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From Grime to Tarnish, these Natural Cleaning Solutions Actually Work

Common household items like salt and baking soda could be used to tackle countless chores around the home, in fact, you wouldn't believe just how much you could get done around the house with these cheap and widely available items. 

Lemons 

 
Lemons
 

A fantastic cleaning agent that can be used to remove dirt and rust stains (due to its acidic nature). Cleaning with lemons becomes especially effective when mixed with salt, making an excellent paste.

Price: 50c a lemon.

Countertops: Cut a lemon in half and dip it in baking soda, using it to clean over a countertop, then wipe with a wet sponge and dry. Lemons should not be used on delicate stone, like marble or on stainless steel as it may cause discoloring.

Dishes: This fantastic alternative may be used alongside your dishwashing detergent, increasing its grease-cutting power. Simply add a teaspoon of lemon juice.  

 

Liquid Castile Soap 

This plant-based soap is effective at loosening grime and dirt from surfaces. It is gentler too, so it won't leave the surfaces looking dull or damaged.

Price: About $8 for 8 ounces, available in supermarkets.

Sinks, showers, tubs and ceramic tiles: This soap may be used to create a homemade soft scrubber by combining 1 tablespoon with 1/3 cup baking soda.

Stovetop and vent hood: A few squirts of liquid Castile soap mixed with 2 cups hot water can be used to clean the stovetop, burners and vent hood, cutting through accumulated grease. 

 

Table salt 

 
salt
 

If anything in your house needs a little polish, salt's granular texture makes for a beneficial cleaning agent. Any type of salt may be used, including sea or kosher salt, but table salt will be your cheapest option.

Price: 69 cents a pound.

Spills in the oven: Don't you just hate it when that casserole bubbles over when you take it out of the oven? A great way to clean the mess up without having to scrub your oven tray is to pour salt on the spill to soak it up. Once the oven has cooled down, wipe with a damp sponge.  

 

Vinegar 

The benefits of cleaning with vinegar are plentiful, as it has the ability to wipe out tarnish, soap scum, mineral deposits and other grimy substances. Its acidic nature also creates an environment that inhibits the growth of mold, mildew and some bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.

Price: $1.8 for a quart, available at supermarkets.

Drains: Use vinegar to clean drains and the pipes they are attached to by pouring the liquid down the drain. After about 30 minutes, flush with cold water.

Floors: 1/4 cup vinegar, added to a bucket of warm water may be used to clean almost any type of floor, except marble, as it can scratch it, or wood, as it can strip it.  

 

Essential oils 

Essential oil
Source: Freedigitalphotos.net, Praisaeng

Consisting of the extraction of plants, some essential oils can kill bacteria and mold. As they tend to be very strong, you need not go overboard either. In fact, some oils like peppermint are so potent, that one drop of oil is equivalent to 30 cups of peppermint tea.

Price: $14 for 5 milliliters, available at health-food stores.

Combs and brushes: Soak combs and brushes in an essential oil blend for about 20 minutes, by filling a container with 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and 20 drops tea-tree, lavender or eucalyptus oil.

Scuffed floors: Just apply two to four drops of tea-tree oil to the spots, wiping any excess oil with a cloth and rubbing it in distilled white vinegar.

 

Toothpaste 

Standard toothpaste (paste not gel, free from tartar control and whitening), combined with a mild detergent and an antibacterial agent make a potent stain-fighter.

Price: About $3.65 for a tube

Tarnished silverware: Add a dab of toothpaste on a soft cloth and rub it onto the tarnish, then rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.

 

Cooking oils

Olive oil
 

Vegetable and plant based oils are great cleaning alternatives, particularly olive and sunflower oil which may be used to dislodge dirt, diminish scratches and imperfections as well as hydrate wood that has aged or dried out from exposure to the sun.

Price: $7 a pint, from supermarkets

Cast iron pans: Use vegetable oils to make a scrubbing paste by combing them with a teaspoon of coarse salt. This easy blend may be used to combat cooked-on debris, which can then be rinsed off with hot water.

Leather shoes: First, wipe away any dirt with a damp cloth, then add a drop of vegetable oil to a soft cloth, rubbing the surface to remove scuff marks. Make your shoes shine by buffing them with a chamois cloth.

 

Borax

Borax can be used alongside your detergents, making your load cleaner. As it is rather alkaline, borax may also be used to kill mold and fungus.

Price: $5 for 4 pounds at supermarkets

Pots and pans: Borax may be rubbed into cookware with a damp sponge, then rinsed well.

Toilet: Just pour borax in the bowl, letting it sit overnight. In the morning, swish the bowl a few times with a toilet brush and flush. 

 

Baking and washing soda

Baking Soda
 

Also known as sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate, absorbs odors. Word of caution: when handling washing soda, wear rubber gloves.

Price: About $1.08 for a pound of baking soda; $7 for 4 pounds of washing soda.

Garage floors (and other concrete surfaces): Pour washing soda on top of oily and greasy spots, sprinkling with water until a paste forms. Let it stand overnight, then the next day scrub with a damp brush, hose it down and wipe clean.

Grills and barbecue utensils: Tough grease stains may be removed by dipping a moist stiff-bristled brush in washing soda, and scrubbing away.  

 
h/t: realsimple.com
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