A more “green” and sustainable lifestyle is embraced primarily for three reasons: cutting waste (largely by recycling), energy consumption restriction, and maintaining healthy, eco-friendly habits. Prime examples include everything from eating vegetables, to using “green” means of transportation like walking or biking, to using non-toxic products for everyday household chores.
In fact, your pantries and cupboards may already be stocked with items that can keep your home sparkling versus using toxic cleaning products. Here are some perfect tools for “green cleaning” your home.
- Baking soda works well as a gentle scouring powder and eliminates odors.
- Borax also eliminates odors, removes dirt, and acts as an antifungal and possible disinfectant. Use with caution around children and pets as Borax can be toxic if swallowed
- Fresh club soda can be used as a stain remover and polisher.
- Cornmeal is great for absorbing carpet spills.
- 3% concentrated hydrogen peroxide is a proven disinfectant, stain remover, and non-toxic bleach.
- Lemon juice is another stain remover, grease cutter, and pleasant-smelling non-toxic form of bleach.
- Liquid castile soap is vegetable-based and is a good all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant, and grease cutter.
- Olive Oil is an excellent furniture polisher. A dab here on a soft cloth goes a long way.
- White vinegar kills germs and bacteria.
You can also add a few drops of organic essential oils to your creations such as lavender, lemongrass, or vanilla for a pleasantly-scented atmosphere afterward. Now, on to techniques for green cleaning your home:
Glass Cleaners: When I was growing up, I remember using old newspapers soaked with water to clean our finger-smudged glass-paned doors. Another option for accomplishing the job is mixing club soda with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in a spray bottle; wipe down with a terry cloth rag.
All-Purpose Cleaners: To clean ordinary surfaces, a recipe of ½ teaspoon of washing soda, a small squirt of liquid soap (such as castile soap) mixed with 2 cups of very hot tap water in a spray bottle works great. The spray lasts indefinitely but always shake before using.
Bathroom Cleaners: The all-purpose concoction listed above also applies to bathroom surfaces but for scouring power, combine ½ cup of baking soda with enough liquid soap to achieve a lathery consistency. To clean your toilets, simply sprinkle some baking soda or borax and white vinegar into the toilet. Let sit for a few minutes then scrub with a sturdy-bristled toilet brush.
Hard Floor Cleaner: Unless directed by the manufacturer, mop the floor with a combination of ½ cup of white vinegar or lemon juice, ¼ liquid castile soap, and 2 gallons of warm water in a plastic bucket.
Carpet Cleaner: Clean and disinfect your carpet using a blend of 1 cup borax, ½ cup baking soda, and 1 cup cornmeal. Sprinkle (not dump) over rug. Large clumps of cornmeal could clog your vacuum. Rub in with a cloth and let rest for several hours before vacuuming. For carpet stains, use club soda. For big carpet spills, lightly cover with cornmeal, wait 15 minutes then vacuum.
Oven Cleaner: Spread with baking soda, spray with water until damp and let set overnight but spray with water every few hours before retiring for bed in order to keep the solution damp. By morning, your oven is ready for stuck-on gunk to be scrubbed off.