The modern-day cleaning product isle can be daunting, to say the least. Filled with hundreds of task-specific products with equally numerous synthetic ingredients, it can give the impression that one may need a degree in chemistry to understand basic household cleaning. Luckily, that is far from the case. Sacha Dunn, the founder of Brooklyn’s Common Good, is helping us to conquer our daily chores the natural way with six of her go-to cleaning tips. Easy, non-toxic, and able to be accomplished with everyday ingredients, these ideas will have your home sparkling in no time!
Even clean bathrooms need a little extra attention sometimes. A weekly spray and wipe keeps the soapy residue and basic dirt at bay (Common Good bathroom cleaner has plant-based lactic acid which naturally removes soap scum and lime scale). But for a deep clean, get out the scrubbing brush and get into the corners where dust collects and grout can discolor. If you need to clean discolored grout, consider a DIY mixture of baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar and give it a scrub with an old toothbrush. For really stubborn areas you can still avoid using chlorine bleach but get great results by adding some hydrogen peroxide to your DIY grout cleaner. Finally, if you have issues with slow drains, an old but effective trick is to pour a little baking soda down the drain and follow that with some white distilled vinegar. Let it fizz and then pour down boiling water.
2. Wood cleaning
Usually dusting and a wipe with a soft cloth is enough for wooden furniture. However, if the wood is looking a little dull, you can make your own wood polish with a couple of common household ingredients. First, give the surface a good clean with all purpose spray or a diluted mixture of dish soap and water. Allow the surface to dry completely then polish with a DIY mix of lemon juice, olive oil and a little water.
3. Wall cleaning
Walls and doors are often forgotten but it’s amazing how dirty they can get. Usually a good spray with all purpose cleaner and a wipe will do. For stubborn areas, spray and leave for 5 minutes before wiping. If you still can’t move the mark, gently rub with a pot scourer. Be careful not to scrub so hard that you remove the paint! This method works just as well as some of the harsh chemical scrubbing blocks but without harsh chemicals like formaldehyde.
In our house, the wood floors in the kitchen need sweeping every day and a good mop once a week. Occasionally, we’ll have to get a scrubbing brush into the corners where the dust and dirt collects. A good rule of thumb is to vacuum carpets once a week. If I’m doing a deeper clean, I also like to sprinkle a little baking soda mixed with essential oil through the carpet and let it sit for an hour (or overnight) before vacuuming. It will absorb any pet odors or spills and add a nice, natural scent.
We’re constantly cleaning the kitchen but there are those areas that need a little extra help, like cupboard doors and shelving. I also like to soak our dish towels in oxygen bleach solution before washing them to make them bright again, and I run the kitchen sponge through the dishwasher to kill germs and give it a refresh, which extends its life for weeks. It’s too hard to tackle the whole kitchen at once, so I usually take on one extra project when I have the time. Like the refrigerator. If it’s looking messy, I’ll take everything out and wipe out the shelves with a light solution of dish soap and warm water. Bergamot is my favorite scent for this job and this solution is usually strong enough to move most of the sticky messes. A good trick for keeping those leaky bottles and jars contained is to stand them in large tupperware containers so they can’t fall over. If your fridge is a little mildewy, make sure you give the edges of the door and the rubber seal a good clean with all purpose spray and then a rinse with water. If the problem persists, you can put an open box of baking soda in the back of the fridge to absorb odors.
6. Linen Water and Candles
Finally, after all the hard work is done, there are a few things that really make my home smell and feel clean. A candle in the bathroom and the living room and some linen water spritzed onto soft furnishings, towels, bedding and in the linen cupboard. I only use products that use 100% pure essential oils so they’re safe for kids and pets.
Sacha Dunn is the founder of Common Good, a household cleaning company devoted to promoting sustainable, eco-friendly products and packaging. All of their products are made free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, bleach and brighteners. Minimal packaging means that pumps and spray bottles can easily be refilled, reused and recycled. Check out their product line at west elm here.