Homemade Cleaning Products
Spring Clean Your Place With Cheap, Natural Cleaning Products
With spring in the air, now's the time to bring some of that sweet sunshine indoors with a good spring cleaning. But don't head to the store just yet: By making your own natural cleaning products, you can freshen your house the old-fashioned way, minimizing harsh chemicals and environmental pollutants -- and your costs, too. Skip buying bottles of expensive specialty solutions for each room; many natural cleaning products can be made from cheap items you already have in your pantry.
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White Vinegar.Ask your mother or grandmother, and they'll have likely used vinegar to clean their homes. Vinegar's traditional popularity as a natural cleaning solution is due to its anti-bacterial and deodorizing properties and its low price. Mix one part vinegar to one part water, and you'll have an all-purpose cleaning spray that'll work for many areas of your home, including your counters, refrigerator, and bathroom fixtures. Don't worry about the tangy smell - it disappears after the vinegar dries. And if you have any solution left over, pour it into a glass bowl and heat it to boiling in the microwave to eliminate lingering food odors.
Lemon.Want a great-smelling, natural disinfectant? Squeeze a lemon! You can use undiluted lemon juice or mix it with water to make a natural cleaning product that can dissolve soap scum and mineral deposits. Or you can shine and polish metal with a paste of lemon and baking soda. To clean hardwood furniture, soak a cloth in a mixture of two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice, and rub it into the wood to dissolve dirt and built-up polish.
Baking Soda.Banish stains and odors with this versatile natural cleaning product. Althought it's popularity as a toothpaste is well known, it's also great for cleaning everything from clothing to pots and pans. Get rid of burnt, stuck-on food in your pans by boiling a mixture of equal parts vinegar, baking soda, and water. Simply mixed with water, baking soda can be used as a mild abrasive to clean bathrooms and kitchens. Or you can use it to keep your drains clean and clear.
Essential Oils.Give your natural cleaning products a fresh scent with essential oils. Although a tiny bottle of fragrant oil may seem expensive upfront, a little goes a long way: A few drops are enough to scent a bucket of water. Many essential oils also have anti-bacterial or other helpful qualities, so use them for both their fragrance and their cleaning power. Tea tree oil and lemon oil, for instance, are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and fresh-smelling lemongrass oil can be used to both clean your house and repel insects.
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The Sun and UV Rays.For a natural clean -- and a springtime smell -- try line-drying your laundry. As a natural disinfectant, the sun's UV rays kill germs and remove allergens such as dust mites. Sunlight can also lighten your linens without bleach: Hang them on the line to dry on a bright day, and they'll look whiter by the time you bring them in. To freshen everything from towels and bedsheets to pillows and upholstered furniture, take them outside for 30 minutes. You'll get a double dose of clean from the sunshine and the fresh air.
For more tips on how to use vinegar, baking soda, and other cheap products to clean your home, read our recent post, Generic or Brand Name: When to spend more on cleaning products?
Do you have any homemade, organic, or traditional family tips for home cleaning on the cheap? Share them here.