ROSIE ON THE HOUSE

Here are a handful of tips to clean your home the natural way

Sep 7, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Sep 13, 2023, 12:37 pm

cleaning supplies in a bucket...

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

We like the sound of “natural” everything. Many of us prefer to use natural products for household cleaning.

Many products on the market claim to be all-natural, green, or non-toxic. You may read the ingredients and wonder if they are truly natural. There are hundreds of products claiming to be natural. Some of them, like Castille Soap, are the real deal.

Natural products have stood the test of time and have a clean and easy-to-understand list of ingredients. The best rule of thumb when selecting cleaners is simplicity. Products with the simplest, most common ingredients are generally your best bet.

What should I look for?

There are some common cleaning ingredients whose names you might recognize.

  • White Vinegar: Your first thought might be, “Well, my grandma used that!” Its light acidity makes it a popular choice.
  • Baking Soda: Also known as sodium bicarbonate, it is known for its mild abrasive and disinfectant characteristics.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Also known for its disinfectant properties, it is stronger than baking soda.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: This is another powerful but safe disinfectant with many household uses.
  • Borax Powder: If the “20 mule team” motto came to mind, you are not alone. Use caution with this product as it is a fine silicate. Wearing a mask while using this in a powder form is in order.
  • Citrus Oils and Essential Oils: These are primarily additives used to make homemade cleaning mixtures smell good while using them, and they provide a lingering aroma. Essential oils are extracts from plants. Citrus, lavender, roses, and pine scents can be included in your cleaning mixture.
  • Water: We should have started with this one! Sometimes, you may use distilled water for very sensitive cleaning chores or where your water has a high mineral content that impedes the mixing with other products or potentially leaves a residue.

These products constitute the basics of developing your homemade, natural, non-toxic cleaning concoction. The combination and measurements associated with a cleaning compound vary widely.

How do I put it all together?

Some of us may recall our grandmothers and mothers mixing a little white vinegar with a bucket of water and cleaning the windows with newspaper and the mixture. The question is, “How much is a ‘little’?”

We dug around popular homemade product websites and asked some folks to contribute their recipes.

Different types of cleaning chores will require different products and different mix ratios.

*Always test your cleaning mix in a small, inconspicuous space.

Here are the recipes we found:

  • All-purpose use: This one is for everyday cleaning of certain surfaces needing to be wiped down. Typically, a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar will do the trick. Adding an essential oil of your choice for aroma is a nice touch. This mix is excellent for removing the smell from your laundry or disposal, cleaning glass and plastic, removing grime, or removing calcium build-up on faucets.

*Note: Do not use this on stone flooring, stainless steel, or countertops. The acid from the vinegar can harm the surfaces and strip the sealer off. See our notes on stone surfaces below.

  • Disinfectant cleaning: This mix is one-third each of white vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, and distilled water. This mix works well in bathrooms and other areas where bacteria build up. Someone told us their grandma used to squeeze a lemon into the mix for fragrance and that squeaky clean feel.
  • Stone cleaning: Use a quarter cup of alcohol to one-and-one-half cups of water. You might want to add a drop or two of liquid soap for extra cleaning power. Castille Soap is an excellent choice.
  • Degreasing: The best way to decrease is with a soaking method. Use a one-to-one ratio of baking soda and water to form a paste. Spread on the greasy area for about 15 minutes and then wipe clean with water until the grease is gone and the water is clear.
  • Hard-to-clean areas: Use a gallon of warm water with two or three tablespoons of Borax. Mix well and clean. This method does require that you rinse the area thoroughly.

We love hearing from you and would enjoy learning about your favorite home cleaning concoctions and where they originated. Contact us at info@rosieonthehouse.com.

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email info@rosieonthehouse.com. Follow us on X and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions & comments.

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Here are a handful of tips to clean your home the natural way