?

Log in

 
 
03 February 2010 @ 03:06 am
Tipsheet: Cleaning Green (w/ Recipes)  


5 Ingredients for Less-Toxic Cleaning

With five ingredients — baking soda, washing soda, liquid soap or detergent, distilled vinegar and an antiseptic essential oil — you can clean everything in your house.

Baking Soda and Washing Soda The magic of these minerals is that they neutralize many stains and odors. They are alkaline, cut grease and can even dissolve wax. Baking soda also serves as a mild abrasive. Washing soda is the best heavy-duty scourer, but it is slightly caustic, so you need to wear gloves when using it.

Liquid Soap or Detergent Soap is better for your health and the environment than detergents, but because water reacts with minerals in soap, washing clothes with it can leave an insoluble film and turn clothes grayish. If you wash your clothes with detergent, select the most biodegradable brand.

Vinegar and Essential Oils Vinegar neutralizes many stains and odors, dissolves scale and pulls dirt out of wood. Use only white distilled vinegar for cleaning; apple cider vinegar could stain some materials, such as upholstery. Antiseptic essential oils — such as tea tree, sweet orange, lemon-grass, rose, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, birch or lavender — kill bacteria and mold.

5 Recipes for Less-Toxic Cleaning

Soap for Sparkling Dishes
This cleaner works well except in hard water, where it can cause soap scum.

1 ounce liquid castile soap
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
5 to 10 drops lavender essential oil (optional, but lavender is antibacterial)


Combine the soap and water in a jar. Add the glycerin and lavender (if using). Stir to blend. Pour some on a sponge, or add a few teaspoons to a sink full of warm water.

Magic Window Wash

1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
2 cups water
A few drops of essential oils, for scent (optional)


Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to blend. Spray on surface, then remove with a squeegee, paper towel or newspaper. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Toilet Bowl Tidy-up

1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
2 cups water


Vinegar is an, underused but effective disinfectant. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake and spray along the inside rim of the toilet. Leave on for 15 minutes and then scrub with a toilet brush. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Baking Soda Oven Cleaner
Baking soda has never failed for oven cleaning. Even heavy grime lifts off with this formula.

1 Small- to medium-sized box of baking soda
Water


Sprinkle the bottom of the oven with baking soda to cover. Spray with water until very damp, and keep moist by spraying every few hours. Let set overnight. In the morning, simply scoop out the baking soda — all the grime will be loosened — and rinse the oven well. Baking soda needs a lot of rinsing, but it is well worth the effort because it produces no toxic fumes. For really tough jobs, substitute washing soda for half the baking soda.

Gentle Shower Scrub
This is an effective formula on Formica counter tops, sinks, the bathtub and the shower stall.

1/2 cup baking soda
Enough liquid soap or detergent to make a frosting like consistency
5 to 10 drops essential oils, such as rose or lavender (optional)


Place the baking soda in a bowl; slowly pour in the liquid soap, stirring all the while, until the cleaner has a frosting like consistency. If you're using any essential oils, be sure to add them last. Scoop the creamy mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface well and rinse. Makes 1/2 cup.

Source: Annie Berthold-Bond for Mother Earth News 2004