Natural Cleaning Agentsby Shelley Frost
Your pantry holds many natural cleaning supplies that serve the same purposes as commercial cleaners without the harsh chemicals. Using natural cleaning materials from your own kitchen also saves you money over expensive, chemical-filled cleaners. Natural cleaning agents also make it safer for kids to help out with cleaning chores. Experiment with different natural cleaning agents and solutions to find the option that works best for you.
Baking soda serves many functions as a natural cleaning agent. In addition to everyday cleaning, it deodorizes and works well as a scouring agent in place of abrasive powders or scrubs. Baking soda also works as a natural drain cleaner. Pour baking soda down a slow drain, followed by vinegar, to create a reaction that helps clear out the pipe. Avoid this method if you recently used a commercial drain cleaner as the combination can cause a dangerous reaction.
Baking soda is available in small or large containers at any grocery store. It is relatively inexpensive, making it an affordable cleaning agent.
Vinegar is another major player in natural cleaning agents. Plain white vinegar works best for most cleaning situations. It works well on grease, mildew and odors. A mixture of equal parts vinegar and water creates a basic cleaning solution fit for most surfaces. Mix up a large batch and store it in a spray bottle for quick cleaning. The vinegar and water combination might also help you remove stains from carpets, but try it on a hidden spot first.
The lemon is a popular little fruit with many uses, including as a cleaning agent. The acidity of the lemon makes it an option for keeping bacteria in check. Lemon combined with either baking soda or vinegar helps get rid of household odors. Chunks of lemon ground by the garbage disposal helps clean and freshen the disposal. Apply full-strength lemon juice to mold or mildew to get rid of it.
Borax is also known as sodium borate and serves many purposes, including cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing. You can add 2 tsp. of borax to your vinegar-and-water cleaning solution for a general cleaner. Borax also works in a homemade laundry detergent, according to Eartheasy. Combine 1 cup of Ivory soap, 1/2 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of borax. A small, lightly soiled load needs about a tablespoon, while larger loads need 2 tbsp.
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