Green Cleaning Recipes for Spring Cleaning
Many cleaning products contain hazardous chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pollute the air and may impair human and animal health. Natural cleaning products protect the health of home inhabitants and are as effective as their toxic counterparts. We have compiled some all natural recipes for spring cleaning to keep your home healthy.
Making The Switch…
Properly dispose of hazardous chemicals and do not allow them back into your building. Make your own cleaning supplies out of affordable and non-toxic ingredients. Use different color rags for different parts of your home (e.g., kitchen=green vs. bathroom=red) in order to prevent cross contamination. Be sure to ventilate the building both during and after cleaning activities. Wet-wipe when dusting and use a true-HEPA vacuum to reduce airborne particulates.
Basic Ingredient List for Recipes for Spring Cleaning:
Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Absorbs odors and is mildly abrasive. Make sure it’s fresh by adding 1 tbsp to ¼ c vinegar. If it fizzes, it’s fresh.
Borax (sodium borate)
Cleans and deoderizes. Good scouring powder. Softens water, increasing the cleaning power of soap.
Liquid Vegetable-Based Soap (pure liquid castile soap)
Biodegrades safely without polluting water. Avoid synthetic scents, colors, and other additives.
Liquid Vegetable-Based Detergent
Look for products that are biodegradable and made from vegetable-based ingredients rather than petroleum-based.
Olive and Essential Oils (optional – may negatively affect sensitive individuals)
Lavender, lemon, tea tree, and peppermint essential oils add natural fragrance and have antiseptic properties.
Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)
Disinfectant. Cuts grease, removes stains. A great solvent, but slightly caustic, so wear protective gloves. Don’t use on wax floors, fiberglass, or aluminum.
White Distilled Vinegar
Excellent disinfectant, deoderizer, and anti-fungal.
NOTE: Never combine chlorine bleach and ammonia products – this creates a poisonous gas.
Green Cleaning Recipes for Spring Cleaning:
Basic All-Purpose Cleanser
- ½ tsp washing soda
- 2 tsp borax
- ½ tsp liquid soap
- 2 c hot water
Combine the washing soda, borax, and soap in a spray bottle. Pour in the hot water to dissolve the minerals. Shake, spray, and wipe.
- ½ c vinegar
- 1 c water
- 2 drops liquid soap
Mix in a spray bottle. Shake, spray, and wipe clean.
Tile, Tub, and Basin Cleaner
- 1 2/3 c baking soda
- ½ c liquid soap
- ½ c water
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
Several drops of essential oil (optional)
Mix soda and soap. Then add water and mix. Then add vinegar and mix. Apply. Rinse with sponge. Store in a squirt top bottle and shake before use.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Use above recipe with the addition of:
- ½ c borax or baking soda
Borax or baking soda can also be sprinkled directly onto toilet brush and applied.
Stain Remover (for laundry, carpet, and upholstery)
- ¼ c liquid detergent
- ¼ c glycerin
- 1 ½ c water
Mix and pour into a squirt bottle. Use sparingly. For difficult stains, mix equal parts vinegar and water.
- 1 part lemon juice
- 2 parts olive oil
Combine and apply. Also may be used on wood floors.
- Baking soda or activated carbon pellets
- Set around in small bowls to absorb odors.
If you don’t want to make your own cleaning products…
Low-VOC brands with a good reputation:
- Bon Ami
- Dr. Bronner’s
- Seventh Generation
- Bio Kleen
- Murphy’s Oil Soap
- Earth Friendly Products Orange Plus
Who is Healthy Building Science?
Environmental Testing Services at HBS
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