We hear it all over the place – organic this, green that, natural hear, herbal there. If you’re anything like me, a busy, working single mom, you may have put off learning about all this ‘Green Hype’ simply because you don’t have time for one more thing. I understand!
And, on top of the time issue, what about cost? If you go through the grocery store produce isles and take a good look, I can guarantee you that anything labeled “organic” is going to cost significantly more than our old pesticide-ridden veggies!
Well, there is some good news here. Green doesn’t always have to cost more green.
Let’s take a room by room tour in your home – you just sit back, read, and hopefully you’ll learn how easy ‘going green’ can be! The best part? Except for the need to run get 2 or 3 bottles of inexpensive essential oils, you probably already have most of these ingredients in your home.
The Kitchen and Bath
Natural Oven Cleaners
* 1 cup salt
* 1/2 cup Borax
* 32 ounces baking soda
* 2 cups white vinegar
Take a portion of the powdered mix and add a bit of water to form a paste. Spread over oven surfaces and let set for 30 minutes. Wipe down using white vinegar.
2) Baking soda, water; salt; vegetable oil-based liquid soap. Sprinkle water on oven bottom. Cover with baking soda. Let sit overnight. Wipe off and apply liquid soap with scouring pad. Rinse.
3) Sprinkle/spray water followed by a layer of baking soda. Rub gently with a very fine steel wool pad for tough spots. Wipe off scum with dry paper towels or sponge. Rinse well and wipe dry.
To clean exterior and interior walls, dissolve 2 tbs. baking soda in 1 qt warm water and wipe all surfaces. For stubborn spots, rub with baking soda paste. Be sure to rinse with a clean, wet cloth. (This works well on other enamel-finished appliances as well.)
Lavender Antibacterial Spray
This spray smells wonderful and can double as a disinfectant and air freshener. It’s perfect for garbage cans.
* 1 cup warm water
* 25 drops Lavender essential oil
Combine water and oil in a spray bottle and shake well to blend. To use, spray into the air or onto the surface you’re disinfecting.
1) A pencil eraser removes heel marks from a floor.
2) For greasy, no-wax floors:
* 1 cup vinegar
* 1/4 cup washing soda
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil-based liquid soap
* 2 gallons hot water
Combine all ingredients, stirring well to dissolve the washing soda. Mop as usual.
All Purpose Cleaners:
1) Vinegar and Salt. Mix together for a good surface cleaner.
2) Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water for a general cleaner.
3) Baking soda on a damp sponge. Baking soda cleans and deodorizes kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Baking Soda or Dry Table Salt. These are mild abrasives and can be used as an alternative to chlorine scouring powders. Simply put either baking soda or salt on a sponge or the surface, scour and rinse.
Non-Abrasive Soft Scrubber:
* 1/4 cup Borax
* Vegetable-oil based liquid soap (such as Murphys Oil Soap)
* 1/2 teaspoon Lemon oil
In a bowl, mix the Borax with enough soap to form a creamy paste. Add Lemon oil and blend well. Scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, then rinse well.
Kitchen Sink Scrubber
* 1/2 Cup Baking Soda
* 1/8 Cup Vinegar
* 5 drops Lemon essential oil
* 5 drops Orange essential oil
Combine all ingredients. Try Lime or Bergamot also.
Toilet Bowl Cleaners:
1) Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then squirt with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. Cleans and deodorizes.
2) Denture tablets are a great substitute for toilet cleaner. Drop two tablets into the bowl and clean as you would with any other toilet cleaner.
1) For slow drains, use this drain cleaner once a week to keep drains fresh and clog-free.
* 1/2 cup baking soda
* 1 cup white vinegar
* 1 gallon boiling water
* 1/2 a used Lemon
Pour baking soda down drain/disposal, followed by vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.
2) Another natural drain cleaner
* 1 cup baking soda
* 1 cup salt
* 1/4 cup cream of tarter
Place all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well mixed. To use, pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into the drain, followed by 2 cups boiling water. Wait 1 minute, then rinse with tap water.
Tub And Tile Cleaners:
1) Sprinkle baking soda like you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly.
2) To remove film buildup on bathtubs, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe. Next, use baking soda as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
To clean stainless steel, chrome, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain or enamel fixtures, dissolve 2 tbsp baking soda in 1 qt of water. Wipe on fixtures then rinse.
Dissolve half-cup vinegar with half-cup Borax in warm water.
* 2 teaspoons Tea Tree essential oil
* 2 Cups Water
Add to a spray bottle, shake before using. Apply to mold and mildew, do not rinse off. Nothing works as well for mold and mildew as Tea Tree.
The Living Room(s)
1) A great non-toxic carpet stain remover is club soda. Soak spot immediately with soda and blot until the stain is gone.
2) Pet Urine on Carpets: Dab area with toweling to absorb as much as possible, wash spot with liquid dish detergent, and rinse with 1/2 cup vinegar diluted in 1 qt warm water. Lay towels or paper towels over the spot and weight down to absorb excess moisture. Let stand 4 to 6 hours, then remove toweling, brush up nap and allow to dry completely. Use an electric fan to speed drying.
Pour enough baking soda to cover the urine spot very well. Let it set until it’s moist and clumpy, vacuum up.
Furniture Polish and Scratch Covers:
1) This polish should to be made fresh each time you use it.
* 1 Lemon
* 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
* 1 teaspoon water
Extract the juice from the Lemon. Mix with oil and water.
Apply a thin coat on your wood surface and let sit for five minutes. Use a soft cloth to buff to a deep shine.
2) Use 3 parts light mineral oil and 1 part Olive Oil and a drop of Lemon juice.
3) Use a soft cloth and wipe with a bit of mayonnaise.
4) Rub furniture with a cloth dipped in cool tea.
5) To remove water stains on wood furniture, dab white toothpaste onto stain. Allow the paste to dry and then gently buff off with a soft cloth.
Natural Dusting Spray
* 100ml water
* 4-6 drops either Lavender, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Niaouli or Pine
Add water to spray bottle, then add chosen Essential Oil. These bacterial oils leave a fresh, clean aroma.
Shake well before each use.
Glass Cleaners (windows and mirrors):
1) Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle or
2) Equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle or
3) 1/2 Lemon juice and 2 cups water in a spray bottle or
4) 1/2 cup vinegar or Lemon juice, 2 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil based soap (such as Murphy’s Oil Soap)
5) No-Streak Glass Cleaner: 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 quart warm water. Mix the ingredients and apply with a sponge or pour into spray bottle and spray on. Wipe dry with crumpled newspaper, buff to a shine. (Use crumpled newspaper instead of paper towels for lint-free results.
1) Roll up a piece of white bread and use it to “erase” marks on wallpaper
1) Place Cloves, Cinnamon sticks, allspice or other favorite scented spice in a pot of water , simmer for 1-2 hours
2) Place baking soda in an open container of your choice. Good for closets, refrigerators and other small enclosed spaces
3) 2-3 slices of white bread absorbs refrigerator odors
4) Dissolve baking soda in 2 cups hot water, add Lemon juice, pour into spray bottle, spray into air as air freshener
5) Place unscented kitty litter placed in bowls to absorb room odors
Vacuum Cleaner and Deodorizer
Moisten 3 cotton balls with Lavender essential oil (or your favorite citrus oil, I’m partial to lemon) and put them in your vacuum cleaner bag or dirt-bin.
Oil Plugin Refills
If you use the plugins which come with the small replaceable oil bottles, here’s something to try the next time one runs dry. Unplug the unit from the wall and remove the empty oil bottle. Remove the top part of the oil bottle and fill with 35-50 drops of your favorite essential oil and the rest with a carrier oil such as Sweet Almond. In a pinch, you can use a pure vegetable oil from the kitchen. Replace the top, insert it back into the plugin and it’s ready to go!
(I love this one!)
Mix equal parts of Lavender, Thyme (or Tea Tree) and Eucalyptus. Use in a spray bottle to Wipe down surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom. Moisten paper towels with this blend and wipe over surfaces.
Now, aren’t these easy (and inexpensive) ideas? The next time you’re out of your Spic N Span or your scented oil plugin runs dry, remember what you learned here. Green cleaning is simple, inexpensive and much healthier for your family. And, just a note, you can add a drop or two of essential oils to most any recipe above. My favorites are lavender and the citrus oils for scent and for antibacterial properties, try Tea Tree.
If you don’t have any essential oils handy, let me recommend Mountain Rose Herbs – reasonably priced and completely organic – I’ve ordered from them for years. Happy Greening!
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