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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Green Cleaning

My sister-in-law, Mary, just moved to a new house. While moving she threw out all her harsh chemical cleansers, and now Mary is "going green". She wants to be more eco-friendly and Detox her home.

If you are made of money, there are supermarket shelf options to purchase. I'm a fan of Method, Mrs. Meyers, Simple Green, and Seventh Generation. These are companies who use plant derived ingredients and/or "safe" synthetics as well as run their companies eco-responsibly.

Since genuinely green alternatives can be pricey and hard to find, I put together a list of simple and inexpensive ingredients readily available that can get the job(s) done.

Mild acid cuts through grease, disinfects and discourages mold. It's effective in cleaning glass and tile, and removing odors.

Highly versatile, mild abrasive that can disinfect, eliminate odors, and will not scratch surfaces.

Useful and powerful cleaning agent. It is effective in removing mold and mildew and acts as an anti fungal. It is helpful in laundry cleaning as well.


Environmentally friendly dish washing liquid, or bar soap made from vegetable oils and animal fats.


~Multipurpose Cleanser

For cleaning glass, stainless steel, and plastic laminate surfaces fill a spray bottle with 2 parts water, 1 part distilled white vinegar.

~Microwave: place a glass bowl filled with 1/4 cup of vinegar in 1 cup of water. Place inside and microwave for 5 minutes. When finished dip a rag into the mixture (be careful--hot) and wipe off splatters.


~Toilet: pour a mixture of 1/2cup borax in 1 gallon of water into your toilet bowl, scrub with a toilet brush, then flush. Once a month, pour half a box of baking soda into the toilet tank. Let it sit overnight, then flush a few times the next morning. This will help to clean the tank and the bowl.

~Tough tile and porcelain stains: 1 cup of borax and 1/4 cup of lemon juice turned into a paste. Apply the paste to the problem area, rub it in with a sponge or rag and then wash away with warm water.

~Tile grout: use an old toothbrush and straight vinegar to restore the white grout.

~Mold and Mildew: mix 3 TBS of white vinegar, 1 tsp borax and 2 cups of hot water in a spray bottle. Work over the mildew areas, let it soak and then wash away.


~Windows: Use multipurpose cleanser and wipe dry with newspaper.

~Stain Remover: For carpet stains use Borax. Dissolve 1/2 cup of borax in a pint of water. Sponge the solution, wait 1/2 hour, shampoo, let dry, and vacuum.


~Adding 1/2 cup of borax to load with regular amount of laundry detergent is an effective stain remover and laundry deodorizer.

~Adding 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to your washer's rinse cycle can kill bacteria in your wash, make clothes soft and smell fresh, brighten whites, keep clothes static free, and set the color of newly dyed fabrics.


jennifer said...

Great tips, Sarah!

Something to point out: Never use vinegar in your wash cycle if you are also using any type of bleach with your detergent. The reaction can create fumes.

I once talked with a lady who gives workshops about green cleaning. She encourages people to get rid of their harsh chemical cleaners through community hazardous substance drop-off points. If your city or county doesn't have a collection program, then give your item to someone who will use it, or use it up yourself before disposing and making the switch to a green alternative. This is because there can be a great impact to the environment when we dump huge amounts of cleaners.

d/b/c/m said...

I LOVE simple green. I've thought about writing a post of my love for it. Not quite as friendly as vinegar, but I won't give it up!

Great tips.