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5 Top Secrets House Cleaners Don't want you to know...

One way to reduce the number of cleaning products you bring into your home is to clean with products you already have. House cleaners have been cleaning with household staples like vinegar, baking soda, lemons (or lemon juice), Citric Acid and Microwave for a long time, and believe it or not, these items are safe and effective. If you clean with these natural cleaners, you may buy less, spend less money and have fewer harsh chemicals to worry about.

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1. Cleaning with Vinegar

Although vinegar is not registered as a disinfectant with the EPA, it will kill both salmonella and E.coli, two bacteria you’ll want to avoid. Consequently, white vinegar can be used to clean loads of things around your home. Here are just a few suggestions for what you can clean with vinegar:

Four Monks Vinegar
In the kitchen:
  • Clean your coffeemaker: Run the machine with equal parts water and vinegar. Halfway through the cycle, turn it off and let it sit for an hour. Then complete the cycle.

  • Unclog a drain: Pour 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Rinse with water.

  • Clean your microwave: Put one cup vinegar and one cup water in a bowl and microwave on high for about 10 minutes. Afterward, stains and dried food should be easy to wipe away.

  • Make glasses sparkle: Put one cup of vinegar in the bottom of your dishwasher before you run the cycle. After you run the dishwasher, your glassware shouldn’t be cloudy.

In the bathroom:
  • Remove mineral deposits from a showerhead: Put vinegar in a plastic bag and tie the bag around the showerhead. Let the bag sit overnight, and rinse the showerhead with water in the morning.

  • Prevent mildew in the shower: Spray vinegar on shower walls and curtains.

Throughout the home:
  • Clean glass: Mix one tablespoon of vinegar in a quart of water. Spray onto glass surfaces and wipe dry.

  • Remove mold from walls: Spray vinegar on walls, let sit for 15 minutes, rinse and let dry.

  • Clean spills on carpet: After removing as much liquid as you can, spray the stain with a solution of half vinegar and half water and let sit for two minutes. Blot with a towel.

Miscellaneous:
  • Remove stickers: Rub labels with vinegar, let sit for 10 minutes, then remove.

  • Remove skunk odor from a dog: If your dog has a run-in with a skunk, scrub its fur with a half vinegar, half water solution and then rinse with water.

2. Cleaning with Baking Soda

Baking Soda can do more than keep your fridge smelling fresh and aid with baking. Its odor absorbing properties are useful throughout the home and it is capable of removing tough stains because of its abrasiveness. Additionally, baking soda is completely non-toxic and unlike vinegar, it doesn’t have a strong smell. Try out baking soda for some of these household cleaning tasks:

Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda
In the kitchen:
  • Remove stains from coffee and tea mugs: Fill mugs with one part baking soda and two parts water and let sit over night. Scrub and rinse in the morning.

  • Remove odors from food containers: Simply rinse containers with baking soda and water to remove smells. Let sit overnight if necessary.

  • Remove burnt food from the bottoms of pots and pans: Sprinkle baking soda over the burnt areas, add hot water and let sit over night. Scrub in the morning.

  • Polish silver flatware: Make a paste with three parts baking soda, one part water and rub onto the silver with a clean cloth. Rinse with water.

  • Clean spills in the oven: Scrub the bottom of the oven with steel wool and baking soda. (Note: If you have a self-cleaning oven, don’t use this method.)

In the bathroom:
  • Clean hairbrushes and combs: Soak brushes and combs in a baking soda/water solution.

Throughout the home:
  • Remove odors from upholstered furniture: Simply sprinkle the fabric with baking soda and then vacuum.

  • Erase crayon marks from walls: If your kids decide to use your walls as art canvases, put a baking soda paste of equal parts soda and water on the area, let dry and then wipe away. (Note: This method works best on white walls; colored walls could lose some of their color.)

  • Clean no-wax and tile floors: To achieve clean floors without scratching them, mix 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of water. Mop the floor and rinse.

  • Deodorize rugs: Sprinkle the rug with baking soda (like you would for upholstered furniture), let sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuum.

Miscellaneous:
  • Remove burnt food from a grill: Sprinkle the grill with baking soda, then soak in water for a few hours.

  • Clean lawn furniture: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with one quart of warm water and wipe down furniture.

3. Cleaning with Lemons

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Have extra lemons or a bottle of Lemon Juice that you rarely use? There’s a reason that plenty of cleaning supplies have citrus in them; according to the DIY Network, lemons are a natural disinfectant and stain remover because of their acidity. As an added bonus, lemons will leave your house with a pleasant scent. Here are some common tasks that lemons (or bottled lemon juice) are up for:

In the kitchen:
  • Clean laminate countertops and cutting boards: Squeeze the juice of a lemon onto the counter or cutting board. Rub the lemon into the stains and let sit until the stains disappear, then rinse. (Although lemons do inhibit the growth of bacteria, it’s advisable to seek out alternatives for cleaning surfaces that have been touched by things like raw meat to ensure you or your family members don’t get sick.)

  • Remove stains from food storage containers: Squeeze the juice of a lemon into the containers, then add a little baking soda. Rub the mixture into the stains. Let sit overnight if necessary.

  • Clean your microwave: Slice a lemon, put it in a bowl of water and microwave for 45 seconds. This should make stains easier to wipe away and eliminate unpleasant odors.

  • Keep your refrigerator smelling nice: If you want your fridge to have a fresh scent, simply put half a lemon inside.

In the bathroom:
  • Prevent lime scale on faucets: Rub the fixtures with lemon juice and let sit overnight. Rinse in the morning.

  • Remove stains from grout: Make a paste from lemon juice and a teaspoon of cream of tartar (a natural bleaching agent) and apply to the area with a toothbrush. Once the stain is gone, rinse with water.

Throughout the home:
  • Clean glass: Mix four tablespoons of lemon juice with 1/2 gallon of water. Spray on glass and clean as usual.

  • Polish furniture: Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice with one pint of vegetable or mineral oil. Rub onto furniture.

Miscellaneous:
  • Remove rust stains from clothes: Apply lemon juice to the stain, sprinkle with cream of tartar and rub into the fabric. Let sit until the stain is gone and then wash in the washing machine.

4. Citric Acid

Is a safe alternative toilet bowl cleaner than what's in your grocery store.

Citric Acid Hate2clean.com Houston
Natural Toilet Cleaning Bombs
Ingredients & Supplies
  • ½ cup baking soda

  • ½ cup citric acid (find it with canning supplies in your local store, or buy it here)

  • ½ cup borax or cornstarch

  • water in a spray bottle

  • gallon size zip-top bag

  • 25 drops essential oils (see good options for deodorizing/disinfecting below) – find pure essential oils here

  • mold of your choice (plastic Easter eggs that come apart, a plastic measuring spoon, or silicone molds all work)

Directions
  1. Place all dry ingredients into the gallon bag. Seal the bag, and knead to combine ingredients.

  2. Open the bag, spray 2-3 times with water, and close the bag. Mix and knead the bag until all the moisture is absorbed. Repeat this step a few times. (Don’t overdo it with the water – if too much moisture is added you’ll end up with a very weak, crumbly final product.)

  3. You’ll know it’s ready as soon as you squeeze the bag and the mixture stays clumped together inside the bag when you let go. It should be roughly the consistency of pie dough.

  4. If the bag expands and looks like it’s going to burst, let some air out. This is normal as carbon dioxide develops from the mixed acid and alkali.

  5. Add 25 drops essential oil and mix again.

  6. When it’s the right consistency, pack into desired molds.

  • If using a measuring spoon (like the pictured toilet bombs), pack mixture into spoon and turn the toilet bombs out onto a sheet of parchment paper to dry.

  • If using plastic eggs, push the mix into both halves of an egg. Lightly spray the exposed parts with water and stick the halves together.

  1. Leave the bombs to dry for a day or two and then unmold. The bomb will be fragile at first, but will harden considerably over the next few days. Dry on top of a refrigerator or some other out of the way place.

  2. Store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid until ready to use.

To Use
Drop one bomb into the toilet and wait for the fizzing to stop. The hard working ingredients will be released into the bowl, both deodorizing and cleaning. Flush and you’re done! (You shouldn’t need to use the toilet brush, but some nasty stains may require a little scrubbing.)

5. Microwave Steam Cloth or Rag

(Caution: Be Advised! You Can Burn yourself)

Directions
  1. Wet a rag or a cloth under the kitchen sink cold water.

  2. Place the wet soaking rag or cloth onto the turning plate or a glass pan.

  3. Shut the door and turn on 2:00 Minutes on high heat.

  4. Caution the rag is going to be extremely hot. Use tongs to place on sticky spot of grime or sugary hard to remove spots. You also can just steam away any surface that needs to be sanitize. Please use with extreme caution with an Adult is recommend. Be careful on tempered glass as it will brake in the refrigerator.

  5. Rise under cold water the cloth or rag and repeat.

  6. Its non-toxic water vapors.

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