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Eco Tip – Green Cleaning

green cleaningcleaningWhen I announced a giveaway for BabyGanics I had many commenters ask that I share some of my own personal cleaning recipes and methods. Well, I would be happy to do so. I actually LOVE cleaning. That sounds kind of strange but I really do enjoy it and I can’t use harsh cleaners and chemicals because I will break out in hives. Give me a bottle of Windex and I will be puffy, itchy, and gasping for air in a few minutes. It is NOT pretty.

So here is a run down of what I generally use to clean:

Furniture Polish – 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 lemon juice. Mix in a spray bottle and shake before every use. Spray on rag and then rub furniture.

Window Cleaner – Put 1/4 cup vinegar in a spray bottle along with several lemon peels and then fill to the top with water. Spray all surfaces and use a lint free rag to wipe off. Crumpled newspaper works well to wipe up after too.

Scented Soda Scrub – Mix several cups of baking soda with several drops of peppermint or Candy Cane blend essential oils. It smells heavenly and can be used as a deodorizer too. Often times I sprinkle it on carpet and then vacuum to make the whole house smell yummy. I use this along with my window cleaner to clean tubs and sinks.

Floor Cleaner– For floors I use a small amount of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap diluted in water and a 1/2 cup vinegar. Plain vinegar and water works too. I use a broom and dustpan to sweep them first (no vacuum) and I wash them by putting two cloth rags on the floor and sliding around on them with my feet…no mops. It is a good workout. Just put on some music…The Hustle…and away we go.

Natural Dishwasher Soap Recipes – Follow that link to 2 homemade recipes I use.

Natural Carpet Cleaner Recipe– I also use soap nuts on occasion but I am using BabyGanics now. I have white carpet…these natural cleaners DO work.

I also use lemons to clean my garbage disposal, bleach cloth diapers in the sun, and boiled in enamel pots to remove stains. Also, because I have white Corian sinks (and counters) I will throw some cut up lemonsClean House Clean Planet in the sink and them seep in boiling water to remove stains…which I find that Corian is prone to get. They come right out.

For rags I use old towels cut into squares and I have some microfiber towels as well.

So…as you see my cleaning regimen is pretty simple and no fuss. I hope you enjoy trying some of these recipes in your home!

For additional info I really like the book Clean House, Clean Planet.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

20 Comments on Eco Tip – Green Cleaning

  • Brooke

    Vinegar and baking soda can be really good for getting stains out of cloth diapers too, I just pour in some baking soda and put vinegar in the bleach dispenser. I’ve also recently fallen in love with Dr.Bronners soap. Since my boyfriend is allergic to almost every scented detergent out there, now I can wash my clothes in Bronners and actually get that nice minty smell. It worked so well it even got the smoke smell out of the outfit my daughter came home from the hospital in, that was in our house when it caught fire (in a dresser touching a wall that is completely burned and gone now actually) after soaking overnight. We also love Ecover products for the dishwasher, I really hated washing dishes before we bought their products because they would never come clean, but Ecover works great and they now even have a product similar to jet dry that works awesome too.

  • Elisabeth

    Adding to the cloth diaper comment…I just came across a new product from Bum Genius…a BPA/phthalates free diaper wipe solution:

    Elisabeth’s last blog post..Bebe au Natural

  • Sarah

    Have you tried the new Clorox Green Works products? I don’t know if I should believe the hype (although I am pleased that a big company is at least trying to be greener).

    • Patti-Jo

      Yes, I have tried the Clorox Green Works cleaner. I have found these to be toxic to me. The odor is strangely strong, and just SMELLS toxic! It’s really too bad!

  • Love making my own products. It’s such a freeing feeling knowing you made something that doesn’t smell chemically and actually works well! And super cheap!!! And you never run out when you need it the most! Love the furniture polish one. I’ll have to try that. I haven’t oiled my furniture in forever. Not with anything natural. Does it get really oily and slippery? And how long does it last in the bottle or do you have to make it fresh everytime? Thanks!!!

    Sarah’s last blog post..Future HGTV Design Star!

  • Rebecca

    Great recipes–thanks! Joy just wrote a green cleaning blog over on that has some more green cleaning tips.

    Also, I’d like to respond to Sarah’s comment, above, about Clorox’s supposedly green cleaners. I was recently shocked to find out that Clorox owns Burt’s Bees, a well-known “natural” and phthalate-free company. I do love Burt’s Bees products but haven’t tried Clorox Green Works.

    Rebecca’s last blog post..Thrifty Solutions for Greener Cleaning

  • Tamar

    Ooh, thanks! Especially for those dishwashing soap recipes – I have been searching everywhere. I mean, do I really want bleach (among other chemicals) all over the stuff we EAT off of? Ew.

  • Adriana

    Oh, Tiff, I love the scented soda idea! My mom (who is allergic to many things) keeps asking me to get her some vacuum deodorizers, and I keep telling her she doesn’t need to chemicals in those.

    I am going to create a jar of scented soda for her (she loves lavender, so I’ll have to find a goos combination that includes that)

    Adriana’s last blog post..Can You Speak Romantic Language?

  • I linked back to you today. I tried the baking soda in the carpet this week and mmmm it smells so nice. I used lavender, vanilla and rose EO for my bedroom carpet and candy cane in the living room. That candy cane EO blend is my all time favorite. It just makes me so happy! LOL

    mama k’s last blog post..Linky Love

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  • Liz

    Check out where there is a party kit you can download to host your own Green Cleaning Party with friends where you can all make safe, natural cleaning products from the ingredients you’ve mentioned: vinegar, baking soda, borax, etc. This is what it took for me to finally make my own cleaners, rather than just thinking about it and continuing to pay high prices for the natural stuff at health food stores – buying in bulk and mixing it up with my friends!

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  • Hmmm – I still don’t bother polishing my furniture with olive oil. I just dust it. It seems happy. I’m happy! But maybe this spring I’ll try it. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Jeanne of Ecolabel Fundraising

    Interesting about the lemons on the countertops. May have to try that. Like growing plants, I’m just not naturally blessed to be able to understand what may and may not work!

  • Hilary

    You could give Melaleuca a try. They have been selling natural, concentrated products for many years. I started using them just over a year ago, and love them.

  • so many folks are reactive to the cleaning products from mainstream sources – it’s pretty mind boggling.

  • I have to confess I don’t love cleaning in any way, shape or form, but upon occasion I do get inspired. I’m very intrigued by these suggestions! I read a newspaper story just today about people making their own cleaning products but that was more to save money than to be eco-friendly. I do recall the use of vinegar and lemon, however. For some other GREAT ideas, check out Super Natural Home by Beth Greer, who’s an expert in providing healthy, natural ways of doing things. This book is VERY comprehensive in helping us all green up our homes and get rid of the toxic substances that are seemingly everywhere. Step by step, choice by choice, we can make a difference and this book shows us how to get where we want to go. (One of the things I like best is that she’ll pose the problem and then do more than just wring her hands about it. She gives you possible solutions! I love that.

  • I like making my own cleaners too. Instead of using furniture polish when I dust, I use a feather duster. If I need an extra oomph or need to clean computer monitors/electronics I use a microfiber cloth.

  • My friend Pat has three acres of lavender, she mixes the dried flowers with backing soda and cornstarch for her carpets.