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13 Non-Toxic Kitchen Cleaners

Ditch the chemicals and try these green solutions for a spotless (and healthier) house.

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Ketchup naturally cleans your oven

If a stubborn stain keeps burning in your oven, turn the oven on very low to warm it up. Then, squirt ketchup on the culprit, scrub and let sit for five minutes; it’ll wipe right up! You can also restore discolored copper pots by spreading a thin layer of ketchup on, then rinsing and drying. 

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Aluminum foil naturally cleans silver

Tarnished silver is no match for this aluminum foil “recipe.” Bring 1 liter of water, 1 tbsp of baking soda and one piece of aluminum foil to a boil. Drop your silverware in the pot for 10 seconds (longer if it’s extra tarnished), then fish it out with tongs. Magic! You can also ball up foil and use it to scrub off caked-on food from pans (not non-stick ones).

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Soda naturally cleans your garbage disposal

If your garbage disposal is clogged, pour some room-temperature soda (cola works best) down the drain. Wait for it to stop fizzing, and then rinse with hot water. The phosphoric acid in soda strips off gunk. You can also use cola to clean your car windshield.

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Orange peel naturally cleans water spots

Next time you peel an orange, don’t chuck the skin. The peel erases water spots on metal faucets, and dissolves light gunk build-up in sinks. You can also shine up dull wood with the white-membrane side of the peel; the orange’s oils act like a natural polish and leave a nice glow. It also is good for repelling insects.

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Toothpaste naturally cleans dirty walls

Dirty walls? Squirt a little non-gel toothpaste on the spots and scrub with a rag or brush, then rinse with water. The paste also acts as a natural deodorant against sour smells, so try scrubbing inside stinky baby bottles with toothpaste and then rinsing thoroughly.

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Lemon naturally cleans your fridge

If your fridge needs a pick-me-up, dab a cotton ball or sponge in lemon
juice and leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours to neutralize
odors. More? Marble counters are easily stained, but cutting a lemon in half, dipping the exposed flesh in salt and rubbing vigorously should get rid of the toughest stains. You can also squirt lemon juice anywhere that attracts insects, like door thresholds or windowsills to keep ants away. Washing your floor with the juice of four lemons and 1/2 gallon of water will deter roaches and fleas, which hate the smell.

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Vinegar naturally cleans clogs

White vinegar is the perfect multipurpose cleaner, and it’s gentler than many commercial cleaners. Stuck drain? Unclog it by pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar, then flush with hot water a few minutes later. Dull chrome, or stainless steel surfaces? Mist with vinegar, and buff with a soft cloth to revive shine. 

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Rubbing alcohol naturally cleans grime

So many uses! If you have grimy blinds, try wrapping a spatula in a clean rag (secure it with a rubber band) and dipping it in rubbing alcohol. Slide it between the slats for more efficient dusting. To clean windows and prevent frosting in winter, you can wash the glass with a solution of 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol to 1 quart of water. (Polish with newspaper after it dries to add extra shine.) If fruit flies are a problem, fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and mist the pesky creatures. Just make sure to wipe them up where they fall. 

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Salt naturally cleans rust

You can sprinkle salt on a sponge and clean coffee pots, mugs, or glassware better than a dishwasher can, plus you can extend the life of a grimy kitchen sponge by soaking it overnight in 1/4 cup of salt per quart of water. If your cast-iron pan rusts after washing, pour about 1/4 cup of salt in while it’s hot, and scrub with a stiff wire brush. Then wipe it clean, and apply a light coat of vegetable oil before using or storing.

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Boiling water naturally cleans grease

Pure boiling water will banish stuck-on grease as well as many commercial products. Dip a rag in boiling water, and use a little elbow grease to wipe down your stovetop or microwave. For extra sticky messes, mix a little baking soda with the water to make a paste, then scrub away.

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Borax naturally cleans mold and bacteria

Make your own dishwasher detergent by mixing equal parts borax and baking soda (about 2 tablespoons per load). You can also kill mold and bacteria in your garbage disposal or drain by pouring three tablespoons of borax down and letting it sit for an hour, every couple weeks.

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Baking soda naturally cleans odors

Do you struggle to get the smell of garlic or onion off your hands after chopping? Rub your hands vigorously with baking soda instead of soap. Other cleaners: Boost the potency of your dishwashing liquid by adding 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the usual amount of dish soap you use. Never brew bad coffee again by brewing a pot of water mixed with 1/4 cup of baking soda, followed by a pot of clean water, every two weeks. Keep coffee tasting fresh by scrubbing the plastic basket that holds grinds with a paste of baking soda and water. 

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Hydrogen peroxide naturally kills germs

Equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water will disinfect just about anything. Keep a spray bottle of the mixture under your sink as a safer alternative to bleach. 

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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