While “going green” may be all the rage these days, there’s no need to purchase fancy chemical-free cleaners at the store. Green cleaning can be as easy as opening your cupboards and unleashing the cleansing power contained in these four ingredients you probably already have at home:
- Lemon Juice – The citric acid in this fragrant fruit has a natural ability to cut through hardened food spills. Just add lemon juice to water, bring it to a boil, and then wipe down the messy surface with a rag soaked in the lemon water. This works especially well in the microwave after boiling the water in it. Make your own furniture oil by mixing one part lemon juice to an equal part of olive oil. Apply the solution to wooden furniture, let it soak for a few minutes, and then wipe dry with a clean cloth.
- Baking Soda – This powdery white substance’s domestic benefits extend far beyond baking and absorbing odors. A hardened crust on a pot or pan can come clean by filling the pot with 2 Tbsp. baking soda per quart of water and boiling. After turning off the heat and letting the pan cool, the crust should lift right off. Baking soda also works to clean a greasy stove by soaking drip pans in a solution of ½ cup of baking soda per gallon of water.
- Table Salt – To get coffeepots and percolators clean, fill them with water and add 4 Tbsp. of salt. Bring the water to a boil, let it cool, and then pour it out and rinse well. Salt also does wonders for common household metals. Rust will come off of tinware when it’s rubbed with a peeled potato dipped in salt. When mixed with vinegar, salt can polish brass; mixed with lemon juice, salt cleans copper.
- White Vinegar – When it comes to cleaning, white vinegar has been proven to work just as well as chlorine, minus the harmful chemicals. To combat soap scum, apply hot vinegar to it with a rag or sponge and then scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. Mopping the floor can be done with a bucket full of hot water, 1 cup vinegar and a drop of dish soap or Murphy Oil. Dusting is a cinch when you dampen a dust cloth in a solution of ¼ cup vinegar plus a few drops of olive oil. Adding white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher will guarantee a spot-free clean.