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January 11, 2014

Hate to Clean? So do I! {Super Easy & Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes}

These super easy, non-toxic cleaning recipes will knock your socks off (and get them whiter, too!)

The sink is full of dishes. The laundry hamper runneth over. The kitchen counters are funky. The microwave has begun to resemble a petrie dish.

It’s housecleaning time. Who’s ready to spring into action?

Any takers?

(Sound of pin dropping.)

Does this scenario sound familiar?

Very few things can more to disturb domestic bliss than a living space tottering on the edge of ruin—or endless arguments about whose ‘turn it is’ to perform various household tasks.

Housework can be a thankless task.

It can also be an outlet for self-expression.

Housework, whatever one’s interest level, comes with an opportunity cost.

Every hour spent cooking or cleaning or fixing or maintaining is an hour not spent in more recreative or relaxing pursuits: reading, relaxing, practicing yoga or performing a hobby.

The time and energy spent performing housework can lead resentment, especially when communal tasks are distributed inequitably (or their is the perception of inequity) within a couple or family.

It is with great interest that I read a recent New York Times Sunday article by Stephen Marche on the politicization of housework. The old order is, no doubt, changing. According to Marche, many women work outside the home, yet many men are doing no more housework than their fathers had.

Who is picking up the slack?

The best answer to this conundrum, Marche suggests, is to lower the bar, to become more comfortable ‘living in filth.’

The article is an interesting read, especially for those seeking to understand their own home economy as a product of greater social and societal forces.

But… living in filth???

I don’t know if Mr. Marche would concur, but I think I have a way to ‘take back’ housecleaning and, if possible, to even inject some creativity into the process.

The following cleaning methods are cost-effective and so quick and easy even the biggest chore-shirker in your bunch can get ‘em done in no time—and without harmful chemicals!

Ready? This is what you’ll need:

Lemons (or lemon juice)

100% Pure White Distilled Vinegar

Baking Soda

Ready to clean the house lickety-split?

Conjure up some tunes, make yourself a cup of lemon water and get ready for an easy, breezy nontoxic cleaning experience you’ll never forget!

Kitchen:

Garbage disposal cleaner:

Place a lemon peel in garbage disposal. Turn on the faucet and turn on the disposal. Allow disposal run for a few seconds, longer if your disposal is really funk-tastic. A good way to use up a lemon that may be going bad! Citrusy fresh!

Or, pour vinegar into disposal. Wait approximately one hour. Run disposal! Done.

Countertops:

Spritz and wipe with vinegar. Do you have countertop stains? Make a paste with baking soda. The abrasive nature of baking soda works just as well as commercial scouring agents like Comet or Ajax!

Refrigerator:

Wipe down refrigerator with a mixture of vinegar and water. Then place an opened box of opened baking soda in the fridge to remove odors!

Microwave:

Combine water and a splash of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for a few minutes. Wipe down microwave with sponge or soft cloth.

Floors:

Add one cup of vinegar to one bucket of water and mop away!

Bathroom:

Toilet cleaner:

Commercial toilet cleaners often contain hydrochloric acid and can be lethal when mixed with one another or mixed with bleach! Avoid these at all costs!

Pour a cup of vinegar into the toilet and let sit overnight. Swish a brush around in the morning and voila! Acetic acid in the vinegar kills germs and bacteria, not to mention tackling hard water stains. Do not mix vinegar and bleach or use vinegar in combination with commercial toilet cleaners. The vapors can be lethal.

Windows and mirrors:

Fill a spray bottle with half-vinegar and half water solution. Wipe down for a shiny, streak-free finish!

Shower:

Spray shower walls with a vinegar and water solution!

Shower-heads:

If you shower—and I hope you do—your shower-head will become corroded. Remove shower-heads and soak in vinegar overnight to remove corrosion!

Miscellaneous:

Laundry:

Stinky hot yoga or workout clothing? No fear! Add 1/3 cup vinegar to the rinse water!

Furniture polish:

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil with 1/4 vinegar. Wipe furniture with a soft cloth!

The options are endless! Check out the websites below for folk recipes and other quick, easy and nontoxic cleaning solutions!

Sources consulted and valuable inspirations:

Homemade and Natural Cleaning Products

How to Make your Own Kitchen

Use Vinegar for Household Cleaning

The New Homemaker

Cleaning Tips & Recipes

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant archives

Marthe Weyandt

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