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Hidden Cleaners: The Science and Surprise Behind Household Items

Updated: Apr 29

A clean light kitchen blurred in the background. Front and center, a few organic products that can be used to clean.
Discover the power of pantry staples for a greener clean, reducing environmental impact while keeping homes sparkling.

This Earth Day, let's embrace eco-friendly cleaning practices with common household items. Join us as we explore simple, sustainable solutions for a healthier planet.

The Science of Cleaning: Why These Ingredients Work

The efficacy of common household items in cleaning is rooted in their natural chemical compositions, making them powerful, eco-friendly alternatives to commercial cleaners. These items, including acids like vinegar and citric acid in lemons, neutralize alkaline substances, dissolve buildup, and tackle grease. Alkalines like baking soda offer gentle abrasion and odor neutralization. Their environmental friendliness comes from their biodegradability and non-toxicity, reducing pollution and making them safe for use around the home. This scientific basis ensures effective cleaning while supporting a sustainable living approach.

Exploring unconventional household items for cleaning reveals the versatility of everyday products. See how each of the items below can be efficient in cleaning:


Cleaning Efficacy



Natural acid, cleans and deodorizes surfaces

Countertops, cutting boards

Baking Soda

Mild alkali, lifts dirt/oil

Scrubbing surfaces, freshening fabrics


Acidic, dissolves grease/mineral deposits

Glass, appliances

Olive Oil

Polishes, protects surfaces

Wood, stainless steel


Absorbs stains

Carpets, upholstery

Tea Bags

Tannins polish wood surfaces

Wood surfaces


Abrasive, cleans hard-to-reach spots

Coffee grinders

DIY Cleaning Recipes: Combining Household Items for Maximum Effect

For DIY cleaning recipes combining household items:

  1. All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil for scent.

  2. Window Cleaner: Combine 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol. Use a spray bottle and wipe with a lint-free cloth.

  3. Carpet Stain Remover: Create a paste with equal parts vinegar and baking soda. Apply to the stain, let sit, then vacuum.

  4. Grease Cleaner: Mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part dish soap and water for a tough grease-fighting paste.

  5. Wood Polish: Mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice for a natural wood furniture polish. Apply with a soft cloth.

  6. Fabric Freshener: Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil. Sprinkle on fabrics, let sit, then vacuum.

  7. Odor Absorber: Dry used tea bags and place them in areas that need deodorizing, such as refrigerators or shoes.

  8. Grinder Cleaner: Use dry, uncooked rice to clean coffee grinders or spice mills. Add rice, grind for a minute, then discard and wipe clean.

These additional recipes offer simple, eco-friendly solutions for a variety of cleaning and freshening tasks around the home.

Lemon and Lime being used to create cleaning household items

Safety and Precautions: What Not to Mix

When crafting DIY cleaners, safety is paramount. Combining certain household items can be dangerous. Always research and follow safety guidelines when experimenting with homemade cleaning solutions to ensure your cleaning practices are safe and effective.

Embracing a Sustainable Cleaning Routine

Adopting eco-friendly cleaning practices extends beyond Earth Day, becoming a lifestyle choice that benefits both our homes and the planet. Start small, by replacing one or two conventional products with homemade alternatives, and gradually expand. Educate family members about the benefits of sustainable cleaning, creating a collective effort toward a greener home. Koller supports this journey with eco-conscious cleaning services, helping maintain a green and pristine home environment all year round.

As we conclude, remember that adopting sustainable cleaning practices not only honors Earth Day's ethos but also contributes to our planet's health every day. Koller is here to support your eco-friendly journey with services that align with these values. Click here to learn how we can help ensure a sustainable future together.

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