Home Cleaning Hacks: Tips for Cleaning Your Home Without Harsh Chemicals

By Jake Schroeder
Six Feet Under The Cleaning
Photo Courtesy: @AmericanHSBr/Twitter

While it's not always the most fun task on your to-do list, cleaning is a necessary chore. However, many people don't realize that the products they use to sanitize and scrub their homes can actually be dangerous to their health. The good news is that you don't have to sacrifice your well-being in order to have a clean home. There are plenty of tricks and tips you can use to clean your house the natural way.

Use White Vinegar on Hardwood Floors

If you want to keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful, proper upkeep is essential. However, many hardwood floor cleaners contain harsh ingredients and can get expensive. A better solution is to use white vinegar and water. Many households already have vinegar, so it's an inexpensive alternative that’s easy to come by.

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Photo Courtesy: jessebridgewater/Pixabay

All you need to do is mix a quarter-cup of white vinegar with a liter of warm water. This simple mixture can help keep your floors looking shiny without damaging the surfaces. Not only will this help you save money, but it's also better for the planet.

Use a Raw Potato to Clean Windows

One of the features in your home you probably need to clean often is your windows. But there's no need to use smelly glass cleaners or similarly damaging products to get the job done. In fact, you can get them shiny and streak-free using just a clean rag and...a raw potato?

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Photo Courtesy: Couleur/Pixabay

Simply cut the potato in half and rub it over the glass surface. Then, wipe up the excess juice residue with a clean towel or rag. If the windows need a little more work, another alternative is to mix ammonia with water (in a 1:10 ratio).

Clean Your Fridge With Citrus Fruit

You know the lemony scent that’s in many cleaning products that can make your home smell fresh and clean? Well, you can actually just use the lemon — without the harsh chemicals and ingredients — to achieve the same effect.

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Photo Courtesy: Pexels/Pixabay

If you need to clean the inside of your refrigerator, simply mix equal parts lemon juice and water. Then use a clean rag or towel to wash down the shelves and drawers. If there are parts that have dirt buildup or sticky residue, you can mix in some baking soda to make removing stubborn stains easier.

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Use Olive Oil for Buffing

You want to keep your home looking sparkling clean, but sometimes that's not always the easiest thing to do. If you have dull-looking surfaces that could use some rejuvenation, you don't need anything other than olive oil to give them a quick yet effective makeover.

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay/Pexels

This trick can help with any stainless steel appliances in your home, from the refrigerator to the stove. It can also help with items such as pots and pans that the dishwasher didn't clean effectively. For best results, apply a few drops of the oil to a clean cloth and rub on the surface in a circular motion.

Remove Water Stains With Shaving Cream

Water stains on your shower glass can be irritating and unsightly. But you don't need to wait for your next big cleaning session to address them. Nor will you need harsh or expensive cleaning products to get rid of them. In fact, the only things you'll need are a can of shaving cream and a clean cloth.

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Photo Courtesy: stevepb/Pixabay

Apply enough shaving cream to cover the water-stained area, and spread it around the glass evenly. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then wipe it off using a clean rag. You'll see that those dusty white marks on the glass are now gone.

Clean Cutting Boards With Lemon and Salt

It's easy for cutting boards to get grimy pretty quickly. While running them through the dishwasher is an option, sometimes you need to clean and sanitize them fast so you can get back to cooking. To do this, all you need are some simple ingredients you most likely have sitting around the kitchen anyway: lemon and salt.

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Photo Courtesy: fotoincucina/Pixabay

To disinfect the cutting board, rub it down with half a lemon and toss some salt on it. Let it sit for about five minutes. Then, rub it down once more with the other half of the lemon. Rinse off the board using warm water, and you're all done.

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Deodorize & Clean Carpets With Cornstarch

If you have carpets in your home, you know how tricky they can be to clean. If you have pets, your carpets can be particularly tough to clean because you have to deal with odors too. If you want to freshen up your carpets by doing more than simply vacuuming, you can do so with items from your pantry.

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Photo Courtesy: creativeexchange/Unsplash

Sprinkle some cornstarch and baking soda on the carpets and let them sit for a few hours. Then vacuum up the powders. These ingredients can pull up dirt and prevent your carpets from looking grimy over time. Plus, they’ll help keep rugs smelling fresh!

Use Citric Acid to Clean Your Washing Machine

It's easy to forget to clean the machines in our homes that we use for, well, cleaning. Regularly cleaning your washing machine is important to prevent limescale from building up. It also helps extend the washer’s lifespan. To do this, you don't need to purchase expensive chemical cleansers. All you need is some citric acid.

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Photo Courtesy: stevepb/Pixabay

Add a couple ounces of citric acid to your washing machine. Then, run the wash cycle while it's on the hot setting. Do this once every two weeks or so to keep your machine in top working condition and looking like new.

Use Baking Soda to Remove Mildew

The worst part about cleaning a bathroom is dealing with tough water stains. If you have tile and grout, you may find yourself struggling with mildew. Fortunately, a healthy mixture you can use to fight these stains is baking soda and lemon.

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Photo Courtesy: Monfocus/Pixabay

Take a wet cloth, scrub brush or old toothbrush and dip it in baking soda. Then use it to scrub the tile and grout until they look clean. Let this sit for a few minutes before rinsing. Another method is to squeeze out the juice of about half a lemon and let the stain soak in this for 10 minutes.

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Treat the Toilet With Essential Oils

Aromatherapy can be incredibly healing for a wide range of reasons. If you have essential oils for use in a diffuser, you may not realize that you also have access to non-toxic cleaning aids that can help keep your bathroom sparkling and fresh smelling.

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Photo Courtesy: Monfocus/Pixabay

Essential oils can work well in a do-it-yourself toilet cleaner. Simply blend a few drops of essential oils, such as tea tree, orange and lemon. Mix that in with some baking soda and sprinkle this around the toilet bowl’s interior. Let the combination sit for 30 minutes and use a brush to scrub the toilet.

Sanitize Your Sponges in the Microwave

Sometimes it's the sponges we use to clean our homes that end up being the dirtiest. After even just a few uses, sponges can become filled with loads of bacteria, especially if you frequently leave them in the sink. The moisture combined with the dirt can create an overwhelming odor.

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Photo Courtesy: congerdesign/Pixabay

To sanitize your sponges, put them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Be careful to let them sit for at least two minutes before you remove them; they’ll be hot and could burn you. This process can kill bacteria. Another option is to run your sponges through the dishwasher.

Banish Shower Scum With Dish Soap

The last thing you probably have in mind when cleaning your bathroom is bringing items from your kitchen in there. However, you may be surprised to learn that a little dish soap can go a long way in removing shower scum and stains.

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If you're dealing with soap and grime buildup, use a mixture of vinegar and dish soap as a cleaning solution. You can dip a rag, brush or sponge in the mixture to use for scrubbing. Mix in a few sprinkles of baking soda to make the tough, stubborn residue easier to remove.

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Clean Rings the Right Way

Take a few minutes to clean your jewelry. To keep your rings, especially nice ones such as your engagement or wedding rings, looking shiny and new, you definitely don’t need to use chemical cleaners. The safer and easier method is to use a gentle mixture of warm water and dish soap.

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Photo Courtesy: TerriC/Pixabay

You can also use an old toothbrush as a scrubber. This makes it much easier to get into the nooks and crannies of a ring's setting, if needed. Before scrubbing, let the ring soak in the mixture for at least 15 minutes. Use the brush afterwards to remove any dirt buildup before rinsing the ring.

Make Your Microwave Sparkle Like New

Microwaves can get messy pretty quickly. Food splatters can harden and become difficult to remove. Fortunately, there's an easy method you can use to remove these nasty stains. Simply combine equal amounts of water and vinegar in a microwave-safe dish to steam off the stains.

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Photo Courtesy: QuietHut/Flickr

It's a good idea to put something made of wood, such as a toothpick, in the dish. This can prevent it from bubbling over. Set the microwave on high for about five minutes (you can increase it if needed). When it's done, it’ll be easier to wipe off the gunk inside with a clean towel.

Dry Away Water Rings

Do you hate those pesky water rings that get left behind on your wood surfaces? You're not alone. You don't need to pay for expensive wood cleaners to get your wood tables or countertops looking like new. Instead, all you need is a hairdryer and some olive oil.

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Photo Courtesy: Shari Sirotnak/Unsplash

Using your hairdryer, you can remove the water rings from your wood surfaces. If the ring is still a light color, it means the wood hasn't soaked yet. Point the blow dryer at the stain to eliminate any excess or remaining moisture. Then apply a few drops of oil to keep the surface looking shiny.

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Lift Carpet Stains With Baking Soda

Carpet stains are a concern for many homeowners. But the good news is that you can deal with them without having to buy expensive carpet cleaners. Instead, just like freshening your rugs, you can apply a healthy amount of baking soda to the affected area.

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Photo Courtesy: jarmoluk/Pixabay

Let the baking soda sit on the stained area of the carpet for around 20 minutes. The baking soda should absorb any excess moisture or material from what caused the stain. After that, vacuum the area as you normally would. Not only can this help clear the stain, but it can also help make your carpet smell good.

Use Sea Salt for Stubborn Dishes

If you have cast iron skillets and pans, you already know that cleaning them can be quite the battle. It doesn't have to be. All you need is a little sea salt to make the process easier.

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Photo Courtesy: andreas160578/Pixabay

Sprinkle the sea salt in the dish and let it sit for a while. This breaks up food particles that are sticking to the pan and refusing to budge with a simple swipe of a sponge. The best time to do this is after the dish has dried, rather than when it’s still wet or immediately after cooking.

Clean Baseboards With Dryer Sheets

Baseboards and moldings collect a lot of dirt and dust. While people often clean their floors, it's easy to overlook the wood baseboards. Spending a few minutes cleaning them can have a major effect on the appearance of your home.

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Photo Courtesy: philberndt/Unsplash

You don't need to use a wood cleaner — many of these are often filled with ingredients that release irritating fumes. All you need is to pull out a few dryer sheets. These sheets are quite useful when it comes to collecting dust and debris. They also smell great, too. Using them around the baseboards of your home helps keep it looking and smelling fresh.

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Keep Your Keyboards Clean With a Toothbrush

If you have a home or office computer, it's important to clean it often. The keyboard is an area that’s known for collecting germs, dust and random debris. Keeping this piece of equipment sanitized can help keep you healthy and eliminate unnecessary dust that keeps the keyboard from working properly.

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Photo Courtesy: Karol D/Pexels

However, instead of purchasing a costly product for keyboard cleaning, you can simply use a toothbrush. Swiping the keyboard with the brush bristles can help break up and eliminate dust from in between the keys. You won't have to worry about any chemicals hurting the performance of the keyboard, either.

Use Soap Nuts as a Natural Laundry Detergent

Detergent products on the market today can be filled with chemicals. A safer alternative for washing your clothes is to use soap nuts. These nuts contain saponin — a substance that, when used in your washing machine, helps eliminate dirt from the machine while also cleaning your clothes in the process.

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Photo Courtesy: Monfocus/Pixabay

How you use them is up to you. You can put them in a pouch before putting them in the machine or grind them up and boil them to make a liquid detergent. If you use the pouch, you'll know it's time to replace the nuts when they start turning a gray color.

Make an All-natural Air Freshener

Many people rely on candles and store-bought air fresheners to give their houses a fresh scent. Some of these products contain harsh chemicals and ingredients that, while smelling good, may not improve the air quality of your home.

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The healthier option is to make your own air freshener, which you can do with just an essential oil of your choice and some water. Mix the oil and water in a spray bottle and spray it around your home, including on the furniture and carpets. All it takes is a few drops of essential oil — a little goes a long way!

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Clear Clogged Drains With Baking Soda

As you've probably noticed by now, baking soda has powerful cleaning effects that make it a must-have item for keeping your home fresh. In addition to using it to clean some of the appliances we mentioned, you can use it to clear clogged drains.

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Sink cleaners and similar products contain lye and ingredients that may damage your pipes in the long run. To prevent this, consider opting for a DIY solution. Pour baking soda down the drain, followed by a few glugs of white vinegar. This can break up the grease or grime that’s causing the blockage. After 10 minutes, pour boiling water down the drain.

Get a Shiny Shower Curtain With Hydrogen Peroxide

Nothing can ruin a shower more than a grimy-looking shower curtain. But the good news is that you don't have to purchase a new one every time your current curtain starts looking unsightly. Instead, all you need is your washing machine and some hydrogen peroxide.

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Photo Courtesy: Francesca Tosolini/Unsplash

As long as your shower curtain is machine-washable, you can run it through the laundry cycle as you would your regular clothes. In addition to the washing detergent, add a capful of hydrogen peroxide. This natural cleaning agent can effectively remove any stubborn grime or dirt buildup, leaving you with a curtain that looks brand new.

Keep Your Whites Looking Bright With Lemon

White clothing can be tough to clean. Bleach is a powerful cleaning ingredient that can help keep your brights looking white. If bleach isn't doing the trick, you can try lemon juice. This is a natural alternative that’s much more affordable than taking your clothes to the dry cleaner or replacing them altogether.

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Photo Courtesy: Skitterphoto/Pixabay

If the material is cotton, you can try patting lemon juice on the yellowed areas of the white clothes. For example, the collar and armpit areas can often turn an unsightly color. After you apply the lemon juice, put the clothes outside to dry in the sun.

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Use Tin Foil to Polish Silverware

If your silverware is starting to look a little dingy, there's no need to use harsh chemicals to get each piece looking new again. Instead, you can combine a few ingredients from around the kitchen to create a healthy yet effective cleaning solution.

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Boil a liter of water in a pot. Then add in a tablespoon of baking soda, some salt and a ball of aluminum foil. Add in your silverware and let it boil for about 15 minutes. Drain the pot, and let your silverware cool. When you go to wipe the pieces dry, they'll be sparkling clean.

Clean Your Windows With Club Soda

Raw potatoes on your windows can be a powerful method of keeping them looking new and streak-free. However, if you don't have potatoes lying around your kitchen, you might consider using club soda instead.

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Photo Courtesy: stevepb/Pixabay

All you need to do is attach a spray bottle nozzle directly onto the club soda bottle. You can take one off of another cleaning product in your home. Then spray the club soda onto the glass and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. The carbonated concoction will leave your windows looking shiny and new.

Unclog Toilets With Dish Soap

Clogged toilets are a major inconvenience. Before you shell out money for a professional plumber or buy a snake or plunger, you may want to try unclogging the toilet with items you already have in your home.

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay/Pexels

Pour a generous amount of dishwashing liquid into the toilet bowl. Wait for at least an hour. Then try flushing the toilet. The dishwashing soap is an effective ingredient to use for cleaning, and it can help loosen and lubricate stubborn particles that could cause the clog. You may also want to try pouring boiling water over the liquid soap before flushing.

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Eliminate Garbage Disposal Odors With Lemon Slices

If you have a garbage disposal in your home, you know how funky the smells can get. There's a natural and straightforward way to clean them, and you don't have to purchase harmful or caustic drain products. Instead, just cut up a few slices of lemon. You may also consider using an orange if you prefer the smell.

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Photo Courtesy: RonPorter/Pixabay

Put the slices down the drain and run the disposal as you usually would. The citrus juice will help break down and sanitize any grime or buildup contributing to the smell. Plus, the fresh scent of the fruit will instantly fill your kitchen with a pleasant aroma.

Use an Onion to Clean the Air

When you think of fresh, clean-smelling air, the last item you're probably thinking of using is an onion. However, an onion can be quite effective at deodorizing and freshening the air of musty-smelling areas in your home, such as the basement.

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Believe it or not, you can cut an onion in half, put it on a plate and place it in the room that you're trying to freshen up. Leave it there overnight. In the morning, you'll find the air in the dingy basement is significantly more pleasant. Don't worry; it won't leave it smelling like an onion, either!

Wipe Windows With Newspaper

Excessive use of paper towels isn't great for the environment. It’s always admirable to aim to use washable rags and cloth towels when scrubbing your home. However, there’s another material you can pull from the recycling bin when those aren't available.

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Using a newspaper to wipe down your windows and other surfaces in your home isn’t only great for the environment, but it also leads to less waste. The best part is that you’ll have streak-free windows! Before tearing off a sheet of newspaper to wipe down your windows, spray some club soda on the glass as a healthy cleaning solution.

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