Let Food be Thy Cleaner

Written by Ronna
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Conventional household cleaning products often contain ingredients that are harmful to both the environment and health. Sure, there are eco-friendly alternatives that are safer to use, but did you know that you can use certain food items in your kitchen to clean the house? Not only are they cheap and safe, they work great too! If you have these three ingredients in your kitchen, you can easily and effectively clean your house without the need to use a lot of commercial cleaning products!


Because of its acidity, vinegar is very useful in removing dirt, grease and mineral deposits. Donít let its smell turn you off; otherwise, you will miss out on this very versatile cleaning ingredient! Besides, its smell will eventually dissipate. In fact, vinegar is a good deodorizer! You can use vinegar to remove water deposits around your faucets and sinks (except for marble surfaces). Just put some vinegar on a rag soaked with water, let the rag sit around the faucet and/or sink, and then rinse.

Vinegar is also very effective in removing calcium deposits from your metal or glass water heater. Just mix ĺ part of distilled white vinegar with 5 parts of water and boil it in the water heater. Discard the mixture and boil plain water to get rid of the vinegar smell and taste from the heater. The same could be done for your glass coffee pots (follow the manufacturerís manual for cleaning but use vinegar and water instead of a commercial solution).

Vinegar is also very good in cleaning glass surfaces, including windows. Just mix vinegar with water in a spray bottle and itís ready to use! Wipe with old newspaper to ensure a lint-free finish. Because of its disinfecting and anti-bacterial properties, vinegar is also good in cleaning toilets and getting rid of those pesky rings.

Vinegar is also effective in removing molds and mildew. Just mix it with water and spray on problematic areas of the house. When cleaning, remember to use distilled white vinegar instead of darker-colored ones to avoid the possibility of stains. Always remember to mix and dilute with water.

A word of warning: do not combine vinegar with commercial cleaning products. Doing so might give out toxic fumes!

Baking Soda

Another very useful cleaning ingredient that you can find right in your kitchen is baking soda. It is great for unclogging drainage! I have personally used it several times to unclog blocked tub drainage when no chemical or enzyme de-clogging product could do the work!

First, clear the surface of dirt. Pour around 1 cup of baking soda into the drainage, followed by 3 cups or more of hot water. The mixture will start to bubble and the gunk will come lose. Clean and pour more hot water until drainage is clear. Voila, your drainage will be good as new! You may use baking soda again and repeat the process if problem is not readily fixed.

Baking soda is also good for scouring stubborn dirt. Combined with water (and vinegar), you can use baking soda to clean dirty sinks and toilets. You can also use baking soda to scrub refrigerators and stove-tops. For hard-to-remove stove dirt, leaving some baking soda & water mixture overnight will do the trick!

You can also use baking soda for deodorizing. Because it is slightly alkaline, baking soda is good in neutralizing acid-based odors. You can use it on animal urine, in refrigerators, and in deodorizing the inside of shoes (not good for leather ones, though). To deodorize carpets, you can sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and leave it overnight. You can then vacuum-clean the carpet the day after.

Baking soda could also be used as a stainless steel polish. Just mix some water with baking soda to make a paste, spread some on a cloth and polish the item. Dry and polish with a clean rag afterwards. Baking soda is also excellent in removing laundry stains. Just apply baking soda and water paste to clothes with blood, sweat, and wine stains before washing. For tougher stains, let the paste sit for some hours before washing.


Lemons are refreshing and are healthy additions to any dish or drink. But did you know that they are also valuable as cleaning products? As a bonus, their revitalizing and fresh scent adds to the feeling of having a clean home!

Lemons are great for cutting grease and grime, thanks to their citric acid. Lemons are especially useful for oily surfaces and grimy stove tops. As with vinegar, be careful not to use them on marble surfaces. Lemons are excellent as brass and copper polish. Just put some lemon juice on a cloth and polish. To remove tarnish from pans with copper bottoms, use an open lemon to scrub the bottom of pans. You can add some salt for extra scrubbing power.

Lemons can also be used to polish wood. Just mix one part of lemon juice to two parts of olive oil and wipe your wooden furniture and table tops with the mixture. 

Lemons are also great in disinfecting and removing odors from chopping boards. Instead of vinegar, you can also use lemon juice to clean glass surfaces. Just mix some lemon juice with water to spray your windows and other surfaces made of glass.

Lemons can also serve as an alternative to those harmful commercial bleaches. Just soak your cotton and linen whites in a solution of hot water with lemon slices or lemon juice. Leave for 1 hour to overnight, and then wash as usual.

Use them together!

These three food products are pretty much enough to help you with most of your daily housekeeping needs. Whatís great is that you can combine them for better results! You can combine baking soda and vinegar with water to clean floors. If your drainage problem is too difficult to solve, you can include vinegar into the equation. After pouring some baking soda, add some vinegar, let sit for some minutes, before pouring in hot water. You can use lemons and baking soda to scrub and clean stains from dishes. Just use a half-open lemon sprinkled with some baking powder. As a brass and copper polish, you can mix lemon with baking soda to make a paste. For cleaning toilets and glass surfaces, lemon juice can be combined with vinegar and water for a fresher scent.

So, the next time you have a cleaning task at hand, why not let food be thy cleaner?

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