Environmental awareness is more and more common these days, and people everywhere are looking for ways to “go green”. One approach is to make your own green cleaning products, which will help in a number of ways: you’ll save money on costly commercial products, use fewer harsh and toxic chemicals in your home, and your green cleaning efforts will not just be helping you and your family, you’ll be having a positive impact on the environment. So let’s get started!
Green Cleaning Essentials
You probably already have at least a few of the ingredients you’ll need to make your own green cleaners. Here’s some information on the basics: baking soda can eliminate odors, remove stains and be used as scouring powder; white vinegar is a terrific all-purpose cleaner that also kills germs and bacteria; club soda is a natural stain remover and polisher; olive oil is also a great green cleaning furniture polish; hydrogen peroxide can be used as a disinfectant and non-toxic bleach and stain remover; borax is a natural bleach alternative that helps eliminate odors, remove dirt and also disinfects and deodorizes. Put a few drops of natural essential oils in your home grown green cleaning products for a pleasant household fragrance – with the added bonus that some, like lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus and tea tree oil, also have natural antiseptic and disinfectant properties. One important thing to remember: while these items are natural and non-toxic, they should still be kept out of reach by children, as ingesting them could be harmful.
Clean Green – and Clear – With Vinegar
Unless they’re making a salad, many people don’t consider vinegar a “must have” item – but when it comes to green cleaning, it should be at the top of your list. Here are just a few ways to use vinegar in your green cleaning. Put a bowl with 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave and set it to boil to loosen any splattered food and deodorize the microwave. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and use this to remove stubborn toilet bowl stains. You can also deodorize the toilet by pouring in several cups of vinegar; let them sit for about half an hour, then flush. When you wash clothes, add 1 cup of vinegar to the final rinse. This helps break down soapy residue, and your clothes will be fresh and soft. Be sure to use distilled white vinegar for cleaning, since apple cider or other vinegars might stain surfaces and undo all your hard work!
Recipes for Green Cleaning
Get started with an all-purpose cleaning scrub made from baking soda, water and a few drops of gentle vegetable-based liquid soap. Put some essential oil in the mix, especially when cleaning your bathroom, for added freshness. To clean just about any surface in the house, combine 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 teaspoon borax in a spray bottle with hot water. Shake until the borax is dissolved, add some non-toxic liquid soap and you’re ready for some heavy duty green cleaning. For sparkling clean, streak-free windows, combine equal parts of vinegar and warm water, rub the windows clean (believe it or not, you can use newspaper for this), then dry with a soft cloth. And here’s a green clean method for oven cleaning: during the day sprinkle enough baking soda on the oven floor to cover it, then spray with water. Spray again every few hours, then leave this to set overnight. Remove the baking soda the next day, and all that baked-on dirt and grime should easily come off – with your homemade green cleaning scrub!