the green way AND save money...
It is now spring in many parts of the world -
time to air out, spruce up and let the sunshine in!
Unfortunately, all of this cleaning can lead to the use of products potentially harmful to the environment, not to mention your wallet. With a little resourcefulness you can create your own non-toxic cleaners for even the toughest household projects at a fraction of the cost of the big name brands.
Most people are aware that a one-to-one combination of water and white vinegar makes a terrific all-purpose cleaner, or that nothing freshens a drain like a good cleansing with baking soda and vinegar. In fact, baking soda is as useful as vinegar for so many cleaning needs, from laundry to housecleaning, and even natural weed control.
For instance, a combination of 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 cup of hot water makes an amazing stain-fighter that is not harmful to fabric like chlorine bleach. In fact, I've used this combination on pet stains in the carpet and it works a little too well, if you know what I mean. Like "Wow, I didn't know the carpet was that color!"
One of the biggest banes of my existence is keeping my smooth stove top clean. And what IS in that bottle of goop that they sell as cleaner? What a smell. A better alternative is to make your own; the lemon essential oil is an unusual ingredient but it serves as a natural degreaser and is the thing that makes this cleaner work so well. Simply combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar with 10 drops of lemon essential oil in a clean spray bottle and shake well. To use, sprinkle baking soda directly onto the burned food on the stove top, then spray with the lemony vinegar mixture. This will fizz just like the drain cleaner; wait until the fizzing stops and wipe clean. Repeat as needed. You will be amazed at the results!
A real hotspot for harsh, toxic cleaners is the bathroom. Keep your bathroom sparkling without all the toxic ingredients by using this simple and cheap tub and toilet cleaner from Vegetarian Times magazine. Sprinkle the surface with borax then spray with a bit of vinegar and scrub. That's it! And once those shower walls are clean, keep them that way with the greenest and overall cheapest cleaner of all - a squeegee.
Here are some other ways to spring-clean
your home greenly and cheaply
with white vinegar:
- Add 1/2 cup vinegar to your laundry rinse cycle to decrease lint and make colors brighter.
- Vinegar breaks down uric acid; add it to the rinse cycle for cleaner cloth diapers.
- Remove coffee and tea stains from china with a combination of vinegar and salt. This mixture also cleans chrome sink fixtures.
- A combination of 1 teaspoon salt dissoved in vinegar and mixed with flour to form a paste will effectively clean silver, pewter, copper or brass.
- Got lunchbox stank? Place a slice of bread that has been soaked in white vinegar overnight in the lunchbox.
- Get rid of those pesky fruit flies by leaving out a small bowl of vinegar. A little leftover wine works as well.
- Sticky scissors after cutting things like tape? Clean them with a cloth dipped in undiluted white vinegar.
- Clean up white water rings on wood with equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil.
- However, never ever use vinegar on marble - it can damage the surface.
Share your favorite uses for vinegar and other natural, cheap cleaners here!