Commercial chemical-based cleaners can seem like the easiest, most convenient solutions to various stubborn stains around the home. The chemicals used in these cleaners can have unwanted side effects, however, leading to eye or skin irritations, allergic reactions or dizziness.

Non-toxic home cleaning products are available commercially to help with this problem, but a more inexpensive solution might be to look at your own kitchen for natural alternatives to cleaning your home.

White vinegar
A natural all-purpose cleaner, white vinegar’s acidic properties can cleanse and disinfect. To use vinegar as a cleaning solution, mix it with equal parts water in a spray bottle. Don’t worry about possible smells from using vinegar – it disappears when it dries.

Use vinegar to clean and disinfect your stovetop and floors. For gas hobs, remove the pan and wok supports to clean them and the area around the burners.

For those with stubborn stains on their laundry, soak the clothes in a vinegar and water solution, or add vinegar to a wash cycle. The vinegar can also be a natural fabric softener.

Baking soda
Baking soda is just as versatile as vinegar, with the ability to clean, deodorise and scour surfaces. It gently scrubs surfaces without scratching them.

Place a box of baking soda in the fridge or freezer to absorb odours or sprinkle in shoes, rubbish bins or laundry to remove smells. Like vinegar, baking soda can also be used to remove stains and soften laundry.

Lemon Juice
One of the most acidic fruits, lemon juice can be used to bleach, clean and disinfect, being effective against most household bacteria. Lemon juice is great for cleaning and shining brass and copper or used to degrease dishes.

Mixing lemon juice with vinegar or baking soda can make an effective cleaning paste. Another useful combination is a cup of olive oil with a half cup of lemon juice to create a hardwood furniture polish.

Cornstarch
The absorbent qualities of cornstarch means it’s great for removing oil and grease stains on countertops or clothes. It’s also commonly used to clean windows, polish furniture and shampoo carpets and rugs.

For cleaning countertops and stoves, create a paste of cornstarch and water and use it to scrub the surfaces. For windows, create a solution of cornstarch and water before wiping the window. To prevent streaks, mix a bit of vinegar into the solution or dry with a dry cloth once the surface is cleaned. This works for cleaning mirrors, too.

Elizabeth Png is the brand and consumer communications director for Electrolux Vietnam. She can be contacted at elizabeth.png-reade@electrolux.com.