The official mark of Spring is right around the corner, and you know what that means: it’s the season we choose to do a clean sweep and welcome a fresh start. With that in mind, we know everyone is concerned about harmful chemicals all around us. So, here we’ve got some of our top editor’s picks for environmentally healthy ways to clean; and best of all, it’s so easy!*
Clean Up Your Coffee Maker
Get your coffee maker back in prime condition by running it through one cycle with some pure white vinegar. The vinegar will break up any mineral build-up and deodorize the machine. Rinse out the vinegar by running plain water through once or twice or thrice. Coffee’s on!
Vacuum Up Your Pet’s Dander and Odor
Baking Soda, Vacuum
Any pet owner will tell you that between the odors and hairballs, vacuuming can be a monumental task with little reward. Simply sprinkle a little baking soda across your carpet and wait 15 minutes while it works its magic. Next, pass the vacuum over the areas where you’ve sprinkled the baking soda.
Wash Out Your Washing Machine
Get rid of the musty smell in your washing machine with the simple addition of white vinegar to a load of wash. It will pull that stinky smell right out. Added bonus—vinegar also acts as a wonderful and completely natural fabric softener.
Deodorize Your Disposal
Ice, Lemon Wedges
Is a stinky garbage disposal setting off odor alarms in your kitchen? Toss a handful or two of ice down the disposal, throw in a couple of lemon wedges, and let ’er rip. The ice chunks will clear out any gunk sticking around and the lemon will deodorize and clean.
Scrub Your Toilet Without Scrubbing
Baking Soda, White Vinegar
Who wants to spend time scrubbing a toilet bowl? Certainly not us! Hang on to your toilet brush for an occasional scrub of those hard-to-reach spots under the rim, but for the rest of the job—just take a cup of baking soda and toss it right into your toilet. Let it soak in for an hour (meanwhile, give yourself a pedicure, catch up on The Voice, eat some bon-bons), then add a cup of white vinegar. Wait 5-10 more minutes and flush it away. Voila! You’ve got a scrubbed toilet without the scrubbing.
Nuke Your Microwave
Baking Soda, Water, Sponge
Deodorize and clean your microwave with nothing more than 2 Tbsp. of baking soda and a cup of water. Combine the two in a bowl, microwave for 2-3 minutes, and wipe out the interior.
Your Shower Head Shine
White Vinegar, Plastic Bag
One of the issues with hard water is how soap scum and deposits build up on your showerhead over time. A simple solution is to put some vinegar in a plastic bag and tie it around your showerhead overnight. You can use a rubber band, or if you want to be extra eco-conscious, repurpose the bag and twisty tie from a used parcel of sandwich bread. In the morning just remove the bag with vinegar and wipe your showerhead down with a damp cloth. Next, buff with a dry cloth and your showerhead should look good as new.
Make Your Own Cleaner
White Vinegar, Citrus Peels, Lavender, Mason Jar
Most of us end up spending a wad of cash on a myriad of different unhealthy cleaners for our home. In contrast, how does it sound to make your own non-toxic cleaner for pennies, and repurpose items as well? The main ingredients are vinegar, citrus peels, lavender, or any other yummy smelling plant based items such as essential oils. Pile your ingredients into a (preferably repurposed) glass jar, put a lid on it, and shelf it for a couple weeks. After enjoying two weeks of this pretty little mixture on your shelf, strain the extras out of your vinegar and dilute your new cleaning solution into a spray bottle, using water. Use less water for a cleaner that really packs a punch. All that’s left is to go to town cleaning your house with your safe and practically free all-purpose cleaner.
*Portions reprinted from: build.com/spring2014