Friday, March 5, 2010

Clean and GREEN!

With a background in sustainability, it's easy for me to think about being eco-friendly. But many people I encounter tell me "It's not easy being green." (Who knows that used to be a Kermit the Frog reference??) I agree and disagree with that statement. I find that most people are willing to give up toxic chemicals quite readily. The problem is the substitute. Now that "green" is the hot new thing loads of companies such as Clorox, Seventh Generation and Ecover are making an earth friendly product. This is GREAT news!

However, not everyone is a fan of purchasing something that is in a plastic bottle that can't be's where my sustainability kicks in...If you've got the time here are some very "green" cleaning tips that you probably have in your home right now. So get out an old bottle you probably have in your garage, mix these up and get cleaning! Typically Friday is my day off, so now that I'm done at the gym, this is on my to-do list! Happy cleanning everyone!

All-Purpose Cleaner

1/2 tsp washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Tip: If you're out of washing soda, use 2 1/2 tsp of borax, instead.

Window Cleaner

1/4-1/2 tsp liquid detergent
3 tbs vinegar
2 cups water
spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

Creamy Soft Scrubber

Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn't leave grit.

Tip: Add 1 tsp of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise, just make as much as you need at a time.

Oven Cleaner

1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface it totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top, then let the mixture set overnight.

You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn't work for you it is probably because you didn't use enough baking soda and/or water.

Mold Killer

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.

Furniture Polish

1/2 tsp oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

( originally from Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green (1990, Ceres Press).
photos from each companies website:

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