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Natural Cleaning Kit

 

7 Agents to Keep You Home Naturally Clean

By Marc Lallanilla, About.com

Have you ever wondered why you use chemicals you can’t pronounce to make your home sparkle and shine? Really, when was the last time you took a look at the label on your favorite blue solution?

You probably grew up helping your mother clean the house with Windex and Pine Sol, so of course you never questioned why. But what if I told you there was a different way? A better way?

Ultimately it’s up to you, but if you’re looking for a more natural way of cleaning that’s equally effective, consider equipping your cleaning kit with the following agents:

1. Lemons or Lemon Juice

What Can it Clean?

Lemon juice is an all around natural cleaning wonder. With it, you can remove lime scale, make windows and mirrors shine, polish copper or brass, clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and remove sweat stains.

Why Does it Work?

Lemon Juice is one of the strongest food acids, marked by its sour taste. Because the pH is so low, lemon juice can kill most household bacteria, while also leaving your home smelling fresh.

2. Baking Soda

What Can it Clean?

Baking soda is unrivaled in its wide variety of uses. It not only cleans, it also polishes, deodorizes and softens water.

For these reasons you can use baking soda as an agent when cleaning multiple surfaces, jewelry, carpet, ink stains, fish tanks, windows, and window screens. Baking soda also works well as an air freshener, and in your personal care routine.

Why Does it Work?

Baking soda is a naturally occurring, but often artificially produced, substance that is slightly alkaline.

Because of its basic nature, baking soda works well as a water softener and can easily break down proteins. Baking soda also works well as a deodorizer because as a basic compound, it easily neutralizes acidic scent molecules.

3. Castile Soap

What Can it Clean?

Castile soap might sound fancy, but it’s really not. Liquid, powder, or bars of soap that are unscented are biodegradable and can clean just about anything.

Castile soap, however, can be made with just oils, lye, and water, so you can be sure it will get your home clean without leaving any buildup.

Why Does it Work?

Any surface you want to clean probably has a build up of both dirt and oils. Dirt can simply be wiped away with plain water, but oil is another story. Thanks to some basic chemistry, soap is what makes these oils stick to your damp cloth so they can be easily wiped away.

4. Borax or Boric Acid

What Does it Clean?

Borax is best known as an alternative to bleach. However, this natural cleaning product also cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, and effectively renews painted and wallpapered walls.

Note: While borax has a wide array of uses, and is naturally occurring, it can irritate the skin, and is toxic if ingested. Please keep borax out of reach of children and pets, and make sure to rinse clothes and surfaces before use.

Why Does it Work?

Borax has many defining properties that make it an excellent cleaning agent. When mixed with water, borax reacts to make a hydrogen peroxide / water solution. It also can act as a chemical buffer when cleaning, so the pH is what it needs to be to make something effectively clean.

5. White Vinegar

What Does it Clean?

While you actually have the option of using typical yellow vinegar as well, white vinegar cleans without the possibility of staining. White vinegar’s is best used to cut grease, clean wood floors and multiple other surfaces, remove mildew, deodorize, and clean certain stains and wax build-up.

Why Does it Work?

Vinegar is actually weakly acidic, making it a powerful cleaning agent. The acid in vinegar cuts through grease and germs found on counter tops while also inhibiting bacteria and mold.

6. Washing Soda

What Does it Clean?

Washing soda is scientifically known as sodium carbonate decahydrate, a naturally occurring mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans walls, tiles, sinks and tubs.

How Does it Clean?

When it comes to chemical properties, washing soda is a close relative to baking soda, with a slightly lower pH level. As a stronger base, washing soda easily breaks down proteins and neutralizes odors.

7. Cornstarch

What Does it Clean?

Cornstarch is one of the lesser known natural cleaning agents though it is a very effective ingredient in home solutions. Cornstarch can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, be used when ironing, and shampoo carpets and rugs.

However, one of it’s most amazing cleaning qualities is its ability to remove grease stains. Not many products can claim to do that!

How Does it Clean?

Corn starch is actually derived from corn and is known its fine, silky texture. Since it is a great deodorizer and can get into very small spaces, corn starch is great for cleaning carpets and shining smooth surfaces. Also, as a starch it can be added to water to make a liquid starch solution perfect for ironing.

 

 
The Canary Club is an educational advisory group with a team of medical advisors headed by Richard Shames, M.D.