You can make your house sparkle with just a few simple supplies, many of which are already in your cupboards.
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Clean Without Chemicals
Many people are conditioned to believe a house is not clean unless it smells of chemicals. In fact, the opposite is true.
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Mild Is Best
Mild dishwashing liquid is excellent for removing spills that water won't budge. Make a simple all-purpose cleaner by mixing 2 cups water with 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Use it on countertops and other hard surfaces.
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The Power of Baking Soda
Baking soda has scrubbing power but won't scratch surfaces. Mix a paste of 3 parts warm water to 1 part baking soda to scrub kitchen stains or clean the oven. Make a bathroom cleanser by mixing dishwashing liquid with baking soda until you have a thick paste.
Photography: Kana Okada4 of 10
Distilled white vinegar and lemon juice are both excellent for cleaning, deodorizing, and mild bleaching. They are acidic and can eliminate soap scum. Make a window- and mirror-cleaner by mixing equal parts vinegar and water, which also works well on most polyurethane-finished wood floors.
Martha Stewart and Irwin Simon share natural products for home care.
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Less Is More
For routine cleaning, less is more. You actually need very few products to clean any given room. Although there will certainly be instances where specialized cleaners are necessary, the following list of products will suffice for most tasks. Gather them in a caddy so you can transport them from room to room as you work.
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A Kit to Keep on Hand
Your universal cleaning kit should include:
- An all-purpose cleaner, or a solution of 2 tablespoons mild dishwashing liquid, such as Ivory, and 2 cups water in a spray bottle
- A mildly abrasive cleanser, such as Bon Ami
- A glass cleaner, or a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle
- Rubber gloves; lint-free white cloths; medium-bristled scrub brush
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Cleanliness isn't merely a virtue in the kitchen, the busiest room in your house: It is essential to the health and safety of your family. Corral your supplies in a bin or bucket stored in a cupboard under or near the sink. To protect the floor of the cupboard, line it with parchment paper or rubber matting.
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Cleaning the Bathroom
Cleaning a bathroom well does not mean using harsh chemicals. Start with the gentlest cleaning solutions first before moving on to anything stronger. Adequate ventilation via a ceiling fan or open window will help prevent moisture buildup and go a long way toward keeping the bathroom fresh.
Finally, green equals clean. Natural products from Martha Stewart Clean are effective at removing dirt, stains, and streaks while protecting surfaces and fibers, and they're priced for your budget. Effective. Responsible. Safe.
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