From Associated Content, by Ester November
If you want to clean green but don't trust plain baking soda to do all the heavy lifting, here are some simple recipes for homemade green cleaning products that work.
Many folks have jumped on the homemade green cleaning product wagon, only to discover that nothing cleans a bathtub like an old-fashioned can of Comet. If you want to clean green, but don't trust plain baking soda to do all the heavy lifting, here are some simple recipes for homemade green cleaning products that work.
Disinfectant All-Purpose Spray
There are tons of recipes floating around for all-purpose sprays that claim to clean everything from your shower tile to your coffeemaker. What you should know is that unless the recipe for an all-purpose spray contains either lavender or tea tree oil, it's not antibacterial. This may not bother you in the slightest, but if you're especially prone to colds, you might want to put the extra oomph in your homemade cleaning products.
Lavender and tea tree oil probably won't kill every germ that comes into your house, but they are known for their antibacterial properties. To whip up the closest thing you can get to a homemade disinfectant, squeeze a couple drops of liquid castile soap into two cups of hot water. Stir, don't shake. Then add 30 drops of either lavender or tea tree oil, or a combination of both. Pour it into a spray bottle and use on everything but glass.
Commercial air fresheners don't really clean the air; they just cover the existing odor with a stronger smell. Use lemons combined with other household ingredients to draw odors from the air instead.
To make a general air freshener, squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon into a dish with baking soda. Leave the dish uncovered. If you want to get fancy (or miss the decorative look of a plug-in), stick a dried flower sprig in it, or mix some pretty pebbles into the powder.
You can squeeze lemon juice into vinegar for a similar deodorizing effect. Use vinegar with a squeeze of lemon to clean kitchen utensils and pans after cooking fish or garlic.
Lemons are also great for killing mold. When you're done squeezing the juice into homemade cleaning products, grind up lemon leftovers in the garbage disposal to clean it out and get rid of lingering food smells in your kitchen.
Degreasing is one of the toughest sells for homemade green cleaning products. If your grease is too tough for an all-purpose spray, get your kitchen shining again with white vinegar. Mix a pinch of washing soda, a couple drops of castile soap, and two tablespoons of vinegar into two cups of boiling water for a general degreaser. Or use plain white vinegar diluted with water in proportion to the toughness of the spot.
The inside of your oven can get pretty gross if you're not paying attention. For a good deep clean, mix baking soda and water to form a thick paste. Coat the inside of your oven with the goop before you go to bed and scrape it off in the morning. Then clean as you normally would with some water and castile soap, or with your all-purpose spray.
For a greasy kitchen spill, dump salt directly on top of the oil or grease. Let it sit for a few minutes to absorb. Then wipe up the mess and clean as normal.
If you're like most people who are concerned with air quality in the home, you've probably got some foliage that needs occasional dusting. Put a little bit of mayonnaise on a rag and use it to polish your plants' leaves. For some mysterious reason, mayonnaise makes houseplants look wonderful and leaves no smell behind.
"Non-Toxic Home Cleaning": Eartheasy
"25 Safe, Non-Toxic, Homemade Cleaning Supplies": Tree Hugging Family
"Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact": The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
"Homemade Green Cleaning Products": Go Green & Save the World
"Alternative Cleaning Recipes": Ecology Center