The battle versus germs has been drawn out far longer than any war known to mankind. From our houses, to the streets, to offices and establishments, harmful bacteria are our constant companion. What’s even worse is that the regular household cleaning items we use to get rid of harmful bacteria are actually more harmful that we think.

They come in a wide array of scents, leave our sink and toilets sparkly and make our countertops gleaming. However, some household cleaners are among the most toxic products found in our homes. The Environmental Working Group found that some cleaners contain toxic chemicals like carcinogens, asthma instigators, and poisonous ingredients. It is a good thing that non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaners are now available commercially. Their ingredients are mostly found in our kitchen.

Here is a list of alternative household cleaners you can make yourself to keep your home or your condo spick-and-span:

Ode to Baking Soda

Baking soda can replace nearly all household cleaners. It cleans, deodorizes, and polishes.

Clean condo kitchen surfaces by sprinkling baking soda on a damp cloth. Make a paste of baking soda and water to clean your oven. This paste can also remove stubborn stains off the bathroom sink and floor. Put a small bowl of baking soda in the refrigerator, freezer, and cupboard to keep away unpleasant smells. Similarly, sprinkle it at the bottom of your garbage can after taking away the trash and before putting in a new bag.

To deodorize, sprinkle baking soda with essential oil to your carpet before vacuuming. Blot as much as possible to remove spills, clean it as you normally would, then sprinkle it with baking soda. Finish off by vacuuming.

You can also leave laundry matters to baking soda. You can replace half of detergent with baking soda to keep clothes fresh. Treat stains with baking soda paste. You may also add ½ cup of baking soda to your laundry to increase effectiveness of bleach.

Spotless With Vinegar

The homemade cleaning alternative as effective as baking soda is vinegar. It cuts grease, removes odors and stains.

To clean floors and windows, just add ½ cup of white vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water. Clean your furniture with vinegar and olive oil. Do your children like placing stickers on your walls? Wipe the surface with vinegar and peel off easily. In the kitchen, deodorize the drain by pouring a cup of vinegar once a week. Clean the refrigerator by washing it with equal solution of vinegar and water. The cutting board contains 200 times more fecal bacteria than our toilets and you can wash this away by wiping it off with vinegar. In the bathroom, rub down shower doors with a sponge soaked in vinegar. Remove stubborn toilet stains by brushing with vinegar. Soak the showerhead in white vinegar overnight.

A mixture of baking soda and vinegar also makes wonders at home --- from cleaning kitchen tops, scrubbing floors, wiping dirt off furniture, removing stains from clothes, to cleaning and sanitizing the bathroom.

Sanitize With Lemon

Lemon or orange fruit is one of the best cleaning alternatives when dealing with condo’s most common cleaning problems. It is high in nitric acid making it an effective natural cleaner due to its antibacterial properties. Best of all, it smells great.

It is not enough that you keep your condo clean, you must also sanitize it and keep it germ-free. Spray counter tops, windows, and mirrors with a diluted solution of lemon juice. You can also clean and deodorize your microwave, refrigerator and toilet bowl with lemon. You can scrub grills with lemon and salt. You may also soak plastic food containers in lemon juice to remove stains and odors. Mix drops of lemon to dishwashing liquid to boost degreasing ability.

Cornstarch is a Star

Another kitchen wonder and eco-friendly cleaner is cornstarch. To remove grease spots, sprinkle cornstarch onto a soft cloth and rub. Make a paste of milk and cornstarch to remove ink stains from carpet. Apply, dry, brush and vacuum. Speaking of carpet, give it a fresh scent by sprinkling cornstarch 30 minutes before vacuuming.

Cornstarch paste also removes scorch marks and bloodstains from clothes. You can also rub cornstarch to stuffed toys and animals before brushing it clean. Did you know that you can also untangle knots with cornstarch? Yes it can.

Go Loca With Vodka

Ethyl alcohol is found in vodka and other spirits. Get rid of musty and pet odors without saturating the air by spraying vodka in your room. If you want some scent, add 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil.

You may also add a small amount of vodka when you wash clothes made of wool to kill bacteria that causes odor. Hang it to dry.

Polish With Olive Oil

Condo owners are very picky with furniture. Home improvements are not complete without them so it is important that we keep them polished and scratch-free. The solution: olive oil.

Repair leather furniture and rub off scratches by rubbing it with olive oil. Warm oil also keeps rattan and wicker furniture from cracking. For wood furniture, combine two cups olive oil with one cup of lemon juice or vinegar then rub using soft cloth.

Deodorize With Onion

Rooms that are not used regularly like the basement and storage rooms naturally reek of weird odor as soon as it is opened. What you can do is cut an onion in half, place it on a plate, and leave it in the room overnight. Don’t worry, the onion or salad aroma will go away like magic.

Odor-free With Coffee

Everyone loves the smell of coffee? So why not use it at home? Put fresh coffee grounds wherever you need an odor removed. You can wrap them in an old stocking and hang them in a cabinet or from a shelf.

Organic Treatment for Termites

Getting rid of termites is easy with orange oil and sodium borate (borax). Orange oil contains d-limonene which kills drywood termite colonies. Borax is non-toxic and kills subterranean termites. Spray or paint borate solution onto wood surfaces to keep your condo pests-free.

Salt and Rust

Some metal home accents like frames and even window grills inevitably get rusty. All you need are grains of rock salt. Sprinkle salt on the rusted area and squeeze a lime over it. Leave it for three hours before wiping it off.


Toothpaste and Mayo vs. Water Rings

Cleaning your condo seems easy until you find a water ring on your wooden furniture. How do you remove it? Don’t worry because water rings are a result of moisture trapped under the topcoat and not the finish. Apply toothpaste or mayonnaise onto a damp cloth and rub into the ring. Remember to not rub vigorously so as not to mar the finish.

Chemical and toxic-free condo living is possible with a little help from our kitchen favorites. All-natural cleaners are easily available, cheap, make a healthy environment, and keep a condo-dweller healthy as well.