How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners

By Elizabeth Lang on 26 February 2014 1 comment

You don't have to spend a fortune to have a clean house. If I bought every cleaning product that's marketed to me, I would spend $1,000 and have nowhere to keep my linens. Instead, I avoid buying specialty products when I can and rely on a few staples that, when used in various combinations, can clean my entire house. (See also: Essential Cleaning Tricks)

I save a ton of money this way, and my cleaning supplies are natural, which means they're safer to use around my two-year-old. Here are the only three cleaning cleaning products you'll ever need to have a house Martha Stewart would be proud of.

Baking Soda

I became a baking soda believer when my dog threw up on the carpet a week before I was scheduled to move out of my apartment. Baking soda saved the day. Since then, I've discovered dozens of household uses for baking soda. Here are some of my favorites. (See also: 27 Uses for Baking Soda)

Pet (or Other) Stains on Carpet

To remove a pet stain from your carpet, soak the stain in vinegar (see below), cover it with baking soda, let the baking soda dry, and then vacuum it up. Your carpet will be good as new — and it won't smell. (This works for non-pet stains, too.)

Stinky Couches (and Other Places)

On a related note, if your couch is starting to smell like a kennel, sprinkle some baking soda on it, let it rest for a while, and then vacuum up the baking soda. Baking soda also works for absorbing smells in closets, refrigerators, diaper pails, and other odoriferous parts of your house. (See also: How to Make a Crappy Couch Awesome)

Tubs, Tiles, and Sinks

The grittiness of baking soda makes it perfect for scrubbing up stains. Use a baking soda paste to clean your bathtub. Apply the paste to your tub and tile, then use a scrub brush to get rid of built-up stains.


If you have a glass-top stove, you know how annoying a boil-over or caked-on spill can be to clean up. Don't spend money on expensive specialty stove cleaners. Instead, make a baking soda paste, dip a rag in it, then scrub the stain. To get rid of really caked-on stains, soak them in water first.

Dining Room Table

When I spilled hot tea on my antique dining room table, I was devastated. I tried all of the traditional ways to get rid of the heat ring (mayonnaise, polish, cleaners), but nothing worked. My last-ditch effort was baking soda. I made a very fine paste, then very gently rubbed it into the stain in small a circular motion. It worked; my table looked brand new.


Vinegar is a miracle cleaner that you can use in the kitchen, bathroom, and around the house. It's up for even the toughest cleaning challenges. And although vinegar is pungent in its pure form, the odor lessens significantly when it's diluted. (See also: Household Products Vinegar Can Replace)

In Your Kitchen

In the kitchen, use vinegar to clean your coffee pot. Simply add pour a mixture that's half vinegar, half water into the reservoir and then run the coffee pot. To clean grease-covered a pan or countertop, soak a rag in vinegar, then scrub away the grease.

In Your Bathroom

In the bathroom, spray vinegar on your fixtures to make them sparkly. Dip a toothbrush in vinegar to clean grimy grout. Fight mildew by spraying your walls and shower or tub with undiluted vinegar, then scrubbing it off with a sponge or rag. Combined with baking soda, vinegar also unclogs drains (use a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to baking soda). Just pour the baking soda down the drain, then follow it with the vinegar.

Countertops, Windows, and Mirrors

You can also put a vinegar/water mixture in a spray bottle and use it as you would a multi-purpose cleaner to clean countertops and give windows and mirrors a streak-free shine.

Washing Machine Freshener

If your laundry comes out of the washer smelling rank (think gym clothes and sports uniforms), vinegar can be a lifesaver. Just add ½ cup to your wash along with your regular detergent, and your clothes will smell fresh and clean.

(Want even more ideas for ways to use vinegar? 250+ Ways to Use Vinegar)

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can be used as a substitute for vinegar in many of the uses listed above, including shining your bathroom fixtures, bleaching grout, and giving windows and mirrors a streak-free wipe-down. It's also a good alternative if you really can't stand the smell of vinegar, but love lemon's fresh citrus scent. Plus, lemon also has uses of its own. (See also: Alternative Uses for Lemons)

Garbage Disposal Freshener

Lemon is great for cleaning a smelly garbage disposal. Squeeze some juice down the drain, then toss some peel in after it. Run the disposal, and your whole kitchen will smell fresh.

Cutting Board Stains

If your cutting board is covered in stains, rub a lemon on it. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes, then rinse it off. Your cutting board will look brand new.

Wine Glass Sparkler

Use lemon to make your wine glasses sparkle. Lemon juice also works on other glass, like windows, mirrors, and oven windows.

Hand Deodorizer

If your hands have a stench after preparing fish, garlic, or onions for dinner, rinse them with lemon juice or rub them with lemons to remove the odor.

Before you reach for a store-bought cleaning for your next cleaning project, consider giving baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice a try. You'll save money, and I bet the results will surprise you.

What are your favorite around-the-house cleaning uses for baking soda, vinegar, and lemons?

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Fresh Laundry Mama

I LOVE❤, LOVE❤, LOVE❤ these three items!

I put 1/2 cup baking soda in every load of laundry (fill bottom with just enough hot water to dissolve the soda, then finish filling with cold water) to increase the detergent's cleaning power. Put 1/2 cup white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser (a downy ball works, too). It's a fabulous softener, and with the baking soda and vinegar, there are no odors on my clean laundry!

To bleach items, add 1/2 cup lemon juice (add right after washer begins agitating). Don't use it on colors, though!

If you like scented laundry, ditch the dryer sheets. Everywhere suggests wool dryer balls - but I didn't have these, nor money to buy any, when I decided to go natural. I found some foam flip flops that I had barely worn bc I didn't like how they felt. I washed them, then put two white socks on each, in opposite directions. They work great at cutting static, and to add a great scent, I generously add lavender essential oils to my "dryer balls".

Our laundry is super clean & fresh, incredibly soft, towels are absorbent again, and it genuinely smells great (not perfumey).