Spring cleaning is an essential part of the start of the season, but the chemicals could be harmful. (Photos by Melanie Anderson)
Cleaning your home in an eco-conscious way doesn’t have to mean assembling an arsenal of pricey products. You can DIY with a few basic items straight from the grocery store. Inexpensive staples like baking soda, white vinegar, lemons and salt will make your home shine without adding toxins to the environment.
The two workhorses of the bunch are white vinegar and baking soda; the former is an acid, specifically acetic acid and water. Baking soda is sodium hydrogen carbonate, a base compound. The third part of the equation is elbow grease – you may need to scrub harder than you have in the past. These green cleaning-supply recipes also avoid bleach and ammonia because combining those may lead to a dangerous reaction that results in toxic fumes. Experiment with essential oils to find the scent you love. Both your wallet and your health will thank you.
Musty clothes signal the annual change of season, but they don’t have to. “I love a DIY linen spray!” says Jolie Kerr, the cleaning expert behind Deadspin’s weekly column Ask a Clean Person and the author of “My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha.”
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She suggests combining three ounces of vodka or isopropyl alcohol with one to two cups of distilled water in a spray bottle, then adding either three to five citrus peels or 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to add scent. Allow the mixture to infuse for a week before using to freshen and de-wrinkle your bed and table linens.
Lemon is a natural deodorizer and classic ingredient in homemade cleaning solutions, but grapefruit works just as well, leaving an unexpected fresh scent. For cleaning the bathtub, skip the chemical scouring powder and use grapefruit and kosher salt to scrub the grime away. Just halve a grapefruit and sprinkle the top with a generous amount of salt. Scrub all over, making sure to squeeze some of the citric acid on the fixtures. Rinse thoroughly.
Putting a toxic cleaner on surfaces that surround food just sounds like a bad idea. Baking soda can act as a natural scrubber for baked-on grease. Martha Stewart recommends mixing one part baking soda to three parts warm water for a powerful paste. Add a little mild dishwashing detergent and you have a bathroom cleanser, too.
Who doesn’t love the feel of freshly dried clothes with a dryer sheet? The problem is in the chemistry: Dryer sheets contain camphor, ethyl acetate and chloroform, which are linked to cancer, endocrine and reproductive issues – and the risk is greater when the substances are heated.
Enter the homemade dryer sheet. Cut up old T-shirts to fit in a resealable container of your choice. Half a cup of white vinegar plus six to eight drops of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed oil will kill bacteria, deodorize and reduce static cling. Add drops of an essential oil to get the scent of your choosing.
Dusty floors and furniture are toxic for people with allergies. However, commercial spray-on dusting compounds are filled with silicones, butane gas and propane. Keep the sneezing at bay in a greener way by combining 10 drops of pure lemon oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice and a few drops of olive oil. Sprinkle the mixture onto a clean old T-shirt and use as a duster.
The original article “8 Guilt-Free Cleaning Products to Make at Home“ appeared on LIVESTRONG.COM.
By Emily Shetler
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