Commercial cleaners are full of harsh chemicals—try these non-toxic methods instead.
If you’ve ever cringed at the first fingerprint on your new oven or fridge, keep reading. Stainless steel appliances look great, resist rust, and blend with most decors. But fingerprints, grease, water drops, and even your own hot breath will leave their marks on their once-pristine surfaces.
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So how do you keep appliances looking like their showroom selves? Most commercial cleaners come with more hazard warnings than actual directions. There are plenty of other ways to keep your surfaces smudge free without all the harsh chemicals, and I’ve tried them all. Trust me: Everything in my entire kitchen, including the light switch plates, is stainless steel. Here are a couple cleaning basics, and five items you probably have in the house, that can make your stainless steel appliances shine and sparkle.
Elbow grease becomes a bit more necessary when you’re not using chemicals to clean your stainless steel. Keep in mind that the solution for stubborn smudges isn’t to rub harder; simply reapply your cleaning agent and wipe again.
Use Cotton Cloths
Use cotton cloths to clean and wipe, as cotton tends to leave behind less lint. An old white undershirt—a trick I learned from my mom—works great. Any cloths that are non-abrasive, like a microfiber cloth or paper towels, will also do the trick. Save any sort of “scrubby” pad for your stainless steel sink, not the face of your appliances.
Wipe With the Grain
Before you start, identify the grain of the steel on your appliance. You’ll find it if you peer closely at the surface. You’ll get the most shine if you wipe in the direction of the grain, instead of against it. You won’t ruin anything by wiping against the grain, but it’s much less effective. Now, here's what to clean with:
My husband complains that our house “smells like salad” because I prefer to clean it with white distilled vinegar and water. Stainless steel is no exception. The vinegar helps break up any residual grease left from fingertips or cooking on the surface. Put it in a spray bottle and wipe clean.
A Touch of Oil
In keeping with the salad theme, many sources suggest polishing appliances with oil—whether mineral, baby, or even olive—to help protect the surface. Frankly, I’m less a fan of this approach, though it does work great for shine. I’ve found that while it looks great at first, polishing with any of these oils seems to attract more fingerprints and smudges over time than a simple polish with a microfiber cloth. But if showroom sheen is what you’re after, oil is your ticket.
At first, the idea of cleaning my stainless steel appliances with either dish detergent or club soda sort of scared me. Because stainless steel appliances have a tendency to show water stains, adding water seemed counterintuitive. To my surprise, a dab of non-toxic dish soap on a damp cloth removed even little-kid smudges, and a thorough drying with another cloth kept my water-panic at bay.
Spraying the surface with club soda proved as effective as a cleaning method as dish detergent. Whether it’s the tiny bubbles or the trace minerals added, club soda surprised me with how well—and how easily—it removed fingerprints and old spots that I’d missed. It did, however, leave streaks that I had to polish...with a bit of oil.
By far the messiest and most time consuming trick was making a paste out of baking soda and water, but—hands down—it did the best job. My 9-year-old fridge looked like I’d just peeled off its protective plastic covering from the showroom. However, because you rub small sections of the surface with the paste and a cloth, bits of that paste might fall to the floor. Baking soda also leaves a white residue behind, which you have to remove with a damp cloth before you can polish with your microfiber cloth.
I wouldn’t use this method to clean the entirety of my appliances, but for those stubborn or hard-to-reach spots (like under the handles), baking soda is the way to go. A little paste goes a long way, and you barely need any pressure when wiping.
As with anything, before tackling the front of your shiny appliance, test any new cleaning method on an inconspicuous spot. If you like the results, then take it from there.
How to Remove Rust from Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is a marvel of modern technology. It resists rust and stains in the dishwasher and keeps your kitchen and home looking shiny and beautiful. However, if your pots or sink gets damaged, you need to know how to remove rust from stainless steel.
Keeping your stainless steel free of rust will ensure that it lasts for a long time and stays clean and unmarked. This article looks at how to clean rust off stainless steel and keeping it off.
You’ll discover some excellent home remedies for easy cleaning jobs, and we delve into more robust approaches you can use to tackle difficult cleaning tasks. Before long, your stainless steel appliances and fixtures will gleam.
How to Find the Best Cleaners
When looking for great household cleaners, you will typically want to focus on versatility, value, and safety.
Versatility vs. Specialty
Although there will be some specialty products you will want for certain extra tough or delicate cleaning situations, most cleaners should be able to do more than just clean one or two things. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a specialty cleaner unless the area or item needs a specialty cleaner.
Just because it’s a specialty cleaner doesn’t mean it cannot also be versatile within its tasks. For example, if you want to clean your stainless steel stove, a good cleaner should be able to clean anything that’s stainless steel, and possibly other types of metal, not just stoves.
When your homemade silver cleaner is not working well enough and you do need a specialty cleaner, like for polishing or to clean jewelry, look for one from a respected brand known to perform well for that particular task. If you are going to buy specialty cleaners, also make sure you will use them enough to make them worth it.
How much cleaner are you getting for your money and how much do you need to get the job done? If you are paying $10 and only getting an 8 oz bottle, for example, you better be able to use a droplet to clean a large area and clean it well. Likewise, spending $5 for a gallon of cleaner may seem like a good idea, but if it takes cups of the stuff to clean anything you end up wasting both time and money.
Don’t just consider the size of the bottle when you are determining how much cleaner you are getting or if there is a homemade cleaner alternative. Learn whether you can mix it with water to stretch it. Most good cleaners will still work well when diluted.
Is it safe?
Many commercial cleaners contain harmful chemicals, so you don’t want to buy something that may make you sick with repeated use. Sometimes it is better to opt for homemade cleaners, like a DIY grill cleaner, where you know exactly what’s in it and how it will work.
Harsh chemicals, like ammonia, bleach, or phosphate, can be harmful or damage certain areas. Look for safety sheets for products you are considering buying. If no safety sheet is available, you may want to reconsider the product.
Product Review – Best All Purpose Cleaner
DIY Stainless Steel Cleaner How-To
Trust me when I say it couldn't be any easier. With two ingredients and two cloths, all of your appliances will look shiny and brand new!
First, a vinegar and water mixtures cleans your appliances - without those harsh chemicals mentioned above. I keep a spray bottle specifically labeled for this mixture under my sink. You can get heavy duty spray bottles on Amazon.
Then, olive oil (yup, the stuff you cook with!) will buff away any leftover finger prints, and also fend them off for a little while. Olive oil is the key to keeping your stainless steel appliances shiny.
You will want to use a soft cloth to do this, like these microfiber cloths.
The Don’ts of Cleaning Stainless Steel
- Steel wool or brushes will scratch the surface of your stainless steel and make it more susceptible to rusting and staining.
- Abrasive cleaners will scratch the surface and dull the finish.
- Bleach and cleaners with chlorine will stain and damage stainless steel.
- Don’t leave dirty water and cleaning solution residues to dry on your stainless steel it will create a dull finish and could leave permanent stains.
- Some tap water can be harsh and leave spots or stains. Use distilled or filtered water instead.
How to Clean Everything Without Toxic Chemicals
Tackle the Toilets
What I like about commercial toilet cleaners is the special bottle design that allowed me to get the cleaner under the toilet bowl rim. A great way I’ve found to copy this is by putting my toilet bowl cleaner in a spray bottle with the nozzle set to stream. Straight vinegar works just fine, but you can also add some essential oils for scent.
Clean vinyl mini-blinds with natural dish soap, some vinegar, and hot water. If you don’t like tediously cleaning each individual blind, then do it in the bathtub. Remove the blinds, clean them in the tub, then rinse off with the showerhead. Lay on some towels to dry before rehanging.
For the wider, wooden blinds, a Norwex cloth with a little water works great.
I mop my tile and laminate floors by adding a big splash of vinegar and a few drops of a favorite essential oil to a bucket of warm water. The vinegar smell will disappear as your floors dry. I promise your house won’t smell vinegary when you’re done! For extra dirty floors (i.e. at my house, lol) you can add some soap (I use a squirt of dish soap) to the bucket.
Freshen Carpet and Knock Out Stains
Hydrogen peroxide works wonders on tough stains. Just be sure to do a patch test first on an out of sight piece of carpet! To freshen carpets, heavily sprinkle baking soda over them. Let the baking soda sit for a few hours to overnight before vacuuming.
Mattresses and Furniture
Here’s a simple recipe to freshen your mattress or sofa.
- Put some baking soda into a shaker jar or a mason jar with holes nailed into the lid.
- Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender, tea tree, lemon, or any from the essential oil list above are good options. Shake well to combine.
- Sprinkle the mixture onto your mattress, upholstered furniture, or carpet, and leave it for an hour or so before vacuuming the solution up.
Wood and Leather
Sealed wood can be polished with a soft cloth with a tiny bit of diluted vinegar and olive oil on it. If you’re looking for non-toxic cleaning products for your leather, you don’t have to resort to expensive (and nasty) cleaning kits. This wood and leather balm adds a nourishing layer of wax and oil and helps condition leather fabric.
Gather Your Supplies
Mason Hunter recommends two techniques for cleaning stainless steel: One that involves using an eco-friendly commercial product and a second DIY method using common household ingredients. No matter which method you choose, she notes that it&aposs important to use a soft towel and not microfiber, "which is made of plastic and is very very very hard on the environment," and encourages you to "make sure to dry each stainless steel item to prevent a film from forming."
Kitchen: O-Cedar Spin Mop and Bucket Floor Cleaning System
O-Cedar Easy Wring Spin Mop and Bucket Floor Cleaning System, $34.99, available at BJ's
This well-designed system allows for hands-free wringing. The bucket has a special spinner, activated by a foot pedal, that spins your mop and keeps water splashes contained.
The mop head itself rotates 360 degrees and is shaped like a triangle to better clean the corners of your home. Microfiber is equally effective on hardwood floors and tiles, like the ones in your kitchen, when used wet or dry.
Most of these items can be found in your grocery store. If you prefer shopping on Amazon or can't find any of these items, you can click on them to be taken to Amazon to purchase them. This list is there just for reference, you do not HAVE to buy all of them to get started making your own cleaning solutions. Start small and work your way up :)
Now, onto the ingredients and all of the amazing ways you can use them to clean your home!
By far the most used natural cleaning ingredient that I use in our home is Distilled White Vinegar. Vinegar is an amazing germ fighter, is such a great cleaner and can even be used to help unclog drains!
Baking soda isn't just used for baking. it's an awesome home cleaning agent too! It makes a great scrub, will help lift even the most burned on foods from surfaces and even helps remove melted plastic from stovetops and more!
Essential oils will really take your cleaning recipes to the next level. Different essential oils have different uses and properties. Some of my favorites for cleaning recipes are Lemon, Tea Tree, Orange, Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender and Lemongrass. Orange and lemon essential oils are great grease fighters, and can remove stickers and labels with ease. Peppermint essential oil is a great disinfectant and a great natural way to deter insects from invading your home. Lavender is a great disinfectant and smells amazing. Tea Tree oil is a major germ fighter. Rosemary and lemongrass essential oils will help keep bugs away and are also great odor absorbers!
Castile soap is a fabulous vegetable based soap that comes in different scents. I love them all, but their citrus scent is my absolute favorite! Castile soap can be used to make natural dish liquid, dish tablets, laundry soap, hand soap and sooo many more cleaning solutions without having to add a bunch of chemicals that could be toxic. A little Castile soap goes a long way and can be used for your face and body as well!
Here is a recipe for Making Your Own Liquid Castile Soap if you'd like to go in that direction!
Washing soda is a great cleaning agent that you can buy in store or make yourself with only baking soda and your oven. Washing soda can be used in homemade laundry detergents and is also great for cleaning hard water stains in toilets and anywhere else. The alkaline in washing soda breaks down hard water and minerals with ease without the use of harsh chemicals. I wrote an easy post on How to Make Your Own Washing Soda HERE!
Lemons and lemon juice are one of the best, most natural cleaning objects ever! The natural acidity in lemons helps remove stains, disinfect surfaces and is a great grease fighter!
Citric acid is an ingredient usually used for canning fruits and vegetables, but it has great cleaning properties too! When mixed with other natural cleaning ingredients, it can cause a fizzing action that will help lift stains from dishes, toilets and drains too!
Kosher salt isn't just for cooking and seasoning food. It also makes a great scrubbing agent when mixed with oil and a gentle cleanser when mixed with lemon juice.
Witch hazel is widely know for soothing skin issues like acne, razor burn and diaper rash, but it also makes a great additive to any room spray or fabric refresher. If you add essential oils to witch hazel, you can make a great spray that won't fade away quickly and won't stain fabrics. Say goodbye to pet smells, stinky diaper smells and lingering food smells in your home!
Hydrogen peroxide is a super stain remover and also whitens whites without harming colors. Have a wine or grass stain that just won't come out of your clothes? Hydrogen peroxide will be your new best friend!
Isopropyl alcohol combined with a couple more ingredients makes a safe granite cleaner that dries super fast! It also makes a life saving ice melter for your windshield in those cold winter months!
Coconut oil is of course the newest, greatest item on the planet! I use it as a face moisturizer, a body lotion and to remove my makeup, but it can also help clean things like leather furniture and the interior of your car!
Hopefully these ingredients and cleaning solution recipes will help you get started moving in a more non-toxic cleaning direction. As you can see, these ingredients are used together in lots of different ways, so they really do go a long way! You can check out hundreds of my Cleaning Hacks and Home Tips HERE on my Home Tips Page!
Do you have to put the cleaners in a glass bottle or can they be put in plastic spray bottles? Just wondering if there was a reason behind it or if it's a preference.
Most people prefer the glass bottles because some essential oils can "melt" plastic, but I've used plastic for years with no issue. I recently switched to the glass bottles because after time, the plastic ones can turn foggy, but I really don't think it's a big deal either way :)
September 24, 2017 at 10:24 pm
Just a little FYI. You can buy your glass bottles when you buy your vinegar in them. Also, I figured this one out the night before a major surgery, but you can also buy Fleet Enemas in a slightly smaller glass bottle that can be used so you don't have to buy a glass bottle for $8.99 empty. . I'm using liquor bottles,. A-1 Steak sauce bottles for my peroxide recipes. Good
luck & have FUN.
September 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm
Where did you buy your essential oils and citric acid from?
September 18, 2017 at 7:16 am
Hi, Janet! I buy them all from amazon.com The links to each product are listed in the post above :)
November 08, 2017 at 3:18 pm
DIY cleaner for vinyl plank floors
November 10, 2017 at 8:27 pm
I need a recipe to clean carpet with carpet cleaning machine
I did not believe it when I read some of these cleaning recipes. ’Baking soda for a ceramic stove top sounds silly especially after all the types of stuff I have tried. To top it off, this woman thinks I am going to clean a stainless steel fridge with vinegar and some oil?!’
Guess who was right. NOT ME! All these simple and friendly ingredients work BETTER than the harmful ineffective crap I have wasted so much time and money on!
Thank you so much for being so generous to share these gems of knowledge! I have 5 fur babies and a toddler that will benefit from your natural remedies and a mommy off to the start of a natural remedy of keeping life clean.
Stay Beautiful Girl!
I know it's so crazy that these things work! Thank you so much for your kind words this morning, you sent them right when I needed them. I hope you have a beautiful day!
I LOVE your site. I actually saved it to my phone’s homepage! I will use it as a reference guide! Thank YOU for sharing!
I wish that you had a “printer friendly” option to print all of these GREAT cleaning solution recipes!
Thank you so much, Kristina! We are working on something to make the recipes more print friendly. it is a ton of work, but we are trying to come up with as solution, so keep your eyes open! xoxo, Jess
What an awesome idea! I didn't know you could save link! You're now on my home page too.
September 20, 2018 at 9:34 pm
Do you have a recipe for
- stainless steel appliances
- carpet cleaning spray for machine
- and wood furniture
How do you get blood out of clothes &
Try this stain remover. it's worked great for me!
Try peroxide to get it out of clothes. I also found that soaking it in flat beer (yes it sounds crazy) works, especially if it's on white carpet.
Will these cleaners work on Quartz counter tops and tile? Thank you!
December 07, 2019 at 3:35 pm
Where can you buy the sprayers that will fit the vinegar bottles?
December 18, 2019 at 2:36 pm
I used one from an old spray bottle. just rinsed it really well!
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I’m Jessica, a mom on a mission to show other women that you can live well without breaking the bank. I like to share the thrifty, creative ways that I make changes in my home in the hopes that it will spark the creativity in someone else! I love to share DIY projects, crafts, simple recipes and cleaning tips too! Read More…
27 Chemical-Free Recipes for DIY Spring Cleaning
Spring is finally near (please?), and that means it&rsquos time for lounging in the grass, tossin&rsquo the disc, barbecuing with friends, and scouring your living space from top to bottom.
While it might be tempting to spray your whole place with bleach (that makes things &ldquoclean,&rdquo right?), a lot of common household cleaning products are actually pretty toxic to our health. Luckily, there are alternative ways to keep things fresh and sanitary. Read on for the low-down on cleaning every area of the home, DIY style.
Ditching the Dirt&mdashThe Need-to-Know
The Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air pollution among the top environmental dangers, and much of this pollution comes from common cleaning products (or what we&rsquoll call &ldquoindoor pollutants&rdquo). Immediate effects of exposure to indoor pollutants can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as exacerbated symptoms of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Long-term effects (following long or repeated exposure to indoor pollutants) include respiratory diseases, heart disease, and even cancer. The indoor pollutants that can cause these reactions are so common that the EPA strongly recommends everyone improve the air quality of their home, regardless of whether symptoms are currently present. In other words, these pollutants are pretty whack.
Despite the consequences of exposure to indoor air pollutants, the government doesn&rsquot regulate or assess the safety (or even labeling) of the vast majority of cleaning products on the market. The EPA, meanwhile, only regulates cleaners that contain registered pesticides. This means that consumers are basically on their own when it comes to choosing safe cleaning products&mdasha task that&rsquos way easier said than done. (For reviews of the toxicity of 200 hundred household cleaners, check out the Environmental Working Group&rsquos database.).
Non-toxic homemade cleaning products aren&rsquot just better for us they can also help save us money and protect the environment.
Luckily, chemical-laden cleaning products aren&rsquot the only means to keep a home sparkly. Non-toxic homemade cleaning products aren&rsquot only better for us they can also help save us money and protect the environment. Making your own products cuts down on packaging waste and reduces the release of household chemicals that can contribute to air and water pollution. The best news? The majority of the most powerful cleaning products may well already be on our pantry shelves.
So Fresh and So Clean&mdashMeet the Star Players
Before we get to the cleaning, let&rsquos check out some of the most common (and most useful) non-toxic cleaning products.
Baking soda is a pantry staple with proven virus-killing abilities that also effectively cleans, deodorizes, brightens, and cuts through grease and grime Virucidal efficacy of sodium bicarbonate on a food contact surface against feline calicivirus, a norovirus surrogate. Malik, YS and Goyal, SM. Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 2006 May 25109(1-2):160-3. Epub 2006 Mar 15 .
Castile soap is a style of soap that&rsquos made from 100 percent plant oils (meaning it uses no animal products or chemical detergents). Popularized by the Dr. Bronner&rsquos line of products, castile cuts through grease and cleans.
Thanks to its acidity, vinegar is nothing short of a cleaning wunderkind&mdashit effectively (and gently!) eliminates grease, soap scum, and grime.
Natural lemon juice annihilates mildew and mold, cuts through grease, and shines hard surfaces (It also smells awesome.).
Essential oils have gained popularity thanks to aromatherapy, but these naturally occurring plant compounds also make great scent additions to homemade cleaning products (particularly if you&rsquore not into the smell of vinegar). Essential oils are generally considered safe, but these extracts can trigger allergies&mdashso keep this in mind when choosing scents.
Many DIY cleaners tout Borax (a boron mineral and salt) as a non-toxic alternative to mainstream cleaning products however, the issue is pretty hotly debated. Some research suggests Borax can act as a skin and eye irritant and that it disrupts hormones. For this list, we&rsquove chosen to avoid products that use Borax.
A note on mixing products: Most of these ingredients can be used in combination with each other however, many sources advise against mixing castile soap with vinegar or lemon juice. Since castile soap is basic (i.e., high on the pH scale) and vinegar and lemons are acidic, the products basically cancel each other out when used in combination (though it&rsquos fine to wash with a base&mdashlike castille soap&mdashand rinse with an acid&mdashlike vinegar!).
Cleaning Recipes for Every Surface
Note: Many of these cleaners can be used in multiple places, but we&rsquove assigned them to particular areas for easy reference.
For a heavy-duty toilet scrub that deodorizes while it cleans, pour ½ cup of baking soda and about 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into the toilet. Add ¼ cup of vinegar to the bowl and scrub away while the mixture fizzes.
For daily cleaning, fill a small spray bottle with vinegar (about 1 cup should do it) and a few drops of an essential oil of your choosing (lemon and tea tree both work well). Spray on the toilet seats, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe the surface clean.
2. Tub and Shower
Tubs and showers can produce some of the toughest grime, but it&rsquos no match for the cleaning power of vinegar. To get rid of mildew, spray pure white vinegar on the offending area, let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and then rinse with warm water (don&rsquot be afraid to use a sponge if rinsing doesn&rsquot clear away the grossness on its own). Alternatively, try mixing together baking soda with a bit of liquid castile soap, then scrub and rinse.
For daily cleaning or to get rid of soap scum, mix 1 part water with 1 part vinegar (and a few drops of essential oils if you&rsquore not into the smell of vinegar) in a spray bottle. Spray, let it sit for at least several minutes, and then wipe away.
Skip the bleach and make a homemade germ-killer instead. Just mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap, and 20-30 drops of tea tree oil. Voila!
4. Air Freshener
Defeat less-visible bathroom &ldquouncleanliness&rdquo with this homemade, non-toxic air freshener. All you need is baking soda, your favorite essential oil, and an old jar with a lid you don&rsquot mind poking holes in (follow the link for full instructions).
5. Hand Soap
Once you&rsquore done cleaning the bathroom, it&rsquos time to make yourself clean (or at least your hands). To make a non-toxic, foaming hand soap, mix together liquid castile soap and water (and an essential oil if you feel like it) in a foaming soap dispenser. Fill about one fifth of the bottle with soap, then top it off with water.
For a simple, all-purpose counter cleaner, mix together equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. If your countertop is made from marble, granite, or stone, skip the vinegar (its acidity is no good for these surfaces) and use rubbing alcohol or the wondrous power of vodka instead.
7. Cutting Boards
Talk about non-toxic: All that&rsquos needed to clean and sanitize cutting boards (wood or plastic) is&hellip a lemon! Cut it in half, run it over the surfaces, let sit for ten minutes, and then rinse away. If you need some serious scrubbing power, sprinkle some coarse or Kosher salt over the board, and then rub with ½ a lemon.
To clean stubborn, caked-on food out of the oven, just heat the over to 125 degrees and grab your spray bottle of vinegar (see &ldquocountertops&rdquo above). Once the oven is warm, spray the caked-on stuff until it&rsquos lightly damp and then pour salt directly onto the affected areas. Turn off the oven, let it cool, and then use a wet towel to scrub away at the mess. If that doesn&rsquot cut it, follow the same instructions but try use baking soda in place of salt (just let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing).
9. Garbage Disposal
This one is so cool. Pour 1 cup of vinegar into an ice cube tray and top off the slots with water. Once they&rsquore frozen, toss a few down the disposal and let it run&mdashdoing so should remove any food that was stuck to the blades.
It&rsquos easy to overlook the microwave while cleaning, but man can it get gross in there. To combat the gunk, pour some vinegar into a small cup and mix in a little lemon juice (exact amounts don&rsquot really matter). Put the cup in the microwave, let the microwave run for 2 minutes, and leave the door closed for several more minutes. Finally, open the door and simply wipe down all the sides with a warm cloth or sponge&mdashno scrubbing required!
11. Sink Drain
To unclog a stuffed-up drain, start by boiling about 2 cups of water. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain, and then add the water while it&rsquos still nice and hot. If that doesn&rsquot do the trick, follow the baking soda with ½ cup of vinegar, cover it up tightly (a pot lid should work nicely), wait until the fizzing slows down (when baking soda and vinegar come in contact, they&rsquoll react by fizzing) and then add one gallon of boiling water.
12. Pan De-Greaser
To cut through the grime on frying pans, simply apply some salt (no water necessary) and scrub vigorously.
13. Cast-Iron Pans
Kitchen professionals are pretty against using soap, steel wool, or dishwashers to clean cast-iron pans. Luckily, there&rsquos an alternative way to tackle cast-iron grossness: combine olive oil and a teaspoon of coarse salt in the pan. Scrub with a stiff brush, rinse with hot water, and you&rsquore done!
14. Dishwasher Detergent
If you&rsquore lucky enough to have a dishwasher, simply mix together 1 cup of liquid castile soap and 1 cup of water (2 teaspoons of lemon juice optional) in a quart-size glass jar.Add some of this mixture to one detergent compartment of the dishwasher, and fill the other compartment with white vinegar.
15. Dish Soap
If washing dishes by hand, simply combine 1 cup of liquid castile soap and 3 tablespoons water (a few drops of essential oil optional) in a bottle of your choice. Shake well and use like you would any other dish soap.
16. Refrigerator Cleaner
To clean what is perhaps the toughest of all kitchen &ldquogross spots,&rdquo reach for the baking soda. Add about ½ cup of the white stuff to a bucket of hot water. Dip a clean rag in the mixture and use it to wipe down the fridge&rsquos insides.
For serious disinfectant power, mix ½ cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon castile soap, and ½ teaspoon hydrogen peroxide. Use a cloth to apply the mixture to a wet surface, scrub, and then rinse thoroughly.
18. Laundry Detergent
It&rsquos tough to come by homemade laundry detergents that don&rsquot use Borax, but give this one a try. The recipe calls for glycerin soap, washing soda, baking soda, citric acid, and coarse salt. For full instructions, follow the link!
19. Fabric Softener
Skip the liquid fabric softener and make clothes nice and snuggly the non-toxic way. Make a big batch of softener by adding 20-30 drops of the essential oil of your choice to a one-gallon jug of white vinegar. Add 1/3 cup to each laundry load (just be sure to shake the mixture prior to each use).
20. Laundry &ldquoScenter&rdquo
To add a fresh, clean scent to laundry, make a sachet stuffed with your favorite dried herbs (lavender, peppermint, and lemon verbena are all great options). Toss it in the dryer while it&rsquos in use, and voila: customized, non-toxic scent!
For a nontoxic laundry bleach alternative, add some lemon juice to the rinse cycle.
For a simple, effective tile floor cleaner, simply combine one part white vinegar with two parts warm water in a bucket. Use a mop or rag to scrub down the floors with the solution. No need to rinse off! (Note: this one&rsquos not recommended for wood floors).
To scrub down walls, mix ¼ cup white vinegar with 1 quart warm water, then use a rag to scrub those walls down. To remove black marks, simply scrub at the spot with a little bit of baking soda.
24. Windows and Mirrors
For an all-purpose window cleaner, combine 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts water (feel free to add some lemon juice if you&rsquore feeling citrusy), then use a sponge or rag to scrub away.
25. Furniture Polish
For an all-purpose furniture polish, combine ¼ cup vinegar with ¾ cup olive oil and use a soft cloth to distribute the mixture over furniture. For wood furniture (or as an alternative to the first recipe), combine ¼ cup lemon juice with ½ cup olive oil, then follow the same procedure.
26. Silver Cleaner
Put silver utensils and jewelry back to good use the non-toxic way. Line a sink or bucket with aluminum foil, lay out the silver on top of the aluminum, and pour in boiling water, 1 cup of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Let it sit for several minutes and watch as&mdashlike magic&mdashthe tarnish disappears! Note: If you&rsquore concerned about immersing a particular item, simply rub it with toothpaste and a soft cloth, rinse it with warm water, and allow it air to dry.
27. Wood Cleaner
Clean varnished wood by combining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and a quart of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray onto wood and then dry with a soft cloth. (Note: Since olive oil can leave behind some (slippery) residue, this one might not be the best option for wood floors.)
Note: We&rsquove done our absolute best to provide the best information possible, but since we haven&rsquot tried every single one of these solutions in every possible cleaning situation, we can&rsquot vouch for them 100 percent. If you try a recipe and encounter any difficulties, let us know!
Best disinfecting cleaner for pet messes
Clorox Pet Solutions Stain & Odor Remover is tough on deep-rooted stains but gentle and safe to use around dogs, cats, and other household pets.
Pros: Effectively removes stains, safe to use around pets, bleach and fragrance-free, helps to prevent re-soiling
Cons: Must purchase a spray bottle, not recommended for brass or natural marble surfaces
Clorox Pet Solutions Stain & Odor Remover is effective at removing tough pet messes like drool, feces, urine, and vomit, and it's safe to use around your furry friends (as long as you take a few precautions). "It's fine to use a regular disinfectant or bleach on bowls or pet toys with hard surfaces — you'll just want to rinse the surfaces with water after they've dried," Sansoni said. For more information on pet-safe products, check out our FAQ.
Simply pour the solution into a reusable spray bottle to clean pet bedding, carpets, clothing, flooring, furniture, travel crates, and upholstery. Then allow it to sit for five to 10 minutes before rinsing or wiping the area down with a clean, damp cloth. It's bleach- and fragrance-free and wonderful at eliminating odors that tend to stubbornly linger. Regularly using this disinfectant may help your pet remember not to go back to re-soil the same spot.
Brian Sansoni, SVP of Communication at the American Cleaning Institute, gave us some helpful information on assessing the quality of a disinfectant.
What ingredients should I look for in a disinfectant?
Sansoni said that some of the more active ingredients found within disinfectant cleaners include sodium hypochlorite, ethanol, pine oil, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, and quats, otherwise known as quaternary ammonium compounds. For efficacy, be sure to visit the manufacturer's website, look for the product in SmartLabel (a digital shopping tool where you can find detailed info that won't fit on your standard cleaning product's packaging), and check out the American Cleaning Institute's guide on how to read a product label.
In addition to the ingredients listed above, your disinfectant of choice may include a combination of surfactants, builders, solvents, enzymes, fragrances, preservatives, pH adjusters, and thickeners or foam enhancers.
Do disinfecting cleaners kill the coronavirus?
There are a number of disinfectant products that can be effective against the coronavirus on hard, nonporous surfaces, in accordance with the EPA Viral Emerging Pathogen Policy. Visit EPA-registered disinfectant products to use against Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for more information.
Will alcohol kill germs?
Alcohol solutions need to contain at least 70% alcohol to be effective on hard surfaces against the coronavirus. Read the labels on alcohol-based products, and be sure to reach for isopropyl alcohol and not ethanol, which is used in cocktails and other alcoholic beverages.
You'll want to pre-clean the surface with soap and water. Then, apply the alcohol solution to the surface — without diluting it — and let it air dry for at least 30 seconds before wiping.
It's important to never mix isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol — which is typically 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water — with bleach since it will create chloroform, which is toxic.
What surfaces can I use rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol on?
Rubbing alcohol and isopropyl alcohol can liquify and damage finished surfaces since isopropyl alcohol is a solvent. Sansoni advises against using either on painted, shellacked, lacquered, or varnished surfaces, including treated wood.
However, rubbing alcohol can be a great stain treatment for certain fabrics and can remove ink, grass, grease, or sap. While it's good for carpet, Sansoni doesn't recommend rubbing alcohol on materials like acetate, rayon, wool, and silk.
Do all-purpose cleaners kill germs?
A traditional all-purpose cleaner is designed to lift dirt off of surfaces, but it won't completely disinfect the area you're cleaning. Stick with a disinfectant designed to kill bacteria and germs. Keep in mind, however, that disinfectants won't make surfaces shine like an all-purpose cleaner. Popular all-purpose cleaners that aren't disinfectants include Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Multi-Surface Cleaner and Everspring's Lemon & Mint All-Purpose Cleaner.
Will hydrogen peroxide kill germs?
Some registered disinfectants contain hydrogen peroxide as the active ingredient. The typical 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration found at drugstores can be used to disinfect surfaces. Pre-clean the surface before applying the liquid, and then let it air dry for at least a minute before wiping.
If you're using a cleaner that contains hydrogen peroxide, check the product label for instructions on how long the cleaner needs to sit on the surface before wiping. Never mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar, bleach, or other cleaners.
Will vinegar kill germs?
While vinegar has bacteria-killing properties, it is not listed as an EPA-approved disinfectant.
Do "eco-friendly" or "natural" cleaners work as well as ones with more "powerful" chemicals?
"Eco-friendly" and "natural" are, more often than not, marketing terms rather than scientific ones. It all comes down to how the product is formulated, what ingredients it contains, and preference. When a product is labeled as "natural," it typically means that it's void of harmful chemicals.
What makes a cleaning product "pet-safe"?
According to Sansoni, products that are labeled as "pet-safe" are usually formulated with ingredients that are less harmful when unintentionally ingested.
It's important to note that cleaning products are safe for people and pets when used as intended. However, because pets have a habit of putting their mouths on things they're not supposed to, the added step of rinsing any leftover product off of surfaces can be helpful.
What is an odor eliminator?
An odor eliminator can either cover up an odor, absorb it, or kill odor-causing germs. Fragrances that cover an odor may be used in tandem with an odor absorber or a product that kills odor-causing bacteria. Some odor-eliminating sprays use compounds called cyclodextrins to trap odor molecules.
We've rounded up the best odor eliminators for your home.
Are wipes better than sprays?
This is a matter of preference. Some spray products may be available in a wipe version or vice versa, with some customers finding that one product is able to reach the space they want to clean better than the other. Sansoni mentioned there isn't a benefit for letting a disinfectant stay on surfaces longer than recommended, and you should always follow the instructions on the label.