With the added emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us are doing our best to keep the places we live as clean, hygienic, and safe as possible.
As the concern around hygiene continues to grow, a lot of consumers are looking to the strongest household cleaners, which unfortunately, contain a lot of chemicals that may be toxic for both our health and the environment (1). Also, with the mad rush for cleaning supplies (as well as foodstuffs), consumers may only find empty shelves when looking for the household cleaners, natural or not.
Fortunately, there are effective natural alternatives that you can use to clean your home. What’s more, a lot of these products not only contain natural antibacterial qualities that help to keep your family and home clean and hygienic, but they may already be a part of your household.
Natural products for home hygiene
1. Baking soda
A common staple in many households, especially baking enthusiasts, baking soda can help to keep your home clean by fighting against dirt, grease, and even odors. Additionally, research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that baking soda contains strong stain removal and whitening properties.
To clean out that grimy oven, simply make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it with a damp cloth, rubbing and removing any stuck-on grease and burned bits.
Baking soda isn’t just for cleaning though. In fact, mixing together equal parts sugar and baking soda and sprinkle in corners and behind cabinets can help to both attract and kill any roaches that may be lingering in the house.
Lemon is extremely rich in antibacterial properties, and using it as a cleaning tool can help to rid your house of any health-harming bacteria.
For instance, you can use it to clean your microwave. Simply add slices of lemon into a cup of water. Once done, place the cup of water into the microwave and cook on high for at least 5 minutes. The steam will loosen any food particles and the lemon will kill off any lingering bacteria.
Additionally, lemon also contains whitening properties and as such, you can add lemon juice to your laundry, replacing bleach with it and well as using it to wipe down your toilets (which is where a large number of germs and bacteria live).
3. Thieves essential oil
Thieves essential oil is a blend of several essential oils, most often cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon and rosemary. It’s often used to help boost your immune system and fight off nasal and sinus congestion.
As it’s rich in antibacterial properties – thanks to its various essential oils – thieves essential oil can be used to clean your home.
You can use thieves essential oil as a floor cleaner. Simply add a few drops of it to a bucket of water and then use the mixture to mop your floor.
Another common kitchen staple, vinegar contains at least 5% acetic acid and research has found that this acid contains strong anti-bacterial properties (2). Additionally, it should be mentioned that a study published in the PLOS ONE journal found that 10% malt vinegar helped to kill off influenza viruses. Unlike regular white vinegar, which is made from only acid and water, malt vinegar is grain-based and it’s made from malting barley.
As it’s acidic, vinegar can be used as a natural disinfectant.
For greasy and dirty kitchen surfaces, you can use a mixture of water and vinegar to wipe down the counters. Additionally, you can also pour vinegar around the top of the toilet bowl. After doing so, simply scrub it clean. You can also use vinegar as a window cleaner or as a floor cleaner.
Yes, instead of taking a shot, rather use that bottle of vodka in your home to keep the said home clean. As it has such a high alcohol content, vodka can be used to kill germs in your home.
Simply use a cloth that has been dipped in vodka, and wipe down the various surfaces in your homes. You can also use vodka to disinfect your mattress, and kill any bed bugs that may be lingering. Simply pour some vodka into a spray bottle and spray your way around your mattress.
Tips to remember for home-made solutions
- Firstly, when creating your own cleaning mixtures, do so in a spray bottle and make sure to label them.
- Use hot water to clean as it’ll work better.
- Make sure not to mix any household cleaners ever, especially ammonia-based cleaners with chlorine bleach or products containing bleach.
- Always work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- Always keep cleaning products in a safe area, out of the sun, where they aren’t accessible by kids or pets.
The bottom line
Cleaning and maintaining a hygienic household doesn’t have to be an expensive or toxic experience. With a few household items, you can help to keep your home clean and protect your family’s health.
Gerba, C. P., Wallis, C., & Melnick, J. L. (1975). Microbiological hazards of household toilets: droplet production and the fate of residual organisms. Applied microbiology, 30(2), 229–237.
Gerster, F., Vernez, D., Wild, P., Hopf., N.(2014) Hazardous substances in frequently used professional cleaning products, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 20:1, 46-60, DOI: 10.1179/2049396713Y.0000000052
Greatorex JS, Page RF, Curran MD, Digard P, Enstone JE, et al. (2010) Effectiveness of Common Household Cleaning Agents in Reducing the Viability of Human Influenza A/H1N1. PLOS ONE 5(2): e8987. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008987
Li Y. (2017). Stain removal and whitening by baking soda dentifrice: A review of literature. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939), 148(11S), S20–S26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adaj.2017.09.006
Rutala, W., Barbee, S., Aguiar, N., Sobsey, M., & Weber, D. (2000). Antimicrobial Activity of Home Disinfectants and Natural Products Against Potential Human Pathogens. Infection Control & Hospital EEpidemiolgy, 21(1), 33-38. doi:10.1086/501694