You can save time, money, and natural resources by choosing environmentally friendly cleaning methods for your home. A microfiber cloth (available at any discount or grocery store) will do a swell job of removing dust from all hard surfaces, eliminating a need for those pricey dusting sprays and non-recyclable paper towels. Let your clothes dryer take a rest, and opt instead for line-drying when the weather is nice, saving electricity and giving your clothes a shot of fresh-smelling, deodorizing sunshine. Instead of buying air fresheners, open some windows and add plants which absorb chemicals and odors. And clear out clutter — it just gathers dust and makes cleaning more time-consuming.
Most cleaning products that you purchase at the store are toxic. Look at the labels on bottles such as toilet bowl cleaner, bathroom disinfectant, and furniture polish. You’ll see words like Poison, Danger, Warning, and Caution. If you’d rather not bring those chemicals into your home, it’s easy and inexpensive to create your own homemade, non-toxic cleaning products. Simple combinations of baking soda, vinegar, borax, and essential oils make a variety of cleaners, which can be used on mirrors, windows, toilets, sinks, floors, and more, are effective, cheap, and safe.
Toilet Cleaner: Sprinkle 1/4 cup borax (available in a box in the cleaning aisle of your grocery store) or baking soda and a few drops of essential oil (eucalyptus or tea tree oil are antiseptic) into the toilet, scrub, let sit for a few minutes, scrub again, and flush.
Floor Cleaner: In a squirt bottle, create a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water, add a few drops of essential oil (peppermint or lavender are nice), squirt cleaner onto floor, and mop up.
Glass Cleaner: Club soda in a squirt bottle works well, as does an equal mixture of water and vinegar. Wipe down with a lint-free cloth or crumpled newspapers.
Tub and Sink Cleaner: Shake some baking soda mixed with a a few drops of essential oil (orange or lime smell fresh) into sink or tub, wipe with damp sponge, rinse.
Wood furniture polish: Add some olive oil and a few drops of vinegar on a cloth and rub in.
By creating your own cleaning products, you’ll keep your home, family, and environment safe. (Use common sense caution — even though these cleaning products are gentle, it’s best to keep borax and essential oils out of young children’s reach.) You’ll never have to worry about harmful fumes or chemicals with these great cleaners. And you’ll save lots of cupboard space, money, and time by simplifying your cleaning routine.
A good resource for more non-toxic, inexpensive household cleaning recipes is the book Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan.
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