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7 Natural Cleaning Alternatives to Chemical-Heavy Ones

For some of us, cleaning comes naturally. But the product selection we see at our local grocery store is anything but pure. Most cleaning products are rife with chemicals, giving us neat freaks who also happen to be health nuts enough anxiety to produce a panic attack. Fortunately, you can take the stress out of the equation by saying no to those toxin-heavy products and making or buying your own wholesome cleaning solutions. That way, you can clean the whole house–and breathe a sigh of relief–without wondering what you’re inhaling. Here are seven natural cleaners you can make or use to clean a variety of surfaces in your home sweet home.

Baking Soda & Vinegar for the Toilet
Search the web for a recommended “recipe” for this toilet bowl cleaner, and you’ll find a myriad of suggestions. Our favorite suggestion comes from, which recommends a precise set of steps, which goes like this: First, pour ½ a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl, and let sit for a few minutes. Next, add ½ a cup baking soda to the toilet bowl. You’ll immediately notice a fizzing action, which is what you want. This happens when baking soda and vinegar mix and release oxygen, and this action will prepare you for the next step: repeating exactly what you just did, in addition to scrubbing the bowl with a toilet brush. Once you flush the toilet, the bowl, along with the pipes and plumbing, will be squeaky clean–sans chemicals.

Lavender Essential Oil as an Air Freshener
If you love the way air fresheners smell but fear the consequences of spraying chemicals where you and your loved ones live, you’re not alone. The good news is, you can enhance the smell of your home by using entirely natural essential oils. First, pick your favorite scent; most grocery stores with a “natural section” have a selection of essential oils in small glass bottles that you can smell before you buy. Once you have your signature smell, you have a couple of options for utilizing it. Either pour a few drops on your carpet before you vacuum and let the action of cleaning spread the scent around, or buy an essential oil aromatherapy diffuser and use daily.

Olive Oil, Lemon Juice & Essential Oil for your Wood Furniture
Simply combine one cup of olive (or vegetable) oil with ½ a cup of lemon juice and a few drops of lemon essential oil to make the best, most natural polish for your wood furniture. Wipe down furniture with the mixture and then wipe dry, all the while eliminating the need for anything unnatural.

Green Tea for the Microwave
One of life’s certainties is that the microwave will, seemingly miraculously, get very dirty. Whether yours is splattered with reheated spaghetti sauce or itty bitty drops of leftover Thai takeout, it’s normal. To clean a messy microwave naturally, simply steep a cup of green tea however you would normally, and when cooled slightly, use it to wipe down your microwave–inside and out. You’ll end up with a spotless microwave that has the slight aroma of fresh green tea. So fresh and oh-so clean.

Corn Starch for the Carpet
Whether you’re looking for an all-over cleaner or something to spot clean, corn starch will do the trick. Simply sprinkle a little bit onto the offending area and vacuum up. This will help dry out and clean up your carpet area, naturally.

Vegetable Oil & Salt for Cast Iron Pans
We all have that one cast iron pan that’s irritatingly easy to get messy. All it takes is one recipe that calls for “blackened” meat and the pan has a thick crust that you fear will never clean up. Fear not; just use vegetable oil mixed with coarse salt and a scrubber to work the crusted leftovers out of the pan without using any scary chemicals on the tools you use to cook with.

An All-Around Natural Cleaner for Quick Clean-Ups
It’s a good idea to have one go-to spray cleaner for counterto ps, bathrooms, windows and floors when you need to clean a mess up in a pinch. And the good news is that natural cleaners have come a long way in the last five years. Whether you shop at a local grocery store or chain like Target, you should be able to find a natural cleaner that suits your needs. Simply do a little research to see what you prefer so that when you get home, you can rest assured that your cleaning habit is a healthy one.

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