This year, spring cleaning doesn't have to mean bottles full of noxious chemicals and compounds you can't pronounce. Turns out, it's easy to make your own cleaning products from safe, natural ingredients. Better yet, they actually work! Whether your goal is sparkling windows or glowing floors, you'll find that these natural cleaners perform just as well as store-bought brands.
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All-Purpose Spray Cleaner
Borax is a naturally occurring substance that has properties of both a mineral and a salt. It works well in cleaners because it converts water molecules to hydrogen peroxide. It also has properties that enable it to disinfect and kill unwanted pests.
4 cups hot water
¼ cup vinegar
½ teaspoon borax
• Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and store for later use.
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Even self-cleaning ovens don't always get the job done. This easy-to-make cleaner doesn't require scrubbing -- just coat the interior of your oven, leave it overnight, and simply wipe it off in the morning.
1½ cups baking soda
½ cup salt
½ cup water
Squirt of plant-based liquid soap
• Dampen the oven with a sponge and water.
• Combine ingredients to make a thick paste, and spread all over the interior of the oven. Let the mixture sit overnight.
• Wipe off the mixture using a bit of the soap with a sponge and wash the rest of the oven clean.
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You’ll find white vinegar in lots of all-natural cleaners—and for good reason. It's very acidic, so it not only cuts through grease but also inhibits bacteria and mold. Not a fan of that pungent vinegar aroma? A little bit of lavender oil or grapefruit seed extract will do the trick.
2 tablespoons plain white vinegar
4 cups hot water
A few drops lavender oil or grapefruit seed extract
• Join the ingredients in a bucket and use with a mop on basically any washable surface.
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The combination of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and table salt works as a gentle abrasive that will rid your sink of grime, grease, or mildew.
1 cup baking soda
¼ cup salt
Squeeze of lemon
Squirt of dish soap
• Mix the ingredients in a bowl until you make a mixture resembling frosting.
• Dip a sponge into the paste and scrub. Let the paste sit for about 10 minutes for stubborn grime.
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A dishwasher definitely makes life easier, but there's no reason to buy commercial powders for each cycle. Washing soda—a.k.a. sodium carbonate—mixed together with borax is an inexpensive alternative and works just as well as chemical-laden, heavily scented store brands.
2 cups washing soda
2 cups borax
• Mix equal amounts of both ingredients. Add more washing soda if your water is hard.