The last thing you want to do is dump toxic chemicals into the environment in the name of cleaning, right? Although there are many companies that make full lines of environmentally-sensitive cleaning products, making homemade cleaners are easy and more affordable.
Here are some basic supplies you’ll need to make your own green cleaners:
-Distilled white vinegar
-Liquid castile soap
-Essential oils or lemon
-Microfiber cleaning cloths
Here are a few basic “recipes” and techniques to get you started:
-Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.
-Countertops and bathroom tile: Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.
-Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.
-Wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.
-Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar.
-Disinfectant: Mix 2 tsp. borax, 4 Tbs. vinegar, 3 cups hot water, and 1/4 tsp. liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.
-Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.
-Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great fro bedrooms, and cinnamon, clove, and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house.
Of course, you may not want to make your own cleaners, if your highest priority is ease and simplicity, but you would still like to reduce your impact on the environment with your cleaning, there are many environmentally- friendly products out there, particularly in our wondrously environment-centric home of Humboldt!
When you use a green cleaning product, you may want to avoid phosphates, chlorine, artificial fragrances, and artificial colors. Many cleaners on the market now are also marketed as being biodegradable. Other cleaners have ingredients that are grown organically or produced using sustainable farming practices. Some green cleaning products may certify that their items are fair trade, meaning that the product meets certain environmental and labor standards by those who produced it. Green cleaning products may not be free of additives or harmful chemicals–perhaps they use recycled packaging or donate a portion of their profits to environmental causes. Those are all examples of “green” cleaning products.
Cleaning up your home doesn’t have to be dirty work. When you implement some of these products, you can rest assured that you’re benefiting your home and the planet all at once.