The term “going green” is no longer just a few trying to promote planet health but everyone. People are doing more and more to help save the environment, companies have begun advertising toward keeping a greener earth, and recycling is hitting an all-time high. For example, in Connecticut, 64 towns recycled more than 92 tons of “waste” in the 2010/2011 year. But what if going green wasn’t just about the good of the environment? As important as that is, sometimes going green is also about saving money. And who doesn’t want to save a few dollars? Rather than spending a lot on cleaning supplies (some of which can be harmful to Mother Nature), you can create your own out of everyday household ingredients. These simple recipes are non-toxic, effective and inexpensive. So the next time you’re headed into the cleaning supplies aisle, consider making up your own brews instead.
First up is a list of home-supplied substitutions. Many times items you already have will get the job done on their own. These supplies are easy-to-use and are a safe alternative to many chemical products. Great to use around children or pets!
- Baking Soda: use to deodorize, soften water, and clean and scour dishes or hard surfaces
- Soap: pick up an unscented brand in almost any form to clean a multitude of items such as kids’ toys or hard surfaces.
- Lemon: cut into a slice or wedge to help kill bacteria. Mix with other cleaners, or use alone by rubbing onto a germy area.
- Borax: use to clean, deodorize, disinfect, soften water, and clean wallpaper and painted surfaces
- White Vinegar: great as a degreaser. Also helps remove mildew, odors, and waxy build-ups.
- Washing Soda: another degreaser, great for removing stains, soften water, and cleaning hard surfaces. But be careful as it can irritate the skin and can’t be used on aluminum.
- Rubbing Alcohol: use as a disinfectant
- Cornstarch: can be used on windows, as furniture polish and as carpet shampoo
- Citrus Solvent: great to clean out paintbrushes and cut through oil and grease. Be careful as it may irritate sensitive skin.
Sometimes there is a cleaning job that is too tough for just a single ingredient. For those messier jobs, here is a list of homemade recipes that are both easy on the wallet and the environment. And remember to keep these cleaners labeled and out-of-reach for children. Just because they are non-toxic doesn’t mean they can’t be dangerous. For storing, hold onto empty plastic spray bottles or pick up a few at the local dollar store. These containers can easily be rinsed out and reused once their contents are gone.
All-Purpose Cleaner: ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda, and ½ gallon (or two liters) of water. Mix together and store for bathroom or kitchen cleaning, etc.
Air Freshener: simmer vinegar after cooking to help absorb odors (cook until odors are gone), grind a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal or try keeping plants in your home to help reduce smells
Carpet Cleaner: mix equal parts of white vinegar and water, spray onto stain, let sit, and scrub with warm soapy water.
Dishwasher Soap: combine equal parts of borax and washing soda. Mix in extra washing soda for hard water.
Laundry Detergent: 1 cup Ivory soap, ½ cup washing soda, and ½ cup borax. For small loads use one tablespoon and two for larger (or extra dirty) loads. Organic scents or perfumes can be added for great-smelling laundry.
Window Cleaner: combine two teaspoons of white vinegar and one liter of warm water. Clean windows with cotton cloth or balled-up newspaper (trust me, the newspaper works).
With the use of these simple recipes, you can keep a clean home all while helping the environment and saving a few bucks. For more cleaning and organization tips, be sure to check back in. Add a comment below if you have tips of your own!