In recent months, many product lines have begun to create green products made with natural ingredients that are safer for your family and the environment. But what folks scrubbing the counter may not know is that many cleaning products can be mixed up with natural ingredients you may already have in your home.
April 23, 2010
Scrubbing that bathroom floor, wiping off those sticky counters and mopping the kitchen floor are all important chores we do to keep germs (and dirt!) at bay. But, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “cleaning products can present several health and environmental concerns. They may contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, or other human health issues.” Cleaning green is clearly a better alternative.
“It’s much more cost-effective to use natural products you can buy in any grocery store,” says Chris Clarke, owner of Sunrise Soap Co. in Pennsylvania. Items like vinegar and baking soda can work wonders to rid your home of germs and keep surfaces shining and clean.
White vinegar, for instance, can cut soap scum, grease, odors, mildew, wax buildup and dirt. It can also be utilized to disinfect and get out tough stains. Mix vinegar with water in a spray bottle and spray on a surface to find a natural, easy cleaning product that won’t send toxins into the air or into your skin. If undiluted, vinegar can even clean stainless steel. If you’re not okay with the smell, mix a little citrus in and you’ll have fresh-smelling surfaces as well.
Baking soda, often cited for its deodorizing power, can also clean surfaces. It is somewhat gritty and makes a great substitute for toxic cleansers. It is particularly useful for porcelain areas like sinks, tubs and stoves, and it leaves a beautiful shine. Baking soda can be used in its dry form, and it can also be mixed with other scents like lavender for a pleasant aroma. To freshen up your carpets, sprinkle baking soda on the area, let it sit for fifteen minutes and then vacuum.
Another very natural cleaning product, though you may not have it in your kitchen, is Borax. This substance is well-known as a bleach substitute, particularly for use with laundry, but it can clean just about anything. Borax is a natural mineral and can be used as a general purpose cleaner, from walls to floors to your favorite shirt. It disinfects and can soften water. One teaspoon of Borax should be mixed with one quart of water for general cleaning.
For a cleaner you probably wouldn’t guess, tea can be used to clean hardwood floors and woodwork. Fill a bucket with hot water, add two tea bags and wait a few minutes. Then dampen (only slightly) a mop or rag to wipe down floors and wood surfaces.
Other products that work wonders may be found in your bathroom closet. Alcohol can clean glass and granite and will disinfect as it goes. Hydrogen peroxide will cut mold and restore shine. Lemon oil will remove stains and shine up faucets and surfaces, removing stains as needed.
Try these easy mixes for green cleaning and save money while keeping your family healthy with products you know and can trust.