Spring is here! It is time to open the windows, shoo away the cobwebs, and take on your annual spring cleaning. The chemicals found in conventional cleaning products can be more dangerous than the dirt they are intended to clean. However, there are many alternatives available that can help you make your home squeaky clean, while being green.

Green cleaning products:

The basic supplies you’ll need to make your own green cleaners include:

  1. Distilled white vinegar (sold in the cooking section of most supermarkets)
  2. Baking soda
  3. Olive oil
  4. Borax (sold in a box in the laundry aisle)
  5. Liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s brand, found in most natural foods stores)
  6. Essential oils (super concentrated natural plant oils found in natural foods stores, usually in the cosmetics section)
  7. Microfiber cleaning cloths
  8. Newspaper

Here are a few basic “recipes” and techniques to get you started:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive and oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.
  8. Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure to stash it 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.

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