Green Cleaning Recipes: Salubrious Solutions

As the fall season surrounds us and winter months approach, dirt, dust, and bacteria from summer can build up indoors causing air pollution. Tainted air is a breeding ground for the seasonal flu, asthma, and allergies. However, while we may instinctively reach for the common house cleansers, many of them in fact contain Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC’s. The EPA states that VOC’s can cause headaches, allergic reaction, nausea, fatigue, and irritation of the skin, nose, mouth, eyes, and respiratory system. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “53 percent of cleaning products assessed by EWG contain ingredients known to harm the lungs.” Exposure to these chemicals can cause long-term health issues too, for instance 1,4-dioxane (primarily used in detergents) and formaldehyde (used as a preservatives in disinfectants) are both carcinogens.

However, green cleaning provides a sustainable alternative to fighting off flu, allergy, and asthma symptoms! The following recipes for cleansers are not only environmentally friendly substitutes, but can be made quickly and cheaply right at home.

To freshen air – Mix baking soda and water and place in a spray bottle. Spray as needed.

To clean dirt sinks and bathtubs -Use vinegar to eliminate soap scum, grease, and dirt.

To do a deep disinfecting on kitchen and bathroom countertops – Wash with natural soup and water, then apply a solution of 2-cups white-distilled vinegar mixed with 3 drops of eucalyptus, thyme, or tea tree oil on the surface and rinse.

For a daily antibacterial spray – Mix 1-cup club soda, 1-cup white vinegar, ¼ hydrogen peroxide, and 8 drops of tea tree oil. Make sure to put the solution in a dark bottle to preserve the hydrogen peroxide.

For an alternative to bleach in laundry – Heat ¼ cup of vinegar in microwave for 30 seconds on high. Dissolve ¼ cups of borax in the vinegar, and add ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide.

For a solution to clean bathroom floor tiles – Mix 8 drops of dish soap, ¼ cup of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of skim milk or powdered milk and to cups of water. For best results, spray on the floor and scrub with a microfiber cloth to remove additional particles. Rinse.

To clean an oven – Fill a dish (oven safe) with water and heat until steam from water has softened the grease and grime “caked” on from baking. Then mix 8 tablespoons of salt, 8 tablespoons of baking soda, and 8 tablespoons of vinegar and use it to scrub and remove softened grime.

To polish furniture – Mix 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of water, and juice from 1 lemon in a spray bottle. Shake well, apply to furniture, and let the solution sit on furniture for 5 minutes uninterrupted. Then, buffer and shine with a polishing cloth.

For a toilet bowl cleaner – Put 1-cup baking soda into toilet. Next, slowly pour 1-cup vinegar across the surface of the whole bowl. Finally, add essential oils and scrub as needed.

For a good ant repellent – Simply put cinnamon in the opening of which you think they are entering. (They dislike the smell so they will likely turn around.)

 

Common Prices of Green Cleaning Items:

Salt: About $0.69 a pound

Lemons: About $0.50 each

Essential oils: About $14.00 (can be found at health food stores)

Borax: About $5.00 for 4 pounds (can be found at supermarkets)

Vinegar: About $1.80 for a quart

Baking Soda: About $1.00 a box

Club Soda: About $1.00-$2.00 a liter

Natural Dish Soap: $3.00-$4.00 a bottle

Hydrogen Peroxide: $1.80 a bottle

Implement these green recipes into your cleaning routine to ward off those seasonal sicknesses and start your year off in good health!

 

Written by: Julie Elliot, class of 2015

Photo by: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woman_cleaning_toilets.jpg, Description – Woman cleaning toilets.jpg, 1 February 2009, 06:07:25, originally posted to Flickr as Woman’s work is never doneE, mergency Brake

 

For the EWG’s list of the worst cleaners, check out this link. http://static.ewg.org/reports/2012/cleaners_hallofshame/cleaners_hallofshame.pdf

Many of these tips came from http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/ddedbe6a#/ddedbe6a/16

 

6 Replies to “Green Cleaning Recipes: Salubrious Solutions”

  1. Would this work with cleaning decks of mold? We have a new deck that was built not that long ago but live near water. The moisture causes mold to grow quickly and we have children with allergies. If anyone knows of a natural way to killed mildewed decks, please share.

  2. Hi,

    It is good to see that I am not the only one that puts time into teaching others about the importance of green cleaning. A lot of people have the misconceptions that green cleaning is less effective or harder than cleaning with regular products.
    I know from experience that there are cleaning jobs that are made EASIER by using natural, green products.

    Thanks for spreading the word.

  3. A surprising number of the most harmful toxins ever created are found right in our own backyard — indeed, right inside your mop closet. Thank you for sharing your recipes. They really can help to detoxify the home, make it safe again, and keep it that way by avoiding a few key chemical cleaning products. I wan to share one more green cleaning idea.Glass Cleaner: Combine 1 1/2 cups vinegar, 1/2 cup water and 8 drops citrus essential oil in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray and wipe with a dry cloth or towel.

  4. I try to avoid using chemical cleaners if at all possible. Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Lemon go a long way! I love your recipes . Here is my recipe for lemon dust cloths. These lemon dust cloths take just minutes to prepare and can be stored in an airtight jar until you’re ready to use them. Sometimes dusting with a dry cloth does more harm them good as it moves the dirt around instead of catching it. These cloths are damp and infused with vinegar to help catch and kill the bugs at the same time. The addition of olive oil and lemon rind bring a soft polish to your furniture. To make, you’ll need six things:

    1 cup vinegar
    1 cup water
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 lemon rind
    2 dust rags
    1 glass jar with lid.

    Mix the vinegar, water, and olive oil together. Soak the rags in the solution. Ring out until damp-dry. Alternate rinds with rags inside your jar and seal the lid tightly.

  5. I try to avoid using chemical cleaners if at all possible. Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Lemon go a long way! I love your recipes . Here is my recipe for lemon dust cloths. These lemon dust cloths take just minutes to prepare and can be stored in an airtight jar until you’re ready to use them. Sometimes dusting with a dry cloth does more harm then good as it moves the dirt around instead of catching it. These cloths are damp and infused with vinegar to help catch and kill the bugs at the same time. The addition of olive oil and lemon rind bring a soft polish to your furniture.
    To make, you’ll need six things:

    1 cup vinegar
    1 cup water
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 lemon rind
    2 dust rags
    1 glass jar with lid

    Mix the vinegar, water, and olive oil together. Soak the rags in the solution. Ring out until damp-dry. Alternate rinds with rags inside your jar and seal the lid tightly.

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