The most important place in the home is the kitchen. This is the nucleus of the house, where the essential work of preparing and feeding the body is done, along with the equally necessary socialization. When I have a dinner party, all my friends gather into my tiny kitchen, arms reaching over one another to help chop or to help themselves to refreshment, the chatter of the group happily filling my ears as I move down my list of tasks. Even when I have dinner alone, I find the kitchen to be a sacred space, a place where I can lovingly prepare a healthy and delicious meal that will delight me. For these reasons, it is absolutely crucial that you pay close attention to the cleaning products used in the kitchen, and why I’m a vocal proponent of green cleaning.
Conventional cleaning products have warning labels telling you not to ingest or even get too close to (hello rubber gloves!). Think about the effect of using some of these toxic substances to clean your countertops, and then think about the food that perches precariously close to those surfaces. To be safe, even if you don’t clean any other part of your home with green cleaning products (here’s a quick primer on how to green clean your bathroom), you should definitely make an effort to use non-toxic green cleaners in the kitchen. Your health depends on this.
What you’ll need:
- Baking soda
- Dish soap
#1: Sink and stovetops
Open up your cabinet and pull out ½ cup baking soda to make a paste with warm water. Then slather the paste onto a brush or sponge to scrub the sink or stovetop clean. This mixture replaces the more conventional cleaners like Ajax that have toxic ingredients that cause respiratory issues, skin sensitivity, and more. Read the EWG’s report on the dangers of Ajax here.
I don’t have a microwave in my kitchen, but I’ve seen how disgusting they get when I’ve encountered them in various office environments over the years. Squeeze a lemon into a bowl of water and microwave on high for four minutes. Then let the bowl sit for two more minutes while the steam loosens all the gunk on the walls and ceiling of the device. Use an oven mitt to remove the hot bowl of water and then sponge off the inside. Your kitchen will smell fresh and the caked on food will wipe away easily.
Vinegar and baking soda are really your best friends when it comes to green cleaning. Whip up a batch of all-purpose cleaner by mixing 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap, and ¼ cup of vinegar. If you have a leftover spray bottle from when you finished off your conventional cleaning products, clean it well and then fill the bottle with this mixture. Spray to your heart’s content and know that you are not endangering your loved ones with this eco-friendly and human-friendly cleaning solution.
#4 Garbage disposal
Take the leftover lemon rind from when you squeezed out lemon juice for the microwave cleaner and grind it up in the disposal while you run a bit of hot water. Fresh smelling and a good second use of the lemon!
One of my favorite tips comes from a Reddit thread on cleaning that I recapped recently. Take a mix of equal parts vinegar and water and pour into a spray bottle. Then load a rag into your Swiffer stick (you don’t want to buy those expensive cloths, do you?) and spray the floor then wipe clean with the Swiffer-rag. Easy peasy! If the vinegar smell is too strong, try adding some essential oils to the mixture to give it a different fragrance.
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