Monday, March 22, 2010

clean and green from your kitchen

This spring, clean your home
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!


A Protective Mother said...

Thanks for all the great info! Some of it I already knew, and some of it is new to me!
Def going to try the smooth stove top cleaner - thanks for sharing!

31 everything said...

Interesting info... My husband & I watched a documentary called "No Impact Man" - a family of 3 went GREEN in NYC - they cleaned like this. Yup, pretty interesting stuff.

CinnamonAndSass said...

These are great tips. I am totally addicted to the Mrs. Meyers cleaners; the Basil scent is fabulous and smells a heck of a lot better than 409!

Lisa at Visual Journey Photo said...

Great info! I'm keeping this and putting it to use. Thanks!!!

Lonesome Road Studio said...

I know what you mean, Cinnamon - the smell of some of the commercial cleaners is sooo overwhelming.
thanks for reading, everyone!

Kelley said...

Thanks for the recipe for stovetop cleaner. I don't like the harsh chemical smell that it has either. I might give the vinegar-lemon mix a try.

This would also be good for my aunt who has allergic reactions to most chemicals.

surfingcat said...

Thanks for those tips, there were a few I knew but lots I didn't.

I use white vinegar in my loo to remove the limescale that builds up. I pour some in and leave it overnight. A quick scrub with the toilet brush in the morning and it comes up sparkling!

I also use a little white vinegar neat in a plastic bag attached over the end of the taps with a rubber band overnight to remove limescale if it builds up on the taps, bit tricky to get on but does the job well.

Wicked Thrifty said...

hooray for spreading the word! nice tips. i am not a laundry master so these are awesome for me :D

Resweater said...

Vinegar is the best air sanitizer too! Spritz it in the air after someone stinks up the bathroom, and by the time the vinegar dries (about 30 seconds), the smell is gone! Vinegar kills the germs in the air that cause the odors.

Vinegar is awesome for cleaning child eating surfaces too (high chair tray, table top). It safely kills germs and doesn't need to be rinsed.

Caked on burned stuff that won't scrub off your pan? Vinegar & baking soda, let it sit for 5 minutes, and it comes right off!

In addition to the things you mentioned for vinegar in the washing machine, it also kills germs and removes soap build-up. Soap build up can cause skin irritation, cloth diapers to repel, and washing machines to small funny.

Can you tell I love vinegar? ;)

Lonesome Road Studio said...

Ooh, I forgot that I've used vinegar and baking soda to remove burned-on crud from pots and pans, thanks for the reminder, Resweater!
I've also run an "empty" cycle (no laundry) in the washer to spiff it up a bit.
Not to mention shower heads!
Thanks everyone for adding your tips to the comments section!!

southwestskyjewelry said...

I will have to remember scissors are always sticky from tape...thanks for the tips!


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