Simple Solutions for Chemical-Free Spring Cleaning 114

Spring offers a great opportunity to get your house looking ship-shape after a long winter, but the truth is that dirt isn’t nearly as harmful as most of the products intended to clean it. Rather than filling your home with chemicals, you can pick up a few items at just about any store that will work just as well without hurting the environment. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Essential Oils (optional)
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Sponge

You can use these basic ingredients in various combinations to clean nearly any surface in your house, from kitchen counters to bathroom floors. For example:

  • Floors: In a pail, mix 4 cups of white vinegar with about a gallon of hot water, and use this mixture with a mop to clean tile, linoleum or hardwood floors. You can also add a few drops of essential oils – lemon or peppermint are good options – that will leave a fresh, clean smell after the vinegar odor has dissipated.
  • Glass: Mix 1 quart of water with ¼-cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray your windows and wipe away with a lint-free microfiber cloth.
  • Plumbing: You can clean out a clogged kitchen or bathroom sink by pouring about half a box of baking soda down the drain and following it with ½-cup of vinegar. Immediately block the hole with a damp rag to prevent the fizz from escaping. After 30 minutes, remove the rag and slowly pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain.
  • Toilet Bowl: Just sprinkle your toilet brush with baking soda and start scrubbing. You can also clean your bathtub and exterior parts of the toilet with pure vinegar.
  • Refrigerator: First, unplug your fridge and remove all contents, tossing anything that has expired. Mix 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl – add a few drops of lemon oil or ½-cup of lemon juice for a fresh scent – and use a soft sponge to gently wipe down all surfaces. Rinse with water and dry with a clean towel. For particularly tough buildup, sprinkle on a little baking soda and then spray with vinegar and let the fizzing action do the work for you. Place an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator to eliminate odors.
  • Countertops: Mix 1 part baking soda, 2 parts vinegar and 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and then wipe away.
  • Wood Furniture: Mix together equal parts olive oil and lemon juice, and use a small amount on a cloth. Rub the mixture onto wood furniture using long, even strokes.
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