Please welcome Cathy, a true Greener Cleaner! She gives us ideas to clean “green” and do it on a budget! Can’t beat that! ~Kelli
I have to say I don’t really like the term “green cleaning.” Technically, I have considered myself green for about two years, but I prefer to call my cleaning non-toxic because I am a bit selfish. I clean without chemicals for the health of my family, but the environment happens to benefit as well.
You do not need chemicals to clean effectively and I hope I can offer you some ideas to accomplish this without breaking the bank. I often hear from people that they would be more eco-conscious, but it is just too expensive. This is simply not the case. I actually spend very little on cleaning products for my home so let’s get started with some of my favorite cleaning methods. I will break it down on a room-by-room basis.
Whether you wash dishes in the sink or in the dishwasher, or both, you want to avoid things such as bleach, phosphates, or anything artificial. If there is fragrance make sure it comes from essential oils and not something that is manmade. A brand I love for both my sink washing and my dishwasher is Seventh Generation. Their products don’t leave my hands dry(come on, admit it, after a long date with the kitchen sink and chemical laden detergents, your hands are probably pretty dry, aren’t they? As an interesting note, I will share something that may surprise you. It is actually more eco-friendly to use a dishwasher than to wash the dishes in the sink. This is because the water goes in and is used the entire cycle, whereas often times when sink washing, we let gallons and gallons of water flush down the drain (a lot of which is hot water, too – yikes!).
One of the biggest money savers for me is the fact that I make my homemade spray cleaner for everything from kitchen cabinets to bathroom fixtures.
- 24oz. spray bottle
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon castile soap
- 20 drops tea tree oil
- 20 drops favorite essential oil for scent. I love orange!
Added tip that has helped immensely: I took a permanent marker and wrote these ingredients on the side of the bottle so no need to try and keep track of a piece of paper that will probably just get lost.
My absolute favorite way to “dust” or polish wooden surfaces is with a simple mixture of olive oil and a few drop of essential oil. Orange, again, is one I just love for this. A little of this mixture goes a long way.
I know, fun right? Not really. Well, first I use the spray cleaner for the mirrors and basically all surfaces including my sink. For the toilet, the commercial products out there are some of the most toxic for you to be using. All you need is either baking soda or Borax. Dump some in the bowl, leave it for about 15 minutes(I do it first then come back at the end of my bathroom cleaning) and scrub with toilet brush and flush. Done.
The tub…oh, the fun of cleaning the tub. I have the BEST recipe for that too, and you will actually enjoy breathing it in and won’t require any ventilation or open windows to avoid a headache while cleaning. That may have sounded like a joke, but think about it. Most of the products you clean with have those types of warnings on them. What does that tell you? They simply aren’t safe. Okay, back to the tub and my fabulous recipe. Here it is:
- ½ cup baking soda
- 3 tablespoons castile soap
- 22 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops tea tree oil
Mix the first two ingredients, then add the rest, and stir. It should form into a nice smooth paste (almost like frosting).
I hope all the information I have shared is at least a place to start for you. Even if you pick one room and start slowly, that’s great! Unless you are able to just get rid of all the bad stuff, I would finish what you already have and then start buying the better non-toxic stuff (or the ingredients for my homemade recipes).
Cathy loves to blog, eat a vegetarian diet, and keep her home as non-toxic as possible for her children and their well-being. She loves to be social on Twitter and would call herself green, but not crunchy! If you would like more green tips or to read her blog, please visit www.letsbegreentogether.com. She would love to hear from you!