Environmentally friendly cleaners
Cleaning, whether it be our homes, cars, clothing, pets or ourselves, is a necessary part of life. However, if you look at the ingredients of some of the sprays, liquids, waxes and powders, you see some pretty toxic ingredients. Many furniture and car waxes contain dangerous petroleum distillates (Hughes), which can enter the water system through runoff and enter rivers and oceans. Some all-purpose cleaners include diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), both of which are carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) (How Toxic Are…). Laundry detergents also contain phosphates that act as fertilizers in lakes and ponds, causing an overpopulation of algae which hurts fish populations. For more information, check out the Organic Consumers Association.
Instead of buying these poisonous, often expensive cleaning agents, try using environmentally friendly cleaners made from natural ingredients. Seventh Generation is a popular brand that bases its products on plant ingredients. They have a wide variety of goods from household cleaners and laundry detergents to baby products and personal care. AllergyBuyersClub.com specializes in many household products that are healthy for the environment and for people allergic to many of the chemicals in cleaning solutions.
For natural laundry products, check out What is in laundry detergent (and the natural kinds of laundry soaps.
Of course, you can always make your own homemade cleaning agents by mixing a few simple household products. Vinegar is a great alternative for many carpet cleaning jobs, stain removal, and getting rid of soap scum. Baking soda is excellent for removing bad odors and for polishing. Salt can be used in scouring mixtures and works well as an exfoliant, and natural waxes and oils are good alternatives to harmful furniture waxes. There are also many essential oils that have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that can be used. There are many other common, natural ingredients that can also be utilized, which will be mentioned in the following natural homemade cleaning recipes:
-½ cups of hot water
-2 tablespoons vinegar
-½-teaspoon washing soda
-½-teaspoon vegetable oil-based soap
Combine in spray bottle then shake well to dissolve all solids
For glass cleaning:
-1-2 TBS white vinegar
Mix with 1 pints of water, then pour into a spray bottle for easy application
(For an easy clean, use crinkled up newspaper instead of a cloth rag to avoid the spreading of lint)
-2 cups hot water
-¼ cup lemon juice
-2 tablespoons borax
Mix together and pour into spray bottle, then shake
-1 cup water
-¼-cup baking soda
-2 pints warm water
Place the cup of water in a microwaveable bowl and heat in microwave until it boils. This loosens food particles inside for an easier clean. Let the water sit inside for a minute. Then dissolve baking soda in the 2 pints of warm water. Clean inside with this solution
-½ cup hot water
-¼-cup soap flakes
-½-teaspoon lemon essential oil (Has antibacterial and antiviral properties – can get at Herbspro.com
Mix soap flakes and hot water in bowl and dissolve soap. Cool to warm, then stir in glycerin and lemon oil, let cool. A soft gel will form as it cools. Stir this solution with a fork then place in a bottle where you can easily squeeze it out. Use about 3 tsp in a sink full of hot water
To unblock drains
To unblock a clogged drain, pour one cup of baking soda down drain, then one cub of vinegar. These 2 ingredients react with each other, and the fizzing breaks down the clog. Wait until you no longer hear the fizzing, then flush drain with hot water (Do not use this method if you first used a commercial cleaner, since the vinegar could react and produce fumes)
Simply sprinkle some baking soda on floors, and scrub with warm water
To remove rust, mixture together some lemon juice and cream of tartar until it has a pasty consistency. Spread onto rust then buff away
Wooden Kitchen tool/Cutting board
Wood can soak up a lot of gross stuff. To disinfect your wooded kitchen tools, simply soak in vinegar for 5 minutes, or soak cloth in vinegar and wipe clean.
Mildew and Mold
-2 cups vinegar
Dissolve the borax in the vinegar. Dilute this solution with about a pint of water. Place in spray bottle for easy use.
Bathroom soft scrub
-1 cup castile soap
-1 cup baking soda, borax or washing soda
Combine these ingredients, then use as a soft scrub for toilets, tiles, sinks, or bathtubs. Rinse afterwards using clean water
Sprinkle some baking soda on carpet, let sit for about 15 minutes, then vacuum. For an added fragrance, you can mix the baking soda with an essential oil, such as lemon oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, or thyme. Simply add 20 drops of the oil into a ½ cup of baking soda then mix, making sure to break up any clumps with a spoon. Sprinkle onto carpet, then vacuum.
You can use any type of clear soda, such as soda water, sprite or Ginger ale to remove a stain. Soak the area with the soda, then blot it out till the stain is gone. To absorb the excess liquid, you can put salt on the area, which will absorb the liquid, then vacuum.
Wood furniture Polishing/wax
-1 oz beeswax
-½ oz coconut oil
-½ oz. olive oil or jojoba
-4 oz distilled water
-1 oz carnauba wax
-You can get many of these ingredients at Herbspro.com.
Melt the waxes and oils in a double boiler over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add water. Mix this solution with a hand mixer until it is creamy. Using a rag, dip into the cream and rub onto furniture. Work the oils into the wood and buff to shine.
Essentials oils usually cannot be found at a grocery store, but you can easily purchases them at Herbspro.com.
For homemade laundry soap recipes, check out How to make laundry detergent (and other homemade recipes).
-“How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies?” http://www.organicconsumers.org
-Hughes, Janice (2007). “Toxins in Your Home” http://www.shareguide.com/toxichome.html
-Allen, W.P. (2009) “The Green Clean Book” http://thegreencleanbook.com/?hop=0
Next Topic: Why Recycle?