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Lifestyle
Top-to-Bottom Green Cleaning Solutions
For a truly clean, fresh home without the harsh chemicals look no further than your kitchen cupboard. 
Written by Jickie Torres
Photography by Jaimee Itagaki

We’ve come to rely on harsh chemicals and specialized cleaners for every item in the house when in fact, multi-taskers in the kitchen pantry can do just as good a job without the harmful side effects. Let nature be your guide and try these all-natural cleaning aids that perform well in myriad applications.

olive oil

Olive Oil – A mix of three parts water to one part olive oil creates a safe and effective wood and furniture polish. The same mixture in a spray bottle can be used as a plant cleaner.  Use a few drops of olive oil to quiet a creaking door. Or, a few drops mixed with a few drops of lemon juice applied to a mop head will go a long way to polish an entire wood floor.  To prevent hard-to-clean wax splatters from the inside of a votive, apply a thin layer olive oil before you light the candle.

baking soda

Baking soda – We all know that baking soda can magically make dough rise and deodorize the refrigerator, but did you know it can help lift stubborn carpet stains and degrease a stovetop? Make a paste using one part baking soda and one part dish soap to give a greasy kitchen surfaces a thorough scrub down. Use the same paste to remove tea or coffee stains from dishware As a carpet cleaner, mix 1 cup of warm water and 3 tablespoons of baking soda to pre-treat a stain. Adding a cup of baking soda to the laundry will also give your normal detergent a dirt-lifting boost.

vinegar

Vinegar – White distilled vinegar is the powerhouse of green cleaning.  It’s effective at killing and abating mold and mildew, and removing lime and calcium buildup from kitchen and bath fixtures. To give glassware, especially antique or flea market finds, a like-new sparkle, give them a dip in a vinegar bath followed by a warm water rinse. Or, mix with ½ a cup of ammonia and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for a window cleaner. Used in conjunction with baking soda, vinegar makes a safe and effective oven cleaner and brass and aluminum polish. Dilute a cup of vinegar in a gallon of warm water to clean linoleum and leave a natural shine.  At full strength and slightly warmed, vinegar has even been used as a paint stripper when allowed to sit overnight.

lemons

Lemon juice – Cut a lemon in half and dip in salt to use a scrubbing cleaner for copper pots. Use with baking soda to remove stubborn countertop stains. A wedge thrown into the garbage disposal with help clean and deodorize a sink. If vinegar cleaners smell too strong, balance the scent by adding lemon juice to any of the vinegar mixtures mentioned above. Use at full strength to saturate a stubborn stain or as a bleaching agent for spot treating clothing. Simply soak the stain in lemon juice and leave in the sun. Be careful though, a lemon’s powerful acid can corrode metal surfaces if left on for too long.

 lavender

Lavender – Besides smelling heavenly, lavender is a natural antibacterial. Using lavender oil mixed with a few drops of olive oil, wipe down germy hotspots in the house such as light switches, doorknobs, telephones and remote controls. Sprinkle dried lavender in between your sheets in the linen closet to infuse your textiles with soothing scent and help keep fabric pests at bay.