I'm a little obsessive. There's no secret about that.
When I developed science fiction caliber eczema ON MY FACE, I spent all my paid working hours sitting at my desk researching ways in which to vanquish it. (Y'all, coconut oil is the nectar of the gods).
When I decided I was going to become a "late in life" contortionist, I stretched my limbs everyday until my crotch not only touched the ground in the splits, but every other part of my body when I stretched myself into pretzels, and twists and all other manner of baked good monikered positions. I swear it wasn't a masturbatory thing.
When I decided my house was haunted when I was 12, I became the world's youngest paranormal expert before it was cool. (Is it cool yet?)
We've established there's something wrong with me.
So a few years ago when I decided to "detox" my life, I tossed out every chemical cleaner in my house (much to the horror of my then fiancé and roommate). I NEEDED to find just the right recipe for a homemade all-purpose cleaner or drain unclogger. Hours upon hours of interwebbing ticked by. I was GOING to clean my house the natural way.
Husband? Ex-rommate Marty? I'd like to officially apologize for making our house smell like old barf for those couple months.But we were healthy!
I literally went overnight from never even glancing at an ingredient label on cleaning products to researching every little chemical or substance that might come into contact with my tender hide. It was an obsession.
Maybe I'm an idiot, but after much trial and error, reading a lot of books with vegetables on the cover, and getting baking soda in every orifice in my body, I finally figured out how to clean my house mostly using stuff you could eat in a zombie apocalypse.
These days, I live in a clean (I said clean, not tidy) apartment, where my cats and I no longer fear walking on the floors or countertops then licking our feet. When my bathtub gets filmy, a drain gets clogged or my rug starts to smell like sadness, I can usually remedy the situation with items found in my kitchen.
So here you go. My favorites tips and tricks. Gather up your baking soda, vinegar, lemons, cola and cheap vodka, and clean your house. Or make a terrible cocktail. Whatever. If your house ends up smelling like barf tomorrow morning, its your own damn fault.
ALL PURPOSE CLEANER
Get a spray bottle and mix up about a 1/2 gallon of water, 1/2 a cup of white vinegar, and about a 1/3 of a cup baking soda. You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil or a squeeze of lemon to the mix if you like. Yes, it will smell a little vinegary at first, but after a few minutes, the smell dissipates and you have sparkling clean countertops, metal fixtures and mirrors.
Maybe there's something wrong with my digestion, but my toilets get dirty FAST. Dump a liter of coke or some cheap cola into your toilet, let it sit for an hour or so, then flush. Or dump it in, invite some friends over and watch them recoil from your toilet. Either way, it really helps to eat away at the sludge that accumulates in the bowl. Scrub if you need to, but I don't always find it necessary.
Cheap vodka is also great for cleaning the seat and other surfaces of your throne. Plus cleaning with a cocktail is always more fun.
All I do is shed. Every time I shower, I end up standing in an inch of my own filth-water and a hairy little friend clogging up my drain. All that gunk tends to stop up my drains over time. I find pouring some baking soda and vinegar down the drain, then topping it off with boiling water, keeps my drain clean and clear.
This works on all of the drains in my house. I'll add a squeeze of lemon after the boiling water if my kitchen sink is extra stinky.
COUNTER TOPS, SINKS
You can either use the all-purpose cleaner I mentioned above, or just use boiling water with the juice of a lemon squeezed into it.
Just boil your water, then CAREFULLY pour it onto your counter top or into your sink, and let sit until it's cool and SAFE TO WIPE UP. As I said before, I might be an idiot, and the first time I did this I didn't wait long enough to wipe up the BOILING WATER and burned the shit out of my hands.
You can also use plain old baking soda and non-boiling water to scrub your counters and other surfaces. White vinegar is also great for wiping out stains and grease.
DEODORIZE CLOTHES, CARPET, AIR
The best trick I learned when working for an outdoor Shakespeare festival was using vodka to take odors out of fabric.
Unlike Febreze, vodka usually won't cause a reaction on sensitive skin. Mix 2 parts cheap vodka (I usually just keep a really big jug in my apartment and either drink it or clean with it or both) and 1 part water in a spray bottle then mist it over fabric. You can add some essential oils to it if you want, to make it smell like something, but plain old vodka and water works just fine.
Just mist it into the air or dampen fabrics with it and let dry. Goodbye stink.
If your rugs or carpet start to get stinky, just sprinkle some baking soda over them, let sit, then vacuum. I found over time this works with old cat and dog pee smells as well.
You can also deodorize rooms in your house of particular odors, like smoke or food, by putting little cups of baking soda (with our without a few drops of essential oil) or white vinegar out for a day or so. Soaks the stink right up!
Mix equal parts salt, white vinegar and baking soda. Make a paste. Apply to dirty grout. Let sit for 30 minutes. Don't let it cake up. Scrub if you need to. Rinse with warm water. Et voila! Clean grout!
You can also make a paste with baking soda and water and apply that instead, if your tiles are a little more delicate. But I like the vinegar mixture more, as my grout, like my toilet, gets pretty gross.
Spray tub and tile down with food grade hydrogen peroxide, let sit, then rinse.
You can also use white vinegar, it works great on soap scum.
If you need to scrub, try coarse salt or baking soda and water. I'm not afraid of scratching with my cheap-ass tub, but if you have a nice porcelain tub, do a patch test to make sure it doesn't ruin your pretty tub.
REMOVING THAT GOO THAT GETS LEFT BEHIND BY STICKERS AND LABELS AND STUFF
FYI, you can use this as deodorant too. I do. It's the best deodorant I've ever used.
Mix 1 part virgin coconut oil AKA the greatest substance ever created, and 1 part baking soda into a paste. If you want to go the extra step and use it as deodorant too, add 1 part arrow root powder, otherwise it's not entirely necessary for either application.
Put a dollop of the paste on the offending goo and rub it off (hehe). Wipe any remnants of paste away with warm water and a cloth.
CLEAN YOUR MICROWAVE (I just learned this one and it works!)
Nuke a little dish of lemon juice for 30 seconds. Then use the lemon juice to clean the crap stuck to your microwave's insides. It works and smells lemony-great!
I feel like everybody knows this one, but just in case, here it is.
Use a crumpled-up newspaper and either the previously mentioned all-purpose cleanser or just some plain old white vinegar to clean mirrors. No streaks. Sparkling clean. Nothing but your fair visage in the mirror.
Ta-da! Don't you feel inspired to clean EVERYTHING now?
Do you have any favorite natural cleaning tricks? What are your favorites? Any natural cleaning disasters? Seriously, I want to know. Writing this post has gotten me crazy-like again about all natural cleaning. Tell me! Before I fall down the rabbit hole of interwebbing til dawn again.