I don’t know about you, but underneath our kitchen sink, my bathroom sink (my wife’s vanity is to full) and in the laundry area we have a ton of cleaning supplies. While these items’ making cleaning up certain area’s easier, they also come at a cost. Most of the kitchen cleaners have warnings on them about being harmful to not only the environment but for human’s. Some of them even tell you that you should use them with the windows open. I do not know about you, but that does not sound too healthy.
Well sitting here in North Carolina, at a hotel with an internet connection that keeps going up and down like a yo-yo, I was finally able to start cleaning up a file folder of notes. I happened to stumble across a few of my lists of “green” cleaning methods that might be able to help you eliminate some of those harmful cleaners under your cabinets. Most of these can easily be used from everything from your normal spring cleaning to your everyday chores and cleaning needs.
Fabric Softener: Replace your fabric softener with a ¼ cup of Vinegar in your rinse cycle. Not only will this help soften your clothes, it will help eliminate the soap scum that starts building up on the washer drum that will help prolong the washer’s life.
Laundry Detergent / Bleach / Stain Removal: You can replace all three items with a simple mixture of ½-cup washing soda (sodium carbonate) and ½-cup borax. Both items can generally be found right next to your regular laundry detergent. The first few times you use the product it will appear that you are using regular laundry detergent as this combination will be removing the excess detergents in your clothes and the actual washing machine.
All Purpose Cleaner:
There are just so many to choose from; plain baking soda with a little bit of water, white vinegar and baking soda, white vinegar and cream of tartar, or vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. A few items to keep in mind with using these is that while they are normally safe when diluted or used properly, you should check to make sure they will not damage the surfaces you are trying to clean. Marble can easily be scratched, while vinegar and lemon juice can attack the grout joints on ceramic tile or the finishes on many stone products like granite.
Coffee Pots (also good for tea makers):
One of the easiest tricks I have ever seen and used to clean out stained coffee pots is to add lemon juice, salt, a little water and ice to the pot. Swirl the mix around, and wash it as you regularly do. You will have a nice clean pot ready for your next pot of coffee.
A nice simple slightly damp soft cloth works great for picking up dust. If you are looking for a furniture polish, some people swear by a teaspoon of lemon oil mixed in with a cup of vegetable oil applied with a clean dry cloth.
There are a few tricks for cleaning these – one of the biggest is to simply pour in a ½ cup of backing soda in the disposal followed by ½ cup of vinegar. You simply let it fizz for a few minutes & then turn it on while you pour down about a teakettles worth of boiling hot water. I personally liked the lemon rinds and ice routine while I let the disposal run with cold-water running.
Ok I will admit it; I cannot stand them or the people that use essence of whatever oils. A properly cleaned and ventilated house should not need anything. That being said, during the wintertime, a slowly warming pot of cinnamon sticks with maybe a few citrus rinds and cloves adds a real nice ambiance to the place.
You can also create your own lemon scented air freshener spray by dissolving a teaspoon of baking soda into 2 cups of hot water and adding in a teaspoon of lemon juice. Let the mixture cool & you can pour it into a spray bottle and mist away as required.
You then also have the standard backup – leave a box of backing soda opened up in your teenager’s bedroom, the refrigerator and freezer to help reduce those unwanted odors.
Well this was all I could find at this time, but I do have some more that we commonly use stashed away somewhere. As soon as I can find them, we will probably add a part two to this article. In the mean time, if you have a particular “green cleaning” recipe or trick, drop us a line, or add it in the comments section. We would love to hear from you.
As a reminder, just because something is green, healthy, natural, etc… if used improperly it can possibly damage certain items, or even hurt you. We have written two other articles that contain some tips and tricks for cleaning and maintaining Ceramic Tile and granite. The granite article also contains some poultices that can generally also be used to remove stains from other materials