The next 5 posts will cover how to naturally clean your house from ceiling to floor without using harsh chemicals.
Today, we tackle the kitchen.
Why the kitchen first? It has to be cleaned the most often, has the most different types of surfaces to clean, and the surfaces of the kitchen come into contact with our food (and vice versa) so not cleaning it well has the most potential for harm.
It is also a place where harmful chemicals often lurch, despite the fact that this is where they are the most dangerous. I’ll share my best tips for cleaning the kitchen naturally, and please share yours in the comments!
At my house, cabinets get food, fingerprints and wall art (mainly the lower ones) from my four little aspiring Picassos, and these can be a pain to clean. Lately, I’m hooked on microfiber to clean these with just water, but another great solution is a natural all-purpose cleaner and a clean rag (I use cut up old t-shirts and towels).
Counters and Table
The All-Purpose Cleaner also works great on countertops and tables. I’ve used it on granite and formica and it doesn’t leave residue. I would not recommend specific granite cleaning sprays, as these are some of the worst offenders in the chemical department. Do not use vinegar/lemon or anything acidic on granite as this can erode the finish and wear down the stone. You can also use a homemade alcohol based cleaner for tough messes and great shine, but I wouldn’t use it everyday.
Depending on your type of floors, the type of cleaning will vary, but any floor can be cleaned naturally. For laminate, ceramic, etc, a mixture of 1 cup vinegar in a gallon of water on a wet mop will clean really well. You can use the All-purpose cleaner to pre-treat any tough stains. There are also other options for carpet and hardwood.
For tile and grout, I sprinkle with baking soda and then spray with hydrogen peroxide and leave for a few minutes before scrubbing and then wiping off. This is the only way I’ve found to keep grout white.
I’ve switched to microfiber on this and am looking forward to my microfiber mop coming in, but in the meantime I just clean the floor by hand. (P.s. go enter the microfiber giveaway if you want to try it too! Through 4/23)
For natural dish soap, I use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castille or the Dishwashing Liquid from Tropical Traditions. I’ve tried many natural variations of homemade dishwasher detergent, but usually default to Tropical Traditions Dishwasher Soap since it is the best natural option I’ve found.
To clean the dishwasher itself, I put a bowl or two on the top shelf of the dishwasher right side up and fill it with undiluted white vinegar. I then just run the dishwasher as usual (no other dishes in it) and this removes soap scum and makes the dishwasher run more efficiently. This is on my once-a-month to do list.
I have a self-cleaning oven but don’t like to use that feature, unless it is an especially cold day in winter as it heats the house up a lot. The easiest way I’ve found besides using the self-clean is to spray water over the bottom of the oven and dump on a lot of baking soda (about 1/4-1/2 inch think) and then spray with more water to make a paste. Then, I leave it overnight. In the morning, I scrape out all the baking soda mixture (which is brown by this point) and then use a wire brush to scrub any tough spots. After all the baking soda has been wiped off, a vinegar and water rinse will leave a spot free shine.
I use my garbage disposal a lot and sometimes it gets that not-so-lovely odor. To combat this, there are a couple of options:
- cut a lemon in half, shove in garbage disposal and grind (with water running) for 10 seconds.
- Freeze lemon and orange peels in ice cube trays with vinegar or water and throw these in and grind for 10 seconds
- pour 1/2 cup of baking soda in and then 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes before running the water and and the disposal
This won’t be in everyone’s kitchen, but we use cast iron a lot (haven’t had trouble with anemia during pregnancy since we started that). I try not to use soap on cast iron since it ruins the seasoning that takes so long to accomplish. Instead I use a steel scouring pad and some regular salt and scrub. This usually gets them clean without any trouble.
We’ve finally transitioned to paper free in our kitchen, and I won’t ever go back. We actually bought several hundred cloth napkins for our wedding years ago, and we still use those, though if I ever replace them, I’ll replace them with a darker color to hide the stains they have now. A couple of dozen cloth napkins will last a family between washes and will save a lot of money and waste in the long run.
We also use extra dish towels instead of paper towels and just replace them every six months to a year, which is still cheaper than buying paper towels.
The way I wash produce largely depends on where it came from and what it is. For stuff from our garden, it gets a light wash in water before use. For store bough produce with tough skin, I soak in vinegar for about 10 minutes, and then lightly scrub with my hands after I’ve dipped them in baking soda. I do this before placing them in the fridge so that the chemicals don’t transfer to the fridge and so the kids can get their own fruits and veggies for snacks. I’ve also tried a hydrogen peroxide and water spray, and this seems to work for softer skin fruits and veggies like peaches or grapes or berries (1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide in 2 cups of water- stored in a dark bottle!).
What is Under My Sink
I keep it simple with kitchen cleaning. Under the sink, I have bottles of white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Dr. Bronners, baking soda, my homemade cleaner, microfiber cloths and assorted cloths and scrubbing brushes. I’m yet to find a mess I can’t tackle with this regimen. (on a related note- I keep everything under my sink in a boot tray (from Home Depot) that typically goes by the backdoor so that I can remove them all at once to clean under the sink)
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
Today, lets all get our kitchens naturally clean! Take the chemicals to a hazardous waste disposal place and stop using them!! I’ve found this checklist from Real Simple helpful to clean the kitchen from the top down. You can also download my personal organizing printables that have my chore lists, room-by-room checklists and daily to-do lists to help make the process easier.
I’ve also found that I can accomplish everything above using just microfiber cloths and I have a feeling that even the homemade natural cleaners will be disappearing from my kitchen soon…
Go clean and come back here and let me know how you did!
What is your best kitchen cleaning tip? Do you have any natural tips or suggestions for natural kitchen cleaning?