Diwali is just around the corner and Indian households go full throttle on cleaning in the weeks before the festival of lights. A lot of us now appreciate environment friendly ways of celebrating Diwali. In this blog, we take the environment friendly celebrations up a notch – using non-toxic, non-polluting cleaning products for that spotless home. Most common and commercial cleaners are toxic for adults, children and pets and are polluting for the environment. Even the “fragrance” in such cleaners is composed of different chemical compounds which are harmful.
We often do not realise how much can be achieved with much less cost and chemicals when it comes to home care/cleaning. All it takes is a willingness to adopt alternative cleaning products.
Off the shelf eco friendly cleaning products are biodegradable, non-hazardous, and non-allergic. They are one of the most convenient measures one can take as a precautionary step for better health.
However, most cleaning requirements are also taken care of by just a few products often available in our kitchens – baking soda, vinegar, lemon, (hot or normal) water, and soap!
Take a look at these examples of how you can use these products in your everyday cleaning.
A simple soap and water or vinegar spray will do for daily clean up. To remove stuck-on grease, wet the area with hot soapy water and sprinkle with baking soda. Cover with a damp cloth and let it stand for half an hour. Wipe clean!
- Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odors around the house.
- Place fresh coffee grounds in shallow bowl.
- Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.
- Use potpourri (or your own fragrant dried herbs and flowers) in room(s).
Mold is by far the most common and one of the toughest to tackle.
- Mix one cup hydrogen peroxide with two cups water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least an hour before rinsing.
- Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Spray it over the mold or in areas prone to forming mold (tile grout), let it dry, and rinse.
Knife groves on chopping boards can hold food debris which can get contaminated over a period of time. Not to mention, it attracts pests. Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.
For surfaces other than granite or marble, an all-purpose vinegar solution is a good choice, and undiluted vinegar works for disinfection when necessary. Marble surfaces can get etched by acids like vinegar; just using soap and water will do the trick on marble and granite surfaces.
Stainless Steel Sinks
Can be cleaned with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar or undiluted lemon juice. Alternatively, take some baking soda on an absorbent cloth or a sponge to clean, then rinse and wipe dry.
Make your own disinfectant by mixing 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and 3 cups hot water. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use in a spray bottle. We typically don’t require the advertised “antibacterial” hand washes, cleaners etc. It has been proven that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should in fact be avoided.
In addition to the above, there are many other cleaners like borax, bleach, vegetable oil (for wood polishing), olive oil (for refrigerator polishing and steel utensils) that one can explore and use to keep your home literally free of harsh and harmful chemicals and reduce your carbon footprint in the process.
Happy cleaning and have a safe Diwali!