Saturday, May 23, 2009

Green and Frugal Cleaning

In an effort to discover greener cleaning products, I have found that they don’t always work well on tough dirt and grime. Not to mention, many times green cleaning products often have a steep price tag compared to their caustic counterparts. So the mission is to discover green cleaning methods that are effective and inexpensive.

Here is what I have found to be effective and low-cost:

Lemons can clean --

  • Countertops -- Dip cut side of a lemon in baking soda and scrub away. (Don't use on delicate stone or stainless steel since it may discolor it.)

  • Faucet -- Combat lime scale by rubbing lemon juice on the faucet. Let it sit overnight and then wipe away.

  • Plastic food-storage containers -- Rub lemon juice on stains, let dry in a sunny place and then wash as usual
Essential oils are good for cleaning:
  • Combs & brushes -- Fill a container wiht 1.5 cups water, .5 cup distilled vinegar and 20 drops essential. Soak combs and brushes for 20 minutes. Rinse and air dry.

  • Shower doors -- Wipe scum-covered glass doors with a few drops of lemon oil twice a month to prevent grime build-up.

  • Windows -- Mix 2 oz. water with 10 drops essential oil (lavender or lemongrass works well) and wipe grime off windows. Plus, the oil may repel flies.
Liquid Castile soap is great for:
  • Floors -- Mop nearly any type of floor with .25 cup liquid Castile soap and 2 gallons warm water.

  • Sinks, showers, tubs, ceramic tile -- Combine 1tbsp. liquid Castile soap with .3 cup baking soda.

  • Stovetop and vent hood -- Add one tbsp liquid Castile soap to 2 cups hot water. Apply to the stovetop, the burners, and the vent hood to cut through accumulated grease.
Vinegar (my personal favorite) is a wonder for cleaning:
  • Coffeemaker -- Pour equal parts water and vinegar into the machine's water chamber and turn on brew cycle. Halfway through, turn the coffeemaker off and let the mixture sit for an hour. Turn it back on to finish the cycle. Then run several cycles with water only.

  • Glassware -- For spotless hand-washed glasses, add 1 cup vinegar to rinse cycle.

  • Windows -- Mix .25 cup vinegar with 2 cups water and a squirt of liquid Castile soap in a spray bottle. Spritz windows and wipe with sheets of newspaper.
I'll keep posting more cleaning tips, but I'd love to hear yours.

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