A DIY Guide to Green Cleaning
It’s beginning to feel a lot like spring – finally! Have you started your spring cleaning yet? It’s time to open the windows, let in the fresh air and sunshine, and get sweeping, organizing, and polishing. Total-home cleaning can feel like a huge process (The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking offers a terrific checklist for help with organizing all of your spring cleaning tasks), and with so much to do already, it is no surprise that many people seldom stop to think about what is actually in the cleaning products they use, and how most of it is extremely unhealthy.
You know that headache you get after handling some cleaning products for a few hours, even a few minutes? Yeah, that’s not a good sign. You’ll even notice a lot of products on store shelves in response to the growing demand for greener cleaning products, but beware: some green cleaning products aren’t as eco as they say they are.
The best way to clean your home while also protecting your health, is to make your very own cleaning products. These simple, all-natural, non-toxic recipes should take care of most of your cleaning needs, and are super easy to make with ordinary ingredients you most likely already have around the house.
This is a staple item that should always be well-stocked, as it can be used in every room in the house. Simply mix two cups of water with three tablespoons of castile soap and 20-30 drops of tea tree essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray onto surface (toilet seat, sink, countertops, etc.) and wipe off.
A great alternative to toilet bowl cleaners, pour ½ cup of baking soda, about 10 drops of tea tree oil, and ¼ cup of vinegar into the toilet, scrub with toilet brush, and flush.
Making your own air freshener is similar – Mix a cup of water with about ¼ cup of baking soda, and about 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle. A few squirts into the air should do the trick!
When you wash your clothes with toxic detergent, you are essentially wearing those toxins all day. For a greener, healthier alternative to big-name laundry detergent, begin by finely grating one bar of pure, unscented glycerine soap and place in large jar. Next, add 1 cup washing soda, ½ cup baking soda, ½ cup citric acid, and ¼ cup coarse salt to the soap shavings. Mix well and store in airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon of this mixture for small loads, 2 tablespoons for larger loads.
NOTE: My Healthy Green Family, where this particular recipe came from, warns that a desiccant must be used to prevent this mixture from clumping. Check out her post on how to make your own desiccant here.
By far the easiest all-natural floor polish you can make is by simply mixing one part white vinegar with two parts warm water in a bucket. No rinsing required! Important to note, however, is that this recipe (due to the vinegar) should be used for tiled surfaces only.
For any other type of flooring, including wood, add 2 to 4 tablespoons of Castile soap and 10 drops of lemon essential oil (note: lemon juice is not a suitable substitution!) to 1 gallon of hot water. Scrub as usual, but rinsing may be required if the surface of your floor is prone to slipperiness after washing.
Have any other green cleaning recipes you would like to share? We would love to hear about them in the comments section!