A Guide to Non-Toxic Cleaning Everything in Your Kitchen
DIY cleaning recipes and more
Am I the only one whose kitchen can quickly go from a calm, peaceful, nourishing, and dare I say, the most instagrammable part of my house, to a real life nightmare in about 20 minutes flat? And on the weekends, this transformation literally happens multiple times during the day. In order to help you through the roller coaster ride of kitchen cleanliness, we put together this simple guide so that you don’t have to resort to using cleaners with toxic chemicals that can harm your health. After all, you’re spending so much time cooking and eating in your kitchen that you want to make sure everything you’re using is healthy.
Counters and Tabletops
Most of the time you are just wiping up crumbs and spills and don’t need anything stronger than hot water and a dab of a non-toxic dish soap. That’s where a sponge and rag come in handy. You can also use an all purpose cleaner, like one made of vinegar and water, but if you have granite or marble countertops, stick with the soap and water. When you need to disinfect after cooking with raw meat, just spray it with some hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then wipe it up. Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use even on marble countertops.
Stovetop and kitchen sink
- To get rid of grease and water stains, make a paste with baking soda and liquid soap and scrub with a sponge or rag. For extra tough stains, use a powdered cleaner like Bon Ami, which is a relatively safe powder cleaner.
- Why bring something into your kitchen with a poison warning on it, when there’s an easy and cheaper DIY fix for slow and clogged drains? To unclog a slow draining sink, boil a large pot of water, add a squirt of dish soap to the boiling water and then pour it slowly down the drain. This is more effective than just turning on the hot water faucet. The combination of the dish soap and the boiling water cuts through the grease that might be building up in your pipes. You can also sprinkle some baking soda down the drain for odor removal before pouring the hot water and soap mixture.
- To get rid of smells coming from your food disposal, throw in a lemon half, ice, and salt and turn it on to remove odor. Mmmm… instant lemony fresh!
If you’re anything like me, you use the microwave constantly to heat up things like spaghetti sauce and then dread cleaning the dried bits of caked on splatter, or just never clean it. Once I found this trick, it became so much easier that I actually have a clean microwave from time to time!
- Microwave a bowl with equal parts vinegar and water for 3 minutes, then easily wipe the inside surfaces clean. The steam loosens everything up, so you don’t have to spend anytime scrubbing. You can also do this with a lemon instead of vinegar, and it smells real pretty. Just cut the lemon in half, squeeze it into the water, drop in the lemon halves, and microwave for 3 minutes and wipe clean.
For an extra deep clean, or after an especially messy baking project, cleaning your oven is a good idea to keep your kitchen smoke free. But a lot of oven cleaners are full of toxic chemicals, so here’s a great DIY oven cleaner.
- Mix ¼ cup baking soda, 2 tbsp salt, and just enough hot water to make a paste to spread around the oven walls. Scrub with a rough sponge and then wipe clean. You can leave the paste sitting for 20 mins for extra dirty ovens.
- To disinfect a cutting board, spray hydrogen peroxide (just as it comes from the store 3% diluted), let sit it for a minute, and then wipe clean.
- If you want to remove strong odors from a cutting board, for example from garlic or onions, sprinkle coarse salt and use a lemon half to scour the surface and then rinse with water.
Supplies for Getting Started
We have a shopping list of DIY cleaning supplies to get you started, but if DIY cleaning isn’t really your thing, we have recommendations for all sorts of non-toxic cleaning products for your whole kitchen.