Once upon a time, the misguided inhabitants of planet Earth thought it was a good idea to clean up their messes by spraying toxic chemicals on them. Hmm. Let’s rethink that, shall we? Fortunately, there are much better ways to keep your home clean that don’t involve risking your own health or the health of the environment. One way you can make your home more eco-friendly is by “greening” your cleaning routine. Take a look at the cleaning products you have on hand. Chances are, you’ll have a hard time finding a list of ingredients like those required on food labels. Manufacturers of cleaning products don’t have to tell you what chemicals you’re spraying all over your house. You might also find some pretty ominous warnings to avoid contact with the stuff, but don’t worry…you can usually find the phone number for the poison control center on the label in big, bold print. Ok, ‘nuff said. Let’s look at some natural, healthy, non-toxic cleaning solutions that will help you keep your home clean without destroying the planet or your health in the process.
Recipes for Natural, All-Purpose Cleaners
- Grandma Was Right: Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart of water and you’ll have an all-purpose cleaner that gently scours away most of your common spills and stains. Baking soda also deodorizes, so it’s great for cleaning refrigerators, microwaves, diaper pails, etc.
- Great for Soap Scum and Grease: Mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1 quart of water. Experiment with the “recipe” to find the strength you need. Put this solution in a spray bottle. It’s a great degreaser and works great to get rid of soap scum, too. Just spray it, wait about 30 seconds, and wipe it off. If you’re cleaning soap scum, rinse surfaces off with water as you normally would.
- Squeaky Clean & Minty Fresh: Grab a 1-quart spray bottle. Mix 2 Tablespoons of peppermint liquid castile soap, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Add water to fill the bottle. This makes a good cleaner for sinks, showers, tile floors, or anywhere else that would welcome a minty-fresh scent.
- Magic Formula for Silver Polish: Put a sheet of aluminum foil into a glass bowl. Sprinkle the foil with salt and baking soda. Fill the bowl with warm water and soak your silver in the bowl. Like magic, the tarnish ends up on the foil. Don’t ask me how, I haven’t a clue. I’d love to know how someone discovered this trick, though…sounds like a science experiment gone astray!
- Tile and Vinyl Floor Cleaner: In a bucket, mix 1/8 cup liquid castile soap, 1/8 cup white vinegar, and 1 gallon of water. Damp mop.
- Linoleum Floor Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 1/2 – 2 cups of water. Use a 1 quart spray bottle and use this recipe for wipe-down and spot cleaning.
Natural Cleaners In Your Pantry
Here are a few tips for getting double-duty out of some of the things you may already have in your kitchen:
- Lemon Juice works on lime scale on bathroom fixtures. Bottled lemon juice works just as well as squeezing fresh lemons. Let the lemon juice sit on the problem area for a while.
- Olive Oil gets fingerprints off of stainless steel.
- Cornmeal works on grease stains. Rub it on the stain, then brush it off.
- Soda Water removes carpet stains.
The Tip of the Iceberg
There are dozens of ways to make your cleaning routine more eco friendly, and this list is just a sampling of some all-purpose cleaners. I’ll be adding more in the future. In the meantime, share your green cleaning tricks in the comments below. Got a tough cleaning problem? Just ask, maybe someone else has the solution you need!