Go Greener: Clean Your House With Just Baking Soda, Vinegar and Lemons.

Going green can be a very expensive transition, or it can be cheaper than you’ve ever thought possible.  Green doesn’t have to mean buying all the “eco-friendly” products that are available for twice the price as the nasty stuff.  In fact, a lot of those “eco-friendly” products, when you read the labels and figure out what is actually in those products, are not very natural at all.  They may not contain phosphates or chlorine bleach etc., but they contain a lot of other ingredients that are not so great.  Especially when you can get a good clean with a few cheap ingredients that are readily available.  And, when your little helper wants to help you clean, you can comfortably and safely hand her a spray bottle of lemon-infused vinegar and a rag.

So lets go greener than green-cleaning products.  Lets make our own out of simple, economical ingredients.

I clean my entire house with a spray bottle of lemon-infused vinegar water, with plain vinegar and with baking soda.

Lemon-infused vinegar, also known as citrus vinegar, is simply a jar of lemon (or other citrus) rinds soaked for 2 weeks in white distilled vinegar. You can check out a DIY tutorial for it here.  Strain, dilute to a 1:1 ratio of citrus vinegar to water, and pour into a clean, empty spray bottle.  Lemons and vinegar both cut grease and grime, break down soap scum, and leave surfaces shiny and clean.  The acidity of both kills germs, making them perfect for a bathroom cleaner, a kitchen counter cleaner, and pretty much any kind of cleaner.

Distilled white vinegar.  Vinegar diluted 1:1 with water in a spray bottle is perfect for cleaning mirrors and windows.

Baking soda.  Baking soda is perfect for lifting grease, soap scum and grime.  Baking soda is also a great deodorizer.

Lemons.  Lemons can be used to clean a lot of surfaces. The acidity naturally kills germs and the fresh smell of lemons is pleasant.

Baking soda and vinegar.  When you add baking soda, a base, to vinegar, an acid, you neutralize the two of them and basically render both useless.  I have read a lot of articles talking about combining the two to clean toilets etc.  While the volcano-like explosion is pretty cool, in most cases it doesn’t actually achieve much since you have effectively created a neutral product.

How to Clean Your Kitchen:

Counter tops: Lemon-infused vinegar spray cuts grease and kills germs.  Simply spray on and wipe down with a clean rag.
Kitchen sinks: Lemon-infused vinegar spray works well, or if it is extra dirtly, sprinkle with baking soda and scrub clean with a scrub brush.  Alternatively, you can use a lemon that has been juiced, to scrub your sink with.  Rinse clean.
Stove tops: Lemon-infused vinegar spray will cut the grease.  To help with burnt bits, make a baking soda paste with a bit of water, smear on, let sit for 30 minutes, then wipe clean.
Floor: Hot water with a splash of vinegar will make laminate, tile and linoleum sparkle, leaving no build-up.
Fridge: Spray down with lemon-infused citrus spray, then wipe clean.  Leave an open box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb food odors.  Replace the box every few months.
Microwave: Heat up a small bowl of 1 cup vinegar for about 4 minutes.  The vinegar and steam loosen the grime and make it easy to wipe clean with a rag.  You can also use lemon juice the same way, with the same results.
Stove fan filters: Bring water to boil in a large pan.  Add 1/4 c. baking soda and mix well.  Soak fan filters in it for 1 minute, then turn over, soak for 1 more minute, then remove and rinse.
Dishwasher: Add white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher to help prevent buildup on your dishes.
Cutting boards:  Clean stains and germs off of your cutting board by squeezing a lemon on the board and allowing it to sit for 30 minutes.  Scrub clean.

How To Clean Your Bathroom:

Bath tub and shower stall: Scrub bathtub with a baking soda paste and a scrub brush.  The baking soda cuts soap scum and grease off the tub and walls beautifully.  Rinse clean.
Toilet: Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet and scrub clean with toilet brush.  Clean toilet seat, lid, and around base of toilet with lemon-infused vinegar spray.  Wipe dry.
Sink: Scrub sink clean with a baking soda paste and and a scrub brush.  Clean chrome or stainless steel with lemon-infused vinegar spray.
Mirrors: Plain white vinegar in a spray bottle, diluted 1:1 with water does the best job of cleaning mirrors.
Floors: Hot water with a splash of vinegar will keep bathroom floors clean and sparkly.

Cleaning Other Areas:

Floors: Hot water with a splash of vinegar will clean all floor surfaces beautifully.
Walls: Lemon-infused vinegar spray cleans walls beautifully.
Windows: Plain vinegar in a spray bottle diluted 1:1 with water.
Dusting: Spray your duster very lightly with lemon-infused vinegar to replace products like Pledge.
Carpets: to deodorize a carpet, sprinkle generously with baking soda, leave for 30 minutes, then vaccuum up.
Mattresses: To deodorize urine or vomit stains sprinkle with baking soda, leave for 30 minutes, then vaccuum.  For fresh, wet stains, scrub with white vinegar and rinse with clean water.  Test fabric first.
Laundry: lemon juice, placed directly on grease stains on fabric, and left to sit for 30 minutes, can lift the stain.  Vinegar, poured directly on tomato-based fabric stains, can remove the stain.  Test your fabric first.
Tile grout: Lemon juice and an old tooth brush will bleach tile grout clean.
Drains: One case in which baking soda and vinegar combined can work is with a clogged drain.  Since the physical “explosion” can actually move things around, you can unclog a drain with it.  Pour a cup of dry baking soda down the drain.  Add a cup of vinegar.  Immediately plug with a rag and leave for 30 minutes.  Rinse down the concoction with boiling water and you may have success if the conditions are right.

So forget the bottles of fancy green cleaners.  Ignore the eco-friendly advertising.  Save  your money, save your family’s health, and go greener!  Make your own cleaners with baking soda, vinegar and lemons.  So easy, so cheap and so effective!  Please share any other cleaning methods you might know using baking soda, vinegar and lemons!

You might also enjoy reading about my homemade dish-washing detergent, my homemade laundry detergent, my DIY deodorant recipe and how my entire family’s hair is safely and perfectly cleaned with baking soda (wash) and vinegar (rinse).  All of these recipes use some of the above ingredients as well as a few others.

 

This post has been linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #64Waste Not Want Not Wednesday #16 , Seasonal Celebration Wednesday, Get Real Frugal Friday Blog Hop #5 and Homestead Abundance #8.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. I’ve been waiting for a post like this! Thank you. Vinegar also works well as a fabric softener I think right?

  2. I recent bought a nice pedestal sink off of Craigslist, and the seller kept the faucet so I was left with a great outline of their faucet. I tried using several generic bathroom cleaners and it wouldn’t budge. I soaked a rag in pure white vinegar, left it over the faucet zone overnight, and the next morning when I lifted it off of the sink the grime came off with it!!! I adore vinegar for everything.

  3. Such sage advice, you are so right- going green doesn’t have to cost the Earth!! Thank you for sharing your cleaning ideas with us and I hope very much to see you over at Seasonal Celebration today! Rebecca @Natural Mothers Network x

  4. Great information for natural cleaners. I like what you’re doing here.

  5. I’m new to going green, but really want to find cheaper and safer ways to clean my house. As a newbie, please don’t laugh if this is a silly question :-) When you mention using lemon juice to clean tile grout, does it need to freshly squeezed lemon juice or will bottled lemon juice work? After looking at my bottle of lemon juice, I’m thinking it might not have the same affect since it has lemon juice concentrate? and preservatives!! But still curious anyway. Thanks!

  6. Home on the Meadow says:

    For carpets: You can also add your favourite essential oil (I use citronella or lemongrass). What I do is decant bicarb into a glass jar, slowly add a few drops of oil, stir with a knife/chop stick to blend the oil & bicarb… I gradually add more depending on how much bicarb is in the jar… I pierce holes into the lid of the jar and use it as a shaker to distribute the bicarb over the carpet..
    Leaves the carpet and house smelling heavenly…

  7. Marie-France says:

    Q: Many years ago , my Snow Bird elderly neighbour said she cleaned her second story windows with a power washer and baking soda. Have you heard of using baking soda for windows? Would I have to warm the water to dissolve the baking soda? Is it the scrubbing action of the baking soda that does the job, or just the high Ph? If it is the scrubbing action of baking soda, the I will have to be very gentle with the power washer, and use low pressure. Any guidance would be appreciated.

    • I think both the ph and the scrubbing action are what makes it a great cleaner. That said, I never use baking soda on glass when cleaning because if you don’t rinse it off immediately and it starts to dry on there, it doesn’t rinse off nicely, and leaves streaks. I use vinegar water for cleaning glass. Just plain white vinegar diluted 1:1, I find works best on windows, and either a rag or an old newspaper. Newspapers are actually the best for cleaning glass, and if you are just using vinegar on them you can compost it. Best of luck!

  8. Felicia says:

    Thank you so much for posting this!

  9. heather says:

    Thank you for these great tips! Although I read somewhere that vinegar can eat through plastic. Is that true with this lemon-infused vinegar recipe? I’m just wondering if it’s ok to store it in a recycled plastic spray bottle for extended periods of time. Also, is there a time-frame for how long this recipe lasts (meaning does it ever go bad/rancid or anything)? Thanks so much!

    • I store it in glass jars. When I use it, I dilute it 1:1 with water and store in a spray bottle. I have never had any trouble with it going bad or eating away the plastic.

  10. NinjaDad says:

    Well, sometimes I don´t have time to do the dishes right away or for a couple of days so I´d like to have something I can just spray on them as soon as I leave them on the sink so germs won´t build up or the dishes won´t stink up the place and maybe even serve as a pre-wash solution so when I finally do them it would be easier to clean everything. I don´t want to use bleach on a spray bottle, so far I tried using dish detergent mixed with water but it just doesn´t spray well. Can I use the lemon-vinegar mix for this?

  11. I love all of the suggestions and can’t wait to try many of them. I have had limited success using baking soda and vinegar to clean stained oven trays but will now try the lemon-infused vinegar..
    keep the ideas coming..PLEASE!!

  12. Hi! I just found your site and I’m loving all the green tips and recipes!
    I was just wondering if I could use the common white vinegar, as I’m in Portugal and I can’t seem to find white destilled vinegar.
    Thank you so much!

  13. Hi,
    Thank you for all this info, I find it very helpful.
    Could you please tell me how you clean your floors? We have hardwood everywhere (except for the bathroom) and vacuum and then use a Vileda mop.

    Thanks and I’m looking forward to your tips!
    Gabi

    • I use one of those mops with a microfiber cloth on it, and a spray bottle attached to it. I can’t think off hand what the mop is called. I fill the spray bottle with half hot water and half white vinegar and use that. Works beautifully! I have laminate floors.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow you sound like you know your stuff so excited to try this! I have a question, in the lemon vinegar spray you said to strain it could i just remove the rinds or would the pulp bits be bad for the sprayer is that why?
    Also what I would do is keep the water diluted mix in the spray bottle but always have the concentrated jar on hand too, but do the rinds have to be removed after two weeks? If so why cant I just keep them in the concentrate jar indefinitely, would they mold or sonething? Btw Id switch them out for fresh lemon once the concentrate was finally used up so it would be equally potent)

  15. Wow you sound like you know your stuff so excited to try this! I have a question, in the lemon vinegar spray you said to strain it could i just remove the rinds or would the pulp bits be bad for the sprayer is that why?
    Also what I would do is keep the water diluted mix in the spray bottle but always have the concentrated jar on hand too, but do the rinds have to be removed after two weeks? If so why cant I just keep them in the concentrate jar indefinitely, would they mold or sonething? Btw Id switch them out for fresh lemon once the concentrate was finally used up so it would be equally potent)

  16. Thank you, finally is someone making common sense when talking about mixing baking soda and vinegar – they indeed cancel each other out, with no special application after the process. Also, great tip collection on other uses for baking soda and vinegar!

  17. Jeanne Campbell Jackson says:

    Thanks for the link, Aimee Russell

  18. Michelle Jones says:

    After reading this and a few other sites, I went out and stocked up on vinegar, baking soda and lemons. I’d read elsewhere that putting vinegar in the rinse compartment in your dishwasher can damage it. Any experience with that? How about as a fabric (and as some have suggested, hair) softener?

  19. Love using this cleaner, the vinegar in it helps neutralize odors and doesn't leave your house smelling like some commercialized cleaning product, plus using it on floors is pet friendly :)

  20. Great article! Loving your site! Another great one is to clean bottles/jars etc. (That you can’t reach into, ex. Stainless Steel Water Bottle). I take a couple tablespoons of course salt moistened with a bit of vinegar and swish it around inside.

  21. Is your counter top solution okay to use on laminate counter tops? Do you have any tips on cleaning the inside of cabinet and drawers? I am pretty sure that they are laminate and they have some staining on them. Thanks!

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