21 Ways to Spring Clean Your Whole House—Naturally

There's no better time than spring to give your home some serious deep cleaning. It's finally warm enough to wash your windows without freezing them shut, and now that the snow has melted, it's a good time to give your siding a thorough scrub. But before you fill your cabinets with expensive heavy-duty cleansers, check out our guide to cleaning naturally with products you probably have on hand. These cleaning solutions are safer for kids, pets, and the environment, and they'll leave your home sparkling and beautiful.

  1. Window Washing

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    Save yourself the time and expense of trying every "streak-free" window cleaner on the market. Instead, mix one part vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle. Wipe off using black-and-white newspaper or a lint-free towel. 


    Related: Helpful Hints on Cleaning Windows

  2. Streak-Free Stainless Steel

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    Natural cleaners are best for stainless steel because abrasive bleaches and cleansers can cause damage. Treat tough stains with a baking soda–and–water paste. Keep your surfaces streak-free by polishing with olive oil.


    Related: Which Kitchen Countertop Is Best for You?

  3. Polishing Metal

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    You can make metal shine by treating it with a paste of salt and lemon juice. Apply to copper, brass, or steel with an old toothbrush, and you'll remove tarnish or rust in no time. It also works on food-stained plastic dishes!


    Related: Bob Vila Radio—How to Remove Rust

  4. A Few Grains of Salt

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    Treat fresh grease stains in the oven by sprinkling them with a handful of salt. When the oven cools, wipe it clean with a cloth.


    Related: 7 Surprising Pantry Items Naturally Clean and Freshen Your Home

  5. Furniture Polish

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    Give an antique dresser a makeover with a couple of cooking staples—two parts olive oil and one part lemon will make it gleam.


    Related: Beyond Zesty—10 DIY Home Uses for Lemons

  6. Silver Polish

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    Can't take the fumes of silver polish? The natural solution is amazingly simple: Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water, then rinse and dry. 


    Related: To the Rescue—10 Ingenious Home Uses for Baking Soda

  7. Concrete Cleaner

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    Outdoor concrete can often be cleaned with nothing but old-fashioned water and a pressure washer. If stubborn stains leave you wanting something stronger, try hydrogen peroxide. 


    Related: Using a Pressure Washer Around the House and Yard

  8. Washing Vinyl Siding

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    Vinyl siding is pretty low maintenance, but snow, rain, and wind can soil its surface. To keep your siding free of grime and dirt, wash with a solution of 70 percent water and 30 percent vinegar, then rinse clean.


    Related: How To Clean Vinyl Siding

  9. Fly Repellant

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    Basil is a natural fly repellant. Grow it in pots on windowsills and in doorways to deter flies during the warmer months.


    Related: Vegetables On Demand—How to Grow Edible Plants Indoors (Starting from Seeds)!

  10. Freshen the Drain

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    Run lemon rinds through the garbage disposal to freshen your whole sink. Lemons can also have a bleaching effect on stained sinks. 


    Related: Even Your Garbage Disposal Needs TLC

  11. Clean Carpets

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    Baking soda is a great way to clean and deodorize carpets. Sprinkle some down before vacuuming. You can also try cornstarch, which soaks up oils on the carpet.


    Related: Cleaning Green—Eco-Friendly Products for Your Home

  12. Sparkling Grout

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    Cleaning grout isn't a cakewalk, but using baking soda is a trusted way to keep grout stain-free. Make a paste of baking soda and water, and spread it on the area. Spray vinegar on the paste to create a foaming action, then scrub and rinse.


    Related: Quick Tip—Laying Bathroom Tile

  13. Bathtub Grime

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    Banish hard water stains from the bathtub by placing a vinegar-soaked paper towel over the area. Let it stand for up to two hours, then scrub with a baking soda paste and spray with a vinegar-and-water solution.


    Related: Helpful Hints for Cleaning Bathtubs

  14. Water Rings

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    If your guests forget to use a coaster, you can buff out a water ring with a mix of salt and olive oil. Rub the solution gently onto the table and wipe clean.


    Related: The Party's Over—13 Lifesaving Cleanup Tips for When the Revelers Have Gone

  15. Unclog a Drain

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    If you keep just one thing in your natural cleanser arsenal, vinegar's not a bad choice. To fix a clogged drain, try pouring one-half cup of baking soda, followed by one cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction will cause a cleansing foam. Once that stops, rinse with hot water. Wait five minutes and flush the drain with cold water. 


    Related: Quick Tip—Fixing a Clogged Drain

  16. Burnt Food on Pots and Pans

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    Crispy cheese, burnt rice, stuck-on oatmeal—no wonder some folks despise washing dishes. Loosen the debris first by sprinkling baking powder and spraying vinegar. After that, it should come off with a little steel wool. If your dishes require something less abrasive, try a nylon scrubber.


    Related: Steel Wool—13 Uses That May Be News to You

  17. Freshen Wood Furniture

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    Foodies love coconut oil for its health benefits, but it's handy around the house as well. Use a microfiber cloth to polish wood furniture with coconut oil, rubbing with the grain and letting it soak in before moving anything back onto the surface.


    Related: How To Refinish a Wood Table

  18. All-Purpose Cleanser

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    Lemon and vinegar are two of the best natural cleansers, so why not combine the two? Make your own all-purpose cleanser by soaking citrus peels in white vinegar for two weeks. Once you strain out the peels, this cleanser can tackle almost any surface.

  19. Shiny Vinyl Floors

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    The acidity of apple cider vinegar will clean your vinyl floors without leaving a soapy or waxy buildup like some cleaning products. Jojoba oil can buff out stubborn scuffs to keep your floors looking new.


    Related: Bathroom Floor Tile—14 Top Options

  20. Venetian Blinds

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    It can be tedious work, but it's good to clean your blinds regularly. A mix of 30 percent vinegar and 70 percent water can quickly remove dust and grime. Use a microfiber cloth or a special blind-cleaning wand. 


    Related: Go Beyond Blinds and Curtains

  21. Microwave Cleaning

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    Blast away baked-on food in the microwave by boiling two cups of water and the juice and peels of two lemons in a microwave-safe bowl. Let it stand for 10 minutes to allow the steam to cut through the grease. Finish with soap and water.


    Related: How To Clean a Microwave

  22. For More...

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    For more tips on cleaning nearly every surface in your home, try: 


    How To: Clean EVERYTHING


    Spring Home Maintenance Checklist


    How To: Clean Painted Walls


  23. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!