I love the idea of spring cleaning. A time to open the windows, dust off winter, and shake out the chill. Ahhh, let the sunshine in. Rejuvenate, refresh, revitalize. There is nothing like starting a new season with a bright and clear home.
This year I was reading various blogs on the best way to approach “spring cleaning.” They offered tons of information, ranging from where to start in your home to the best way to remove buildup from behind your fridge. However, only one touched on how to clean while keeping the environment in mind. Between the hazardous ingredients we breathe while cleaning and the waste we produce, store bought household cleaners are causing quite a threat. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) names phosphorus, nitrogen, ammonia and chemicals grouped under the term “Volatile Organic Compounds” (or VOCs) as the worst environmental hazards in household cleaners. VOCs are found in a wide range of cleaning products. Most commonly, you’ll see them in bathroom disinfectants and kitchen degreasers, among many other concoctions. Multipurpose household cleaners contain ammonia, which is also found in many cleaning products that do everything from sanitizing to removing allergens and stains. Floor cleaners contain the chemical nitrogen, which is also found in glass and surface cleaning products. Yikes! Not only are we breathing these chemicals into our lungs when we clean, but these dangerous VOCs are being emitted into the environment via the air and in water waste.
Now that I know all that, I’ve made the switch to homemade household cleaners. This year, I’m spring cleaning the clean way. Below you’ll find three homemade and eco-friendly household cleaners, best of all (besides, you know, saving the planet) they’re extremely easy to make — you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen! Happy cleaning!
Easy Lemon Multipurpose Cleaner
Juice of one lemon (you can also add juice of a lime too)
1 cup water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
Juice the lemon. Use a strainer to keep pulp out. Add juice, vinegar, and water to a spray bottle. (Learn how to make your own spray bottle here!) Shake well. Spray onto cleaning areas. Let sit for a few minutes before wiping away with a damp cloth. If cleaning windows there is no need to rinse. Just wipe away with a dry cloth.
The acidity in the lemons and vinegar helps loosen mineral deposits such as lime and calcium. This cleaner also disinfects due to the low pH in the lemons and vinegar, which kills bacteria and microorganisms. Use the cleaner on soap scum and tough coffee stains. This spray is great for kitchen and bathroom sinks!
*For added cleaning power, add some baking soda to mixture and scrub the area. However, do not use this cleaner on marble surfaces.
Super Simple Toilet Bowl Cleaner:
1/4 cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar
Mix baking soda and vinegar. Pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse with water without flushing. (Have you read this water-saving article yet?)
A mixture of Borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.
Your Mop’s Best Friend Floor Cleaner
1 cup distilled white vinegar
½ cap-full liquid castile soap
2 gallons warm water
Add vinegar and soap to bucket, then add water. Mix well. Use reusable mop to wash floors with one coat of cleaner. Let air-dry.
I suggest testing the cleaner on one small area of your floor before mopping the entire space.
+ Please share any green cleaning tips with us — we want to hear them!
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