Post Written By: Aly McCarthy
Our physical environment can have a great influence on our sense of inner order. It is so often true that when the kitchen, bedroom or the car is a mess, so are we. So here are a few natural remedies that have helped my family and friends to refresh their living area.
1. Grout Cleaner: Vinegar and Baking Soda
No one likes to clean tile grout or trial new products that may or may not work well. Fortunately, there are household items you can use to get the job done.
Create a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. The exact proportions doesn’t matter, but the mixture should end up with a paste consistency. Using a brush or toothbrush, scrub the grout with this mixture and let it sit for several minutes. When you wipe the mixture off, you’ll be surprised how clean it looks!
2. Natural Air Freshener
You don’t need Febreze to keep the house smelling fresh! Simply put 2 cinnamon sticks and about 6 cloves in water and let it simmer. This pleasant aroma will fill the entire house in no time!
If you want a more summer-y scent, try placing an orange peal in water to simmer. It will have the same effect.
3. Stain Remover
We all hope that we won’t need a stain remover, but sometimes the inevitable happens! A couple months back, I had an accident where red wine spilled onto my new furry white rug (of course the worst place possible). This is the remedy I used, and the rug looked good as new.
Simply smother the stain in hydrogen peroxide and let it sit a few minutes. It may or may not fizz a little when coming into contact with the stain.
This is good for any organic stain, like wine, food, or even pet messes and can be used on carpet or clothes. If there is an order associated with the spill, the hydrogen peroxide will remove that too!
4. Brighten Your Whites
My whites always look less vibrant over time. Bleach is a great option to keep them looking bright, but it doesn’t hurt to try this in addition or as an alternative!
Boil some water with a few lemon slices. When the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat and put your whites in the pot. Let them soak for an hour before putting them into the washer as usual. This should keep your whites whiter than ever!
5. Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
If you’re ever looking for a natural alternative to the all-purpose cleaners you find at the store, this one works great, even for windows and glass surfaces!
Add the following ingredients to a 16oz spray bottle:
- 14 oz. distilled water
- 2 oz. white vinegar
- 40 drops white spruce essential oil, or other conifer essential oil
- 30 drops lemon essential oil
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil
- Shake before using.
6. Kill Driveway and Sidewalk Weeds
No one wants to spend their Saturday pulling weeds from the driveway cracks. Here is an easy way to kill or prevent those weeds without the extra manual labor.
Simply place vinegar into a spray bottle and spray the areas where the weeds pop up. The weeds will not be able to survive with the vinegar. Be careful, however, to keep the vinegar away from your garden and the plants you want to keep!
7. Revive the Wood Floors
Woods floors can be so difficult to keep up. Those of you who are looking for a product that works well, try Bona Liquid Wax – Low Gloss. This isn’t an advertisement, just something that friends have found to work exceptionally well. It is recommended to do the entire wood floor at the same time so the entire floor looks consistent, and for the best results let it sit overnight.
8. Get Rid of Fruit Flies
It happens to all of us in the summer. The fruit flies move in and they refuse to move back out. This mixture will take care of it.
Fill a jar or bowl with the following ingredients:
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbs. water
- A few drops of dish soap
Place the mixture where the flies usually congregate. The flies will be attracted to the mixture because it smells like rotten fruit, but the soap will kill them.
9. Unclog Drains
When my drains clog, I find myself rushing to the grocery store for Drano. This method uses normal home ingredients so you can unclog the drain without making an extra trip.
- Pour boiling water down the drain.
- Put ½ cup baking soda in the drain. Let it sit for several minutes.
- Add 1 cup of vinegar and another cup of boiling water.
- If possible, cover the drain to keep the ingredients down. It may fizz a little and that is normal.
- Let it sit for several minutes and then flush with another pot of boiling water.
10. Toilets, Microwaves, Refrigerators
All these appliances can be difficult to clean and tend to accumulate odors. When the all-purpose cleaners fail to take off the caked on mess, citrus is a great solution. Rub a lemon or orange wedge on the areas that are difficult to clean. Lines in the toilet bowl will disappear and caked on food in the microwave will be easy to remove. You’ll just be left with a fresh citrus smell.