For a Greener Clean, Look in Your Pantry

Most times harsh chemical cleaners are overkill, putting more harmful fumes and substances into your environment than needed. But fear not, there are a variety of ways to clean up messes without immediately grabbing a store bought cleaner. Here are a few things that can get the job done that are not only effective, but safe. And chances are you already have them in your pantry! Spring cleaning just got a whole lot easier, more affordable, and environmentally friendly.

Baking soda

Who knew this simple powder could do so much! Because it’s slightly abrasive, but not harmfully so, it works harder to remove stuck on messes. Here, a few smart ways to use baking soda.

  • Wash fruits and veggies by giving them a scrub with baking soda and then rinsing.
  • Clean your grill. Put baking soda on a damp brush and scrub down the grate.
  • Sprinkle rugs with baking soda, let it sit for at least a half hour to help give them a refresh. Then vacuum it all up.
  • Banish pet odors! Mix in baking soda with your cat litter to keep smells to a minimum.
  • Remove baked-on gunk from pots and pans. Sprinkle in baking soda, add hot water and dish detergent, let them sit for fifteen minutes and wash as usual.

Rubbing alcohol

Handy for more than just scrapes and cuts, rubbing alcohol not only cleans but helps kill bacteria too. Plus, it works wonders on all of your touch screen devices.

  • Soak ink stains on your clothing in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes before putting it in the wash. Before drying, make sure the stain is gone. Running it through the dry will set the stain if it’s still there.
  • Remove product build up mirrors or other surfaces. Things like hair spray can create a residue on mirrors or countertops that can be hard to clean. Wiping down the surfaces with rubbing alcohol will remove it quickly and easily.
  • Clean your laptop screen, tablets and smartphones. Put rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth, wringing out excess, and wipe down. It will clean and disinfect!
  • Chrome fixtures will shine if you wipe them down with some rubbing alcohol.  No need to rinse them down, just let the alcohol evaporate. The alcohol kills germs too.

Lemon juice

When life hands you lemons, do more than use them to make lemonade. This versatile fruit not only cleans like no other, it leaves a fresh, pleasant citrus smell behind.

  • Run lemon peels and some ice cubes through your garbage disposal to help get get rid of any lingering odors.
  • Rub a lemon over tarnished copper to restore it to its original luster.
  • Butcher block can stain so easily, rub stains with a lemon to help remove them.
  • Clean the microwave by microwaving a bowl of water with lemons on high for five minutes. Let it sit in the microwave for ten minutes. Carefully remove the bowl and wipe down the grime inside with a sponge, the steam from the water loosens everything inside.

White vinegar

Scary for the skeptic, we know. But we promise when you wipe things down with vinegar your surfaces won’t smell like salad dressing. Just make sure you’re using white and not balsamic vinegar.

  • Stained or smelly Tupperware can look new again, let white vinegar sit inside (if you can overnight) and then wash as you normally would.
  • You don’t want to use chemical cleaners in the fridge, wipe down shelves, drawers, and handles with a mixture that is half water and half white vinegar.
  •  Pour a cup of vinegar in your toilet bowl and let it sit overnight. Sprinkle with baking soda, scrub, and flush.
  • Remove build-up from the shower head. Pour white vinegar into a plastic bag, and secure it to your showerhead. Leave the bag on overnight, remove the next morning and run the shower head for a few minutes.
  • Disinfect your mattress with a mixture of distilled white vinegar, a little rubbing alcohol, and some tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Lightly spray onto your mattress and let it dry completely to help combat dust mites and odors.

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