There are many many reasons to use these green cleaning tips when you’re sprucing up your home this spring. It has a better effect on the environment than using the more widely popular sprays, disinfectants and cleaning agents. If polluting the world is a little too large scale, focus more on what’s right in front of you: your family. Keeping the unnecessary chemicals out of your family’s lungs and off of your skin is a wonderful benefit of following these green cleaning tips. Most of these are excellent money savers as well! Bonus!
1. Vinegar Vinegar Vinegar!
One of the best green cleaning tips I can share with you is that vinegar works wonders on nearly everything! You can use it alone, mixed with water or mixed with baking soda or salt to clean a vast number of surfaces in your home.
Use straight distilled white vinegar to clean the counter, sink, toilet and remove soap scum from the shower. For hard to clean stains, make a paste using 2 tbs salt and 1 tbs vinegar.
To unclog a sink or tub drain, sprinkle a cup of baking soda into the drain then dump a cup of hot vinegar on top of it. After letting it sit for 5-10 minutes, run hot water down the drain to flush out the remaining baking soda and vinegar.
One of my favorites: In a plastic baggie, mix a ½ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar. While it is still bubbling, submerge your shower-head in the bag and wrap a rubber-band around the top to secure it in place. Let it sit for two hours then rinse it clean. No more clogs!
Once again, clean the counter tops with straight vinegar, or dilute it slightly with water if you’d like.
To clean the microwave, fill a microwave safe bowl with a ½ cup of water and a ½ cup of vinegar and heat it until boiling. This will make all the hard, stuck on food bits wipe off easily.
Use the same ½ and ½ solution to clean the shelves, door and top of your refrigerator.
To clean coffee makers, run a full cycle using 1 cup of distilled vinegar. After you've finished, run it again using plain water (may need to do this a couple of times).
2. Lemony Fresh
Ahh, the fresh citrusy scent of lemon is truly a delightful smell. Most people tend to associate the aroma with cleanliness because there are lemon essential oils in an incredible amount of commercial cleaning products. You can do away with the unneeded chemical compounds and use the actual lemon itself to clean any number of things as well as freshen the air! If you have a garbage disposal, you know how stinky they can get. Toss half a lemon in and turn it on. The lemon oil will smell fantastic, the acids will break down food, and the texture of the lemon cleans the blades, it’s the perfect all in one cleaner! Clean mirrors and windows with a mixture of water and lemon juice in a spray bottle. It’s all natural and it smells great! You can clean and deodorize your toilet bowl by scrubbing it with undiluted lemon juice. It leaves your bathroom smelling fruity and fresh.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda makes a great cleanser when mixed with vinegar, but it is also great when used on its own. Mix a ½ cup of baking soda into a bucket of warm water for mopping the floor. It will leave your floor looking magnificent without the overpowering fumes that go hand in hand with many store bought floor cleaners. Just make sure to rinse it with water to get rid of any residue. If you have pets or just old carpets, sprinkle baking soda over the particularly bad areas; allow it to sit for fifteen minutes and then vacuum as you normally would. Baking soda is a phenomenal deodorizer; sprinkle it in the litter box or in the bottom of your garbage bag. Keep an open box in the fridge, freezer or cabinets or anywhere else things may smell a little yucky.
4. Switch the Swiffer
Almost everyone I know has a Swiffer now, including myself. Swiffers may be nice and easy to handle, but the fact that you have to use a new wet or dry (or both) cloth every time you clean up ends up costing you more than it should and contributes more garbage. Get yourself a reusable sponge mop, they work better, last longer and you only have to buy refills occasionally. I got mine two months ago and I love it! It may be a tiny bit more of a hassle, but it definitely scrubs my floor better.
Newspapers are so underutilized and quite plentiful! Instead of letting them stack up in the corner when you are finished reading them, put them to good use and clean your house with them! You wouldn’t believe how odor and moisture absorbing they are. My husband actually uses them for most spills around the house instead of wasting paper towels. You can dry out shoes by crumpling up a few sheets of newspaper and tucking them inside, allowing them to sit overnight. One of the best uses is to line the bottoms of refrigerator drawers with several sheets of paper, it not only soaks up any moisture or juices that may escape your veggies, it will also captures the odors of the onions and garlic you store in there.
6. Natural Air Freshener
Most store-bought air fresheners are filled with all sorts of chemicals. I don’t have any allergies to chemicals or anything like that; I just feel that they shouldn’t be needlessly sprayed into the air inside or outside of our home when there are natural, healthier ways of accomplishing the same, if not better, results.
Mix 6 oz of water with 20-30 drops of essential oil. You can also mix in 1 oz of rubbing alcohol if you’d like, but you don’t necessarily need it (it only helps the solution to dry faster).
You can make your own reed diffusers incredibly cheaply. Buy a pack of wooden skewers (most grocery stores or some dollars stores have them). They are really cheap, usually a dollar or two for an entire pack. Use a glass jar or vase that you already have, or snag one for a buck at Dollar Tree. Fill it up half way with a mix of essential oils of your choice or any fragrant substance you’d like to try out. You’d be surprised what can absorb into the skewers. Some shampoos will even work! Leave the skewers in the fluid for a week then flip them over. The air circulating around the exposed skewers will give off a spectacular scent.
If you want to truly use 100% natural sources and don’t mind monitoring your delicious fragrance, you can simmer citrus fruit rind or spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon in a pot on your stove top. It definitely elicits the strongest aroma, but the downside is that you can’t leave it unattended.
7. Buy Eco-Friendly Products
If you don’t want to make your own products, there are an ever growing number of Eco-friendly cleaning sprays, natural sponges or organic cloths as well as chemical-free dish soap. They may be a little pricier than their chemically made counterparts, but it’s worth it if you don’t have time for DIY cleaning solutions yet you still want a chemical free home.
If you are looking for a new, clean way to get your house looking and smelling great, give some of these techniques a try. You’ll be surprised what a substantial difference changing a few things in your home will make; less headaches, less eye irritation, lessening of symptoms associated with chemical allergies you may not even know you have. What green cleaning tips can you share with us?