pair it up with the neutralizing powers of baking soda and you’ll save yourself precious time and elbow grease.
Remember those cheap plastic bottles of rubbing alcohol your mother always had under the sink? Well, it has the power to kill various bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It’s also ridiculously cost-effective which makes it ever more appealing, but don’t start spraying it on everything just yet. It’s properties as a solvent make it a no-no for some surfaces; especially those with paint. Make sure the items your cleaning are alcohol-friendly.
Little gems vinegar and lemon juice get another shout-out here thanks to their acidic nature. They aren’t as effective at disinfecting as rubbing alcohol, but combine them with antibacterial and antiviral essential oils like clove, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and tea tree oil and you have a fabulously-fragrant germ killer that would make mama proud. Open up the blinds for some of the sun’s sanitizing UV rays and you’ll have those germs from work and school dead in their tracks.
Scrubs & Scouring Powders
When it comes to getting that layer of soap scum off of sinks and tubs, soft scrubs and scouring powders are a necessity. Baking soda shines well here because it’s gentle enough that it won’t scratch soft surfaces, but it still cleans like a champ. And when fixtures need a super-effective soft scrub, all you have to do is add a little soap.
Baking soda is up to virtually every challenge, but some situations will require a cleaner with certain specialities. Messes involving hard water stains, mold, or stuck-on food can be knocked out with the highly-alkaline washing soda. And if you’re trouble lies with stains or tarnished metal, look to the cleaning power of salt.
I’m not sure who thought white tile grout would be a great idea, but it’s now a pain plaguing the arms of homeowners everywhere. Mold can be hard to clean even with the strongest chemical cleaners, but there are green remedies that can make the job easy. Really!
The bubbling power of hydrogen peroxide make it a fabulous debriding agent that will do much of the cleaning work without requiring you to touch a single sponge. It also acts as a natural bleach, so it will have those dingy white tiles brightened up without a single drop of Clorox. Add in a few drops of tea tree oil and you’ll have an amazing antifungal spray.
Vinegar has it’s place as a window cleaner, but some bubbly club soda will really make glass shine. Pair your club soda spray with a good microfiber cloth and those windows can get cleaned in a jiffy without the streaks. If outside windows are dirty and needing extra attention, turn to a bucket of good old soap and water.
This kind of cleaning is new to us, but grandmothers everywhere have been swearing by these kinds of cleaning tricks for ages. Do you have tricks that have been passed on down to you? Tell us all about it so we can keep it simple and maximize our fun under the sun.
Ash Stevens is a gardener, a writer, and a fan of all things green. Her love for health and sustainability began with her journey into motherhood, and it’s grown exponentially ever since. She’s passionate about living a healthy lifestyle through gardening, cooking, and spending time outdoors. If she isn’t writing or reading up on exciting green trends, she’s probably playing Connect Four or swimming in the river with the kids. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.