request info email to friend
Green Cleaning from the Pantry
You know that traditional cleaning products can be bad for the environment. They can get into the soil, the air and the water, leaving traces of nasty chemicals that may cause cancer, central nervous system issues, reproductive problems, allergies and behavioral problems, among other things.
However, many of the “green” cleaning products on the market are much more expensive than traditional cleaners, leaving you with a choice between saving money or saving the earth.
The solution to your dilemma may be in your pantry. Some basic pantry items can be used to accomplish most household cleaning – often more effectively than more costly or more dangerous cleaners.
Vinegar can be used like an all-purpose cleaner on most surfaces. It cuts grease, cleans mildew, deodorizes and shines everything from windows to cabinets.
Mix 1 part water to 1 part vinegar for a basic cleaning solution. You can put it in a spray bottle or bucket to clean almost anything. However, vinegar is very acidic, so it should not be used undiluted on grout, and it should not be used at all on marble.
Undiluted vinegar can be used as a toilet cleaner. Or, you can make a solution of 1 part baking soda to 4 parts vinegar. In either case, let the solution sit for several minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush.
Undiluted white vinegar can be used to clean stainless steel. Boil tarnished copper in water to which you’ve added a tablespoon of salt and a cup of white vinegar.
Shallow dishes of vinegar placed around the house act as a deodorizer.
To make your own drain cleaner, put ½ cup baking soda into the drain. Follow with ½ cup white vinegar and cover. After 15 minutes, flush with 1 gallon of hot water.
Replace your commercial fabric softener by adding ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washer.
You may already put a box of baking soda in your refrigerator to neutralize odors. But baking soda also does a great job of polishing and shining your home.
You can make a fine all-purpose cleaner by dissolving 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of warm water.
Use baking soda to scrub surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom, just like you use an abrasive cleaner such as Comet.
Lemon juice is great for shining things, and it smells wonderful.
Use lemon juice to get rid of hard-water deposits and soap scum.
You can mix lemon juice with vinegar for a cleaning solution that works great on windows. You also can mix it with baking soda to make a rub-on cleaner. Or sprinkle baking soda onto a lemon half and use that to scrub all kinds of surfaces, including dishes.
A mixture of 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil makes a great polish for wood furniture. You also can use mineral oil as a furniture polish.
Put lemon peel – or orange peel – down you disposal to clean it and to add a wonderful smell to your kitchen.
You can find out more about these and other environmentally friendly cleaning ideas at the Housekeeping section of about.com.