Green Cleaning Recipes

Many cleaning products that we use everyday contain harsh chemicals.  They hurt us, they hurt our environment, and oddly enough, they don’t really help us clean any better than simpler, gentler cleaners.  How can you keep your organized spaces clean and fresh without using toxic chemicals?

First, make sure you have the following supplies (many of these items are already in your pantry):

  • Baking Soda (basic to most cleaning product recipes)
  • White Distilled vinegar (basic to most cleaning product recipes)
  • Liquid soap—Castille vegetable oil based or glycerin are best
  • Spray bottles —3 or 4
  • Lemon or lime juice (to disinfect and cut grease)
  • Borax or Bon Ami (for safe scrubbing)
  • Olive oil (for furniture)
  • Club soda (for stain removal)
  • Essential oils in whatever scent you want (if desired)

You should be able to find most of these products at your grocery store or supermarket.  Less common products can be found at a health food store or Co-op.

Now that you have your supplies, you can prepare the following cleaners:

SOFT SCRUBBER: 1/2 cup baking soda, liquid soap

Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid soap to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar to keep the product moist. Or, just make as much as you need at a time.

WINDOW CLEANER: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid soap, 3 tablespoons vinegar, 2 cups water, spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

OVEN CLEANER: 1 cup or more baking soda, water, a squirt or two of liquid soap

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven.

FURNITURE POLISH: 1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax), 1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

ODOR ABSORBER: 8 oz. Fine mist spray bottle, white distilled vinegar and essential oil of your choice

Fill your spray bottle with white vinegar, add 20-30 drops of essential oil.  Shake before using.  Spray to absorb unpleasant odors.  This air freshener is meant to absorb the odor and is not meant to be inhaled as a sweet smell.  Caution: vinegar is a mild eye irritant, do not spray in eyes.

(from, and Clean House, Clean Planet, Karen Logan, Pocket Books, 1997)


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