People are often surprised to find that many of the old-fashioned home remedies and natural approaches to cleaning that their parents and grandparents used are as effective as they ever were. Most of these substances are environmentally safe and make excellent alternatives to modern-day cleaning products with toxic components. Many of the latter products, although popular, contain ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide and other toxins. Additionally, many (if not all) of these products are currently hard to find due to an increased demand of keeping the home free of germs.

A movement aimed at emphasizing environmentally friendly cleaning substances has given rise to many green alternatives, and encouraged people concerned with the residual, long-term effects of toxins to employ their own home-grown solutions. If you can’t find the cleaning products you’re looking for at the store and wish to try more natural alternatives that are safer and healthier for you and the environment, read on. 

DIY cleaning solutions

Some of the most popular do-it-yourself cleaning alternatives include baking soda, vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice (which works well in concert with baking soda). Many of these substances are powerful disinfectants, deodorizers, degreasers, and polishing agents. Vinegar, in particular, is a versatile and useful option, which can be used for everything from killing weeds to cleaning out your coffee maker. It kills bacteria, can rid your home of pet odors, and makes a potent cleaning spray when combined with tap water. 

Even boiling water can be put to good use, especially when you have a clog in a sink or toilet. When grease or oil clogs your drain, pour boiling hot water (slowly and carefully of course) down the sink rather than commercial products. A solution of baking soda and white vinegar also works well as an unclogging agent, as does baking soda and a half-cup of salt. 

‘Green’ indoor air quality

There are also many ways to improve indoor air quality naturally. Lay out a bowl of vinegar or coffee beans if you have persistently bad smells from cat urine or stale cigarette smoke. Fresh flowers help sweeten the air and cover unpleasant odors, while Boston ferns, spider plants, bamboo palms, and garden mums purify the air of toxins such as ammonia, formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene. This is a healthy and appealing environmental option, especially if the air in your home tends to be stagnant, or if you or someone in your family is vulnerable to airborne allergens. 

Spring cleaning

These are all excellent ideas for freshening your indoor living space when it’s time for spring cleaning. For a really thorough deep clean, you can hire a cleaning service in your area. Just make sure to request that they clean with environmentally friendly cleaning products. And don’t neglect your home’s exterior. Remember, your outside walls and windows take a battering from the elements and runoff from ice and snow melt throughout the winter, so consider hiring a professional exterior cleaning company to give them a good spring washing.

It wouldn’t be “spring cleaning” without a good decluttering. All that clutter could cause a buildup of dust and dirt, and it can even cause a great deal of stress. The beauty of decluttering is no chemical-laden products are needed to organize and throw away belongings. Start small (closets, drawers) and then work your way up (garage, backyard), using BPA-free plastic bins and crates to store any “keep” items. Don’t forget to recycle to improve the health of both your home and the planet.

If you’re unaccustomed to using natural cleaning solutions, try starting small and see what works best for you. Expand into other parts of the house once you find substances and combinations you like. Your reward will be a healthier internal living space; plus, you won’t have to worry about rushing to the store before it opens in the hopes of scoring a canister of disinfectant wipes. 

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