We are lucky to live in a world that provides a dazzling array of choices regarding cleaning products. There are products for every type of surface, material, and need, at home, besides organic, industrial, and commercial cleaners. You can choose between chemical and natural products, allergen-free, fragrance-free, or alcohol free cleaners. Supermarket shelves are filled with myriad options, and we’re blitzed with TV, print, and social media ads. While it’s great to have so many alternatives, zeroing in on the ones that suit your budget, needs and preferences can be challenging. The best way out is to make your own, and here’s our take on the 5 Best Natural Cleaning Products. They will do the job, go easy on your pocket and keep your home fresh and hygienic without harmful side effects.
Cleaning Products Down The Ages
Over the last century or more, the right type of cleaning meant blasting out dirt and germs with ultra-harsh chemicals that are toxic to humans, animals, and the environment. Today we understand that chemical cleaners are not as effective as they’re made out to be while causing harm to ourselves and our planet.
Early soaps didn’t have fragrance. They were made from animal fats, vegetable oils, lye, and water. Until the 19th century, soap was heavily taxed and considered a luxury item. After the World Wars, extensive research into soap-making resulted in chemical products known as “detergents.” Floor cleaners were ash, sand, or mud used as abrasives and washed out with water.
Today, we have a range of products for body and hair cleansing and cleaning surfaces, cloth, and metals. The market has expanded to include softeners, gels, liquid soaps, sprays, alcohol, water-based, UV cleaners, and more.
Why Use Natural Cleaning Products?
Natural cleaning products first made news in the 1960s, when questions began to surface about the harmful effects of chemicals in daily life. In the 1970s, the Environment Protection Agency began to notify certain harmful toxins as being linked to cancers and other health hazards. By the 1990s, there was much more general awareness of the risks caused by chemical cleaning agents. Today we have more information to make our own DIY all-natural cleaning products that don’t harm us or our planet.
Natural or green cleaning products:
- Protect health
- Meet your environmentally conscious use goals
- Reduce the carbon footprint
- Reduce pollution of river, ocean, and ground waters and drinking water sources
- Enhance air and water quality
- Reduce waste
- Are less expensive
- Improve productivity and efficiency in offices and homes
- Boost your image
- Don’t contain chlorine, phosphates, synthetic fragrances
- Are packaged in biodegradable/recyclable materials
- Use organic ingredients grown in sustainable farms
5 Best Natural Cleaning Products
- Vinegar: If anything could be dubbed the King of Cleaners, it has to be vinegar. Both white and brown vinegar is great, but if you’re cleaning a white or light-colored surface, opt for white. A combination of mild acetic acid, water, vinegar, and minute amounts of trace compounds. You must dilute it with water when using it as a cleaner. Otherwise, it could cause damage and discoloration.
Vinegar can be used:
- To disinfect and clean kitchen sinks
- Mop floors
- Clean counter-tops, sheet pans, stove-tops
- Clean steel and enamel utensils and cutlery
- Clean coffee and tea makers, blenders, and food processors
- Shine glass
- Deodorize and disinfect cutting boards, trash cans
- Scrub the insides of the fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, and microwave
- Baking Soda: this is a great all-purpose cleaner. Known chemically as sodium bicarbonate, it’s a staple on most kitchen shelves. It is made from soda ash and has amazing leavening properties. That’s why it is extensively used in cooking and baking. As a cleaner, it is abrasive to give you that extra power while scrubbing. It is a mild alkali and causes dirt and grease to dissolve in water. Being completely non-toxic, you can use it safely in the home.
Baking Soda can be used to:
- Clean glass, chrome, steel, enamel, and plastic
- Clean food-preparation appliances, utensils, and service-areas
- Deodorize under-arms and feet, carpets, fridges, upholstery
- Combat garlic breath and urine smells
- Clean and deodorize barns, feed lots, and sewage systems
- Extinguish fires
- Scrub fruit and vegetables clean before use
- Polish silverware and flatware
- Remove mold and scuff marks from the floor and tiles
- Freshen cleaning cloths and sponges
- Borax: The chemical name of this salt is sodium borate. It is an ionic compound that comes in the form of a white crystalline substance that easily dissolves in water. It is used in the home primarily in powder or granular form. Borax is a versatile cleaner but must be used cautiously as it can irritate the eyes and skin. Keep it out of reach of kids and pregnant women. Ensure you wash the items well after cleaning them with borax to remove all traces thoroughly.
Borax can be used to:
- Clean cloth
- Eliminate pests such as ants
- Clean and disinfect toilets
- Clean steel cookware and remove grease
- Unclog drains
- Remove stains
- Hydrogen Peroxide:This is an easily-available, cost-saving, effective cleaner. You can get it in most pharmacies and big box stores. It comes in the form of a clear liquid and various potency levels, based on your use. As a household cleaner, a 3% solution is ideal. It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and is non-toxic. It cannot be mixed with vinegar and will lose its cleaning qualities if exposed to light. It has to be stored in opaque containers and spray bottles.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to:
- Clean fridges, microwaves, and ovens
- Deodorize and disinfect cutting boards
- Remove mildew, mold, and dirt in bathrooms
- Clean toilet bowls and mirrors
- Shine wall and floor tiles
- Disinfect cosmetic tools such as tweezers, manicure/pedicure tools
- Lemon Juice:Like vinegar, lemon juice has mild acidic properties from citric acid. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and is a great antiseptic. Lemon juice is a natural deodorizer, has a low pH, and its fresh, citrusy fragrance is energizing and refreshing.
Lemon juice can be used to:
- Clean laminated surfaces and toilets
- Fresh, clean, and disinfect cutting boards
- Clean wood, copper, iron, and steel
- Degreasing ovens, cookware
- Polish furniture, when mixed with olive oil
- Clean faucets, floors, windows, dishes, cheese-graters, kettles
Using easily available household products as cleaning agents saves time and money. It protects your home, family, and planet from harsh chemicals and toxins. Before you use them, ensure that you get the right information on the Do’s and Don’ts of using natural cleaners.