Eco-friendly cleaning is all the rage right now, and for good reason. People want to be environmentally responsible, reduce their carbon footprint, and save the planet — all good things. Saving the planet can also save you money. All it takes is a few basic products to clean your home naturally. Grab some baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice to get started.
Cleaning in the kitchen and laundry
Cleaning the garbage disposal and sink drain is an easy task: Sprinkle baking soda in the drain, pour vinegar in, and let it bubble up. Let it sit for a while, and then flush with hot water. Add a couple drops of essential oil for a pleasant scent. Lemon and orange oils are great for this.
You can make a paste from baking soda and vinegar to clean stains on most kitchen counters. Again, add some lemon or orange essential oil for a pleasing scent, or use fresh lemon juice.
Use that same paste to spot clean clothing; scrub stains with a cloth or brush and launder as usual. You can add fresh lemon juice to this scrub, but test the scrub on an inconspicuous place on the fabric first. Lemon juice can bleach color from some fabrics.
Cutting clutter to minimize anxiety
When you look around your house, do you see lots of clutter? Many people feel anxious when surrounded by clutter and it can increase stress and anxiety. Consider these quick ways to reduce clutter in your home:
- Keep a recycle bin by your trash can; toss unwanted mail and papers every day. Don’t let them build up. Try to touch each piece of mail or paper just once, so you’re immediately dealing with that clutter. Have a separate place for items to shred. (Many banks and businesses will periodically offer free shredding in your community.)
- If you bring a new item into your home, get rid of an equal item. That free bookcase from your neighbor might seem like a great acquisition, but letting go of something in return keeps clutter to a minimum. As you start to move furniture around to make room for the bookcase, think about what you can do without and who might need it.
- Where does your clutter build up the fastest? Bathroom? Closet? Try looking at those spaces with fresh eyes. Imagine how your neighbor would see that space. Spend 15 minutes hanging up items that have fallen to the floor of the closet or separating winter shoes from summer sandals, and then use a basket to corral what stays. Throw out expired products from your bathroom, as most products that are two years old can probably be tossed.
Staying healthy year-round
There are also plenty of small things you can do to your home to stay healthy throughout the year. In fall and spring, make sure to change your air filters, as well as the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, stay on top of mold-prone areas — bathtubs and showers, basements, and window tracks. If you live in an area where mold is a constant issue, keep a spray bottle filled with a hydrogen peroxide solution; spray daily after showers and weekly in other damp areas.
The FDA has announced that commercial antibacterial soaps aren’t good for us as they promote antibiotic resistance. You can make your own antibacterial soap from natural ingredients. Honey, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint oil have natural antibacterial properties.
Look for ways to reduce your footprint with green cleaning supplies, preferably ones you make yourself. Also, to keep your home balanced and peaceful, stay on top of clutter. By taking this approach, you can have a cleaner, more eco-friendly home environment that is the haven you need it to be.
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