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Eco-Friendly Cleaning Hacks

Do you ever think about how many chemicals are in your cleaning equipment?

I mean, I’m sure we know that chemicals exist in them, but do you ever really think about how many chemicals go into cleaning your life up?

There’s probably a lot more icky stuff in those all-purpose solutions than meets the eye, like decyl glucoside, which is the second largest ingredient in this Amazon’s Choice all-purpose house cleaner, and has been deemed by the American Dermatitis Society to be the Allergen of the Year in 2017. Is that what you want to have all over your kitchen counter?

With this question mulling over in your mind, I’ve taken the liberty to assemble a bunch of environmentally friendly cleaning hacks and substitutes for your average commercial-grade household product. Thank me later!

lemon water in glasses on marble countertop
Photo by Nanxi Wei from Unsplash

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

This rosemary-lemon concoction is pretty simple to make. All you need is equal parts rosemary sprigs, peels of lemon, cups of water, and cups of white vinegar. All of these ingredients are safe if accidentally ingested, aren’t super-harsh chemicals, and have names you can actually pronounce. Rosemary has had a history in hospitals, and is known to be naturally antifungal and antibacterial. It also smells great, along with the lemon peels. Lemon can get out some of those meaner stains, and there’s just something about the scent that makes companies smack it all over their cleaning agents. White vinegar isn’t known for being nice to your nose, so it makes up for it by being the non-toxic, biodegradable miracle potion everyone needs. Combine everything and leave it alone for ten to fourteen days in a cool place so the oils can infuse. You can either strain the rosemary and lemon peels out, or place them and the cleaning liquid into a spray bottle. That’s it! Spray it all over your appliances, carpet, floors, and whatever else in your house is calling for a new green cleaning spray.

white pillows and white bedding
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash

Anything Else Other Than This All-Purpose Spray?


Need your oven wiped down? Empty it out, then make a paste by mixing together baking soda and two to three tablespoons of water. Get some gloves on and put that paste on all over your oven. Leave it on overnight, then wipe down the oven with a damp cloth. Spray some white vinegar, and when it foams, wipe it down. 

Have some funky stains on your mattress? Get baking soda from your kitchen cabinet, and just rub it right into them. I don’t know how it actually works,but you should just be able to leave it on for an hour before vacuuming up the powder–and the stain along with it.

Tried getting a sticky label off that reusable glass jar, but made a big sticky mess all over it? Have no fear! Just get equal parts baking soda and coconut oil for a paste to apply all over the residue. Then, rub it with a nice, warm rag until your glass jar is sticky-free. 

Realized that your mothballs are made with chemicals toxic to your family and your pets? Make your own! Just wrap aromatic cedar chips and/or dried lemon peel in a cheesecloth square. Scatter them in your closet and your drawers and say bye-bye to moths, silverfish, naphthalene, and paradichlorobenzene! 

Audrey Kim

UC Riverside '24

Audrey is a Computer Engineering major who wants to improve her writing skills. She hopes that readers will be informed, amused, or both, by her content!
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