10 Food Ingredients You Can Use for Cleaning (Part I)

by emilysmaids - April 26, 2022

10 Food Ingredients You Can Use For Cleaning Part I - Emily's Maids

Hello! We’re back with more cleaning tips for you, and today we wanted to talk about food ingredients as cleaning products. Who would’ve thought that mixing those too was going to be a good combo?

Well, the truth is that many food ingredients are used as compounds for your cleaning and personal care products. Those industries extract their desired component and put them in the formula to enhance their properties.

The good news is that you can use them straight from the source as well! Instead of using dozens of different manufactured cleaning products, you can switch to safer alternatives. They’re safe enough for you to eat!

This is why we’ve come up with a list of ingredients that are already in your fridge or your pantry and can be used for all sorts of cleaning purposes: sanitizing, degreasing, removing stains, and even moisturizing.

This is Part I so we’re going to discuss 5 amazing ingredients and then 5 more in our next article.

The Benefits of Using Food Ingredients for Cleaning

There’s a really high chance that you’ve heard about DIY cleaning solutions for your household that involve ingredients from your pantry or fridge.

If you’re using fruits and vegetables, this means that you are getting the cleaning properties straight from the source.

And if you’re using other ingredients, such as vinegar or olive oil, it means they passed strict laws and regulations to be safe enough to consume.

Manufactured cleaning products are safe enough, of course, but they can be harmful if they come into contact with your skin, eyes, or lungs. Besides, there’s the risk of leaving residues in your kitchen and eating area, which is the place where you prepare your food.

Now, let’s dive in!

Cleaning With Food Ingredients

Cleaning With Salt

Salt is one of the less-known ingredients for cleaning, but that might change once you realize how versatile it is. It does everything from cleaning a cast iron skillet to removing sweat stains.

Salt is great for cleaning because a) it’s abrasive, which means that is able to scrape off dirt and grease from surfaces, b) It has ionic qualities which are useful for absorbing moisture and oil, and c) you can mix it safely with a variety of cleaning products and other ingredients as well.

If you want to clean your cast iron skillet, use a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt and fill it halfway with water. Heat it over medium heat and scrape any residues as you go, using a wooden spoon so you won’t scratch the skillet. You can also use it straight and with a plastic scrubby, rubbing in a soft, circular motion.

Thanks to its absorbing properties, you can remove wine stains too using salt. To remove a stain, the first step is always blotting with a wet cloth several times until you absorb as much as you can. Next, add some table salt until you cover the stain and let it sit for a few hours or overnight if you are not in a hurry.

Check our cast iron skillet cleaning guide if you want to see how to clean it with other ingredients.

Salt goes great with lemon juice, too. Together they can degrease, remove odors and whiten your items. You can clean anything from teapots to cutting boards just by spreading some salt and then scrubbing with half of a lemon. Remember to rinse with plenty of water!

Or, you can use it for leaving your stainless steel sink looking nice and shiny. This time, you should add baking soda and soap until you form a paste. Scrub with a sponge and then open your water tap to remove any residue. You’ll notice the difference right away!

Cleaning With Kosher Salt and a Brush

Use Vodka as an All-Purpose Cleaner

Who would have thought that vodka can be used as more than an ingredient for making great cocktails? The truth is, we all know vodka has a strong alcohol concentration, which is ideal for killing different types of bacteria. The best part is that you can apply that on any surface without fearing that it contaminates or harms your food in any form.

This makes vodka the ideal ingredient for an all-purpose cleaner. It’s versatile enough to be used straight from the bottle (applied with a microfiber cloth) or combined with other items on a spray bottle. To create a powerful all-purpose solution, mix ½ cup of vodka, ½ cup of vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 30 drops of lemon essential oil. Add that to a spray bottle and apply it to your surface. Between the alcohol, vinegar (which is made out of alcohol), and lemon, you get a product with disinfecting and degreasing properties.

This works for a variety of surfaces such as your kitchen counters, your cutting boards, or mirrors and windows. It can also remove soap scum and mildew from your bathroom.

And don’t worry about brands, you can use the cheapest brand of vodka you can find for all your cleaning needs.

Lemon Juice Will Be Your #1 Cleaning Ally

Lemon juice is a powerful cleaning product. Like any other citrus fruit, it contains citric acid. It has two great cleaning properties: softening up grease and removing odors.

For example, you can use it to deodorize your microwave. Just squeeze half o a lemon and add it to a cup of water in a microwave-safe container. Run your microwave for 5 minutes and then let your cleaning mix sit for 2 more minutes. Then, wipe everything with a microfiber cloth.

Another great application of lemon juice is as a descaler. As we mentioned above, lemon juice works great with salt, and this is not the exception. With time, coffee makers and kettles start to build up limescale, which is created thanks to mineral residues of water. The frequency and amount of limescale will depend on how often you use your appliance, as well as the area you live in.

For example, Dallas is known to have really hard water, which means that it has a lot of minerals inside.

With salt and lemon juice you will be able to remove limescale in a second. Fill your kettle or the water reservoir of your coffee maker with ½ cup of lemon juice, and then fill the rest of it with cold water. Run a full cycle and then another cycle but this time using just water.

You can check our lime and salt article to check out how to remove stains. And don’t forget to check out Emily’s Maids Cleaning Guide using Lemon!

Cleaning With Lemon

Use Vinegar for Removing Stains and Odor

We have talked about vinegar as a cleaning product before, and it’s a must-have in your pantry. Vinegar is extremely affordable (less than $3 per gallon!) really safe to use and apply on pretty much any surface, and effective.

Your white cooking vinegar is made out of alcohol and it has a 5% concentration. This means it’s safe enough for you to consume, yet it has enough concentration to clean your surfaces and remove mildew in your bathroom, for example.

You can use vinegar for endless cleaning tasks. For example, you can use it as a substitute for fabric softener and deodorizer. Just add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. It will remove odors, lint, and pet hair.

If you need to remove limescale or hard water stains on your bathroom faucets, simply spray them with vinegar and then tie a bag around them overnight, using a Ziplock bag and a rubber bag. Remember to rinse with plenty of water afterward.

Like lemon juice, vinegar is great for removing stains, odor, and limescale from your kitchen tools and appliances as well. Just spray over the surface and scrub with a non-scratch sponge.

Coconut Oil

Besides a delicious ingredient for baking, coconut oil is also popular in the personal care and cleaning industry. Natural-sourced oils are usually great for removing labels and marks, moisturizing organic surfaces such as wood and leather, and as a lubricant for door hinges.

We all know how annoying it is to find half a sticky label from a dish or a flower pot. And if you scrub too hard, it becomes a huge scratch that no one likes to look at. But don’t worry, you can apply coconut oil using a microfiber cloth and rub softly to soften up your label. After a few minutes, scrub it off. You can add baking soda if you’re dealing with really rough sticky items.

It’s great for removing water stains on sinks and other appliances as well, use the same method! Remember to wipe everything out with a dry cloth afterward.

If you want to use it as a moisturizer, apply a tiny bit on the surface, such as your leather furniture or your wooden floors.

Coconut as Cleaning Product - Emily's Maids

Conclusion (Before Part II)

This is it! In this article, we have covered how to clean using salt, vodka, vinegar, lemon juice, and coconut oil. These are all safe ingredients that are already in your pantry, so you won’t have to move away from home to put them to good use.

Cleaning with food ingredients or with eco-friendly DIY solutions is more and more common nowadays because it makes your trips to the store easier, and it keeps harmful chemicals away from your household.

Make sure you stay alert for part II so you can learn how to use 5 more ingredients for your cleaning needs. And remember, we’re always happy to help busy families keep their households nice and clean. Make sure you visit Emily’s Maids booking page to get a free budget or contact us if you have any questions.

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