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Natural Cleaning Products
Editors Note: Updated: June 4, 2019
The big question is, why use natural cleaning products? I asked myself that question when I first started researching the pros and cons of natural cleaning products. There’s a surprising amount of research that details why some of the big brand name cleaning supplies are not really your best bet. Here are a few solid reasons why you should consider making the switch.
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This is a big one to to think about if you’re about to go out and splurge for your big deep cleaning session. Most natural cleaning products you can create yourself at home are going to involve vinegar, baking soda, or dawn soap. These are all items you can get for super cheap from pretty much any grocery store. The big name brands are always going to be more expensive because you’re essentially just paying for the bottle and the label. When you break down what you’re actually paying for, it starts to seem pretty silly. If you’re really curious about price, here’s a quick rundown:
- 1 lb of Arm and Hammer baking soda: $0.89
- 64 oz (½ gallon) of cleaning vinegar: $1.99
- 20 oz of Dawn dish soap: $2.49
- Mr. Clean Multi Purpose Cleaner: $6.97
So there’s not a huge price difference, but it can start to add up over the long run. All purpose big brand cleaner also isn’t quite as effective as cleaning solutions you can make at home. If the price isn’t something you’re concerned about, it’s worth looking into some of the health concerns.
I was curious to see if there were any side effects of brand name household cleaners. There are all sorts of websites that pop up when doing a quick search that have a questionable reliability. I found this information on the American Lung Association web page, a source I definitely trust.
It stated that some products can release dangerous chemicals called “VOCs” or volatile organic compounds. A quick excerpt from their page says:
“VOCs and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches. Studies are underway to assess how these chemicals affect people who have asthma and other respiratory illnesses. However, past studies link exposure to chemicals from cleaning supplies to occupational asthma and other respiratory illnesses.”
Here are some of the products that can contain VOC’s:
- Aerosol spray products, including health, beauty and cleaning products
- Air fresheners
- Chlorine bleach
- Detergent and dish washing liquid
- Dry cleaning chemicals
- Rug and upholstery cleaners
- Furniture and floor polish
- Oven cleaners
A final quick note on health concerns, government regulations don’t require companies to put the ingredients on cleaning supplies, so you don’t really know what is in your all purpose cleaner. It’s better to be safe than sorry and stick with natural options!
Here’s another great question, why is vinegar so popular? Vinegar has a pH value of 2.0, which means that no microorganism can survive after being in contact with vinegar. This makes it an ideal home cleaning solution! Almost all general purpose cleaners have a similar acidity level, but are much more expensive and could contain harmful chemicals. Vinegar can also be used on almost any surface. The only exception is marble, because the acidity could etch the surface.
Vinegar is able to cut through kitchen grease, mineral deposits, and even soap scum. This is all because of the acidity level of vinegar. An added bonus is that the shelf life of vinegar is up to 3.5 years! You might be wondering, how can this be a natural cleaner if it’s so effective.
Without knowing anything about it, I would awesome it is at least a little harmful because of how effective it is. Totally wrong! You’ve probably had salt and vinegar chips before, vinegar is completely edible. This means that it’s environmentally friendly and also biodegradable. If you happen to get any in your eyes, a quick 5-10 minute flush should completely remove it with no lasting effects.
BIG SAFETY TIP
Do not mix vinegar with bleach!
This creates toxic chlorine gas which can cause long lasting respiratory issues and in some cases, can be fatal.
These natural cleaning solutions are simple and you can make them yourself. When it comes to homemade all purpose cleaners, you’re not alone if you feel a little skeptical. However, these methods are tested and work great.
Natural Toilet Cleaner
- 2 tbsp of baking soda
- 1 cup of vinegar
And that’s it! All you really have to do it pour a couple tablespoons of baking soda into your toilet, give the toilet a quick scrub, and then pour in the cup of vinegar. These two should react together and foam up, which is kind of neat, and then you scrub and flush. That should work wonders for your toilet.
All Purpose Natural Cleaner
- ½ water
- ½ vinegar
- Mix together
There it is, another super simple and easy all purpose cleaner. If you’re feeling super crazy you can add some lemon juice for a nice scent.
Shower/Bathtub Natural Cleaner
- 1 cup dawn dish soap
- 1 cup vinegar
Once again, mix together and you’re set to jet!
For the all purpose natural cleaner and the shower/bathtub cleaner, mixing together and putting in a spray bottle is the recommended way to administer your cleaning solution. These DIY natural cleaning products are proven to remove grime easily and safely.
When you’re tackling the shower/bathtub you’re going to want to use the natural shower/bathtub cleaner (obviously). However, you don’t just spray and scrub, there are a few little tricks that will make your life a little easier. My first piece of advice, try to clean your bathroom once a week. It might not be totally realistic, but if you aim for that kind of consistency your life will be a little easier. Frequent cleaning means there’s less time for hard water stains to set in and for soap scum/dirt to accumulate. Staying on top of your cleaning routine will lead to you spending less time cleaning your bathroom.
To get the perfect mixture for your cleaning solution, here are the steps you want to take. First, you’ll want to heat up the vinegar in the microwave until it’s warm and then pour into a spray bottle. Next, pour in your dawn dish soap and shake until it is thoroughly mixed. Now is the fun part, go crazy and spray your shower, bathtub, fixtures, etc. The best practice is to let the cleaning solution sit for 30 minutes to and hour, and then you can scrub and rinse. It’s best to let it sit so your natural cleaning product can do its job.
Unclogging the shower/bathtub drain isn’t the most glamorous task in the world, but using natural cleaning options will at least make you feel a little better about the job at hand. The first course of action is to try using a drain snake so you don’t have to dump anything down your drain. Some drains (like mine) are made in a way that you can’t actually fit a drain snake down them. If that’s the case, try to stay away from drano and other de-clogging solutions that are full of chemicals. Instead, pour in some baking soda and vinegar and let them do their job! It should foam up and start working on whatever is clogging up your drain. Follow up afterwards by rinsing the drain with some hot water, it should work out great!
Cleaning the toilet doesn’t have to be as bad as you think! The natural cleaning solution you made for the toilet will make your life a little easier. There are only two basic steps that you’ll need to follow for your toilet to look as good as new. First things first, sprinkle some baking soda around your toilet bowl and other various dirty toilet areas. The next step will be a little easier if you put your vinegar in a spray bottle. Next, spray the vinegar around the bowl. It should react with the baking soda and start to fizz. After letting that sit for a few minutes, start scrubbing! Your toilet should be nice and clean now.
Your toilet bowl brush should probably get some attention too. Bleach is commonly used to clean and disinfect brushes, but there is a natural option too! As you would expect, vinegar and baking soda will work on the brush too! You can let it soak for a few minutes and then add baking soda and rinse.
The natural all purpose cleaner is going to be your best friend when it comes to cleaning sinks and counters. Cleaning sinks and counters is also a relatively easy task and shouldn’t take too much time or energy. Like we mentioned before, mixing half warm water and a little bit of baking soda into a spray bottle is the first step in cleaning your sinks and counters. After spraying, we recommend letting it sit for a few minutes and then wiping it down.
There is one thing to note about the all purpose cleaner you can make at home. Since it doesn’t contain any preservatives like most brand name cleaners (which is a good thing), the shelf life won’t be nearly as long. The longest it should sit while still being good to use is about 2 weeks. So it is a little bit of hassle that you’ll have to make more natural cleaning solution fairly frequently, it’s not the end of the world. A positive side to this is that you can be relatively conservative with the amount that you make. Rather than making a huge batch of it every time you feel the need to clean, you can instead make just enough to get the job done, saving you time, money, and supplies!
For any windows and mirrors, a simple mix of warm water, baking soda, and castile soap will work great. Castile soap is made exclusively from vegetable oils which makes it a great natural cleaning option. Like vinegar, it’s biodegradable and great for the environment! With that simple mixture, spray any windows or mirrors and then wipe down with a soft cloth. You’ll see better results if you use two clothes, one for scrubbing and one for polishing.
Now that you have all the information you need to tackle bathroom grime with your natural cleaning solutions, you’re going to need the right tools to properly clean your bathroom! Paper towels will only get you so far in your war against grime. Here are 5 must haves when it comes to bathroom cleaning.
The toilet brush is a crucial part of your bathroom cleaning arsenal, simply because no one wants to get too close to the toilet bowl. Personally, I think it sounds like a nightmare to try and clean a toilet with a sponge. That means you’re getting your hands, arms, and even your face a little too close for comfort to the inside of a toilet. The hard bristles on a toilet brush are also going to be your greatest ally against toilet bowl scum. A good toilet brush and holder are only going to run you between $10-$15, a solid investment if you ask me. Save yourself the headache and make sure your bathroom is well equipped and ready for cleaning.
While rubber gloves aren’t totally necessary, they’ll give you some serious peace of mind when it comes to cleaning your bathroom. The last thing you want to do is to touch an unidentified bathroom substance with your bare hands. Rubber gloves are thick and go halfway up your forearm, that’s the kind of protection you want in the bathroom. Solid, high quality rubber gloves aren’t going to run you more than $10. This is a must purchase for the bathroom.
The mighty sponge, another solid investment. Sponges are going to be a much better alternative to rags and paper towels when it comes to scrubbing your bathtub, sink, and counter tops. The re-usability factor alone is enough to validate the purchase. Not to mention a 6 pack of sponges is going to be less than $5. Save yourself some money on paper towels and opt for a sponge when cleaning your bathroom.
The scrub brush is another must buy if you’re serious about deep cleaning your bathroom. There are some dirt stains and grime that just won’t come off with your standard sponge or paper towels. The harder bristles are going to be crucial when tackling stubborn bathroom grime. Although it’s going to take a little more elbow grease, nothing is going to beat a deep cleaning with a good scrub brush. Again, a scrub brush is only going to be a $5 investment and you’ll definitely thank yourself later.
An often overlooked crucial piece of bathroom cleaning equipment, the toothbrush! You might be wondering what in the world a toothbrush is doing on this list. I’m sure you’ve been in a situation when your normal sponge or scrub brush can’t quite reach a certain area. That small little spot will definitely start to bug you, take my word for it. That’s where your trust toothbrush comes in handy. It’s the absolute best for small detail cleaning. Another excellent use is cleaning grout. Your grout will inevitably start to discolor and collect grime, and it’s often hard to clean it thoroughly. A toothbrush is the perfect size to get in there and get the job done. The best part? It’s maybe $2 for a standard toothbrush.
If you were to purchase all of these bathroom cleaning essentials, it would be less than $40. The supplies to create your natural cleaning solution is going to be maximum $10. So if you add that all together, you’re going to be more than prepared to deep clean your bathroom for only $50. That is a seriously great return on investment. Now that your bathroom is finally clean, the next step is to brighten up the space by redecorating.
If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to bathroom decorating, check out our great guide that gives you everything you need to know about decorating your bathroom. If you’re ready to go all out and really revamp your bathroom, we put together a definitive guide to bathroom remodels. For more of your bathroom vanity needs, check out Tradewinds Imports.
We’ve added a few extra tips for you so you can avoid clogging your drain. Ideally, you won’t need to use any of these techniques because your drain will never clog! In the future, avoid putting these items down the drain.
- “Flushable” items – they’re usually not flushable.
- Fats, oils, greases
- Toxic chemicals
- Eggshells and coffee grounds