Housecleaning with Baking Soda, Vinegar, Tea, and Natural Oils
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Housecleaning with Baking Soda, Vinegar, Tea, and Natural Oils

My secrets for using vinegar and baking soda to clean toilets, unclog and freshen drains, clean tiles, clean ovens and glass, and many other applications. It feels great to go green with natural cleaners!

"Going green" in your housecleaning is a great way to help the environment while keeping your home safer and healthier. Many of the powerful cleaning agents available on the market contain an array of highly toxic array of chemicals which can be harmful to your health, and can destroy the environment when disposed.

Fortunately there are many options available which are safe, natural and effective alternatives for cleaning  your home in a green way.

Use baking soda to clean sinks and tile

A great way to clean sinks and bathrooms is to wipe them clean with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Simply sprinkle some sodium bicarbonate into a damp sponge and gently scrub the surfaces of sinks and bath accessories. Use an old toothbrush to clean the hard-to-reach areas such as around the base of the taps, and then rinse well with running water.

Use vinegar to freshen drains

One home-remedy to help avoid stopped drains is to pour half cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain, and leave it to break down some of the waste caught inside. If the drain is stopped, use a plungerto unblock it. It may take longer and a little more effort, but at least it is safe and effective.

If you insist on using chemical agents, you should protect your skin from the toxic effects of drain cleaners, many of which contain sulphuric acid. Even a small amount of these cleaners touching your skin can cause burning or irritation. Use hand-gloves when handling these chemicals.

Try white vinegar to clean toilets

Many conventional toilet cleaners contain chlorine bleach and strong acids. These may have harmful effects on your body if inhaled or splashed on the skin, and are bad for the environment after being flushed down the toilet.

Try using white vinegar - it works miraculously and can remove lime scale easily. You need to pour it carefully into the toilet bowl or toilet seat, swish it around with the toilet brush and preferably leave it for overnight. Swish it again in the morning and then flush. If the water stains are really bad, you can gently rub  them with a natural pumice stone also which will helps to clear strains out of toilet seat.

White vinegar also works well on tile

Most tile cleaners are petroleum based, which is a non-renewable resource. With rising petroleum prices, it makes sense to avoid these products. One alternative is to spray an equal portion of water and white vinegar into tiles, and leave it for couple of minutes and then rinse with a damp sponge to remove soap scum.

Clean your ovens with baking soda and vinegar

Oven cleaners often contain lye, ammonia and volatile organic compounds. Lye and ammonia are corrosive to body tissues and can cause burns and severe damage to fragile tissues present in the eyes and respiratory tract, and can be passed on to body immune system through inhalation as well.

Try baking sode to clean your ovens. Sprinkle a thick layer of sodium bicarbonate on the base of the oven, and then spray with water. Allow it to dry, spray it again and leave it overnight. In the morning you will be able to scrape out the grease and burnt-on grime easily with a palette knife or sponge. Mix equal portion of water and white vinegar to wipe away any white residue on the oven surface. To clean the hob, make a paste of water and sodium bicarbonate and scrub with a scouring sponge. Leave it for few minutes, and then rinse with warm water. The oven is beaming clean and safe to use also.

Use tea tree oil to clean floors

Many products, including floor cleaners, contain ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’ as a base constituent. These artificial smells are made up of toxic chemicals that can cause sore throats, running nose, irritated eyes and may even trigger asthma attacks. These are highly toxic chemicals which have been shown to cause birth defects, cancer, and central nervous system disorders.

Linoleum, wooden and ceramic tiles can be cleaned with a bucket of hot water added with three drops of pure essential oil. Choose tea tree, eucalyptus or thyme for killing germs, and pine or lemon for a fresh and clean smell. If you don’t have any essential oils, use a tablespoon of white vinegar instead. A microfiber mop will work wonders and makes your floors look clean, in a green way.

Baking soda to clean carpets

Conventional carpet cleaners may contain naphthalene, which is used as a moth repellent. According to a recent study by the Consumer Protection Agency, naphthalene is described as “toxic by ingestion or inhalation.” it is also harmful if absorbed through the skin. It is an irritant of the skin, eyes, mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract.

So to freshen up your carpets in an eco-friendly way, sprinkle a layer of baking soda on it, and leave it to work for half and hour and then do vacuum cleaning . This is an excellent way to get rid of pet odors and musty smells. If dust allergies is posing problem for you, then invest in a well-sealed, high-quality HEPA filter vacuum cleaner.

Clean your refrigerator with oil and lemon

You obviously want to avoid toxic chemicals when cleaning your fridge. Wipe the shelves with a cloth wrung out in a solution of hot water and a drop of lemon essential oil or the juice of half a fresh lemon. Clean around the drainage holes to keep your fridge hygienic. Later, you can finish the cleaning round by gently cleaning the seals and the door handle. If you wish to try out any home-made remedy for cleaning of fridge, and then place a small container of bicarbonate of soda inside the fridge to absorb smells and finish it up by vacuuming the coils to ensure maximum air flow and efficiency.

Vinegar as a glass cleaner

Many glass cleaners contain ammonia, which as we've seen are harmful to your health. In small enclosed spaces like bathrooms, it can even cause severe coughing and choking. Instead of these toxic based cleaning products, try a green option like adding effortless shine and sparkle your home mix water and white vinegar in equal proportions and use scrunched up newspaper or a microfiber cloth to polish and remove grease marks.

Clean grout

Clean grout with an old toothbrush soaked in diluted tea tree oil or a solution of water and white vinegar mixed in an equal proportion. It will take a bit of work, but your efforts will be rewarded with a toxic free, mould-free bathroom. Alternatively, beg, borrow or steal a steam cleaner and watch in awe as the grout comes up looking like new. It’s a home makeover in few minutes.

Use strong tea to clean wooden furniture

Furniture polishes usually contains high fragrance with harmful chemicals that can cause sneezing, running nose, headaches and asthma attacks.

The green way is to make you a nice strong cup of tea. Allow the tea to cool down then and use a microfiber cloth wrung out in the tea to dust the wooden furniture. The tannins in tea help to kill the dust mites, and damp dusting prevents the dust floating around the room.

You can also make your own home furniture polish from jojoba oil (or olive oil) and white vinegar. Mix three parts oil with one part white vinegar in a jar. Use an old rag (a cut up towel or t-shirt will do) and apply to your furniture. The wood will drink up the mixture and shine beautifully.

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Comments (9)

i use lemon juice too all the time. its great for cleaning and shining metals like brass and copper. you can just cut up a lemon and go to town.

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I think it is best to use chemical free soaps. You can get totally chemical free soaps at

Will vinegar damage any of my furniture or fabrics if used as a household cleaner?

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You have added to my knowledge in this area. I use some of the tricks mentioned, others I shall add. All good suggestions. Thanks!

Very good tips.

Good tips- thanks for sharing!

Ranked #45 in Home Cleaning

Great article and well written. I do most of these things already, but haven't tried tea tree oil before. Will give it a go. Interestingly my family has a lot less common colds and childhood illnesses then my friends who clean with other products, and our house has no bugs!!