Green Cleaning Recipes
Cleaning products decorate our countertops, cabinets, drawers and laundry rooms, providing a line of defense between healthy living and the dirt that would invade our homes. However, many traditional cleaning products are petroleum-based, and are often laced with harmful and toxic ingredients like butane gas, ethanol and glycol ethers. In fact, though over 17,000 petrochemicals are available for home use, only 30% have been tested for their effects on human health.
Green cleaners are an ideal alternative for stocking your shelves with toxin-free products that will keep your house spic-and-span and fresh smelling. From the simplest ingredients – vinegar and essential oils – to ready-made products available in your supermarket aisle, green cleaning supplies are readily available and budget-friendly.
Back to Basics: Vinegar Recipes
- To clean tile grout, mix 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and use as a scrub.
- To kill germs, spray full-strength vinegar on any surface, let sit for a few minutes, and then wipe with a damp cloth. For an antibacterial boost, add two drops of tea tree oil to your cleaning solution.
- To clean the microwave, combine 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup water, place in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on high for two minutes. Stuck-on food will wipe off easily.
- To cut grease, spray full-strength white vinegar onto any surface, let sit for about 10 minutes, and then wipe off.
- To wash windows, spray full-strength white vinegar onto any glass surface and then wipe with a cloth or crumpled newspaper.
- To mop tile floors, mix one cup of vinegar with one gallon of warm water. Add tea tree oil to your solution for antibacterial cleansing.
- Furniture Polish: Blend one part lemon juice to two parts olive oil and use a soft cloth.
- Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner: treat stains immediately with club soda.
- Silver Cleaner: Combine aluminum foil, baking soda, salt and hot water in the kitchen sink. Place tarnished silver items into the sink over the foil and let sit for a few minutes. Rinse and dry.
- Sink & Stainless Steel Cleaner: Combine baking soda and salt to scrub stainless steel.
- Shoe Polish: Polish old leather with the inside of a banana peel, then buff dry.
When switching from traditional cleaners to green alternatives, the general rule of thumb is that if you can't pronounce the ingredient list, move on to the next option. Specifically, choose cleaners that are free of toxins, petrochemicals, bleach, ammonia, and phosphates.
If you'd prefer to skip the ingredient checklist, several brands promise time-tested and health-conscious formulas. Seventh Generation offers a wide range of sustainable and safe products, most of which are available in at your local supermarket. Ecover, also available internationally, provides a full product range based on renewable plant ingredients, making them biodegradable and very eco-friendly. Earth Friendly Products offer more than 60 household cleaners, are produced sustainably and are proven free of toxins and petrochemicals.