When I was growing up, my mom was constantly telling me not to put things in my mouth. For some reason, I thought everything was food and tried to eat everything in sight, including our cleaning supplies. I guess the color of Lysol looked so strikingly similar to that of apple juice.
Back then, most of our cleaning products contained tons of toxic chemicals that weren't safe to eat. These days, I’m using all-natural products, and putting things in my mouth has become much more of a reality. So much so that most of my cleaning products are actually edible. As a kid, eating the countertop cleaner was an instinct that could have caused serious harm. Now, as an adult, it’s very comforting to know that the products I use for cleaning my home can be eaten and used for cooking as well.
Below are some of my favorite products for cooking AND cleaning.
1. Baking soda
For cooking, baking soda acts as a leavener for baking. For cleaning, baking soda is a great agent for getting rid of dirt and grime around the house. You can use it for scrubbing the bathroom sink and shower, the stovetop, the counters, etc. Before vacuuming, sprinkle some on your carpets for added freshness.
2. Apple cider vinegar
For cooking, apple cider vinegar makes the perfect salad dressing. Combine ½ cup of ACV with 1 cup of olive oil for a great tasting dressing. For cleaning, apple cider vinegar can be used to clean anything from the toilet to drinking glasses. Just mix ½ cup of ACV with 1 cup of water.
3. Essential oils
For cooking, add a few drops of lime essential oil to guacamole, cilantro essential oil to salsa or lemon essential oil to a piece of tilapia. For cleaning, essential oils such as lemon or lavender are great options for cleaning sinks, tubs and toilets or for diffusing into the air to kill unwanted bacteria.
4. Coconut oil
For cooking, coconut oil is the ideal as it has a high smoke point (450F). Plus, it tastes great and has numerous health benefits. For cleaning, coconut oil makes the perfect furniture polisher. Mix it with some lemon juice and rub it into the furniture for a brand new shine.
In my home, the days of harsh, chemically based cleaners are a part of the past. These products contain all sorts of toxins that can cause many harmful effects on us. Replacing them with more natural products can dramatically decrease your toxic load. It’s also super convenient to cut down on the number of household items you need to buy.
Whether I’m cooking or cleaning, these four products are always at arm’s length. They’re all super effective, useful and tasty (when mixed with the right ingredients!). But the best part is that they’re all chemical free and totally safe for cooking AND cleaning. The kid in me is loving them, too!