Thursday, October 1, 2009

Green Clean Recipes...

Cleaning products that you make yourself are a healthier and cheaper alternative to commercial cleaners, not to mention easy and better for the earth in general. Take into account that commercial cleaners are possibly a danger to yourself, your children (babies are particularly susceptible) and your pets, so if that isn't reason enough to give your homemade cleaners a try I don't know what is.

I myself never even considered the dangers, even after cleaning my bathroom with Clorox Bleach so thoroughly once that I smelled bleach in my nose for DAYS. Also, it hurt! My nose stung, my eyes watered and I felt dizzy afterward for quite some time. When I first had Lucy I was still using regular cleaners and I never felt like I could pick her up straightaway after cleaning. I felt like I had a chemical reside on my hands even after I had taken a shower. Those of you with new babies know that taking a shower after cleaning the house isn't always possible with a newborn, right? So I'd clean and then of course she's need to be cuddled or would want to nurse and I'd reek of bleach or ammonia. Lovely! With my homemade cleaners I still (of course) wash up after cleaning, but I don't feel like the fumes have enveloped my body or leave a residue at all.

The harsh chemicals in most house cleaning products have been found to cause a variety of unpleasant side effect -- headaches, skin irritation, eye damage, allergic reactions and burns from caustic agents, and there are studies out that are testing out the theory that many of these chemicals can cause even more serious health risks such as a variety of different cancers and permanent respiratory and skin damage. Even the possibility that these chemicals could adversely affect my family is enough for me to get rid of them!

Here are the basics of what you'll need:
  • Baking Soda - cleans and deodorizes.
  • Lemon Essential Oil - great for cleaning wood furniture.
  • Castille Soap (liquid)- cleans! I like Dr. Bronner's baby mild unscented.
  • White Vinegar- cuts through grease, great for windows and floors.
  • Washing Soda - cleans and is more caustic that baking soda, especially good for scrubbing.
  • Lemon or lemon juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Club Soda
  • Essential Oils of your choice for scent- add to any of the recipes. I like lavender and grapefruit.
Here are some recipes:

All Purpose Cleaners/Window Cleaners

  • Add 1/3 cup of vinegar for every 4 cups of water in spray bottle. I actually tried this out on our bamboo floor and it worked amazingly by just spraying lightly and then mopping up with a microfiber mop.
  • 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 cup white vinegar, 1 gallon warm water; store in lightly lidded container.
  • Club soda in a spray bottle will make your windows and glass sparkle like never before...add in wiping them down with newspaper (for windows) and supposedly they'll look amazing (I haven't tried this yet, but soon!).
Furniture Polish
  • Mix 3 parts olive oil with 1 part vinegar. Use a soft cloth.
  • Mix 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice. Use a soft cloth.

Countertop Cleaner
  • Mix baking soda with a small amount of water. Scrub.
  • For stained areas, use paste of baking soda & water, let set a while. Scrub.
  • Mix 3 TBSP washing soda into one quart warm water. Mix. Scrub.

Stovetop and Sink Cleaner
  • Baking Soda and Castille soap mixture. I pour some baking soda liberally on the stovetop or sink and then add a couple of squirts of Castille soap, then I add a little water and scrub well with a scrub brush. I leave it on longer for burnt food bits on the stovetop.
  • For stubborn stains try a paste of washing soda or Borax with water (use gloves) scrub and let sit, then rise with water.
Note: Even though these are green, clean and healthy please keep all of these ingredients and cleaners out of reach from kids and pets. They won't emit dangerous fumes or hurt your eyes, throat, etc but shouldn't be consumed or left at the hands little ones nonetheless. Better safe than sorry!

Lastly, my dear, dear friend Meg (she's literally been a friend of mine practically since we were in diapers) at Upcountry Views commented that I should try out a steam cleaner... what is more pure than plain old super heated water, right? I must have one! Does anyone use a steam cleaner and have any recommendations?

"God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done."
-Author Unknown


elizabeth said...

I got a steam cleaner last year and IT ROCKS!!! You can clean anything with it, and there is usually no need for any cleaning products. I got the Whitewing one from Allergy Buyers Club, but if I had it to do over again, I would get the one that the "Queen of Clean" sells ( It has many of the same features for much less money.

Carlie said...

I got a shark. I think you can pick them up at Walmart or Costco! I like it but you almost have to make sure the floor is cleaned before you use it! It does however work pretty well. I only use it every once in awhile! Good luck. Oh, and it is like only $70.00! You will definately want to buy the extra pads too if you use it alot!

Nate's Mama said...

Do you mind sharing what you use to clean your toilets? Is there a great green option that will get a toilet really clean? Thanks!

Mr and Mrs M said...

I use the Bissell steam mop. We've had it for months and I love it. The best part I don't have to use any cleaners and still have a sparkling floor!

Lisa said...

I have always relied heavily on white vinegar and baking soda for cleaning because regular cleaners mess with my respirtory system. It never occured to me that I could make my own furniture polish. Thanks for sharing these recipes. They are great.

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