Natural cleaners and green cleaners are perfect for you, your family, your pets, and your home. If the Bubonic Plague returns, then get out those chemicals, but in the meanwhile, you must give nature a chance. Natural cleaners have no carcinogenics, allergens or immune system suppressants. If one method of natural cleaning doesn't suit you, try another one, the right back to basics cleaner is waiting for you.

All-Purpose Cleaner:

1/2 cup (125 ml) pure soap such as liquid castile,
1 gallon (4 litres) hot water.

For a clean scent and to help cut grease, add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of lemon juice OR 1/2 tsp of lemon essential oil.

This solution is safe for all surfaces, should be rinsed with water, and is very effective for most jobs. For a stronger natural cleaner, double the amounts of soap and lemon juice or essential oil.

Scouring Powder:

Use a firm bristle brush and scrub with pure soap combined with either table salt or baking soda.

Baking soda alone on a damp sponge is also effective on most surfaces. You can also personalize your scouring powder by adding an essential oil. Put the ingredients in a blender or blend with a wisk, until the fragrance has infused the powder.

For oven spills, scrub using straight baking soda or combine with the stronger version of the all purpose cleaner. Wear gloves when scrubbing, even for natural cleaners.

Air Fresheners:

Commercial air fresheners work by masking smells and coating the nasal passages with chemicals which diminish the sense of smell by deadening the nerves, as well as using crude oil based carcinogenic chemicals that just happen to have scents. Try some of these natural recipes to diminish odor and add a fresh clean smell to your house:

1. Use baking soda in your garbage or refrigerator to help reduce odors at their source.

2. Dissolve 1 tsp (5 ml) of baking soda in 2 cups (500 ml) of hot water, add 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray as you would an air freshener.

3. Place a few slices of a citrus fruit, cloves or cinnamon in a pot with enough water to simmer gently for an hour or two.

4. Most of the people I know use a couple drops of essential oils in inconspicuous places. Choose any scent you like.

Try some of the natural cleaners that you can find in the green sections of your grocer.

Use natural essential oils to disinfect.
Liquid Dish Soap:

Grate a bar of pure/castile soap into a sauce pan. Cover with water and simmer over low heat until they melt together. Add some vinegar to the water for tough grease and to remove spots. Pour into a container and use as you would any liquid dishwashing soap.

There are a lot of natural dish cleaners in the supermarkets these days. I like them but it seems like you need 2 - 3 times as much as the chemical versions, and for more money. Definitely give these versions of natural cleaners a chance.

Mirrors, Glass and Windows:

Wash with pure soap and water, rinse with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. Use washable, reusable cheese cloth instead of paper towels.

Carpets:

To fully clean and deodorize carpetsVacuum, liberally sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda, leave one hour, then vacuum again. For tougher stains, try cold soda water or repeatedly blot with vinegar and soapy water.

Polishes:

Most store-bought polishes contain solvents harmful to the environment. Aerosol sprays are wasteful and also contain harmful gases. It always seemed that I was coating my lungs with the waxes in the polish if I breathed it.

1. Furniture Polish: Dissolve 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon essential oil in 1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil. Apply with a clean dry rag.

2. Floor Polish: Melt 1/8 cup (30 ml) bees wax or vegetable wax in a double boiler. Add 1 quart/litre castor oil and a few drops of lemon essential oil. Apply with a rag, allow to dry and polish.

Chemical-free zone, natural cleaners used here.
Polishing Metals:

1. Copper: Try lemon juice and a little salt or hot vinegar and a little salt on a rag.

2. Brass: Try equal parts salt and flour, with a little vinegar on a dry rag.

All-purpose natural cleaners, more . . .

Mix ingredients for each recipe in a spray bottle. Use for cleaning counter tops, floors, walls, carpet and upholstery.

1. Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in one quart of warm water.2. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to between 1 cup and 1 quart of warm water.3. Combine 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil-based liquid soap and 3/4 cup warm water. Shake to blend. For really big jobs, combine 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/4 cup vegetable oil-based liquid soap and 2 gallons of warm water in a pail and stir to blend.

Grease cleaner:

Mix vinegar and salt together for a good surface cleaner. This mixture will remove grease if the vinegar is at full strength.

Safe cleaners for you and butterflies!

Disinfectants:

For kitchen cutting boards and bathroom fixtures, use a spray of distilled white vinegar followed by a 3 percent peroxide spray. Wipe clean.

Glass cleaner, another recipe:

Combine 1 quart warm water with 1/4 cup white vinegar or 2 tablespoons lemon juice (use both vinegar and lemon if you want the cleaning abilities of vinegar with the scent of lemons).

Mix ingredients and store in a spray bottle. Use as you would any glass cleaner (add a drop or two of essential oil for a pleasant scent).

Invest in a squeegee. It is a great tool for cleaning windows. A razor blade also is a good tool for scraping off dirt or paint before cleaning.

Crayon mark remover:

To remove crayon marks from walls, floors, counters, cabinets and furniture, rub area with (natural) toothpaste and a damp cloth. Do not use on non-vinyl wallpaper.

Eucalyptus leaves, a scent perfect for natural cleaners.
Room/air freshener: more recipes . . .

1. Simmer cinnamon and cloves in water.

2. Pour vanilla extract on a cotton ball and place in a small dish. Use in your car, home or refrigerator.

3. Set out a dish of vinegar or boil 1 tablespoon white vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate cooking odors.

Natural cleaners for Hands:

To remove heavy grime, combine 4 ounces of fine grain sand, 1 ounce of pumice powder and enough glycerin to moisten the mixture in a labeled screw top jar. Use about 1 tablespoon at a time, rubbing into the hands thoroughly.

Hand disinfectants:

1. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes ordinary soap as a legitimate disinfectant. There are many vegetable-oil-based soaps available at supermarkets and health food stores.

2. Tea tree oil is antibacterial and antifungal. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 4 ounces of liquid castile soap. Shake to stir or blend in a pump container.

Author's Bio: 

Courtney Findlay is a professional soapmaker, having had her own successful little soap shop on her hometown's main street. Natural soap and other bath products were created, wholesaled and retailed, all from the store's premises. As well as creating up to 45 varieties of soap, Courtney also made lotions, therapeutic creams, bath oils, mineral bath salts, perfume oils, solid perfumes, body butters, lip balms, massage melts, and essential oil blends.

Check out other natural information at www.natural-soap-making.com.