Spring Clean like a Green Machine

Want to make your own green cleaners to keep your house fresh the non-toxic way? Here are the basic supplies you’ll need:

  • Distilled white vinegar (sold in the cooking section of most supermarkets)
  • Baking soda
  • Olive oil
  • Borax (sold in a box in the laundry aisle)
  • Liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s brand, found in most natural foods stores)
  • Essential oils
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Newspaper
  • Coconut oil

 Use these basic “recipes” and techniques to get you started:

  • Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.
  • Countertops and bathroom tile: Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.
  • Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.
  • Furniture Polish: Mix Coconut Oil with a little lemon juice and use it on wood furniture.
  • Bronze Polish: Rub a Coconut Oil into bronze items to clean and deepen the color.
  • Leather cleaner: Using a clean cloth, work a small amount of Coconut Oil into leather shoes to moisturize them and make them shine.
  • Remove rust: Before you toss those rusty knives or scissors, try this: slick coconut oil on the blades and let it sit for an hour then rinse with warm water.
  • Remove labels and their sticky residue: Cover the label with a film of coconut oil and let it soak in for a moment. The label should wipe off. Use a bit of oil on a towel to remove whatever’s left.
  • Wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.
  • Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar.
  • Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 cups hot water, and 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.
  • Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.
  • Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure it is out of their reach as essential oils are very strong and could irritate their skin. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great for bedrooms, and cinnamon, clove, and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house. You can stash a few in the car too—try peppermint, which may help you to stay alert.