HOW TO GREEN YOUR HOME THIS SPRING: Organic cleaners and DIY solutions
Thanks to the green movement, New Yorkers are more conscious about what we put in our bodies and homes, and the larger impact our decisions have on our planet.
Traditional chemical cleaning solutions are number one on the toxicity list. For the past year, S.C. Johnson & Son, makers of Windex, Drano, and Glade began disclosing chemical ingredients in products sold in the U.S – with staggering results: the products Americans have been using contain chemicals leftover from WWII warfare, and are turning our air and water into toxic hazard zones.
With spring-cleaning right around the corner, New Yorkers need natural cleaning solutions that fit with our green values, without breaking the bank. Luckily, the market for organic cleaners is growing, and many brands such as Seventh Generation, Ecover, and Mrs. Meyers are available at chain grocery stores for almost the same price as our familiar chemical cleaners.
WHY SWITCH TO GREEN CLEANING?
Changes you can see: Your home will be cleaner and healthier when you disassociate toxic smells of bleach and chlorine with “clean and fresh. ”
Changes you can feel: Your body will thank you! The absence of harsh chemicals will decrease your risk of cancers, help you breathe easier, ease skin ailments, and improve your quality of life.
Changes for your future: Toxic cleaning products have long-term effects on the environment, including (but not limited to) phosphate induced algal blooms that starve organisms of oxygen and cause ecological imbalance in rivers and lakes.
What to look for on the shelves: There are a variety of Organic cleaning products that are safe and effective, without the laundry-list of first aid/poison warnings on the label.
Let’s face it: we have enough pollution to worry about in NYC, the least we can do is control the air quality and toxic levels inside our own homes.
BE GREEN AND SAVE GREEN:
Use this list to make do-it-yourself cleaning formulas with products you keep on your shelves.
Your DIY Natural Cleansing Tool Box
- Baking Soda: cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours. Mix with salt for oven-scouring.
- Soap: unscented, non-petroleum distillate soap will clean just about anything. I swear by Dr. Bronners all-purpose biodegradable soaps – for natural laundry detergent, body soap, shampoo, and dish soap (for camping).
- Lemon: A powerful food-acid that kills most household bacteria.
- Borax: (a.k.a. sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
- White Vinegar: cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, stains and wax.
- Washing Soda: (a.k.a SAL Soda) a mineral that removes grease, stains, softens water, and cleans walls, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use this one cautiously because washing soda can irritate mucous membranes.
- Tee Tree Oil: is an excellent disinfectant and can be used on any surface, including the skin!
- Trisodium phosphate (TSP): a mixture of soda ash and phosphoric acid, it can be used on many jobs, such as cleaning drains or removing old paint. Label this one carefully because TSP is toxic if swallowed.
DIY Formulas for your Green Spring Cleaning
Bedroom and Laundry
HOW TO CLEAN, ALL-PURPOSE-LY:
Paired with a Microfiber cloth for catching dirt, grease, dust, and removing water stains.
- Mix 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax)
- 1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water.
HOW TO MAKE NATURAL LAUNDRY DETERGENT:
- 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap),
- 1/2 cup washing soda and
- 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads.
HOW TO GET RID OF NASTY APARTMENT SMELLS:
• Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes,
• Houseplants reduce odors and increase air quality,
• Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter, or bowls of dried herbs.
• Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.
HOW TO WASH YOUR WINDOWS:
- Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with
- 1 liter (qt) warm water. Rub with a crumpled newspaper for a streak-free clean.
PROBLEM SPOT – CARPET STAINS:
- Mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar.
- Rub paste into carpet and let sit for a few hours, then vacuum.
PROBLEM SPOT – MOTHBALLS:
- Aromatic or Juniper Cedar chips (available in craft stores) or cedar oil in a cheesecloth are great for repelling moths.
- Dried lemon peels are also a cheap and easy natural moth deterrent. Toss them into your drawer or wrap them in cheesecloth to hang in your closet.
HOW TO CLEAN DISHES OR RECEPIE FOR EVERLASTING ROOMIE-LOVE:
- Mix equal parts of borax and washing soda for dishwater detergent.
- Mix vinegar and hot water for washing those dishes by hand.
- For phosphate and bleach-free commercial dish washing soaps, try Ecover Ecological or Trader Joe’s powders.
HOW DISINFECT YOUR SURFACES:
- Mix 2 teaspoons borax,
- 4 tablespoons vinegar,
- 3 cups hot water.
- For more strength, add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap.
- To disinfect kitchen sponges, put them in the dishwasher when running a load.
HOW TO REMOVE RUST:
- Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, then squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2 – 3 hours and scrub scrub scrub.
HOW TO CLEAN THAT PESKY TOILET BOWL:
- Mix 1/4 cup baking soda,
- 1 cup vinegar. Pour mixture into the bowl, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush and rinse.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR BATHTUB AND TILES:
- This one is simple: Rub a damp sponge with baking soda on surface, then rinse with water.
- For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar (sparingly), then apply baking soda.
PROBLEM SPOT – BATHROOM MOLD:
- Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%),
- two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.
Happy green spring cleaning!
Image by : http://www.flickr.com/photos/go_greener_oz/ / CC BY 2.0[ad#Author test Google Adsense]