Some people think that they can safely clean their homes with any cleaning chemical they find in a store. It's true that those chemicals can get rid of dirt and grime, but they can also leave unhealthy remnants behind that can be harmful to pets and children.
In many cases, using harsh chemical cleaners is simply a matter of replacing one type of contamination with another. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe and natural methods that clean just as well without leaving anything dangerous behind.
The Power of Vinegar
Vinegar is a very weak type of acid. It isn't acidic enough to harm a human, but it does have enough power to cut through grease and most other filth. That makes it a powerful cleaning tool, and it should be your first resort when dealing with many messes.
It is usually best to dilute the vinegar with water before you start to clean. It doesn't reduce the cleaning power at all, but it does stretch the supply out and save money. Most messes call for a equal quantities of vinegar and water, but there are a few exceptions, including a few rare cases where the vinegar should be used undiluted. When in doubt, start with an equal mix and add more vinegar if it doesn't work.
This is a versatile cleaner, and it can be used on almost any smooth surface, especially steel and plastic. Be careful when applying to stone surfaces, especially marble, since some of them will react with the vinegar. It can occasionally soak into porous surfaces and leave them smelling like vinegar as well.
Use Plants, Not Air Fresheners
It's important not to neglect the air when cleaning a home. It may not have an impact on how the house looks, but indoor air quality can have a significant effect on a person's health. Many people turn to air fresheners to make the air smell clean, but there is a superior option.
NASA has found that plants work as an excellent air filtration system. Simply bringing a little bit of greenery into your home can keep the air clean and make the building look better at the same time. Some plants are better than others, but almost any species will help. Be sure to avoid anything that will trigger an allergic reaction with its pollen, and then make the choice based on appearance and the ease of taking care of the plant.
Baking Soda Paste
Most people realize that baking soda can help remove bad smells, but it can also get rid of stains. Start by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water to make a paste. The precise proportions aren't terribly important as long as the paste is thick, but mixing about half a cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water usually works.
Spread the paste on the stained surface, and let it sit for a minimum of a few hours. Stubborn stains will need more time, so the best results can come from leaving it overnight. After that, just wipe it off with a damp rag and a little bit of pressure.
Dissolve Scum with Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a stronger acid than vinegar, which gives it the power to dissolve accumulated soap scum and mineral deposits. Simply allow the lemon juice to soak into the deposit and then scrub it away. If the deposit is in a position that prevents you from soaking it, then apply the lemon juice to the rag before scrubbing. This is less effective, but it will still work in many cases.
Keeping Things Clean
Not only are these methods safer than using special cleaning chemicals, they're also cheaper and easier. They will work in most cases, but they might not be enough for some of the worst messes. In that case, take a few minutes to research the specific mess to find the cleaner that will help. There is almost always a green option that will meet your needs, so you should only turn to artificial chemicals as a tool of last resort. In most cases, you only need a little bit of research and elbow grease to clean things the safe and green way.