Low-tech Ways to Smarten Up Your Home – Natural Cleaners

By Erik J. Martin

With Americans increasingly focused on automation, technological innovation, and cutting-edge gizmos available at lower prices than ever before, it’s easy to assume that aiming for a “smart home” means emphasizing artificial intelligence, state-of-the-art devices, and advanced software and hardware.

But the truth is, a homeowner can demonstrate high consumer IQ without necessarily plugging in a new technological marvel or synching a sophisticated apparatus to an app.

In fact, there are many DIY ways to run a more efficient household, reduce exposure to toxic materials, and save money on common products and supplies in the process. Think of it as adopting a little old-school ingenuity without sacrificing your forward-thinking ambitions.

These days, do-it-yourself approaches are becoming more and more popular, particularly when it comes to everyday supplies and cleaning agents.

The reasons are simple.

It’s cheaper – if we make a DIY laundry detergent, for example, we only spend on the necessary materials, which usually cost less than buying a product off the shelf.  Second, it’s safer; we know that store-bought products are filled with chemicals that we want to avoid using in our homes and exposing to the environment, while DIY cleaning products can contain the simplest and safest of ingredients. Lastly, creating DIY alternatives is fun – in just a few minutes, you can make products that can last you for a long time and provide you plenty of satisfaction.

Here are several DIY substitutes you can make that can reduce your shopping bills, curb health risks, and put less stress on the environment:

    • Use vinegar instead of harsh chemicals to remove lime, scale, rust, grease, mold, and other undesirables from your household surfaces and appliances. Vinegar can even de-scale your coffee machine. The only drawback is the pungent smell that stays on the surface after it was cleaned.
    • Turn to baking soda instead of kitchen cleanser. Simply combine baking soda with a small amount of water. This will create a paste that works well at removing residual materials on surfaces.
    • Choose H2O2 versus toxic cleaners. Hydrogen peroxide is a strong sanitizer and disinfectant recognized by the CDC, EPA, and National Institutes of Health. It can be used to sanitize food preparation surfaces, and there are no fragrances or chemicals added to it that can irritate the lungs.
    • Create a DIY glass cleaner. All you need is two cups water, one-quarter cup rubbing alcohol, one-half cup white vinegar, and two drops of orange essential oil, shaken together in a spray bottle. The optional orange essential oil adds a pleasant, clean aroma to the area.
    • Whip up a DIY wood cleaner. You can clean varnished wood with just three ingredients. Combine two tablespoons of olive oil with one tablespoon of white vinegar in a quart of warm water, put them in a spray bottle, spray onto the wood, and then dry with a soft cloth.
    • Rely on apple cider and white vinegar, not chemical pest deterrents. Instead of buying pesticides and insecticides to get rid of insects in and around your home, make organic substitutes using ingredients found in your cupboard. Apple cider vinegar will eliminate fruit flies in your kitchen; simply put some of it in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, then punch two or three holes in the plastic so that the insects can enter the bowl. If you have problems with ants, mix one-quarter cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of water, add a few drops of peppermint oil, put the solution in a container, and spray it on ant trails.
    • Make your own deep-cleaning soft scrub alternative. Take one to two tablespoons of castile soap, one part cream of tartar, and one part hydrogen peroxide. Mix together in a spray bottle and you’ve created a deep whitening cleaning solution best for the bathroom or kitchen.