Monday, July 5, 2010

green clean

There's nothing like a clean house, except, of course, when it's clean AND toxin-free. As a mother, I'm concerned not only with how we are leaving our environment for future generations, but I'm also concerned with making sure my child's environment is as clean and healthy as possible.

Homemade "green" cleaning is easy and very inexpensive. All you need is a few simple ingredients to keep in your pantry, a few spray bottles, and some microfiber cloths, and you're on your way to being eco-clean.

Use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels:
Microfiber cloths are a godsend, especially for granite! Assign different colored cloths for different tasks. Glass-cleaning cloths are essential. And don't forget to use dishcloths for washing dishes, instead of sponges which harbor bacteria and then end up in the landfill.

Get a steam mop!
I got my Shark steam mop for Christmas last year and I have mopped more than I have ever mopped in my life because it's so easy and effective. There's no bucket to worry about, and there aren't any harsh chemicals because there are no chemicals involved. It's simply the steam that cleans. I love it! It's simple and the most non-toxic way to clean your floors.

Go to the dollar store to get the cheapest spray bottles and get several so you have one for each purpose: glass cleaning, all purpose, furniture polish, bathrooms, etc.

Then go to the grocery story for the rest.
Lemons, Borax, Baking soda, White vinegar, olive oil, castile soap, tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, and vodka, yes, vodka (get the biggest bottle of the cheapest kind you can find).

- Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and works as a non-abrasive scouring cleaner for the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Lemon Juice. The acid in lemon juice neutralizes hard water deposits, dissolves buildup and dirt on wood, and tarnish on silver, and is a natural disinfectant & bleach.
- White vinegar is also a great disinfectant. The infamous strong smell dissipates as the vinegar dries.
- Essential oils such as lavender, clove, and tea tree oil have antiseptic properties and are natural fungicides.
- Olive oil is a safe, natural and effective alternative to using many of the chemical and petroleum-based cleaning products and polishes.
- Borax has no toxic fumes and is safe for the environment. Borax cleans, deodorizes, disinfects,, softens water, repels cockroaches and other bugs.
- Liquid castile soap is effective for general cleaning (when used in a spray bottle with added water). It can also be used for bathing pets, washing clothes and shaving. It's great for those people with sensitive skin and may help improve skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Vodka: Use a ratio of 1 part alcohol to 4 parts water. The alcohol will kill bacteria and is effective at cleaning granite. No residue is left behind and the product dries quickly and is safe for use around pets and children, as long as they don't drink it.
- Hydrogen peroxide is natural, doesn't harm the environment, and is a great alternative to chlorine bleach. It kills mold and is a great disinfectant.

When you're done cleaning with all of these reusable, non-toxic, and effective ingredients, don't forget to wash the microfiber cloths, dishcloths, steam mop pads, and your reusable shopping bags so you're ready for the next cleaning frenzy.

If you're wondering if these homemade cleaning recipes are just as effective as the toxic stuff, they are actually better for you and your home environment because the toxic products will make you sick in the long run. They can cause cancer and breathing fumes, such as from chlorine bleach, is a health risk and can irritate your lungs.

For those of you who don't feel like making your own, despite how cheap and easy it is to make, there are plenty of earth friendly options out there. My favorites are Ecover, Mrs. Meyers, Method and Seventh Generation.
For those of you adventurous enough to make your own, here are a few cleaning recipes to get you started:

Clean YOUR environment and save money while you're at it. Clean home, clean planet! :)

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