Green is the new way to clean. Are you on board yet? Most store-bought cleaning products (the kind we’ve been using for years) contain ingredients that are toxic. They’re harmful to the environment and to you and your family. Perhaps the most important place to eliminate these cleaners is in the kitchen. Do you really want all those toxins on the surfaces where you prepare and store all your food? Here are a few green cleaning alternatives and eco-friendly housekeeping tips for your kitchen. They’re very effective, easy, and less expensive, too.
Sticky Countertops – Vinegar
If you want to clean sticky messes and other residue from your kitchen countertops, all you need is vinegar. You could also use an empty spray bottle to make application even easier. Just spray vinegar onto the mess (no diluting necessary), and let it sit for about ten minutes. Wipe away with a sponge or rag – paper towels are not a green way to clean the kitchen! Vinegar can be used on many different surfaces. Another alternative is to sprinkle baking soda on spots first, and then add a few drops of vinegar overtop, and wipe after about ten minutes.
Oven Grease – Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great cleaning agent for so many areas of your home, but it’s especially good to use on your stovetop and oven because it is nonabrasive and won’t damage the surfaces. All you have to do is sprinkle some baking soda on top of the mess, or put baking soda directly onto your sponge or rag and wipe. For an easy way to apply baking soda, reuse a plastic cheese shaker container and just shake it on. You could also mix baking soda with a little water until you’ve created a paste, and then spread the paste on the areas you want to clean. Let it sit for about ten or fifteen minutes, and wipe away.
Really Stubborn Oven Grease – Vegetable Oil
If you have grease on your oven, stovetop, or other kitchen appliances that just won’t budge with baking soda alone, try using vegetable oil. Just dampen a rag or sponge and wipe. If none of these all-natural methods are working enough for your most stubborn spots, you’ll have to purchase a household cleaning agent. You can choose wisely, though, and pick something that’s a more eco-friendly option. Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) is an excellent active cleaning agent for your kitchen, but most TSP cleaners contain phosphates, which are harmful to the environment. Look for a phosphate-free version, or a TSP-PF cleaner.
For Sanitizing Surfaces – Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that naturally kills germs and bacteria. It is anti-fungal, and it kills common kitchen germs like e-coli and salmonella, among many others. In a clean, empty spray bottle, create a tea tree oil sanitizer that can be sprayed on all your kitchen surfaces. Just combine two cups of water, one-half teaspoon liquid dish soap, two tablespoons white vinegar, and twenty drops of tea tree oil. Spray onto surfaces, and let sit for about fifteen minutes before wiping.
Katherine Brown is a kitchen expert and freelance writer who loves to give advice to others on anything from cleaning tips to transitional kitchen design.
Photo Credit: amber’s-ambry