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I love me a deep, green clean. Usually, getting started is rather simple: I open my pantry. Tempted as I may be by pretty packaging and seductive scents, I am almost always disappointed in the new cleaning products I try. I sometimes even clean with a new product, only to re-clean with lemon, vinegar or baking soda! So today, in honor of making my world a place I love to thrive in, I praise the merits of food once again -- only this time for reasons above and beyond their nutritive properties!

Lemon. I always have lemons at home. I have a stash of sliced or wedged lemons in my refrigerator at all times to toss into a glass of water, or squeeze on my salad or fish. There is no denying that lemons are a staple in my world, and I love lemon for its liver support, vitamin C burst and fresh scent. In my home, I use lemons to clean. I make my own cleaning solution by squeezing a lemon into a spray bottle and using the juice to wipe down my countertops. It works beautifully to remove grease without chemicals. It can also be used as a bleaching agent on clothing, so if I accidentally have a spill at a restaurant, I ask for a slice of lemon to treat a potential stain.

White vinegar. I love all types of vinegar, but it is safe to say that I always have white vinegar in the pantry. I use it in cucumber and tomato salads (instead of mayonnaise), and love the role of all vinegars in my health and wellness. For no calories but tons of flavor, vinegar aids the digestive system; it contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, pectin and acetic acid. It improves the absorption and utilization of several essential nutrients. Whenever I am in doubt about how to clean something, white vinegar is my usual go-to. I use it mixed with a little water (and sometimes a bit of castile soap) on my floors, windows, shower doors, toilets and as a drain cleaner. Though it may not be my favorite scent in the world, I'm always thrilled when I smell vinegar because I know my home is clean.

Baking soda. Most of us have this baking staple all over our homes to absorb odors. I keep a box in the pantry, one in the fridge, one in the freezer and one in the closet with my kids’ sports equipment. While I sometimes don’t change the boxes often enough (change every 30 days!), I am comforted to know they are there. There is not much nutritional benefit to baking soda, which is a source of sodium (half your daily needs in a teaspoon) and little else. Still, it's a cleaning powerhouse, and can be mixed with a little water to form a paste you can use to clean bathroom tiles, sterling silver and stains on china and ceramics. Also, there is nothing better at removing red wine stains. Simply pour the baking soda over the stain (as soon as you can), let it dry, and all of the wine will transfer to the baking soda. Vacuum it up and no one will be the wiser!

Olive oil. A prince among oils, olive oil contains those wonderful monounsaturated fatty acids that are cardio-protective. It can improve cholesterol profiles when used in the place of other fats and provides delicious satiety. It is also used in my beauty routine as a moisturizer for my hair, nails and skin, and my home care routine as a wood polish! To return shine to otherwise dull or untreated wood, simply combine three parts olive oil to one part vinegar or lemon juice, and apply to wood with a dry cloth. 

Oh, how I look forward to my clean, green, delicious and sparkling home!

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