10 Green Ways To Make Your House Look And Smell Fresh Naturally
For decades, we’ve been cleaning our homes with products that have helped eliminate bacteria, but may still be harmful to our bodies. Here are 10 green ways to make your house look and smell fresh naturally — like a garden of fruit, because that’s where these methods come from!
Sources: lifehacker.com, apartmenttherapy.com, howstuffworks.com, chow.com, bettercleaningadvice.com
Grapefruit and Sea Salt
This is recommended for the bathtub, but we think all surfaces will benefit from this ruby red clean. You’ll need a grapefruit (get a few while you’re at it) and quarter cup of kosher or sea salt. Cut the grapefruit in half, sprinkle some salt on it, and start scrubbing as if the halved fruit is a sponge. Let the salt grind the juice onto the surfaces, and let the dirt-and-grime buildup get saturated into the meat of the grapefruit. Rinse and repeat if you’d like.
A Bowl of Vinegar
Want to get rid of musty smells in a room? Simply pour three cups of white vinegar in a mixing bowl, and let it sit out in the middle of the room on a table or desk for 24 hours. It’ll smell a little like an Italian salad in your house for a spell, but hours later the air will be deodorized and the mustiness will have started to subside.
Baking Soda and Lemon
Making a baking-soda blast with a touch of citrus will be a sticky, fun time. This is meant to clean hard tiled floors of bathrooms which can become grimy from constant moisture, or can also work on a non-wax kitchen floor. Simply dump a half cup of baking soda into a bucket of warm water, squeeze in one or two lemons (natural sanitizing power), and scrub away. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Getting Rid of Fruit Flies
Now, if all of the world’s creatures, great and small, handsome or simply irksome, are meant to stay alive, then please just skip to the next slide. However, if you’re tired of fruit flies in the summertime swarming around your peach bowl, then here’s a way to get rid of them. Instead of chemical-filled insecticides, try pouring a little apple cider vinegar into a mason jar. Roll up a sheet of paper into the shape of a cone, and stick the bottom into the jar like a funnel. The flies will zoom in, attracted to the natural sweetness of the vinegar, and then they won’t be able to get out! Mwahahaha! Hey, at least their death is sweet, right?
No More Drano!
Yeah, it works, but pouring half a tub of the unclogging chemical liquid down the drains is just horrendous for the environment. Who wants to breathe that junk in, anyway? Remember the Alka-Seltzer jingle? “Pop, pop! Fizz, fizz! Oh, what a relief it is!” They were indeed talking about your stomach, but who knew it could unclog the sinks in your home!? Alka-Seltzer is kind of like baking soda — so good at munching away at buildup that it can be even used to scrub ovens, counter tops, and tea pots. For your sink or tub, drop a few tablets down the drain, pour a cup of vinegar in after it, let it sit for a few minutes, then shoot some hot water down until it’s flowing free.
Every day can be St. Patrick’s Day, ecologically speaking. Store brands of laundry detergents may claim to smell like fresh rain, but it took a lot of lab work to get the smell right. Not only will washing your clothes with a homemade detergent make the Earth greener, it’s better for your skin which rubs against your clothes all day. There are a ubiquity of recipes on the Internet for greener alternatives. Potholes and Pantyhose provides this stellar list of thrifty ingredients that cost about five cents a load!
Black Tea ‘Windex’
How very British of you, darling! This alternative to Windex is so do-it-yourself that you can be drinking and cleaning from the same cup. You can’t do that with soap! The strong acids in black tea can latch onto grease and dirt and carry it awayg. Boil eight ounces or more of water, steep three or four basic black tea bags (something like Irish or English rreakfast, or Earl Grey will do), wait ’til it’s good and black and cooled down, then go at your windows with a saturated cloth. Works on hardwood floors, too! Pip pip, cheerio!
Olive Oil Buffing
It’s good for your heart, and tastes like heaven poured over crusty bread or salads. This miracle of the Earth can be used in lieu of wooden furniture polishes, or even WD-40! Mix olive oil (extra virgin or otherwise, but don’t dip into your Christmas gift from Tuscany) with a cutting agent like vinegar or lemon juice, and gingerly buff up the furniture until it’s slick and shiny. It will smooth out some scratches in the wood. You can also use the same concoction on noisy doors to oil a squeaky hinge.
A Deep, White Clean
The polar vortex of this past winter was awful; not only did America experience the hint of an ice age, but it even snowed in the deserts of Jordan! Guess what? That’s a perfect time to un-stink the woolen rugs on your floors that have been trampled over all year long. Deep freezes and snow literally chill out the bacteria until they’re dead and gone. The process: make sure it’s cold enough outside so the snow isn’t melting. Hang the rug for an hour to get it cold and stiff, then throw it face-down in the snow, beating it savagely with a thick stick or broom. Turn it over and repeat. The snow crystals will loosen up the frozen dirt and shake it out onto the ground. There’s your good-as-new, winter-cleaned rug!
Your great-great grandmother’s davenport and footrest are antique and beautiful, but they smell as old as the turn of the 20th century. There are many ways to do a general freshening: white vinegar mixed with flakes of eco-friendly soap and hot water dabbed on the fabric will smell sour at first, but that’s because the acid is working to murder all of those stinking bacteria. For specific stains like coffee spills, club soda will do. How about making it beer o’clock and pouring a steinful on the mess? It will seriously lift up the embedded coffee grinds. Another method: beat an egg yolk, and work it into the stain with a coarse cloth or sponge. After rinsing…voila! Goodbye, stains and smells!
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