Green Cleaning Tips and Recipes
One of my favorite websites for learning about ingredients and the safety of the products we use every day are by the Environmental Working Group a nonprofit organization that not only helps to educate the public, but also works with corporations to make products safer.
The EWG site is the go to place to learn about toxicity in ingredients and to see how safe your current household products are compared to others. Most name brand cleaners rate poorly on the EWG site as ingredients are often not defined and can contribute to asthma. They are linked to cancer and can be harmful to the environment. Not only does the site rate the products, but breakdown the ingredients and also rate those and they even include an explanation of how the determined the rating they did.
The good news is that just about every name brand cleaner has an easy green alternative that is safer, cheaper and pretty easy to make. Here are some of my favorites.
Go to All Purpose Recipe
1 Cup Vinegar
1 cup Water
15-20 Drops of your favorite essential oils (optional)
Glass and Stainless Steel Recipe
The cornstarch might seem like a weird ingredient but I found that it really helps with stuck on grime and smears from dogs.
1/4 cup Rubbing Alcohol
1/4 cup Corn Starch
1/4 cup Distilled White Vinegar
2 cups warm water
Scouring Powder Recipe
One of my favorite recipes is a scouring powder that can be used to clean any surface that you would normally use a brillo pad or a more powerful cleaner. This is my go to recipe for cleaning my stainless steel sink and stovetop.
2 cups baking soda or for extra strength use borax with a pair of gloves.
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (preservative)
5 or more drops essential oil (optional–try tea tree, rosemary or lavender)
Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar; shelf life of 2 years.
Traditional brand name drain cleaners are some worst offenders in terms of toxicity. Here are some great tips to try instead.
Be proactive – there are a wide variety of drain covers on the market for showers and sinks. They trap hair and large items from going down the drain making the need for a drain cleaner almost obsolete. I personally use a drain cover on all of my drains. A mesh stainless steel one for the kitchen sink, and silicone covers for my shower and bathroom sinks.
Unconventional Actions – I have two methods I swore by before incorporating drain covers into my regiment. The first is a wire hanger. Simply bend the wire hanger to have a hook at the end and straighten the rest of the hanger to go down the drain as deeply as needed. Use the hook to pull out any clogs. The second is my favorite. A toilet plunger is perfect for not only unclogging toilets but also unclogging sink and shower drains. It is my first step to resolving a clogged drain and works perfectly without any chemicals what so ever. Try a plunger the next time you notice a bit of a backup. If it is a sink with an overflow drain, plunge slowly so water does not shoot out at you.
Recipe – Baking soda and vinegar when mixed together makes a great drain cleaner. Pour baking soda down the drain wait a bit of time and then pour down an equal amount of vinegar. Start with about a quarter cup of each.
Stain Remover – Peroxide is one of my favorite stain removers. Store in a spray bottle and use an old tooth brush to rub in for stubborn stains.
1 part Castile Liquid Soap
2 parts Hydrogen Peroxide
1/2 part Baking Soda
Laundry Detergent – This is my go to powdered laundry detergent
1 cup soap flakes (not Fels Naptha or any soap that uses tallow as an ingredient)
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
½ cup of baking soda
Fabric Softener – Most people are not aware that soaps with tallow as an ingredient and fabric softeners use rendered fat from animals as one of the main ingredients. Tallow is a controversial ingredient and many of the ingredients in fabric softeners are not properly explained. Most importantly they are not necessarily needed.
White vinegar – added to the rinse cycle can be an excellent replacement for fabric softeners. The easiest thing to do is not to over dry clothes if using a dryer. Over drying is what leads to static cling.
Wool Dryer Balls – are a nice addition to the dryer to soften clothes and reduce dryer time. Essential oils can also be added to them to naturally add fragrance to clothes. The ones I use can be purchased here.
If making your own cleaners still seems like too much work after reading, head on over to the EWG.org website and research greener safer alternatives. Try to stick to a cleaner that falls within an A or B rating. If you have a recipe you would like to see, email us and we can help find a perfect alternative.