Green Cleaning for All Budgets
Method 1: Natural Green Cleaners
You can clean your home using organic, natural products without chemicals or synthetic ingredients — and without spending a fortune! In fact, chances are you already have some natural cleaners in your home that have been there for a long time. Most of them are in your kitchen: vinegar, lemons, olive oil, salt, baking soda, a plant-based detergent. Some are in your laundry room, like borax and washing soda. In your bathroom you'll find useful products like hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol. You always can always choose to make your own cleaning products, too. Here are some tips for how to make your own cleaning products by using some of the natural cleaning ingredients mentioned above.
- Baking soda or borax
- White or apple cider vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide
To clean a toilet, use baking soda, white or apple cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Put the two liquids in separate spray bottles. Sprinkle the toilet bowl with baking soda, then pour some vinegar into the bowl. Allow to stand for several minutes and scrub with a toilet brush. You can also use the bottle of vinegar and the hydrogen peroxide to spray the toilet down, one immediately after the other.
Shower, counters and fixtures
- White vinegar
- Natural soaps, such as coconut castile or natural detergent, dish washing liquid
- Warm, fresh water
You can use vinegar on bathroom counters, sinks, fixtures, porcelain tile, glass, fiberglass or other man-made materials. Never use vinegar on marble or other natural surfaces — use only warm water. Instead of vinegar use castile, natural detergent or dish washing liquid by putting some drops in a 750 ml. (26 oz.) spay bottle with warm water.
- Baking soda
- Natural dish washing liquid or plant-based detergent
- Warm, fresh water
Mix one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon salt, add a squirt of natural dish washing detergent and some warm water. Make a paste, apply to the tub, scrub, rinse and dry with a cloth.
Countertops, Cabinets and Refrigerators
- Castile soap or natural dish washing liquid
- Warm water
Mix one Tbsp. castile soap or natural dish washing soap with a quart of warm water, rinse well, and then dry with a cloth.
- ½ tsp. washing soda
- ¼ tsp. natural liquid soap
- 2 cups hot water
Add washing soda and liquid soap to hot water in a spray bottle. Washing soda is caustic, so wear gloves.
Glass and Mirrors
- 1 tablespoon of alcohol, lemon juice or vinegar
- One 750 ml. (26 oz.) spray bottle
- Warm water
Fill a clean spray bottle with 750 ml. (26 oz.) warm water and white vinegar, lemon juice or alcohol. Wipe with a rag or old newspaper.
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
Mix two parts oil with one part lemon juice; reduce the olive oil if wood looks too oily.
In a bucket, mix ½ cup white vinegar with 1 gallon hot water.
Clean the floor with water, but keep your mop no more than damp so the floor will dry quickly (check what is recommended by the manufacturer).
Marble and Natural Stone
Use a few drops of natural dish washing liquid and warm water.
For glazed tiles, mix one cup of alcohol in one gallon of water. For unglazed tile, like terra-cotta, a few drops of natural dish washing liquid should be diluted in one gallon of water.
All Purpose Cleaner
- ½ tsp. of baking soda
- A dab of natural liquid soap
- Two cups of hot water
Combine these ingredients into a 750 ml. (26 oz.) spray bottle and mix thoroughly.
Method 2: Microfiber
You can buy a set of microfiber cleaning cloths. They run from $5 to $13. The cost and quality depends on the store and company, but basically there are four or five options available in different colors, each of them for a specific task: floor, windows and glass, dusting and polishing, and kitchen and bath. Don't forget to buy a microfiber floor mop, which costs about $7 on average. Microfiber cloth lifts and traps dust better than conventional cotton cloths and feather dusters. Microfiber cloths and mops capture and remove soil and bacteria more efficiently than traditional mopping and dusting materials.
Plus, with microfiber, you don't have to use chemicals. Microfiber is a man-made product that is manufactured by combining two fibers: polyester (the scrubbing and cleaning fiber) and polyamide (the absorbing and quick-drying fiber). They can be laundered and reused hundreds of times. When washing, use a very small amount of detergent. Microfibers release dirt easily during washing. The two products to avoid are bleach and fabric softener. Bleach will damage the fibers. Fabric softener eliminates static cling (electrostatic energy): This is a critical part of what makes a microfiber cloth work so well. If you accidentally use some softener, just rewash the cloth. There won't be any permanent damage. It's okay to wash microfiber rags in hot water, but never dry other cloths, rags or towels with your microfiber cloths if you choose to tumble dry them. They will pull all the lint off these other material and become so loaded that they may be worthless in the future. A single cycle is enough to clean the cloths.
Method 3: Steam Vapor
Vapor steam cleaners remove dirt and stains and kill dust mites, mold, germs, spores and bacteria with the use of water and non-chemical cleaners. Vapor steam cleaners also sanitize, disinfect and makes deep cleaning easier by reaching into those small spaces and corners that traditional cleaning machines have a hard time reaching. A small residential steam vapor unit costs around $30, and if you want a steam mop, too, you can expend another $50, although some residential models can cost $400 or more.
Written by Alejandro Abaunza of Nice and Clean Maids Services Inc.
Phone: (773) 307-9269