On average, we Americans spend 90% of our time indoors. That's nearly 22 hours of the day—typically spent sleeping, working, cooking, cleaning, or curled up on the couch with our loved ones.
And while that number itself isn't necessarily a problem, it turns out the concentrations of some indoor pollutants are up to five times higher than their outdoor counterparts.
The healthiest solution? Spending more time outside! But the second (and more practical) fix is to avoid exposure to harsh chemicals in the confined space of your home.
Luckily, home messes can be tackled effectively without the use of toxic chemicals. So we recently rounded up some of our favorite do-it-yourself (DIY) natural cleaning ideas.
All of these are effective and totally simple—in fact, most require basic staples you probably already have in your pantry.
Side note: The typical shelf-life of homemade mixtures is one month. For maximum cleaning potency, most of these formulas should be mixed for single use.
Small but mighty, this sunny fruit is so much more than a dietary source of Vitamin C. The sour citrus has natural disinfectant properties, and its acidic and abrasive properties give it an extra kick.
With just one or two lemons you can clean a variety of household appliances and surfaces.
Cut 5-10 thin slices of the lemon and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Fill the bowl up 3/4 of the way with tap water and squeeze a bit of the slices into the water. Place the bowl in the microwave, turn it up to high power, and let the water boil.
Once the water is boiling, stop the microwave, but don't open the door —you want the steam to build for at least two minutes. Carefully remove the bowl and wipe the microwave down with a damp cloth. Remove any residual streaks with a dry cloth.
Squeeze the juice of one lemon onto the counter. Rub the juice onto the stain and let it sit until the stain disappears. Rinse with water.
The acidity in lemon means it can safely break down hard water deposits, like the kind you'd find on a typical showerhead. Sprinkle some salt or baking soda onto a pre-cut lemon. Rub directly onto the water spots of your shower head. Rinse with hot water to unclog any tough spots.
Sprinkle the cutting board with some coarse salt. Scour the surface with one-half of a lemon, cut-side down. Let the lemon-salt mixture sit for 5 or so minutes. Scrape with a bench scraper (or a large knife) and discard the dirty liquid. Rinse the board with a clean, wet sponge, and let it air dry.
Hands down, this is the easiest DIY of the bunch. Simply take the remnants of the lemon you used for any of the above tips, toss into the garbage disposal, and let it run. It's an instant freshener that smells great.
Pro tip: Having a sliced lemon on hand is great during cooking, as it neutralizes odors on your hands after touching garlic or fish.
It's possible to deep clean your fridge to sanitary levels without exposing any unwrapped food to harsh chemicals.
To tackle spills from raw meat or fish, wipe the area in question with a microfiber towel. Then wash the spot with hot water (the hotter the better; use gloves if necessary). Use a dash of hydrogen peroxide or full-strength white vinegar to disinfect. Let stand for five minutes before wiping dry.
For general fridge cleaning, use a plant-based multi-surface cleaner. Alternatively, combine the following (in their listed order) into a spray bottle, and shake well:
Keep your fridge deodorized as needed by leaving fresh, dry coffee grounds in an open bowl overnight.
Do you find the smell of bleach off-putting? Or maybe you're worried about the effect it could have on your family. Either way, it's helpful to have an alternative on hand.
Mix the following in a half-gallon-sized container for a natural, laundry-safe whitener:
Use 1 cup per load of laundry.
Conventional store-bought oven cleaner is so loaded with dangerous ingredients that pregnant women are routinely advised to avoid it. Needless to say, it's likely not something you want lingering in your home—especially in an apparatus used specifically for cooking.
Luckily, it's easy to whip up a non-toxic, effective alternative.
Simply blend the ingredients below in a glass bowl until a thick paste is formed. Then brush the paste onto the oven surface, let sit overnight, and wipe clean with water and a sponge.
This is an especially good idea for homes with small children, since they're often crawling on—or even licking—the floor.
Mix well and lightly rub into floors. Wipe off completely when done.
Mix well and mop. Follow with pure water on mop to rinse.
This inexpensive, powerful mixture will freshen up any toilet bowl and leave it smelling better than ever.
Bring the water and vinegar to a boil on the stovetop. Pour into a bowl and add the borax. Once the mixture has cooled down, add the essential oil. Pour the formula into your toilet bowl, swish around with your toilet brush, and let sit overnight before flushing.
For an extra fresh touch, spray the toilet with our natural washroom spray before and after flushing. The sulfate-free formula, which was developed with natural ingredients, neutralizes unwanted odors, leaving a subtle, pleasant aroma.
Mold is easily preventable with sunlight and fresh air.
But if a slimy substance has built up in your bathroom, simply spray it with vinegar, a naturally antimicrobial substance. For extra sanitizing strength, add a couple drops of tea-tree oil to the spray bottle.
Before you reach for the synthetic air freshener, consider a more natural alternative: plants.
According to NASA, household plants can filter out the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in indoor air. Snake Plants, English Ivies, and Peace Lilies are all easy to maintain and make for excellent air filterers.
Typical drain cleaners are a triple whammy. They're dangerous to people, the environment, and usually (ironically) to the pipes themselves.
Keep your drain and yourself safe with this super simple DIY. You'll need:
Pour the baking soda down the drain (make sure it really gets pushed down—use the skinny side of a cooking spoon, if necessary). Follow with 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain with a plug to keep the bubbling mixture down. Once fizzing has subsided, pour another 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain, and re-cover. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, then flush the mixture with 8-16 cups of boiling water. Repeat as necessary.
Lemon saves the day again. To battle rust stains on porcelain or enamel surfaces, simply dip half a lemon into 1/2 cup of borax. Scrub the surface with the lemon and rinse with water.
We hope these easy DIYs for cleaning your home prove useful. For the times you want the quickest, safest cleaners for your home, Puracy products are the ultimate complement to your arsenal of natural supplies. From multi-surface cleaner to natural laundry detergent, we vet every single ingredient in our products to ensure they are gentle and safe for your home and your family.