If your cleaning closet or cupboard is like mine, you've amassed a forest of expensive cleaning agents...few of them natural and many in non-recyclable containers. Even when you buy the more expensive, supposedly green products, it's hard to tell if they're totally green.
Happily for our wallets and the planet, you can replace many of these toxic and costly solutions with items you already have around your house. Next time you run out of a cleaning agent, consider substituting one of these inexpensive household items.
1. Aluminum Foil
Make sure you first thoroughly wash used aluminum foil to remove all debris.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great odor neutralizer and absorbs odors, rather than mask them.
Also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate, borax usually is sold as a white powder of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in hot water. The alkaline component of borax makes it useful for far more than laundry duty. It fights odors around the house, kills molds and fungus and softens water. (Keep borax away from children and pets as borax is poisonous when digested.)
4. Cooking Oils
A few drops of cooking oils will polish everything from furniture to your favorite leather pumps. Such plant-based oils as olive and sunflower oils dislodge dirt, diminish scratches and imperfections, and hydrate wood aged or dried by sun exposure.
5. Ketchup and Mustard
Ketchup and mustard are handy because they don’t require elbow grease. Just smear on the condiment and leave it to do the work.
Lemon contains acids that make a great cleaning alternative.
The cost of oatmeal has risen in the last year, but generic brands are just as useful for cleaning as the name brands.
Onions make us cry and give us bad breath when eaten raw, but these stinkers also have a couple cleaning properties. (Tip: Cool onions in refrigerator before chopping to reduce eye irritation.)
Rice has a gritty texture and a neutral odor, making it a good choice for cleaning some objects.
Use an inexpensive paste (not gels, tartar controllers or whiteners) as a mild abrasive, stain fighter and mild antibacterial agent.
11. Table Salt
Salt's granular texture makes it a good scouring agemt. Kosher salt is more expensive but it's grittier texture works well when table salt isn't sufficient.
Most of us toss old tea into compost piles to speed up decomposition or we mix into planting dirt. However, tea also makes an excellent cleaning agent.
13. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla removes odors from hard surface. If your not a vanilla fan, try almond extract.
The acid in vinegar removes soap scum, mineral deposits, tarnish and more.
15. White Bread
Make sure you test a small area of oil painting or wallpaper before cleaning to make sure the color doesn't come off on the bread.