Living healthy includes keeping your home clean and free of bacteria. Unfortunately, many of the common household cleaners can actually cause health issues or exacerbate them. For instance, many cleaners contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as acetone, benzene, and formaldehyde, that can cause allergy symptoms and breathing difficulties in people with asthma and other lung diseases. In addition, they can be harmful to the environment.

Rather than using commercial cleaning products that contain harmful chemicals, try some common household products that are friendly to humans and the environment to safely and effectively clean most areas of your home. Two of these eco-friendly products that you may currently have in your home are baking soda and vinegar. They can be used separately, together, or mixed with other green products as a safe alternative to the products that contain harmful chemicals.

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Uses in the Kitchen

1. Baking soda is a mild abrasive and can be used to clean pots and pans, even those with stubborn baked-on food and other residues.

2. It can be made into a paste by adding water and used to safely clean and shine silver.

3. Adding baking soda in the wash cycles of your dishwasher helps to clean and deodorize your kitchenware, such as coffee pots. Vinegar can also be used this way. Combine vinegar and baking soda in equal parts to scrub stubborn stains off coffee cups and travel mugs. Use vinegar periodically to keep them clean, fresh, and residue-free.

4. Vinegar can be combined with water in a spray bottle to clean refrigerators, microwaves, and countertops. Combine vinegar and baking soda in equal parts to scrub coffee cups and travel mugs.

5. Pour baking soda over a grease fire as a safe and effective way to extinguish the flames.

Uses in the Bathroom

1. Mix together a quarter cup of baking soda with a tablespoon of dish detergent, then add a little vinegar for a safe, non-toxic product to scrub your bathroom surfaces and fixtures.

2. Diluted white vinegar can be poured and left overnight in toilets, then sprinkle baking soda in and around the toilet to safely clean and deodorize.

3. Lime buildup can be removed with a combination of vinegar and salt. Soak a loofah in vinegar and water to effectively remove soap scum residue.

4. Soak shower heads in a mixture of vinegar and water to remove mineral deposits that can cause them to become clogged.

Uses in the Laundry Room

1. Sprinkle some baking soda in your wash cycle to make clothes brighter.

2. White vinegar can be used to clean dirt and scuff marks from purses, shoes and belts, or added to boiling water to soak dingy whites and gym clothes.

3. White vinegar can be added to the wash cycle in place of dryer sheets to reduce static cling and lint.

4. Baking soda can be sprinkled in laundry baskets and hampers to control odors.


1. Tile, laminate, and other surfaces can be cleaned by adding half a cup of baking soda to warm water, then wet mop and rinse.

2. White vinegar can be added to warm water in spray mops to clean and deodorize flooring.

3. Baking soda can be sprinkled on carpets before vacuuming to keep them smelling fresh and clean.

4. For stains on carpet and upholstery, make a paste of baking soda and white vinegar; rub into the stain, and leave overnight, then vacuum.

Other household uses

1. Crayon, wax and sticky residue can be cleaned using vinegar. Remove candle wax that has hardened on furniture by dipping a soft cloth in vinegar and water and gently rubbing until clean. Clean crayon marks from walls and other surfaces by dipping a toothbrush in vinegar and water and gently scrubbing.

2. Sticky residue from labels, stickers, and gum can be removed by dipping a cloth in heated vinegar and letting it soak into the residue for 5-10 minutes until dissolved.

3. Make a homemade air freshener by pouring white vinegar into a spray bottle.
Make a green drain cleaner by mixing a cup of vinegar with a cup of baking soda and pouring into a clogged drain. Wait 15 minutes and flush with warm water.

Outdoor Uses

1. Grill grates can be cleaned with equal parts baking soda and vinegar.
Sprinkle baking soda on a stiff brush to clean grill grates.

2. Sprinkle baking soda or pour vinegar on sidewalk and driveway cracks to kill weeds and inhibit their growth.

3. In wintertime, de-ice sidewalks and driveways by sprinkling with baking soda.
Spray windshields with a mixture of three parts vinegar and one part water to prevent frosty and icy build-up.

Personal and Pet Uses

1. Baking soda makes an effective dry shampoo. Massage into the scalp to freshen hair and help control dandruff.

2. Rinse hair with equal parts water and apple cider vinegar to help control dandruff, remove build up, and create shine.

3. Clean combs, hair brushes, and toothbrushes by soaking in equal parts baking soda and water, then rinse well.

4. Mix three parts baking soda and one part water to use as a gentle exfoliant.

5. Pour one cup vinegar in warm water to create a foot soak that will soften feet and help remove dead skin.

6. Clean fingernails with vinegar prior to applying nail polish to make polish last longer.

7. Soothe insect stings and bites, poison oak and ivy, and sunburns by making a paste of baking soda and water and applying to the affected area.

8. Dissolve a half teaspoon of baking soda in a small glass of water to soothe heartburn.

9. Pour a layer of baking soda under cat litter to neutralize odors.

10. Make a spritz of white vinegar and water to keep fleas off dogs and make their coats shine.

These tips from will help keep your family, your pets, and your home clean and smelling fresh while allowing you to toss out harsh chemical cleaners. Keep your home well stocked with baking soda and vinegar for a safe alternative to keeping your household clean.

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