I recently cleaned the apartment my college student moved out of. I was reminded of the toxic chemicals that are sold and used in the name of health. I used the products the outgoing students had on hand and killing germs nearly killed me! I am used to using ‘green cleaning’ products so the solutions I used that day were especially ‘eye-opening’. I had to evacuate the bathroom at one point because the fumes were too strong! My skin, eyes and lungs felt the effects for nearly two days afterwards! We can reduce the impact on our immediate and long term health by being mindful of the ways we clean our abode. What is safe for us is also safe for the air, water and other creatures.
My mother-in-love cleaned one room everyday, in addition to working, being a wife and doting grandma. Her legacy to me is simply dusting with a damp cloth. This method captures particles, keeps them from being airborne and does not add chemicals to the sleeping, eating and visiting rooms of the house!
I use salt as an abrasive to remove cooked-on messes on the stove and counter. I rub the spot with dry salt then wipe clean with a damp cloth. Sometimes, I add a few drops of lemon juice to the rinse water to cut the grease and add a fresh smell. I printed out these University of Georgia Extension Green Cleaning cards and stocked my cupboard with the basic ingredients needed.
My friends in North Carolina Extension offer these green cleaning solutions. Here is a list of a few items that can be used in “green” cleaning products:
- Baking soda – cleans, deodorizes, removes stains and softens fabrics
- Cornstarch – absorbs oil and grease
- Lemon juice – cuts grease, removes perspiration and other stains from clothing
- Salt – works as an abrasive
- Vinegar – cuts grease, removes stains and is an excellent water softener
- Borax – natural mineral that deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap.
- Washing soda – cleans clothes, softens water, cuts grease, disinfects and increases the cleaning power of soap.
Spring cleaning is hard work but very satisfying when it is done! I also go to Iowa State University Extension & Outreach’s Answerline when I have questions about cleaning anything. My windows are next on the list!
What’s on your cleaning to-do-list? What’s your favorite green cleaning tip? Click the title above to comment on this message.