Green cleaning is all the rage these days. It seems everyone is talking about cleaning the green & natural way; and for good reason. I’ve been a green cleaner for many years; mostly in part to the birth of my son Ethan, who is a special needs child. We realized shortly after his birth our household was going to change radically! It did. Among the many facets to consider, household safety was a primary concern. Anything harmful was either locked up or removed from the house. I started thinking about what my Mother had used to clean when I was a young child. I gradually educated myself about what agents worked to clean my house.
Realizing the Truth
Switching to non-toxic cleaning agents was an easy change for me because I have asthma and sensitive skin. I admit to holding my breath, spraying on commercial bathroom and oven cleaners, then running from the room to get a breath. It took a long time to clean because I had to keep running away to get a fresh breath. I realized anything that made me run from the room was not good for my health, so I began using baking soda and vinegar, remembering my Mom’s cleaning arsenal. These became my primary cleaning products. I had already been making my own soap for years to prevent skin irritation. Why couldn’t I make clean and green products to use as well? I could, and you can too!
Easy Cleaning FormulasStore each solution in the correct type of bottle for ease of use. Label each container of cleaning solution to identify. Create a printed label for the bottle including the cleaning recipe for quick reference. (laminate the label or brush with polyurethane to protect the print from erasing.) Store together in a tote-style basket with brushes, rags and sponges. Kitchen and Bath Cleaner
- 2 tsp borax
- 4 Tbsp white vinegar
- 3 cups hot water
- 1/4 tsp liquid castile soap
- Mix in spray bottle. Spray and wipe clean. Rinse with damp cloth.
All-Purpose Cleaner Label and store in a spray bottle. Use for water deposits, shower stall, bathroom, chrome and mirrors. (eartheasy.com)
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup baking soda or 2 tsp. borax
- Mix with 1/2 gallon water.
Stain Remover–“Witches Brew”-This works miracles on any organic stain and is my “Go-To” stain remover. Contains ammonia, store out of children’s reach. You will need a squirt bottle.
- Pour ammonia into bottle, 1/4 of bottle. Fill the bottle with white vinegar; add a few drops of dish soap. To use: squirt cleaner on stain and rub with brush/cloth. Rinse with a damp cloth.
Painted or Washable Wall Covering Cleaner-This solution should be sprayed on walls and wiped clean.
- Equal parts water and white vinegar
- To increase cleaning power, especially grease, add a few drops of citrus oils or 1 tsp. washing soda or borax.
Disinfectant Wall Wash Spray walls with solution & wipe clean. Wipe with damp cloth rinsed in clear water.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vinegar
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil
- 3 drops thyme essential oil
Wall Grease Removing Paste Rub paste on grease stain and allow to dry before brushing off.
- Mix together equal parts of cream of tartar and baking soda.
- Add enough water to make a thick paste.
- May be labeled stored in sealed container.
- One part 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 2 parts water
- Mix in spray bottle. Spray on affected area; wait at least one hour before rinsing.
Mold and Mildew
- Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Allow to rest for at least one hour then rinse. Repeat as necessary.
Herbal Mold & Mildew Prevention If mold and mildew are already present, spray and allow to rest on the area for a few hours before wiping clean. Otherwise, spray and wipe clean. Do not rinse.
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup borax
- 8-10 drops citrus seed extract
- 2 tsp tea tree oil
Kitchen Scouring Powder Store in a jar with a lid or shaker jar.
- borax powder-sprinkle on damp sponge or cloth and wipe. Great for porcelain & fiberglass. Removes soap scum and hard water deposits, eliminates odors.
- Add 1/4 cup borax powder in bottom of dishwasher to enhance dish cleaning.
- Scrubbing power-baking soda full strength makes a great scouring powder. Mix with enough water to make a paste. Pots, pans, tea pots, coffee & tea stains in cups, glasses, stove top.
- Herbal Scrub-To 1 cup baking soda, add 1/2 cup dried & coarsely ground sage, 1/4 cup dried ground rosemary, 1/4 cup borax. Mix and store in shaker top container. Essential oils can be added to enhance cleaning: tea tree oil, citrus oil, thyme or rosemary oil, lavender oil.
- Spice Scrub-To 1 cup baking soda add 3 tsp ground cinnamon and 3 drops orange/orange blossom essential oil.
Lemony Kitchen Cleaner
- 1 tsp liquid castile soap
- 1/8 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- 6 drops citrus seed extract
- 4 drops citrus essential oil
- 1 tsp borax
- Combine in a spray bottle. Shake well before use.
Laundry Powder Recipe can be doubled or tripled to make larger quantities.
- 1 Cup Soap flakes (Fels Naptha bar (grated) or Ivory)
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup borax
- Use 1 Tbsp light loads or 2 Tbsp heavy loads
- Use 1/2 cup per wash load. White Vinegar can be added as an effective fabric softner.
Liquid Laundry Soap
- 1/3 bar Fels Naptha bar soap grated
- 4 cups water
- Mix till soap is dissolved.
- 1/2 cup borax
- 1/2 cup washing soda
- 1 1/2 gallon water
- Mix till all ingredients are incorporated. Set 24 hours to gel, then ready for use.
- Use 1/2 cup regular wash load or 1 cup heavy dirt load.
General Floor Cleaner
- 1 cup white vinegar mixed with 1 gallon water. Essential Oil may be added for fragrance.
Wood Floors Damp mopping wood floors
- Equal portions white vinegar and water
- 15-20 drops pure peppermint oil
- Shake to mix.
- Varnished wood: 1/2 cup warm water & few drops of lemon oil. Mix and spray onto soft cloth. Wipe then finish with dry cloth.
- Unvarnished wood: Mix 2 tsp olive oil with 2 tsp lemon juice. Apply to small cotton cloth. Wring to spread mixture further into the cloth. Apply with wide strokes.
- Dusting Aid: 1/2 cup Murphys Oil Soap, 3/4 cup water, 5 drops citrus oil, 15 drops cedar oil. Mix in spray bottle and shake before use. Finish with dry cloth.
- 1 Tblsp or 1 bag raspberry tea
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- Make tea and steep for 15 minutes. Strain. Combine all ingredients into spray bottle and mix. Spray cloth and wipe. Finish with dry cloth.
Mix 2 tsp white vinegar with 1 quart water. Spray on window and wipe with black and white newspaper or microfiber cloth. Avoid sunny days as this leads to streaking.
These are just a few recipes for cleaning solutions you can make at home that are safe, inexpensive and green. Remember you can substitute essential oils to your preference, but thyme, rosemary, citrus, tea tree, sage, and lavender do have disinfectant qualities. Essential oils can be purchased at retail or craft stores and ordered online.
Remember to test surfaces prior to use with cleaner, to make sure they do not damage finishes. Best of luck with these cleaners and happy simple living!