Picture the cabinet under your sink. If you’re like me, it’s filled with rarely used cleaning supplies that each supposedly have a very specific purpose despite mostly being two syllable words ending in x, from Clorox to Ajax to Windex. This genre of cleaning product is usually rife with synthetic chemicals and pollutants that end up damaging our water supply, not to mention having deleterious effects on your health if you inhale too much of them while cleaning.
Luckily, there are a few common cooking supplies you probably already have at home that can double as cleaning supplies. Making the switch will not only get rid of harmful chemicals, but will also decrease the amount of plastic waste you create, since you’ll be able to stop buying cleaning materials in disposable plastic bottles.
White vinegar can accomplish a shocking array of cleaning feats. It can deodorize, remove stains, and cut right through built up grease. It’s also a natural disinfectant, so you can just put it in a spray bottle and use it to clean your bath and countertops. You can use it to clean your dishwasher by placing two cups of vinegar in an empty dishwasher and run the cycle once. If you have a mildewy showerhead, fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and put it over your showerhead, tied so the head is fully engulfed, and leave it on for a couple hours.
Your toilet cleaner can be replaced by baking soda and vinegar. Leave a cup of baking soda soaking in the toilet for an hour, follow it with a cup of white vinegar, and flush. You can also make an oven cleaning paste by combining baking soda with water. Once you’ve mixed equal amounts of baking soda and water into a paste, coat the inside of your oven with it and leave it there when you go to bed. In the morning, scrub it off.
De-griming cooking surfaces that have gotten covered in mysterious gunk is never a fun task, but it is one that does not have to require multiple different cleaners and a wad of steel wool. Cover your stovetop or pan with coarse salt, and then scrub it off with a wet sponge.
Next time you squeeze lemon juice onto something your cooking, save the squeezed halves you would normally throw away, and you can use them to scrub wooden cutting boards and baking sheets. You can also throw the discarded lemons into a big pot with water, and soak any white fabrics you want brightened. Mixed with olive oil, lemon juice can become a natural wood polish.