It’s the season for fresh starts, and fresher homes! Here’s how to spring clean your house, totally naturally
By Mariam Ghaidan
As the clocks turned back recently, that means spring is finally here! And with this new season comes a desire by many for a fresh start, especially at home.
Spring cleaning is a centuries old tradition, but one that in recent years has been undertaken with toxic cleaning products. And that’s not a good thing.
Did you know that many common household cleaners haven’t been approved by the EPA (environmental protection agency)? And many of these can cause health issues ranging from dermatitis (dry skin on the hands and beyond), asthma and even cancer.
Long after you’ve wiped down your countertops and disinfected your bathroom, harmful cleaning chemicals like can remain. These include:
- Perfluorooactanoic Acid (PFOA)
- Aromatic Amines
…and more. These can linger in your home for days, polluting household air and possibly entering your food if used in the kitchen.
Bad for you, bad for the planet
The chemicals mentioned above are highly toxic. If they get into your food, they can make you sick. They’re especially dangerous to toddlers and children, who, because they’re low to the ground and tend to have their hands on the floor more, are more likely to ingest them.
And it’s not just your kids that can be harmed: pets can be, too. That’s especially true for cats. They step on floors washed with harsh chemicals, then lick their paws. Which means they’re licking toxic cleaning products.
But there’s even more reason to learn how to clean your house naturally. Toxic household cleaning agents get sent back into the water system every time you wash your clothes, do the dishes or even flush toilet bowl. Not only could these chemicals make their way back into your drinking water, but they harm wildlife and the environment too.
But worry not! We’ve put on our thinking caps, done our research and asked a few mothers and grandmothers for “old but gold” tips, resulting in a sturdy list of all natural non-toxic methods to clean your house naturally this spring.
How To Clean Your Home, Naturally
1. Fresher Fridges
We tend to ignore the fridge when we think about cleaning our house naturally. But these appliances can be full of fungus spores and bacteria that can make you ill. Additionally, produce such as onions and garlicky food can stink your fridge up.
The solution? Just put an open container of baking soda in the corner of the fridge. Solved!
When cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, use simple white vinegar. In fact, white vinegar is an all-purpose must-have ingredient for cleaning as it naturally removes grease, odours and some stains.
2. Cleaner Clothes
Typical laundry detergents are a toxic nightmare. They’re comprised of chemicals like sodium laureth sulfate, phlalates and artificial fragrances that can cause skin rashes and worse.
So if you want to know how to clean your house naturally, learn to make your own laundry soap! It’s easier than you think.
Take 1 cup of Borax (not to be confused with boric acid) and add 1 cup of baking soda, and grate your favourite all natural bar of soap with a cheese grater. Blend the soap gratings into the dry mixture, and use as you would normal powdered laundry soap (around 2 scoops per average load).
For extra softness, add 1/4c of white vinegar to the water of the final rinse cycle. Bonus: This helps stop limescale buildup in your machine, too!
3. Natural Air Fresheners
Did you know that apart from smoking indoors, the worst thing you could do to your household air is spray an ‘air freshener’.
Gently puncture the skin of an orange or lemon with a fork, then slow cook it in the peel in a shallow pot of water to give your home a citrusy scent!
To neutralise odours, add a piece of coal to corners in the kitchen. Couldn’t be easier!
4. Tidy Toilets
Some of the harshest chemicals are used in the bathroom. Which is another reason why we should all learn how to clean your house naturally!
There’s really need to use ammonia, bleach or other nasty, toxic ‘cleaners’ that do serious harm to the environment.
Even the grossest toilet can be cleaned by tossing a full cup of baking soda into the bowl and leaving it to sit for an hour. Then, use your scrubbing brush to scrub the liquid around the bowl.
Afterwards, pour in a cup of white vinegar, let all of this sit for a few minutes more, then flush. Done!
5. Awesome Ovens
Forget the heavy duty, grease-removing chemicals! All you need to clean the oven is baking soda and vinegar.
Make a thin paste of baking soda and water, using roughly one-half of a cup of baking soda and a few tablespoons of water. Leave it overnight. Wipe the paste off with a damp cloth the next day, then, spray white vinegar over any remaining hard-to-remove spots.
Finish it off by giving the whole thing a rubdown with a damp cloth. Voila! This works for the racks, too. Just be careful you don’t get the baking soda mix stuck in the electrical elements of the oven.
6. Sparkly Surfaces, Everywhere!
Want to learn how to clean your house naturally, and have shiny surfaces everywhere? We’ve found the perfect recipe for an All-Purpose Cleaner from eartheasy.com.
Simply mix: 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon (2 litres) water.
Store and keep as long as needed. If you fancy a bit of scent, add a few drops of natural lemon oil (found at aromatherapy shops).
You can use this for the removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, and bathroom mirrors.
7. An All-Round Natural Deodoriser
Baking soda, like vinegar, is another household essential if you know how to clean your house naturally. It cleans, sterilises, softens water, scrubs off mould and leaves surfaces shiny. You can use this in the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room, you name it.
Again, you could add a drop of lemon oil for a clean, fresh aroma. In fact, the acid in lemon juice removes dirt and rust stains easily. It’s especially effective when mixed with salt, which makes “an excellent scouring paste”.
8. Window Washing
If you have old papers or newspapers, don’t trash them! Instead, recycle them by using them as “cloths” for cleaning windows or glass surfaces. Simply spray some plain white vinegar on the paper or glass, and wipe away!
9. Cleaning Copper
Believe it or not, tomato ketchup or tomato paste is a method to combat built up dust, dirt and tarnish on brass or copper items.
Simply apply a thin layer of the paste or ketchup onto the brass item and leave it for about an hour then wipe it away with hot water and a touch of soap et voila!
No ketchup? No problem!
An alternative natural cleaning combination for brass is to use salt and lemon.
10. Shiny Silverware
Inherited granny’s silverware, but it’s looking a bit tired? No problem!
Take 1 cup of boiling water, 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon white salt, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 sheet of tinfoil, a bowl and a microfibre cloth.
Basically the trick lies in the foil being placed shiny side up in the bowl. Then you add the baking soda and salt, and slowly add the vinegar. Lastly, you pour the hot water and slowly adding the silver pieces in. After this has all soaked for a short while, you take each piece out and polish it with your microfibre cloth.
This probably works best with smaller pieces depending on the size of your bowl. If your silver item is really big, you can damp your cloth into the mixture and use it directly as a polish. This will leave your silverware gleaming.
Works well with silver jewellery too!
11. Showers With Power
If you have limescale buildup on your shower head, the solution for removal is easy! Just spray it with loads of white vinegar, wrap a sandwich bag around the shower head, tie with an elastic or piece of string and let ‘soak’ overnight. By the next morning it should be like new! Learning to clean your house naturally has never been easier.
12. A Purer Dishwasher
Washing dishes by hand is always the best option, as it saves energy. Moreover, dishwashers tend to accumulate black mould. The filter of your dishwasher is prone to gunking up if you don’t clean the filter every now and then.
To do so, simply take out the dirty filter and soak it in a natural dish soap overnight. Put it back in the machine, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher, and put in a cup of white vinegar.
Run the machine on a ‘heavy’ cycle, and this should do the trick!
If You Can’t DIY…
If you’re in a rush and don’t really have the time or patience to make your own natural cleaning products, we have found great ready made alternatives.
Dr. Bronner’s selection of organic liquid (Castile) soaps, or their best-selling Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner, both work on just about anything. Both are packed with certified organic essential oils and come in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
Or try CitraSolv. Their natural multi-purpose cleaner works on all household surfaces including stainless steel, wood, porcelain, aluminium, and more.
Finally, Jessica Alba’s Honest Co makes a full range of household cleansers that are all natural.
In any case, there’s simply no excuse to keep using harsh, toxic chemicals in your home!
Do you clean your house naturally with any other products or tips not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments, below!