How to Go Green When You Clean Your Home

Verani Realty

woman holding different cleanersAs a homeowner, you may have considered going green when it comes to house cleaning. Concern over toxic fumes and chemicals left behind have many people choosing to be green when they clean.  But what works and what is hype? Should you buy green products or make your own?

Experts say that the average home has roughly 62 toxic chemicals lurking about. That’s pretty significant!  Labels are often hard to decipher, and it may seem like you need a chemistry degree to determine how dangerous each chemical in those cleaning products actually is.

Green cleaning products are available in grocery stores and sections of smaller health food stores, but they typically cost more than highly chemical versions. So, many homeowners on a tight budget are turning to creating their own greener ways to clean. All you need are a few empty spray bottles and some basic ingredients.

Here are a few ingredients and what they provide in terms of cleaning:

  • White vinegar – Has antifungal properties
  • Baking soda – Eliminates odors and can be used as a gentle scouring powder
  • Lemons and lemon juice – Non-toxic bleach, grease cutter, and stain remover
  • Olive oil – Furniture polish
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration) – Non-toxic bleach, stain remover and disinfectant
  • Liquid castile soap
  • Club soda – Stain remover
  • Corn meal or salt – For carpet spills
  • Essential oils – Scent, antibacterial properties.
  • Borax (sodium borate) – Eliminates odors, removes dirt and acts as a disinfectant.

Just about every natural cleaning product uses the same cleaners great-grandma used. These ingredients aren’t all completely safe if they were consumed or got into your eyes, so you still need to keep them away from kids and pets. But they’re much less toxic in terms of fumes, residue, and the waste water you put back into the ground.

Now all you need are a few recipes to put these ingredients to use. Here are a few to get you started:

General Cleaner

  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Essential oil (optional)

This works well on hard surfaces, like countertops and kitchen floors and even windows and mirrors, though the oil on glass will leave some residue.

Quick Clean up Solution for Bathroom

Spray down the sides of the tub/sink with the above vinegar and water solution. Sprinkle baking soda over that so it sticks to the sides. Then use the cut side of a lemon as a “scrub brush” to leave everything squeaky clean and lemony.

Glass Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 quart water

Mix together in spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe with lint-free cloth.  

Stain Absorbing Cleaner for Wine

Use ordinary table salt to soak up and eliminate red wine spills on carpets or table linen. Sprinkle liberally and leave overnight.

Scrub Paste

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • ½ cup to 2/3 cup liquid castile soap
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (preservative)
  • 5 drops antibacterial essential oil (optional)
  • 5 tsp. hydrogen peroxide

Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar for a shelf life of two years. Use this on kitchen counters, stoves, bathtubs and sinks.

These green cleaning methods can actually save you money as well as keep the air and the surfaces of your home free of chemicals. Sometimes only bleach will do, like for tough mold in the bathroom. In that case, open windows for good ventilation and get the job done. But the more you eliminate toxic chemicals from your daily routine cleaning, the healthier your home environment will be.

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