Store-bought cleaners get under my skin like grease under fingernails. These cleaning products are ridiculously over-priced, marketed to appear specialized (so that you need a particular potion for each nook and cranny), and full of harsh chemicals. Why not turn to natural cleaners and save a bundle? I’ve got solutions for each spec of dirt.
Kitchen sink stains
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda into your wet porcelain sink. Let sit for a minute, then scrub with steel wool. Rinse and discover your sink is actually a crisp, white color!
Bathroom tile and tub grime
Grab a damp rag and your box of baking soda. Toss soda liberally onto the tile and your rag and then scrub away. Don’t worry if some tiles dry while you are scrubbing. Just rinse with warm water and you’ll see the full effect of your cleaning when the tiles dry.
Bathroom germs and mildew
Wipe down door handles, fixtures, and mildewy areas with a rag damp with vinegar.
Add a quarter cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener. Vinegar, especially the white kind, does a mean job of removing odors.
Soak yellowing T-shirts overnight in a mixture of half white vinegar, half water. If the stains persist, strengthen the concentration of vinegar.
Smelly kitchen sink
Drop quarter to a half a lemon into the garbage disposal and let it run with plenty of water. You can also pour a cup of vinegar into your sink to remove any unwanted odors. If the stink persists, dump a cup of boiling water into the drain, let it sit 10 minutes, then rise with vinegar.
Dampen a rag with vinegar and wipe up animal urine and stains from carpet and floors.
Never buy Windex again. Spritz windows with vinegar, then wipe down with a rag or newspaper. Or, add two tablespoons of ammonia to one quart of water and mix in a spray bottle. Spritz and wipe down with a rag or newspaper.
Spray plenty of vinegar on the toilet stains, let it sit a minute, then scrub off. Repeat, if needed.
Spritz liberally with vinegar, let sit a few minutes, then wipe clean.
Stains on copper-bottomed cookware
Mix vinegar with salt to form a paste. Rub paste onto stains, let sit, then scrub off with steel wool pads.
Mix baking soda and lemon juice and rub it on all the dirty surfaces. Apply extra baking soda to stubborn food bits. Wipe clean with vinegar.
Coffee maker residue
Run your percolator with a cup of vinegar and water. Run again with just water, then you’re ready to make a clean pot of joe!
Wipe dirty surfaces with a damp rag and plenty of baking soda. Let baking soda sit a few minutes on crusty parts before wiping down.
Wipe down wood furniture and cabinets with mineral oil.
Musty wet clothes in the washer
Rewash with a tablespoon of ammonia, sans detergent or soap.
Line a pan with aluminum foil, then place dull silver on bottom of pan. Mix one cup of baking soda with one gallon hot water, then cover silver entirely.
Dampen a rag or sponge and sprinkle with baking soda. Rub down walls, then rinse with clean rag or sponge. This even removes crayon marks!
Glass pan stains
Soak glass pans in soapy water. Ball up a piece of aluminum foil and scrub. You’ll be surprised at how well this technique cleans your pans!
Looking for more ways to save on green household products? We’ve got you covered.
Julia Scott writes the money-saving blog, BargainBabe.com.