With unseasonably warm temperatures, spring is in the air early. And that means spring cleaning is coming early this year, as well. Before you start this seasonal clearing of the clutter, here are some ideas for non-toxic, green cleaning products you can make at home to save money and create a less toxic environment.
Earth Easy provides a huge resource of homemade cleaning product recipes on their website using a lot of the items you already have in your home. The most common products used in homemade cleaners include vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, Borax, and you can also add optional essential oils to give your cleaning solutions a fresh, pleasant smell.
The DIY All-Purpose Non-Toxic CleanerFor a good all-around cleaning mixture, add one-half of a cup of vinegar and one-quarter of a cup of baking soda into a half-gallon of water. Earth Easy particularly recommends this for getting rid of water deposit stains on your shower doors and cleaning your mirrors and bathroom chrome fixtures.
Homemade Cleaning And Polishing Products For Your FloorsThe most common formula for cleaning floors without toxic chemicals is simply mixing a solution of vinegar and water. For wood floors, combine equal amounts of white distilled vinegar with your cleaning water, then add 15 drops of pure peppermint oil.
If you have vinyl or linoleum floors, try mixing one cup of vinegar with a few drops of baby oil in a gallon of warm water. You could also add a quarter of a cup of Borax for those particularly tough cleaning jobs. Bonus: if you have pets, Borax is a natural flea killer that you can sprinkle on carpets before vacuuming and add to your laundry and bedding in the washer.
For brick and stone tiles, try mixing a cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water, then rinsing with plain water.
For polishing wood floors, some people use lemon oil products that can be found in the furniture polish section of your local store. You could also combine equal parts of vegetable oil and vinegar and rub it into your wood floors. If your wood floors are painted, mix one teaspoon of a generic washing soda, such as Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds, with a gallon of hot water.
Green And Clean In The KitchenEarth Easy also has multiple kitchen cleaning suggestions for spring cleaning and all year round, including simply rubbing a slice of lemon on your chopping block to disinfect the surface. If you have some stubborn stains, squeeze some lemon juice on the spot and let it sit for 10 minutes.
You've probably been baking Christmas cookies and roasting Thanksgiving turkeys since your last spring cleaning, so it's time to clean that oven. Try dampening the interior oven surfaces with a sponge then applying a mixture of three-quarters of a cup of baking soda, one-quarter cup of salt, and one-quarter cup of water to make a cleaning paste that you'll spread on the interior oven walls. Let it sit overnight and then remove the dried residue with a spatula before wiping clean with a damp cloth or sponge. You can use a little bit of fine steel wool on the tougher spots if needed.
Or, you can just buy some Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner, which the Consumers' Union has declared one of the rare non-toxic commercial formulas. Simple can be a very good thing.
Keeper of the Home also has some spring cleaning suggestions to keep your kitchen clean and free from toxic chemicals. Here are their recipes for homemade liquid dish soap and dishwashing detergent.
Homemade Liquid Dish Soap
- ½ cup warm distilled water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Lemon essential oil (optional)
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups baking soda
- 2 cups Borax
- 1 cup of Lemi-Shine (non-toxic, found in the detergent aisle)
Cleaning The Bathroom And LaundryFor a simple but effective toilet bowl cleaner, Earth Easy recommends mixing a quarter of a cup of baking soda with a cup of vinegar and letting it sit in your toilet bowl for a few minutes. For cleaning your bathroom mirror, Keeper of the Home recommends combining a quarter of a cup of white vinegar, a quarter of a cup of rubbing alcohol, a tablespoon of cornstarch, and two cups of water in a spray bottle. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil to add fragrance to your spring cleaning products. The cornstarch is what reduces streaking, but you'll have to make sure you shake the mixture well with each use because of that ingredient.
Last but not least, try this spring cleaning "recipe" for your own natural laundry detergent, or at least semi-natural. Combine a half a cup of Borax, half of a cup of Dawn dishwashing soap, half of a cup of "washing soda" like Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Laundry Booster, and four cups of hot water. Combine these in a recycled one-gallon jug and once they are mixed well, top off the jug with cold water. Keeper of the Home recommends using a quarter of a cup for a standard load of laundry, or a little more for heavily soiled clothing or bedding.
With these recipes for non-toxic home cleaners, your spring cleaning will become "green cleaning, " and you'll have a healthier home.
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