Long before there were big box stores with gallon containers of cleaning products, our moms and grandmothers used regular household items to keep their homes clean and fresh. Here are 10 of our favorite recipes, found from across the web, that can save you money and aren’t loaded with chemicals.
Clean and Shine Your Chrome, Brass or Copper Sink
Ingredients: Lemon and Salt / Baking Soda
Sprinkle salt into your sink; regular table salt works best, and you don’t really want to waste your fancy fleur de sel on a cleaning project, anyway. Cut the lemon in half, then use the exposed side to scrub the salt on the surface. Some folks prefer using baking soda since it’s less abrasive, but for older sinks it may not do the trick. If you have a fancy sink, go with the manufacturer’s recommended cleaner.
Ingredients: Borax, Distilled White Vinegar, Hot Water, Liquid Castile Soap (optional)
This is not an antibacterial soap, but as EarthEasy.com states, “The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.” Just mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and 3 cups hot water. Clean surfaces with a damp cloth, sponge, or spray mixture on with a bottle; just be cautious when putting hot liquid in the spray bottle.
Need more power? Add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap.
Dishwasher / Washing Machine
You know that sponge is still good, but worry it’s holding onto too many germs. If you have a dishwasher, pop it in during a cycle then let it air dry completely. For the washing machine, make sure there aren’t any food bits stuck to the sponge surface, then put it in a hot water load. Be sure to remove it to air dry, and don’t put it in the dryer.
Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar and Baking Soda
It sounds like a high school science experiment — and it kind of is. When the sink is drained, pour baking soda down the drain, then follow it with vinegar. The acid and base react with one another, fizzing up to loosen clogs. Really hot water may also be needed to help flush things out if there’s grease involved. If necessary, follow it up with a good plunging.
Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar and Lemon
A few tablespoons of lemon juice, plus equal parts vinegar and water into a spray bottle, works very well. Use a black and white newspaper instead of rags to avoid streaks.
Ingredients: Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) and Water, or Distilled White Vinegar
To get that dark mold out of your shower grout, mix one part peroxide with two parts water in a spray bottle. Spray it onto the mold, then wait at least one hour before scrubbing with a toothbrush. Alternatively, dunk the toothbrush into vinegar and start scrubbing.
Ingredients: Salt and Cinnemon, or Baking Soda and Water
While the oven is still hot, sprinkle salt and cinnamon on any spills inside. When dry and cool, you should be able to wipe up or scrape away the salt with a brush or cloth. Alternatively, when the oven is cold, coat the dirty insides with a paste made from water and baking soda. Let stand overnight, then scrub off the grime. Wipe away residue with a soft cloth.
Removing Stains From Wood Cutting Boards
Ingredients: Lemon and Baking Soda
Just cut a lemon in half, rub baking soda on the exposed lemon flesh, and scrub the surface. The acid in the lemon reacts with the base of the sandy baking soda to create little scrubbing bubbles.
Ingredient: Baking Soda
When the disinfectant cleanser isn’t enough, use baking soda and a damp sponge. Don’t scrub until your arm hurts! You may want to test it on a hidden area first to make sure the surface can handle the baking soda.
Ingredients: Lemon and Olive Oil
Remember that Murphy’s Oil Soap commercial, with the family singing about using it to clean their home? (Sing it with us, “Now the dirt is finished but the finish is fine!”) You can get a great polish and scent by mixing two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice. Polish the wood using a soft cloth.
And with that, we leave you this little blast from the past.