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Green Cleaning for a Healthy Home

By on December 18, 2004

photo by kyknoord
lemon

Most homes contain various store-bought products to clean their home effectively. Many of these manufactured cleaning products are toxic. You can replace these products with safer alternatives that are easy to make and economical too. The basic ingredients are items that are either readily available in your home or easy to find at your local grocery store. Homemade cleaners are versatile, so will require less storage space than all of your conventional cleaning products. The results are impressive and will equal and often outperform commercial cleaners.

Basic Ingredients Checklist

Baking Soda
Vinegar
Water
Lemon Juice
Ammonia
Salt
Borax
Vegetable or Olive Oil
Club Soda
Isopropyl Alcohol
Toothpaste
Spray Bottles

Tips Before You Get Started

  • Mix in a well-ventilated area
  • Label containers and store in a safe place
  • Use containers with tight fitted lids
  • Don’t reuse old containers from other cleaners
  • Don’t mix bleach and ammonia
  • Don’t store in food containers
  • Test an area before using any cleaner

Quick Tips

Dusting- Re-use dryer sheets for dusting instead of the new Pledge or Swiffer cloths.
Linoleum Floor- Use club soda to clean
Fabric Softener- Add vinegar to the rinse cycle
Microwave Cleaner- Mix 2T baking soda or lemon juice and 1 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for five minutes or until the liquid boils and condensation builds up inside the microwave. Wipe down.
Chrome Cleaner- Toothpaste is great for cleaning chrome.
Dishwasher Rinse- 1 1/2 white vinegar added to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher

The following recipes are safe and non-toxic.

Glass Cleaner

1 gallon water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid dish detergent

or

1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Mix and add to a spray bottle

Wood Floor Cleaner

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Mix well

All-Purpose Cleaner

1 tsp. borax
1/2 Tsp. washing soda
2 Tbl. lemon juice
In a spray bottle, combine the ingredients with 1 cup of hot water and shake.

Furniture Polish

In a spray bottle mix 1 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
Shake well and apply a small amount to a cloth.

Multi-Purpose Deep Cleaner

1 cup household ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
1 gallon warm water
Mix well

As you can see, homemade cleaners are simple and frugal to make. They are safe and effective too. Replacing even one of your conventional cleaners with a greener alternative can make a difference. You’ve got to ask yourself if you’re “killing yourself” trying to clean your house with commercial chemicals.

As seen at bemoreyou.com site launched by Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes and Valarie Miller and in Viva Terra newsletter http://www.vivaterra.com

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About Sara Noel

Sara Noel owns Castalia Coffee Roasting Company, Follow me on Twitter

7 Comments

  1. emily_hope

    2/17/2007 at 10:48 pm

    Funny. I just asked the question at frugalvillage.com today about my streaked up windows and mirrors. The commercial product I am using just doesn’t cut it. All comments suggested using the vinegar/water solution. Some also suggested usings newspaper instead of paper towels. I am copying off your ‘recipes’. Thanks.

  2. Bumplett

    2/18/2007 at 12:54 am

    I’ve tried a variation of everything except furniture polish – I’ve been scared to try the homemade version of this one – I’d never be able to afford to replace my furniture if I messed it up :) — I’m glad I found a recipe that seems safe, I’m going to print this out & keep it in my cleaning cab.

    :) thanks!

  3. Marie78

    2/18/2007 at 3:59 am

    I am copying down some of these recipes too. I was just cleaning my bathroom this evening. I had the fan going and I kept breathing under my shirt, so I wouldn’t inhale the “fumes.” I think these home made cleaners will save me money on cleaning products too!

  4. mom23boys

    2/18/2007 at 6:45 pm

    I love these tips!! I was shocked about the wood floor cleaner. I would have never thought to use vegetable oil as a cleaner. I guess I learn something new everyday.

  5. Kim

    2/23/2007 at 8:13 am

    My roomies look at me like I’m bizarre!!! when I have a bottle of questionable contents and I tell them it’s window/bathroom faucet cleaner (vinegar and water). Or when I grab the box of baking soda and dish detergent and use it to scour a stained counter or a pan with stuck-on food. Or when I use baking soda, vinegar and boiling water to unclog the bathroom sink. One thing I do know is that I don’t kill myself with ‘deadly’ fumes, break the bank with the cost and I ALWAYS have the ingredients on hand.

  6. Saramae

    3/4/2007 at 10:54 am

    I just tried the wood floor cleaner on my entire home. The floors and stairs look great!!!!!! A must try. Though I am wondering how long I can store the leftovers?

  7. Eileen Dowd

    3/17/2009 at 1:41 pm

    I have found all the suggestions very helpful and have used many of the over the years. I do not know what washing soda is though?? Easily available?
    Also Borax – what properties does this have that makes it important? Is it an abrasive?
    One more! I am always concerned about germs – kitchen counters, etc. and would like to know if hydrogen peroxide, or tea tree oil or vinegar and antiseptic properties. I really don’t like using bleach.
    Thanks

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