How to keep your house clean and green

You are probably going through your child’s clothes right now, weeding out the items that have been outgrown.  Perhaps we can apply that same  concept to our cleaning supply shelf.  Haven’t we outgrown the toxic-to-our-children-and-the planet, chemical-laden glass cleaners, bathroom scrubs and dusting sprays.  I looked in my cleaning supply cabinet the other day and I was horrified to find cans and bottles of cleaning supplies that I don’t use anymore (having gone “cleaning green” a while back), but had not gotten around to trashing.  And throwing this stuff out is a whole other issue…you can’t (or shouldn’t) just dump these items in the garbage.  Many communities have drop off locations or special dates where residents can bring these toxic supplies for safe removal – I wonder if there is any safe way to dispose of some of this stuff.

Cleaning green is not difficult – and in addition to being so much better for your family’s health and the planet’s survival, it is also CHEAPER!  White vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice…the triumverate of being green and clean!

Here are a few simple “recipes” for some basic cleaning solutions:

  • GLASS/HARD SURFACE CLEANER: Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar with a gallon of water.  Soak your cloth, ring it out and wipe surfaces.  Dry with a clean cloth.
  • FABRIC SOFTENER: Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to final rinse cycle of your washing machine.
  • DUSTING MAGIC: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 tsp olive oil in a clean glass jar or spray bottle.  Apply a little to your dusting cloth and wipe down your wooden furniture.
  • ALL-PURPOSE CLEANSER: Mix 1/2 cup pure soap (such as Castile), 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 gallon hot water for dishes, countertops, floors and walls.
  • BATHROOM TUB AND TILE CLEANER: Combine 1 part water and 3 parts baking soda for an awesome grout and soap scum cleaner.

Now, I’m not saying you should leave these cleaning supplies around for your preschooler to play with.  However, unless your child drinks the bucket of all-purpose cleanser or sprays the dusting magic solution in his eyes, you will be able to rest a lot easier as your house shines and you, your family and the planet take a breath of less polluted air.  One person can make a difference.  Why not get started?

Please post comments with your own green cleaning solutions.