Green cleaning today is becoming more difficult and easier all at the same time. First, it is more difficult in that technology has allowed companies to create non-natural products that are so good at certain jobs that we have raised the bar on what we expect from our products. For example, orange oil can remove various sticky residues, but will never do so as well chemical removers sold in automotive and hardware stores. However, modern research is combining traditional wisdom to ferret out more and more natural ways to clean our homes without the need to purchase cleaners at the grocery store. With a little research, you can find a natural, green alternative for almost every need in your home. Let’s look at a few here.
A Streak Free View: Cleaning Windows One of the best ways to clean windows is super simple, we learned this one from a small window cleaning business: old newspaper, vinegar and water. Yep, that’s it. Simply mix 1 part vinegar with 5 parts water. Spray on the window, then wipe with a squeegee or newspaper. Sometimes, windows can have build-up from using store bought cleansers. In this case, mix ¼ cup vinegar, ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap and 2 cups of water. Rub on glass with a clean rag, and then rinse with clean water.
Fluff it Up: Safe Fabric Softener Traditional store bought fabric softeners for the laundry are full of dangerous chemicals and toxins. But there is an easy and safe way to make your clothes soft and static free. No, we are not going to tell you to dry them on a line – the answer is, use vinegar. Just a ½ cup of vinegar added to the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine (or poured in during the rinse cycle) can safely keep the static at bay.
Flush those Germs Away: Cleaning in the Bathroom Nothing cleans a bathroom like simple vinegar. Mix it with water to clean floors, tile and showers. Use full strength to clean the toilet bowl; vinegar does a great job of removing mineral rings if you let it soak for a while before scrubbing. To remove mold from bathroom grout and caulking, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and spray on mold; wait 60-90 minutes, then scrub or rinse away.
Scrub Away Dirt and Germs: Natural Scouring Paste Clean counter tops, sinks, faucets, glass top stoves and more with a simple scouring paste that is effective but only lightly abrasive. Combine ¼ cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap and just enough vinegar to turn the cleanser into a tooth paste like consistency. Dip a sponge or rag into the mixture and scrub it onto almost any surface. Rinse with clean water.
Anything, Anywhere: An Easy, All Purpose Cleaner Combine ½ cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, a tablespoon of baking soda, and 2 cups of water. Mix thoroughly and then use to clean almost any surface. Some sources suggest adding Borax, a natural cleanser which can be effective, but other sources have found Borax to be dangerous if ingested, so this is a personal choice.
Sparkling Clean: Remove Powder Residue from Dishwasher and Glassware If your dishwasher is developing a chalky white film or leaving a cloudy look on your dishes, there is a two-part remedy. First, you need to remove the residue from your dishwasher and glassware with citric acid. This natural, safe food preservative does a great job… simply put your cloudy dishes in the dishwasher, then fill the soap cup with 1 teaspoon dish detergent and 2 tablespoons citric acid, then run as normal. You may have to repeat two or three times, depending on how bad your dishwasher is; do this every month or two. Then, for maintenance, fill your rinse reservoir with vinegar. It is the best rinsing agent.