7 Effective Eco-Friendly Home Cleaners

Doing our share to help the environment weighs heavily on everybody's minds these days. With work, personal obligations, and that unpredictable thing called life, however, finding the time to constantly be environmentally conscientious is a task much easier said than done. But there are some simple things you can do right from the comfort of home to help lessen your impact on the environment. You can develop some small habits, like turning off the lights when you leave a room, taking shorter showers, and watering your plants and lawn at night during the summer. Another way you can be more environmentally conscious around your home is by using some essential everyday items in place of chemical-laced, store-bought cleaners. Try using these seven items the next time you have a day off to clean the house.

1. Salt

Everyone has a container of salt sitting in the pantry, and even more of us could do with a little less sodium in our diet, so why not put some if it to use around the house? Table salt, or sodium chloride, can be used to clean, disinfect, and deodorize many areas in your home. Combined with lemon, it can be used to remove rust and rust stains, and keeping your sponges in a bowl of salt water by the sink keeps them clean and germ-free when you're not using them. Mixing salt with vinegar and flour also creates a paste that can be used to shine gold, silver, pewter, and stainless steel, so you can easily keep your jewelry and kitchen appliances/utensils looking brand new with ease.

2. Soap

Like vinegar, soap can also be used on nearly any surface in your home. Although it is not as strong as vinegar, it is still useful in breaking down grease and dirt, especially when used with hot water. Natural soaps that are made with whole oils and alkali make for the most effective cleaners. These are available in several forms, including solid bars, liquid, flakes, and powder.

3. Lemon

Like salt, lemon is another natural miracle cleaner that can be used to clean, polish, and deodorize. The acidic liquids found in all citrus fruits works to break down grease and kill germs, while leaving your home with a fresh citrus smell. You can also mix salt with lemon to break through tough rust stains and polish stainless steel.

4. Vinegar

Vinegar is an all around miracle cleaner. It can be used for virtually any surface in any room of the house, including the bathroom, kitchen, and living room with hardwood floors. Mix a solution of equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and use it to clean glass surfaces like mirrors and windows. You can also use this solution to clean hardwood, tile, and ceramic floors, and to clean and disinfect your plastic garbage cans, or bins. Vinegar can also break down mold and mildew in the bathroom in your bathtub, faucets, and showerhead.

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil is another excellent natural cleaner for your home. You can spray it onto most surfaces that require polishing, including hardwood and stainless steel, and also on surfaces like leather to remove the dry, cracked appearance that comes with age and wear. Olive oil can also effectively remove annoying grime like chewing gum, and, combined with lemon, also serves as aromatic agent. For the best results, pick up a bottle of organic oil from your local organic grocery store.

6. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide can be used as a safe alternative to bleach. It effectively breaks down mold, mildew, and stains by killing bacteria such as salmonella. Hydrogen peroxide comes in liquid-cleaner form and can be used on nearly any surface in your home, and any mess that requires bleaching and the use of an antiseptic. You'll get the same great results without having to worry about harmful chemicals effects on your surfaces, or your health.

7. Vodka

Although most people use it to make cocktails, vodka can also be used as an effective home cleaner. You can add it to your laundry to eliminate odors, and use it to clean glass surfaces to give them an extra shine. Vodka can also be used to polish chrome and clean porcelain surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. To get a little more enjoyment out of your spring-cleaning, consider mixing yourself a drink, and turn your major headache into an enjoyable pastime.