A greener spring clean

DIY green cleaning saves money and can be better for the environment

March 30, 2011|By Jasmine Wiggins

I like the idea of spring cleaning. Freshening up your home and putting everything in its place can help put your mind in order, or at least it helps mine. It can be a kind of meditative process. I know when my life becomes especially chaotic I find solace in cleaning, that or baking a giant cake for absolutely no reason.

I was turned on to using green cleaning products a few years ago when I was writing an article about eco-friendly cleaning products, specifically laundry detergent. Before that point, I never really thought twice about spraying 409 everywhere. I did realize, however, that anything that made you light-headed because you were cleaning too long in a small unventilated space was probably not good for you.

Why you should consider switching

-According to the EPA, exposure to some cleaning products can pose threat to human health, from our skin to our respiratory systems.
-Some ingredients in traditional household cleaners can run off into ground water potentially endangering and/or polluting water life.
-Some ingredients do not biodegrade well and can rob soil quality.
-Some chemicals can pollute indoor and outdoor air.

Things to stay away from

Bleach
Chlorine
Ammonia
Phenol
Phosphates
Petroleum
Sulfuric acid
Dibutyl phthalate
Alkylphenol ethoxylates
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)


If you use...
Traditional toilet bowl cleaner

Try Instead...
Vinegar

If you use...
A glass cleaner like Windex

Try Instead...
A mixture of vinegar and water

If you use...
A powerful drain cleaner

Try instead...
Pour some baking soda into your sink. Pour vinegar. Let it sit for a while, and flush with very hot water. Now, this only works depending on what kind of stuff you’ve got going on in your sink.

For a stinky sink...
I save the peels from my lemons and toss them in the garbage disposal and run with water until the peels are gone.


Cleaning help from eco-friendly sources:

Baking Soda, neutralizes odors, cuts grease, mild abrasive
Vinegar, kills germs, deodorizes, cuts grease
Lemon, kills germs, deodorizes, cuts grease
Castille Soap, vegetable-oil based, cuts grease


Recipe DIY All-Purpose Surface Cleaner

1 C white distilled vinegar
3 C water
1 lemon, juiced

This works surprisingly well on kitchen tops and on glass. I used it to clean out my refrigerator and it did an awesome job of deordorizing, and I didn’t have to worry about harsh chemical residue coming in contact with my food in the veggie bin.

I added the lemon to try to cut down on the vinegar smell, which some may find unpleasant, but the smell of vinegar fades quickly.

Bonus: this is super cheap and easy to make. In addition to being kinder to the environment, you’re also saving a few bucks.

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