What should I be doing instead of this?
October 17th, 2008 By Maija Zummo | Wellness/Renewal | Posted In: Green living

Homemade Cleaning Products

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I have three shedding dogs and two twentysomething male roommates, so I end up cleaning my house more than most people. This means that I’m always on the hunt for new, effective cleaning products that are a) cheap and b) environmentally-friendly. This is a difficult combination to come by even though most companies are hopping on the “green cleaning” bandwagon.

There’s the Clorox Green Works line, but even that costs like $4 for bathroom cleaner and you end up with a non-reusable plastic bottle. I haven’t tried those Arm & Hammer cleaners that you dilute in water, but I imagine they’re sort of the same deal. My solution? I make my own cleaning products at home. I was on a strictly vinegar kick for a while, but the overwhelming smell made me expand my homemade cleaning repertoire. Here’s a list of some household items that can double as household cleaners:

1. Salt. Salt is like God’s Comet. It scrubs anything. I use it in my kitchen sink. I’m sure you could use it other places like countertops, the inside of microwaves and etc. In the sink it works just as well as Bon Ami, which is another scrubbing product I really like. If you go to Bon Ami’s Web site (www.bonami.com) there’s a list of all the ways you can use it including how to clean your windows and can openers. I bet you could substitute salt for all of those uses too.

2. Lemon. Besides smelling really clean (a lot better than vinegar), lemon can bleach and disinfect. Run some rinds through your garbage disposal and the smell will freshen up any kitchen. You can also mix lemon with baking soda or vinegar to make cleaning pastes. These pastes can clean counter tops, get rid of stains and clean your dishes and Tupperware.

3. Baking soda. Everyone knows that baking soda deodorizes. Put a box in the fridge, and you’re set. But it can also act as a scrubber. You can do so much with it. If you go to www.armhammer.com you can get a million tips on what to do with the stuff. You can add it to your laundry, eliminate odor from carpets and pet bedding, clean your bathroom floor and clean yourself. Baking soda makes a great facial scrub and it can boost the effectiveness of your shampoo if you sprinkle a little bit in your palm before you suds.

4. Olive Oil. This polishes your wood and other furniture, and it’s safe for your dogs to eat, which happens a lot in my house. I used to have a hope chest downstairs that I would oil and then my border collie would just sit there and lick it. Luckily he never got any splinters.

5. Vinegar. White vinegar does pretty much everything and I buy it in bulk at Sams. It cleans your mirrors, glass, toilets and tubs. It does everything! For stubborn stains on windows, add a little bit of dish washing liquid. Spray some in your shower and let it sit. It kills mold and mildew naturally.

6. Tea tree oil. Now I know most of you probably don’t have this just sitting around the house, but tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant. Dilute it with some water and you have an all-purpose antibacterial cleaner.

7. Boiling water. This is great for clearing clogged drains. My mom always made me do this before using Liquid Plumber. It usually always works. Pour some baking soda down the drain before hand and flush it with the boiling water. Do this weekly and you shouldn’t have any draining problems.

There are probably more things you can use to clean, but that’s all I know about. I’d love to hear some tips on green carpet cleaning. How can I get pet stains out of my carpet without using harsh chemicals?

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