As we enter the cold season, plenty of people’s minds are on germs and flus. Namely, of course, people are focused on how to avoid them. But lots of folks are also leery of the sort of harsh, and often toxic household products used to keep surfaces clean. Luckily, there are some easy way to whip up non toxic variants. Read on for a few natural analogues to your favorite commercial cleaners.
There are few places in the house more gross than your drain, but true drain cleaner is potentially the harshest chemical you’ll ever let loose in your house. If you feel like forgoing it, mix a quarter cup of baking soda with a quarter cup of vinegar, and pour it down your drain. Let it stand for a few minutes, then pour boiling water after it to flush the blockage. This final step is key, as drain cleaner relies heavily on heat to melt away obstructions.
Of course, if were talking germs, what you’re probably most interested in is a spray disinfectant. Whether targeting floors or countertops, there are few cleaners more handy than this general purpose spray. There are several options to make some yourself. The most basic is three parts white vinegar, to one part water. Another option is using food-grade hydrogen peroxide, but be warned. That last option, while it may not be toxic, can easily score your skin, and requires the use of gloves.
Need to scrub out some stubborn grout? Mix up a dash of baking soda with the juice from half a lemon. The baking soda will provide the abrasive action, while the acid from the lemon eats away at the grime.
While a basic option is essentially a less-diluted version of our general purpose spray, it does not seem to yield a streak-free shine. While there are limits to exactly how streakless one can expect a homemade product to be, the following recipe does seem to work better. Mix two cups of club soda with a lemon’s worth of juice. Then mix in half a teaspoon of peppermint oil, and a teaspoon of cornstarch. Put it all into a spray bottle, shake it up, and you’re set to go.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
If you’re skeptical don’t worry–so was I. No way, I thought, could something non-toxic clean what is likely the most toxic place in my house. But lo and behold, the right combination of ingredients can indeed, even if none are terribly harsh on their own. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with two tablespoons of vinegar, and two cups of water. Next add a teaspoon of your favorite essential oil, to help cover any bathroom smells you may be trying to clean away. Citruses tend to work best. Finally, if you want your cleaner to foam, add a half teaspoon of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Be warned, however. While the foaming action will absolutely help the cleaning process, SLS is a skin irritant, so you’ll need to be careful until its mixed in. While it is an irritant, however, it is not carcinogenic, and thus is non-toxic.
A humble homesteader based in an undisclosed location, Lars Drecker splits his time between tending his little slice of self-sustaining heaven, and bothering his neighbors to do his work for him. This is mainly the fault of a debilitating predilection for fishing, hunting, camping and all other things outdoors. When not engaged in any of the above activities, you can normally find him broken down on the side of the road, in some piece of junk he just “fixed-up.”