Clean your home without nasty chemicals. We show you all the essential items you need to keep in your cupboard for a naturally clean home.

No, this isn't a kit for cleaning green-coloured items—it's all about the gentlest, most natural cleaning solutions for all your household cleaning needs. Although the commercial cleaners you'll find in your supermarket aisles may be quick and effective, many also bring serious chemicals into the house, which linger long after the cleaning product has done its job. The fact is, the vast majority of household cleaning needs can be filled with a handful of basic, natural products.

BAKING SODA

This mineral is the Swiss army knife of cleaners, famous for its mildly abrasive cleaning, whitening, and deodorising properties. Used alone or in tandem with other products, it can clean just about anything. It's also gentle enough to use on delicates, inexpensive, and completely non-toxic.

VINEGAR

Vinegar has a high acid content, so it's great for killing germs, cutting grease, and dissolving mineral deposits. It's almost as handy in every room of the house as baking soda.

WATER

Called the universal solvent, plain water should be the first line of attack for most cleaning chores (except the obvious, like oil-based stains and water stains).

VEGETABLE OIL-BASED SOAP

This biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based detergents can be found in health-food stores.

WASHING SODA

Sometimes called soda ash, this mineral (sodium carbonate) cleans grease, oil, dirt, and lots of petroleum products. It is also a water softener and soap booster. Look for it in the supermarket laundry section.

ESSENTIAL OILS

The boiled-down essences of different plants—peppermint, lavender, and lemons, for instance—these oils can be used as natural air fresheners and to add pleasant scents to homemade cleaners. You can find a vast array of essential oils in health-food stores. Mix and match for your own favourite scent.

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