Essential Uses of Natural Household Items

The sensation feels like an itch, a calling to delve into the far corners of the house and clean! It may begin with your wardrobe—a transition from heavy, dark fabrics to lightweight cotton in pretty, pastel colors.  Piles of clothes arrive at the laundry room, via one laundry basket, maybe two, and are sorted. Is dirt and odor removal more important than cost?  What if you could have both?  Rather than continue to invest in expensive detergent, try combining Borax, washing soda, and laundry flakes.  For less than ¼ cup per load, each laundry cycle costs approximately three cents. Effective cleaning does not require toxic, abrasive chemicals.  For smelly and grimy clothing, consider adding ½ cup of baking soda and pour in white, distilled vinegar as a fabric softener.  Saving money is simple if you return to natural ingredients!

Baking Soda

The yellow box of baking soda truly is a woman’s best friend.  It’s the essential ingredient that whips up fluffy pancakes, causes dirt and grease to dissolve in water, and neutralizes odors from litter boxes to shoes.  And the 101 uses have room for even more surprises!

How to use: On a damp sponge, lightly sprinkle baking soda to create a mildly abrasive scouring powder and natural deodorizer. Then, start scrubbing interior microwaves, ranges, fruits, and floors to deodorize and kill bacteria.

Tip:  Give your dogs a dry bath by combing baking soda through their fur.

White Distilled Vinegar

Adding an acid, such as vinegar, to a base, like baking soda, creates a chemical reaction of bubbles and foam. From cleaning the kitchen counter to carpet stains, vinegar and baking soda offer a power-punch to the best form of cleaning—natural!

How to use:  Create a paste with baking soda and water; then apply to the grimy area, whether it’s bathroom grout and tile, pots and pans, a range, or a carpet stain.  Spritz with vinegar and start scrubbing!  Allow time to penetrate through the surface before wiping clean.  Remember, baking soda absorbs grease, while vinegar penetrates through to lift hard stains.  Fizz and bubble equal clean!

Lemon Juice

Ever wonder what to do with the remaining lemons in your refrigerator?  It’s odd to think an acid contained in lemon juice will eliminate various stains; yet, it does!  How sweet to have a cleansed area connect to a fragrance of freshness!

How to use:  Cut a lemon in half; then squeeze the fresh juice directly onto a surface. You can use the lemon as a scrubber or a sponge, damp with hot water.  Allow the liquid to soak through stubborn stains for up to 10 minutes.  Avoid using this method on porous stone countertops!  Sprinkle baking soda on difficult stains.

Tip: Use lemon juice and two tablespoons of baking soda to clean stained plastic containers.  After scrubbing, soak for a few hours before rinsing with hot water. (An ideal method for spice- or tomato-based stains.)

Tip:  Use a microwavable bowl and add water and one sliced lemon; microwave on high for three minutes. Wait five minutes before using the lemon water to clean the interior and exterior of the appliance.  Afterward, wipe down your oven.


A one-pound box of salt costs less than a dollar. A food preservative and flavoring agent, it is a potent cleaning agent as well, perfect for eco-friendly households.  Salt can refresh stained metal and glassware and clean fabrics, such as clothing and carpets.

How to use:  Sprinkle the salt over grease stains, or mix it with vinegar to polish metal and glassware.

Tip: Add a cup of crushed ice, a tablespoon of water, and a few tablespoons of salt to a glass coffee pot.  Swirl to engage the scouring effects of salt; then, rinse.

Tip:  Need a bit more stain-removing-power?  Combine vinegar with salt and stir. Dip a sponge into the liquid to clean and deodorize refrigerators or remove coffee stains.

Tip:  Cutting boards often need deep cleaning.  Use half a lemon and a sprinkle of salt to remove deep stains.

Baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, and salt make an extraordinary medium to effectively cleanse, sanitize, and leave the house smelling wonderful.  Toss out all those expensive chemicals, and switch to an eco-friendly solution!  You’ll be glad you did!


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photography by JEJ PHOTOS Budget Blinds of North

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