4 Easy, Earth-Friendly Cleaners You Can Make at Home

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When life gives you lemons (and vinegar and hydrogen peroxide and baking soda), make household cleaners. Photo: Cindy Baldhoff

When life gives you lemons (and vinegar and hydrogen peroxide and baking soda), make household cleaners. Photo: Cindy Baldhoff

Everyone loves a clean home, but unfortunately, the cleaners we use to keep our spaces spotless are often filled with harmful, toxic chemicals. The Organic Consumers Association reports that cleaning ingredients can cause problems ranging from skin and respiratory problems to watery eyes and chemical burns.

If you’re looking for a kinder, gentler and earth-friendlier way to clean, take heart: the solution is as close as your pantry or grocery store. Here are four common household items that just happen to make fantastic (and safe!) cleaning products. You’ll not only create a healthier environment, you’ll also save money and reduce the build-up of plastic spray bottles in your cabinets — and the landfill.

Buy a jug of white vinegar, and you’ll find many ways to use it. Dilute it with water to clean your windows, mirrors, bathroom — and even your floors. (Believe it or not, it’s even safe on hardwoods.) For heavy-duty jobs like litter boxes or soap scum, use it full strength.

Lemon Juice
It’s not just for squeezing in your iced tea anymore. Combine this with vinegar to help cut grease and leave a streak-free shine on hard surfaces (like windows, mirrors and tiles). Even better, it leaves behind a fresh scent.

Baking Soda
If you grew up with a box of baking soda in the refrigerator, you already know that it can absorb odors. But did you know it also can be made into a paste to clean hard surfaces — like those found in the kitchen and bathroom — and works just as hard as abrasive, chemical-laden store brands? If you need more scrubbing action for tough stains, just toss in some kosher salt and you’re good to go!

Hydrogen Peroxide
You know it works to sanitize cuts and scrapes, but hydrogen peroxide is also a superstar in the laundry room. Mix it with water to get rid of perspiration and other tough stains on white or light fabrics.