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Green Cleaning: Easy and Natural Ways to Clean and Freshen Your Home

Green Cleaning: Easy and Natural Ways to Clean and Freshen Your Home

How would you like to clean and freshen your home without harsh chemicals? No more fumes choking your breathing, no more harsh chemicals drying out your skin. Well, you can! It’s easy, economical, and good for the environment. You can make these recipes in large batches and put them inside air tight containers.

My advice is to print out this article and try a new one each week.

Glass Cleaning

  • Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Clean with rags, paper towels, or newspaper.

Air Fresheners

  • House Plants! The all natural air freshener!
  • Open your windows!
  • Baking Soda in fridge and garbage can to absorb odors.
  • Boil and then simmer a few sections of a citrus fruit or cinnamon or cloves in a pot with water for an hour.
  • Add drop or two of your favorite essential oil on the inside of your toilet paper roll. Each spin will release a fresh scent to your bathroom.

Furniture Polish

  • Combine 1 tspn lemon oil and 1 cup vegetable oil. Apply with clean dry cloth.

Polishing Silver

  • Combine 1 quart/liter water, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp baking soda and 1 piece aluminum foil. Add sterling silver items to be cleaned. Boil for approximately 3 minutes. Remove and polish with dry soft cloth. Do not use on silver plated items.

All Purpose Cleaners

  • Vinegar and salt mixed together make a good surface cleaner.
  • Baking soda (4 Tbsp) and warm water (1 quart/liter) is a good general cleaner.
  • Baking soda on a damp sponge. This will clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • Mix 3 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 tspn vegetable oil soap (such as Murphy’s Oil Soap), 3 cups hot water. Use from a bucket or a spray bottle. Use and wipe clean.

Scouring Solution

  • Use dry table salt or baking soda with a damp sponge to scour and then rinse.

“Soft Scrub” Solution

  • Mix 1/4 cup Borax and enough Vegetable-Oil Soap (such as Murphy’s) to make a paste. Then add 1/2 tspn lemon oil. Use with a sponge and rinse well. Important Note: Borax is poisonous if swallowed so keep stored safely away from children and pets.

Toilet Cleaner

  • Sprinkle baking soda into the toilet. Next add vinegar and then scrub with brush. This will clean and deodorize.
  • Tough stains: Pour 1 cup Borax into toilet bowl and leave overnight. Scrub and flush in the morning. Important Note: Borax is poisonous if swallowed so keep pets away if you have one that drinks out of the toilet.

Drain Cleaner and Freshener for Disposal drains

  • Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Then pour in 1 cup of vinegar. Let the mixture foam for a few minutes. Then flush with a gallon of boiling water. Lastly if you have a disposal, finish up with some ice cubes to sharpen the blades and old citrus rinds to freshen up.

Tub & Tile Cleaners

  • Depending on the level of dirt, grime, use either diluted or full strength vinegar to clean and baking soda for scouring. Rinse well. Vinegar alone can be used if scouring is not required.
  • Cleaning Grout: make a paste of baking soda and warm water and scrub with sponge or old toothbrush. Rinse well.
  • Hard Lime Deposits on chrome: soften up for easy cleaning by covering with vinegar soaked towels. Let soften for 1 hour before cleaning.
  • Rust & Hard Water Stains: apply white vinegar or lemon juice. Leave on until spot disappears. May need to be repeated.
  • Mildew Removal: dissolve 1/2 cup borax with 1/2 vinegar in some warm water. Use sponge to apply and wipe clean. Pure white vinegar alone can work also.

Cleaning Pots

  • Soak pots and pans in warm water and a couple teaspoons of baking soda in the water. Then clean normally with liquid dish soap.

Carpet Cleaning

  • Stain remover: soak the stain with club soda and blot until the stain is removed.
  • Dog/Cat Urine on Carpet: use towel to absorb as much as possible. Wash using warm water and liquid dish soap. Rinse with 1/4 cup vinegar in 2 cups warm water. Soak up with towels and apply pressure to absorb as much moisture as possible. Leave towels in place for a few hours. Then remove towels and allow to dry completely. A fan can be used to speed up the proces.
  • Freshen Carpets: mix 2 cups baking soda with 30 drops of lavender essential oil in bowl. Make sure any clumps are broken up and mixed well. Next, before vacuuming, sprinkle this mixture from a shaker type container. Let stand for 15 minutes. Then vacuum.

Floor Cleaner

  • Mix: 1 cup vinegar, 1 Tbsp vegetable oil based soap, and 2 gallons of hot water. Use with a mop.

Removing Wax

  • Dip cotton cloth in rubbing alcohol and sponge off.

Removing Sticky Labels and Adhesives

  • Use vinegar. Be sure to soak as much as necessary to loosen first. Only use this on surfaces that are washable.

Laundry

  • Try adding one or all of these to your laundry: white vinegar (1/2-1 cup), borax (1/2 cup), and/or baking soda (1/2 cup). Borax is said to be a better whitener for clothes while creating far less damage than bleach. Remember to keep Borax away from children and pets as it is poisonous if swallowed.

Additional Resources

Basic Cleaning Tools and How to Use Them – how to handle green cleaning agents.
How to Green Your Cleaning – many links to Tree Hugger articles on green cleaning.
62 Little Known Uses of Vinegar – some very practical and some interesting uses for this all purpose substance.
Homemade Laundry Detergent – If you want to really get into green cleaning. I’m going to stick with Arm & Hammer for now.

Image Source: via Flickr

Please Share!

What are your favorite Green Cleaning tips? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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73 Responses to Green Cleaning: Easy and Natural Ways to Clean and Freshen Your Home

  1. Steam Cleaning Tips May 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Even though this article was written 3 years ago, all of the tips still apply to this day. Maybe even more than back then, because we’ve become so dependent on all the chemicals to do the job for us. Natural cleaners need to make a comeback!

    PS. I know, I know, I made it sound as if 2007 was 3 decades ago, but it honestly does seem like an eternity.

  2. Gretchen August 30, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    A few more good tips- A mix of 1/3 alcohol and 2/3 water in a spray bottle is a great natural and fragrance free substitute for febreeze. The alcohol kills the bacteria that causes bad smells, and it is safe to use on any kind of clothing/upholstery. I always just use really cheap bottom shelf vodka.

    Another good one is putting some coffee beans into a sock and sticking it inside particularly smelly shoes. The coffee beans absorb all the bad odors- great for if there are any smelly teenage boys in the house! 😉

    • AgentSully August 31, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

      @Gretchen – neat ideas! Thanks for adding them!

  3. How To Get Rid Of Whatever October 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    That’s an interesting idea to use house plants for as “air fresheners”. I believe they can also help produce oxygen too.

  4. cleaning service Nashville November 16, 2011 at 4:48 am #

    We need not to spend much on cleaning products after all. With the availability of ‘green’ cleaning products these days, we have better chances of fighting global warming as we avoid the use of chemicals just to maintain the cleanliness of our living or working spaces. The same goes with professionals or maid service providers who support eco-friendly products.

  5. cleaning Oahu January 23, 2012 at 1:12 am #

    Great suggestion. Making use of eco-friendly cleaning products that can be found in your house can help save money. You will no longer be having a hard time removing all the dirt in your place for there are various techniques that you can do to maintain your abode’s spic and span condition.

  6. Plateau Natura April 7, 2015 at 2:20 am #

    Great informative post. For my home : baking soda to kill stinky smells. These little freshener jars are great for bathrooms, closets, any room in the house, really. These make great car fresheners as well.

    ½ cup baking soda
    4-6 drops essential oil

    Mix ingredients in a small glass jar. Either poke holes in the lid using a nail and hammer or if using a mason-type jar, stretch some fabric (I like to use burlap) across the mouth of the jar and secure with the ring lid only. Set these little deodorizers anywhere. Refresh every few weeks with 4-6 drops of new oil.

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