Ecofriendly Household Cleaning

It’s no secret that ‘going green’ is a rising trend. There are hundreds of ways to change your life to help protect the planet and keeping your house clean is no exception. Sure a little bleach takes a stain right up and any bottle with the words ‘anti-bacterial’ on it should make you feel like you’re keeping your family safe. But the chemicals in these preparations won’t keep the planet safe. There are four simple products that will put an end to hazardous odors and environmental contaminants.

White vinegar, baking soda, castile soap and water are all you need to clean, deodorize and sanitize your home. Baking soda is your basic scrubber. Abrasive, water-soluble and anti-fungal baking soda and a little bit of elbow grease will clean anything. Baking soda is cheap to buy and completely safe for the environment. Many people know that a box of baking soda in your fridge or a sprinkle in the bottom of your garbage can can help keep foul odors at bay. It can even be sprinkled on the carpet as a carpet deodorizer. But did you know that baking soda mixed with water can dissolve grease? This makes it a fantastic and effective method of cleaning kitchen counters, refrigerators and stove tops. Made into a paste it can easily remove counter stains made by things like fruit punch and grape juice. Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down drains weekly followed by hot water to avoid clogs. Since it is non-toxic a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda to a quart of warm water is ideal for cleaning children’s toys.

Vinegar has a multitude of uses as well and can be stored in spray bottles for more convenient use. Generally you’ll want two bottles – one with straight vinegar and one with a half and half solution mixed with water. Vinegar sprayed around windowsills and doors is an effective and non-toxic way of preventing ants from invading your house. Use your half and half spray bottle as the perfect window and mirror cleaner in place of your regular chemical laden cleaners. For carpet stains simply sop up as much of the spill as possible and then spray with your half and half solution, let it sit for two minutes and blot it up. No wax floors can be cleaned with 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of water and wood cabinetry can be cleaned and shined with a mixture of 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 cups of warm water by simply rubbing on with a soft cloth and then drying with a dry cloth. Chemical build up from shower heads can be removed overnight by soaking in vinegar. To clean out your microwave put in a 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water and cook long enough for it to boil. Odors will be removed and baked on crumbs will be easier to wipe up. Add a cup of distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle of your cloth diapers to remove and lingering odors and stains.

Castile soap is a soap made from vegetable oils like olive, coconut, almond or jojoba rather then animal fat. Completely environmentally safe and animal friendly, castile soap is often scented with 100% pure essential oils. Most preparations are highly concentrated so a little goes a long way. Castile soap is perfect anywhere you’d use soap, including dishwashing, mopping, hand soap and general cleaning.

Commercially prepared cleaning products are now being marketed from companies like Method, where you can buy the same sort of products you are using now but with no threat to the planet. Method products work by absorbing the dirt rather then chemically degrading it and are in completely biodegradable containers. They cover everything from the laundry room to the kitchen to the bathroom. While these products can largely be found on line, stores like Target are also beginning to carry them.

Whether you make your own or you buy prepared solutions, take care of your planet while you’re taking care of your house.

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