Do DIY Cleaning Ingredients Like Lemon Work? A Microbiologist Weighs In - Deepstash
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Do DIY Cleaning Ingredients Like Lemon Work?

When you scroll through all the sustainable living content in your Instagram feed, you’re bound to come across eco-friendly cleaning hacks that use natural ingredients you likely already have at home. But are lemons and vinegar as effective as what you’d find bottled up on store shelves?

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Jason Tetro, a microbiologist and the author of The Germ Files, says it’s hard to say whether these all-natural cleaning ingredients leave your place totally germ-free. “The cleaning products you find in stores tend to have a specific active ingredient, as well as other ingredients that together prove to be effective against microbes in standardized testing,” he says.

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With that being said, using DIY cleaning ingredients can still be effective. Tetro has a few science-backed DIY options that can help keep your home squeaky clean.

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3 DIY Cleaning Ingredients to Try

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is a well-known DIY cleaning ingredient, and it lives up to the hype. “Vinegar of any form is an effective grease-removing acid and can help to reduce the level of dirt and microbes on any surface,” Tetro says.

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Combine it with citric acid (like lemon juice) in a spray bottle to amp up its effectiveness: “The antimicrobial action requires some additional help such as the addition of citric acid, which is known to be antimicrobial,” he adds.

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2. Lemon Juice

Speaking of lemon juice, it’s an impressive cleaning ingredient on its own. According to Tetro, it can “help reduce the level of microbes on a surface” due to the citric acid it contains. “But in order to get into dirt and grime, it needs an additional surfactant like soap to work,” he says.

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3. Baking Soda

There are plenty of benefits to adding baking soda into your cleaning routine. “It’s a great deodorizer and can help reduce the levels of pesticides on fruit. In addition, it does have some effect on microbes,” says Tetro.

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When you combine it with vinegar, you have a powerful DIY option: “It would need something to give it an extra punch against bacteria and viruses,” he says. “We all know that adding vinegar sets off a rather violent reaction and this could work. But it’s only for a limited time.”

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