There’s nothing better than a freshly cleaned home. The smell of, well, nothing, is absolutely outstanding! But don’t let that lovely, sparkling clean come at a totally-not-worth-it price. Conventional household cleaning products (as you probably already know) can harm our delicate bodies (think chlorine – it can irritate lungs, and respiratory systems). Moreover, many cleaning products harm the environment.
We've rounded up three household cleaning products we aren't fond of, and suggested a few substitutes. Rest assured – these DIY green solutions will get all that grimy grease up and won’t harm your loved ones.
No: Bleach, Yes: Tea Tree Oil, Lemon Juice, Vinegar
True, bleach is a tried-and-true cleaner, but its fumes are undeniably harsh. Luckily, the following natural, household cleaners can disinfect without irritating your nasal passageways or lungs:
- Vinegar: a mild disinfectant and a great cleaner.
- Lemon juice: for disinfecting and de-stinking kitchen sinks, counters and cutting boards. Cut the lemon and rub on any surface. Throw a slice down the garbage disposal and grind to get rid of funky smells.
- Tea tree oil: another lovely general cleaner and disinfectant.
No: Store-bought Glass Cleaner, Yes: Club Soda
Most glass cleaners you can buy contain trace amounts of ammonia, which can irritate the respiratory tract. Also, if your glass container makes contact with bleach, the combination creates toxic, chloramine gas. Yuck!
A great glass cleaner alternative? Club soda. Simply fill an 8-16 ounce bottle with it, spray, and wipe away fluid with a lint-free cloth. The sodium citrate in the soda softens water, and helps clean away muck and guck.
No: Anti-bacterial All-purpose Cleaners, Yes: Vinegar, Borax, Baking soda
By now, we all know anti-bacteria-anything is not the best choice. Many anti-bac products tend to go way overboard and kill pretty much everything germ-wise, good or bad. Also, many anti-bac cleaners irritate eyes and skin. A much better cleaning solution? Vinegar, and borax or baking soda. Try the following solution:
- Mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water.
- Store and keep.
- Use to remove water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.
If you want to disinfect an area:
- Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water.
- For stronger cleaning power, add ¼ teaspoon liquid castile soap.
- Instructions: wipe on with damp cloth or non-aerosol spray bottle.
- This isn't an antibacterial formula.
Other spectacular, natural cleaners:
Image: Dinner Series