Cut The Chemicals, Keep The Shine

Many people are starting to examine the environmental cost of their lifestyle choices. One of the simplest things you can do is to switch to more natural cleaners and reduce the number of harsh chemicals you pour down the kitchen sink.

Three easily available and relatively inexpensive cleaning products are baking soda, lemon juice, and distilled vinegar, which can be used alone or in combination to clean a variety of kitchen surfaces and appliances. All are non-toxic, safe, and well-established as effective cleaning agents.

All-purpose cleaners

You probably wipe clean kitchen surfaces at least once a day, so eliminating chemicals from this process is a great start. Here are a few simple surface-cleaning tips, which can also be used on sinks, walls and the floor:

  • Take a damp cloth and sprinkle it with baking soda, then wipe down your worktops and tiled surfaces as usual. When you’re done, rinse with plain water.
  • An alternative option is to make up a fifty-fifty mixture of vinegar and water and put it in a spray bottle. Vinegar both disinfects and deodorises, so it is really effective as a surface cleaner.
  • Lemon juice is another great all-purpose kitchen cleaner. As well as disinfecting and deodorising, it has strong antibacterial properties and acts as a degreasing agent – and of course it also leaves a fresh, lemony scent.

Cleaning the fridge and the microwave

You can also use the above all-purpose cleaners on both the fridge and the microwave, but here are another couple of tips:

  • If you have a problem with fridge odours, keep a pot of baking soda inside to absorb unpleasant scents and leave the interior smelling fresh.
  • A great alternative method for the microwave is to steam clean it. Put half a cup of water and the juice of a lemon into a bowl and microwave on full power for three minutes, then leave the door shut for another two or three. Remove the bowl and wipe surfaces with a cloth to leave a clean, lemon-scented microwave oven.

Keeping cloths and sponges clean

Cloths and sponges should be replaced regularly, but no one wants to clean with dirty implements. Here are a couple of tricks to keep them hygienically clean while in use:

  • A five-minute soak in undiluted vinegar was found by Good Housekeeping to kill 99.6% of germs on sponges.
  • Microwaving a sponge saturated in water for two minutes killed 99.9% of bacteria. Add a little lemon juice for both a fresh-smelling sponge and a fragrant microwave oven. Do this about once a week.

It’s a big step to part company with all the chemicals you’ve always relied upon in one fell swoop, so it can be a good idea to start small, try things out and see what works for you. As you become more confident with your change of regime, you can eliminate more chemicals as each bottle runs out.

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