Our rivers and oceans are under constant threat from fertilizer and weed-kill chemicals that run off from treated soils, and from chemical cleaners and prescription medicines that are being disposed of in our household water supplies. As a result, the concept of green living has naturally progressed to green cleaning.
Many of the ingredients needed for homemade cleaning products are probably in your kitchen cabinets right now. These recipes use vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil, fresh citrus juice or baking soda. To add a clean and fresh scent, you can use essential oils or infuse the vinegar with fresh herbs, or citrus fruit rinds.
1. Stubborn Drains: Would you believe that baking soda, citrus fruit peels, vinegar and boiling water could be just as effective as a bottle of Drano, but less expensive and less harmful to your eyes and skin? It’s true! You can even trust that it is safe enough to use it around your children, pets, and plants. You’ve probably seen the vinegar and baking soda volcanos made for childrens’ science fair projects, and the principal is the same except instead of letting it bubble into the sink or tub, you cover it and let it bubble down into the drain.
2. Fabric Softener: This one is so simple you don’t even have to mix anything. It involves hanging your clothes out on a line just before a summer rain and letting them hang until they are dry. The rain will give them a fresh clean scent that costs you nothing, and it works to soften the fabrics without breaking it down as the heat from a drying can do.
If you must dry your clothes in a dryer, you can make your own dryer sheets using leftover fabric squares or old cut up sheets. Simply put the squares in a jar with vinegar and a few drops of whatever essential oil scent you choose. When you need to use one, just wring out the excess liquid and toss it in the dryer with your clothes. When it comes out with the clothes, just put it back in the jar to use another day.
3. Antibacterial Cleaners: With natural anti-bacterial properties, citrus fruits are acidic enough to be used on every surface in your kitchen and bathroom. Using the peels of lemons or grapefruit, you can infuse vinegar before putting it in a spray bottle with water. You can also infuse vinegar with fresh sage. It has not only antibacterial properties but also antimicrobial properties against E. coli and Salmonella typhi.
4. An All Purpose Cleaner: Vinegar and water can do almost all the cleaning in your house that you want (but it is not recommended for use on marble or travertine). Adding a touch of fresh citrus juice or an essential oil will also give your home a fresh smell. You can also use fresh herbs or citrus peel to infuse your vinegar before diluting it with water in a spray bottle.
5. A Moisturizing Dust Spray: For a simply spray that will replace your store-bought (and aerosol) furniture dust spray, use one cup water, ¼ cup distilled vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 15 drops of an essential oil in your favorite scent combined in a spray bottle. Shake prior to a quick spritz on surfaces that need dusting and wipe off with a clean cloth.
6. Coconut Oil: Not just a healthy oil substitute for you, coconut oil is an incredible household jack-of- all-trades! You can create a 50/50 mix with lemon juice and use it as a furniture polish, or use it to remove stubborn spots from carpets. Use it to condition wooden cutting boards and utensils, and to remove rust from scissors and your favorite butcher knives, see this post. It can be used to polish leather jackets, boots, and shoes, and to remove sticky label adhesive.
As green living becomes closer every day to being the “norm,” new ways of green living are developed. Substitutes for toxic cleaners and chemicals are being found that use natural materials and are better than or as effective as the “man-made” chemicals. More and more families are choosing to “homestead” by growing their own fruits and vegetables, and canning, freezing, or air-tight sealing their harvests. Hybrid cars are becoming more affordable, and soon new houses will be built with solar roofs as a standard.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective”. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.