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Casa Verde: Natural House-Cleaning Hints

I know that a lot of you, like me, are making the transition to eco-friendly cleaning products, since most over-the-counter cleaners are bad for both the environment and your health. Of course, there are a lot of great eco-friendly brands out there, but you can also clean your house with ordinary and non-toxic substances you probably already have lying around.

Thanks to Mallomar for pointing me to this list of natural household cleaning tips from holistic health guru Dr. Andrew Weil. I can't wait to try some of these; I especially love the idea of replacing my bleach-based mildew remover with grapefruit-seed oil. Check out the list and tell me if you've tried any of these when you

  • Baking soda: An all-purpose cleaner; especially effective on glass coffee pots and glassware; removes red-wine stains from carpeting. A paste (made with water) can shine stainless steel and silver; the paste can also remove tea stains from cups and saucers. Make a paste with a castille- or vegetable-based liquid soap and a drop of essential oil (tea tree or lavender) to clean sinks, countertops, toilets and tubs. Pour 1 cup down the sink to clear a clogged drain, followed by 3 cups of boiling water.
  • Boiling water: Use weekly to flush drains and avoid clogs.
  • Coarse salt: Cleans copper pans and scours cookware. Sprinkle salt on fresh spills in the oven, then wipe off. Sprinkle salt on rust stains and squeeze a lime or lemon over them, let sit for several hours and wipe off.
  • Essential oils: Mix lavender or tea tree essential oils with water and spray on kitchen or bathroom surfaces for an environmentally and people-friendly antibacterial spray.
  • Grapefruit-seed extract: Add a few drops to water in a spray bottle for an odorless way to kill mold and mildew.
  • Lemon juice: Use as a bleaching agent on clothing, and to remove grease from your stove and countertops. Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice to 10 drops of (real) lemon oil and a few drops of jojoba oil to clean and polish wood furniture.
  • Olive oil: Use to lubricate and polish wood furniture (three parts olive oil to one part vinegar; or two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice).
  • Potatoes: Halved potatoes can remove rust from baking pans or tinware — follow with a salt scrub or dip the potato in salt before scrubbing.
  • Tea tree oil: Can be added to vinegar/water solutions for its antibacterial properties. Use it to kill mold and mildew, and on kitchen and bathroom surfaces instead of chemical products. Add 50 drops to a bucket of water to clean countertops and tile floors.
  • Toothpaste (white, plain): Cleans silver; can remove water stains on wood furniture — dab on, allow it to dry and wipe off.
  • White vinegar: Cleans linoleum floors and glass (from windows to shower doors) when mixed with water and a little liquid soap (castille or vegetable). Cuts grease and removes stains; removes soap scum and cleans toilets (add a bit of baking soda if you like). Pour down drains once a week for antibacterial cleaning. Add to water in a spray bottle to kill mold and mildew.
Join The Conversation
geohiker geohiker 9 years
I'm a fan of using white vinegar for cleaning - very versatile!
moderngal moderngal 9 years
tea tree oil with vinegar and water beats any commercial floor cleaner I've ever tried!!
eroca87 eroca87 9 years
I recently posted about the wonders of grapefruit-seed extract. It is also powerful antibiotic and can be used so many ways! Add it to your eco-friendly products, use it as in a produce rinse, or use it as an medicinal alternative to conventional antiobitics. For any of you pet lovers, Castor and Pollux makes a FABULOUS enzyme based stain and odor remover. Seriously. You never would have known I potty trained a puppy in my house.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i use essential oils like tea tree, peppermint and lavender in my hot water/vinegar mixture to clean floors - the essential oils help the mixture smell better plus the tea tree oil is antibacterial. I use vinegar on my counters and such, use boiling water in drains frequently, and i use the baking soda thing too. i haven't tried using potatoes and dont' use lemons on anything except food (too yummy!), but that sounds interesting.
Ejmcmis Ejmcmis 9 years
interesting things... i may try a few of them ... but the wood polishing thing, tha'ts my salad dressing mix, so I dont think so.
misslarue misslarue 9 years
I love the Method products at Target too!
lil-l lil-l 9 years
I'm so happy to know that I have been using almost all of these things for a few years now! Didn't realize it then, but I was doing my part!
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 9 years
My mom has been selling Melaleuca products for years. They are a company that sells wellness products such as 100% eco-cleaners, vitamins, Nicole Miller make-up, candles, etc. What I like about thier cleaning products is it's base is melaleuca plant oil that is antifungal and antibiotic. They also mix other essential oils. The greatest part I think is that all the products come condensed...I haven't had to buy laundry detergent for 2 years using the same bottle I started with- which is the size of a normal Tide container. Makes me happy!! :)
Dream-Angel Dream-Angel 9 years
The Method cleaners at Target are all natural and biodegradable and you needn't mix anything up yourself. I love how they smell too!
calamityjen calamityjen 9 years
This may not be true, but I remember reading a long time ago that you can use coca-cola to clean your toilet...something about its acidic properties lifting the grime from your toilet bowl! LOL, random, I know... :)
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
I use lemon oil....a few drops with water in a small spray clean the windows. It works & smells great. I've never used tea tree oil for cleaning purposes, but I do use it for cuts, scrapes, & blemishes. I'm going to have to try the grapefruit-seed extract for the mold & mildew. I hope it works, because I get tired of smelling the bleach.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Sweet! Thanks for the great tips, I will try my best to use them!
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